Eight weeks after the destruction of Starkiller Base, routine had settled back down on the Finalizer.
Morale was at a high, mainly due to the daily speeches from their General. General Armitage Hux wanted to motivate his crew and getting to know his crew helped his own morale, which quite frankly had taken a bit of a dip.
For eight weeks he had been nursemaid to an injured Kylo Ren who had been critically wounded during the attack on the base and left for dead by that girl and the traitorous Stormtrooper. After the gut wrenching realisation had set in that his beloved Starkiller Base was lost, he had been ordered by Snoke to find Kylo and take him to complete his training. He’d found Kylo laying in the snow. There was so much blood on the ground and his face was so pale that Hux thought he was too late. He’d struggled to get the lifeless body onto the waiting shuttle and he’d almost lost his own life during the rescue with the base exploding just seconds after taking off from the surface. Kylo remained passed out through the entire event and Hux thought that his efforts may have been for nothing.
On the shuttle heading back to the finalizer there were no signs of life beyond very shallow gasps for air, the lightsabre gash that dissected his face was already cauterised but the wound to his gut was a bloody mess and there really was so much blood that Hux began to panic. No matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t stem the bleeding. For the first time in his life he actually started to panic. Hux was convinced he was going to lose Kylo too and he wasn’t prepared for that!
He’d worked relentlessly his entire life to become who he was. The top of every class at the Academy, quickly making his way through the ranks to become the youngest ever General of the First Order and creator of the Starkiller Base. He’d spent his entire life denying himself any kind of possessions or pleasures. His career and the First Order where his life, until the day Kylo Ren walked onto the Finalizer and turned Hux’s world upside down in the most infuriating and intoxicating way.
Kylo was the only person who had ever gotten through Hux’s veneer. Slowly breaking him open until he relented and let Kylo in. He finally allowed himself a possession and the occasional pleasure and had come to love and trust Kylo so completely that he could no longer imagine his life without him.
For a week, Kylo had been kept sedated and floating peacefully in a bacta tank while Hux had to deal with rounding up what was left of the Starkiller crew, finding them all accommodation on the Finalizer, jobs to keep them occupied, a sense of purpose again. He had to inform Leader Snoke of the condition of his Knight and that training would have to wait until Kylo had recovered sufficiently from his wounds. A meeting he hadn’t relished making, especially without Kylo at his side. Hux worked himself to exhaustion to numb himself of the realisation that he’d lost everything….. almost. Every spare moment he had was spent in the medical bay with Kylo. The chief medic was becoming more and more concerned about the General’s state of health but was brushed off when he made any attempt to broach the subject.
Two weeks post the Starkiller’s destruction, Kylo had been released from the medical bay. He was under strict orders to rest as his injuries had been severe and still needed time to heal. Hux assured the medics that Kylo would be in good hands and marched him back to their quarters with orders to do nothing beyond meditating. The door to the quarters had hissed shut and the room fell into silence. Hux was standing in the middle of the room with his back to Kylo and Kylo stood with his back to the door. There was a long moment of silence.
“I’m sorry” Kylo said sheepishly.
There was no reply and then Kylo felt it. Overwhelming emotions being thrown from Hux so violently that he couldn’t escape them. Anger, despair, exhaustion. It just kept tumbling out of him.
“Hux?” Kylo said with a hint of worry.
Then Kylo realised that Hux was sobbing. The strain of the last few weeks had finally taken their toll on the General and he just stood there and let it all out, shaking uncontrollably. Kylo stepped forward and placed a hand on Hux’s shoulder, not quite knowing what to expect. Hux swung around and looked at Kylo with tear soaked eyes, completely dishevelled and looking about ten years older.
“I thought I’d lost you too” he said in a whisper.
“Never” said Kylo as he wrapped his arms around Hux.
Hux fell into the hug and his whole body released the tension it had been holding. He was so tired he could barely stand. They made their way to the bedroom and quickly settled down under the cool sheets and just held each other the entire night. It was the first time Hux had slept properly since the destruction of the base. Now that he had Kylo back in his arms he could begin to build his life again.
Kylo was not the most tolerant of patients. He quickly became frustrated at the lack of being able to do anything and Hux became increasingly annoyed at being called to the med bay during his shifts because Kylo had attempted something stupid in the gym again and tore his stitches. Hux ended up threatening Kylo with being locked in the brig for his own safety but in the end it only took the attention of Hux to make Kylo behave.
On the last trip to med bay, Hux had severely lost his temper with Kylo and everyone in the vicinity to the point where his body gave up on him and he passed out. The chief medic had put his foot down this time and ordered that the General get some rest. Hux decided it was probably prudent, under the circumstances, to take some leave. His ship was in good hands and it wasn’t as if he was going far. He would still be available should the need arise. He spent his time keeping Kylo grounded. Beyond Meditation, Kylo was allowed to do nothing. Hux lavished him with attention and Kylo quickly responded to it and after a few more weeks, things slowly started to become physical again.
The days were spent having long conversations about life before the Finalizer. Kylo told Hux all about his neglected childhood with parents who were too wrapped up in their important jobs to notice the fear, turmoil and loneliness of a boy being hounded by an unknown force. He told Hux about being sent away to train as a Jedi with his Uncle, only to turn on everything he knew in the most violent way. Hux had been stunned by Kylo’s admission to slaughtering all those children and when he found out what he’d gone through during his time with Snoke, Hux felt sick to his stomach. The icing on the cake was finding out that Kylo had killed his own Father on the Starkiller Base, believing that it would free him of his agonising pull between the light and the dark only to realise in the seconds that followed that he’d been lied to by Snoke about the need to do it. There was no release in the kill, only more pain. More pain than he’d ever experienced. It was a wonder Kylo was still in his right mind.
Hux thought that his story was nothing in comparison to Kylo’s. He told Kylo about his severe upbringing by his Father. Taken away from his mother at an early age. Commandant Brendol Hux threw him into the Academy on Arkanis at the earliest possible age. Hux told Kylo that nothing he did was ever good enough for that man. He was never physically strong but he made up for it in fighting spirit and knowledge. Beatings were common, not just from his Father but from other students. Possessions were not allowed. Only the First Order mattered. He’d wanted to make Hux strong and he’d succeeded but at a price. Hux was emotionless and lonely.
The one thing they had in common. They had both been lonely. Lost souls just moving from day to day, trying to find their place in the galaxy and doing it extremely well until they had collided into each other and the last piece of their life puzzle slotted into place with surprising ease.
The bond that grew between them during this time was strong. Stronger than it had ever been.
It had always been in the back of their minds that this time together could never last. Hux had to get back to his duties. They were still fighting the resistance who had taken to ambushing supply ships in a bid to cripple the First Order and bring them out into the open for desperately needed supplies.
Kylo was well enough now to be delivered to Snoke. He was back to fighting fit and Hux knew that their time was dwindling and inevitably it happened. Waking early one morning, Hux felt Kylo hug him close.
“I have to leave” he whispered into Hux’s ear.
“When?” Hux said. Only just managing to keep the break in his voice hidden as he closed his eyes.
“Today” he said, and he felt Hux tense at the word.
Hux was particularly snippy on the bridge that morning. His officers quickly realising that the General was in no mood to be messed with. They went about their duties with their usual diligence and hoped that nothing happened that needed reporting. Unfortunately for Lieutenant Mitaka, a message that needed relaying to the General came through and he nervously made his way across the bridge to where Hux was standing and staring out of the viewport.
“Sir, Lord Ren is ready for departure and has requested your presence in the shuttle bay”
He was met with silence and a straight back.
“Sir, should I respond?” he said shakily.
“Tell Lord Ren that he is cleared for take-off. My presence is not required to watch a shuttle leave. My time is too precious for such frivolous activity” and as he said the words, a pang of guilt washed over him. Was he being selfish? The thought of showing his feelings towards Ren in front of his crew and the possibility that he might just lose his composure as Ren boarded his shuttle was too much for Hux to contemplate. No… better to make a swift clean break.
“Sir?” Mitaka sounded particularly worried at Hux’s response.
“You heard me Lieutenant” Hux fired back.
“Yes sir!” Said Mitaka as he turned on his heels and headed back to his console. The thought of relaying that message to Kylo Ren filled him with dread. He distinctly remembers the last message he had relayed to him in person when the mystical force user had almost throttled the life out of him. As he makes his connection to the shuttle bay he wonders just how far those mystical powers can reach and gingerly brings a hand up protectively to his own throat.
Kylo stood at the foot of the ramp leading into his shuttle. As Mitaka relayed the message from Hux word for word Kylo clenched his fists and set his jaw and brought himself up to his full height. The personnel who had been busy preparing the shuttle for take-off stopped what they were doing and physically took a few steps back, fully expecting the man in front of them to explode into a rage. Instead he simply turns around and heads up the ramp, powers the shuttle up and leaves.
Back on the bridge, Lieutenant Mitaka heaves a sigh of relief before informing General Hux that Lord Ren’s shuttle has cleared the bay. Hux watches it leave through the viewport with no idea when he will see it again. His stomach is in knots.
“Thank you Lieutenant, I’ll be in my office if I am needed” he says as he quickly marches off the bridge and slides into his office and locks the door. A feeling of dread overcomes him as he realises that not seeing Kylo off from the shuttle bay was a huge mistake. What must Kylo be thinking right now? It’s too late to do anything about it now and he sinks down into his office chair and tries not to think about what the next few weeks or even months may have in store without Kylo to constantly infuriate him.