Chapter 1: Juxtaposed
I have no idea what I'm doing with this. It might just be the vehicle for me to write lots of Hux smut... but... yanno. XD Also, no beta reader so forgive the awful grammar/spelling/etc!
Pain coursed through his belly at his pupil, his apprentice's betrayal. He should have expected it. After all, she had expected it. She had seen it all. He blinked, his eyes beginning to cloud. He was dying. After all the years, he was finally going to meet his end. She had been right about everything. She had told him, on the day of her dismissal and the day before Kylo Ren's arrival, that one day he would regret picking the grandson of Vader over her. She had said that one day he would need her, and she wouldn't be there. He would regret sending her away, and in the very end, he did.
It had been years, and he wondered if she would even answer his call to her. He had thrown her away. At the time he had seen her as a distraction from the boy that would see all of his dreams fulfilled. As his breathing grew more difficult, he found nothing when he searched the Force for her.
I am dying.
And then, just as his chest lifted to draw one last breath, she appeared before him. He knew that it was an illusion of the Force, but still she had answered him.
That's right, you are. This breath is your last.
Avenge me. Kill Kylo Ren and become Supreme Leader.
He watched as her eyes shifted to something outside of both of them. He could feel an ancient power swirl around her like a vortex. It should have been you. While she had been a particularly adept and dutiful student while at his side, he knew that she was even more powerful now. And unlike Kylo Ren— she had followed his tutelage. She had cut away the light until nothing but darkness shone inside of her. She had grown into a worthy apprentice. A woman deserving the mantle of Supreme Leader.
Yes. It should have been. You are moments away now. Tell me, how does it feel to know you have lifted up a child that will ruin everything you have worked toward?
Her hand paused for a moment when she felt her master's life extinguish. Even there, in the Outer Rim, worlds away— she knew that he was finally dead. It had happened just as she saw it would. Kylo Ren, the grandson and heir apparent of Darth Vader had finally turned against their master. She supposed that had been Snoke's downfall. He had blind faith in the power of bloodlines. She had attempted to counsel him against taking Ren into his service. She had also advised against attempting to manipulate and control the boy. She had seen that Kylo Ren was a gifted force user, but also a raw nerve. Yes, she knew there was power to be had in that. But, that was a power that was not easily controlled. The boy was irresolute, and she had seen that if not carefully tended and cultivated he would easily burn and destroy everything they had worked to create.
She was glad that her master was dead, but she could not help but feel upset that it hadn't been her. It was her right as his first to sound his death bell, and Kylo Ren had taken that right from her. Still, and as her eyes drifted back to the holocron in front of her, she figured that it was probably for the best. She didn't particularly want to inherit the mess Snoke had created. War was exceptionally good business for her, but leading the First Order was not very high on her list of things she was interested in doing. Not anymore at least. She had seen the fate of the First Order written on the Force. They would fail, just as Darth Vader had failed. Just as the Jedi had failed. And while she didn't know when it would happen, she knew that it was an eventuality. All empires and republics, in the end, fell.
No. She wanted something else entirely. Power meant next to nothing without the infrastructure to hold it all up. Power without a base of knowledge and wisdom was not true and absolute power. And so, for the moment at least, she wanted to do as she currently was. She wanted to unravel the mysteries of the Force. She wanted to learn from it more fully. She wanted to be stronger, wiser, and better. Better than Snoke, and Kylo Ren. Better than herself.
Reaching out for the ancient holocron, she grinned as it surged and opened itself to her. Yes, it meant next to nothing who sat upon Snoke's bloody throne. She wanted a fate greater than the one that awaited Kylo Ren.
He felt the name ripple through the Force in the moments before Snoke's death and the consequent battle. He had felt the name swirl around a great abyss before falling down into darkness. He thought very little of it at the time as his mind had been on far pressing matters. But now, after the dust of his actions had settled, he found himself pondering it once more. He had never heard the name before, but he knew it had to be important. Snoke had not been the type to mince words, and he didn't seem the sort to call out for another if it wasn't absolutely necessary.
Ren wondered exactly who this person was that his master felt the need to reach out to in his final moments. “Yalasi,” he said softly, allowing the name to roll around in his mouth before falling off his tongue. He needed to know more. Who were they? Could they become an ally in the fight against the Resistance, or rather would they attempt to avenge Snoke's death?
Clenching his lightsaber he felt a cool presence wash over him. There was something on the fringes of his perception. Something, or rather someone, was watching him.
“I don't begrudge your curiosity. I find myself curious about you too,” a woman's voice whispered from the corners of his mind.
“Who are you,” he asked despite knowing exactly who she was.
“Who else? Like you I was formed and molded at the hands of our master.” Her words were dripping with amusement. “You were right, clever boy.”
He was interested, but there was something about her that raised his shackles. How had she managed to slip into his mind so easily? How was it that they could communicate with one another without ever meeting? Snoke had bridged the Force between he and Rey, but this was an entirely different experience. It drew at his being in a new way. It was numb and distant, like a limb that had fallen asleep and was now slowly awakening. “What do you want?”
“A great many things, but from you not a single one. You have nothing I could possibly want.”
“The throne?” His response garnered laughter from her. “You are Snoke's apprentice. The one he chose to follow me, and you don't want to be Supreme Leader?”
“Tsk,” she chided, the mirth gone from her voice. “I was Snoke's first. You, my dear, are my eventuality.” The presence that once seemed content with being just outside of his periphery was attempting to gain ground in his mind. He could tell that she was trying to connect to him more fully, but something was holding her back. “You're in pain. Why?”
“I'm not in pain.” It was a lie, and one he knew she could probably see through. Still, thankfully, she didn't press that train of questioning any further. “I can't see you.”
“It's not me.”
His fingers clenched around his lightsaber as his jaw tightened. “It's me then?”
“No. It's this place.” Her words were distant, and it was as if her attention had split between him and something else entirely.
He was curious as to her actual location. She could see into him, but he could sense nothing from her. She had bridged the Force to speak to him, having perhaps picked up her name across the distance. He could only hear her, but he thought that perhaps if he focused, he could feel the beginning rumblings of her presence. But, it wasn't complete. “Where are you?” There was a silence for a great while, and he half wondered if she had left him for whatever else had her attention. “Yalasi?”
“Yavin 4.” The bridge between the two of them was growing weaker. “I have to,” she paused and then nothing.
With her sudden disappearance, his mind quickly grew numb. The places where she had been curled in on themselves before vanishing completely. His throat rumbled. He had learned a number of things about her but at the same time nothing at all. She had sounded genuine in her admission that she didn't want his throne. But who was she? She had been Snoke's first apprentice, but what did that actually mean? Why had he never met her, or rather— why had he never even heard of her?
His mind raced with the possibilities as he hooked his lightsaber back to his belt and left the training room.
Chapter 2: Illusions & Atrophy
Kylo Ren helps, and learns a little more about Yalasi.
A strange feeling washed over her. It was a feeling that was both familiar and overwhelmingly warm. She couldn't remember where she was, let alone how she managed to get there. She only knew that her body ached and it felt as if she had been walking for days. Sighing, she stopped and lifted her hand to her brow. Her face twisted at the blood she noticed dripping from her fingertips. She wondered for a moment if it was hers. Immediately her hands fell to her body, her fingers running down along her sides and legs. It couldn't be hers, she thought. She felt no pain, nor any leaking. Looking down at herself she gasped at the blood that was pouring from a wound in her chest.
“Yalasi,” a voice whispered to her. Kylo Ren.
Where was she? It was so dark, and she was more tired than she had been in years. Looking up, she saw a flickering red shape in the distance. Slowly she crept forward, unsure of what else was in the darkness with her.
“Ask me of my heritage, and I shall tell you. Ask me of my ambitions, and you shall know them. Ask me for my hand in battle, and I shall likely lend you both,” the flickering red shape whispered to her.
It was then that she felt a weight in her hand. Looking down she saw that she now held a long slender dagger. It was already coated in blood.
“But, ask me the secrets of Sith alchemy, and I would ask you for three measures of blood,” the voice continued.
“Yalasi,” Kylo said firmly, his voice pulling at the edges of her consciousness. “It's an illusion.”
“One from a person you love,” the voice began again, drawing her back to it. She stepped closer to the shape, now moving quicker and more vibrantly. However, with each step she took it seemed as if it was growing further and further away from her. “One from a person you hate.”
Clenching her dagger in her fist, her eyes grew larger. “And one from yourself,” she whispered. The flickering before her grew solid, and in its place stood a large looming red figure. Naga Sadow. She had finally found his tomb.
“Yalasi,” Kylo shouted at her.
“Come closer child. Let me show you more,” Sadow whispered to her. Glimpses of terrible and beautiful things filled her mind. Formulae, spells, raw untapped power— it was better than she could have ever imagined. “Your master may have abandoned you, but he was a fool. Together child, with my tutelage and guidance, we will rule the galaxy. We will usher in a new golden era of the Sith.” He stretched his hand out to her, and she took a step closer before stopping.
“Think Yalasi. Remember how you got there,” Ren shouted, the ground beneath her rumbling.
How did she get there, she wondered. Panic pulled at her mind when she found it increasingly difficult to remember. “I...”
“Focus,” Ren pleaded.
Her mind was fuzzy, but she remembered Yavin 4. She braved the thick jungles and found a temple. A temple that had been thought destroyed by countless bombings and the ravages of time. It had called to her. The tomb had gone deep, but there at the very bottom she had found a holocron.
“I remember. I am on Yavin 4, and you Naga Sadow have been dead for thousands of years.”
Laughter poured from Sadow's mouth as the illusion began to fall. “Good child. Good. You are worthy of my knowledge.”
Dropping the dagger from her hand, she found herself right back where she had been. Deep within the tomb, the holocron sitting upon the pedestal before her. “Thank you,” she whispered while gently lifting the holocron and placing it into her side bag.
“You were screaming. You interrupted my sleep,” he replied lamely.
She rolled her eyes at his attempt to cold shoulder her. He was concerned, she could tell. “Sorry.”
He had saved her. She was unsure of what her fate would have been had she taken Sadow's hand. She had made the right choice. She had not allowed herself to be seduced. She didn't know what would have happened if she had made the wrong choice.
“What were you doing,” he asked, now more awake than he had been when he had first called to her.
Her eyes flitted around her surroundings. The tomb was a maze, but as her senses began creeping back to her, she knew she'd be able to retrace her tracks. “You mean you can't see me?”
“No. I can only hear you.”
She nodded to herself. “Well, that's better than nothing I suppose.” Shouldering her side bag, she grabbed the glowrod she had dropped and continued back the way she had come. “It's a muscle, like all others. It needs to be exercised or it can atrophy.”
He laughed, “Did Snoke teach you that?”
“No,” she began while ducking low through the corridor, “Experience.”
There was quiet for a great many minutes. He was still there, but silent nonetheless. She would not press him to speak, and while she wasn't quite sure what to think of him yet— she was comforted by the fact that she wasn't entirely alone in the darkness.
She hummed while scaling the wall above her. “That's an understatement.” She was exhausted, dirty, and wanted nothing more than to find the first full-size refresher she could and take a long hot bath. “Ren.”
“Yes,” he asked absently. She was interrupting him from something, but he had still responded. He was busy, but she was tired and worried that exhaustion would take her before she was able to find a safe place to rest.
“Talk to me?”
“Doesn't matter. I just don't—” Her words trailed off as she crawled through a particularly narrow spot in the stone.
“Want to fall asleep, suffocate, and then die in some dusty old tomb?” There was amusement in his tone, and she supposed she couldn't fault him for it. She had managed to get herself into quite a predicament. “What would you like to talk about?”
“Anything. It doesn't matter. Just don't stop talking.” She needed something to focus her mind, even if it was useless banter. “What's the color of your robes? Are they black?”
He chuckled lightly. “Yes, they are.”
Yalasi shook her head. “No surprise there. I'm starting to think that the dark side isn't very creative when it comes to color choice.”
“Or,” he drawled out slowly, “It's easier to hide the blood when you're wearing black.”
“I suppose. But, there is something compelling with showing yourself to your enemies soaked in their blood.” Slowly she continued up through the tomb. She would not be able to make it the entire way that day. She was tired, and the only thing that kept her moving forward was his voice. However, when she got to the midway point and the makeshift camp she had made on her way down— she slumped down upon the ground.
“Rest,” he said softly. “I'll be here with you.”
Chapter 3: Levity
Ren & Yalasi bond over really bad jokes.
It had been weeks since he had helped her escape the illusion in the festering shithole of a tomb she had found herself in. And while they hadn't spoken since, he could feel her presence in the furthest reaches of his soul. She was content with the silence it seemed. Despite that, every day he felt their bond growing stronger. She was always there of course, but there were times when he could very nearly see her. There were moments when he swore that, out of the corner of his eye, he was able to catch a glimpse of her. It was real, but always fleeting.
“Yalasi,” he asked quietly when he realized that sleep would not come. He was warm— hot even, but he knew better than to think that the heat was coming from his own surroundings. No, she was somewhere hot. Closing his eyes he breathed in deep and the smell of scorched earth and sand filled his senses.
There was silence at first. She was in the middle of something. However, after a few moments, she replied. “Yes Ren?”
“Why can't I see you?” He knew that Snoke had forced his bond with Rey, but he could see her from the very beginning with no effort on his part. He had seen what a Force bond could do, but didn't fully understand why it was so different with Yalasi.
She was taken back by the question, but eventually shock settled into amusement. “And why would you want to see me?”
She hadn't answered the question, and he made a note of it. “I'd like to know who I'm talking to.” It was the truth he supposed, even if he was being oblique. Still— it was much more complicated than that. He wanted to know who she was completely, not just as an abstract. He wanted to look into her eyes and see her for who she truly was.
“You already know who you're talking to. Why are you awake anyway?”
Sitting up in bed, he sighed. “I can't sleep. It's too hot.”
“Ah yes,” she hummed, “That's me. It's very hot here.”
He chuckled, “Are you standing on the surface of a sun?”
Ren's brow raised at her revelation, although he wasn't sure he was surprised at it. Of course she had been drawn to the ancient Sith burial yard. It very much seemed like the kind of thing she would do, and he couldn't help but be fascinated by it all. There she was, an apprentice of his own master, and she had absolutely no interest in meeting him. Who was she that she had a life that was so completely divorced from his own? She had never expressed even a passing interest in the goings-on of the First Order. He wasn't even sure she cared. No, she seemed to be much more interested in diving into ancient burial tombs for relics of forgotten eras. He had to know more about her.
“You're strange. Snoke dismisses you and instead of fighting back you turn into... what? Some sort of space hopping grave robber?”
“I believe the term you're looking for is an archaeologist,” she laughed loudly.
“Are you an archaeologist,” he pressed further. It was possible, he figured, but she didn't seem the type. There was greatness in her, even if he couldn't put his finger on it quite yet.
“Maybe,” she cooed.
It was his turn to laugh then. “No, you're not.” She was as he was. While he didn't know the extent of her power or abilities, she had to have been special to manage to catch Snoke's attention.
“I'm really not.”
“Why Moraband? Snoke is dead, you don't have to hide away on half dead planets.”
She laughed. “You assume that this the only thing I do, and that I do it out of necessity.”
“I'd like to meet,” he began before stopping— his words falling limp and lifeless on his tongue. He wanted to know her, to understand her. But, he hated the neediness he felt about it all.
There was silence again. A cold and barren silence that washed through his mind, pushing away the warmth he had felt until moments ago. He had pushed too far. “Why?”
“I don't want to be alone,” he whispered.
“Why do you think that has anything to do with me?”
Silence fell over them. Ren wasn't sure why she seemed adverse to their meeting. They were two faces on the same coin. Surely they would be stronger together.
“Where are you at this moment?”
“In my chambers,” he replied unsure of her new line of questioning.
“Sit down if you aren't already and focus your mind. The Force is thick here, and I'd like to try something.”
He nodded, more to himself than anyone else. He sat down on the cold floor with his legs folded beneath him. Closing his eyes he let himself fall to stillness. However, where there was stillness there was a marvelous explosion of sound. A rhythmic beating filled his ears, and eventually the sensation of being at motion coursed through him.
Visions and sounds rushed through his mind, but the constant thrumming and beating were always beneath. There was a large bell screaming above, and a gathering crowd all around him. There was blood in their eyes and hearts. A woman stood before him, one hand on her chest and another on the trigger of a blaster. Tears streamed the woman's face as she spun wildly her blaster pointing at the slowly advancing crowd. His eyes rose to the body strung high on the scaffolding above him.
The Force pulsed through him, pushing at his very being. It was then that another sight filled his mind, this one of a man standing at a pulpit— his face full of rage and fury as he addressed the crowd that sat on long unfinished wooden benches. He beat his fist against the pulpit, spit flying out of his mouth as he sermonized to the crowd. Light poured into the room from a small window, bathing the man in its fiery rays. And still, the beating continued as he was rushed toward a new scene.
His stomach churned at the sensation of being pushed and pulled at the same time. He wasn't sure exactly what he was seeing, but each vision left him with the distinct feeling that it was important. They were visceral, and he could feel the Force pulse through them. He wondered idly if they were shades from the past, or perhaps a possible future. The Force flowed both through the past and the future. Still, he felt drawn forward. The beating in his ears grew louder, and he found himself compelled to beat in time with it. Breathing in deeply and slowly, he noticed after a time that his heartbeat slowed and the visions grew vague and distant, like passing stars.
Warmth covered his body, and beneath his closed eyes he saw the glow of sunlight. Slowly he opened his eyes and saw the vague outline of a figure sitting before him, fist beating against the ground in unison with him. As his eyes adjusted to the stillness around him, he took in the sight of the figure. It was a woman, dusty and dirty. She wore garments that he often associated with scavs— sandy and muted colors with fabrics that were lightweight enough to resist the heat, but thick enough to protect against the wind and sand. Upon her face was a mask, unlike any he had ever seen before. It was white with gold embellishments and was round and smooth unlike his own.
She stared across at him as her fist stilled. Her eyes bore into him and for a great long while neither of them said anything at all. “Kylo Ren,” she said, her voice modulated.
“Yalasi,” he replied. Well, they had gotten that out of the way. “Take off your mask?”
“I cannot. The air here is not that great. I'm afraid this will have to do in the meanwhile.”
He nodded. After all, what else would one expect from a half-dead planet full of ancient sith lords? Silence fell over the two, and while it didn't make him feel awkward, he couldn't help but feel as if she was studying him.
“What do you call a female Mandalorian,” she asked suddenly.
Kylo's eyes narrowed upon her. He didn't understand the question. “A Mandalorian,” he replied dryly.
“No. A womandalorian.” Yalasi remained quiet for a beat before bursting out into laughter.
“Awful,” he murmured. “Terrible joke.” However, her amusement was infectious and he felt a smile creep at the corners of his lips.
“I know,” she wheezed. “I heard that one the other day.”
“From a child I hope.” He leaned back on his hands while shaking his head. When he first thought about meeting Snoke's long-lost apprentice she was definitely not what he had imagined. She was unexpectedly jubilant and carefree. He wondered idly if it was all just an act, a way to soothe tension and allow him to drop his guard. “How do you unlock doors on Kashyyyk?”
She hummed for a moment before shrugging. “With a key?”
“Not just any key.” He paused. “A woo-key,” he deadpanned. It was a poor joke, but when she laughed out loud he felt happy that it hadn't fallen flat.
Yalasi stretched her legs out in front of her. “I'll have to remember that one.”
She was surprisingly jovial, a trait that contrasted his own propensity for seriousness. It was a nice balm to the anger that at any given moment he felt threatening to engulf him. With her before him he felt his tension begin to fall away. “You're not what I expected.”
“I rarely am.”
“Why did Snoke choose you,” he asked, curious to learn more about her. Had she been seduced? Drawn to their master across a vast distance?
“Why is it you assume that I was not the one who chose him?”
It was a fair question he supposed. But, he couldn't see that happening. He couldn't see Snoke giving her a choice. Or rather, a choice that wasn't so alluring that she couldn't do anything but choose it. “How did you meet?”
“It's a very long tale,” she warned, “And one for another day I suspect.” Her attention turned from him and was caught by something he couldn't see. She rose to her feet, drawing a blaster from her hip.
“Be safe Yalasi,” he said, knowing that she would soon vanish.
“And you as well Kylo Ren,” she replied before disappearing.
Chapter 4: Leviathan
Hux explains who/what Yala is.
Armitage walked the bridge, arms folded behind him and hands clasped together. Cold blue eyes fell to the officers and technicians in their alcoves below him. They were a finely oiled machine, despite the number of setbacks they had endured since Snoke's death. He worried, privately of course, that both sides were hurtling toward a stalemate. He knew that such a thing was the worst possible outcome for them when their side had a half-mad child who threw tantrums whenever something didn't go his way. There was blame enough to go around, but a large portion of that laid at the feet of Kylo Ren. At least, after all, his Starkiller weapon had worked. Before Ren's mad obsession with Skywalker and the girl, they had been very close to exterminating the Resistance entirely. Gritting his jaw, Armitage pushed the thoughts from his mind as Ren stepped onto the bridge. He studied Ren for a moment, before continuing his pacing around the elevated walkway.
“Yalasi, who is she,” Ren asked while approaching.
He stopped his pacing as silence fell across those on the bridge. It was a name he often thought of, but one that hadn't been spoken in the First Order for nearly six years. “Yalasi?”
Armitage wasn't sure how Ren had managed to discover her existence. Snoke had ordered every mention of her sponged from their records in anticipation of his new apprentice. However, there were many that had been in the First Order from the very beginning and who still remembered Snoke's first apprentice.
“The other apprentice,” Ren replied with barely contained rage.
“I don't,” his words trailed off when he realized he could no longer speak. His eyes grew wide as he felt himself lift into the air and rushed toward their new Supreme Leader. An invisible hand clenched around his throat, blocking air from entering or exiting his lungs.
“I know she exists, and you will tell me everything you know.”
Armitage fell to the ground and quickly rose back up, refusing to show weakness to the quiet eyes of the others on the bridge. “Yalasi was Snoke's first apprentice, she left the First Order upon your arrival,” he managed despite the pain that speaking caused.
“How long,” Ren began before stopping suddenly. He was upset, betrayed, and Armitage couldn't help but drink in the sight of it.
He still remembered her arrival. She was just a girl, the same age as he, but even then he could tell that she was someone special. She wore elegant raiments bedecked with jewels and long embroidered panels of fabric that detailed the long history of her ancient Kuati family. She had been a pretty package wrapped up and on display for all to see. However, she hadn't been alone. Her family had sent thirty bulk freighters of materials and enough engineers to build an entirely new drive yard devoted solely to seeing Snoke's vision realized.
Ren's bottom lip quivered, and Armitage knew that he was on the verge of possibly getting very upset. Motioning to the turbo lift doors, Armitage stepped inside and waited for Ren to join him. He wasn't comfortable with being alone in such small quarters with his new Supreme Leader, but he was even less comfortable with the widespread damage he tended to do when angered.
“Why did no one feel it necessary to inform me of her existence? Why did I have to learn of her on my own?”
He remained silent until the doors shut firmly behind them. “It was the Leader Snoke's decree.”
Her dismissal had marked the beginning of a very difficult period for many of them, but none more than himself. While it hadn't been much of a secret that he loved her and dreamt of making her his wife— her dismissal had turned his entire world upside down. He had grown up and trained with her beside him. They had been groomed to be the two arms of the Order. He the hand of Snoke's military might, and she the hand of his mystical might.
Barely contained rage flickered across Ren's features, although he couldn't tell whether the rage was at her existence being hidden from him or her being sent away. “Tell me about her.”
“We called her Leviathan. She served with a singular focus. When sent on a task she would not return until she had completed it.” He grew quiet as his mind shifted to the woman he had known for so many years. She was a fearsome, and monstrous creature. However, there was beauty and grace in how she wielded her power. They had worked together in near perfect unison— their abilities and minds complimenting each other entirely. She had created terrible beasts that were the marriage of her alchemy and his technological mind. Together, they had been the ones that conquered the Unknown Regions. And he had no doubt that together they would have conquered the entire galaxy if Snoke hadn't removed her from his side.
When his eyes drew from the closed doors to the man beside him, he saw that Ren was staring directly at him. Armitage blinked and a moment later he felt his mind invaded brutally.
“Show me more.” Ren's fingers twisted deep into his mind— unraveling his hidden memories of her.
“We have a live feed General.” The video screen before him flickered and illuminated blue. It was still for a moment, and he glanced toward the technician nearest him. “Compensating for rainfall. Boosting audio and picture.” Turning back to the video screen he watched as the centermost battlefield came into view. Dead bodies and destroyed droids laid spread across the muddy field.
His eyes surveyed the scene before him. Yalasi had been sent in with a small group of Stormtroopers. Most of them were dead, but comm chatter from the other side stated that she was still alive. She was nowhere to be seen. Or rather, not until she quite literally exploded into view of the cam with a rumbling boom. An explosion he thought. She let out a loud gasp as she fell onto her back. The rain poured down upon her face. He remained silent, his eyes fixed upon the screen and to the man that began to creep toward her with a blaster in his hands.
His heart beat quickly as silence filled the room. However, when the man finally stood above her, Yalasi pulled out two blades— the ones he had given her and dug them into the man's leg. The man fell to the ground crying out in pain. She pulled herself upon him, her legs unmoving and likely broken he realized. Plunging the blades into his face over and over again, she let out a feral scream of anger as his blood sprayed across her features.
With blades in her hands, she drug herself to the center of the battlefield, propping herself up against a large boulder. With back against the stone, she opened her arms wide. Mad laughter poured from her mouth at the approaching horde of enemies, all with blasters trained upon her. No one was shooting, and he wondered if they had been given the fools errand of attempting to capture her alive. Blood dripped down her face as she turned her frenzy outward and began screaming. A single shot from a blaster burst through the air and into the boulder. It had just missed her by inches.
A wild grin carved its way across her face, and as the blood on her face continued to mix with the rain it began to stain her teeth bright red. “Don't you know who I am?”
The ground beneath Yalasi and her would be captors began to rumble as the realization of just exactly who she was finally appeared to hit him. She had been the one that had slaughtered countless scores of their friends and family. She was the one that didn't need a lightsaber to fight. She was the beast maker, the mother of monsters.
“Don't you know who I am,” she repeated.
The men and women who had, until just moments ago, been advancing upon her suddenly stopped. They were considering their odds, but he knew it was already too late. The rumbling, obvious even from his viewscreen, grew stronger.
“ETA 2 minutes General.”
“No. Pull them back.”
“I am the Leviathan,” she screamed as the ground burst open in front of her and four large crawling beasts emerged. The beasts, with rows and rows of sharp teeth and long pointed spikes, had been ones he hadn't seen before. They were monstrous in form, but he knew the science behind them was elegant. Beautiful even. The beasts leapt into the crowd, and for a few moments there was a loud cacophony of blaster shots... and then nothing. Just the sound of silence.
The beasts turned, regarding the woman that had created them. The Admiral beside him gasped as one of the beasts lowered itself to her. Yalasi reached out and gently caressed it as it chirped at her. And then, as quickly as the moment had begun it ended. The beasts let out an acknowledging roar before diving back down into the hole they had emerged from.
“You admire her.” Ren released the grip on his mind. His interest was now thoroughly peaked.
Holding his head, a shudder of pain rippled through his body. He hated that Ren did that to him. “I admire tenacity and cunning.”
There was a long silence. “Where is she now?”
Hux shook his head. “No one knows. Until this moment it was forbidden to even say her name, let alone keep her tracked.” He had his suspicions, of course, but no concrete facts.
“Find her. I don't care what it takes. Return her to the First Order.”
Armitage nodded and stepped forward. The door opened, and he returned to his position upon the bridge. While he was excited about the prospect of seeing her again he knew that she was likely to be unhappy with being tracked down.
Chapter 5: Return
Yalasi smiled as the hologram flickered to life once more. It, like the one she had received four days earlier, was from Armitage. However, unlike the previous one, it was not an official communication. He was out of his uniform and instead was wearing the ridiculous black robe she had once tried to throw away. He had adopted a much more casual pose, and she thought that he looked healthy. A little thinner and more tired around the eyes. She supposed that was to be expected though. The Order was at war, and the Resistance had dug themselves into their secret bases like a tick. She remembered vividly the toll that such a thing could put on a person.
“Yala,” the holo began. “I have no doubt that at least one of these has reached you.”
She rolled her eyes as the child sitting in her lap shifted to watch the holo with her. Yala had received word that he had sent holos to every single one of her residences and holdings. It was sweet that he remembered, but absolutely insufferable at the same time. She was no longer a slave to the Order and she didn't particularly appreciate being tracked down like one.
“Kylo Ren has ordered us to locate you. He wants to...” He paused, his eyes lifting to her. Or rather, her perceived location in relation to him. “I won't sugarcoat it. He either wants to invite you back or try to kill you.”
She had to admit that was exactly what she would have done were their situations reversed. There was no way that she would allow Ren to continue to draw breath. To do so would mean that she would have to continuously look over her shoulder, and be prepared for the moment when he would attempt to kill her. That was no way to live.
Hux sat down on the edge of his bed, his head falling to his hands. “I don't know. None of us has been given orders to do anything other than bring you back.”
Armitage lifted his head and looked at her once more. “But nevertheless we have been given orders. I am to send stormtroopers to every location that has received one of these. They will begin to arrive two days after this recording.” He sighed heavily, looking instantly more tired than he had before.
“Yala, I know that you will want to fight. But, please...” His words trailed off with the arrival of the faintest glimpse of a smile. “I haven't forgotten our time together or what it meant to the both of us. You still have many friends within the Order, you'll be protected.” He paused for a moment almost as if he wanted to say more. He didn't and instead, the hologram ended and flickered away.
After a moment of silence, she turned her attention to her child. “What do you think Seyah?” Her fingers gently caressed her short brown curls, delicately reforming them into perfect little ringlets.
“He likes you,” she said in a small voice. “I think... you should go. Just to see.”
Yalasi placed her cheek on her daughter's head. “I think so too.” She wanted to at least see with her own eyes the state of the organization she had grown up in. And, if she was correct in understanding Armitage's meaning there would be an escape route for her if she needed it. “Will you miss me?”
Seyah nodded while laying her head back against her chest. “I will be very sad if you don't come back.”
She smiled at the remark. “I know baby.” Her daughter, like herself, was Force-sensitive and for the past five years she had guided her along the path. She had no doubt that she'd be very upset if she died at Ren's hands. But, she would not seek vengeance. She was, after all, not her mother. Yalasi had seen to that.
“Will you miss me,” Seyah asked.
Kissing the top of her head, she nodded. “I will my love.”
Much had happened in the years since she had left the Order. Before she had never needed a reason to fight, but now she had one. If Ren tried to put her down, she'd do everything in her power to make it back to her daughter's side.
“I know baby. I want you to go to Criser, and no matter what happens I want you to know that I love you.”
Seyah nodded before climbing out of her lap. “I love you too mommy,” she said while giving her a big hug.
She repeated the gesture before allowing her daughter to run off to find her telbun. Sighing heavily, she lifted herself up from the floor and began getting ready. It had been many years since she had last worn her battle armor, but she found that it still fit perfectly. A wayward glance was given to her reflection in a mirror nearby. There was no fear in her, nor any doubt. She would see Kylo Ren, and decide whether or not he was something she needed to deal with.
Attaching her lightsabers and mask to her belt, she made her way downstairs and outside. Her eyes followed the incoming shuttle, waiting patiently as it drew closer. When finally the shuttle landed and the door opened, she watched as four stormtroopers slowly filed out with their blasters in hand. Behind them was Captain Phasma, armed and ready should she attempt to fight.
“Leviathan. We have orders to bring you back to the Finalizer,” Phasma said.
Her eyes drew to the other stormtroopers with a smile. “Yes, of course. I come willingly.” Walking onto the shuttle, she took a seat and waited for the others to pile back in. The four stormtroopers in white were relieved that she had come without a struggle. Yalasi sat in the middle with one stormtrooper to each side of her. Phasma sat in front of her, flanked by two as well.
There was quiet for a great long while during the trip. At least, until she grew so bored of her own thoughts that she turned her attention to the two beside her. “What are your names?”
“BK-2163, Sir,” the one to her left said.
“BK-3468, Sir,” the one to her right followed quickly.
“Oh, you're both in the same squad.”
The stormtroopers nodded but didn't respond. “So, BK-3468... Whose the better sabacc player? You or 2163?”
“I am,” he replied to the disapproving grunt of the other. “2163 cheats.”
She laughed brightly. “Everyone whose any good cheats at sabacc.”
“Exactly,” 2163 exclaimed, causing Phasma to look up and to the three of them. 2163 cleared his throat and looked back down to the shuttle floor.
Leaning to 2163, Yalasi whispered at him. “Don't worry. I cheat too.”
It was then that a stray thought caught her attention. It was just a quick flicker of a memory that appeared in the front of Phasma's mind before being pushed away just as quick. Yalasi grit her teeth and balled her hands into fists. Rage coursed through her as she wrapped herself in the Force. She lunged forward onto the other woman, her fists pounding against the shiny armor she wore. Ordinarily, she would not begrudge a person doing whatever they had to do in order to survive, but Armitage had worked himself to near death over the Starkiller base.
“Get her off,” Phasma yelled while trying to push her away.
2163 and 3468 jumped up and pulled her away. However, when Phasma stood up her mind clouded with confusion, Yalasi jolted forward once again and in a moment of pure fury, she slammed her head against Phasma's helmet. She felt her skin split open as the other two stormtroopers disarmed her and placed a pair of cuffs onto her.
“Get the med kit,” Phasma said while pointing to the back of the shuttle.
“I will rip this shuttle apart if any of you touch me,” she spat. Immediately those that were holding her back released her. Her head spun and was clouded with pain, but she would not have them touch her. “Good,” she murmured to herself before sitting back down again in silence.
Her mind raced, despite her outwardly calm appearance. Why hadn't Phasma been taken care of? Why had the Order allowed her to remain in their ranks? Had they all fallen so low as to allow a traitor to draw breath still?
Chapter 6: Reunited
It had been a long five years without her in the Order. While all of them had managed, he heard the whispers over hot cups of caf in the officer's canteen. They wondered whether Kylo Ren could lead them to victory. Ren was raw, and had not been tempered by the flame of war as Yalasi had been. It was not a fair comparison as she was not only older but had been in the Order long enough to prove her worth to each of them. He supposed that was the root of it. All of them had been with her from the very beginning, or just about. It was difficult to learn to work with someone new. Especially if that someone was Kylo Ren. Yalasi had a temper like their new Supreme Leader, but it was always harnessed and faced outward. He wasn't quite sure if it was nostalgia tinting his memories, but he didn't remember nearly as many broken panels or scorched electronics.
Armitage watched with practiced and measured calmness as the shuttle doors opened. They had received words of an injury, and the medbay had been put on alert. She had put up a fight as he had expected her to, but there had been no reports of any dead. She had managed to restrain herself. It was only a few moments before stormtroopers began to file out with Yalasi between them in a pair of stun cuffs. Beside her was Captain Phasma with a cracked helmet, clenching Yala's lightsabers and mask in her hands.
Yalasi walked toward him with a swagger and a large grin upon her face. She was wearing her battle armor, as was befitting her return to the Order. The battle armor was a thing to behold. It was a mixture of form and function. Glistaweb to deflect blaster fire to her most vital parts, and zeyd cloth to cover the remaining. Black pleated leather and glistaweb covered the lower half of her torso, hiding the plastoid he knew was beneath. Plastoid wrapped in the same blaster deflecting fabric on the rest of her, protected her neck and throat while her head and hair was hidden beneath intricately folded zeyd cloth that draped down her shoulders.
When finally she grew closer he noticed that a large trickle of blood was dripping down her forehead— an angry red stream set against her sandy colored skin. Ren had given him orders that under no circumstance was she to be harmed and yet there she was, bleeding.
“What happened? You were told not to harm her.”
Phasma handed over the items while shaking her head. “She reacted violently while on the shuttle ride back. She injured herself.”
“Did you threaten her?”
“No, General. One moment she was talking to BK-2163 and BK-3468 and then the next she was lunging at me. She has refused medical treatment.”
“Noted.” He nodded his dismissal of the Captain, his attention turning to the woman who now stood before him. The woman he thought that he'd never see again, but also hoped that he would. However, she was not looking at him. Her attention was instead focused solely upon the woman walking away.
“Tick tock Captain, tick tock.” Amusement shone on Yala's face when she finally turned back to him. “Watch that one Armitage, she's been up to all sorts of no good.”
“As have you it seems.” His voice lowered as he stepped closer to her and fixed her mask back upon her face. “Cuffs, really Yala?”
She shrugged. Her mannerisms were flippant and unconcerned, but he had known her for too long to believe that she wasn't taking her situation very seriously. “I assume I'm to meet the new Supreme Leader now,” she asked, her voice modulated through the mask. “Perhaps a little light torture.”
“Interrogation,” he gently corrected. After all, they weren't savages. “I'm to take you there now.” Taking off his glove he pressed his thumb against the small sensor on the side of her cuffs, causing them to open. He pulled off the cuffs, his bare fingertips brushing against her leather she wore on her own. He wondered if she had missed him as well. If she lamented the years that had passed.
“Very well.” She bowed her head and motioned for him to walk. “Lead the way.”
He began to walk, leading her through the ship. She followed dutifully even though she knew the Finalizer just as well as he did. Stormtroopers and officers alike stood at attention as they passed. He was General and such an act was due to him because of rank, but he knew it was her that they were paying respect to. Straightening his back and holding his head high, he dropped his step to allow her to fall in line with him. Shoulder to shoulder, he now walked with her— a subtle signal to those that were watching that the two hands of the Order were back. Crowds lined the halls as they progressed through the ship. It seemed, he mused to himself, that word had gotten around quickly of her arrival.
It had been many years since she had left, but there were a great number that still admired her and were fiercely loyal to her. He was acutely aware that his setbacks and errors had caused many of the senior staff to wonder whether or not he was worthy of his position. Of course, none of them would dare vocalize their disapproval, but he saw the little eye rolls and glances they gave one another when they thought he wasn't watching. Yalasi held no real rank within the Order but he knew that there were those that would follow her order over his, and definitely over Ren's. He knew better than not to use that to his advantage. She would resolidify and relegitimize his standing within the Order once again.
His mind rumbled with excitement, despite the fact that he was guiding her toward her torture. There were a great number of things they needed to speak about, and he had so very many questions to ask her. He wondered what she had been up to over the years. She had occupied his thoughts, and especially so in the most recent months. He had thought about her at the firing of the Starkiller, and again at its destruction. He had thought about her when Ren's madness poured out and blinded his actions. And above all else, he wondered constantly whether she ever thought about him.
“All topics to be discussed later,” she whispered.
The faintest of smiles crept upon his face. She had been looking into his thoughts. It was in her nature to do such things. It had been startling at first, but he had grown used to it— and had eventually learned how to hide his thoughts. He had no doubt that she could force his secrets from him as Ren did, but she never did. It was a sign of mutual trust he supposed. He kept few secrets from her, and she didn't violently assault his thoughts or use the Force against him.
“Are my quarters still available,” she asked as they entered the hallway that lead toward the interrogation room.
Armitage nodded. “Everyone who tried to move into them complained of splitting headaches.”
The rooms she had taken over as her own were, for a time, highly sought after. They were larger than most command quarters and were far more comfortable. However, only the most stubborn were able to stay more than just a few hours in them and even then a single nights stay meant that a trip to the medbay was in order.
He wasn't quite sure what she had done to the quarters to make so many people ill, but he had ordered them off limits to everyone as a result. It had been an easy order to give, but it also had been his little way of defying Snoke. Snoke wanted to erase Yalasi from their thoughts and memories, and yet her quarters remained unfilled and exactly how she had left them.
“Good. That's my room.” She sounded like a petulant child, and he couldn't help but chuckle at her reaction.
“You're planning on staying then?”
“That depends on a great many things Armitage.”
And he supposed that it did. Greatest of which was whether or not Ren would allow her to stay at all. “Yes well, we're here.”
The doors opened and he guided her in. Ren was already waiting for them. His face was emotionless, but Ren's eyes betrayed him as they always did. He was practically giddy at Yalasi's arrival. With arms folded behind him, Hux stepped aside and nodded to Yalasi to step forward.
Chapter 7: Questions
Kylo Ren was silent when she entered the interrogation room. He could not sense her, nor could he feel her— and what was more, despite her appearance, she seemed completely ordinary. It was as if he were to look away he could forget her entirely. He didn't understand why she was doing such a thing to herself. They had spoken before across vast distances. He had been allowed into her mind. He had seen her, and yet she was now actively blocking him from seeing the Force within her. “You've voided yourself. Why?”
“Why should I give you what you want? I told you it was not necessary for us to meet, and yet you decided otherwise with no input from myself. You tracked me down thinking that I could be brought to heel.” She spoke with scorn, the mask that distorted her words only amplified the bitter coldness of her words.
He was taken aback by her bluntness and his lack of anger at it. Never before had anyone spoken to him in such a way, and while he could not see her— he knew there was a fire inside of her and he couldn't wait to see it unleashed.
Ren watched as she stepped into the interrogation chair and allowed it to clasp tightly around her. “Do you know how this works,” he asked his voice flat while he began to adjust the settings on the chair. She was Force-sensitive and he knew that had to be adjusted for. The normal levels of pain would not work on her.
“I do.” Her response caused a flicker of irritation to flit across his features.
With the settings programmed, he reached up to remove her mask. He wanted to see her face when he unraveled her secrets. He wanted to see her with his own eyes when she opened herself to him. The machine would tell him if she was lying or telling the truth, but he wanted to claw through her mind on his own.
A small and involuntary gasp fell from his mouth when her face was revealed to him. She was younger than he had anticipated. He hadn't expected one so young, let alone so pleasing to gaze upon. Her dual colored eyes, one green and one brown, lifted to him. Crooking his head to the side, his gaze drew up along the line of blood that had dried on her deep tawny skin. “You're injured.”
“She headbutted Captain Phasma,” Hux clarified quickly. The General had been given orders not to injure her while retrieving her, and Hux knew the punishment that was due for disobeying his orders.
He grinned. She was a wild one to have headbutted a woman wearing a chromium helmet. Although, he was curious as to why she would even do such a thing. He would have to ask later. “Let's begin.” His heart beat rapidly with glee at the interrogation. He didn't want to hurt her too badly, but they both were playing the role expected of them. He was Supreme Leader, and she a possible enemy. He would not show weakness, and she would not give in easily.
Steeling himself, he watched as the interrogation chair began to light up. It was working, but if it was causing her pain she was not showing it. He wondered what her breaking point would be. “They call you Leviathan.” He circled her as Hux stood silently near the door, staring directly at her.
“Yes.” Her eyes followed him, twinkling with amusement.
“Why?” He knew the stories of the leviathans of old. They were terrible, brutal sithspawns that fed on the life energy and knowledge of their prey. More than that, they were known to be insidious. They could hibernate for millennia while waiting for a food source to present itself. There were planets that were still untouched because of rumors that they held leviathans.
She was an alchemist, and likely a sorceress— but she was no leviathan. The title must have been a sort of self-aggrandizement. It had to be. He refused to believe that Snoke would be foolish enough to push a leviathan from his side.
“I'm very good at what I do.”
He nodded. “I have seen. Hux admires you for your skill.” He thought that perhaps Hux did more than admire her, but that little secret he would keep hidden for now. “How old were you when you became Snoke's apprentice?”
She fell silent for a few moments. She was thinking and ignoring the pain altogether. “Ten.”
He stilled, his eyes flickering to Hux who nodded in confirmation. Ren straightened himself as his mind raced. She had become Snoke's apprentice much younger than he had. Doing the math he made note of her age. She was older than he was, although not by much. “And how did he contact you?”
She laughed at the question. “I don't really remember. It was some time ago. I believe it was some sort of official communication to my parents. But, I could feel his presence in the months before the arrival of the communique.”
“What was the extent of your duties as an apprentice?” He wondered, as he heard her exhale sharply, what Snoke had taught her. Was she the template for his own lessons?
“My official duty was to work with General Hux to bring the Unknown Regions beneath the heel of the Order.”
“And your unofficial duties?” His curiosity was peaked as the machine hummed louder. He stopped in front of her, his eyes pressed firmly upon her. Sweat was beginning to form on her brow, and her eyes were unfocused. The machine was now pushing past its safety limits, and he knew from experience that it was very unlikely that there was a part of her that wasn't currently coursing with pain. “Hux, bring me a towel from the refresher.” She was a thing of extraordinary skill and while he would not stop the pain— he would not debase her entirely. Her sweat was meant for the battlefield, not for the chair.
Her jaw tensed and the amusement faded from her face. “I worked with General Hux to create a plan of action that ensured that the people we conquered would continue to kneel even without our presence.”
“How did you do that? Were you successful?” He wasn't sure that he believed such a thing was even possible. He knew that the presence of the First Order was still felt in the Unknown Regions, but surely whatever gains she had made must have been lost.
“It's simple really. We showed them that their individualism was getting them nowhere. They weren't truly self-reliant, nor were they actually free. They were sick and starving. Once they came to see the truth of their situation, Hux and I proved to them that they could flourish. But, only under the banner of the First Order. They came to realize that the order and structure we provided, wasn't a bad thing.” Her eyes darted to Hux when he returned. “I believe we were successful. Influencing opinions, and behaviors isn't particularly difficult. We do it to our children, and friends every single day.”
Ren hummed. He thought about the values and beliefs that his own parents had instilled in him and how incredibly difficult it was to break from them. But, he could see how a person that was already broken by hunger and disease would aggrandize a system that freed them from that. When Hux returned with a black towel he gently wiped away the sweat and dried blood from her brow. “And those that didn't follow? I assume you killed them.”
“Yes. Of course.”
“How many did you kill? Hundreds?”
He felt her mind give a little to him, but he wasn't quite sure whether it was the pain or if she was simply bored and giving him what he wanted. “What did you feel when you did it? When you killed all those people?”
“Nothing. A crime that I think the Resistance would say was more heinous than the act itself.”
He was silent, his eyes studying her carefully. Her pupils were dilated, but her gaze was not focused on him. Instead, she looked through him. He thought that it was as if she wasn't fully present in the room at all.
“I learned something out there in the wilderness of space,” she began with a voice that was further away than it had ever been. “Men will eventually stop fearing battles, but they'll never stop fearing monsters. I found that by brutally massacring one village I could save nine more. Our master told me something, would you like to know what it was?”
He nodded, enraptured by her words. “Yes.”
“The galaxy doesn't need another hero, it has plenty of those. What it needs, and especially now I think, is a monster. Because only monsters can get shit done.”
“And you're a monster then? The great Leviathan,” he said with more amusement than he had anticipated.
She stared up at him, a grin hanging upon her lips. “Mmhm. I didn't give myself that title. Just as you didn't give yourself the title Jedi Killer.”
“Then show me,” he whispered as he found himself drawn closer to her. “Show me what makes you a monster.” He had seen the creatures she had spawned but wanted to see more.
Her grin grew wider as she opened the floodgates to him and pulled him into her mind. On the surface was unbridled pain, but beneath it was clarity. His mind filled with images of the terrible monsters she had created. Beasts that she had made with pure science, and then twisted with sith alchemy. He watched in awe as her beasts mercilessly clawed and bit their way through legions of terrified and screaming bodies.
He saw the sicknesses she had created and unleashed on villages that had refused to bend the knee before the Order. He saw the villages that were spared, and how eventually they came to exalt the First Order— seeing them as saviors against the very beasts and illnesses she had spread herself.
Ren understood that when she spoke of monsters that she meant both the beasts she had created and herself. She did what had to be done, without fear or regret. That, he believed, was what she meant. It was monsters, not heroes, that did what was necessary no matter the cost.
When the images faded from his mind he took a step back, his lips quivering in a mixture of desire and terror. She was a powerful creature, and one far too good to be tied down before him. He had made the right choice, he thought. It was good that he had brought her back. She was exactly what he needed.
Hux cleared his throat and brought his attention back to the room they stood in. Turning off the machine, he unclasped her bindings. “Join me. We can rule the galaxy together.”
With the pain gone, her eyes cleared and her attention fixed back upon him. She lifted a hand and began to rub at her arm. He wondered if perhaps he had hurt her too badly. “I don't want to rule anything. It wouldn't suit me.”
He took another step back, and for the first time, he was able to see her fully. With the void gone, he could feel the Force as it swirled into her. He had felt the Force before in those who were sensitive to it. But, unlike those before her, the Force didn't flow through her and out. Instead, it was sucked into her like a giant black hole. She was a curious woman, and for the first time in years, he felt as if finally he found the key he had been looking for. There was much to learn from her. With her, by his side, he could finally find that which he had desperately sought.
“Hux. Leave us,” he said to the man who was now radiating discomfort. Hux cared for her, but he wondered if she knew. He could see the Force as it was sucked into her. He could see the power she exuded, but he could not see her mind or her thoughts— and that made a delightful puzzle for him to solve.
When the door from the room opened and finally shut again, Ren turned his attention back to the woman before him. “You're powerful. That's easy to see. Why did Snoke turn you away?”
“I don't want to talk about Snoke. He is dead, so let his memory die.”
“Very well then. Why didn't you come back after he died?”
She laughed, placing her mask back on her face. “Would you? It's dangerous for me here. I know my life is entirely in your hands. You could kill me, and nobody here would bat an eye.”
She nodded. “Yes, but I'm no fool. I know he wouldn't stop it from happening.”
No, he didn't think Hux would either. He would undoubtedly seek revenge for it, but he would not jeopardize everything he had worked toward for her— even though he had grown up with her and very possibly loved her. “No, I suppose not.”
“So, you see... you hold all the cards here. You wonder why I didn't return? Well, I figured if you were anything like me... you'd kill me on the spot.”
He chuckled, crossing his arms over his chest. “And that's what you would do if our positions were switched?”
“In half a heartbeat. You would be a threat to the legitimacy of my rule.”
Kylo Ren rubbed at his cheek absently. He didn't understand her at all. Did she want him to take up arms against her? “It seems like you're working awfully hard to convince me that keeping you alive is a bad idea.”
She shook her head. “No. You shouldn't kill me. It's not in your best interest to do so. Yes, it'd be easy. But, it wouldn't be wise.”
“Oh? And why exactly?”
“I stood by Snoke's side for eighteen years, and I'm guessing that he taught me a great number of things he didn't teach you. Sure you could kill me, but you'd always wonder about the power you could have had.”
“You're right,” he replied in a whisper. “Teach me. Show me everything Snoke kept from me.”
He wanted to know more, to be more. He wanted to cut away the last remaining tendrils of the light within him. He wanted to finish what had been started so that he could become that which had been promised to him. He wanted to be just as his grandfather had been.
It was late that evening when his door chimed, breaking the comfortable silence of his chambers. Frustration bubbled within him at being disturbed at such an hour. A wayward glance was given to the datapad on the nightstand beside him. He wondered if whoever it was would simply go away if he ignored them. That thought, however, fell away when his door chimed again. A frown crossed his features as he picked up the datapad and accessed his door's external cam.
Yalasi stared into the cam, a smile on her face. “Knock, knock.”
Instantly the irritation he felt faded away and with another press of a button he turned on the door's external speakers. “Go to bed.”
She shook her head. “Let me in.” She pressed the button on his door again, causing yet another chime to ring through the air. “Your will against mine.” Another chime. “Let's see who wins.” And another.
He laughed softly to himself and unlocked the door to allow her to enter. “That's a terrible game Yala. Nobody likes playing it,” he called out from his bedroom while locking the door behind her and turning off the speakers.
“Shut up. Everyone likes it.”
Getting out of bed, he pulled his pants back on and as he turned to join her in his sitting area he saw her standing in the doorway of his bedroom. He smiled at the sight of her draped in a golden dressing gown with a long train. The silk hung close to her body in a way that was absolutely delicious. Her hair was uncovered and hung freely to her waist in large brown curls. She was a sight for sore eyes. “No, my dear, only you like it.”
A smile graced her lips as she stepped into his already opened arms and buried her head against his bare chest. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he replied. It felt good to hold her in his arms again, and as her warmth seeped into his body it felt almost like no time had passed at all. Hux snaked his arms around her and leaned down to rest his cheek on the top of her head. “I missed you.”
He had worried constantly in those early days. Her departure had been extremely sudden, and the next day there had literally been a new person in her place. While Snoke had told him that she had been released from service, he had no way of knowing whether that release had meant death. At least, not until they had left the Unknown Regions. It was only then that he discovered that the heiress of House Andrim was quite alive and well. She had even had a daughter. The Kuati news holos at the time had spoke of her time spent away, but only in the vaguest of terms. He hadn't attempted to pry any further than that. Instead, he found comfort in knowing that she was alive and seemed happy.
“You're thinking too much,” she whispered while pushing him down onto the bed and straddling his lap.
Armitage grinned when he fell from his thoughts, his attention redirected to her now parted robe and the nothingness she wore beneath it. However, his grin faded when he noticed the smoothness of her skin. It wasn't right, and while he was unsure of the charms behind it, she wasn't wearing the skin he had grown to know and love.
“Stop,” he pleaded. “I want to see all of you.” But, as the words tumbled from his mouth, he wondered if he had asked for too much. If she had hidden the scars then that had been her right— he loved her body and her skin but he did not own it.
“Shh,” she cooed, as slowly the long blooming scars that stretched out across her skin like lightning were revealed. The scars covered nearly her entire body, thin in some areas and thicker in others. “I only thought to cover what...”
He interrupted her, “No. It's okay.” She did not need to explain. It was her body, and she could do whatever she liked with it. He only worried that she thought he found the scars unattractive. He made a note to show her how very wrong she was. “Well now, let's see what we have here. All wrapped up for me like a little present,” he murmured.
Hux lifted his hands and began to untie the piece of silk at her waist. Drawing open the robe, he grinned. His thumbs brushed lightly over the sensitive flesh on her breasts, and he watched in awe as her nipples began to harden at his touch. Leaning in he ran his tongue across one of her hardened nipples while lightly rubbing and pinching at the other. She ran her fingers through his hair, arching her back slightly. Her body shuttered at his touch, and her moans began to fill the air.
“Don't stop,” she whispered.
Arousal rumbled in his throat at her encouragement. He brushed the robe from her shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Pulling his mouth from her breasts, he placed a kiss upon her heart before making the journey to her lips. Her fingertips brushed the back of his neck as their lips pressed against one another. His fingers ghosted over her hips before gripping and gently laying her back against the bed. He slid his body between her thighs and deepened their kiss while enjoying the taste of her mouth.
Desire coursed through his body as his hands began to ferociously grip and paw at her skin. It had been far too long since he had last touched her, and there had been no others since her. Unlike many of the other officers below him, he hadn't deigned to take a lover from the lower ranks. After all, how could he? She was a goddess who had opened herself to him, and now no other woman would ever do.
His hands drew up her sides, his fingers trailing the long lines of scars there. Slowly he parted his lips from hers and stared down at her breathlessly. Her cheeks were flushed pink, and desire clouded her eyes. He wanted more. “I want to taste you on my tongue. May I?”
“Yes,” she grinned.
It was all the encouragement he needed, and before they both knew it he was slowly kissing and licking his way down her body. She smelt like warm sand bathed beneath sunshine. Running his tongue over the small divot on her stomach, a moan escaped from her lips. As her legs parted wider, he nuzzled his cheek against the flesh of her thigh. The smell from her wetness was driving him wild. Slowly he drew his tongue along her center, causing her to gasp. Gently he parted her and quickly his tongue dove into her wetness. With the taste of her on his tongue, he realized that he had missed her far more than he had thought.
Hux looked up at her, and when their eyes caught he saw that she desired him just as much as he desired her. His cock strained against the fabric of his pants, but he ignored it. He wanted to focus solely on her pleasure. Sliding a finger within her, he gasped at the warmth that welled within her. Slowly he thrust his finger in and out of her before adding another. Yalasi's hips bucked against his fingers as he curled them within her and brushed them against the sweet spot inside of her.
Her moans grew louder as he began to flick his tongue against the small bundle of nerves above her entrance. It only took a moment before she gasped and tightened around his fingers.
“Will you fuck me? I want to feel you inside of me,” she whispered.
“Yes, of course, my dear.” Quickly, and with no further prompting needed, he removed his pants. Hux positioned himself back between her thighs. He rubbed the head of his cock against her, loving the little moans that she made in response. Slowly he slid the tip of his cock into her, teasing her. He would not make her beg for it, or him. She was far too precious for that. However, that didn't mean he didn't thoroughly enjoy the sound of his name upon her lips.
Armitage ran his hands up to her hips and lifted her rear off the bed, just enough for him to be able to thrust himself completely within her in one swift movement. A loud moan escaped from him as he stilled, delighted to simply feel her warmth surrounding him. Sweat covered his body as he began to thrust hard and deep inside her. He didn't worry about being careful or hurting her. He allowed his passion to completely overtake him. He knew that she could take whatever he gave her. She was resilient.
His fingers gripped tightly onto her thighs as he continued to thrust into her. He loved the feeling of her walls surrounding him, and her moans spurred him to move faster. Yalasi's body began to writhe beneath him, and he knew from experience that she was close.
“I want to feel you come,” he moaned while punctuating his words with deep thrusts.
Reaching down, his fingers began to rub at her clit. He wanted her to come, to release the tension that he could see welling deep within her. It took very little to send her over the edge, and as her mouth fell open and she cried out his name he could feel her walls clench against him. He moaned out her name, realizing that he was closer to the edge than he had thought. He took one last thrust before seating himself deeply within her and emptying himself inside of her. He came hard, shedding his years of isolation and quiet longing in her.
Gently he lowered himself onto her, careful not to put his whole weight onto her chest. He didn't want to pull out. He wanted how he was feeling to last forever. They remained that way for a short while longer until he pulled out of her and got up to go to the refresher. He used the toilet before washing his hands and grabbing a clean towel. When he returned to her, he found her with her thighs still parted and his seed beginning to drip out from her. His throat rumbled in delight as he crawled onto the bed and gently cleaned his come from her.
“Thank you,” she whispered while reaching down to run her fingers through his hair. She was growing tired, and her voice distant. “You need a haircut.”
“I know.” Hux chuckled as he tossed the towel to the floor and crawled next to her in bed. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her close and placed a kiss on the top of her head. And with her in his arms, he fell into a deep and peaceful slumber.
Armitage woke early the next morning to find Yalasi sleeping peacefully across from him with her hand placed over his heart. He smiled gently at her sprawled out form and the sight of Millicent who slumbered upon her back. He gently lifted her hand and carefully rose from the bed. He didn't want to disturb her sleep as it was still quite early. Showering quickly, he dressed and ordered a pot of caf and a small container of milk brought up to his quarters from the canteen. And when it arrived, she was finally beginning to stir.
“Seyah, get off mommy,” she murmured more asleep than awake at that point.
He laughed softly, “Come on Millicent. Leave Yala alone.” The idea of her being comfortable enough to think that she was at home and with her daughter was charming. It did; however, cause a pang of sorrow and jealousy to rise within him.
He had often dreamt of seeding her, and watching as his child grew within her. He hoped, that perhaps one day she would allow him to meet her daughter and maybe even be a part of her life. Still, while her daughter was not his own, he knew he would protect her like she was and he made a mental note to send stormtroopers to the estate to watch over the child.
Yalasi rolled over to the edge of the bed, sending the cat flying from her back. Her eyes were unfocused and half asleep still. “Armitage?”
“Good morning,” he said softly while pouring two mugs of caf for them both. He placed a small amount of milk in hers before setting the milk in the conservator to keep it fresh. “I got us caf.”
She groaned a little. She was never much of a morning person, and he had to assume that the interrogation the day before probably didn't help. “What time is it?”
“0500,” his response prompting her to frown. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he waited patiently until she sat up before handing her the mug he had prepared for her.
She sat the mug in her lap, holding it tightly with one hand while rubbing at her eyes with the other. He could tell that she was still trying to clear the fog of sleep from her mind. She had always been something of a difficult riser, and it amused him to no end to see that was one thing that hadn't changed about her.
Hux smiled as he watched her take many little sips of the hot liquid before setting it down on the nightstand beside the bed. “How long until your shift begins,” she asked while rising to her knees and reaching out to straighten his collar.
He glanced at the clock and sighed. “Not nearly long enough.” He had less than thirty minutes left with her before he had to arrive on the bridge.
“A few things to remember,” she began while pressing little kisses against his jaw. “I need permissions. I have a gift I'd like to give you, but I need to send word home first.”
“It'll be done first.” Armitage chuckled lightly. It had literally been the first thing on his list of things to do. When Snoke had sent her away he had removed all traces of her within the Order's databases and computers. He would have a technician reinstate her privileges. “A gift? I already have the best gift you could give me.”
“Me naked in your bed?”
“Exactly,” he whispered before lacing his fingers through her hair and pulling her lips to his. He placed a small kiss upon mouth as his alarm began to beep. His throat rumbled with disappointment when she pulled her mouth from his.
“Duty calls,” she murmured.
And he supposed that it did. He was glad that she was back by his side, and even more so that she had opened her body to him once more— but he was General of the First Order. His position demanded that he hold himself to the same level that he held everyone else around him. Rising up from the bed, he let out a yelp when she brought her hand up and swatted it down against his rear. “You'll pay for that tonight.”
“I certainly hope so.”
He grinned at her before waving his goodbyes and leaving for the bridge. Standing tall, he felt his confidence surge. It was good that she was back, and as he stood with his eyes gazing down at those below him— he wondered if her return was just what they all needed.
I like the idea of Yalasi being super inconsiderate when it comes to noise. Like she will straight up just ring your doorbell over and over again until you get the hell up.
By the time she had left Armitage's room that morning and returned to her own to shower and get ready for the day, her permissions had been reinstated. It seemed, as he had said, that it had truly been on the top of his list. She wasn't surprised as Armitage was nothing if not incredibly expeditious. They both knew that for her to do her job properly, she needed those permissions. She needed access to the Order's servers. And when she finally had access she spent the rest of the morning pouring herself over the reports of the last six months. It was much worse than she had anticipated.
There were a vast number of things that worried her about the state of the Order. There were gaping holes in their command structure, and while she understood how difficult it could be to fill the positions of the dead— it was immensely important that they did so. However, that was Hux's realm. She would express her concerns to him, but she wouldn't step on his toes past that.
First; however, she wanted to see the damage the Supremacy had taken for herself. Its wing had been clipped, and in the doing so she found out that her labs had been destroyed as well. It was a less than ideal situation, but unlike the shattered command structure— there was actually something she could do about the state of the half-destroyed mega dreadnought. It had been Kuat-Entralla, a subsidiary owned and run by her family that had worked on it in the first place. It would take some time, but she would see the fleet returned back to its full glory. If only because doing so increased her family's wealth and prestige. She had already sent word to the drive yards. New star destroyers and dreadnoughts would be sent to meet with the fleet, as well as engineers to repair whatever damage they could. It would do none of them any good with the Supremacy hanging on the edge of death as it was.
A sigh fell from Yalasi's mouth when she looked up and noticed that she had made her way into Snoke's old throne room, and was sitting at the foot of his throne as she had all those years ago.
“Come to me child,” Snoke said while motioning for her to come closer. “Let me get a better look at you.”
With her hands folded neatly before her and her back straight, despite the heavy weight of her raiments, Yalasi dutifully followed his command. She was well aware of the eyes that were upon her, and above that their thoughts. The voices, hidden deep within their minds, criticized her— unknowing that she could hear them. They criticized her heritage. The Kuati are snakes in the grass. They criticized her garments. She thinks she can buy her way into our ranks. They criticized her age. She's only a child. Why did he pick her?
Still, she did not turn or stray from her path forward. When she reached the ancient being sitting upon the throne before her, she stopped and lowered her head in respect.
“Yes,” Snoke began as he slowly rose up from his throne. “Yes.” His mind crept into hers, and while it didn't hurt— there was the unmistakable pressure of another's mind within her own.
Snoke stepped down from his throne and loomed over her. However, she felt no fear even as his hand fell to her face to lift her gaze to him. “You will be the galaxy's reckoning,” he whispered to her. “I can mold you into something great.”
When her eyes lifted to meet his, he opened his mind to her and she saw the power that he held. The power that he was now offering her. “Provide me with the tools I need, and I will be the harbinger of your will.”
Her words pleased him, and as he lifted his hand a lightsaber flew into it. “Bring in the prisoners,” he said, his voice echoing through the great hall, and his eyes never leaving hers. “Stay by my side, and begin your first lesson child.”
Snoke placed the lightsaber in her hand and placed her thumb upon the small sensor to activate it. Then, gently, he turned her to face the four men that were kneeling a short distance away. “One of these men is guilty of attempting to funnel data back to the Republic. Decide which one is guilty, and kill him.”
Yalasi waited for a moment, her eyes focused upon the men before crossing the distance to them. She walked a circle around them before lifting the lightsaber and piercing it through all four of their hearts. It didn't matter who had been guilty. There was a reason that all of them had been chosen. And, she suspected that Snoke's lesson was less about right or wrong, and more about whether or not she could follow his orders without hesitation.
The crowd that filled the room began to murmur, their quiet voices filling the air. However, above all of it was Snoke's laughter. “Good. Come forward young Hux.”
She watched as a long-limbed, red-haired boy walked from the crowd and toward her. The boy seemed neither younger nor older than her, and she couldn't help but wonder exactly who he was and why Snoke had beckoned him forward.
“Yes, Leader Snoke?”
“Will you tell everyone why she killed all four?”
“There were four possibilities, and it must have been one of them. She was, as they say, hedging her bets.” Hux's blue eyes drifted to her. He was studying her.
“And what more past that,” he asked the boy.
“Guilt or innocence. She knew it didn't matter. You ordered her to kill, and she obeyed.”
Snoke nodded, and she felt the lightsaber lift from her hand and return to the arm of his throne. “Very good.” Snoke returned to his throne, and she watched silently as he motioned for her to sit at his feet. “Come to me, my new apprentice. There is much for you to learn.”
She sighed, pulling herself away from her memories. Since her return she had tried not to think about what had happened in the very room she sat in. She had attempted not to focus on the legacy that had been ripped away from her. The throne and mantle of Supreme Leader had been meant for her. She was Snoke's first, and for nearly twenty years she had thought she would have been the one to cull him. She had dreamt of defeating her master in single combat. It wouldn't have been with a lightsaber, Snoke was much too old for such things. Instead, she would use the very Force powers he had taught her against him. She would let her lightning course through him, as he had let it course through her. He would fall before her and she would take her place upon the throne. It had been the thing she and Hux had dreamt of, and it had gotten the both of them through many painful nights.
“I thought I'd find you here.” Ren's voice filled the emptiness of the room.
“Yes well,” she began as her eyes drifted to the man who was beginning to walk toward her. “Memories.” She paused for a moment, “When you did it. When you killed him. He reached out to me.”
“I know. I could feel it ripple through the Force.” His voice was unsteady but bubbled with barely contained excitement.
Her eyes focused on Ren as he stood above her. A tactical advantage, but she knew it was one he wouldn't take. Not when he had so many questions that she had the answers to.
“I told him, before I left, that he'd regret sending me away. You'd eventually betray him and I wouldn't be there to save him.” Ren's mouth parted to interject, but she raised her hand to stop him. “Betrayal is expected. Every apprentice worth their weight betrays their master. Many do it while they sleep, but you had enough honor to do it while he was awake.”
His jaw tensed and then released as his eyes flickered up to the throne. He hadn't sat in it yet, and she wondered why. Doubt clouded his mind, and she thought that perhaps he felt he hadn't earned it yet. She rose to her feet and stepped down from the platform she had been sitting on. “He asked me to kill you.”
Ren backed away from her slowly, his hand dropping to his lightsaber. His mind was clear of anger, but regret and betrayal had begun to rise to the surface. It took little probing to tell that he had thought that they could rule the galaxy together. She watched as his lightsaber illuminated and he drew himself into shii-cho's starting stance. However, she kept her own lightsabers clipped onto her belt, and made no move to grab them.
“I told him no. Snoke taught me many things, but a great many more I learned from the old ones or on my own.” She paused for a moment when his fingers clenched around the hilt of his lightsaber. “He wasn't a good master, Ren. And unless you give me a reason to fight you, I won't.”
She stepped closer to him and he replied by taking a step away from her. “Ren...”
She nodded. “Kylo.” He was attempting to peer into her mind to see whether or not she spoke the truth. She sighed softly and allowed him that which he sought— confirmation that she was indeed telling the truth.
He lowered his lightsaber and the light flickered from it. “You're not angry that I killed him?”
“No, of course not.” While it pricked her that it hadn't been her hand, she wasn't upset that the deed had been done. Yalasi reached a gloved hand out to him. “You did what you had to do. I never fault people for that.”
He stared down at her hand, his mind racing. She could tell that he was wounded, and didn't entirely trust her. At least, not yet. She knew that he would in time. She would make herself absolutely indispensable to him, and he would come to trust her with every fiber of his being.
“Come, Supreme Leader. Take your throne,” she cooed. “I wish to address you.”
Ren's eyes flickered, widening slightly. He reached out to take her hand, and with a bow she led him to the throne. He sat carefully, his eyes never leaving her. Slowly she drew her hand from his and knelt before the throne— her head lowered in respect.
“Supreme Leader. We, Kuat-Entralla, send you a gesture of continued goodwill and everlasting friendship. As We speak, new star destroyers and dreadnoughts are on their way to join your fleet. We have sent our best engineers to see your flagship mended and repaired. Also, We bring you word that there are exciting things in the works, things that are not quite ready to be revealed to the galaxy.”
He was shocked, and more than just a little confused. “Kuat-Entralla?”
“Yes. It was a gift given in appreciation to the First Order and Supreme Leader. Payment, if you will, for the acceptance of the noble House Andrim's daughter. We have modified the contract to name you, Kylo Ren, our new Supreme Leader. My drive yards, my mind, and my body are now all yours to command.”
It was only a token, and the very least she could do, but she allowed that to remain hidden from him. Her eyes lifted slightly to the man who was now staring down at her. She watched closely as his confusion gave way to realization and then satisfaction. She had offered her whole being to him, and he was pleased by the faith she had shown him.
“Good. You have done well Leviathan.”
“Thank you, Supreme Leader.”
“We will wait until the fleet is rebuilt to crush the remaining Resistance. Until then, you will stay by my side.”
“Your will be done Supreme Leader.”
Ren swelled with confidence and desire at her words. She didn't mind of course, and she saw very little harm in building him up. There was still a chance that with her guidance he could rebuild the galaxy into the thing she so desired. And if he didn't, if he fell, well— that would be enjoyable too.
I totally reject the idea that the Supremacy was destroyed, but don't even get me started on that. XD Also, flashback!
Chapter 10: Ineptitude
A soft sigh fell from her mouth as she regarded the four men that sat at the table with her. Three Captains and one Colonel were all that remained of the veterans of the Imperial Navy within the Order’s fleet. The men that sat around her were not children. They hadn't been raised or brought up through the ranks by the elder and younger Hux. They had not been subject to the constant rhetoric and propaganda that the younger ones had been. They were career officers and knew the truth of Palpatine’s Empire, and Vader’s campaign.
There were many within their ranks that prized youth and vitality. She knew for a fact that Hux resented the men around her. He thought they were old and felt they were not only obsolete but also incompetent. However, she did not share that sentiment. Knowledge and experience were her cornerstones, and she had found out long ago that these men were filled with both. They had been men of position and power in the Imperial Navy and had been tempered countless times by the fire of a war many of the younger officers barely remembered.
Before her dismissal, she had tried to meet with them as often as possible to discuss the state of the Order. She sought out their unfettered opinions on whatever topics she desired to know more about and they were usually quite happy to oblige. Of course, she had the reports of what had happened since she had left. But, she wanted to know what had gone wrong from their perspective without the self-aggrandizement that marked the younger officers reports.
“As usual Sirs, what is said within these walls will remain here. You must not lie to me or tell me what you think I want to hear. I only wish for each of you to speak plainly and truly.”
The men around her nodded but did not speak. She shook her head while resting her elbows on the tabletop. “So, what the kriffing hell happened? We brought the Unknown Regions to heel, and yet— somehow the Resistance, with no ships and no allies of any kind, slips from our grasp. Why?”
“Pure ineptitude,” Captain Peavey began. “If no one else will say it, then I will. Our High Command is inexperienced and arrogant. Hux is his father's son, but he is not Brendol. I know you are fond of the boy Leviathan, but the fact remains he's too young to be General. And Ren...” His words trailed off and in their wake was a look of pure exasperation.
“A boy playing at being a man,” Colonel Kaplan added. “Swayed from the path by that damn Jedi girl.”
“Jedi girl?” She had seen glimpses of a girl deep within Ren's mind. She wasn't sure, at the time, who the girl was or what her connection was to Ren. She could only see that the girl had affected him a great deal.
She was feeding his doubt, and while doubt could be a particularly useful motivator— what Kylo Ren needed the most was surety. He had the potential to be very powerful, but greatness would be lost to him if he couldn't cut away his ties to the foolish notion that the Force was just a matter of light or dark. Ultimately, the girl and her manipulations meant very little in the grand scheme of things. Yes, she was something that needed to be taken care of. But, Yalasi was fully prepared to do whatever it took to see galactic order restored beneath the banner of the First Order.
“She is a member of the Resistance. We discovered her first on Jakku. The details are unclear, but she has been a thorn in all of our sides.” Captain Opan said, doing little to hide the scorn in his voice. “I hear Hux speak of her often. She has no real training, no real experience.”
“Then why isn't she dead?”
“It is Ren's orders that we try to capture her alive,” Kaplan replied.
She frowned at his response. It was not a wise course of action. They could not allow one single Jedi to draw breath if they wished for the Order to succeed. Every Jedi, aspirant or otherwise, needed to be put down if they were going to complete their mission. “No. That changes today. I will speak to Ren on the matter.”
If they had the chance to take her off the board, then they needed to take it. Jedi tended to inspire hope, and she knew that hope was a powerful heuristic— but she also knew that if it wasn't closely monitored and manipulated it could very easily spell the end of the First Order.
“Good,” Opan replied loudly as his fist slammed down on the table. “It's good to have you back Leviathan, finally someone in charge with a lick of sense in them.”
Yalasi nodded. She wasn't exactly sure how she'd convince Ren, but she would eventually. She would plant the seed in his mind, and make it seem like it had been his decision. “Now, the Starkiller. Imagine my surprise to see that the traitor still walks these halls.”
There was silence, which did not go unnoticed by her. As she studied the faces around her she could tell that they were immensely confused. They didn't know.
“Lieutenant Rivas is dead,” said Peavey.
That clever woman, she thought to herself. “No. It was Captain Phasma.” Phasma was not stupid and had been quick to shift her thoughts in an attempt to hide what had happened. But, very few knew that she had been trained from an early age to remain always open and conscious of the minds around her. It was a door that had been wedged open by her parents for use in their business negotiations but had proved to be fairly useful over the years.
Yago leaned forward, his eyes squared solely upon her. “Are you sure?”
She nodded. “I saw it in her thoughts. It was just for a moment. She was the one that lowered the base's shields.”
Kaplan shot up from his chair in anger. “That witch.” His hands were balled tightly into fists. He was seething.
“Then it serves to follow that she killed Rivas to cover her tracks,” Opan said.
“Indeed.” Yalasi sighed. Traitors abounded, and the one person that should have been able to root through the lies was clouded by a girl playing at being a hero.
“I will tell Hux,” Yago started.
“No. Not yet. She is still needed to train our stormtroopers. However, I think it is about time we consider who will be her replacement.” They still needed Phasma, but she would keep an eye on her nevertheless. Phasma's betrayal made sense the more she thought about it. She had always known that Phasma was a survivor, and she had once admired her for that. But, this was too far. Phasma had jeopardized their entire operation, and that would not be allowed.
"She will not go for that,” Yago said.
“She'll have to if it comes from Hux.” Rubbing her face with her hands, she let out a heavy sigh. It seemed they had fallen further than she had initially thought. The war had just truly begun and already they were beginning to buckle beneath their own weight.
“Leviathan. Will you stay and avenge your master's death,” Peavey asked.
“I have yet to decide. At the very least I will stay long enough to see this mess righted.” Pulling her hands from her face, she smiled. “You all have worked too hard to be defeated by…”
“An old woman and her ragtag band of miscreants,” Opan interrupted with a grin.
She laughed. “No. Ineptitude.”
Yalasi rose to her feet and bowed to the assembly of men around her. “I won't keep you any longer than I already have. Thank you for your frankness, Sirs.”
She watched quietly as they filed out of the room. “Kill me,” she murmured while slumping back down into her chair.
“A command meeting without its General present? Scandalous,” Hux purred from the doorway.
She rubbed at her temples. She was rapidly getting a headache. “They are good men Armitage. We have much to learn from them.”
“I'm not upset. I understand your... need for these meetings,” he replied while walking into the room and locking it behind him. He crossed to her and stood behind her. His hands fell to her shoulders and untied the cloak she wore over her battle armor. Gently he began to rub at her shoulders. “Did you find out what you were looking for?”
“I did. It's worse than I thought. I’m particularly worried about Ren and the girl. She needs to be taken care of. They all do.”
“That is why I'm glad you're here. But, all of that can wait. How are you feeling?”
“Mm. My head hurts,” she murmured at his touch.
Armitage cooed at her sympathetically before leaning down and pressing a kiss on her right temple. “Do you need to go to the medbay?”
She shook her head. Well, she did— but not for her headache. Her headaches were common, and increasingly so since her return to the Order, but she knew she could manage them on her own. However, she did need to visit the medbay to see about negating the fertility boosters she had taken earlier that month in preparation of having a child with her telbun. She knew that it really should have been the first thing she did upon her return to the Order, especially after the night she had spent with Armitage. She wanted another child, but she would not risk such a thing when they were still at war. “No, but there is something I'd like to discuss with you.”
“Oh?” His hands stilled for a moment before continuing their gentle kneading. “What is on your mind?”
Hux hummed, his fingers working the knots from her muscles. “And what about her?”
“We need to create a redundancy in case something happens to her again.” Yalasi raised her hands to his to stop his massaging. “She has become an integral part of stormtrooper training, but there is no plan in place for her death.”
She knew what had happened between Phasma and Armitage all those years ago. It was by his will and Phasma's hand that Brendol had been killed. There was a history between the two, and one that made Yalasi very uncomfortable. Their current situation was one that needed to be handled carefully, lest Phasma reveal to all the part Armitage played in killing his father. Yalasi knew that there were many who suspected it had been him. But, with no evidence, it was only just conjecture. However, after the meeting she had just had, she knew that Hux was standing on uneven ground. Very many more failures and it would only be a matter of time before the men below him attempted to move against him.
“I agree,” he replied after a few moments. Armitage leaned down and placed a kiss on the top of her head. “But that can wait until tomorrow. Right now, I have something urgent for you to consider.”
She chuckled as he turned her chair around and lifted her out of it— placing her on top of the table. “Oh? And what's this urgent matter of yours?”
His lips crashed against hers as his hands began to bunch up the dress she wore beneath all her armor. Passion and fury overtook them and before she knew it she was on her belly spread across the table with his cock deep inside her. Her headache had faded, but as his come dripped down her thighs she realized she really needed to go to the medbay.
Chapter 11: Childhood
Armitage watched from his spot by the window as the children below circled her. They all knew that she was special, and as such— they all believed her to be a threat. But, they hadn't been there when she had arrived. They hadn't seen her kill four people without giving it a second thought. He had been the only one from the Academy that had bothered to make the trip to the throne room, and so only he knew why she was so special. The faintest of smiles drew across his features. They would learn, he thought.
His father was of two minds in regard to the girl. On one side he was taken by her. She wasn't one of his feral children stolen from Jakku, but she was just as razor sharp as the ones he had trained. A product, his father had said, of a proper Imperial academy upbringing backed by good blood and lots of credits. He also liked that she was Kuati. She was from a technocratic people who had been the engineers behind the Imperial Navy's most devastating tools of war. They had also been fiercely loyal to the Empire, and his father said that in time they'd be loyal to the Order as well.
However, she was firmly in the hand of Leader Snoke and his father hated that. His father knew that he would, on occasion, likely be granted access to her. The idea of applying his training techniques to a Force user was alluring. He thought that perhaps he could expand upon what the Jedi had done to their padawans. But, he knew better than to think that Snoke would allow him to be more than just a footnote in her upbringing. She was Snoke's apprentice, and as such Snoke would oversee the bulk of her training. It made sense to Armitage as she was a Force user like Snoke. And he figured who better to train a Force user than another Force user?
Passively he watched as one of the older boys, hammered and sharpened by the elder Hux's teachings, stepped toward her. The boy was tall, and lean muscle was beginning to grow on him, padding and filling out what was once a boyish frame. The boy, or Graham as he had come to know him, was a rash thing. He was eager to prove his worth, and especially to prove his worth against another. Graham was speaking to her, and while he couldn't hear what was being said, he knew that it was unlikely to be pleasant. It was never pleasant. Graham lunged forward, ripping off the veil she wore upon her head and in the doing so unleashed a torrent of long brown curls.
The girl narrowed her eyes at Graham, and Armitage could tell that she was furious. Her gaze split between the advancing boy and the crowd of laughing and pointing children around her. Slowly she slid her hand deep within the layers of ornate clothing she wore and pulled out a lightsaber. He had thought, at first, that perhaps she would use the lightsaber against Graham as she had used it against the adults earlier. However, something different occurred instead. Something that seemed to happen in just the blink of an eye.
The girl jumped up and her arms crossed over her chest. She held her lightsaber tightly as she hovered in the air with crackling red light pulsing from her. Her hair, loose and uncovered, whipped wildly around her features— obscuring her face from view. It took only a fraction of a second before the light formed into a gossamer red orb around her. Graham and the children stopped their advance on her, and Armitage found himself incredibly interested in what was going to happen next.
Graham took a step back, but by that time it was already too late. The girl extended her arms out, and the orb exploded from her. The explosion of light sent the children flying back as it hit them and caused the floor beneath him and the walls around him to rumble angrily.
Gently, the girl fell back to her feet and the lightsaber glowed bright red as she lowered herself slightly. It was a stance he saw during the fencing bouts at his father's old academy on Arkanis. She was waiting for the children to regain their footing and preparing herself for their attack. However, before a fight could break out, Leader Snoke appeared. He regarded her with an immensely pleased look on his face and with a lift of his hand her veil rose into the air and wrapped around her once more. Her lightsaber flickered off before it was hidden back within the depths of her garments. Leader Snoke reached a hand out to the girl and she took it.
Come young Hux. It is time you properly meet my new apprentice.
Hux woke suddenly from his dream to find her gone from his side. He reached out a hand to where she had been the night before and found that the bed there had grown cold. Today was a non-duty day for him and he was looking forward to spending it with her. His eyes squinted through the dark to the clock on the wall, and he saw that it was moderately early still. Rolling over onto his side, he closed his eyes and attempted to go back to sleep.
However, a quiet laugh from his sitting room pulling his eyes back open. Quickly he got out of bed and wrapped himself in his robe. Armitage walked out of his bedroom and found Yalasi sitting on his low pale blue sofa. She was completely dressed and was wearing a pair of headphones. Before her was a holo of a little girl with short fluffy ringlets.
Yalasi looked up at him and smiled. “Oh, Armitage. I'm sorry I woke you.”
“Nonsense my dear,” he replied while sitting down beside her. “Is this Seyah?” His eyes focused on the holo. She was much younger than Yalasi had been when he had first seen her, but he could imagine that Seyah looked fairly close to how her mother would have looked at that age.
“It is.” She pulled off her headphones and reached forward to turn off the holo.
Quickly; however, he reached out to stop her— his hand holding gently onto her wrist. Hux knew that the child couldn't have possibly been older than five, as Yalasi had only been gone five years. Yala had not properly brought up the subject and parentage of her daughter. In fact, he had only discovered her existence from the news holos that came from her planet.
Armitage knew better than to ask outright though. He knew that any child of hers, regardless of whoever may have been the father— himself included, she would consider to be hers alone. The Kuati people were fiercely matrilineal, and she was likely no different.
He also had no proof that she was his, and Yala had given him no reason to suspect that she was. However, they had coupled quite frequently and did so up until the time of her dismissal. And the more he thought about it, he found the timing and age of the child to be very interesting. Despite how hard he tried not to, he couldn't help but wonder if she was his.
“Can I watch the holo with you,” he asked.
She let out a sigh before leaning forward to reset the message. She pressed play and then settled back upon the sofa once more.
“Hi, mommy! Look at what Criser and me made today.” His eyes drew to the hologram and the rather sad looking piece of pottery Seyah was holding up triumphantly. He thought that perhaps it was supposed to be a pot of some kind, but it was severely misshapen and lopsided. However, she seemed very proud of it— and that alone made it the most beautiful piece of pottery in the galaxy. She set aside the pot and reached out as if to give her mother a large and rather impossible hug.
“I miss you lots and lots and lots! I can tell you're still there. Criser says that even if we can talk whenever we want I shouldn't bother you because you're really busy. He says that you're making it safe for kids like me.”
Yalasi laid her head upon his shoulder as the holo continued. He studied the girl before him. She looked a great deal like her mother, but he thought that perhaps if he looked closely he could see she had someone else's eyes entirely. He wasn't quite sure, but it was easy to imagine that her eyes were his.
“Auntie Mariemi from school showed us a poster of that boy you like,” Seyah said in a singsong voice. “His hair is really really really red.” Seyah burst into a fit of giggles, and he felt his cheeks redden at her amusement.
Seyah looked forward at them and then leaned in to speak in a whisper. It was charming that she didn't seem to fully understand how holos worked, and that a whisper meant nothing when the volume was turned up.
“Mommy there are stormtroopers here now. Did you know they don't have names like you and me? Just numbers! It's really weird. There are a lot of Aunties and Uncles now and it's so hard to remember all those numbers!” Seyah placed her hand on her forehead and let out a dramatic and very much exaggerated sigh of frustration.
Hux chuckled while wrapping an arm around Yalasi, drawing her closer to him. He had sent the stormtroopers to her estate the morning after she had arrived. He had been worried, at the time, that they might frighten the little girl. He was happy to see that wasn't the case. It seemed Seyah was just as flexible as her mother was when it came to new situations.
“I assume that was your doing,” Yalasi asked. However, if she was upset it didn’t show in her voice.
He hummed in confirmation, his eyes never leaving the holo before them. Seyah was boisterous and lively, so much unlike how he had been as a child. She was not a child of war and death, not like he and Yala had been— and he was grateful for that. She was the future of the galaxy, and he would protect her at any cost to him or the Order.
Seyah looked away from them and nodded before turning back to them. “Criser says its time for bed and,” she drew out the last word while clapping her hands together rapidly. “For me to say my goodbyes. I love you very very very much. Win the war and come back soon,” she said with the same singsong voice as earlier.
The holo flickered off and Hux couldn't help but laugh. She was a precocious child. “She does not look ready to go to bed.” Seyah had been far too excited by the end of the holo.
Yalasi chuckled. “No. She's definitely wired. It’ll be at least an hour and a half before he manages to get her down.”
He turned his attention to the woman beside him and leaned down to press a kiss upon her lips. He wanted to talk about Seyah more, but knew better than to push the subject on her. If he didn't handle it carefully, she would shut down entirely. “Good morning my dear. You're up awfully early.”
She smiled gently, “I know. Strange isn't it? I actually managed to get quite a lot done this morning. I had breakfast, trained, and then went to the medbay.”
“Yes, it's almost as if waking up before ten allows you to accomplish more,” he teased before his mind backtracked and focused upon the fact that she had been to the medbay. Worry settled in his stomach at the possibility that she had been injured while training, or worse yet still had some lingering issues from Ren's interrogation.
He knew that she was having more headaches than usual those past few days. She had always been particularly prone to headaches. She had told him once that they were the byproducts of what Snoke had put her body through and the rituals her experiments and spells demanded. “Wait, medbay? Were you injured?”
Yala shook her head before drawing her legs up onto the sofa beside her. “No. Just your run of the mill, everyday checkup.”
Relief washed over him as he shifted so that she could lay back against him. As her head fell to his lap, he reached down and gently began to stroke her hair. “What are your plans for today?”
She hummed softly. “Nothing. Tomorrow I leave for Rugosa. They neebrays are starting to lay their eggs there, and I'd like to get to them before they start hatching.”
His brow furrowed slightly as he stilled his hand and looked down at her. He knew that she was likely very bored, especially considering that her labs had not yet been rebuilt. However, he didn't like the idea of her running off on a dangerous mission simply because she wanted to find baby neebrays. While Rugosa wasn't a particularly dangerous moon, nesting animals were. “Why? What purpose could you possibly have for a baby neebray?”
Yala shrugged while reaching up to run her fingers over his cheek. “First, you're lucky I decided on Rugosa at all. My first thought was capturing fledglings in the Kaliida Nebula, and that is much more dangerous. Second, I need them for my alchemy. I have created beasts for land and sea, but I want to see if my research extends to vacuumbreathers.”
Hux's throat rumbled with disapproval, “It's too dangerous Yala.” He would not order her to stay, because he knew that even if he tried she'd still manage to find a way off the ship. He could not keep her aboard the Finalizer if her mind was set against it. She possessed a thick-willed stubbornness that he found incredibly attractive, but also incredibly infuriating. So instead, he simply sighed and returned to stroking her hair.
“It'll be fine, and I'll take a few stormtroopers with me. There's no need to worry Armitage.” Yalasi reached up and clasped her hand behind his neck. She pulled him down to her lips. “But that is tomorrow. Let's enjoy our time together today.”
His lips pressed against hers and he soon found himself doing just that. While Seyah and Yala's mission were never too far from his mind, he committed himself to fully enjoying his time with her. After all, they had a lot of time to make up for— and he planned on doing just that.
Chapter 12: Distance
CW: panic attack in the second half of the chapter
It was a strange sensation having her near, and he realized early that morning that he had already grown quite used to her being around. He thought that perhaps she was like a tincture or medicine of some sort. His senses were not only acuter, but everything else just seemed clearer since her return. He felt stronger, and as if he could take on the whole galaxy. She was pure intention and strength, and he knew was not the only one that was benefiting from her presence. Hux himself seemed more focused and a great deal less irritating those days.
While Yalasi hadn't opened herself fully to him, and there was a piece of him that worried that she had spent too much time around Snoke to not have picked up his propensity for manipulation— she seemed sincere when she said she wanted nothing from him. He thought that perhaps he believed her as well. After all, he had been the one to seek her out and she had not been happy with it. His thoughts of potential and future manipulations were easily pushed away. She was not Snoke. Snoke was singular and insidious. He had wanted him strong but leashed. He wasn't quite sure what Yalasi wanted, but she seemed happy enough to simply serve.
That morning had started off as they often had. However, as the day wore on he had felt a dullness wash over his senses and found that doubt was beginning to take hold of him again. He hadn't been sure it was her at first, as the oppressive feeling of loneliness came and went in waves. But, as the hours marched on, he found that it was rapidly growing worse. He sought her out only to find that she had not only left the ship, but she had left the fleet altogether.
He had attempted to reach out to her through their growing connection, but she had not answered his call. He could tell that she was busy, and focused on something else entirely. It was because of that he decided to make the trip down to the bridge to find out exactly where she was going, and who had allowed her to leave. He suspected it was Hux, but he needed to know for sure. After all, if she was truly gone then undoubtedly Hux would know. There was nothing that happened within the Order that he didn't always somehow know about.
As the lift doors opened, Ren's eyes fell to the man who was standing in front of the large window on the bridge. He stood tall and straight, his hands folded behind his back. Hux gazed out the window, focused on the stars outside. His mind was still and silent, and he wondered when he had managed to get so good at hiding his surface thoughts. He thought that perhaps it was Yalasi's presence. Hux, he figured, had to now work twice as hard to keep his thoughts hidden from the two Force users that now prowled the Finalizer.
“Leviathan is no longer with the fleet. Where is she,” he asked while quickly crossing the distance from the lift and to his general.
“On her way to Rugosa I’d imagine,” Hux replied simply, never turning and never acknowledging his arrival upon the bridge.
Rugosa, the name echoed in his mind. It was an ugly and worthless moon, and he didn't know what she wanted from such a place. His eyes fell to the officers that stood around Hux and they quickly fell away, giving him the space he wanted. He stepped next to his General, his voice low and very nearly a growl. “Why ?”
“She's collecting neebray eggs for her experiments.”
“Who told her she could leave?”
Hux finally turned to acknowledge his presence, but only slightly and his eyes were still fixed some distant point of light outside the window. He wondered if perhaps, his eyes were trained on her and where she had vanished to. The faintest of smiles tugged at the corner of Hux's lips. It seemed he was pleased that he knew nothing. That she hadn't bothered to tell him where she was going, let alone that she was planning on leaving. Ren knew that the two had spent their formative years together, but he couldn’t help but find the other man’s newfound confidence annoying at that moment. Hux was wading through dangerous waters, and Ren would not hesitate to put him back in his place if he stepped too far out of line.
“No one. Yalasi left on her own accord. I wasn’t aware she was a prisoner.” Hux's words said one thing, but his tone said another. You don't know her very well. Did you think you could force her to stay?
And he knew that was true. He didn't know Yalasi very well, but Hux did and that cut at him more than he thought it would. Hux had spent years with her beside him. His general had been able to bathe himself in her greatness and surety, and he had not. Snoke had taken that opportunity from him. He still didn't know why, but he suspected that it was just another way to isolate and manipulate him. They would have been stronger together, and Snoke likely knew that. Her dismissal was a tool to keep him chained and easily controlled— and he knew that he would never forgive their dead master for taking her from him.
“When will she be back? Did she say?”
“No, but these excursions generally last no more than a few days. A week perhaps if she encounters problems planetside.”
Ren turned his attention to the window, his eyes searching for the same point that Hux was looking at. He felt foolish for how he had stormed the bridge. She wouldn't be gone for very long, and he knew that she'd be back before he knew it.
“How long until the Kuati engineers arrive,” he asked, attempting to hide the fact that she had been the only reason he had come down to the bridge.
“Less than ten hours,” Hux said before pausing and finally turning his attention to him.
His general continued to speak, but he found he didn't care. And so, he simply turned and walked off the bridge— returning to his chambers to meditate.
Ren laid in bed wide awake, unable to sleep. There was a swelling storm rising in his mind, and it brought with it everything he had done wrong and every mistake he had ever made in his life. His heart began to beat faster as he reflected on the terrible things he had done. He had killed his father and turned his mother and uncle against him. He had given every single piece of himself to the Order, and had absolutely nothing to show for the sacrifices he made. The love he had been given as a child was now nothing more than ashes, and it was nobodies fault but his own.
Beating his head against his pillow repeatedly, he clenched his eyes shut. However, when he opened them again he found that they were filled to the brim with tears, and a creeping darkness was starting to surrounding him. Panic and fear began to flicker deep inside his belly and his skin began to feel hot. He was sweating, he thought for a moment. But, that thought fell away quickly when he realized that he could no longer feel his toes.
His limbs grew tighter and he dug his fingers into the black sheets upon his bed. His fingers twisted around the fabric in a vain attempt to stave off the creeping numbness. His heart hammered against his chest, and he thought that perhaps he was dying. His eyes grew larger when he realized that his lungs weren’t filling with air.
“Shh,” Yalasi whispered to him. “Just try to breathe.”
Ren shifted his gaze slowly to see her sitting on the edge of his bed, a bright light piercing the darkness around him. He knew she wasn’t actually there. She was on Rugosa. But it helped, if only a little bit. “I don't know how to stop it,” he choked on his words as they tumbled out of his mouth.
“Just remember to breathe.” She raised a hand and reached it out to him. Her fingertips ghosted along the side of his face, but never lowered— never touched him. “This is just one moment on a long string of many. It will pass.”
He gulped in air, attempting to regulate his breathing. He didn't understand why he couldn't breathe. Air entered his lungs, but it felt as if it wasn't enough. His panic grew, what if there was no more air?
He lifted his hand and grabbed hers. He needed something to anchor himself onto. Ren held her hand tight, as tight as he could possibly manage— his mind unable to process the fact that she felt solid despite being planets away. “No air…”
“I know your fear is making it difficult to breathe, but there is enough air in your room Kylo. I promise.” She squeezed his hand back, her voice calm. “I'm here with you. You're safe, but you have to breathe.” She scooted closer to him, her other hand resting on his chest. “I'm going to count, and I want you to try to breathe on my count.”
His eyes focused firmly on her as he listened to her calm counting. He watched, while slowly breathing in and out, as her hair flickered around her. Eventually, and after much difficulty, he found himself able to draw in lungfuls of air and smoothly push them back out.
“You're doing great,” she said gently. “I'm right here with you, I'm not going anywhere. Okay?”
“You left,” he managed after a great while. He had told her to stay by his side, and she had left despite his wishes.
“I know,” she whispered, gently stroking his cheek. “But I will be back soon. The neebrays here are so beautiful. I wish you could see them.”
He felt his body began to relax and the numbness fade from his limbs. He wished he could see them as well. He wished he could be anywhere but where he was. “Tell me... about them?”
“They are spectacular creatures. They live most of their lives in the vacuum of space, but the ones here are special. Every year they return to nest in the coral forests that cover the planet. Each neebray is life mated with another, and they return to the same nest year after year.”
Ren listened idly as she spoke, his mind focused on her voice and not the things she was describing. It didn’t matter what she was saying, only that she was there. His eyes shut, as he found himself growing calmer still, and soon the pull of sleep was too great. “You have to come back.”
“I will. I promise.”
As he fell to exhaustion, he found himself vaguely aware of the smell of flowers and a light pressure on his forehead. He wasn’t sure what either was, but as sleep took him— he felt comfort once again.
It had been nearly a month since repairs had begun aboard the Supremacy. Her people were efficient and highly skilled workers, and she had brought enough of them so that construction could occur around the clock. It was, by her reports, no longer the ticking time bomb it had once been and could now fully withstand the pressures of hyperspeed travel.
However, he wasn't sure he wanted to continue using Snoke's model of putting all his eggs in one basket. Especially in regard to the Supremacy. The idea of a roaming capital ship that was the face of the Supreme Leader was compelling, but he didn't want to repeat Snoke's mistakes. Yalasi had agreed with him, advising him that it was better to meet somewhere in the middle.
She advised him on a great number of things those days, and he was happy to allow her to. She had a keen mind for leading, despite her constant insistence that she hated it. Together, she and Hux had refilled the holes within their command structure while partitioning the crew back to the ships she had gifted him. He thought, as he stood there staring at her door while listening to the soft music that poured past it, that he had never seen Hux so confident before. Everything about his General seemed different. Of course, it was all similar on the outside, but his mind was clearer and more at ease. A byproduct of Yalasi's arrival no doubt.
He had heard what had happened before he had arrived. She and Hux had grown up together and had been trained together. They were meant to always be in unison— the two reaching hands of Snoke. But beyond that, it was all a mystery to him still. She was still a mystery to him. She seemed open and patient with him on the surface, but it rarely went past that. She kept her thoughts and emotions hidden from him, and he couldn't help but wonder why. There were still mysteries to her that she seemed unwilling to share with him. There were many questions that remained unanswered.
He had, at first, attempted to avoid her. He had tried to push down his curiosity and maintain a respectable working relationship with her. He had been ashamed of what had happened all those nights before. But, as the days passed, he found that incredibly difficult. She was everywhere. She had embedded herself in the daily goings-on around the Finalizer and the Supremacy. And so, he had simply given up. He hadn’t brought up the event, and she didn’t attempt to force him to.
A sigh, barely audible, escaped from his tightly clenched jaw as he looked at her door. He could sense her behind it, but nothing more passed that. His confidence surged, pushing away his doubt, and he pressed the buzzer that would alert her to his presence at the door. There was nothing but stillness for many minutes before the door finally opened. However, she was not behind it.
Regardless, he stepped forward into the room and instantly saw that it was unlike his own. For one, it seemed to much larger. It was also much brighter. Unlike the black walls and floors that ran throughout the rest of the ship, her room was white and silver. The wall panels, while seemingly dim at the moment, pooled gentle and diffused light into the surroundings.
Walking through the rooms he stopped when finally he came upon her, on the floor with her legs folded neatly beneath her and her back straight. She was meditating. Unwilling to interrupt her, he simply stood— his eyes fixed down on her.
She wore a dress the color of freshly drawn blood. She was showing more skin than he had anticipated, and what skin was showing rippled with scars. Her arms, in particular, were covered in poorly healed, and thick scar tissue. The scars bloomed upward from her arms to her shoulders and neck like lightning before stretching out and vanishing beneath the fabric of her dress.
The damage was extensive and he wondered, just for a moment, how she had managed to get the scars. However, his curiosity fell away quickly. He knew exactly how she had gotten them and who had given them to her. Snoke had been a vicious teacher, and did not suffer failure with grace.
He wondered while waiting for her to notice his presence, what she was truly like. Was she plagued by doubt like he was? Did she too feel the pull of the light side within her? Why had she been turned away from Snoke? What had happened that was so terrible that it had caused their master to send her from his side?
“You,” she replied simply, shaking him from his thoughts. “It was always you. The grandson of Vader. How could I possibly compete with that?”
“How could either of us?”
“You're right. You're not your grandfather,” she began while slowly standing up. “Despite how hard our master wanted you to be.”
She was right, and that broke his heart. He was no Vader, even if he desperately wanted to be. “I'm too weak. Vader was strong and sure.” There was a battle being fought within him. A battle that he felt was slowly breaking him in half.
Yalasi was quiet for many moments, her eyes fixed upon his— and when she finally spoke there was confusion in her voice. “You don't actually believe that do you?”
Her expression fell, and he thought for a moment that perhaps she pitied him. But, when she stepped forward he realized that it was something far greater than that. She understood what it meant to have impossible expectations placed upon her.
“Vader's legacy is not your burden to bear. If you chase it you will find it empty and unfulfilling.”
“I feel it pull at me. The light side. I don't know how to make it stop,” he murmured. He just wanted the pain to stop. He wanted to feel certainty again, even if for just a moment.
“The light, as you see it, is a natural byproduct of your guilt and doubt. What do you want Kylo? Deep inside. Strip away everything, and ask yourself what is it you want the most?”
His eyes searched hers as his mind dove deep within himself. He had been searching for so long for another like himself. He had known for a very long time that he was different from those around him. He thought he had found fellowship at Skywalker's temple, but his uncle had made it clear that there was no place for him there. Snoke had offered power, but that too had come at a cost, and he quickly found himself even more alone than he had been before.
He had thought, at first, that Rey would be his answer. But, she had turned away from him and in the months since they had fought side by side, she had blocked her mind from his. His mother had turned away from him too, and he thought that even if he were to leave the Order she would never fully accept him again. “I don't want to be alone.”
“You're not alone. Not anymore.”
He wanted to desperately believe her. He wanted to believe that for once, someone would actually choose to stand beside him. He had always felt like there was a piece of him missing. Especially since joining beneath Snoke's banner. He didn't know at the time what it was— but he thought that perhaps now he did. They were the two apprentices of Snoke, brother and sister. If she meant to stay at his side then there was nothing that they couldn't do together. But most importantly, he wouldn't have to be alone again.
She grew closer to him still, and the charms and illusions that had kept him at bay fell away. He could finally see her fully and completely. His lips parted slightly as she opened her mind to him.
She was not, as he had previously thought, a creature of pure darkness. No, he could see that she didn't believe in absolutes like good or evil. She was old enough to know that it was all a matter of perspective. She was both selfish, and selfless— depending on each situation thrown to her. She relied on her passion and power to build a world she thought was better than the one she had been handed as a child. Yes, there was a great darkness inside of her, but light as well. Just enough to keep her balanced, to guide her way when she traveled through the darkest parts of the galaxy.
She was not raw and unfettered chaos, but calculated chaos. She would resign herself to the role of a monster, without regret or sorrow, if it meant that she could pave the way for better things. And she desperately believed that they were creating a better galaxy. She believed wholeheartedly that they were the only true option for peace and prosperity.
As his mind pierced deeper into hers, she continued to open herself to him. He saw the rage that being sent away caused her, and the hatred she had for him at his arrival. But, he also saw the peace that Snoke's death had brought her. He then saw the time she had spent searching for ancient holocrons, less for the power they brought and more for the need to throw herself at something. To try to grasp at just a small scrap of purpose. A purpose that she found gone since Snoke's violent dismissal.
And beneath all the terrible memories of Snoke's torments. Beneath the violent discipline and merciless punishment for her failures that made his body jolt and burn— he saw her drive. The drive that sent her out into the winds and fires of the deserts of Moraband with little food and even less water. The deserts that she had hoped she would die in. But she hadn't, and as a result, she had grown stronger because of what she had endured.
That's what she did, he thought. She endured. She kept moving forward, despite the battles she had won and especially the ones she had lost. She was a woman, that despite what she knew many had thought of her, would give nearly everything to understand the sum of all her pieces.
It was then, as he felt himself sink even further into her, into a dark abyss of carefully segmented thoughts and faceless memories, that her mind began to guide him back out. His eyes flickered for a moment as he adjusted to being himself once more.
“You understand,” he whispered. She understood what it was like to be in pain, and how difficult it was to balance the scales within oneself. “Please, don't leave me.”
“Our paths have crossed and will continue to cross. But, I fear they are not parallel,” she replied lamely, her long lashes dotted with tears.
She had seen into him, he could tell. Just as he was searching her, he had left himself open to her. His lips quivered, unsure of how she would react to the images she had no doubt seen. Would she too turn from him as Rey had? Would she consider him no less a monster than the beasts she had created?
“Kylo,” she whispered while reaching out to him and placing a bare hand upon his chest— just as she had those weeks ago. It was that simple gesture, backed by everything else he had seen in her, that unraveled him. Placing his head on her shoulder, tears began to fall from his eyes.
Clenching his eyes shut he felt the warmth of her bare skin against his cheek. “Don't leave me.” She didn't reply. Instead, she placed her hand upon his head and gently stroked his hair.
It had been too long since he had not been reacted to with fear and disgust, and it had been longer since he had last been touched so tenderly. She didn't pity him, only felt saddened at what he had endured alone for so long. She had braved and survived Snoke, but he knew better than to think that she had come out unscathed. Pulling away slightly, he looked across at her, their faces just inches apart. “Please.”
“What is it you need,” she asked while tucking a length of his hair behind his ear.
He glanced down at her lips. “M... May I...” He couldn't bring himself to ask. He felt foolish, small, weak. He had never kissed another before, but at that moment he wanted very much to kiss her.
“Yes,” she whispered before pressing her lips against his. Her eyes fluttering shut as she kissed him tenderly.
Eagerly he returned the kiss, uncaring of how pathetic it was that he had never kissed another before. He drank her in like a man starved. Breathlessly he pulled back to find her eyes gazing up at him. “Yalasi.” He wanted more. But found himself unable to put into words that which was coursing through him.
“I know,” she replied.
And that was when his lips found hers once again. However, where tenderness had once been there was now only longing and want. He needed for someone, for once in his life, to see him as something other than a failure. He needed someone to not measure him against impossible standards. He was no Darth Vader, and at that moment— with her lips against his— he didn't want to be.
Kylo's hands lifted and began to brush lightly across her bare skin. He delighted in the feeling of her scars. She was a person forged from fire, just as he was. A gasp fell from his mouth when he noticed that her hands, small and delicate, had unfastened his belt and were now unzipping his tunic— drawing it away from his body and to the floor. He let out a moan when her hands finally touched his bare skin.
Her touch was electric and he found himself propelled forward, emboldened by her actions. His own hands began to graze her body, fingering and searching for the hidden fasteners that kept her dress closed. It took some doing but eventually, he found himself sliding the soft fabric from her body. Immediately his hands fell to her breasts, his thumbs brushing against her hardened nipples, garnering a moan from her.
Her hands fell to his length, already hard and struggling against his trousers. “I want to see you,” he moaned as her fingers gently caressed him through his pants.
Yalasi stepped back, her body nude except for a pair of panties. She was now completely vulnerable before him, and he drank in the sight of her. Countless scars lined her body, just as they lined his. However, in that moment— under the dim light of the paneling all around them, he thought that perhaps she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen.
Taking her into his arms he laid her down on the bed that was just a short distance away from them. His eyes searched hers as she laid beneath him. He had never done any of this before, and his body trembled with anticipation. Despite his nervousness he desperately wanted her, but only if she wished it. He would not force her. He was a great many things, but not that. “It's okay to say no,” he whispered through quivering lips as he hovered above her.
“Shh,” she began while rubbing her thumb against his lips. “I want this. I want you inside of me.” Lifting her hips, he helped her pull her panties down her legs and off her body. She spread her thighs, revealing herself to him. She reached up, taking one of his hands into hers and drew it down to feel how wet she had become.
Kylo bit his bottom lip while dipping his finger against her folds and finding her entrance. Slowly he slid a finger within her and gasped at how warm and inviting she felt. He desperately wanted to drown himself inside of her. Removing his finger he reached down to unzip his pants. He pushed them down haphazardly and stared down at her body splayed in front of him.
“You've never done this before,” she asked, causing him to bite his lip again and shake his head.
“Would you like me to show you?”
He nodded, and while he ordinarily would have felt shame or nervousness— he felt none of that at that moment. She was not judging him, and he was grateful for that.
“Lay down on your back.”
Following her instructions, he watched as she pulled off his boots and the rest of his garments. When finally his clothing was removed, she took him into her hand and straddled his length. She stared down at him while slowly drawing herself down onto him. He let out a loud moan, clenching his eyes shut as he felt her envelop him completely. When his length was seated entirely within her, she stilled and he savored the feeling of her warmth surrounding him.
“I'm going to start moving, okay?”
He let out another moan when she began to rise up and down his cock, setting a slow and languid pace. He wasn’t sure how long he could last, the act felt better than he had expected.
“Open your eyes,” she whispered.
Ren opened his eyes and watched as she slowly rode his length. Lifting a hand, he reached out to place his palm on her chest. Her heart was beating rapidly. His eyes fell to where they were joined, and the sight of his cock glistening with her wetness was very nearly too much for him.
Bucking his hips up into her, he listened as a loud moan fell from her lips. The sound of her pleasure echoed throughout the darkest parts of him, and deep inside he felt a bright light building within him.
Quickly nature took over and he dropped his hands to her hips to still her. He could feel himself through her and the sensations that he was causing to course through her body. He began to thrust up hard and deep into her, and he watched as her hand dropped to rub at herself. And in that moment of decadent voyeurism, he felt a wave of pleasure begin to surge within him. Pushing up deep into her, he let his pleasure wash over him and out into her.
As their bodies stilled she leaned down to place her head on his chest. He wrapped his arms around her, not wanting their moment to end. His heart was beating faster than he thought possible. The Force rumbled all around them, and for the briefest of moments, he could tell that she was watching— but he found himself unable to care as the woman who laid against him was the only thing that mattered. He didn't know what the future held for either of them, but he didn't care. She was beside him, and he wanted nothing more than that.
He awoke the next morning to find her lying beside him, facing him. She was breathing gently as her eyes fluttered beneath closed lids. He wasn't quite sure what to make of what had happened the night before, but he didn’t think he regretted it. There was a sense of calmness within him that he wasn't sure had been there before she had opened herself to him.
Lifting a hand, he reached out to pull a long curl out of her face. He tucked it gently behind her ear, as he thought about how easy it would be to pierce her mind at that moment and uncover everything he had ever dreamt of knowing from her. She typically kept her mind locked tight from him. And while he didn’t mind, as he found her a delightful puzzle to solve, he wondered what she was still keeping hidden from him. There had been something else there the night before, something that she had been quick to pull him away from.
No, he thought to himself, he wouldn’t violently tear her mind apart in search of the things she kept hidden and especially not while she slept. He wasn’t a degenerate. She had trusted him and showed him so much.
Ren drew his thumb along her jawline, a small smile creeping across his face at the soft whimper that fell from her. He watched enraptured as her skin prickled and tightened at his touch. His fingers fell to her bare hip and lightly he began to draw his fingers along her skin. He had never imagined that he would be lying in bed next to another, and especially not a woman that had revealed so many beautiful and incredible things to him.
He laid there watching her slumber for a great while longer before he slowly and carefully sat up in bed. His eyes attempted to focus through the darkness of her chambers. When finally he got out of bed, the panels around him illuminated but only slightly. It was just enough light for him to find his clothing and put it all back on.
When he was finally finished dressing, he turned and gave her sleeping form one last look. The doubt and uncertainty that generally greeted him each morning were not present. He had to begin his day, but he was looking forward to seeing her again.
“Who is she,” a familiar voice said.
His eyes shifted toward the voice to see Rey standing nearby. “None of your business,” he spat while pushing his hair from his face and standing tall. Yalasi was the one that had said yes. The one that would stand by his side, and he knew that with her help he'd be able to become more than just the sum of his pieces.
Virgin!Kylo is love. But, Hux isn't gonna to be happy when he finds out~
Chapter 14: Answers
Yalasi liked to meditate, and she did it often. Meditation was, as Snoke had taught her, a useful tool in her arsenal. It could influence the minds of those around her— making them more or less confident while increasing or decreasing their clarity and skill.
She particularly liked to meditate before training, just as she liked to meditate before battle. She visualized and practiced her skills in her mind while taking deep breaths in and out. She saw her body and focused on how it moved around the room or battlefield. She visualized countless different scenarios and how she would react at the moment to each one.
She was alone that day, as she liked to be when training. She had co-opted Ren's training room, preferring it to the one that the stormtroopers used. Unlike the stormtroopers room, Ren had training droids equipped with real lightsabers. It also had the added benefit of there being little chance of an audience forming.
Opening her eyes slowly, she rose up from the floor. Her head was beginning to ache, but she pushed the pain aside for the moment. It was time to train, whether her body wanted her to or not.
With one lightsaber, bright white, in hand and the other remaining on her hip, she placed her left arm behind her back and glanced toward the training droid. She performed the Makashi salute and in one fluid motion, she shifted her body into her opening form— a thing that had become as natural as breathing by that point.
Calm and steady, she thought to herself while remembering Snoke's lessons and those of the holocrons he had shared with her. Footwork was key, as well as maintaining a strong center of gravity and remaining fluid in motion.
Step slide. Never too wide or too thin, and never stay on the center line.
“Begin.” As that single word fell from her mouth the droid began to advance upon her with its lightsaber in hand. The droid was no doubt programmed to be tailored to Ren's fighting style, but it made no difference to her. It would learn and in the doing so, she too would learn Ren’s manner of fighting.
She stepped forward with her lead leg while sliding with her rear leg, never leaving her stance. As she lunged she stabbed the droid in its midsection, but not strong enough so that it would be damaged. “Jab to zone four. Impalement.” Quickly she slid back while parrying the wide sweeping motion of the droids lightsaber.
Leverage, position, advantage. Lunge, jab, parry. Do not allow yourself to be disarmed.
The droid shot forward at her and swung wildly, obviously not used to her manner of attack. It saw her as Kylo Ren, and so fought her as he typically would have wanted. She preferred using less swing than that which was typical of form one. By doing so it meant that her opponent would have less of an opportunity to defend against her attacks. She used rapid footwork to evade the droid's pressing attacks and quickly countered its next attempt with a parry of her own.
Quick strikes and counter parries are the key to overwhelming your opponent.
The droid moved back, its lightsaber lowering slightly as it slowly began to try to circle her. She grinned. It was learning faster than she had expected. It was not engaging her, instead waiting for her to engage it.
She circled with the droid. Taking a small step forward, she watched as the droid opened itself for a lunge— one that was easily countered and replied with a jab of her own. “Jab to zone one. Decapitation.”
“End,” Kylo said suddenly, taking her by surprise. In one swift movement, she severed the droid in half and spun around using the Force to push him away— her lightsaber remaining trained upon him. She watched him rise up to his feet, a smile twisted upon his face.
His hand lowered to his belt and with a quick movement he drew his lightsaber and it illuminated bright red. He lowered himself slightly into his stance and she grinned.
“Oh, you’d like to dance then,” she laughed.
“Try to keep up.”
“I think I’ll be alright."
Ren laughed, and in a moment he was upon her— his lightsaber swinging and crushing down upon her own. She was surprised by how swift he was, especially considering how hulking he was. However, his attack was one that was easily deflected. He was much stronger than she, but she knew how to use that strength against him. Step sliding back, she moved out of range from his next attack.
“Let’s make this interesting,” she said while circling him, and parrying his attacks. “With every hit you make on me I have to answer one question of yours. If I hit you, you have to answer a question of mine.”
Ren clenched his fingers around the hilt of his lightsaber, a wide grin on his face. His eyes remained fixed upon her as they orbited one another— both waiting for an opening for their next attack.
Yalasi smiled, her left hand held behind her back. She wouldn’t attack first. No, instead she would wait until he grew tired of their dance and came at her. And when he did, finally, she was prepared for it. With a quick feint, and a then a lunge forward, she brought her lightsaber against his arm. She did not touch him, just brought it close enough to him to make a point. “Glancing hit, zone two.”
He nodded, confirming the hit. “Your question then?”
“After I left, did anyone ever mention me by name? Or the fact that I even existed?”
“No. I knew that something had happened just before I came, but I didn’t know what. I only knew that Hux hated me. Everyone seemed to hate me.”
It broke her heart that Armitage had spent all those years alone. It had hardened him in a way that she had never thought possible. Of course, Armitage was as he always was— ever dutiful and loyal to the Order. But, she could tell that the years had not been kind to him. A frown crossed her lips. She should have fought harder to stay. She should have killed Snoke then and there.
“Jab zone four, implement,” Ren said, his voice shaking her from her thoughts. She lowered her eyes to find that the tip of his lightsaber was pointed at her belly. “Are you okay?”
“Is that your question,” she asked, forcing herself to smile— despite the thrumming at her temples.
“No. Why did you agree to stay?”
She hummed while returning back to her stance. “You know why. You and Armitage are the galaxy’s best hope for survival.” There was much more to it than that, but she wasn’t sure the middle of a duel was the best place for a conversation of that magnitude.
The expression upon Ren’s face told her that he wasn’t entirely happy with the brevity of her answer. Still, he nodded to her before stepping back and circling with her again. He was a skilled shii-cho practitioner, but it was simply too easy to anticipate his next attack. That was the weakness of form one, she supposed. The wild swings that characterized the fighting style were too easy to predict and exploit.
Ren’s eyes narrowed upon her as he pressed another attack against her. Their dueling continued on a great while longer until finally both of them were covered in sweat and too tired to continue. Her headache was steadily growing worse. She needed to stop. Yalasi raised her free hand and shook her head. “I yield.”
He lowered his lightsaber, confused. “What’s wrong?”
“Headache.” Hooking her lightsaber back onto her belt, she walked to the nearby table and poured herself a glass of water from a pitcher and took a small sip.
“Do you need to go to the medbay?”
She smiled at the concern in his tone. “No. I probably just need to eat something. Good job, by the way, sneaking up on me. But, I don't recommend you make a habit of it.” It was dangerous, and she wasn't particularly keen on explaining to everyone how they had managed to lose two Supreme Leaders in the span of just a handful of months.
“I was looking for you,” he said while walking to her and pouring himself some water.
“I daresay you found me.”
He chuckled and nodded. “It would appear so. The way you fight, that is Makashi right,” he asked before taking a long drink of water.
She hummed in confirmation. She was no master, and while Soresu was technically more useful due to its defense against blasters, it had been what was easiest for her to learn. She had been trained, before her arrival to Snoke, in the art of fencing— and Makashi was exactly like fencing. While there was no way that her parents could have anticipated a world where she would have to fight against other Force users, they had been right to see that she had the best fencing instructors as a child.
“Can you teach me,” he asked while eying her lightsabers. He was curious as to why she had only been fighting with one, and not both.
She did not answer the question upon his mind, knowing that he would be unhappy to learn the answer. She wasn’t quite sure how things would end between her and Ren, and she wanted to maintain the upper hand if ever they fought one another. She would keep her second lightsaber and it’s ability to connect with the other hidden deep in her mind until it ever needed to be revealed to him.
“I could I suppose, but I'm not a very good teacher. If you'd like to learn, and I think that's a fairly smart idea considering there’s another Force user rattling around, I still have the holocrons that Snoke gave me.”
“And that’s how you learned?”
“Mostly.” She shrugged. “I don't know if you noticed this, but Snoke was very very old.”
“Ancient even,” he laughed.
“Exactly. He wasn't really the type to do hands-on instruction.” He was more of the type to openly critique and criticize when her form was less than perfect. She sighed and took another drink, knowing that she was being very unfair. What he lacked in providing her physical training, he made up with sharing his mind with her. He taught her sorcery and provided her with the tools to unravel the mysteries of alchemy. He had turned her away, and it still stung— but she had come to see him, after all the years, as a paternal figure.
“Paternal,” Ren asked, echoing her thoughts.
“He was cruel and merciless, but... I knew him to be firm and fair as well.”
“He was just manipulating you.”
“I know, but to a ten-year-old who misses home, it didn't really matter. But, you know what they say, no big girl feelings in public,” she said with a wink. “What was it you sought me out for?”
He remained deathly still for a moment as if trying to recall. “Oh,” he paused. “I thought you would like to... have lunch?”
Her eyes drew to the clock on the wall. It was a little late for lunch, but she supposed that it couldn't hurt, especially considering how pounding her headache was becoming. “I'd love to. Would you like to order up, or go down?”
“I prefer to eat alone.”
She nodded. “I understand.” She motioned for them to leave. Following Ren out of the training room, she walked in silence beside him as they made their way up and through the ship. It wasn’t until they boarded a turbo lift that the silence was broken.
“Why did you stay with Snoke so long?”
She hummed. “A fair question I suppose. First, understand that I was young when I left home, but not that young. By the age of ten I had sat in on countless meetings, and negotiations with my parents. I learned how to lead companies.”
She shrugged while bringing a hand up to gently caress her left temple. “Yes and no. That’s only a subsidiary. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m many things, but I’m what my parents raised me to be above all else.”
His brow knit in confusion as he turned to face her. “What do you mean?”
“I’m a woman that markets a product for consumption. There are companies that sell pleasure, death, and fear. Why can’t things like freedom and self-reliance also be products that are manufactured for the galactic market?”
“Manufactured by the First Order you mean. But what if people don’t agree? What if they aren’t happy with that?”
“It doesn’t matter. Are most of the people in the galaxy happy right now? The scavvs on Jakku. The bantha farmers on Tatooine. Are they truly self-reliant? Are they actually happy?” Leaning back against the lift’s walls, she closed her eyes for a moment. Her head hurt, and there she was discussing something she had only ever spoken to Armitage about.
Yalasi felt Ren’s hand upon her shoulder and when she opened her eyes she saw that a concerned look had fallen over his features. She watched as his eyes searched hers for a moment.
“We don’t have to talk about this if it’s bothering you,” he murmured.
“It’s fine. It doesn’t matter. It’s probably about time you understood why I’m still here.” Ren was inquisitive, and she knew that he wouldn’t stop pushing until he thought he had all the answers she had to offer.
“Everyone thinks that they’re individuals, and they get to make choices. You can choose to buy a ship from Chepat, or Ubrikkian, or Rothana… but at the end of the day, you’re still just buying a ship and you’re still just buying that ship from KDY. As I see it, there are only two choices that you get to make. Are you going to buy a ship, or not? Why can’t we expand that out to everything else?”
“And we do that how? Loyalty and allegiance for contracts and credits?” There was mirth in his voice that told her he thought the idea was ludicrous, but she didn’t see it that way.
“Why not? The planets that align themselves with the Order become prosperous, and those that don’t… are left to fall. There’s room for everyone at the table, just as long as it’s our table they sit at.”
There was silence then, with both of them deep in thought. Her mind raced with exactly how they were going to rally the various sectors behind them. It had been easy in the Unknown Regions, but they could not repeat the same strategies they had used before. There were too many planets, and too many people to force to their knees. No, they needed to rehab their image and lift themselves up in the hearts of as many people as possible.
When the turbo lift doors opened, she followed Ren to his chambers quietly. She waited for a moment before entering behind him. After the night they had shared together, she suspected he wanted more than just lunch. However, she entered regardless— despite the fact that her head hurt and she wasn’t particularly hungry.
Ren guided her down a dark corridor that eventually opened into a large sitting room. There were two more doors, one ahead of her and the other to the right. His sleeping or meditation area and a refresher, she thought. The room, as she saw it, was just as she had expected it to be. Spartan, and dark. Bleak. There was furniture, but only just a table and two chairs. This was not a place for comfort she thought, and vastly different from both her and Armitage's chambers.
“Yalasi,” he asked, pulling her from her thoughts.
There was a flicker of something upon his face and she saw that he thought she was perhaps unhappy with his chambers. A sheepish smile crept across her features as she settled down into one of the chairs. “I have to admit I don't have very much of an appetite today.”
“You said you haven’t had lunch yet,” he said as he picked up a datapad and sat down across from her.
She nodded. She had slept through breakfast and had decided to spend lunch meditating and training. “Yes, I'm aware of what I said."
“Then you should eat. It will help with your head,” he said eagerly— his tone doing nothing to hide his concern. He turned the datapad to her, and she leaned forward to take it.
She looked down at the menu he had pulled up for her. None of it sounded very good, and she knew it was unlikely that it would taste good either. The officers had access to better quality food than the rank and file, and especially the stormtroopers. But, it paled when compared to the food she had grown used to since she had left the Order.
“It doesn't matter. It’ll all taste like metal regardless. Whatever you are having will do.” She handed the datapad back, and settled back into the chair— she was more tired than she had thought.
There was silence as he ordered food for them both, and before she knew it she was asleep.
Yalasi woke hours later, in bed and stripped of all her armor so that only her underdress remained. She squinted through the darkness, keenly aware of the cold compress upon her forehead. “Kylo?”
“I’m here. I brought you some medicine,” he replied while stepping into the room.
She closed her eyes with a sigh. It wouldn’t help. It never did. The door that her parents had opened in her mind had made it so that she had to work just as hard to keep others out. However, she knew it was more than just that. What Snoke and she had done to her body had caused the results that they both had wanted— near constant pain that she could draw power and strength from, but it had also meant that painkillers were generally ineffective.
“I’ll be fine,” she murmured. “Sorry for ruining our lunch.”
“It’s okay. It doesn’t matter.”
She felt the mattress dip beneath his weight as he replaced the compress upon her brow with a new one. Yalasi opened her eyes to catch his upon her. He was worried, and she couldn’t help but find it endearing. “It does. You don’t have to play my nursemaid.”
“I don’t mind. I… We need you better as soon as possible.” He pressed two pills into her hand before helping her sit up.
Yalasi watched as he picked up a glass of water from his nightstand and handed it to her. She looked down cautiously at the pills that were in her hand. She didn’t recognize the markings upon them, and she couldn’t help but wonder if they were what he said they were.
“It isn’t poison,” he said, noticing her hesitation. “You said once that I was an honorable man for killing Snoke while he was awake. Well, you are far more deserving of that chance than he ever was.”
She thought that perhaps he was sincere, and so she took the pills. She knew they wouldn’t help, the headache would only pass whenever it wished to. “Thank you,” she murmured while she handed the glass back to him.
She took in a deep breath before shifting herself further up. It hurt to move, but she knew she couldn’t stay. She had already made the mistake of falling asleep around him twice, and she wasn’t particularly keen on doing it again.
“You think so little of me,” he asked with a chuckle, his hand tucking a fallen curl back behind her ear. “I know what it’s like to have someone rattling around in my brain without permission. I wouldn’t do that to you while you slept.”
“You’re doing it now.” She laughed softly, resting her head back against his headboard.
“Yes, and if I’m not mistaken you’re awake. So, my point stands.”
She supposed so. Closing her eyes once again, she tried to focus on anything else besides the pain. “Tell me a joke.”
“I don’t know any good ones.”
“I liked the wookie one,” she murmured as she scooted down to rest her head upon his pillow once more.
“That wasn’t a good joke.”
“Jokes don’t have to be good to be funny.”
Ren chuckled, before gently stroking her cheek as she had done for him all those weeks ago. “That is literally the only quantifier for whether a joke is good or not.”
“Then I thought it was a very good joke.” His touch was soothing and before she knew it she felt the pull of sleep once again.
“What side of an Ewok has the most hair,” he asked softly.
“I don’t know. Which side?”
“The outside,” he deadpanned.
She smiled, and as she fell asleep once more she thought that perhaps Kylo Ren didn’t give himself nearly enough credit. He was funnier than he thought.
Chapter 15: Love
cw: child abuse, blood, injuries. brendol hux being a dickkkk.
Hux hated that he knew. He hated that he had always made it a point of knowing everything that was happening within the Order. He hated that he had known before receiving the reports that she had spent the night in Ren’s chambers. He hated that he was observant, and knew exactly what the long strand of Yala’s hair upon Ren’s shoulder meant. He hated that Ren had been so careless. But, above all of that, what he hated the most was that Kylo Ren thought himself worthy of sharing her body.
The logical part of his brain, of course, respected her bodily autonomy. Yala and he had not yet spoken of the nature of their relationship. He understood that until that happened she could share her body with whomever she wanted. She was a grown woman and could make her own choices.
However, the illogical part of him could not help the surge of jealousy that rose up whenever he thought about her replacing him with another. And especially replacing him with Kylo Ren. Yes, both she and Ren were Force users— but Ren was less a man and more of a wild animal. Ren’s rage compromised himself and worried that it would eventually bring her down as well.
He thought that perhaps it was finally time for him to tell Yala how he felt. He cherished her, desired her, and most importantly loved her. He needed her to know that she was the only one that mattered to him. He wanted to tell her that everything he was doing was for her and no one else. He didn’t care about the galaxy, not really… not like she did. He had meant to show her his love and speak the worlds only when he rose to the throne. He had thought, once upon a time, that those three little words would have meant more when he could finally prove his worth to her. But now he thought that perhaps his unwillingness to say that he loved her had pushed her into Ren’s arms.
Armitage clenched his hands into fists behind his back in an attempt to push down the rising feelings of anger within him. He was not Kylo Ren, nor was he his father. He would not allow himself to fall to his emotions so easily. He wouldn’t hit or break something just because he was angry. Instead, he forced himself to look at the situation objectively. While it hurt his heart, he understood exactly what she was doing. If he looked at the situation as a General and not as the man who loved her, he thought that it was a good plan of action.
Yala’s influence upon their new Supreme Leader had caused Ren’s mood to even out considerably. Ren seemed more focused and much more driven. There were far fewer reports of broken panels and random scorched electronics coming in. Ren had even expressed interest in making more planetside progress with the First Order. It seemed as if Ren was almost ready to lead.
He wondered idly if perhaps that was the purpose of all of it. Yalasi was a passionate and ambitious woman, and he knew that she wasn’t above using her body to get what she wanted. But, he knew above all else that she was intelligent and perceptive. Kylo Ren’s insecurities were not likely to have gone unnoticed by her, nor the understanding that something had to change in Ren if they were going to see their goals realized.
But, he couldn’t help but wonder what exactly her goals were now. Did she still want what he wanted? He understood that she had to consider what was best for her daughter— and he himself had begun to modify his own goals to make room for Seyah’s existence. But, he was unsure whether or not she still dreamt of standing by his side when he became Supreme Leader. He had promised her, all those years ago, that one day they would stand hand in hand before the whole galaxy— a galaxy that was knelt before them in supplication. They had been just children at the time, but he had meant it and he still did.
His eyes drifted to the clock on the wall. His shift was over. Armitage let out a slow and steady breath while unclenching his hands. He left the bridge and made the long slow journey to his quarters. He wasn’t sure if he’d be seeing her that evening. Between the finishing of her labs, the upcoming trade negotiations, and whatever was happening with Ren, it was very likely that she had no extra time for him.
When finally he approached his quarters, he input his code to unlock the door. As the door opened he saw that his room was dimly illuminated and soft music was pouring out into the corridor behind him. He was both happy and upset that he had been wrong. He was still very much upset, but his heart leaped at the thought that she was there waiting for him to arrive.
Crossing the threshold, he stepped into his quarters to find her standing in the doorway of his sitting area. She wore a long stark white dress that gave prominence to her brown skin. Two long slits ran up each side of the dress, showing off her supple thighs and the golden colored heels upon her feet. Her hair was plaited and pinned up and accented with sparkling gold thread. It was a style that he had never seen before but quickly decided that he liked. A smile hung across her wine-colored lips as she held out a drink for him.
“Welcome home handsome, how was work?”
He took a small sip of the drink. Corellian brandy. He wondered absently at what the special occasion was to warrant such a fine and expensive drink. He smiled as the taste filled his throat and rapidly filled his body with warmth. “As it usually is these days, long.”
He took another sip, his eyes trailing down her body as it curved beneath the fabric she wore. He wondered if Ren had touched her as he had. If she had writhed breathlessly beneath Ren, moaning his name out, as she had done so many times with him. Jealousy surged within him as he slammed back the rest of the drink and passed her to continue on to the sitting room.
“What are you doing here.”
“I wanted to see you. I wasn’t aware I needed an appointment,” she replied, her voice light and playful, but forced.
Armitage frowned at her response while pouring himself another drink. “No, but you cannot simply show up whenever the mood strikes you Leviathan. I am still your general, and I warn you to show more consideration to that fact in the future.” As the words tumbled from his mouth, he found himself turning quickly to face her. There was shock and fury in her eyes. They had two rules, and his jealousy and spite had caused him to break both of them.
Years ago they both had come to the agreement that she would never use the Force against him. That agreement came with the understanding that he would never pull rank on her, and never call her Leviathan behind closed doors. She was his equal within the Order, but held no rank— and that made her ill at ease. And the title of Leviathan, he knew, was one that bothered her a great deal. It implied a number of things that she wasn’t entirely comfortable with. He knew that it was a double-edged sword. It meant that she was powerful and unyielding, but also a monster.
And there he had gone, calling her both lesser than he and also a monster. “Yala… I didn’t mean,” he began quickly… needing her to understand. “I’m sorry.”
She shook her head, a cold facade falling across her features. “No, you’re right of course General Hux. I have been most rude. It will not happen again.”
There was a part of him, the cruel and merciless part, that was pleased he had made her so upset. However, the larger part of him screamed at him to move— to take her into his arms and press kisses upon her lips. “Yala,” he repeated while stepping forward to her.
She did not respond, only stared at him for a moment. The facade she wore was unyielding. It was a mask that she had learned to craft after years of torment and abuse by Snoke. It was similar to his own, honed and perfected at the fists of his father. However, he knew her better than that. He could see beneath her mask. She was terrified, furious, hurt.
“You think that some great betrayal has occurred but you are wrong. There is nothing I wouldn't do to see our goals realized. I thought you knew that already, but I see I was wrong.”
When she turned to leave his room and he surged forward, grasping her wrist tightly. “Mother’s breath woman. You’re infuriating. I love you.”
Shock settled across them both and when she turned to face him he saw something in her eyes that he had never seen before. Fear.
“D..don't say that. Why would you say that?”
“Because it's true. I have always loved you.” His blue eyes searched hers as he continued to speak. “Look. See that I'm telling you the truth.”
He could feel the warmth of her seeping into his mind. It wasn’t aggressive, not like when Ren did it. Instead, it was gentle and delicate, much like a soft blanket that was being pulled over him. He knew the extent of her abilities, and that she could rip his mind apart if she so wished. But, she never did. Of course, there were times when she did it all without even knowing she was doing it— that was a byproduct of what her parents had done to her. However, consent was a cornerstone in their relationship and anything past a glimpse had to be consented to.
His mind blossomed to hers and he pulled forth a memory. It was a terrible black memory, and they had been little more than children when it happened. However, it had been the first time he realized how much he loved her and how much he was grateful for her.
Armitage stared motionless at the window and the swaying trees outside, trying to force his body to move from his place upon the floor. He had been caught by surprise that evening, as it had been years since his father had dared to lay a hand upon him. But, he knew that this time had been different. His father had never been so violent in his punishments before.
He wasn't sure what had changed within his father, but something clearly had. He had always known that his father hated and resented him. He was young, healthy, and capable. However, something had shifted and he didn't know what. He supposed that ultimately it didn't matter, and especially not at that very moment.
A sharp and pained breath tumbled from his mouth as he began to take a mental account of his injuries. One of his eyes was swollen completely shut, and the other was rapidly joining the first. His lip was split open, and his jaw cracked. The pain in his chest told him that his father had very likely broken at least two of his ribs and had cracked his sternum. Move, he whispered to his body— he knew that nobody was coming for him and that he had to make it to the medbay on his own.
His less swollen eye turned to his hand, and carefully he placed his palm down on the floor. He was tired, and every single part of him was in pain. Armitage clenched his eye shut as he gathered what remained of his strength and forced himself upright. A small cry fell from his lips at the pain that surged within him. He remained still for a few moments before taking a tentative step forward, and when he did not fall he took another.
His body ached, but he was going to make it to the medbay. He was going to show his father that he was a survivor and that one day he would survive him as well. Slowly, he snaked his way through the immense corridors, ignoring the whispers and wandering eyes of those around him. He was not embarrassed. His broken bones and bloodied body was not his sin, but his father's.
“Armitage,” he heard Yala scream.
He wanted to stop, to fall into her arms, but he kept moving forward. His strength was rapidly leaving him, as was his sight— and the medbay was so tantalizingly close. When finally he reached his destination the doors opened and he stumbled inside.
“Armie,” Yala whispered to him before he succumbed to the pain.
The sound of a whispering voice pulled him from his dreamless slumber. His mind was a haze, and his body heavy. The smell of bacta and plastic filled his nose as his eyes fluttered open. He felt a small and smooth hand wrapped around his, but despite how hard he tried he could not move his head.
“I promise you I will do whatever it takes,” Yala whispered to him, her voice small and tired. “I'll become what he wants me to be. Then I'll be strong, and I'll slaughter every single one of them who ignored what was being done to you. You're the only one that matters now.”
“Yala,” he managed despite how dry his throat was.
He wanted to tell her how much it meant to him that she was there beside him. He knew that his father would not visit him, nor would any of the other cadets. It figured, he thought to himself, that she would be the only one by his side. Since her arrival they had become fast friends. She was just as alone within the Order as he was— and they had bonded over that fact.
“Shh Armie, you must rest.”
“Don't leave,” he croaked while gripping her hand tightly.
He knew that his father was a monster, but he felt safer having her near. His father wouldn't dare touch him if she was in the room. The power that Yala had, the power that his father had been so attracted to, now scared the elder Hux. She could do and see things that Brendol couldn't explain, and each year that passed Brendol became keenly aware of the fact that she was beyond his control and influence. Leader Snoke had seen to that.
“Never ever. I promise.”
His heart swelled with gratitude. There was something else. Something deeper and more vivid, but he found himself unable to put a name to it. Ultimately, he figured, it didn't matter. He was no longer alone. He didn't need a great number of friends— he had her and that's all he really wanted. He just wanted one person who gave a damn. Who cared enough for him to visit him when he was in pain.
“Armie,” she whispered, her eyes glinting with tears.
He pulled on her wrist gently and brought her back to him. Wrapping his arms around her, he held her close to his chest. “It's only ever been you Yala. There is no one else, and there never will be.”
“Are you mad at me?”
He chuckled gently. He had professed his love for her and still she worried that he hated her. “Do you think I love you so little that your relationship with Ren would turn me away from you? I am here for you until the end. But there must be no more secrets Yala. No more hiding anything, okay?”
She nodded, her tears breaking loose and falling down her cheeks. He lifted a hand and gently brushed them away from her skin. He held her tight, allowing her emotions to pour out and soak through the black fabric of his uniform. “Armitage,” she whispered.
“Yes, my love?” A smile bloomed upon his lips when he realized just how much enjoyed those words. They felt right, and he couldn’t help but wonder why he hadn’t said them before. It had been foolish for him to think that he needed to wait. She had seen him at his very worst when he had been broken and consumed by his many failures— and she had never turned away. He didn’t need to prove anything to her.
“I love you too.”
His gaze fell to her and he found that she was staring up at him. His smile grew larger and his heart swelled with happiness. “Oh thank the Mother,” he said playfully. “I thought maybe I needed to start to worry.”
She laughed softly while leaning up to place a kiss upon the corner of his lips. “Shut up.”
“Make me,” he murmured as he drew her dress down from her shoulders and allowed it to pool at her feet. “Now… this is what I propose to happen next kitten. You take off those ridiculous shoes and hurry on into the bedroom. Then, I want you to get on your hands and knees on the bed and wait for me.”
She grinned as she stepped out of the dress and then out of her shoes. He nodded his approval before she turned and slowly walked down the hall and disappeared into his bedroom. He loved her and he was going to spend the entire night showing her just how much she meant to him.
She could have whatever it was she had with Ren, but he would make damn sure it was his side that she returned to at the end of the night. Ren, he knew, didn’t matter in the very end. It was just he and Yala— as it had always been.
brendol is an ass. >_< i'm not sure how i feel about this chapter, but i hope ya'll enjoyed it! i've got two more queued up that'll drop in the next couple of days. we will meet seyah and find out more about what yala's plans are in the next few chapters.
Chapter 16: Home
“How are the negotiations going,” he asked upon entering the conference room.
He sat down at the head of the table, his gaze falling immediately to the scene on the holo before him. The planet they orbited was key to their continued galactic dominance as it specialized in the production of not only weapons but also ammunition. He had sent Yalasi down to the planet’s surface with a moderate complement of stormtroopers. Hux had told him that she had experience with trade and contract negotiations due to the nature of her position within her family, and so he was more than happy to delegate the task to her.
She had been on the planet for most of the day, touring factories and visiting various places of interest. He had left halfway through the negotiations, finding them dry and dull, but he knew that Hux had not. He thought, were it not for his military mind, Hux would have made a decent politician. He had the particular brand of temperament that one needed to have for politicking.
“They have signed contracts for labor and munitions, but she is attempting to push for the children,” Hux replied, his eyes remaining upon the hologram before them.
He still didn't understand fully why the children were so critical. He knew that it was what they had done in the Unknown Regions. All of the stormtroopers and a great number of the rank and file were children that they had captured. He wasn't very keen on the idea of it, but Yalasi and Hux had advocated for it. They had pressed the need for loyal individuals, raised in the Order from next to birth, to fill the positions that would open once they built their new Empire.
“I understand. I’m a mother too,” Yalasi began, her face soft and gentle. She was out of her armor and wore simple colors on a garment that reminded him vaguely of the clothing that the Jedi of old liked to wear. Her hair was uncovered, bound in a single braid that fell down her shoulder and to her waist— she was unlike he had ever seen before. He knew; however, that her appearance was carefully tailored to the audience she had that day.
His eyes narrowed at the confession that she had a child. She had never mentioned it before, and he wondered if perhaps it was a lie used to make herself seem more trustworthy.
“She has a child,” he asked, feigning disinterest.
“Yes. Seyah. She is five, or very nearly six now.” Hux spoke in a tone that was even and objective, but he knew that there was arrogance hiding behind it.
Ren couldn’t help but wonder just how much she was still keeping from him. Of course, her having a child changed very little for him in regard to how he saw her. He didn't really care if she had a kid. While it upset him that she hadn't trusted him enough to mention Seyah, and had trusted Hux— he understood why she had possibly wanted to keep a lid on the existence of her child. Seyah could be used against them if she was ever discovered. The Resistance was all but crushed. They had no allies and no ships, and that meant that they were very likely desperate.
He knew that his mother wouldn't allow them to take a child, but he wasn't so sure about the rest of them. He didn't doubt that there would be some within the Resistance that wouldn't hesitate to use Seyah against them if they had the chance to. It was a thought that angered him, and his mind began to churn with ways to keep her hidden from the eyes of their enemies.
“Believe me, I know what each of you is thinking right now. You worry that if you allow your children to go with us you won't be able to keep them safe. You worry that they’re going to end up on a ship, and used as a shield. I know what the Resistance wants you to believe.”
She placed her hand upon her heart. “But, it's simply not true. We have schools and academies that are just waiting for you to use them. Every child is cared for, nurtured, and safe. Your children will be no different. They'll grow up to be engineers, academics, artists, scientists. We want to bring peace and prosperity back to the galaxy, but we need your help.”
Kylo arched a brow as his attention turned slightly to Hux. “I didn’t know we had schools.”
The red-haired man chuckled while shaking his head. “We don’t. Not in the Inner Rim, and not like how she's explaining them.”
“I hope that you’ll reconsider. But, even if you don't, I want each of you to remember that you’re loved and protected. The First Order wants all of us to be happy and prosperous.” She waved her hand and he watched as stormtroopers filed out carrying large sackcloth bags and barrels, emblazoned with the symbol of the First Order, into the area before the stage. “A gift, a token of appreciation from General Hux, and Supreme Leader Ren.”
The crowd grew quiet before exploding into applause. He watched as an old man approached the podium and began to speak about how they were going to ration out the water and foodstuffs the Order had provided them. The feed ended shortly after.
“General, we have Leviathan standing by on com.”
“Put her through,” Hux replied.
“That was the last village. None of them agreed to send their children, but we did get the munition contracts from the capital officials. So, it wasn't all a loss. I say, give them some time to think. They are already unable to feed and care for their children. Only their pride remains now,” Yalasi said.
Hux nodded. He could tell that Hux was pleased that she had managed to get the contracts. The children were a last-minute push that Hux wasn't sure she was going to even follow through on.
“The food will eventually run out, and they'll see that they have no choice but to give them to us.”
“Yes. And if the village elders haven't contacted us in two weeks, we can discuss what will come next. I don't want to scare them too much, just nudge them down the correct path.”
“Are you on your way back now,” Ren asked.
There was silence for a great while. “About that.”
“You wanted to go home,” Hux said aloud.
“Mm. Yes. I'm just a blaster shot away anyways. I thought the two of you might like to come and see what we're cooking up in the drive yards, amongst other things.”
Hux turned slightly to face him. It was easy to tell that Hux wanted to make the stop, and if he was being completely honest with himself— he wanted to as well. He had learned a great deal about Yalasi over the past months, but he knew next to nothing about what she had done after leaving Snoke. “Very well. We will bring the fleet to dock. We can refuel before we flush out the remainder of the Resistance.”
To say that he was nervous was an absolute understatement. Until that very moment, he had only seen Yalasi within the relative safety and security of his fleet. While he was moderately sure that she wasn't going to run him through with a lightsaber, he still found himself nervous about meeting her on her grounds.
There had been no trouble at the drive yards, but there had been some miscommunication about how they were actually to arrive at Yalasi's estate. It seemed to Hux that they could simply take a First Order shuttle to the surface. He had been mistaken, and the only thing that kept them from not visiting the planet proper had been the arrival of two Andrim servants in a private shuttle.
They had been informed by her servants that access to the planet surface was now heavily regulated and only documented private shuttles were allowed to make the voyage from yard to surface. It was a new edict passed by the Technician, the director of the drive yards, in the months since Yalasi’s departure from the planet. It was all irritating, but he supposed he could understand the need to keep the rabble out.
Yalasi’s shuttle, however, was comfortable. It was a thing for pleasure and very much different from the military ones he was used to. Despite the abundant comforts all around him, he couldn't help but feel disquiet at the unknowing.
“Would you two care for refreshments,” one of the other men in the shuttle asked. They were a servant of some type clad in heavy red and purple robes that were finely embroidered with gold thread. He hadn't asked about their station as he really didn't care. “Preteme has selected a fine sampling for you both today.”
Hux looked to him as if seeking permission to partake. Ren’s looked at his general with disbelief. There were times that Hux had willingly ignored his wishes and others where he seemed generally content with making snide little comments instead of being useful. There had even been instances where he was sure that Hux was actually actively working against him. It was aggravating that was the moment that Hux finally asked him for permission for anything. “Go ahead. I don't care.”
“What is it you have available,” Hux asked while leaning forward to the servant.
“Brandy, violet champagne, blossom wine, and Sullustan wine.”
“Tedious,” he said while rolling his eyes, ignoring the servants and Hux completely.
His eyes drifted out the window of the shuttle and to the city as it faded from view. He knew the Andrim estate was outside Kuat City, but he didn’t know just how far it was. As boredom began to grow he felt a ripple that he knew meant there was another Force-sensitive nearby. The ripple was faint, and subtle and was located in the direction they were heading. However, it was not Yalasi. It was someone else entirely.
With his curiosity peaked, he continued to stare out the window as the estate came into view. It was a large and sprawling thing, surrounded by lush green grass and vast expansive gardens. In the middle of it was a grand home. Apparently, the war had been good for the Andrim family. His eyes narrowed at the white figures that patrolled the grounds of the estate.
“Yes,” Hux began, “When I became aware of Seyah’s existence I sent a compliment of stormtroopers to guard the Andrim estate while Leviathan was away.”
He wondered idly just how long Hux had known that Yalasi had a child, and why he hadn’t thought to deign him with that information. Perhaps, she thought that he would attempt to do take Seyah and turn her into a tool for the First Order to use. His jaw tightened at the thought of it. Did she think so little of him to believe that he would do Seyah that which had been done to them?
When finally the shuttle landed and its doors opened, he stepped out to see Yalasi and a small child standing a short distance away. Yalasi was dressed in a manner that shocked him. Gone was her black armor, and in its place was a magenta dress. It showed a great deal of skin, which he supposed was the point considering how warm it was outside. It was an attractive dress, but very fine and not at all what he had come to be used to with her. She was a member of one of the noble trade houses, and yet he had never expected to see her dressing at her station.
“Supreme Leader, General Hux,” she said with a smile. “I'd like to introduce you to my daughter... Seyah Andrim. Welcome to my home.”
A small smile crept upon his face at the sight of the little girl. The child looked almost exactly like her mother, and he knew immediately that she was the Force-sensitive he had felt on his way into the estate. Seyah’s power was subtle and unfocused, but he could sense the raw untapped power inside of her. He wondered idly if how he saw Seyah was how Skywalker saw him when he was a child.
His gaze drifted to Yalasi who was staring directly at him. She had a hand clasped on her daughter’s shoulder, and she was holding Seyah close to her. Her face was light and happy, but there was something in her eyes. He had seen it before in the eyes of so many mothers. It was a threat… a warning that she would protect her child at any cost. However, unlike the mothers he had culled in the past, he knew that she had the power to do just that.
Ren lifted his hands up in a show of deference and nodded at her— allowing her to see that he understood, and meant no harm to Seyah. And he didn’t, he really didn’t. Ren wasn’t sure what his feelings toward Yala were, but she at the very least was his ally. She gave herself freely to both the Order and himself, and that meant something to him.
“Criser,” Seyah exclaimed, pulling him abruptly from his thoughts. His eyes trailed to where the girl’s attention was focused, and he watched as one of the servants waved at her with a smile.
Yalasi snapped her fingers, and Seyah quickly calmed down as if remembering her place. Ren smiled when Seyah bowed to him and then Hux. “Hi, Uncles!”
“Seyah,” Yalasi gently corrected.
“Good afternoon Supreme Leader Ren, and General Hu...gs?” Seyah looked up at her mother, and Ren chuckled. He could tell the girl knew she was wrong, but she was not quite sure how.
“Hux, little one. With an X,” his general said while stepping forward with his eyes focused firmly upon the child. There was a reverence in how he looked at the girl, and Kylo couldn't help but find that very interesting. He had always wondered what the true nature of Hux's relationship with Yala was, and now he wondered why Hux was so interested in her child.
“No,” Ren said while kneeling before Seyah with a large grin upon his face. “You were exactly right Seyah, it's General Hugs.”
Seyah looked down at him. She tilted her head slightly, and he knew that she was very much staring at the scar that ran across his face. He could feel the beginnings of her mind attempting to creep into his. She was easily pushed out, but still it amused him to no end.
The girl’s attention then shifted to Hux and she began to openly stare at his bright red hair. “You’re the Uncle from the holo-poster. Auntie and Ommer at school said that you blew up an entire planet all on your own.”
However, before Hux could reply her attention shifted again. Her brow furrowed slightly as if she was extremely confused. “Why would the First Order have a general in charge of hugs,” she asked before she leaned up on her tippy toes to look over his shoulder. “Where’s your war general? Are they still in the shuttle?”
Ren laughed merrily. He could feel the embarrassment pouring from Yalasi, and the absolute irritation coming from Hux. “I'm afraid I don't have one. Only a hugs general.”
Yalasi cleared her throat, causing Seyah to fall silent. She was not pleased that he was egging on her child and causing her to act out. Biting his lip, he stared up at Yala through his lashes.
“I am so sorry.”
“It's quite alright Yalasi,” Hux began politely.
She lifted her hand. “No. It's not. She's being rude to an Uncle and she knows better.”
Seyah frowned, unhappy that her mother was unhappy. She bowed to Hux again. “I’m sorry General Hux.”
A soft sigh fell from Yalasi's painted lips as she turned— revealing her dress to be entirely backless. A breath caught in his throat. His eyes focused on the expanse of brown skin that had been revealed to him. His mind drifted to the memory of how wonderful her skin felt beneath his fingertips.
“Ren,” Hux said after clearing his throat and pulling him from his thoughts. He followed dutifully behind Yalasi as she guided them through her estate.
The estate was not what he expected it to be. Yes, it was finely decorated and tidy, but it was very obvious that a precocious five-year-old lived in it. There were pictures that were done in paint and drawing sticks that hung all over. The walls that weren’t covered in framed pictures held tall built-in bookshelves. And, a quick glance told him that while a great many were the sort of books one would find in a noble house, just as many were books meant for children.
As they walked, and he studied his surroundings, he heard Seyah whisper to him. “Can I be your war general?”
“Maybe when you're older,” he laughed. “And only if your mother says so.”
Seyah nodded before taking off running and disappearing down a hallway. He paused for a moment and regarded the two stormtroopers that stood just outside a door at the very end of the hallway. He was glad that she had allowed his troops inside of her home. She was powerful, yes, but she was just one person.
Ren turned his attention back to Yala and continued walking. His quickened his pace so that he could walk beside her. “Seyah is very charming.”
“Thank you. She is also doing quite well at the academy. She is very… astute.”
He grinned at her word choice. He thought that perhaps he could see that within the child as well. She seemed the sort that was clever enough to manipulate a situation to her benefit. “Just like her mother I’d say.”
Yalasi hummed thoughtfully. “I know. But, I don’t want her to be like me. I want her to be better. She will not have my life. I’ll see to that.”
Ren’s grin fell. “She won’t. She has you.” He rested a hand upon her lower back, and gently caressed her skin.
He knew just how terrible it had been for her beneath Snoke. It had been awful for him as well. However, he was not their master. As Seyah would be better than her mother, he would be better than their master had been. He would not turn a child into a weapon just to further his own cause. Yes, he wanted to grow his power and knowledge, but he would not rip the innocence out from a little girl to gain it.
If their new world was to flourish, they had to be better than the ones who ruled the old one.
Hux basked in the warmth of the sun shining above. Yalasi and Ren had stepped inside a short while ago to look at some sort of artifact, leaving him alone to watch Seyah. He wasn’t sure what the artifact was, and he couldn’t bring himself to care either— especially since their absence meant he got to spend some time alone with Seyah. The child was charming and well mannered, both things he expected from any child of Yala’s— and he indulged in thinking, any child of his as well.
Armitage’s eyes remained fixed upon Seyah as she spun herself around in the grass a short distance from him. “Be careful little one,” he said gently when he noticed her bare feet sending her dangerously close to the garden’s stone covered ground.
He didn’t know whether or not she was actually his daughter, but he couldn’t push down the swell of fatherly concern that was growing inside him at the thought of her falling and hurting herself.
She looked a great deal like her mother as was to be expected, but there was someone else in her features. Her brown hair was a great deal lighter than Yala’s was, and had just the faintest amount of red in it that caused it to almost glow beneath the late afternoon sun. Her skin was also a few shades lighter. However, it was the eyes that gave him the most pause. He hadn’t noticed it on the holo, but her eyes were blue and more than that they were the same shade of blue as his.
Seyah stopped suddenly, her chest heaving with laughter. Her eyes, his eyes, fell to him for a moment before she began to spin again. Armitage smiled at Seyah while wondering exactly how she hadn’t managed to make herself sick yet.
He wasn’t quite sure what to think if Seyah turned out to be his daughter. There was excitement, of course. The idea of having created a little person with Yalasi was intoxicating. And if he was being entirely honest with himself, he had fully warmed to the idea of Seyah being his almost immediately. He delighted in the idea of being able to be a better father to her than his own had been to him. However, beneath his excitement was absolute terror. If Seyah was his and word got out she would undoubtedly become a target.
Armitage let out a heavy sigh before taking another sip of his champagne. He thought that perhaps the risk of something happening to Seyah was the reason Yalasi hadn’t brought it the subject of her parentage directly. He knew that if the Resistance found out that the child existed and was the union of the First Order’s General and one of Snoke’s apprentices, they would leap on the chance to use her against them.
His smile faded and was replaced with a tight-lipped frown. His mind raced with ideas on how to prevent her from being taken. The stormtroopers were a good first line of defense, but he needed to know there was something more past that. He thought about perhaps some sort of tracking device. It would have to relatively small and easily overlooked. He knew that it would be best if it was something that was typical for children to wear and that they wouldn’t remove. A pair of earrings or a necklace perhaps— both everyday objects that someone would easily miss.
His mind drifted through the various possibilities. However, when he heard the sound of tiny bare feet hitting stone, those possibilities fell away. Faster than he had thought possible, he jumped out of his chair and captured Seyah in his arms before she fell to the ground. She looked up at him, her body trembling and her eyes welling with tears. She had scared herself and was on the verge of crying.
“Shh little one. I’ve got you,” he whispered, pulling her up into his arms and holding her close. Seyah buried her face into his chest and began to weep loudly, her tears soaking through his shirt. Armitage gently rubbed her back while swaying slightly, trying desperately to calm and soothe her.
Eventually, she quieted, and he looked down to see that her blue eyes were staring up at him. “I’m hungry,” she said.
He chuckled softly. It had been quite some time since he had last been around a child her age, and he had almost forgotten how quickly children tended to cycle through their emotions. His eyes trailed to the table of food nearby.
“Then we’re very lucky mommy brought us all this food out.” With her still in his arms, he walked to the table to look at the food that had been provided to them. “Look at all the yummy things,” he said, keenly aware that he had no idea what most of the food was. He had been brought up on a military diet, and to his chagrin, he was not knowledgeable in the fine foods Yalasi’s servants had set out.
She shifted slightly while regarding the food with a frown. “I want toast with oi-oi jam and blue milk.”
Now that was easy enough, he thought. He knew what all of those things were. But, as he looked over the food presented he found none of it was on the table. So instead, he looked down at Seyah incredulously only to find her beaming up at him.
“That isn’t available. How about,” his eyes glanced to a strange looking sandwich. “A sandwich?”
Seyah shook her head. “Those are gross. I don’t like those.”
“What about these,” he asked diplomatically while pointing to a bowl of small multi-colored berries. “They look…”
“Those are nasty too,” she interrupted. “I want toast with oi-oi jam,” she stated once more, this time firmer and more insistent. “It’s inside in the refresher.”
She pointed back to the estate, and he couldn’t help but turn and carry her inside. He was moderately sure that she was playing him. He knew Yalasi, and she wasn’t the type to prepare an entire table of food and put nothing on it that her daughter liked.
Still— he allowed Seyah to guide him through the ornately decorated estate and into the kitchens. He set her upon the counter nearest the refresher and pulled out a small jar of oi-oi jam and a carafe of blue milk. He grabbed a loaf of bread that sat upon the table, and after carefully cutting it he toasted it for her.
When the bread was done toasting, he put together a small plate for her. “Thank you Uncle,” she replied in a singsong voice before crunching down on the toast. Hux smiled brightly as he searched the cabinets for a glass to hold the milk.
“Why do you keep calling me Uncle?”
She giggled. “I’m a kid. All grownups are Aunties or Uncles or Ommers. Mommy said you were a boy, so you’re an Uncle!”
He nodded, supposing that it made sense.
“What’s this now,” Yalasi asked, her voice startling him.
“Uncle made me a snack,” Seyah exclaimed proudly while holding up the piece of toast to her mother. Yalasi leaned forward and took a small bite of the food he had prepared.
Upon finding a glass, he turned to pour Seyah her milk and found Ren staring at him with barely contained amusement. “I had no idea you were so domestic Hux.”
Yalasi laughed softly while brushing a few stray crumbs from the counter into her open palm and disposing of them in the sink. “You didn’t have to make her anything. There was plenty to eat outside already.”
“Yes well,” his words trailed off as Ren watched him enraptured. “She said she didn’t like any of it.”
Yala tutted him playfully while taking the glass from him and pouring some of the milk in it. “You just got played by a five-year-old child,” she teased as she handed her daughter the glass.
His eyes fell to Seyah who was positively beaming at the manipulation. Yes, she had played him. However, he wasn’t sure he cared all that much. He had made a snack for the child he had decided was his daughter, and that small gesture of care meant the world to him.
Armitage watched idly as Seyah sat beside him coloring. The table before them was covered in paper and brightly hued coloring sticks. She was a delightful child, bright and cheerful— very much different from himself and Yala at her age.
His attention drifted to Yalasi who stood a distance away, talking intently to Ren. He could scarcely believe that he was sitting on Kuat, at her home, with Seyah next to him. It all felt natural. Even the presence of Ren didn’t bother him as much as he had thought it would have.
“You think mommy is pretty don't you,” Seyah whispered, causing him to shift his attention once more.
He felt his cheeks flush. The child was perceptive, that much was clear. “Don't you?”
“Yeah,” she replied while turning her attention to the piece of paper she was drawing on.
“Seyah,” he began, keeping his voice quiet— but not obviously so. “You're a bright little girl. Mommy must be very proud of you.”
The child smiled brightly, beaming from the compliment. “Thank you, Uncle. I think she is. She always tells me how smart and clever I am.”
“You are. You’re a very clever little girl,” he said. “I was curious about something. Who are those men that keep following mommy around?"
“Criser and Neidon. They are mommy’s telbuns,” she murmured, her eyes never leaving the paper.
“What's a telbun,” he asked looking at the image she was drawing. It was of him and Kylo Ren. It was a delightful picture, but he couldn't help but shake his head when he noticed that she was coloring him hugging Ren. In the background were figures he assumed were meant to be stormtroopers, and another drawing of him with extremely large arms giving them all a hug.
Her face twisted slightly when she finally looked up at him. It was as if she didn't understand how he didn't understand. “When a mommy or daddy wants a baby like me they get a telbun. The telbun puts the baby in the mommy. But sometimes a mommy can't hold the baby so the daddy has to put the baby in the telbun. Grammie couldn’t hold mommy because her tummy didn’t work anymore so Grampie put mommy in their telbun! But it doesn’t have to be just a mommy and a daddy. My friend Ciaeste has two mommies and a telbun, and two daddies can have a telbun too.”
Hux chuckled at the words that had spilled so quickly from her mouth. “But why does mommy have two?”
“Genetic diversity,” he gently corrected. “So, a telbun isn’t the same thing as a daddy? Or a mommy?”
“Nope! Mommies and daddies are married silly!”
Hux nodded, finally understanding. The telbun were reproductive assistants. They had no claim over the child, past the fact that they provided it with their DNA. He had always known that the Kuati people were particularly hung up on keeping their noble bloodlines from becoming too inbred— but he thought that perhaps the telbun situation was far too much.
“So because mommy isn’t married, you don’t have a daddy?”
“Mmhmm,” she replied after a few moments and before ignoring him altogether. It seemed she was over the conversation entirely. Not that he blamed her, he too was very much over thinking about the woman he loved and cherished being handled by men like Criser and Neidon. Kylo Ren was one thing, he had accepted that Ren was a presence in their relationship, but her telbuns were nobody at all.
However, the more he studied the two telbuns the more he knew that it was likely impossible that they could have fathered Seyah. They both were of a similar hue to Yalasi, which was still much darker than Seyah was. Their eyes were also the wrong color. Criser's eyes were dark brown, while Neidon's eyes were a light brown. But more than the physical differences between the telbuns and Seyah, there was a part of him that just knew that Seyah had one half of his DNA.
“You know if you love mommy you should just marry her. Then you could be my daddy!”
Hux blinked as Seyah jumped down from her chair, apparently finished with her drawing. She ran over to Ren and waited patiently for her mother to finish talking to him. She was nothing if not polite. When they were finished she held the drawing up to him, causing Ren to burst out in laughter.
“Hux... look,” he wheezed. “It's you... giving out hugs, and...” He bent over himself laughing loudly.
“Me as the war general,” Seyah exclaimed loudly.
Ren was drunk, having switched to drink instead of water hours ago. Unfortunately, it seemed he was just as insufferable drunk as he was stone cold sober. Hux's cheeks flushed as his eyes drifted to Yalasi whose own golden cheeks were flushed with anger. He wondered what Seyah had meant. He had only just vocalized his feelings for her mother, and already Seyah had known about it. His heart beat faster at the thought that Yala had returned home and planted such a seed in Seyah’s mind.
The idea of marrying her was an exciting one, even if he knew that such a thing was still years away. The war with the Resistance had not been won yet, and the galaxy was still quite unstable. He wanted Yala and Seyah by his side, but not until he was sure that he could protect them from snakes in the grass.
“We should get her a greatcoat and a hat. Have her... stand... on...” Ren laughed even louder, “the bridge.”
He watched as Yalasi motioned for Criser to gather the small child. “If she wishes to draw, let her draw her apologies. Two pictures on why we must be respectful to Uncles, she is to present them tomorrow morning over breakfast.”
Criser nodded. “My apologies,” he said to them all while bowing and ushering Seyah away.
Yalasi was upset, and the smile she had worn for most of the evening had begun to dip down slightly at the corners of her painted lips. “Please accept my apologies. Neidon will show you to your rooms when you are ready to retire.” And with that, she turned and walked out after Criser and Seyah.
Ren's laughter had faded and upon turning to face him, he noticed that he was staring at him. There was amusement in his eyes. It was no secret the amount of scorn Ren had for him— and he knew that he was delighted at the child's antics.
“Oh good. You're done then,” Hux said coldly.
“You have to admit... General Hugs was funny.”
“She's only a child Hux.”
“Yes well...” He bristled. He knew that she was only a child, and he knew his was a name that children often found difficult. However, his irritation was pointed to the man before him and not Seyah. “I'm going to bed.” He turned and began to walk away.
“Wait,” Ren called out to him.
He paused for a moment, closing his eyes— he knew what was coming next.
“You haven't given me my goodnight hug yet.”
His jaw clenched when Ren began laughing at him. Folding his hands behind his back, he walked back into the house to retire for the evening.
“General Hux. One moment please,” a voice called out to him. It was the other telbun, Neidon.
“Please allow me to show you to your room.”
He nodded, stepping aside, and allowing the red and purple bedecked man to guide him up and through the house. Hux studied the man as they walked. Neidon, like Criser, was tall and broad shouldered. Unlike himself, the two men were covered in thick and defined muscle. There was a time when he would have felt inadequate when compared to the two muscle-bound men— but no longer. Yalasi had only one child, and it had not been with either of her telbuns. The fact that she had chosen not to have another child, spoke volumes to him.
When finally they stopped, Neidon motioned to a closed door. “Preteme’s room is just down the hall and to the left. Have a pleasant evening General Hux.” Neidon unlocked the door and handed him the key before turning and leaving.
Hux nodded before he opened the door and walked into the decadently decorated bedroom. His eyes fell to the black pajamas that had been laid out at the bottom of the large bed. Next to the silky garments was a datapad. Armitage changed quickly before sitting down on the bed turning on the datapad. He began to draw up a set of schematics for a tracking device.
He worked for many hours and only when he finished did he finally set the datapad aside. He lifted himself up from the bed, and left his room to find hers— locking his own behind him.
Knocking quietly on her door, Hux waited until he heard her soft voice call out to him to enter. A small smile crept across his face when he entered the room and found Yalasi laying in bed with Seyah slumbering upon her chest. The room was entirely dark with the exception of a small light plugged into the baseboard.
“Lock the door,” she whispered half asleep.
He nodded before turning to lock the door behind him. When he turned once more he saw that she was reaching an arm out to him.
“Come my love. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow,” she mumbled.
Hux crawled into bed beside her, and gently pulled her to him. “I love you Yala,” he whispered before pressing a kiss onto the top of her head. However, she did not respond and the gentle rise and fall of her chest told him that she had already fallen back to sleep. Armitage smiled to himself, closing his own eyes.
He had wanted a great number of things throughout his life. He had wanted to be stronger and more capable than his father. He had wanted to be Supreme Leader and perhaps, if he dared, even an Emperor. However, all of those things meant nothing compared to his oldest and most powerful want. A family who loved and cherished him.
It seemed; he thought before sleep took him, that he had finally gotten that.
Seyah & Hux... woo XD Hope you enjoyed this chapter. I loved writing Hux taking care of Seyah. Super cute~
Seyah stood politely before them as servants cleared away their breakfast. In her hands she held two pictures. One was of Hux with an exaggerated sad face, and her hugging him. The other was of himself and Yala, and at the bottom was Seyah with a frown on her face.
“I'm sorry General Hux and Supreme Leader and mommy,” Seyah began in a small voice, her eyes focused on the pictures in her hands. “It's not nice to make fun of peoples names and their jobs. It hurts their feelings and when I hurt feelings it makes my heart hurt.”
Seyah looked up at them timidly. “I drew you both a picture to say I'm sorry.”
“Thank you little one. I accept your apology,” Hux began while taking the picture and examining it. “It's a lovely picture.”
Kylo shifted slightly to get a better look at the drawing. It was an explosion of color. There were flowers, animals, and even a large and fierce looking sun. Seyah had drawn stormtroopers standing behind her and Hux, and the stormtroopers all had large smiles on their faces.
He smiled slightly at the image she had rendered for his general. The girl was a prolific artist, as many children were at her age, but he wondered if perhaps it was a trait that Yala was consciously attempting to cultivate. She had made it known to him that she didn’t wish for Seyah to follow in her footsteps, even if she was Force-sensitive.
His eyes drifted down to the drawing she had handed to him. The drawing was interesting. It was unlike Hux's in many ways. Instead of being in a field of brightly hued flowers, they stood in what he thought was perhaps a forest of some kind. Both he and Yala had their lightsabers out. His eyes narrowed on the one that he carried. It was exactly like his own, cross guard and all— and he idly wondered just how she knew what his lightsaber looked like.
All around them she had drawn large and strange shapes with glowing eyes. He thought that perhaps they were animals, but he was not entirely sure. The sky was colored a dark blue and had lightning bolts drawn throughout it. It was an odd picture, but it quickly faded from his mind when Yalasi spoke.
“Good job baby,” she cooed as she extended her arms to her daughter.
Seyah climbed up into her lap, placed her head upon Yala's chest. Gently she rubbed the child's back as she appeared to slumber in her mother's arms.
“I have business at the drive yards today. I thought that perhaps you two would be interested in a tour. I have something I'd like to show the both of you.”
Kylo Ren wasn’t a technocrat. Not like Yala was— and definitely not like Hux was. Still, he had found that afternoon’s tour of the drive yards to be particularly fascinating. The drive yards, or the Orbital Array as he had learned it was called, was a large complex that circled the planet below. It was the sector’s main hub of not just trade and commerce, but also manufacturing. Countless individuals, from all corners of the sector, lived and worked on the Array.
The Array itself was a feat of technological genius and he was sure that there was nothing else like it in the galaxy. It was fully self-contained and self-sufficient— to the point that a person that lived on the Array needed never to leave it. In fact, he had learned that most people that were born on the Array never stepped foot off of it. Everything that they would ever need was available to them for a price. He had also learned that while Kuat was considered to be a palatial garden world, it was next to worthless when compared to the ring around the planet. It was the Orbital Array that mattered the most and would be protected no matter the cost.
He thought that perhaps that was the biggest influence on Yala’s politics. Yes, she was molded by Snoke just as he had been. However, she was Kuati, and that played a bigger role in how she navigated the world. Yalasi was corporatocratic of course, her position within KDY demanded it. But, he thought that at the heart of her she was focused instead on the bigger picture. The individual didn’t matter as much as the larger whole did. She saw the galaxy the way that the Kuati saw the Array. The galaxy was a series of smaller things that made up something larger, something that was far more important than the pieces it was made of. And everything anyone ever needed was commodified and available for purchase.
Ren walked quietly, listening to Yalasi as she answered the many questions that Hux had for her. Seyah walked beside him bored, her hand hanging tightly onto the hem of his tunic. He could tell that the child was only passively listening to her mother as she spoke. He knew that she already knew most of what Yala was saying, having likely learned about the drive yards at school.
A grin slid across his face when he looked down and regarded the general’s hat that she wore proudly upon her fabric covered head. He had sent word to the Finalizer the night before and had it sent to meet them that afternoon. It had made Hux red with rage, and Yalasi irritated beyond belief— but it was hilarious and Seyah had liked it a great deal.
“We’re here,” Yalasi said as she guided them through a series of doors.
Seyah surged forward and jumped into her mother’s arms before settling herself on Yala’s hip. Yala held her close while motioning to the gigantic warehouse in front of them.
Ren’s eyes went wide at the strange and terrible looking machines before them, and quickly he found himself in a peculiar predicament. He didn’t know what to think of the sight before him and yet at the very same time he found himself completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that were coursing through his mind. First and foremost was that he was definitely glad that Yalasi was on their side. He was relieved that she had remained loyal after all the years, despite how poorly she had been treated and how quickly she had been thrown away.
His gaze fell to Hux who stood a short distance away from him. Hux’s eyes were wide with shock. Terror, arousal, awe, and excitement all coursed through Hux’s mind— and he supposed that he felt the very same things. He had once wondered what exactly Yalasi had been up to in the years since her dismissal, and now he realized that the answer was sitting right before them.
His jaw tightened slightly when he turned his attention back to the ships in front of him. Ren had always prided himself on having an intimate knowledge of the various technologies that came out of KDY and particularly Kuat-Entralla. Snoke had demanded it of him. However, Yalasi’s ships were cut from a different cloth entirely. It was very easy for him to see that they were born from her mind solely and that they were something new.
Like Hux, he had arrived at the shipyards that afternoon expecting to see more of what the Order already had. At most, he thought that perhaps she would reveal a new range of TIE fighters and AT-ATs— interesting, but ultimately boring. However, he had been wrong and the expression on Hux’s face told him that the red haired man had also been wrong.
Countless rows of ships stood tall and proud in the massive warehouse. The ships were pyramidical in shape, and shared none of the design features he had come to expect on a ship. There were no visible structural weakness, and they appeared to have no points of access to the interior. Each ship differed from the one beside it, but only ever so slightly. The ship’s exteriors appeared organic, and he if he hadn’t known better he would have guessed that they had been grown.
What stood before them was entirely foreign and alien, and all of it thrummed with dark side energy. He didn’t know what rituals she had used, but she had changed the metal into something different. He made a mental note to ask her later about it.
His attention shifted to mother and daughter. Seyah was bored, likely having seen the ships countless times before. Yala; however, was absolutely beaming with pride. His lips turned upward at the edges when he noticed the single thought that lingered in the forefront of her mind. The ships were his alone. They were created without Snoke’s input, and without the pomp that marked what had once been Snoke’s fleet.
“It gets even better,” Yalasi said, breaking the silence. She motioned to a nearby holoprojector. “What you see is only a piece of something larger.”
“What… what are we seeing exactly,” Hux asked while following her. “I assume those are drop ships of some kind.”
“For mommy’s monsters,” Seyah added, nuzzling her head into her mother’s body.
“Exactly baby.” She smiled as she drew up a large set of schematics, and revealed to him the exact nature of it all. It was a warship, and what stood before them in the warehouse was only a small portion of it. “Here,” she began while lifting a hand and pointing to a section of the blueprints. “This is where the dropships are housed.”
The warship was unlike anything he’d ever seen before. Its design was fluid and dynamic, but also incredibly menacing. His heart thrummed loudly in his chest as he studied the schematics carefully. The ship was intimidating but structurally sound. In fact, it seemed that she had taken a page from the Array’s book. Each piece of the ship was entirely self-contained. She had ensured that should something happen to one section of the ship it would not jeopardize the structural integrity of the entire thing.
“I told you that day in the throne room that you would have my monsters. I mean that. These dropships are yours to command, as is the warship itself,” Yala said while turning her attention to him.
Ren blinked once and then twice, his stomach lurching with excitement. “How long until it’s complete?”
“A year, perhaps less if we stop production on everything else.”
“Can you petition the other noble families for aid,” Hux asked.
She shook her head. “I could. They are loyal to the Order and Leader Ren. But,” she paused for a moment and sighed. “Elections for the new Kuat of Kuat are soon to take place. No one will risk their standing while the Resistance remains active.”
Kylo Ren nodded thoughtfully. “Then we wait. A year is only a year.” He could wait. After all, he had no choice but to.
Yalasi revealed many more things to him that afternoon. Her engineers were developing a new shielding system, as well as new bunker busting AT-ATs. While all of it was interesting, the changes she was proposing were more in Hux’s realm— and so he found his mind drifting back to his new warship.
The warship was more impressive than the Supremacy and he found the prospect of commanding it exhilarating. The Supremacy had been Snoke’s flagship and he greatly resented inheriting it. No, he needed to cut away the past and once again Yalasi had provided him with the tools to do it. His new warship was a fitting end to Snoke’s legacy. Of course, he would have to transfer command of the Supremacy to Hux, but he was sure that his general wouldn’t mind.
Hux’s ambitions had always been set on commanding the fleet’s flagship. He thought that perhaps Hux wanted more than just command of the Supremacy, but he knew the other man was not a fool. There had been a time when Hux could have tried, but that time had passed. Yalasi’s return to the Order had changed him. He felt stronger, more powerful— and most importantly he felt sure for the first time in years.
Ren blinked and quickly realized that he was once more at Yalasi’s estate. The sky was dark and the courtyard was empty except for Yala and himself.
Yala smiled while she rose up from her chair and crossed toward him. “There you are. Welcome back,” she cooed. She lowered herself onto him and straddled his lap.
He rested his hands upon her hips and sat back in his chair with a small smile. “Why are you still awake?”
“I wanted to make sure you got to bed,” she laughed. “Plus, I wanted to ask you something.”
His thumbs gently drew up her bare sides. She was wearing yet another revealing dress, however this time it was stark white. He hummed softly. “Yes?”
“Will you remember me in a year,” she asked lightly.
He wasn’t quite sure of what she meant by her question. “Yes? Of course I will.” He knew he would never forget her. Not when she had interjected herself so completely into his life.
“Will you remember me in a month?”
He was quiet for a beat before replying. “Yes.”
“And will you remember me in a week?”
He knew that she was leading him to something, but what exactly he was unsure of. “Yes…”
She nodded solemnly, but he could tell that she was very amused by her line of questioning. She leaned forward slightly, her eyes staring down into his. “Knock, knock.”
“Who's,” he began before stopping short, his eyes narrowed upon her. His throat rumbled while he shook his head. He now understood where she had been leading him, and he would not allow her the punchline of her terrible joke. But, if he was being entirely truthful, he loved that she had a playful side to her.
“No,” he added quickly. His lips curved upward slightly, but he did not laugh or allow her to finish the joke.
Yalasi burst out into laughter, her amusement filling the air around them. “I know, I'm terrible at telling jokes.”
“Absolutely the worst,” he replied mirthfully. “I can only hope that you got these awful, terrible jokes from Seyah, or a child's joke book.”
She laughed even louder then. “I did actually. It’s from her Big Blue Book of Jokes.”
Kylo laughed and he felt the seriousness and mildly veiled torment that typically filled him melting away. He had found amusement in her terrible jokes before, but he had always attempted to maintain his composure. However, he couldn’t help it that time. He wasn’t sure when and what had changed but in that moment he felt unbridled and happy for the first time in years.
“You’re very handsome when you laugh,” she remarked while reaching up to cup his cheek gently.
“And you’re very beautiful,” he replied quickly.
A grin swept across her painted lips as she brushed a thumb over his bottom lip. “I know.”
He didn’t know what it was, but she had completely uprooted his life. Of course he had been the one to bring her back, but he had never expected her to be so enjoyable to be around. He had thought, in the very beginning, that she would have been just like him— moody, temperamental, messy. But he had quickly realized that was not the case.
“Can I kiss you,” he asked, more sure than he had been when he had first asked her all those weeks ago.
“Yes,” she whispered before hovering her lips over his.
He grinned before pressing his lips against hers and tasting the champagne on her tongue. He gripped her skin with his fingers while delighting in the feeling of her body shivering at his touch. A soft moan poured from her throat and caused his cock to begin to harden.
Breathlessly, he pulled from the kiss and gazed up at her. He had thought about their night together constantly. It haunted his dreams, and he desperately wanted to feel her wrapped around him once more.
Kylo wrapped his arms around her and lifted himself to his feet, holding her tightly in his arms. He smirked playfully before sitting her down on top of a nearby table. His mouth dipped down toward hers once more. The moment; however, ended before it began. Loud screams poured from the estate and filled the courtyard. A surge of panic filled his belly when he realized the source of the screaming. It was Seyah, and from the sound of it she was terrified.
I'm not happy with this chapter, but it's setting something else up. We're at the beginning of the end now.
I'm very very sorry about how long it took to publish this chapter. Writing has been hard as of late. I recently got laid off, and I've been really bummed out about it.
So~ sorry if this is too OOC or super shitty.
Chapter 19: Seeding
Yalasi had endured countless indescribable pains over the course of the thirty-four years she had been alive. She had been tortured, burnt, and branded. She had spells and Force abilities used against her. She had given birth. However, nothing had cut at her as deeply as the sound of her daughter’s screams. Screams that had occurred when she was doing something she knew better than to try to do. Kylo Ren was a distraction, and despite how much she desired him deep down inside she knew she needed to focus only on winning the war.
She moved quickly from Kylo’s arms and the courtyard itself. She raced through her estate, taking the quickest possible route to Seyah’s door. It took only a handful of seconds, but worry and fear were quicker than her feet. She attempted to reach out to Seyah through their parental bond in the seconds it took her to each the child’s bedroom, but Seyah was far too scared to do anything but fill her mind with screams.
When finally she arrived she was greeted with the sight of Seyah’s door off its hinges and a room full of stormtroopers. The armored figures stood hovering over a bloodied figure on the ground with their blasters in their hands. The room was quiet except for the sound of Seyah’s fearful tears. Yalasi pushed her way into the room to find Armitage standing away from the others with Seyah in his arms.
“Baby,” she exclaimed before quickly taking her daughter into her arms. She held the girl close as thick, fat tears poured freely from Seyah’s blue eyes. “Mommy’s here now my love.”
Yala glanced to Hux, her mouth opening to give him her thanks. But, as her gaze fell upon him she noticed that his pale skin was flushed and his eye was puffy and pink. His hair was tousled and disheveled. And when he lifted a hand to rest it upon Seyah’s back she saw that his hands were bloodied and raw.
He had protected her daughter. Their daughter— and for a brief moment, she thought that perhaps it was finally time to tell him the truth. However, that thought fell away when she heard Ren clear his throat.
“What happened,” Ren asked slowly.
“What do you think happened? The Resistance,” Hux sneered before resting his hand upon Seyah’s tightly coiled locks. “Your telbuns are searching the grounds now with a compliment of stormtroopers.”
“He’s alone. Nobody knows he is here,” Ren replied, his voice distant. He was searching his mind— diving deep to uncover who he was and what he wanted with Seyah. “He came to Kuat to attempt to buy ships for the Resistance. No one would sell to him. He thought he could ransom Seyah back to you for them.”
She nodded absently. It didn’t matter to her why he was there, only that he had attempted to steal her daughter from her. Seyah was safe, but the man that had broken into her daughter’s room would not be so lucky. A wayward glance was given to the nearby stormtroopers. “Take him to my labs and see that he does not leave.”
“What are you going to do to him,” Ren asked.
She grinned darkly before leaning down to press a kiss upon Seyah’s forehead. Yalasi was a great many things, and she loved her daughter immensely. She would tear apart the galaxy and burn it to ash if it meant keeping Seyah safe. However, even then— with Seyah clinging tightly to her, there was a part of her that told her she could use Seyah’s kidnapping attempt to her advantage. She would show the Resistance why she was called the Mother of Monsters, and exactly why they should be scared of her.
It took many hours to calm Seyah, and by the time she was reasonably sure that she had fallen back to sleep the sun was beginning to peak up over the horizon. She left Seyah, cradled up beside Hux in his room and joined Ren in her labs.
The stranger, crumpled on the floor of the holding cell, had been worked over rather well. It warmed her heart to know that despite not knowing that Seyah was his, Hux had nevertheless protected her as.
“She’s his… right,” Ren asked— picking up on her stray thoughts. “Does he know?”
She shook her head. It didn’t really matter either. She was Seyah’s mother and in the eyes of the Kuati noble houses that was all that mattered. As long as Seyah had one noble parent, she was an Andrim. “No. And now is not the time to tell him.”
Yalasi crossed her lab to the holding cell that held her daughters would be kidnapper. The man was handsome, despite being bloodied and battered. His features had a old-money type of arrogance to them that she found immensely attractive. However, he was a foolish little thing. He had come into her home alone and threatened the safety of her child. He had attempted to steal the one person that she would kill the entire galaxy for.
“I’m not scared of you Preteme Andrim,” the man mumbled as his eyes flit open and fell on her.
She smiled while growing closer to the cage. “No? You should be. How are you feeling?”
Pain danced across his features when he pushed himself up and into a sitting position. “I’ve been in worse places.”
“I really don’t think so,” Ren laughed.
Yalasi knelt beside the cell, her head crooked to the side. “Oh,” she cooed. “He still has hope. What do you say Supreme Leader? Shall we rectify that?”
The man’s eyes grew wide and his attention quickly shifted to Ren. He wasn’t expecting the Supreme Leader of the First Order, and that caused her to laugh.
“T…torture me… kill me. I won’t give you the information you want.”
“Kill you,” she chuckled. “Why would we do that? No. You will be repurposed and made into something useful.”
“Oh you sweet and foolish thing,” she cooed, her voice deceptively sweet. “You should have told someone you were coming here. Because now you’re all alone and no one is coming to save you.”
She grinned before she crawled into his mind. Yalasi was skilled enough to be gentle, but she didn’t care enough to make it a pleasant experience— and eventually, the pain was far too much for him to handle. He crumpled back to the floor and she rose up from her spot upon the ground.
“What are you going to do to him?”
Yalasi hummed thoughtfully. “I’m going to seed him,” she replied simply.
Both she and Hux had spent so many years attempting to unravel the ancient sorcery behind such a thing. Snoke had thought the knowledge lost to them— the natural byproduct of hundreds of years of wars between Sith and Jedi. So many holocrons had been destroyed over the years, but since her dismissal, she had nothing but time. And eventually, she had been able to piece together what she had missed all those years ago.
“What? I don’t…”
“Seeding is the implanting of nanogene droids. It is something that we had begun to work on many years ago,” Hux said suddenly, alerting them both to his presence. “We were attempting to create a virus that altered a living organism on a cellular level, effectively turning it into one of Leviathan’s monsters. Essentially, we were attempting to seed a body and delay onset until a time of our choosing. But, it didn’t work.”
“Except,” she began while motioning to a set of incubators full of large grey neebray eggs. “Now.”
She watched as Hux stepped toward the incubators and studied the screens attached to them. A smile fell across his face. “They are infected, but the nanogene droids are dormant.”
Ren shook his head not seeming to understand. She chuckled. He hadn’t spent countless hours poured over research and ancient rituals. He also didn’t possess the natural aptitude for the rituals and sorcery.
“The seeds attack the genetic code and rewrite it. The seeds are self-replicating, a handful in one body can eventually infect an entire world,” she clarified.
“Or an entire Resistance,” Ren asked. “What keeps the droids from infecting us?”
“That’s part of the ritual I use to create them. They will only infect those I tell them to.”
“And they’ll be loyal?”
“Yes, entirely. They will be no different from my monsters, and once the war is finished the seeds will stop replicating themselves and die.”
A grin drew across Kylo’s face as she watched him considered the possibilities that such a thing brought. “If the Resistance wouldn’t kneel, then we will make them.”
“Yes.” It was only a matter of time before the Resistance fell, and she figured if she could turn them against themselves then it would happen all that much faster. “All I need is your permission to begin Supreme Leader.”
Ren paused for a moment, before nodding. “You have it then.” A dark desire and want for power and control coursed through Ren’s mind and brought a smile to her face.
This was the Kylo Ren she had spent months waiting to see. One who was fully embracing the power the power that had been offered to him. The one who was finally ready to get over his regret and fear. The one who was finally ready to learn what she had to offer.
There was a darkness growing inside of Ben Solo and she knew the source of it. She didn’t know the woman’s name, but she knew that her influence on Ben was extremely dangerous. There was a time, in Snoke’s throne room, where she thought that he had been so close to joining her on the light side. But now, he felt so very far away— shrouded in nothing but inky darkness.
He had gotten better at keeping her from his mind, and she thought that perhaps that was because there was someone else occupying his thoughts. She had, in fact, seen him only once since she had attempted to shut him from her mind. She had felt him, in the weeks after, but had ignored all of his attempts to reach her. She regretted that now because eventually that faded and now she was greeted with nothing but cold silence.
In those last few handfuls of months she had only seen him once, and she thought that perhaps that had in fact been an accident. He had been laying on a bed, his arms wrapped around someone. She had sensed that he felt more at ease, but his mind was shrouded entirely by the dark side. She had watched him dress, cluing her into the nature of his relationship with the woman, and when she had announced herself finally he had treated her like an inconvenience.
Rey sighed frustrated, rubbing at her temples. Luke Skywalker was dead, and while he had made many mistakes in the sunset of his life, she wished that she could talk to him once more. She needed guidance, and a path forward. She didn’t want to give up hope on Ben, but she wondered if perhaps it was finally too late for that.
Closing her eyes, she reached out through their connection— hoping that she could speak to him once more. She needed him to know that she wasn’t going to give up on him. Slowly, she breathed in and out. She focused her mind and waded through the thick stomach churning darkness that swirled all around him.
“Ben,” she whispered. She could feel him, but not see him. She wondered where he was that was so thick with power and evil.
A terrible gut-wrenching sound filled her ears. It was a haunting mix of tortured screaming and dark whispers. Her belly rumbled at the sound of it and as cruel laughter filled her mind— her lunch pushed its way back up and out of her mouth. As she wretched on the ground, she saw a pair of black boots before her. Glancing up, she saw him. Not Ben Solo, but instead who he had tried so hard to become. Kylo Ren.
Chapter 20: Wildfire
The shadows are moving, and Hux finds himself unsure of Yalasi's motivations. Can she be trusted, or is she a threat to what he desires the most?
Quiet discomfort pooled in Armitage's stomach as he stared out across the horizon and to the rising sun. There were a great number of things that had occurred over the past few days that had bothered him, and just as many that he was finding himself unable to understand. Armitage prided himself on being a wonderfully intelligent man. He had a mind for both science and strategy. But, he found himself unable to fully explain or understand why Yalasi hadn't simply killed the man. He knew that the intruder had been an experiment, and a successful one at that. However, she had been reckless to simply allow him to flee.
There was something else going on, he was sure of it. Yalasi was working in the shadows, and he wasn't sure to what ends. There had been glee in her eyes at the idea of her daughter being taken. Not at first, of course. But, after the tension had fallen and Seyah was safe in her arms, it was there. It had been quick and subtle, but he had studied her face for too many years to have not noticed it. He knew that she was a profoundly manipulative woman, but for the first time in his life he wasn't sure what her plans were.
She had always, in the past, included him in her schemes. Now, he found the not knowing fueled the worry inside of him. Worry that warned him that whatever her plans were, she saw each and every one of them as collateral. He wondered what had changed within her. Yes, the years had been difficult and no doubt being sent away had deeply scarred her. But, had it been enough to break her? There was a crack inside of her, but how deep did it run? A small frown slid across his lips. He had no answer to his questions, and that only compounded the unease inside of him.
Years ago, when they had just begun to grow close, Snoke had issued him a warning on Yalasi's true nature. He had told him, a boy just on the cusp of manhood, that his senses were fooling him. She was beautiful, Snoke had conceded, but she was not someone that he should lust after. She was dangerous, not only to herself but to everyone else around her. She was feral, intense, and while she shined brighter than a sun she was an inferno. She spun unbridled and wild, and had the ability to draw anyone in her path into her frenzy. He warned that she continue to do so until she had set aflame to everything around her. The Supreme Leader had told him that she was a dangerous mix of charm and cunning, and he would never be good or clever enough to unravel everything her silver tongue said. Snoke had been right in a way. Yalasi was not a woman that was easy to hold.
She was no hero, he had known that from the very beginning and had accepted that. She was a fire driving toward some unknowable place— and that was what bothered him the most. He had always known what her plans were. Even when their goals didn't quite align she had never kept her plans from him. It didn't help, he thought, that he didn't understand the source of her powers. She had, many times over the years, attempted to explain to him exactly what she did and what the Force was. But, even after hundreds of hours of explaining the divide between light and dark, it still made next to no sense to him. He understood the science of what she did. The bioengineering, but nothing else past that. He had worked with her to create a number of the beasts she had made in the past, but she largely kept the rituals and alchemy portion of it from him.
He had only witnessed a small part of her rituals once before, and quiet on accident. It turned his stomach and caused him to retch on the floor of her lab. It wasn't particularly interesting visually, but it had felt so wrong. It had twisted his guts, and had caused an overwhelming sense of terror to wash over him. The ritual she had done, nights ago with Ren, had been different. He had managed to keep his dinner down, and it had repulsed him— but the darkness of it was exponentially stronger and soul-churning. Ren had loved it, of course. He had delighted in the awful and terrible nature of the dark powers they had wielded. It scared him. They scared him, if he was completely honest about it. Yalasi was drawing forth something in Kylo Ren that he wasn't entirely sure he was comfortable with.
Ren, before her arrival, had been easy to contain. Even if on the outside it looked like he was a wildfire, he was very much not. His rage had made him easy to manipulate. Now, it was different. Or rather, he was at least now reasonably sure that Yalasi was the one pulling the strings. Ren had seemed so proud, and so sure of himself— two things he had never thought to see in their new Supreme Leader. However, he knew Yalasi extremely well. None of them were as in control of their situations as they thought. Yalasi was experienced in feeding a person's worst tendencies, and he feared that she was doing it to Kylo Ren. He shuddered at the thought of Ren and Yalasi entirely unbound.
Armitage took in a deep breath, his eyes drifting from the sunrise and to the servants below the balcony. He watched idly as they set up tables for breakfast. It was likely to be another show of grotesque, decadent wealth. He didn't mind, of course, but he wondered just how deep her coffers went. She and Seyah ate very little, sticking to only a small handful of dishes. The rest went to waste. Or, he hoped, to the servants that he knew had spent hours preparing the food. He had, before his father whisked him away, grown up in a kitchen constantly underfoot. He knew, intimately, how much work was going into something she never seemed to bother to appreciate.
His face twisted as he pushed those thoughts from his mind. He loved her, every inch of her. Good and bad. While he worried what her endgame was, he did trust her. She was a woman that needed time, and he would give it to her. At least, as much as he could give her. He assumed that he would know it when whatever her plan was came to fruition.
“Plans,” Kylo Ren asked, pulling him abruptly from his thoughts.
Armitage's eyes focused on the servants below as he pushed down his thoughts and replaced them with idle observations as to the efficiency of the figures rushing back and forth from the kitchens. He hated that Ren lacked the common decency not to pry into his thoughts.
“You're worried she's going to double cross you,” Ren added, stepping beside him and leaning back against the stone balcony— his eyes fixed firmly on him. “You love her.”
“I am perpetually amazed at how little you grasp any given situation,” he spat, the words tumbling from his mouth before he could stop them. He glanced to Ren, unsure of how the other man would take his biting remark.
Ren; however, simply smiled. It was a jarring smile, and one that did very little to absolve the terror rising in him. “I was wrong about you General.”
Armitage's face twisted in confusion. “Pardon me?” He wasn't quite sure what Ren meant, and whether him being wrong was a good thing.
“When I first met Yalasi she told me that I could kill her and nobody in the Fleet would bat an eye at it. Not even you. I was wrong, we were both wrong.” Ren spoke with a condescending tone, and a hearty helping of amusement. “If you are not happy, no one is keeping you here.”
Hux's eyes shot to Ren. He understood the subtext, and he was not happy with it. He would not be replaced, within the Order or within Yala's heart. It was true, he had greater aspirations than being General of the First Order— but he would not be cast aside so simply or so easily. “Careful Ren,” he began slowly. “You know less than you think you do.”
Ren's smile grew, and Hux decided that he hated it. It was patronizing, and cocksure. Hux watched carefully as the other man crossed his arms over his chest. “I know a great deal more than you think,” Ren retorted.
“You have an exaggerated sense of your own importance. Tell me why did Snoke send Yalasi away? What was the real reason,” he shot back.
Kylo Ren's smile faded, and his brown eyes grew hard. Ren was many things. He was a strange mix of obstinate and impressionable. However, he wasn't stupid. Hux knew that Ren had to have thought about why Yala had been sent away, and why his training never seemed quite right— especially in light of her abilities.
However, before Ren could answer, he continued to speak. “It wasn't because she was weak or did something to displease Snoke. It was because she could no longer be manipulated. She was on the path to supplant him in the Unknown Regions, and eventually the rest of the galaxy. Snoke sent her away because he knew that one day she would supersede him. That is the real reason. He was scared of her, and the power she held. He resolved, the day she left, that he would never teach another apprentice what he had taught her.”
While he had not said the words, he knew that the implication was that Snoke felt Ren was weak and easy to manipulate. Ren's gaze narrowed on him, and while he didn't have the ability to read minds he knew that Ren was thinking hard on what he had said.
“That may be, but I think it's because he knew that together she and I would be stronger than he could have ever imagined. That scared him.” Ren straightened his body, his eyes never leaving Hux. “Why he sent her away no longer matters. He's dead, and Yala is teaching me what he didn't. Together we will crush the Resistance, and the galaxy will fall to their knees before us. If you are unhappy with that, or if Yala being back displeases you... then perhaps you are no longer fit to be General.”
Hux's brow tightened slightly. Ren spoke with a conviction he had never heard before. Rage, yes. Hurt, yes. But, steely resolve and callous indifference? Never. He wondered just how deeply Yalasi's influence went in Kylo Ren. He wasn't quite sure how to respond, or what this seemingly new Kylo Ren meant to his plans. And so, instead, he simply turned his gaze to the horizon once more. They had been on Kuat for too long, and he around Ren too much. He couldn't wait to return to the Fleet, to normalcy.
The path before him was long and he was under no illusions that it would be easy. But, he would see it to the very end. He was Armitage Hux. His future would be brighter than that often bestowed on the child of a simple kitchen woman. It would be greater than the one his father had envisioned for him. He would rule the galaxy, with Yalasi and his daughter at his side. That much he was sure of.
Chapter 21: Destiny
Kylo Ren had always known that there was something different about him. He didn't react toward things the same way that other people did. He had once thought that perhaps it was the Force, light clashing against the dark. But, he was no longer sure about that. It had been what Snoke had told him, and he found himself unable to trust or believe anything that Snoke had said. Snoke had used him as a tool, or rather a weapon to further his own agenda. It made sense that everything he had told him was likely a lie.
Still, whatever was inside of him was visceral and angry. It was made of bad blood, spite, and hate. He thought that perhaps he could visualize it as a monster of sorts. But, he had met the monster maker and he knew that monsters were a source of great power. They were instruments, not unlike a lightsaber, that one could harness and gain strength from. And so, he no longer ran from the rage and fury inside of him. He no longer feared it, and more than that he no longer felt as if he was being controlled by it.
His entire life all he had ever wanted was to be accepted. He wanted to be taken, good and bad, completely and lovingly. The people closest to him had attempted to scrub out the darkest parts of him. Or at the very least, manipulate those dark parts and turn them into weapons they could wield.
His mother had refused, for many years, to even broach the subject of who his grandfather actually was. He thought that it was very likely that she would have never even told him if her hand hadn't been forced. He had only learned of what his connection to Vader was because of a smear campaign against his mother. That hurt the most. The thought that his mother hadn't trusted him. His father, while loving and kind when he was young, had ignored the topic of his connection to Vader entirely. Han Solo preferred the outer reaches of the galaxy to his only son. His uncle had been the worst of them all. When he realized that he could not force him to be what he wanted him to be, he had attempted to murder him while he slept.
It was amusing then, Ren thought, that a person with no blood ties to him at all would be the one to accept him fully. And while he could tell that she was still hesitant to completely let her guard down around him, he knew deep inside it was because of her and not him. She was slow to open up to him not because she saw him as a monster not to be trusted, but because she was afraid of her own vulnerabilities. Despite her own fears, she had been the only one that had bothered to talk to him as if he was someone worthy of conversation. Only she had been the one to show him that the monster inside of him could be controlled.
With Yala by his side, he had been reborn from the ashes of himself and had become stronger than he could have ever hoped to be. The beast inside of him still raged, but now it was something he could manage. She had opened his eyes, and he finally saw that his family and Snoke had been weights around his neck. Each suffocating and confining him in an attempt to control and manipulate. He was glad to finally be free of them all. Now, for the first time in his abysmal life, he could finally see the sun on the horizon. It was no longer distant and out of reach. His destiny was finally manifesting itself to him, and the joy it brought him was beyond his wildest dreams.
And so, he was glad to finally be leaving Kuat. It had, of course, been an interesting trip. He had been able to witness Yala in her natural habitat, or at least one of them. Their time together had been illuminating and he found that he had learned a great deal from her. The projects her engineers and drive yards were working on were incredibly fascinating. But, he knew that his place was not on an estate on a single planet. He was not Hux. He liked having Yala in his life, but he had no desire for both strength and domesticity. And he thought that perhaps neither did Yalasi. She loved her daughter and her place within the Kuati nobility, but she was not free when she was around either. She smiled, laughed, and joked. But, he could feel the emptiness inside of her. It was an emptiness that hadn't been present when she had been alone on Yavin 4 or Moraband.
What he wanted, and what he suspected she wanted as well, was to do nothing more than to explore ancient and barren ruins across the entirety of space. Participating in the ritual with Yalasi and getting to handle the artifacts she had dug up with her own two hands, had unlocked something inside of him. He was Supreme Leader, but he thought that perhaps he no longer wanted to be. He had thought, at first, that it was the only path to power and certainly. However, Yalasi had managed both of those things on her own path— in the years since she had left the Order.
He understood why Yalasi hadn't grasped the mantle for herself all those years ago, and why she hadn't snatched it from him when she had the chance. It wasn't as if she hadn't had the opportunity to do so. He had been quite literally at her mercy more than once. Being Supreme Leader, he learned was a heavy burden to bear. It had just as many costs as rewards and he knew, deep down, that it hadn't made him any happier. No, he wanted to be like Yalasi. He wanted to be bound only to the search and accumulation of knowledge and power. Still, he would serve just as she did. But, when the war was finally over he would ask to join her on her excursions beneath the surfaces of dead planets. He would, with any luck, join her in unraveling the mysteries of the Force and those who had come before them.
His eyes trailed toward Yalasi and Seyah as they approached with Hux at their side. Her coterie and compliment of stormtroopers followed closely behind. She was dressed in her battle armor, the sight of which caused him to smile. The gowns and jewels she had worn throughout their trip, while beautiful and befitting her station, were rags compared to the layers of plastoid wrapped glistaweb and matte black zeyd cloth she now wore. Her battle armor was a mix of form and function, and were the raiments of the Leviathan. A woman that was just as great, if not greater than Preteme Andrim.
“She's come to see us off,” Yalasi explained when she stopped before him, an amused grin hanging upon her bare lips.
Ren's gaze fell to the child, who was still wearing the General's hat he had procured for her. “Be good Seyah. Make sure to listen to your Aunties and Uncles. If you're going to be our next war general you have to grow your brain and become strong like your mommy. Can you do that,” he asked while resting a hand upon her shoulder.
Seyah chirped at him happily as she straightened her back and stood at attention. However, as her eyes bore into his, he heard her voice creep into his mind. When the time comes... after mommy brings her monsters and lightning. She will ask you a question. Tell her no. She needs to hear it from you.
His eyes narrowed upon Seyah. He wasn't entirely sure what the nature of her abilities was, and whether or not the Force was choosing to manifest itself to her through some sort of visions of the future. She was young, but he could see that there was a seed of something powerful inside of her. That seed, he knew, if properly nurtured would grow into something spectacular. However, the words she spoke to him were interesting. He knew not the question Yala would ask him, and a gentle probing of the child's mind told him that she didn't either.
He supposed that was the nature of prophecy. One could issue a warning, but nobody could know for sure whether or not such a thing would even come to pass. There were no fixed points within the Force. It was ever moving, and ever changing. Snoke had warned him of that long ago. He had told him that visions of the future were rarely as accurate as most people believed, and those that put value in them were fools. Ren had been tricked by things the Force had shown him before, and he knew it was better to walk the middle road. Listen and acknowledge, but keep it in the back of your mind. A prophecy was a weak foundation to build anything on.
He nodded at the child who stared up at him with surety in her eyes. “We will see you soon Seyah.”
“Okay baby. It's time for mommy to go. Be good for Criser and Neidon,” Yalasi said while kneeling down to Seyah and taking her into her arms. “Mommy loves you very much.”
Ren watched as Yala gave her daughter a big hug and placed a kiss on her forehead. His eyes shifted slightly when Hux reached down to adjust the necklace upon Seyah's neck. Hux smiled down at the child and Yala, but said nothing. Instead, he simply studied the pair— his eyes focused on them both as if attempting to memorize the scene in front of him. He knew that Yalasi hadn't told Hux that Seyah was his daughter. But, he could tell that the red-headed man had already suspected it. There was a part of him that was bothered by it. By his General's love and devotion to Yalasi and the past they had shared together. Still, he remained silent and allowed the moment to continue.
When Yalasi finally pulled away from Seyah, she straightened herself and fixed her mask upon her face. It was then, after one last look to her child, that she turned to him. “Let's go.” Her voice was modulated, but he could tell that she was excited to be back to it.
It was only a short trip back to the rest of the fleet. With Hux back aboard the Finalizer, he and Yalasi returned to the Supremacy. They walked in silence, both of their minds racing with the possibilities ahead of them. A new day was dawning, and their bodies hummed with excitement.
When finally they returned to the throne room, a gasp fell from his mouth at the sight that was revealed to him when the lift doors opened. The room was entirely different than it had been when Snoke was still alive. Gone were the large, showy red panels of fabric. In fact, gone was most of what Snoke had put inside the room. Even the throne, a symbol of his master's power and might, had been replaced. The room had been stripped and crafted anew, and he quickly decided that he liked it much better. It was large and imposing, just as he knew he was, but it was also refined and elegant. It didn't have the pomp and arrogance that marked Snoke's reign. He almost regretted that such a room was aboard the Supremacy and not his new warship being built on the Array at that very moment.
“Snoke was a showman. You are not,” Yalasi began while walking beside him. “A true leader needs only their deeds to prove their strength.”
As he walked further into the throne room he noticed that she had not replaced the Praetorian Guard. No, she had given him one last gift— his Knights. The ones that were loyal to none other than himself. His Knights, all masked and wearing their black battle armor, stood at attention as he approached his throne.
“I hope you don't mind that I recalled them,” she whispered to him. “Snoke's Praetorian Guard was flawed. I thought that a new model was due.”
He nodded, not minding at all. He wasn't sure how she had managed such a thing, but he was glad that she had. Ren paused for a moment before the throne— before his throne. “I believe it's time to address the fleet,” he said while taking his seat upon the throne. A slight grin graced his lips. It was more comfortable than he had anticipated.
Yalasi took her place beside him, as he was sure that she had done countless times before with Snoke. Her gaze darted upward briefly and a moment later a panel from the ceiling opened and down dropped a holocom. His eyes regarded the piece of technology, and after a moment of calculated silence he parted his lips and began to issue his first official speech as Supreme Leader. He was not his General. He was not one for half mad and self-congratulatory speeches. However, he spoke with steely resolve. His tone was confident and sure— and when he finished, he felt his chest swell with pride.
There was a moment of stillness and silence, before the ground beneath him lurched and the Fleet began to move. Sitting further back on his throne, he regarded the woman beside him. He didn't know what the future held for him, or any of them. And while he didn't want to be the Supreme Leader he would play the role he had been cast in. At least, for a time. And then, when all was said and done, he would begin to live his life as he saw fit. Without fear, and without doubt.