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Before The Saber Swings

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They had moved him into a more spacious and furnished cell since the trial. This one had a bed that was more than just a bundle of rags on the floor and a table and chair. All bolted down, of course.

 

It was almost cosy in a Spartan kind of way. Kylo had never much seen the point of trinkets and useless decoration. If it wasn't essential to him, he did without it.

 

The past two weeks had been almost peaceful in comparison to the weeks prior to his capture. He had been dragged to Naboo where the Resistance had set up a new base following their victory. He had been presented as a prisoner to the rebels where General Organa set eyes on her only child as a grown man for the first time. Most expected him to drop his eyes so naturally he went out of his way to disappoint them by refusing to so much as blink in her presence.

 

He had been surprised by how small she was. He had always remembered her being this presence that commanded respect, loyalty and utter obedience. It seemed to have elevated her to at least mid height in his mind.

 

Yet here she stood. Not even coming up to his collarbone, greying, tired… resolute. (Maybe it hadn't all been boyish imaginings.)

 

He had been forced to remain on his knees as a list of his offences where read out by Dameron who looked like he was enjoying every minute of this. He spotted the traitor Stormtrooper not far from the pilot's side, glowering down at him. A sea of faces all looking at him in disgust. Not much was new there. He saw none of them though as he scanned the crowd.

 

Where was she?

 

He couldn't sense her in the crowd but she was here. Somewhere. Hiding? No, that wasn't her style. Preparing… yes, that seemed more likely.

 

General Organa didn't visit him in the days leading up to the trial. She didn't have to. He could feel everything that was going through her mind from half a Palace away. Grief, fear, duty, despair, yearning, anger, but mostly sadness. Overwhelming sadness. For what was to be, what had been and what could have been.

 

Kylo didn't allow his shields to drop. They had never had a traditional mother-son bond but, despite all he had done against all she had worked for, some things were best taken with you to the end.

 

The trial was held on Coruscant at the old Senate where Palpatine himself had once stood. The public demanded justice and why not give them a show, Kylo reasoned.

 

Hux was also there to stand alongside him. It amused him somewhat to see his former comrade looking dishevelled and livid at his situation. His normally slicked-back hair was falling limply into his eyes and his uniform was dirty. Kylo had at least been given the option to bathe before this circus started. Maybe his mother was making life easier than he had anticipated.

 

Phasma had met her fate on the battleground so it was just the two of them left.

 

A list of their grievances were read out. Kylo was given opportunity to speak but refused. Enough had been said. Hux wasn't so keen on the silent and accepting approach and ranted on and loudly about the virtues of the First Order. Predictably the Senate went into uproar at the reasoning and Hux just yelled all the louder (the man had a set of lungs on him; he wouldn't have made so many speeches for the First Order if he didn't.)

 

In the end none of it really mattered. The verdict was a foregone conclusion.

 

The verdict: Guilty. The sentence: Death.

 

Kylo felt her presence in the arena-like room but it was so vast and there were so many faces that he didn't even try to see her.

 

She was here. That was enough.

 


 

Kylo spent the first two days after the trial completely alone except for the service droids who brought him food. He had been taken to his new cell back on Naboo and left there. Some people had taken umbridge to the fact his quarters were being improved. Funnily enough, a guard posted outside his door gave the best argument in his defence.

 

He's already a dead man. What harm can it do now?”

 

Kylo spent that time meditating and thinking over things. Life on The Finalizer had always been about the moment. Looking back would have unravelled his mind altogether.

 

A few temper tantrums were nothing in comparison, he mused wryly.

 

His first human visitor was Dameron three days later. There was no preamble.

 

“Your execution day is scheduled. It will be when the three moons align above Naboo.”

 

Ten days. More time than he expected.

 

“I take it that it will be public.” He didn't voice it as a question.

 

Dameron shifted. He almost looked uncomfortable.

 

“It will be on the steps of the palace.”

 

“Hmm.” Kylo nodded. Dameron was looking at him oddly. A mixture of dislike and confusion in his eyes. Kylo's lips quirked into a smile. “You expected me to be frightened.”

 

Dameron stood up all the straighter. “I don't expect emotion from monsters.” Kylo smiled wider. That was more like it.

 

“Anything else?”

 

The pilot shifted some more.

 

“Is there anything you require?” It looked like it hurt him to ask. They weren't adapt at making each other comfortable. “Any last wishes?”

 

Kylo Ren pushed down the desire to irritate Dameron further and thought it over. He was sufficiently fed and had what was needed for relative comfort. It was quiet for a moment before he spoke again.

 

“Tell her I'm waiting.”

 

Dameron raised an eyebrow. “The General believes you would not want to-”

 

“I'm not talking about the General.”

 

“Well, then, who?”

 

Kylo tried to smirk but was fairly confident it look rather wistful instead of cocky.

 

“You know who.”

 


 

Kylo had a window in his cell and he was housed high enough to see the steps of the palace. The people of Naboo would be given a good view from there. At noon tomorrow, the view from those steps would be the last he would ever see.

 

Hux had gone to his death with sneering anger. The crowd expected humility and jeered at his arrogance. It had been relatively clean. Blast bolt to the back of the head. No messing about. Kylo had watched. He had felt almost admiration for him. They had never been friends but he hadn't gone meekly to his fate. That was a trait that was as impressive as it was foolhardy.

 

Kylo was oddly calm. He'd not felt an extreme of emotion for at least three weeks since he was captured. The rage and fear were still there (would always be there) but beyond anything he felt a bone weary tiredness.

 

Because he was. He was so tired. He had not had a decent nights sleep for seventeen years. And he wouldn't sleep until she came.

 

He had tried to reach out to her. Her shields were iron tight from her training with Skywalker though and unlike the General, whom had never had the training to shield her mind, he couldn't read her thoughts.

 

There was a part of him that was starting to feel the fear rise up. It was his last night and if she didn't come…

 

So much would die with him.

 

The sun was setting over Naboo when he felt her presence stronger than he ever had before. He didn't turn around as the door opened. He kept looking at the sun and let her light goodness bathe him better than any dusk could dream of doing.

 

“I was told you wanted to see me.”

 

Her voice was clearly trying to sound bored or indifferent. It was trying anyway.

 

“Yes. About two weeks ago.” Kylo replied wryly. He turned away from the window and looked on her.

 

Wrapped in a tunic and pants provided by the Jedi academy, she had come a long way since he had chased her through the forest of Takodana. She had been terrified of him and had shot blindly to keep him away. Now she came before him with the posture of a soldier and had clearly been taking tips from the General in schooling her features.

 

But some things were completely unchanged.

 

She still wore her hair in that odd little three bun do.

 

She still had a dusting of freckles over the bridge of her nose.

 

She was still terrified.