Hux had never considered himself a coward. And yet, here he was, standing, poised on the precipice, one hand resting against the heavy oaken door of the temple and still he found himself unable to push.
He knew what he would find inside. He’d been preparing himself for weeks, ever since they had made the announcement, steadily grinding down every emotion until he felt nothing. Tabula Rasa. A blank slate, all markings worn away with time and grit. So why was this still so hard?
His hand felt heavy with the weight of the rings, cradled as they were in his palm. He knew he had to enter soon, or the lack of him would cause more of a stir than he would himself. He raised both hands to the doors and lurched slightly. Perhaps downing half a bottle of brandy in preparation hadn’t been the best idea.
He heaved on the doors—expecting resistance, but there was none—they crashed open, a deafening noise in the otherwise silent temple. Heads whipped around to look at him, hundreds of eyes; wondering, worrying, waiting.
There was silence as Hux walked up the center aisle, no noise but the click, click, click of his boots on the ancient stones. His normally upright posture was hunched, and tears glittered on his otherwise impassive face.
After what seemed like millennia, he reached the altar. Both participants stood, stunned, as he extended a clenched fist and opened it. Two rings lay within.
Kylo moved first, placing a hand on the General’s shoulder. “Hux, there you are, you were supposed to be here ages—,” he paused, lowering his voice as if he was telling Hux a secret he wasn’t already privy to, “—you’re crying.” Astute as always.
“Am not,” sneered Hux, smearing away tears with the back of his gloved hand and straightening his back. “I don’t cry.”
Rey, eyes wide, struggled to set down the large wine-filled chalice she was holding on the altar beside her. Judging by the outraged gasp of the hooded priest—a remnant of the Sith lords of old—she had likely just committed some ancient sin or another. Reaching up with now-empty hands, she used her thumbs to gently wipe away the tears that had managed to escape down Hux’s face.
Hux opened his mouth to explain, to apologize, to say anything—and found that his tongue had turned to lead in his mouth, clumsy and heavy. He was struck by a moment of galaxy shattering, stomach turning panic. Words had never failed him before. He was an orator before all else, for kriff’s sake. He’d brought planets to their knees with nothing more than a well-placed phrase. How could it be that now—now when he needed them more than ever, when the weight of his emotions threatened to buckle his knees—now the well of words ran dry?
He merely shook his head, pained, and thrust the rings forward. Hoping, begging, that one of them would take them out of his hand and let him go. The sight of the two of them—studded in jewels and silks, faces painted with some sort of intricate symbology—looking at him with such concern merely made it worse. His chest felt tight, like someone had clamped a vise around his heart and turned it, slowly, slowly.
He opened his mouth, intending to make some platitude, any excuse to turn and leave, when the words he’d been dreading, pushing down for—stars, it felt like years now—tumbled out of his mouth in a blur.
“I love you.”
“What?” said Rey, at the same time as Kylo said “Who?”
They paused, locking gazes.
“It’s Rey, isn’t it?” continued Kylo, jealousy suffusing his voice.
She shook her head, “No, it must be you. You two have know each other so long, been through so much—“
“Its both of you.” The final piece of his confession fought its way through, battling pursed lips and gritted teeth—anything to prevent the words from slipping out—but they had betrayed him once more.
They paused again at that, frozen, two sets of glittering eyes fixed on his face.
Somehow, impossibly, his admission had allowed Hux to regain a measure of his old self. He could feel steel straightening his spine once more, heat rushing to his face as he blushed.
“Idiots,” he managed to clip out, nearly gasping with relief as his control over his mouth returned. “You can read minds and yet you’re so blind to what’s right in front of you.”
That, of course, set Kylo off. It had been calculated to.
“We’re idiots? You’re the one who’s ruining our wedding! Look at you! You were supposed to be up here at the start with the rings, and you straggle in late, looking like death--,”
Rey’s touch on his arm silenced him. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I, well, I thought you knew. I just—it seemed so obvious,” he replied, thinking back on the times they had spent together. Long nights in the officer’s lounge, sipping whiskey and sharing tales, long days training together, teaching Rey strategy, trying and failing to teach Kylo restraint, that thrilling, binding fear of standing together at the bridge, the three of them taking on the world. He had been anguished to admit it, even to himself, scared to think that it might have just been him, that he might have misinterpreted—
Hux watched as they locked eyes, seemingly having one of their impossible conversations. Kriff they were annoying. He still couldn’t believe that out of all the people in the galaxy he’d been drawn to these two. There was something poetic about it, really; he was a man who loved order, except, it seemed, in the ones he loved.
His reverie was broken by the touch of Kylo’s hands, pulling the rings out of his clenched fingers. He’d forgotten he was holding them.
He watched in a daze as Kylo took the larger ring and set it on the ground, using the ceremonial knife at his waist to slice the soft metal into two somewhat equal pieces.
“Does it still work with three?” asked Rey, addressing the priest as she pushed back the veil of lace and gems that had slipped low over her forehead.
The dark priest, who by this point had taken to leaning his elbows on the altar and sneaking sips from the ceremonial chalice, was startled out of distraction by the sound of her voice. He stood with a jolt, mouth starting to form an answer before he remembered that the gravitas of the ancient ceremony called for him to remain completely silent until the end.
The priest nodded his head, sagely—or so he hoped, that wine was strong—and waited for Rey to once again heft the heavy cup into her hands.
“So,” said Rey, addressing Hux, once she had managed to settle the chalice, “Will you?”
Still unsure what was going on, he responded, “Will I what?”
“Will you marry us?” said Kylo, and Hux turned to see the Knight kneeling, ring extended. He was oddly touched that Kylo had offered him the unbroken ring, that was so unlike the Knight.
It was as though a crushing weight he hadn’t known he was under was finally lifted. He could breathe again, see again, hear again, and everything in the room suddenly felt overwhelming, the sights headier, sounds louder, colors brighter then they had any right to be. Rey’s hand found his own and squeezed, centering him, bringing him into the moment.
“Oh, um, yes,” Hux replied, realizing they were still waiting for his answer.
“Eloquent,” laughed Kylo as he stood, and warmth flooded Hux’s chest. “Ever the orator.”
The priest made a gesture then, and Hux got the impression he was speaking mentally to Kylo.
The Knight reached up and ran a finger through the paint adorning his face, before reaching out to smear it across Hux’s forehead.
“Hey,” exclaimed Hux.
“Hush, darling,” said Kylo, and Hux blushed at the word. “It’s necessary for the binding.”
Rey made a little noise and jerked her head towards the priest. The three of them turned to face the hooded man, who began the ceremony anew.
It was blessedly short. As the priest remained silent, there was much (ceremonial) pointing and (ceremonial) grunting and waving of hands. Rey held up the heavy chalice to Hux and Kylo in turn, and then the two men gripped it together so she could sip herself. She giggled softly when the wine sloshed about, courtesy of two people trying to pour simultaneously, and Hux found himself glowing with a heat of affection. He squeezed his hand around Kylo’s and the Knight grinned over at him.
He had never imagined today would go like this, stars.
He felt heat on his hand and looked down to see Rey slipping the unbroken ring on his finger. The ring had been meant for her so it only managed to crest his first knuckle, but it didn’t matter, nothing mattered as long as she kept beaming at him like she was. She nodded to him, and he realized he was supposed to do something now. He turned to his left to see Kylo holding out a crude ring that he seemed to have bent with his hands from the half-piece of metal. Hux took it and slipped it as best he could onto the Knight’s pinky, the only finger on which it would (barely) fit. He watched as Kylo slid the other half ring on Rey’s finger.
“Rysijas,” said the Priest, speaking for the first time, and the rings on each of their hands grew hot. Hux felt a tingle on his face and reached up to find the smear of paint had disappeared. Kylo and Rey’s faces were similarly unadorned as they beamed over at him. “What is bound and bonded let none unbind.”
They crashed together then, the three of them. It was hard navigating a kiss with three people, especially for the first time. Eventually they ended up taking turns, each possible pair sharing a soft quick kiss as the cheers of the crowd raged around them.
The lingering heat of their kisses on his lips had left Hux in a reverie, wanting nothing more than two drag his new husband and wife out of the temple and have his way with them. They seemed to be of the same mind, each grabbing one of his hands and tugging him along through the crowd.
“I thought you’d never come,” said Rey, her words floating over the noise.
“We knew,” said Kylo, until Rey elbowed him.
“We hoped,” she corrected.