Oh, Love, You’re Not Alone
Main Theme- Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide by David Bowie
Military funerals by the First Order are a lot like military funerals of the Empire past. They are both very solemn, joyless affairs where a bunch of people, most of whom barely knew the deceased but can tell some obscure story about him, attend and look aristocratically as dead as the person which this funeral is about. And then there is some bullshit about his or her contributions to the Empire or the First Order. And then there’s some lukewarm feast while the deceased’s survivors endure the semi-tearful consolations from the attendees.
Brendol “Fae” Hux II has never attended an Empire military funeral, but his father assured him there was very little difference between two. Except that the Empire one had better food. He laughed at that since his father didn’t tell jokes often.
But his father didn’t tell him two things about military funerals. It’s how kriffing lonesome they are and how exclusive they are. The lonesomeness is mostly due to the exclusivity. Like the stuffy Empire before it, the First Order only allows those who are registered under the First Order to attend. Which means his mum, brother, aunt, and cousins aren’t allowed to attend since they never bothered to register under the First Order.
So it’s just Brendol, the only living Brendol now, and a bunch of his father’s colleagues who meant virtually nothing to him. He is on auto-pilot. He says whatever polite thing is expected from a son raised by true-blooded Imperials. He thanks, while wanting to throttle them, the ones who say his father would be proud of his upstanding son of the First Order. He nods his head when some old crone talks shit about the New Republic, even though he himself has no ill-will towards the New Republic.
Brendol views this as more practice for his military persona he’s crafting. This perfect model of the pragmatic, emotionless virtues of the First Order. And the only reason he’s enduring this charade so well is because this is the only time he’ll get to see his father’s corpse before cremation.
His mum, his brother, his aunt, and his cousins already saw his corpse because they were there. Because they were at the old family home on Galatia where his father passed away while taking a nap after breakfast. They all got to crowd around his corpse and share their mutual grief with each other.
Where was Brendol Hux II in all this?
He was at school on Arkanis. It was noon when he got the comm from his mum. His mum was not crying; she was calm and collected when she told him that his father died peacefully in his sleep. He knew that she probably spent the hour before calling him to calm herself down. She told him that she was making the funeral arrangements here, but since he was the only one registered in the First Order that he will have to handle the formal arrangements on Arkanis.
Of course, like the good son that he is, he did exactly what his mum asked him to do. He told the new Commandant, who took over his father’s position last year, his father just passed and he needed to make the necessary arrangements. The new Commandant, who is attending the funeral and whose name he never bothered to learn, generously gives him two weeks off.
Two weeks. He only gets two weeks to get away from Arkanis, after the formal military funeral of course, and go home.
It would be longer, but you used up most of your excused absences after your…stunt a couple of years ago. Those are the exact words from the Commandant. In other circumstances, Brendol would’ve politely decked him, but those words just cut him down because of the last part. If he didn’t pull…that stunt a little more than two years ago, then he would’ve had at least a month or two to get away from the Academy and properly sort out his life.
Maybe decide to drop out of the Academy once and for all and then smash the Commandant’s nose in with his tacky little bust of Grand Moff Tarkin as his formal resignation.
No, he only gets two weeks. Well, as soon as he leaves this godforsaken farce of a funeral. He would’ve walked out, not even halfway through the ceremony, by now. There is one thing keeping him here. The only thing that has always kept him here on this rain-drenched, snooty hellhole. His love for his father.
Even though, his father is dead and never coming back. Even though, his father was the reincarnation of the Sith’ari of the Old Republic. Even though, his father was the grandson of Emperor Palpatine, a pfassking monster who got to live 85 years while his grandson only got 59. Even though, his father was the only reason why he even bothered to go to the Academy and continued to go there even after his father retired over a year ago because his father never got to have the full Academy experience.
It was all for him. And now, he’s not ever going to see his son graduate from this awful place. Brendol almost considers his entire time here a waste if not for his father. All he ever wanted was to spend time with his father.
And he wasn’t even there in his last moments. No, he was here, on Arkanis, listening to some lecture that he could not give a damn about. All because he wanted to graduate from the Academy because his father never got to. It was all for him.
Now, he’s gone.
All that’s left of him is his corpse that will be cremated shortly after this godawful funeral is over. This is the last time he’ll ever see his father relatively whole, a complete person for nearly eighteen years, but now surrounded by people who only cared about his results. People who are using his Stormtrooper program proposal, a proposal which he proposed decades ago and promptly forgot about once it was rejected, but bastardizing the methods he suggested. People who only saw him as the man that got more beautiful the older he got. People, mostly High Command, who saw him as a necessary nuisance. These people who truly know nothing about his father get to pretend that they do and get to tell his son how he was a perfect example of an Imperial!
There is only one person in this heartless funeral that actually cared about Brendol Hux, and that is Brendol Hux.
Brendol Hux does not cry.
It takes an entire day of hyperspace travel to reach Galatia, his true home planet in the Divine Mother’s Eye system of the Unknown Regions. And all this time he’s been clutching an urn with his father’s ashes to his chest. Excluding the times that he was eating ration bars with green tea and then promptly going to the bathroom afterwards.
The school didn’t pay for his trip back home. He was relieved when Dani and Kiro offered him, after they received the news from his brother, a ride back to Galatia. For free, along with some green tea and semi-ingestible ration bars. His stomach isn’t grateful for the ration bars, but he does appreciate their sentiment.
Galatia, his home world, is close enough for him to see. He can see the emerald-colored water that makes up 66% of the world, most of which is freshwater, while the rest of planet is made up of farmland and trees. He can remember waking up at dawn and taking his father to see the Hangmen Spiders making their web-nooses in the trees.
He brings the urn up to the window, so his father’s ashes can see Galatia one last time.
He does not cry.
The full-blooded human yokels in town would call his home the House of Giants and Monsters. The giant part came from the fact that the house was literally built for people over two and a half meters in height. The monster part came from ill-founded xenophobia that seems to strike at these stupid full-blooded humans.
Brendol and his family are deemed monsters by the town. But it is okay, it’s not like the townspeople are any different from his classmates. And besides, they are not attending the real funeral of Brendol Hux.
The House of Giants and Monsters is home; his real home that he wishes he spent more time there. Especially in his father’s last moments. He would’ve loved to see him alive, to hear his last words.
I’m a little tired…I need to take a short nap. I’ll wake up soon. Those were his father’s last words to the family. And Brendol wasn’t there to hear them. Or see the last smile that graced his tired face.
His mum greets him at the door and gives him a kiss on his left cheek. She is dressed in black and right behind her is Aya. He is dressed in an appropriate black suit; his red eyes are looking at him with that familiar concern for his little brother. Brendol does not say anything to them; he really doesn’t know what to say.
“Fae, everything is ready in the dining room.” He hear his mum gently say in his ear. His brother gently nudges him towards the dining room. Brendol appreciates their guidance because he’s far too focused on keeping the urn by his chest. He wants his father’s ashes to hear his heartbeat like how his father used to listen it when he was a baby.
The round table is decorated with black ribbons, black candles, and a bunch of holos and real photographs of his father. Brendol badly wishes that he was magical, so he can just magically pull his father out of one the frames and make him alive again.
But Brendol being magical is as likely as him having the Force.
He sees his blue acoustic guitar in the hands of Aunt Mara. She and the rest of the Jade clan is dressed tastefully in black. Jaina is trying to rest her head on her extremely taller twin’s shoulder, while Jacen keeps rubbing his temples to get rid of the headache he gained from his earlier bout of crying.
“Let’s cut through that formal-talking bullshit and get to you. It’s your turn.” Brendol is not sure what she means by that last part. But he knows that this is one of those times where he will actually listen heed Aunt Mara’s words. He puts the urn down on the table; its cold clatter reminds him of a death knell.
He takes his guitar from Aunt Mara’s black-gloved hands. For once, he feels like they actually agreed on something important.
Brendol watches as the rest of his family take their seat. He takes his place directly in front of the round table; a picture of his father is staring directly at him. He pulls off the black gloves he was wearing and chucks them into a forgotten corner. He then spends a little time correctly tuning his guitar before finally putting his hands in position.
He lightly strums the guitar for about four seconds before finally opening his mouth:
“Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth.
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette.
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget.
Ohhh ho, ho, ho, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide.”
His voice sounds strange. Or perhaps strained given how he spent a couple of hours talking to people who he didn’t give a damn about. His voice is shaky, but his father is watching him.
“You’re too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clock waits so patiently on your song.
You walk past a cafe but you don’t eat when you’ve lived too long.
Oh, no, no, no, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide.”
He remembers when he was seventeen and fell in love with some Nagai by the name of Morningstar. Morningstar was his first love and he sang like the tragic beauty that he was. Brendol won over Morningstar with a David Bowie song, his blue guitar, and his fuck-me pumps. In the end, Morningstar broke his heart and then stole his guitar and his shoes.
His father was the one who got his guitar back, but the shoes…..were lost. But it was okay, because Brendol was just happy that his father would go through all that trouble just for him.
Now…….he’s not okay.
“Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road.
But the day breaks instead, so you hurry home.
Don't let the sun blast your shadow.
Don't let the milk float ride your mind.
You're so natural, religiously unkind.”
His eyes are stinging like crazy. He can feel his nose dripping like some broken faucet. He swallows so hard, tries to choke down his cry. He knows that crying isn’t going to bring him back. He knows that his tears won’t magically heal his father. Phoenix tears don’t cure death!
“Oh no, love! You’re not alone.
You're watching yourself, but you're too unfair.
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care.
Oh no, love! You’re not alone.
No matter what or who you've been.
No matter when or where you've seen.
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain.
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone!”
The lyrics cut him deeper than the hot knives that went into his legs and then cleanses his wounds. He hears himself screaming halfway through the stanza. The tears cut his eyes with salt and his chin is dribbling with mucus.
He’s a wreck.
“Just turn on with me and you’re not alone!
Let’s turn on with me and you’re not alone (wonderful)
Let’s turn on and be not alone (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful (wonderful)
Oh, gimme your hands!”
His singing voice is gone by the time he’s reached the final stanza; he is just retching and wracked with sobs. His sight is gone thanks to his blasted tears, but he can hear his family singing the chorus.
He can only see darkness and he knows that he’s fallen to the floor. His guitar is out of his hands and he feels alone. So very much alone.
But then, he feels hands, their hands, touching him, holding him. And he cries. He cries and cries into their loving arms.
And then, he hears his father whisper into his head:
Oh, love, you’re not alone!