Kylo was late coming back from his mission. Hux kept track of his schedule and knew exactly when he had left the planet he was on and how long it should have taken him to return. When he was an hour late, Hux had sent a message but had not gotten a response. Typical.
It was twelve hours past Kylo’s scheduled return time when Hux received an alert letting him know that the Night Buzzard was on its way and would be landing soon. Hux was just about to go to bed, but it was more important to go see Kylo and learn why he was so late.
Hux arrived just as the Night Buzzard landed. As the ramp lowered, Kylo walked down the ramp, but he didn’t even look at Hux. He continued, walking faster than usual. Kylo usually stopped to argue, so it was strange that he didn’t seem interested.
“You’re late,” Hux said, falling into step next to him. “It’s about time you learned just how to operate as co-commander of this vessel and… what is that?”
Hux noticed that Kylo was carrying something in his arms. It looked like a bundle of fabric, but Hux was fairly certain he saw it move. Kylo held it closer against his chest and Hux was rather certain that whatever Kylo had, it wasn’t something allowed on board his ship.
Kylo still said nothing and Hux decided to let him go. As he stopped at the entrance to the hangar, Hux saw the rest of the Knights of Ren were following Kylo, and they were all carrying packages. There was definitely something going on, but he would let Kylo think he was getting away with it.
After twenty minutes, Hux made his way to Kylo’s quarters. That would hopefully be enough time that Kylo would have assumed he was in the clear and would no longer be trying to hide whatever animal he’d managed to smuggle on board. Hux would put a quick end to that.
Being co-commander of the ship, Hux could access any part of the ship, including Kylo’s quarters. That did mean that Kylo could also access Hux’s, but that hadn’t been an issue. Hux suspected that once Kylo learned he could access any room on the ship, he was going to become a problem. But Hux needed to keep any illegal pets off his ship.
The door slid open and Hux had his hand on his blaster just in case whatever creature Kylo had was loose and decided to charge him. But nothing came running towards him and he didn’t even see any sort of animal. Instead, he saw three of the Knights of Ren who seemed to be putting furniture together, another who had a small collection of children’s toys, and the other two were with Kylo, and Kylo was holding a baby.
That was not what Hux expected and he found himself staring, wondering if that could be anything else. But the longer Hux looked, the more he realized that it was definitely a human baby in Kylo’s arms.
"What is that?" Hux asked as he stepped into the room. All the Knights seemed to notice him at once and turned to look at him. If he wasn’t used to them, he might find it unnerving, but they were more annoying than they were intimidating.
"What's it look like?" Kylo responded.
"Yes, well, it doesn't belong on my ship. Remove it immediately."
"Where am I supposed to take her?"
"That's not my concern," Hux said. "You're the one who decided to try sneaking an infant onto my ship. Now you will remove it."
"Hux." Kylo stood up and held the baby out to him. "She's just a baby."
Hux sneered at the child. "That is precisely the problem. If you don't remedy the situation, I will."
"You can't!" Kylo held the child close to his chest. "How could you be so cruel?"
"I've never heard you complain about the stormtrooper program before," Hux said.
"Oh." Kylo calmed down, but kept the baby close to him.
"Did you think I was just going to launch it out of an airlock?"
"Yes. You would."
"Don't be ridiculous. Just because you can't have a baby on the ship doesn't mean I'm going to kill it. She could be a valuable soldier."
"She's not a soldier," Kylo argued.
"Obviously," Hux said. "Which is why she can't stay." Hux was about to list off the regulations that prohibited infants on the ship, but the baby started to fuss. Kylo immediately turned his full attention to her.
One of the Knights provided a bottle and Hux watched as Kylo fed the baby. It was a strange sight. Kylo was still in his robes, looking ready for battle, yet he was feeding a baby and making soft cooing noises at her. Hux wasn't entirely certain he hadn't lost his mind.
When Kylo finished feeding the baby and then handed her to another of the Knights, who also made what Hux assumed were cooing noises (it was hard to tell through the Knight's helmet) Hux was absolutely certain he had lost it.
"How do you even know how to take care of a baby?" Hux had never gotten the impression that any of the Knights had any kind of parental instincts.
"The holonet," Kylo answered. "And the Force."
"The Force just tells you how to take care of that?" Hux scoffed.
"Of course not," Kylo replied. "She tells us what she needs."
Hux groaned. Of course the Force was involved in the mess that Kylo had brought on board his ship. It was always the Force, somehow.
"She's a baby," Hux argued. "How can you possibly know that?"
"Of course you wouldn't understand. Now if you don't mind, we must return our attention to our child."
"Your child?" If one of the Knights actually had a baby, it would be the least shocking thing about the situation. That would at least explain why they even cared about the child.
Hux didn't know much about the Knights beyond their names. He didn't know what species they were or anything about their biology. The baby did look human, but Hux knew looks could be deceiving. Kylo, too, looked human, but Hux knew he was a walking disaster.
"You can't keep her," Hux said, knowing that wouldn't be enough to convince Kylo. He'd have to resort to drastic measures. "Supreme Leader Snoke won't allow it."
"He won't know about her."
"I'll tell -" Hux never had a chance to finish that threat.
One of the Knights — Kuruk? — was at his side, holding a knife at his neck. Kylo motioned to his Knight and after a moment, he moved away.
"Do not threaten her," Kylo said. "We will not allow her to be taken from us."
"Where did she come from?" Hux asked. Reasoning with Kylo was useless, especially since he seemed so determined to keep the baby. He'd have to find another way to convince him to get the baby off his ship.
"We found her."
"And you don't think she'd be better off with her family?" Hux already had a plan formed — he could convince Kylo that he was going to reunite the baby with her family, although he’d never waste time with such a thing. Once he had her, he’d put her in the stormtrooper program. They at least had the resources to care for an infant.
"They're dead." Kylo offered no other explanation. Hux glanced at the others, but they were either focusing on the baby or watching him. They would not be any more helpful.
"How do you know that?"
"We destroyed the village," Kylo said. "Everyone died. But we found her in the rubble. She called out to me."
"So you killed her family and she called out for you?"
"In the Force, Hux. She was meant to be with us."
"Don't you think it might be for the best if she was raised somewhere more suitable?" Hux asked. Clearly his first plan wasn’t going to work. He’d just have to try to make Kylo see reason. "If we put her in the stormtrooper -"
"No," Kylo interrupted, but Hux ignored him and continued.
"-program just until she was older, she'd be close but you wouldn't need to care for an infant."
Kylo seemed to think, but then he shook his head and gestured around the room. "We already have all we need to take care of her."
Hux looked and saw that they did have quite a bit of things, although he doubted it would really be what a child needed. As he always had to approve the budgets, Hux had seen the various supplies that the stormtrooper program needed to care for a child. And of course, Kylo and the Knights had already bought toys, which were completely unnecessary.
"You do realize that infants need daily care, don't you?" Hux asked. "What will happen when you're called away from the ship?"
"There's seven of us," Kylo pointed out. "One of us will always be here."
Hux did not like the idea of always having a Knight of Ren aboard his ship. Besides Kylo, the others usually didn't spend that much time on First Order ships. "What about your ship? If you insist on keeping her, wouldn't that be a better place?"
"No." Kylo didn't elaborate and turned to take the baby from the Knight that had been holding her. She made a babbling noise while reaching towards Kylo. He gave her a finger and she immediately wrapped her tiny hand around it.
Hux knew that getting the child off his ship was a lost cause. He'd known it the second he'd seen Kylo carrying the strange bundle from his ship. And although it went against regulation, seeing Kylo with the baby did something to him.
Hux didn't want to separate them, and he knew he was only trying to because it was what was required. Kylo might not be her parent, but he'd already seemed to form some kind of bond with her. And now Hux had seen a side of Kylo he hadn't known existed — a gentle, soft Kylo. Hux wanted to know more about that version of Kylo.
If the Knights of Ren were going to keep a child on board the ship, then they might as well do it properly. Hux walked over to where the Knights had been attempting to build a crib. "I suppose I have to do everything myself," he said.
Hux looked at what the Knights had started to do and quickly undid all of it. He had no idea what they'd been thinking — probably nothing — but he could fix the problems. A few minutes later, the crib was assembled and almost ready for use.
"We'll need to do some tests on durability before we put her in it," Hux said. "We'll see how it fares against fire, being thrown into walls, and blaster fire."
"Hux. It's a crib."
"Exactly. I would think you'd want her to be protected."
Kylo walked over and placed the baby in the crib, despite Hux's protests. He'd built it, so he was rather certain it would hold the baby's weight, but he still had other tests he needed to run to ensure it was safe The baby seemed to agree, starting to cry when she was put down
Kylo didn't remove her. Instead, he used the Force to bring a plush bantha over to the crib and he placed it in her arms. The baby wrapped her arms around it and drifted off to sleep. Hux had to admit that Kylo was surprisingly good with the kid, but he still expected the worst.
"What kind of supplies do you have?" Hux asked. Kylo and the Knights showed off their inventory and Hux was surprised that they seemed to think of almost everything. Food, diapers, toys, and even a harness so they could carry her on their chests. But they had forgotten one thing.
"Did you not think she would need clothes?" Hux asked, noticing the lack of anything the baby could wear. "That's what these are for," one of the Knights said, holding up a package of diapers. Hux sighed. So much for the Force telling them what they needed to know.
"I'll take care of it," Hux said with a sigh. At least clothing wasn't critical. The baby would be fine for a few days and the Knights had at least obtained several blankets. She'd be warm enough.
Hux took note of their supplies and did some quick calculations. "We'll need more supplies in about two weeks." What they had would last for three, but Hux didn't want to wait until the last minute. He could have anything ordered, but that would raise red flags.
"The Knights and I will get whatever she needs," Kylo said. Hux quickly provided a list of other things they might need for the baby and the Knights immediately took off. At least they seemed dedicated to taking care of her.
"I'll have my things moved into your quarters immediately," Hux said.
"I would think that's obvious," Hux said. "I can't let you attempt to raise this child on your own. Who knows what would happen. You need me."
"Fine," Kylo said. "You can babysit when I'm on missions."
"Yes, that would probably be best," Hux agreed. "Now, I can have a second bed moved in here, but in the interest of saving space, we might want to consider sleeping in the same bed."
"You want to sleep with me?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Ren," Hux said. "I'm just thinking of the most practical solution to this. But like I said, we can have a second bed brought in."
"No," Kylo said, almost a little too quickly. "We can share."
Within an hour, Hux had all of his things moved into Kylo's quarters. If they were truly going to keep the child on board the ship, they'd need more space but for the moment, they could make do with what they had.
"You were just saying you didn't want her to stay," Kylo said as Hux settled down on his ice blue sofa that had just been moved in. "Now you're what? Wanting to raise her?"
"I don't want to," Hux said, looking at his datapad. "But I don't see another option."
"Neither you or your Knights are suited to caring for a child," Hux explained. "You need me if you plan on this child surviving any length of time."
"Like you're so good at it," Kylo mumbled. He left the baby's side and sat next to Hux on the couch.
"I am at least relying on practical knowledge and none of this Force nonsense," Hux said.
"We looked stuff up too," Kylo said. "We'll figure it out."
"And this child will be missing at least one limb by her third birthday. You're not getting rid of me."
As Hux read on the basics of infant care, one thing occurred to him. "What's her name?" he asked.
"I was thinking Armitage," Kylo said. Hux glared at him and he saw that Kylo was smiling. He'd never seen that before.
"You are not calling her that."
"Armita," Kylo said.
"You can't be serious."
"Out of all the names in the galaxy, that's what you came up with?"
"She likes you."
"She doesn't even know me."
"She can feel you in the Force. And since you are being generous enough to allow her on your ship, it's only fair we name her in honor of you."
"I hate you." Although he had to admit, it was rather touching that Kylo would want to name her after him. Not that he would ever say that out loud.
It was still ridiculous — the child couldn't possibly know anything about him but it was nice that Kylo wanted to think so.
"We'll have to schedule a medical exam," Hux said. "There are a few medical staff I trust to keep it off the books."
"She's healthy," Kylo said.
"You really know nothing," Hux said. "You don't even know how old she is, which will be important in knowing just what sort of care we should give her and whether she's growing properly."
"I suppose you're the expert."
"More so than you."
Hux knew a little about children — he needed to in order to run the stormtrooper program — but he really wasn't certain on daily care for an infant. But he'd decided he was going to help Kylo raise his child so he was going to learn all he could about it.
As he was reading advice on the holonet, Hux finally realized just what he'd agreed to do. Raising a human child was no short term task. He would be living with Kylo and raising a child with him for at least the next 15 years — maybe less if Kylo sent the kid away eventually.
Somehow, Hux suspected that Kylo would never send the child anywhere. Maybe at some point, Kylo would no longer need Hux and he could return to his own quarters, but as he looked at Kylo, he wondered if there might be a better solution.
"What are you looking at?" Kylo grumbled. Hux decided to take a chance and leaned over, kissing Kylo on the cheek. Kylo looked shocked, and the fact that he wasn't angry was a good sign. So Hux kissed him again, this time on the lips.
"What are you doing?" Kylo asked.
"As long as we're raising a child together, we might as well go full in on this family business."
"Are you serious?" Kylo asked.
Kylo didn't seem to have any arguments against it. Instead, he kissed Hux, wrapping his arms around him. Hux still couldn't believe any of it was happening. He’d come to Kylo’s quarters to get rid of contraband, but now he had a boyfriend — or were they getting married? — and a child.
Hux really couldn’t complain.