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A set of coordinates cross the display on his control panel, just as his ship changes course without him moving to enter the command.

This is not altogether unusual, the transport he is currently operating belongs to the academy and as such can have its course overridden even from a distance by anyone with the proper command codes. Much of his latest trek had been dictated in such a fashion. Coordinates would be entered from afar, he would arrive on the scene and pick up the assets, and return to the ship for it to take him to the next destination.

The issue that arose here did not come from the loss of control of his ship, but rather the disruption from schedule.

Mere hours before he had reported to the academy that his vessel was full, and a course to return had been imputed.

He makes a half-hearted attempt to override the controls, predictably with no success, before jamming on the comm unit with just a bit more force than was absolutely necessary.

It takes a minute for the connection to go through, but when it does the blue holographic figure of Commandant Brendol Hux Sr. appears on the screen before him.

For once he forgoes the proper protocols of greeting a superior officer, as he speaks rapidly, unable to hide the displeasure from his tone. “I cannot acquire any more assets, all of the stocked incubators are full, unless you’d like me to dispose of one of our current acquisitions, there simply isn’t enough room to-”

“Lieutenant.”

The sharp formal tone of a commanding officer leads their discussion. Something he should have expected. There has never been much familial love in the Hux family, too busy with duty and legacy to think about using a soft one or a kind glance.

He eventually acquiesces with a simple, “Sir.”

“This is an order direct from the Supreme Leader,” there’s a sort of anxious energy around his father as he says those words.

An anxious energy that the junior Hux can understand. It is not often the Supreme Leader passes down orders directly, rumor had it only the highest level of command had even ever seen the man. For him to have given an order for a Lieutenant fresh from the academy was unheard of.

“For what purpose?”

It was not like him to question the orders of the Supreme Leader. No one questioned the orders of the Supreme Leader.

His father’s disapproval at the tone carried clear through the comm channel. “Acquisition.”

Hux’s typical area of expertise. Ever since he had finished the academy he had been sent on missions like these, running halfway around the galaxy to retrieve whatever it was the higher command felt necessary. Some days he felt more like a smuggler than an officer of the First Order.

Though instead of transporting spice, his acquisitions were far more useful.

“He requested me specifically,” Hux asks, doing his best to keep his voice steady and level.

“Do not flatter yourself. You’re simply the officer with the closest proximity to the transmitted coordinates.”

The words offer him a small hint of relief, “And after I acquire the Supreme Leader’s package?”

“Another set of coordinates will be transmitted to you.”

That was unhelpfully vague. As expected.

“Son,” this one word, no less sharp than the others, has Hux snapping to attention at once. “You do this properly, and you give yourself a chance to making a positive impression on the Supreme Leader. We could use more funding, completing this assignment is our best chance at that. You understand this, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do not disappoint me more than you already have.”

With those words the comm channel dies down. The blue light flickering out to leave him alone on his ship once more.

According to the display panel, he’s an hour out from his new destination, a thought that allows Hux almost no modicum of comfort, as he still has no idea what awaits him when he reaches the coordinates, no clue what he will even be looking for when he arrives. His already ragged fingernails dig into the palms of his hands, in a meager attempt to rid his body of some of his tension. His eyes unmoving from the display counting down the minutes.

---

The stench of death hangs in the air lingering around him.

Hux is not unfamiliar with death, he has seen much in his time since the academy, so much so that he has almost become numb to it. Able to look past the bodies littering the ground and insist that it is for the betterment of the First Order. Capable of holding a blaster steady in his hand, as he shoots down all that stands in his way.

This is different.

The death that lingers here presses against him with an almost invisible presence, as if warning him to turn back, to return to his ship before it is too late.

Though too late for what exactly he cannot be certain.

He does not believe in ghosts, does not believe in the mystical Force that so many others seem willing to rely on. But as he gingerly he steps over the body of a young Arcona girl, her lifeless yellow eyes stare open up at him, such that he cannot suppress the chill that rolls down his spine.

Not for the first time he wonders why the Supreme Leader sent him on this assignment, was it truly simply the proximity of his vessel to the system, or had he been chosen for a reason. A lamb picked fresh to be offered in sacrifice to whatever creature tore this temple apart.

He did not believe in coincidences, did not believe in much of anything. But other people talked, spoke of powers that one such as Hux could never understand, mythical energy that moves through each person, that can be bent to the will of the Supreme Leader granting him omnipotence.

Hux had always written it off as myths and nonsense, though if the Supreme Leader truly has some form of foresight or telepathy, then suddenly a coincidence could become something so much worse. If the Supreme Leader has disagreed with the senior Hux’s plans for the new trooper program, what better way to punish disobedience than to have the Commandants only heir killed, after all.

Any second now whatever killed these monk-like children could appear to lay him to rest among their shattered bodies.

Wandering through his massacre is getting him nowhere.

Hesitantly he speaks up, “I’ve come at the wishes of the Supreme Leader to take you to him,” hoping, as foolish as it seems, that he will get a response in a similar fashion.

It’s unlikely that whatever he is to acquire is even a person, because while that would be more like Hux’s usual, the odds of someone still being alive in this place seems impossible. No - he’s more likely here to pick up a weapon of some sort, or a religious artifact.

His hopes are answered, as a voice echoes through the bloodied temple. “Who are you?” The temple is built in a way that the sound could be coming from anywhere, and sounds from the echoes as though to be coming from everywhere.

“Lieutenant Hux,” he says, feeling no reason to lie. “Of the First Order.”

He waits after speaking, listening when after a moment there comes not a spoken answer, but the sound of footfalls echoing through the chamber, heading in what Hux can approximate as his direction.

Self consciously he straightens his uniform, desperate to impress whoever is coming towards him, whoever the Supreme Leader felt was so important that Hux had to put his previous assignment on hold.

When finally a figure appears at the end of the hallway, it is not a monster like Hux had expected or even a great warrior.

No, the figure that stands before him is nothing more than a boy, a teenager at the most, a few years younger than Hux. Though the roundness of his features makes Hux more inclined to see him as a boy rather than a man. One with robes that may have once been tan but were now the deep maroon color of dried blood. Dried blood that caked his exposed hands, and splashed across his features. His dark eyes looked terrified, whole body shaking as he stepped forwards towards Hux.

Suddenly it all made sense, he hadn’t come to retrieve the weapon, but rather to aid the last survivor.

“Are there other survivors,” Hux asks, putting aside the haunted look on the bloodied boy’s face and instead focusing on the mission at hand, “Is there anyone else?”

The boy before him remains mute, but slowly shakes his head once and then twice.

---

The Nebular is able to be flown by just the one, meant for retrieval of assets not a war ship. His assets are stacked in the freight deck of the ship, in stasis incubators, ready to be brought back to the academy, if he ever makes it back there.

His ship is not made for comfort. There’s a small living area, just enough for a sole occupant to use for brief periods of time, a refresher that has only a sonic shower, and a small bunk tucked off to the side of the living area.

Hux shows the boy to that bunk, setting him down on the edge as to keep his bloodstained robes as far from Hux’s only set of sheets as possible. Though he knows it will be a useless effort, the stale irony scent already clinging to the air around them.

“Stay here,” Hux orders, before leaving the living space to go to the pilot’s seat.

It is there that he lets out a strangled breath, hands shaving ever so slightly as he takes his ship into orbit. The last thing he needs is to have an anxiety attack, not where these is someone clearly in shock sitting on his bunk, not when they’re on a direct path to the Supreme Leader.

He counts to seven before letting out another breath, doing so in a repetitious fashion until the rapid beating of his head has settled into something more manageable.

When he finally steadies himself, he looks to their flight plan, the coordinates transmitted from the Supreme Leader have already been entered into his ship. The destination is somewhere outside the Outer Rim, an area of space that Hux has never been in before. It will take a little over twenty-four hours to reach their destination, a stretch of time that seems far too long for two people to be sharing a transport built for only one.

His mind goes briefly back to his new companion, reminding himself that he has a job to do. With one last check of the autopilot he slips out of the control room, moving back into the living area of The Nebular.

“I need to get you cleaned up,” Hux says.

The boy does not respond, but he is uncertain why he had expected anything different. If he is not going to talk then maybe he could at least follow orders.

“You can start by stripping out of your robes.”

As Hux says this he moves to grab a pair of his own sleep pants. The boy before him is lanky enough that they should not be too long on him, though he may need to tie the waist tighter. Hux looks up with the intention to say as such, only for the words to die on his lips as he watches the boy strip. Each bloodied layer is pulled off with practiced precision, each piece folded and placed as a pile on top of each other. The similarities into the manner at which he was taught to treat his own uniform, makes it clear that the outfit the boy is wearing is meant to identify him in a particular fashion. He wears it like a suit of armor, and removes it as though doing so is letting go of one last shred of who he used to be.

When the last layers are removed, he sets a silver cylinder atop the pile of clothes. Hux has never seen one before, but he has heard stories about them, myths and legends. He knows instinctively that the weapon before his eyes is a lightsaber. The weapon of a Jedi.

Once he finishes the boy looks up, his dark eyes meeting Hux’s for one long moment, before he reaches out expectantly, only to stop as he stares down at his bloodied fingers.

“Here let me,” Hux offers.

Generally Hux prefered sonic showers, they were more convenient and less wasteful, but in this case a surge of water would have been useful for washing his charge clean. Instead he’s forced to take one of his own undershirts as a sacrifice to the cause, wetting it with water from the ship's small conservator.

It is with this that he washes the blood from the boy’s hands, rubbing the wet cloth over his knuckles until the pale skin underneath shines back at him. It is then that Hux moves to his face, bringing the cloth over his cheekbones, chasing the spattering of blood into his hairline. Sweeping it gently over eyelids, when finally those dark searching eyes slide shut such that Hux can finish his cleaning.

Hux knows better than to ask questions.

Even if the boy would answer, he was certain he would not like knowing the answer. If there was one thing the First Order had taught him was not to ask questions, those who were curious or who thought too far out of the lines were the ones that had a habit of suddenly disappearing.

Yet he cannot help himself, “You were lucky to have survived.”

It is then that he finally gets a reaction from the boy, the blank features shifting into something else entirely, something darker, as he barks out a harsh unpleasant noise that seems to be a facsimile of a laugh.

Before he says one word, “No.”

“What happened back there at your temple?”

The boy blinks at him slowly, seeming as if he is about to retreat back into himself. Hux knows that there’s nothing more that he will get out of the boy for at least sometime, perhaps this is the universe's way of saving him. If knowing what happened was able to put the haunted look in that boy’s eyes, Hux didn’t want to know.

---

Their journey seemed likely to pass with nothing but radio silence from the boy.

The silence of the ship which normally offered Hux comfort, now seemed oppressive, too much like the silence of the ruined temple. His own living space seems tainted by the silent boy’s presence, such that he cannot sitting at his desk and do work on his datapad without an uncomfortable chill settling over him.

Which was why he had quickly resigned himself to remaining in the cockpit for the vast majority of their journey.

At least here he didn’t have to endure empty stares.

The boy’s voice suddenly far too close for comfort causes Hux to jolt from his position slumped against the Nebular’s controls. “I’m hungry.”

Apparently he has recovered from the shock enough to be impolite, or maybe that is just the boy’s nature.

Hux doesn’t turn to look at him, but he can see the reflection of the boy’s features in the viewport in front of him. “There’s ration bars in the conservator.”

This earns him no reaction.

“Do you not know what a conservator is?”

Again nothing.

Hux lets out an angry sigh before getting out of the pilot’s seat. This was why he liked to have his assets in stasis, they never came at him with entitled attitudes. Hux pushes past the boy, deliberately bumping their shoulders together, to get some sort of reaction out of him. It works, and for his troubles, Hux is rewarded with a displeased gasp.

The conservator isn’t stocked with much variety, just the water reclamation unit, and a number of ration bars. He grabs one of the bars and tosses it in the direction of the kid, at least he’s able to catch the bar. Though Hux does note that his fingers shake slightly as he undoes the wrapping on the bar, before taking a bite out of it.

He can see the second the kid registers the taste, his lip wrinkling as if the ration has personally offended him, before he struggles a bit to swallow it down. The ration bars weren’t particularly flavorful, in fact they were quite bland, meant to pack the right amount of nutrients rather than offer anything pleasant to the tastebuds. Hux, who had grown up at the academy, was long since used to the flavor of the ration bars.

Though whenever he was forced to eat the local cuisine of the planets he had stopped on, his expression would’ve been a mirror of the boy before him. To Hux anything that wasn’t a First Order rationed meal always felt too sweet or too bitter, to the point of turning his stomach.

“Do you have anything better?”

“No,” Hux says, grabbing one of the bars for himself and settling down at the only chair in the living area, the one at the desk. The boy mirrors his actions, settling on the bunk, though still squinting at the ration bar with a look of distrust, “It’s this or starve.”

“I’d rather starve.”

Hux snorts. “After all that effort the Supreme Leader expanded sending me to come get you?” He’s trying to keep his voice casual, but under the intense stare of the boy it is hard. That, and just mentioning the name of the Supreme Leader reminds him that he has no clue how this journey will end. Will the Supreme Leader decide he has seen too much and extinguish his life force on arrival? Or will he -

“Stop it,” the boy’s voice, deeply unhappy, cuts Hux’s thoughts off at once.

His eyes snapping up to look warily at him, still met by that cold dark stare. “Excuse me?”

It is the boy that breaks their staring contest, “Your head, it’s so loud - all that energy, you need to calm down. Your worrying is annoying - distracting, stop it.”

It takes Hux a moment to figure out what the boy is saying, but when it does, he flashes hot with anger.

His anxiety is annoying.

As if Hux isn’t already all too aware of his own weakness, now this child is going as far as to insist that Hux’s anxiety is inconveniencing him. He wants to hit something - to hit someone - but he can only imagine what the Supreme Leader would think if his acquisition turned up damaged.

“Can’t you kriffing listen,” the boy snaps, before pushing off the bed, and crossing so that he can stand in front of Hux. His hands come up cradle Hux’s face, fingertips pressing against his temples.

“What are you-” Is all Hux can get out before something happens. The anxiety inside of him, the constant pressure of it in the back of his mind, seems to fall silent at once. All emotions slip away from him, leaving him feeling not just empty, but at peace. Finally able to breathe without his body shaking.

The situation is so startling that for a second he allows himself to relax into the comfort of it.

Though that second does not last long enough.

He jerks sharply out from the boy’s grasp, not missing the startled look in his eyes. Hux had heard talk of species, humanoids that had abilities that were telepathic in quality. He had also heard rumors of the Force, a mythical power that was rumored to be able to have been wielded by the Jedi and others like them. The image of the boy setting a lightsaber atop his bloodied clothing is all too sharp in Hux’s mind.

“What did you do,” he says not bothering to keep the accusation out of his tone.

“I made it stop,” is the only explanation he is offered, “You need to learn to meditate, then your mind wouldn’t be so loud and-”

“What the kriff did you do to me?”

His anxiety may be gone for the moment, but anger rises up so quickly to take its place. Anger at this boy that the Supreme Leader seemed to care so much about, anger at these mythical powers which he had just felt first hand.

The boy does not react to his angry tone in the way that Hux had been hoping for. Instead he simply gives Hux a look as though he is the most dense being in the galaxy. Before saying, “I used the Force,” with a tone to indicate that this should’ve been obvious.

It takes everything Hux has in him to hiss out, “The Force isn’t real,” before standing up abruptly and returning to the cockpit. This time he makes sure to lock the door behind him, so that he cannot be disturbed by the boy.

Though if what he was saying about the Force was true, then the door might not even be enough to keep him out.

---

At some point he falls asleep, slumped forward on his arms over the ship's control panel. The position is uncomfortable, and when a dial digging into his cheek wakes him up, Hux decides to damn all of his ill will and return to the living area of the ship if only to get some much needed rest.

He’s too tired to fully think through what he will do if the boy is still in his bunk, his plan to simply push the boy off with an insistence that he’s rested enough.

Though when he enters the living area, Hux is pleasantly surprised to find that the boy is not on his bunk, but rather situated on the ground just outside the ‘fresher. He’s kneeling on the ground, head bowed forward, eyes shut, as though he has gone into some sort of trance. Meditation, his mind supplies the word sharply as though spoken in the voice of the boy before him, but it’s probably just the memory of his sharp suggestion that Hux learn to do so, that brings that voice up in his mind.

Whatever it is, Hux shakes off the feeling, stepping around the boy and towards the bunk. If he’s lucky he’ll be able to get a few hours of sleep, enough to make the time between now and when they arrive at the coordinates provided by the Supreme Leader pass quicker.

Gingerly he moves the pile of bloodied clothing and the arcane weapon on top of it, over to the floor by his desk, before settling into the bed.

As soon as his head hits the thin mattress, sleep finds him.

 

It’s a scream sharp and shrill, a young girl with wide brown eyes staring up at him, scampering backwards -

Her features are familiar to him, such that sometimes it feels like looking in a mirror. Though they always tend to look better on her, whereas on his own face they seem -

Her palms are bleeding, hit sharp on the stones floor of the temple. She has a habit of doing this, scuffing her palms, but this time there will be no one to bandage the wounds. They press against the side of her brown robes, staining her obi with red crescents -

There’s a weapon in his hands, heavy and sure, he’s done this before - brought the blade down again and again, this time will be no different. Easier almost, each of one that goes down fuels his power, he can feel it moving from his fingertips up through his body. The power he was fated to behold -

He raises the purple blade to bring down a the finishing blow -

Some one calls his name - only it's not his, not really - and he spins away from the girl saber cutting through the air with no target -

The man in front of him is older, but no less horrified by what he is watching, blue eyes widen with distress before they soften offering comfort, “This isn’t you, this isn’t” -

 

He wakes with a gasp. Heart beating too fast as if it might burst from his chest, as he tries to make sense of what is reality and what was the dream he had escaped from.

As his eyes slowly adjust to the dark, he is suddenly reminded that he is not alone here. The boy is with him, leaning over Hux’s figure with an expression akin to concern on his features, his eyebrows knitted together, pulling at the constellation of freckles on his face.

If Hux could jerk back from him he would, but doing so would only mean bumping into the wall beside the bunk, so instead he sucks in a sharp breath and wills himself not to give into the anxiety already beginning to build up inside of him.

It is the boy that breaks the silence between them, “You were having a bad dream.”

“Oh you don’t say,” Hux says dryly, sarcasm can be a form of armor.

Though from the boy’s snort, he sees through Hux’s defenses easily enough. “Move over.”

“This is my bed,” Hux says, refusing to budge, “You can sleep on the floor.”

“It’ll help,” he insists.

Hux highly doubts that. Nightmares are not an uncommon occurrence for him, but this one had felt like it was something more. Too life like, too real, he feels certain that if he closed his eyes it would return with that same shocking clarity to right where it had left off. Never before had Hux been able to remember his dreams upon waking, but this one seemed impossible to escape.

And yet, the boy seems to believe he could help Hux escape it.

“Fine,” he says, after a moment, moving closer to the wall so that the boy can slip under the sheets as well.

This bunk really isn’t made for more than one person, they shoulders bump together in what should be an uncomfortable arrangement, however he finds no discomfort having the boy next to him. Instead a wave of comfort washes over him, the steady grip that Hux had had on his nightmare mere moments before already seems to have begun to fade away.

“You’re doing that,” he says, even though voicing the thought outloud feels foolish.

“Yes.”

He wants to tell him to stop it, whatever it is, to stop the Force from washing over him, but Hux cannot find the words.

Instead he says, something else, unable to filter his thoughts. “What’s your name?”

When he gets no response right away, he chides himself internally, he should’ve known better than to have asked. If the boy wasn’t willing to give the answer away than that was probably for the best, everything he learned at this point was already edging toward too much, to the point where the Supreme Leader might think it best to simply silence him, to -

“Ben.” The boy answers, soothing his worries with that one word. “My name is Ben.”

For some reason the name sounds almost familiar, but he’s asleep before he can figure out why.

---

The first thing he notices upon waking is that he’s alone. Something that would normally offer him comfort, now shoots off alarm bells in Hux’s head, forcing him into wakefulness far quicker than he would like. A quick search of the living area shows that his charge - that Ben - is nowhere to be found.

Anxiety begins to surge through Hux, irrationally thinking that the boy could’ve somehow found a way off of his ship. Sure, there were no escape pods or any means of leaving while they were in hyperspace, but the Force worked in mysterious ways. Ways such that many of Hux’s contemporaries had worshiped it as some divine instrument, a divine instrument that Ben had already proved himself capable of manipulating.

Hux moves to the cockpit at once, the only other place he could imagine Ben being, though isn’t too surprised when he finds it empty.

A quick glance at the autopilot controls shows that he has five hours until they reach the Supreme Leader, which meant five hours to locate Ben and make him somewhat presentable.

Hux checks the ‘fresher on his way out of the cockpit unsurprised to find it lacking his charge.

There is only one place yet to check.

He moves through the ship with just a hint of quickness, his feet sure on the path to the part of the ship meant to store the assets. As the door to the room slides open, Ben turns to look at him, illuminated by the yellow light of the incubators, his features are not surprised in the slightest.

“You’re not to be in here,” Hux says sharply. “If I find you’ve tampered with any of the assets.”

“The assets,” Ben repeats, almost scandalized by Hux’s words, “You mean the children.”

Hux scans the incubators behind him, doing a quick count of his stock. When they all prove to be there, he turns back to Ben, ignoring the displeased look on the boy’s face. He will have to get over whatever sense of entitlement and righteousness is making him so offended. The First Order has no place for teenagers with soft hearts.

“I didn’t realize the First Order employed smugglers.”

“I’m not a smuggler,” Hux says sharply, “I move assets around for the First Order, I-”

“A glorified smuggler than,” Ben corrects, distain dripping from his tone. “Or would you prefer being called a trafficker, a slaver - that is what you have here, isn’t it?”

“Don’t presume to understand the workings of the First Order. You’re clearly a new addition to the order,that matters that I am dealing with are far above your understanding.”

This comment seems to amuse Ben. His eyes dancing with silent humor.

“I know more about smugglers than you would expect.”

“I’m not-”

“What are the children for? They’re too young to make proper slaves, though I suppose to the right buyer, if the First Order is so desperate for funds.”

Ben’s fingers trail along one of the incubator chambers, the yellow glow from it casting eerie shadows on his face, his dark eyes reflecting the color like pools back at Hux.

He owes Ben no explanation. The boy before him is simply another job, another person to be transferred. Yet, he feels as if he must give one. That he must defend the program which is to be his legacy.

“They’re to be soldiers, a new breed, raised from birth, programmed to be loyal to the First Order,” Hux explains, with a small hint of pride. “I am the First Lieutenant on the program in charge of asset acquisition, set to take over control of the program within a few years,” if his father ever let himself retire with grace so that the junior Hux might take over his birthright. “We use a series of medical procedures to build them stronger than ever before, combined with intense mental condition, the first rounds have been more than successful, these infants will be among phase three.”

Ben remains silent for a long following Hux’s explanation, finally pulling his hand away from the glass of the incubator.

The anticipation between finishing speaking and waiting to hear what Ben thinks of the matter feels as though it may just kill him. Instinctively he jams his middle and ring fingers into the palm of his hand to ground himself.

“Why not just use clones?”

He releases his tense fingers at Ben’s words.

“Clones are inefficient, why have an army made up of the same deficient man replicated over and over again, each shortcoming only increasing with time? Our troopers will differ slightly, just enough that the true leaders will rise forward, the outliers eliminated, allowing specialization, without uniform weakness,” Hux says, “A clone is inherently flawed because all beings are, but in that case if one were to discover the weakness of one clone, it could be used to ruin an entire army. By using these new troopers there is no chance of a complete system failure.”

Ben weighs his words for a moment, “If you found the perfect specimen clones would be more efficient.”

“You speak of a hypothetical that could never exist.”

“Would you not clone yourself if given the chance, an army of men just as yourself, who think in the same way and can safeguard your ambitions?”

He means to consider it for a second, but the instant the thought crosses his mind all he can think is his father’s heavy tone reminding him not to disappoint him again. The words carry like a warning through his mind, echoing into the infinity of space.

When he speaks it is with words that seem practice, though he is certain that he has never said them before, “The clone would only disappoint me.”

---

The five hours between them and their destination pass all too quickly.

Hux offers his only spare uniform shirt to Ben. The stark white of the shirt accenting his already far too pale skin. He keeps the sleep pants, for at least they have a way of cinching at the waist, whereas his uniform pants would’ve just hung too loose around Ben’s waist.

His robes are a lost cause, too bloodied to be presentable for a meeting with the Supreme Leader or whatever fate awaited the boy. Though he offers Ben his lightsaber, which he takes gingerly from Hux’s hand.

Ben’s fingers thumb at the controls, bringing the blade to life before his eyes.

Somehow he knew even before it was ignited that the blade would shine purple between them.

This is it, the moment he is finally killed for all of his trouble. Hux braces himself, closing his eyes, ready for an impact that never comes.

He only opens his eyes when the electric sound of the blade falls silent, and when he does so he is met by Ben’s searching gaze.

He feels the need to voice his thoughts to say, I thought you would kill me, but he cannot manage the words.

Somehow he feels as though Ben understands, a thought echoes through Hux’s head that Ben nearly had. That it would have been so easy to end Hux right there. To erase the last twenty-four hours of existence.

He shivers without logical reasoning.

The last thing Ben says, before stepping out of the transport, will linger in his mind for weeks to come.

“Don’t worry Lieutenant Hux, we’ll meet again. It is the will of the Force.”