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The curse behind the mask

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A bride is not supposed to want to tear her own bridal gown apart until it's fallen into pieces to the floor, but you do. By the way, you've never felt like a normal bride since they told you that you were going to get married. You're keeping staring at your own reflection in the mirror, and the need to rip off this damn gown is getting stronger as the time passes.

“You look beautiful, (Y/N)!” says your stepmother, smiling happily.

You hate to admit it, but she's right. You certainly look beautiful. Your wedding gown is made by silk, with a long and tight skirt and it is entirely decorated with a lace floral pattern. Your wedding veil is made by lace too, and it ist tight around your head just for the silk falling smoothly on your shoulders.

General Leia Organa has given you this gown as a special wedding gift. She said it belonged to her late mother and that she wore it the day she secretly married the young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Of course you had thanked her, but still you feel a little uncomfortable thinking you're going to dress up like the woman who married the one who'd have later become Darth Vader, the infamous Sith Lord.

Legends tell that in the end he redeemed himself with the help of his son, but there were still many people who think of him as a monster.

Of course, when you had told them how you felt about the gown, your father and your stepmother told you that you were a crazy, ungrateful stupid little girl.

“General Organa gave you Senator Padmé Amidala's wedding gown!” your stepmother had yelled. “It's a honor for our family! Don't be silly, (Y/N). You're going to wear a queen's gown and marry one of the most important man in the Galaxy! Speaking of this, I'm looking forward to show it to your groom...I'm sure he'll be pleased”.

Oh, yes, of course he'll be, you think, and you can't help grimacing.

Your future husband is the main reason because you want to destroy this beautiful gown. Every time you think about the wedding, about him, you feel like you're going to die.

You are (Y/N) (Y/S), you are (Y/A) and once you were one of the best pilots in the Resistance. That was only a year ago, before everything changed.

The Resistance had fought for many years against the First Order, risen from the ashes of the Empire; you were born in a time of war, you could almost say you don't know what peace is.

You should've been happy when General Organa finally signed an armistice with the First Order.

And you were...at least, until you found out what that armistice meant for you.

“I'm so excited for you, (Y/N)!” your stepmother is thrilled. She helps you stepping down from the footstool you were on, and she begins unbottoning your gown's laces. “You're going to be married to one of the most important man of the Galaxy!” she's been keeping saying it since the day you were bethrothed, and it's pretty unnerving. Like she can't believe she finally managed to bring out something good from that nuisance of a stepdaughter you've always been. “We're going to be part of one of the most important and respected and richest families ever...I'm so proud of you!”

You roll your (Y/E/C) eyes, feeling exasperated.

“Well, thank you...!” you grimace, already knowing that she'll miss the sarcasm. It's the first time ever she says she's proud of you, and she has never told you so many gentle words in a lifetime except in the last three months.

“You're welcome, dearie. Be careful, you could ruin it...”

You try to stay quiet and let her unbotton that hateful gown, when suddenly someone knocks the door. You step up from the gown and quickly wear your old trousers and a t-shirt with a dark brown leather jacket.

“Yes?” asks your stepmother.

“Hey, (Y/N) are you there? It's Poe!” says the familiar voice beyond the door.

Your stepmother seems to be extremely annoyed. She's never liked Poe Dameron. To be honest, she's never liked non of your friends.

“(Y/N) is busy, now!” she shouts. “I suggest you to go away and come back in another moment...”

“Here I am, Poe!” you yell, quickly putting on your black boots and running to open the door.

Your stepmother snorts.

Poe Dameron is standing in front of you, smirking in his usual way. He's a handsome guy, tall and thin, with black hair and dark eyes and tanned skin. Not only he is handsome, he's also very funny and loyal, and clever, although sometimes he kinda lets his impulsivity overcome him.

The two of you are good friends. You met each other at the Academy of Pilots when you were younger, and since then you have been inseparable. Poe is a better pilot than you are, but you don't mind; you always liked being his second in command or copilot when you tested a new ship or had to accomplish a mission.

You joined the Resistance along with him and your father, and since then you have always worked together.
Sometimes your father muttered he would have been happy to have a son-in-law like Poe Dameron, but you know it's never going to happen. You care for him, but you've never been in love with him, and besides you are sure he doesn't feel like this towards you. You're more like a brother and a sister.
When your engagement had been formalized, you asked him to be your best man and although he truly didn't like your husband-to-be, he accepted.

“So, how is my little bride?” he asks, hugging you. “I hoped to see you in your bridal gown, but apparently I came here too late...By the way, good afternoon, Mrs. (Y/S)...” he says to your stepmother. She ignores him, pretending not to hear him.

He rolls his eyes and so you do.

“You didn't miss very much...” you say, trying to sound cheerful, then you lower your voice. “I look like a big white comfit, if you want to know it so badly...”

“Come on, you can't be so bad...”

“You're right. I'm worse” you giggle. “By the way, why are you here for?”

He looks like he's ready to answer your question, but then he closes his mouth and looks at your stepmother. She looks back, and you're sure that if a glimpse could kill, well, both of you were down in your graves by now.

Poe clears his voice.

“May I speak to your daughter, Mrs. (Y/S)?”

“(Y/N) is my stepdaughter, Mr. Dameron. And no, you can't. If it's something about my husband, I have the right to know it myself”.

“Unfortunately, Mrs. (Y/S), we still don't have any news about your husband and the other pilots who left with him” says Poe, and you feel your heart skipping a beat.

Your father is (Y/F/N) (Y/F/S) and he's one of the pilots of the Resistance, just like you and Poe were. He's very skilled despite not being in his young years anymore, but now that there's no more Resistance due to the armistice, there are no more mission for you or him or any other to be accomplished.

Still, your father and a handful of other former pilots of the Resistance took off with their ships almost a week ago.

General Organa seemed not knowing a thing about this unauthorized take-off, but her husband, Captain Han Solo, did. You and almost everyone in the former Resistance base heard them fighting furiously for all day long about this, but you didn't understand what happened, why your father and other pilots left.

Even Poe didn't know anything about this, and he always was well informed about everything regarding the Resistance's plans.

You can't deny you're worried about your father, but you have faith in him – he's a trained pilot by the way, and now that the war is over there's nothing to fear. Still, you can't help it but feeling quite anxious; it's been a week since your father left.

You and your stepmother said goodbye to him in the former Naboo rebel hangar.

That day – it was a rainy morning, and the Naboo's suns were almost covered by the clouds – your father had told you and your stepmother via holomessage that he was going to leave with other nine pilots for an unspecified mission for Captain Solo. Both of you had barely reached the hangar only to find your father already on his RZ-1 A-wing starfighter, ready to take off.

When you questioned about what was happening, he didn't answer you. He had climbed down from his ship, hugged you and his wife and told you that it was a special and extraordinary mission and that he couldn't really speak very much about it, but that you didn't have to worry because he would have been back soon. He also asked you to be kind to your stepmother and your future husband.

Nothing more.

And then he had left with the other pilots. Poe had tried to defuse: he had told you that, if the mission was for Captain Solo, surely it couldn't be anything serious; better still, it was highly possible that it was just a poor excuse to sneak away from the base and have a party somewhere in Coruscant.

And by the way, the war was over: what could possibly happen?

You appreciate your friend's attempt to make you feel better, but still...that was that strange sensation. Something in your bones, heart and soul, something you couldn't explain. Something whispering you that it wasn't fine, that something terrible was going to happen.

Perhaps Poe's right and I'm just paranoid, you say to yourself. Perhaps he went to Coruscant with his friends celebrating the armistice, or my wedding. It is quite possible: your father has always been a playful and cheerful man, always optimistic and ready to have a party with the other pilots.

Your stepmother shrugs. You can say she isn't too worried about her husband's fate, she only wanted – well, tried – to annoy Poe.

Unluckily for her, he's a perfect gentleman.

“I can assure you that when we'll have some news about your husband, you'll be the first person to know, Mrs. (Y/S)...”

“No matter” she cuts him off. “I know my husband. He's probably having a party somewhere or so. Now, if you'd like to excuse us, Mr. Dameron, (Y/N) needs to finish trying her gown...”

“I just did!” you protest. “Please, it's been two hours...I'm not going to wear that thing again, not today...”

“(Y/N), don't anger me...” she warns.

“By the way, Mrs. (Y/S), I came here to speak with (Y/N) about another thing, not only her father...” says Poe.

“I'm afraid that..”

“Of course!” you cut your stepmother off and grab Poe's arm, dragging him outside the room. “Come on, Poe, let's talk about this alone...”

You catch a glimpse of your stepmother's shocked face and giggle.

“(Y/N)!” you hear her yelling before closing the door right in front of her face.

You and Poe run away from your lodging's door until you're sure your stepmother isn't following you; both of you take a breath in a corridor and laugh out loud.

“My, she truly can't stand me...” Poe sneers.

“She can't stand anybody...” you say, again serious. You look into your friend's eyes: “Tell me about my father, Poe...”

He passes a hand through his hair.

“I already told you everything I knew, (Y/N)...” he says. “No one knows where they are, or where they were going to. Did you receive any holomessage from him?”

“No...” you sigh. “But Captain Solo does know where they are!” you suddenly say. “Perhaps I can ask him...”

“I already tried. He told me he can't say anything”

“What? Why not?”

“I have no idea. He talked about something like a...private matter, but nothing more”

You think about it for a moment.

“What about General Organa?” you finally ask. “Perhaps we could ask her...”

“Already done, too”

“And...?”

“For a moment I thought she wanted to kill me”

You sigh and look away. You keep trying telling yourself that if Captain Solo and General Organa are aware of all the thing, you should not be so worried. And your father is a soldier, a great pilot, and he's trained to face the worst situations ever. But still, you can't help it: he's your father, and after your mother passed away many years ago, he's the only family you have. You and your stepmother never went along: she never could stand you and although you tried to make yourself like her, the thought she married your father only because of his wealth and position never left you.
He's your only family. And the worst is that, since he left the hangar, you can't sense him no more.

You sigh again. Perhaps it's because I'm so untrained, you think.

That was always a touchy subject for everyone in your family, at least after your mother's death. She was born and she grew up during the Empire Age, she was the daughter of a farmer and his wife, and her parents always tried to hide from the stormtroopers and the Emperor that the Force flew through her. Darth Vader had killed all the Jedi a few years before her birth, and everyone was very careful not to show they have a sign of the Force in their bodies and souls. The Emperor would have killed or enslaved everyone who had this great gift.

Your mother began to be trained in the use of the Force very later, when the Empire had fallen and she was a grown-up woman. She left her training when she got married to your father, and than she gave birth to you.

You remember very little about her. She died of a illness when you were a toddler. You only remember she was very beautiful and loving, but you are not able to know if your memories of her are real memories or memories given to you by the Force.

The Force...

Yes, the Force flows through you too, like your mother before you, though it's not so strong as hers. You are merely Force sensitive, like General Organa is, and your father thinks it's only a good thing for everyone.

Your father is afraid of the Force. He was born and he grew up during the Empire Age too, and he had heard the story of how Anakin Skywalker went to the Dark Side of the Force and killed all his fellow Jedi before becoming Darth Vader. He was afraid your mother could go from the Light Side to the Dark Side, one day, and he was almost desperate when he found out you were Force sensitive.

He always encouraged you not use your gift too often, and when General Organa suggested him to send you to her brother, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, to become a Youngling in his Academy, he refused.

And he never failed to point out how much he had been right after what happened to the Academy itself...

By the way, being Force sensitive always helped you while you were on a mission, or when your father was, so you could know if he and your friends were alright.

But it has been three days since you could sense your father.

Poe notices you're worried, and he puts an arm around your shoulders.

“Listen, I'm sure he's alright” he says, while both of you start to walk along the corridor. Two stormtroopers pass rapidly next to you, and you and Poe grimace. “I know that old space wolf of your father. He's one of the best soldier I've ever met, he certainly knows what to do. And besides, there's no need to worry. The war is over, right?”

You nod, and try to convince yourself.

“So...” says Poe. “How was your day?”

“Horrible” you mutter. “My stepmother has nerves on the edge because of the wedding. She fears like hell I could do something wrong and ruin what she calls a perfect day. She keeps making me trying on that gown and every move every single day...”

“You know...you still have time”.

“For what?”

“Escape”.

You want to laugh, but you can't. And by the way, this is not one of Poe's usual jokes. He's serious, and the way he's looking at you he's as serious as a human being can be.

“You know I can't” you say.

“Of course you can. The General has signed the armistice”.

“You know too well this is a fragile peace. The First Order and the Resistance can't live peacefully with each other. That's why this marriage has been settled”.

Screw it!” Poe snaps suddenly. “(Y/N), you're my friend. I care for you, and I don't want to see you unhappy for a lifetime. Screw it all. I can take you away from here. I mean...we can. I'm sure Finn, Jessika and even Rey and Rose would agree. We can escape and so you'll not be forced into marriage. We can live all together, like the old times!”, he tries to laugh; you want to cry, but stay quiet.
“You know I can't screw it all up like this”.

“But...”

“The First Order would take this as a personal offense, and I would give them a pretext to resume the conflict. I can't do this to you guys and to General Organa. She tried to have this peace for years, and she's always been nothing but kind to me...”

Poe tries to convince you again, and you are forced to cut him off.

“Listen, it'll be fine” you don't believe your words yourself, but you need Poe to calm down. “Let's talk something else, okay? What did you want to tell me?”

“Well...I'm not sure it's a good idea after this conversation...”

“Poe!”

“Okay, okay, fine!” he raises his hands in surrender and he smiles. “I wanted to invite you to...a party, let's call it like this. It was meant to be a hen party, I mean, Jessika called it a hen party, but I told her it wasn't...”

“A hen party?” you repeat, a bit puzzled. “Poe, I thank you, but the wedding is in three weeks...and, by the way, how's this meant to be a hen party if you and Finn...”

“I know, I know, that's another reason you can call it a party as any other. So...tonight in Jessika's quarters, at nine o'clock. I'll bring the Rancor's Breath.”

You laugh heartily and you accept. Despite all the shit in this thing you are forced to do, you are happy to have a party with your friends. Poe keeps telling you about the party and how it was Rose and Jessika's idea, but while walking down the corridor you are joined by two stormtroopers and a man dressed up in a black uniform.

Both Poe and you stop as you look up at the man. He's a bit taller than you, but you can face him without any problems. He's got red short hair and blue eyes, with a pale skin. You have learnt to know his face far too well in the last three months.

“Good afternoon, (Y/N). Dameron” he makes a nod in direction of Poe. He doesn't say anything.

“Good afternoon to you, General Hux” you know you should call him with his birth name, but still you can't do it. You feel like if you do, it would be like approaching a hungry wolf.

Hux makes a gesture with his hand and both the stormtroopers go away, then he looks at you and Poe.

“I would like to speak with my fiancée alone, Dameron”.

“(Y/N) and I were discussing about something important...” says Poe.

Hux looks back at him with cold eyes.

“Must I remind you that this girl is my future wife and I precedence over anyone else when it comes to her?”

“I'm not a Coruscant Space Road, General” you snort.

“That doesn't change the fact you are going to be my wife soon, (Y/N). As your future husband, I have the right to have you anywhere any moment”.

“Listen, you son of...” Poe begins to say, but you take his arm to calm him down. You don't like the way Hux treats you and speaks to you, but you don't want Poe to get in trouble because of a stupid thing.

“It's fine” you try to reassure him. “Let me talk to the General alone. Say Jessika and the others we'll see tonight”.

Poe is reclutant to let you alone with Hux, but your eyes are begging him not to start an useless fight. He bids you goodbye and he walks away.

Once you are alone, you look into Hux's eyes.

“So...” you try to sound calm and kind, but it's more difficult than you thought. “What do you want to talk about, General?”

He doesn't answer you, and he offers you his arm. You accept reclutantly and you begin to walk back to your quarters. You are sure he wants to return you to your room.

“At first, I just wanted to pay a courtesy visit to my fiancée, but when I came to your quarters, your stepmother told me you went away with that Poe Dameron. So I came to rescue you”.

Rescue me?” you are speechless. “Poe is my friend. He didn't kidnap me, there was no need to rescue anyone!”

“Speaking of this, I don't like you getting alone with Dameron. It embarasses me”.

“How so?”

“I can't have my wife walking around with another man, even if he's just a friend. People talk every second. I can't risk my reputation because of you not acting as your new position orders you to”.

You look at him trying not to sound too angered.

“And what's my new position? I'm not your wife, yet”.

“You're right, but you are going to be in three weeks. Our marriage has been signed by Supreme Leader Snoke and General Organa, there's no way it's not going to happen. And I can't stand you not showing respect to me or the First Order”.

The way he's looking at you shows he's angered. You leave his arm and you step back, looking in his eyes.

“So...me talking with Poe means I'm not showing respect to you”.

“Exactly. You're not allowed to talk and spend your time with someone I don't approve, and in this case I don't approve you talking with Dameron. And, speaking of this, when you'll be my wife, you'll not be allowed to spend your time with any of your so-called friends”.

“And who says that?” you shouts.

Me. I'm your fiancée and I'll be your husband. As my wife, you'll have to join me in public events and show your loyalty to me and the First Order. You won't have any time to messing around with...those people”.

Those people, as you call them, are my friends!” you yell; you would like to slap him in the face, but you're forced to control yourself. “I don't care what the armistice says. I will be your wife, but you'll never succeed in forcing me to do something I don't want to”.

“We'll see” there's threat in his voice. “And I'll tell you more, we'll start right now. I heard Dameron speaking about a party or something like that. I forbid you to go”.

“Try and stop me!”

You decide you won't stand this conversation anymore. You walk away without saying anything more, and then you run into your father's quarters. Your stepmother is waiting for you the moment you enter in the kitchen; she tries to scold you for not being there when you fiancée went searching for you.

“Don't worry, stepmother!” you growl. “I had the pleasure to meet him in the corridor...”

“And what did he say to you? I hope you've been kind to him...!”

Fuck both of you, you think, and you don't even answer. You enter to your room and slam the door, then you throw yourself on your bed.

You don't cry. You don't feel doing this, and besides it would be useless.

You just stay quiet and keep staring at your bedroom's ceiling. You still have to get used to your new bedroom; you have been used to sleep on a cot in your battleship, or in the Resistance's camarade with other pilots. You didn't know how having your own bedroom was like until the armistice was signed.

Since then, General Organa along with Captain Solo and their best soldiers and their families moved on Naboo and settled in the Palace of Theed, that is the Capital of the Planet and once the Palace of the King or Queen of Naboo. Even Queen Padmé Amidala walked in those corridors and lived in those chambers. Unfortunately, even the highest offices of the First Order settled at the Palace to be sure that the peace was durable. It is large enough for all of you to live comfortably without annoying each other, and by the way you all know that it's only a temporary accomodation, but there was still a big tension among the rebels and the First Order, so there were a lot of people who was looking forward for your wedding to take place. To be sure the armistice conditions are respected.

To be sure you would do your duty.

You sigh.

You are the price of the peace.

Supreme Leader Snoke wanted to be sure the Resistance wouldn't make any joke with him, so he said to General Organa that if she wanted the armistice to be signed, she had to agree that one of her women would marry one of his best men.

Your father was a war hero and one of the richest and noblest man of the New Republic, so since the first moment it was clear you were the best candidate to be the bride.

And General Hux was the chosen groom.

You can't say whether he is happy about the arrangement or not; you think he only wants to do his duty, and this marriage for him is a proof of his loyalty to the First Order.

Armitage Hux is the General of Snoke's army and certainly his...second best man.

You are sure by now that you hate your husband-to-be. He's an ass, he is not even your husband yet and he already treats you like his little pet. He doesn't want you to have friends, to speak your mind out and to act differently than his pretty little wife.

He despises you as a human being and he demonstrates it with every gesture and every word.

You don't want to marry him, but you have no choice. If you refuse the marriage, then the armistice is over, and you can't do this to your friends, your father and to General Organa. She has always been kind to you; she treats you like the daughter she never had, and she is even kinder than your stepmother is.

You can say she feels sorry about this arrangement, but she has no choice.

Once, your friend Finn tried – and failed – to make you feel better saying that it could have been worse.

“And how, exactly, could it have been worse?” you asked skeptically. “Please, enlighten me”.

“Well, you could have been bethrothed to Kylo Ren”.

Rey had given him a powerful nudge in the ribs, but you can say Finn had a point. To be honest, you are still surprised that your groom is General Hux instead of Kylo Ren.

Kylo Ren is the leader of the Knights of Ren, and he was the second most important and powerful man of the First Order, just after Supreme Leader Snoke himself. No one knows how he looks like, not even Finn, who had been a stormtrooper before joining the Resistance. He says he only spotted Kylo Ren from afar, and he was always dressed up in black, with a long cloak and a hood, his face covered by an iron mask.

Finn says he looks like Darth Vader, just taller. And stronger.

Stories tell that the Force is strong in him, that he can stop a blaster's shot with one hand, but nothing more than a terrifying image of him is said. Some think he's not even human, that he's a machine created by Snoke himself to scare his enemies.

By now, Kylo Ren is a mystery for all of you.

You sit down on your bed and shake your head. There's no point in thinking about someone you'll never know. You better have fun in these three weeks you have left before you marry General Hux and say goodbye to your life.

You look at the clock: it's almost time to go to the party in Jessika's quarters. You stand up from the bed and begin dress up yourself.

Fuck Hux and everything he says, you are going to go to this party; perhaps it will be useful to you and you will stop being worried about your father.

Speaking of this, you try to suffucate the bad sensation growing in your chest.

 

Meanwhile, on a planet far away from Naboo...

 

The entire engine is fucked up!

Your father curses among his teeth, punching the RZ-1 A-wing starfighter's engine, which looks like it doesn't want to stop to enact smoke. He tries to fix it with the few tools he has with him, but in the end he has to give up, stepping away from his crashed ship. He curls himself in his jacket to protect himself from the cool of the planet where he crashed.

He's sure he's not on Hoth, but still this planet is cold and snowy and there is no one to be seen. He looks around, and he sees nothing but snow and trees. He crashed on a sort of a forest, breaking a few trees, and from the position he was now he could see that there was something outside that wood.

He grimaces as his wounded arm causes him a twinge of pain. He looks at it: he broke his arm in the crash; he was able to fix it with some broken branches and a piece of cloth, but he has other superficial wounds and the pain at his arm is getting stronger.

And so is the cold.

He steps inside the ship, and tries to turn the heating on, but it doesn't work. Your father curses; then, he has an idea.

Luckily, the holomessage machine is still working. He turns it on.

“Captain...Captain Solo...”, he breaths heavily. “Captain, I'm...I'm (Y/S). There's been an accident. An asteroids storm. I'm...I'm alone...I don't know where I am, but I'll send you the coordinates from the ship's memory...please, please send someone...please, help me...”

He sents the holomessage, then he takes a breath and tries to think. He doesn't know how long it will take until someone at the Naboo's base would receive the message. It could be hours, he thinks, perhaps days. And he can't stay here for that long.

He has a broken arms, he's hungry and he's cold. If anyone shows up soon, he'll die because of the cool.

Just like the others...

Your father just wants to cry at the memory. He and other nine pilots left Naboo on a secret mission for Captain Solo, and they were almost there when they were caught by an asteroids storm. The RZ-1 A-wing starfighter where he was on was the last survivor, but it was severely damaged and he crashed on this unnamed and forgotten planet.

Now he can't leave, not with a broken arm and a broken ship. And he doesn't want to die here.

He needs to find a shelter until someone comes to his rescue.

Your father stands up, teeth chattering from the cold. He begins to walk in the snow, his arm giving him a lot of pain, but he can't stay beside the ship anymore.

It's been snowing since two hours, and his broken ship can't possibly be a good lair.
He has to find a place to stay...

 

He doesn't know how much time he spent walking in the snow. He only knows that, when his arm is at the peak of pain and his limbs are almost frozen, he spots a grey and big building a few metres from where he is.

He fastens his peace and reach it, overjoyed. He grabs the big handle and push the door open.

He enters.

“Hello?” he asks after a few moments. “Is anyone here? I...I'm a pilot of the Republic. I...my ship crashed. I need...I need a place to stay...I'll not stay here for long, just until my companions will come and rescue me...Hello?” no one answers; everything is dark. “I'm...I'm hurt...” he says after a while. “My arm is broken...hello? Is anyone here?”

Still, no one answers. But, unseen, a man in a dark cloak and a mask sneaks in the shadows.

 

Chapter Text

“Why is a stormtrooper never in a holopicture?”

“I don't know. Why?”

“Because he can't catch the target lens”

Jessika is the only one who laughs. You and the others just grimace and feel kinda of awkward.

“Okay, this quip was too much, even for you” you say.

“I'll take this as a personal offense” Finn snaps, but he's giggling. Rey sighs and closes her eyes while shaking her head.

Poe raises his arms and smiles.

“Come on, it was funny...!”

“It was terrible!” Rose snorts. “I'm going to drink all this sorrow away...” and she pours herself another glass of Nectarwine. Rey and you follow her example, while Finn and Jessika are still arguing about Poe's sad joke.

Even BB-8, Poe's droid, looks like he didn't appreciate the joke. He starts emitting some beep-beep of disapproval.

You are sitting all around a table in one of the cheapest Canto Bight Casino's restaurants. Although nothing on Cantonica and in Canto Bight is really cheap. Especially when you all are running out of money. As usual.

It turned out to be a strange hen party. Not only because of Poe and Finn's presence, but also because you really didn't expect what happened once you stepped in Jessika's quarters. You didn't even change the clothes you had on during your meeting with Poe first and your groom later, because you were sure it would have been a...quiet party. According to what Poe made you believe, you all were supposed to sit on Jessika's bed, chatting, drinking shoddy Rancor's Breath and remembering the old times against the First Order.

Instead, the moment you stepped in Jessika's room, Rey put a blind fold over your eyes and ordered you not to ask any questions.

“What's happening? Where are you taking me?” you asked anyway, feeling that your friends were dragging you somewhere you couldn't see. “Seriously, guys, what...”

“I already told you: no questions” Rey answered you. You felt her and Rose helping you sitting on a seat and buckling you up.

“You'll see...”

“Are we on a spaceship? Please, can I take off this...”

“Yes, we are. And no, you can't. Not yet” you heard Jessika sneering.

“Are we ready?” Finn asked Poe, and you could almost see him nodding and smiling.

For almost an hour you sat in silence like an idiot hearing your friends whispering and chatting, asking yourself where in the Galaxy you were heading and what they were planning to do with you.

When finally the ship landed and Rose helped you – still blindfolded – coming down from the ship, Poe took away the blind fold and your jaw almost dropped.

“Are you crazy?” you gasped. And you almost fell on your bottom because of BB-8 running through your legs.

“We just thought it couldn't be a proper hen party without music, food and gambling” Poe giggled. “Welcome to Canto Bight, (Y/N)”

You have never been in Canto Bight, let alone in a casino. Your father was very strict about this: he would've never allowed you to visit a casino or to visit a racetrack.

Usually you are the kind of person who likes being alone reading a holo-book or in a hangar working on your ship, but now you have to admit you like the casino and the capital city. It's so big and full of lights, colours and music. It's like a surge of fresh air for you, after so many weeks spent in the Palace of Theed, with the only company of your stepmother.

You hadn't had many occasions to go out partying or to simply visit the capital city of Naboo. Your fiancée wanted you to be always in the Palace so he could find you whenever he needed you – he rarely came to visit you, by the way; and your stepmother didn't think you should act like a tomboy now that you were going to become Mrs. Hux.

Mrs. Hux, you think. The only sound almost makes you throw up.

And even in the Palace, everything is covered with a tense atmosphere.

With the First Order's officers and the stormtroopers still in the Palace of Theed, it is hard to keep a smiling and happy atmosphere. You know that none of your friends is happy about the armistice: of course everyone is content about the peace being restored, but you would have been more happier if the First Order wasn't still around.

You are discussing about this, after Poe's poor figure and sad joke.

All around you, the noise and the people's chats are almost covered by the music.

Poe thinks General Organa and Vice Admiral Holdo made a mistake.

“And Captain Solo thinks the same thing” Poe says once you start the conversation again. “He doesn't trust the First Order”

“Nor General Organa does” Rose mumbles.

“What does Paige think about the whole thing?” you ask.

Paige Tico is Rose's older sister, and during the conflict she served as a gunner on one of the MG-100 StarFortress SF-17s of the Resistance. You and Paige never got along very well. That doesn't mean you hate each other, simply none of you both ever managed to become a friend for one another. Honestly, you always admired her: she could drive that beast of a ship while you always felt more comfortable with small ones like your father's ship or X-Wing fighters.

And, to be even more honest, you admire every one of your friends: Poe is like an older brother to you, and he's a skilled pilot; Finn is a former stormtrooper who was able to escape the First Order and join the Resistance; Jessika is a smart girl and a great starfighter pilot as well, while Rose is a skilled technician and Rey...well, she is a Jedi.

Rey found the once lost Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, and briefly trained under his teaching before news of the armistice with the First Order came to them. Once she was back and settled to Naboo, she showed all of you everything she learnt from Master Skywalker. You are still speechless at what a Force-user can do, and you can't help but feeling upset not to have had the same chance Rey has now: your father always forbid you to train as a Jedi yourself.

In fact, when you were a bit younger, he didn't even want you to attend the Academy for Pilots because he was afraid something horrible would have happened to you if you ever would have been able to pilot a starship.
He had to give up, and so he did when you decided to join the Resistance.

When the First Order started to rise, and war burst in the Galaxy, Poe Dameron joined the New Republic Defense Fleet. At the time, you were still studying at the Academy, but only just a few weeks before you got your scholarship, Poe asked you to join him in the Resistance. He had grown disillusioned after the New Republic did nothing against the First Order after it violated the Galactic Concordance.

Your father, he was serving in the Resistance too, but – again – he had forbidden you to help him.

You had to literally flee from home. One night, you escaped your stepmother's hawk eye and caught up with Poe on Mirrin Prime. Here, he introduced you to General Organa.

You remember that meeting as if it happened the day before.

You felt quite embarassed to be at the presence of former Aldeeran's Princess Leia Organa, now General of the New Republic and chief of the Resistance. Stories about who she, her husband and her brother defeated the Empire thirty years before were famous in all the Galaxy, and you were sure and terrified that you would've done some kind of poor figure or said some shit.

“(Y/N) (Y/S), I guess” she greeted you once you and Poe entered in the tent.

“Yes, it's correct, Your Highness” you said staring at your boots.

“Come on, sit down. Commander Dameron spoke a lot about you, in the past weeks. He says you're a skilled pilot, just like your father”

“She is the best pilot I've ever met” Poe answered for you. “And she's also a Force-sensitive”

“Oh...” the light in General Organa's eyes faded for a moment; as if she suddenly remembered something very sad. “Are you also a Force-user, (Y/N)?”

“She's untrained in the use of the Force, but she is a skilled pilot” Poe repeated. “She was about to earn her scholarship at the Academy, before the First Order took over the Republic”

“Yes, you already told me that, commander...” General Organa looked thoughtful. “You know, skilled soldiers are much needed in the Resistance, but I can't possibly enlist anyone...if (Y/N) wants to join the Resistance along with her father, she will pass through a period of training and, if she proves herself to be as skilled as you claim her to be, she can join your Squadron as a pilot. Agree, (Y/N)?”

Of course you accepted, and during the few years of battle you grew closer to the General. So close that she even gave you her mother's wedding dress.

You always found General Organa quite a maternal type. You once discussed this with Rose and Rey, and found out they thought the same way. She always treated you, Poe and the youngest member of the Resistance like you were all her children, always caring like only a mother could be, and even when she scolded you, you knew she did it because she was worried about you or wanted to help you.

“It's a pity she hasn't any children of her own” Rey once commented; she was abandoned on the desert planet of Jakku when she was a little girl, so she was the most sensitive of you all when it came about family, parents and all that stuff. “She surely would have been a wonderful mother...”

“Why, don't she and Captain Solo have children?” Finn asked.

“No, I don't think so” Poe said. “I never heard them or anyone else talk about a child of theirs, and there is no sign of a son or a daughter of theirs in the Resistance”

You barely remember your mother. She died so many years ago, when you were just a toddler, and your stepmother has never wanted nor tried to act like a mother-figure for you. You always felt like she thought you were her personal system failure: she had managed to marry your father, one of the noblest and richest men in the Galaxy, this was a great achievement for her...except that she had to pay the price of bearing an annoying, rebel and tomboy stepdaughter like you.

General Organa was more a mother for you than her. You agree with Rey. It's a pity she hasn't any children.

“Well...she...Paige says the First Order can go fuck itself...” answers Rose, and she blushes and drinks her Nectarwine to hyde her face behind the glass. You ordered all the cheapest thing on the menu: gartro egg omelet and Nectarwine or Vine-caf. So many things have changed after the armistice, but one didn't: you all are still penniless. “At least, it's the last thing she said, yesterday evening...”

“And I agree with her” says Finn. “I still can't believe General Organa signed the armistice with those bastards...”

“She had no choice” says Rey.

“Yes, she had. She could go on with the war” Poe retorts.

“It would've been stupid and selfish” you say. “The First Order accepted the armistice, this means nobody else will die in this war. I believe that General Organa thought about sparing lives...”

“By the way, I still don't get it...” Jessika looks at you. “I mean, the First Order accepting the armistice...I don't know...it feels...strange”

“Explain yourself” Poe orders.

“Well...” you all look at her while she raises her hands. “It fought against the Republic and tried to wipe the Resistance away for years. That son of a bitch of Hux was the first in line when it came to destroy one of our ships. And now...I mean, they are accepting this armistice just being content with ruling a small part of the Galaxy still under the Republic's eye...and with a marriage. No offense, (Y/N)”.

“No problem, Jessika” you whisper, drinking your Nectarwine to avoid your friends' eye contact. They're all staring at you, you can feel it.

“As if she's happy about it” Poe grimaces.

“What I think Jessika is trying to say...” Rose interferes. “It's that it's strange that a man like General Hux accepts a peace just being content to go home with a bride...”

“I don't believe he's happy as well” you say in a low voice. “I mean...I guess...I guess Supreme Leader Snoke forced him to accept this...”

“Supreme Leader Snoke is dead” Finn declares.

“How do you know that?” Rey asks.

“I heard Captain Solo saying to Chewbacca that General Hux told Captain Phasma that some stormtroopers found the Supreme Leader's dead body the day the armistice was signed” he explains. “Apparently someone...cut him in half”

“What?!” you all eye at him. “Finn...” you mumble. “Finn, why didn't you tell us?”

Even BB-8, who's hiding under the table, is startled.

“I have a better question: why Captain Solo didn't tell us about all this?” Poe says this like Captain Solo had offended him personally. “Does General Organa know about it as well?”

“Perhaps it's the reason because the First Order accepted the armistice” you dare to say. “Without their Supreme Leader...it's possible that they felt lost and they agreed that peace was the best option...though it seems quite strange that they hadn't...I mean...” you clear your voice. “It's strange that Supreme Leader Snoke didn't choose a successor, in case that he...”

“You forget about Kylo Ren” Finn says.

Jessika snorts and rolls her eyes, looking exasperated.

“Come on! We don't even know whether he's real or not...!”

“He is real” Rey says with conviction. “Finn and I saw him, and so did Poe”

For a brief periodo of time, Poe, Finn and Rey had been hold captive by the First Order, before Captain Solo, Chewbacca and the Resistance helped them escape. During this time, Rey and Finn fought against Kylo Ren, but he nearly killed them and they were alive only thanks to Captain Solo.

“Always with his mask on” Rose says shyly. “I don't mean to fight, but Jessika has a point: he couldn't even be a real human being, or a living creature. He could be a torture machine created by Snoke...if it's so, General Hux is now the chief of the First Order...”

“Why are we talking about Kylo Ren, now?” Poe asks, grimacing. You feel bad for him: you know he has been tortured by the First Order, and that he doesn't like to remember what they did to him. He felt even worse when he knew you were going to marry General Hux, you know this.

You are sitting next to him, now. You take his left hand in yours and squeeze it softly. You don't want Poe and your friends feeling bad because of you, especially not now that the Resistance finally managed to stop the First Order...sort of. What matters now is that peace has being restored, and your friends can finally realize their dreams.

You discussed about this during the first days after the armistice, before news of your wedding came. Poe Dameron told you he wanted to give the Republic another chance, now that it seemed that General Organa was going to become its chief: he wanted to join again the New Republic Defense Fleet and make a career in it, just like Jessika wanted to do. Finn had more confused plans, but he mumbled something about finding a job on Coruscant. He had grown close to Rose in the last few months, and since she didn't want to go back to Hays Minor – he said so –, he would have joined her and her sister Paige and helped them in the officine they planned to open.

Rey knew very well what she wanted: she would've come back to Ahch-To and convince Master Skywalker to create a new order of Jedi. She had told you that he had grown quite disillusioned after what happened to his Academy a few years ago...everyone knows that story. It was one of the reasons because your father didn't let you train as a Jedi.

Many people still hadn't forgot that terrible and sad story, but Rey claimed she was sure that Master Skywalker was going to change his mind about trying again. You really hoped she could achieve her goal, not only for herself or for Master Skywalker, but because you think the New Republic could only be better with a new Jedi Order defending it.

You have to admit you're a bit jealous of Rey and her chance.

Your heart still tightens a bit when you think about it. When the armistice was signed, it took its time for the news about your arranged marriage with General Hux came to you. Your father and your stepmother already knew about that, but none of them both had the goodness of telling you, waiting for General Organa to do so. In that brief period of ignorance, you dared to dream like your friends did.

Now that the was was over, you thought, everything could only be better for everyone. During all those years your only thought was about the Resistance, the war against the First Orders; you didn't have the time to plan something else or look at the future – you didn't even know if there was a future. But now you knew very well what you wanted to do with your life.

First of all, you wanted to travel. Your father always tried to keep you safe under his wing, and your stepmother said that a noble young lady like you shouldn't travel alone like a tramp. Now you wanted to have adventures in the great wide somewhere; you wanted to see the Galaxy, visit far off planets and getting to know new realities in a time of peace, without constantly worrying about the First Order or the possibility to die in some sort of an ambush.

Then, you wanted to come home, and then you would have had to decide what to do: whether to join Poe in the New Republic Defense Fleet, starting a political career and becoming a senator like your father always wanted...or training in the use of the Force.

That was always your secret and forbidden dream. You barely could stand the thought of being Force-sensitive and not having the chance to develop your abilities because of your father's fears. You caressed the possibility of asking Rey to put a word in for you with Master Skywalker to become one of his new students. You chuckled imagining yourself, a grown-up woman among all those Younglings, but you would have done your best to be a good student. Rey would have helped you, you knew that.

And then, the news came.

At first, before meeting your groom – and suffocating the will of punching him in the face remembering all that he did during the war –, you still hoped to achieve your dreams. Perhaps, you used to think, General Hux will not be a strict husband. Perhaps he's as pissed as you are about this whole thing that he'll let you be. You could have lived separated lives, he doing his shit and you travelling and attending the Jedi Academy.

But that little hope died as you managed to know more about your future husband. Armitage Hux wasn't that kind of man who let his wife doing whatever she wanted. He was the kind of man who thought that a wife existed only to wait for him at home, having his babies and being showed around as a precious trophy to his friends and soldiers.

And when you realized it, you bid farewell forever to your dreams.

“Do you want to know what I have to say?” Poe says suddenly. “Fuck it all! Fuck Hux, fuck Kylo Ren and fuck the First Order! We're here to celebrate, and we're going to celebrate!” he laughs and wraps and arm around your shoulders, holding you tight. You laugh too, and for a moment you're able to forget about Hux and the fact you don't know where your father is.

Perhaps Poe's right, you think. Perhaps dad's on Coruscant celebrating my wedding...

“And now...who does have some money?” he asks.

“Why do you need it?” Rey asks in return.

“I'm feeling lucky” Poe hints at the gaming tables in the room near the restaurant. “Perhaps a bit of gambling will help me pay a second round of Nectarwine

“Sorry, man, but in case you haven't noticed, we're all broke, here...” you giggle, but you stop smiling when you see Poe staring at your left hand. You instinctively hyde it under the table, but Poe reaches it and grabs your wrist.

“Poe!” you snap; everyone's looking at you.

“What the heck are you doing?” aks Finn.

“Here it is!” Poe laughs. “I know what I'm going to give away...”

He's talking about your engagement ring. You try to free your hand from his.

It's a very precious ring, with a red diamond on it. General Hux gave it to you as a present and an engagement ring at the same time; he didn't say much about it, just that it belonged to his family for generations, and that every bride-to-be used to wear it.

It was well-known in all the Galaxy.

Nobody told you, but you know that that ring belonged to Maratelle Hux. She wasn't your groom's mother, just his father's legal wife. Everyone knew that Brendol Hux had an affair with some kitchen woman which resulted in the birth of your future husband. What happened to her or to Mrs. Hux, no one knows about it, but you can't help but feeling sorry for Maratelle. Sometimes it happens you try to imagine how her life could have been, constantly left behind and forgotten by a faithless and uncaring husband and having to stand the sight of his bastard boy.

And sometimes...quite often, speaking the truth...you feel like your fate will be the same of Maratelle's.

Still, you try to hyde your hand.

“No” you say. “Poe, I'm not joking...”

“Come on! You don't even like it...” he's right, you hate that ring as much as you hate your bridal gown, but you're not so ungrateful to give it away for a stupid gambling; and by the way, you fear Hux's reaction if Poe'd lose it.

You free yourself from his grip. BB-8 hits his leg with its robotic head.

“Poe, I said no” you say firmly. “It's an engagement ring, I can't give it away...”

“But I'm not going to lose it, (Y/N), I promise...”

“Poe, it's not funny” Rey rushes to help you. “Let her be...”

“All right...” Poe sighs. “But...at least you owe me a dance!”

He grabs your hand and drags you away from the table and at the centre of the Casino's dance floor. They're playing Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes' Mad About Me. Poe holds your right hand and put your left one on his shoulders. You laugh and try to slip away.

“You know I'm not able to dance!” you protest between the laughters, but it's true. Coming from a rich and noble family, many people could think that someone told you how to dance, but the fact is that because of the war you never had the chance nor the time to learn.

Because of the war...and because of your clumsiness. You're as able with the spaceships as clumsy when it comes to behave like a proper lady. Your stepmother tried to teach you how to dance, once, but she gave up when she totally lost her patience with you and your awkwardness.

“Nor me. What's the problem?”

You both laugh and start dancing as it comes. There are a lot of people around you, the couples are dancing according to the music, and some of them are even looking at you both as you were a couple of fools, but you don't mind. You're just best friends acting like idiots together and enjoying it.

But it doesn't last.

The moment Poe dips you, you hear a strange noise coming from somewhere in the Casino. You're not the only ones to have notice it, as many people are turning in the sound's direction.

You can catch a glimpse of your friends and you see they're all looking at the door. Rey and Finn even stood up from their chairs. You hear the sound of a march and someone's shouting orders. People are flatteing against the walls, and the music stops playing.

“What's going on?” you ask, but Poe isn't able to answer you.

By the way, you soon have an answer to your question. A group of stormtroopers enters the dance floor and stops when they see you.

One of them beckons you.

“It's her” he says in his metal voice. “Take her”

“What?!”

You can barely understand what's going on that two stormtroopers are at your sides and grabs your arms dragging you away from the dance floor. You try to free yourself, and you can hear Poe yelling.

“What? What does this mean? Where are you taking her?” he tries to reach for you but other two of them block his path. The same they do with Rey and Rose when they ask what's happening and try to step on their way.

“Stay away!” a stormtrooper says. “Orders from General Hux”

Now you're understanding almost everything, and you feel the rage growing in your chest.

You try to kick and deliver yourself from their grasps, but it's useless. You are almost out of the Casino when you hear Poe yelling.

“BB-8! Go with her! Don't leave her alone!”

A few seconds later, you see BB-8 rolling next to you. The stormtroopers drag you on a spaceship; you're afraid that BB-8 won't be able to go aboard, but the droid manages to do it. The stormtroopers don't look like they care about a BB-series astromech droid. They force you to sit down and one of them orders you to buckle yourself up. BB-8 stops next to you.

“What's happening?” you ask again while the ship's engine turns on and you start to leave Canto Bight. No one answers you. “What's happening? Are you listening to me?! I want to know what's going on...!”

“We are not allowed to tell you anything, Miss (Y/S)...” a stormtrooper says. “Orders from General Hux”

“I know, I heard it before...” you grimace. “What does he want?”

“We're not allowed to tell you” another stormtrooper repeats. “He ordered to fetch you and bring you back to Naboo. That's all”

You are about to try again, but then you stay quiet. You have the feeling it would be useless. Perhaps they didn't even know the reason why that ass ordered you to be brought back like you were a thief or a murderer.

You sit in silence. BB-8 looks up at you, but it says nothing, and you're glad about it. You're so angry that you feel you could rip away Hux's skin by using just your nails, and when you finally are back on Naboo you're completely furious.

You get off from the spaceship and start to run inside the Palace of Theed. Your stepmother's in the hall, looking as if she wants to scold you but you are determined to ignore her.

“(Y/N)...” she begins, but you cut her off.

“Where is he?” you growl. “That piece of shit, where is he?”

“(Y/N)!” she looks so shocked that she looks she's about to put her hands in her hair. “How do you dare to speak like this about your future husband?! The General and I were so worried because you sailed away with those crazies...”

Those crazies are my friends, and I can go wherever I want! And if you and that son of a...”

“Language, (Y/N)” a calm voice says. You turn around just to see General Hux entering the hall of the Palace. Here you are, you ass, you think as you turn to face him. “As Mrs. Hux, you'll need to hold your tongue when it comes to speak in public...” he beckons at the stormtroopers in the hall. “We'll need to work to this scurrilous language of yours”

“I'm not Mrs. Hux, yet. And I know how to speak, General” you approach him. “And I must tell you that I'm not willing to tolerate that you send your watchdogs to fetch me and bring me home like I was a prisoner...”

“I did that because I was worried about you” this is bullshit, you can see it in his face. He looks annoyed, perhaps disgusted, but he's not worried at all, not for you. He's worried for his reputation, that someone could tell he's not even able to control his future bride. “From now on, you must always tell me where you are going and what you're doing. And by the way, I have already told you that I don't like you to spend time with Dameron and those...”

Must I? Where are we, in a prison?” you try to sound annoyed, but in truth you're incredulous. You followed General Organa's orders during the war, but you never thought your husband could order you something. Or allow you to do something.

“A wife should obey to her husband” he simply says.

“Bullshit!”

Your stepmother yells in shock.

“(Y/N)!” she exclaims, but you don't stop.

“I won't obey to anyone! You'll be my husband, not my jailer!” you shout.

“As I said before, language, (Y/N). Hold your tongue. I'm speaking for your own good...someone could cut it off”

“Are you threatening me?!”

“Excuse me, sir” a stormtrooper steps in.

General Hux is furious. He's trying to control himself, but you can see from how he grimaces that he would like to shot the stormtrooper for having interrupted your conversation. “What?” he growls.

“General Organa and Captain Solo requested Miss (Y/S) and Mrs. (Y/S) to come to the audience chamber”

The fact he's speaking to Hux instead of you when it's you who is requested only makes you more furious.

“We're having a conversation...” he starts to say, but you cut him off.

“What's going on?” you ask as you follow him. Only a few months ago you'd never follow a stormtrooper not even if you would have caught prisoner. He says nothing as he leads you and your stepmother to the audience chamber. She doesn't seem to be worried or curious, she just looks annoyed because of how you spoke to Hux.

He's following you, too. You try to ignore him.
A strange, dreadful sensation has begun to raise into you. You can't explain why, but you have a bad feeling about this, like something terrible is going to happen.

Is the Force somehow...warning you about something?

The audience chamber once used to be the room where the Naboo Royal Advisory Council used to reunite with the Monarch of Naboo, and now General Organa used it for the same goal, but among the members of the former Resistance and the First Order.

General Organa is the first person you see when you enter the room. She's standing in front of the table with Admiral Ackbar and Vice Admiral Holdo, while other New Republic and First Order's officers are sitting around it.

Away from the table, in the dim light, his shoulder against an iron pillar and arms crossed at his chest, you notice Captain Solo. He looks worried and contrite, and you suddenly see him older than he really is.

You don't know him very well. You're more intimate with his wife. But he was your father's fleet's captain during the war, and he always described him as a cheerful man, and a bit of a...scoundrel. It feels strange to see him this way.

Chewbacca, his second in command, is standing next to him and he growls something in a low snarl you can't decipher. Solo nudges him and shuts him up.

That dreadful sensation grows bigger.

BB-8 enters the room and goes near General Organa.

You cautiously approach the table.

“I'm...sorry” being among all these people make you feel uncomfortable; you've never been such an important member of the Resistance to be allowed to join the officers' assemblies like Poe was, and the fact that everyone's practically staring at you isn't helping. “General Organa?” you croak; she's looking at you with a strange expression, regret and pity. “What's going on?”

“(Y/N). Mrs. (Y/S)” she greets you both as a soldier pulls a chair and offers it to your stepmother. “We've received a holomessage” she doesn't say anything else, but you understand everything.

Suddenly, that dreadful sensation is stronger than ever, you feel the blood leaving your face and freezing in your veins, you feel dizzy and you almost feel the tears coming to your eyes.

“Do you want to sit down, (Y/N)?”

General Organa's voice brings you back to reality.

You shake your head.

“N-no, thank you...” you come near the table. “Is it from my father?” you already know the answer; still, you are surprised when it's Captain Solo, and not General Organa, answering you.

“He sent it to me. I received it a few hours ago”

You can't explain why, but General Organa seems to be terribly annoyed by her husband having opened his mouth. She looks at him like she wants to slap him until he begs for mercy, but when she looks back at you, her expression changes again.

“Mrs. (Y/S), (Y/N)...we wanted you both to be here and see the holomessage yourselves”.

Someone turns the holomessage on.

Captain...Captain Solo...” your father's breath is heavy; you almost cry when you see him: he's sweaty, he has bruises on his face, a bleeding cut on his forehead, and he looks like he's gone through hell and back. “Captain, I'm...I'm (Y/S). There's been an accident. An asteroids storm. I'm...I'm alone...I don't know where I am, but I'll send you the coordinates from the ship's memory...” your father's face disappears, and the hologram shows the map of a part of the Galaxy you don't know, but his voice's still begging. “...please, please send someone...please, help me...

This final cry almost breaks your heart. You try to hold back your tears just because you don't want to cry in front of the First Order's officers, and because you need to keep your mind clear and working.

You would like to have Poe here with you more than ever, now.

Your stepmother starts sobbing.

“My poor husband...!” she yelps.

“Where is he?” you ask.

“Far away from here” Captain Solo answers; he looks more worried and contrite than before, if it is possible. “It's a part of the Galaxy which is still widely unexplored”

“But you can help him, can't you?” you ask. “He gave you the coordinates! You can send someone to rescue him. General Organa, I'll be a part of the rescue squadron, if you'll allow me to...”

“I don't think so” General Hux snarls behind your back.

You almost forgot about him, and even if the impulse to tear his skin off his face with only your fingernails is almost irrepressible, you force yourself to ignore him.

You'll break his nose later. There's a very much more important problem to solve now.

“General Organa, please...”

“It's not that, (Y/N)” she looks at you like she's sorry; why should she be sorry? They have the coordinates, your father's still alive, the only thing they have to do is to send someone to help him! It's easier than many of the mission you've accomplished during the war. “The fact is...we're still trying to figure out what to do about this”

“What?” your voice almost dies in your throat. “What does it mean? My father is one of your pilots, and he's out there, he's alone and he's probably hurt! Why are we still here doing nothing?!”

“(Y/N), please...try to be reasonable...” your stepmother says. “The General surely has her own reasons to...”

“Your husband is missing and asking for help and you are suggesting me that we shouldn't do anything to help him...”

“General Organa didn't say we don't want to help him, Miss (Y/S)” Vice Admiral Holdo intrudes. “She said that we're trying to analyze the situation before acting”

“We'll take a decision as soon as possible” General Organa assures you.

“He's probably hurt! And as soon as possible could be too late! Besides, what is it to analyze? You have the ships, you have the coordinates, why don't you send help?”

“(Y/N)” Captain Solo has remained silent for all the time, but now it feels weird to hear your own name coming from his lips. “I know that you think we don't want to help (Y/S). I swear to you it's not. We want to help him, but the situation is more complicated than you think” a killer look comes from General Organa, but he ignores her. “I...your father, (Y/N), was sent on a mission with other fellow pilots by me” he confesses, but before he can go on, General Organa stops him.

“Don't say another word” she growls among her teeths.

“She has the right to know” Captain Solo protests.

“No, she hasn't. Not about this and not now” her eyes are investigating the people in the room, especially the First Order's officers; you could say she's worried about what they might know. “And you first shouldn't have to...”

You raise your arms.

“Fine!” you say. “That's okay. General Organa, that's okay, I don't want to know. I won't ask anything, I promise. But, please, help my father...” you beg. “I'll do anything. Please, help him”

“At this point, we're all curious about this secret mission, Captain Solo” your fiancée steps in and stops next to you. “We've heard rumors about it. Do you know that the armistice reckons on the fact that none of the parts should take war actions against the other?”

“It wasn't a war action, Hux, it was a personal mission” he growls. “None of your business”

“So, why did you need to keep it so secret?” he insists.

Sometimes he scares you. How can he be so cold, so clinical, and at the same time look so full of hate and disdain?

“As I said before, none of your business”

Chewbacca growls aggressively.

“Perhaps. But it's my fiancée's business, now, so it's my business as well” he says. “And I have to inform you, General Organa, that I'll conduct an investigation about this. I consider it a potential violation of the armistice...”

“Can you please stop arguing for a moment?!” you yell. “There's a man, my father, out there, and he's all alone! And no one here wants to help him...” you come at this realisation; no one will help. For some reason, Captain Solo's mission is so secret that stops the Republic from rescuing him.

You clench your fists.

“If nobody will go, then I will” you say firmly.

“I forbid it!” Hux immediately growls.

“Oh, fuck off...!”

“(Y/N)!” your stepmother moans.

“(Y/N), it's too dangerous...” General Organa says. “I can't allow you to go alone...”

“Then send someone else with me”

“I can't do it, not before we...”

“Just as I imagined” you turn your heels and start to go towards the door. “Fine, I'll...”

“I can't allow you, too” Hux says in a cold voice.

You can't see them, so you can't escape nor fighting to stop them. Two stormtroopers are against you in the blink of an eye, and the grip your arms and jacket so firmly that you can barely move. That you can't flee.

“No!” you shout, kicking the air and trying to hit the stormtroopers to deliver yourself. “No! Leave me alone! Hux, you son of a...”

“Take her to her rooms” he says in a cold voice. “And be sure she stays in”

“General, I can't allow you...” you hear General Organa's voice trying to take your parts, bit before she can finish the sentence the stormtroopers have already brought you out the audience chamber and are dragging you through the Palace's corridors.

You scream and kick and punch, but they don't leave you and nobody comes to help you.

Finally, you're dragged in front of your apartments. The stormtroopers open the door, drag you to your bedchamber and throw you on your bed before leaving and locking the door behind themselves.

You stand up and start to kick the door and try to force the knob, but it's useless.

After almost half an hour of yelling and punching the door and the wall, you grow exhausted. Your breath is short and you're all sweaty. You sit on your bed and take your head in your hands, trying to think what to do.

The rage overcomes the tears. You're furious and worried. You want to save your father, but by now you can't even know how to get out from your own bedroom!

You raise your head.

Perhaps you've got an idea...

You look at the knob. You know the door is closed from outside, but you know so many stories about how the Force works. Rey had told you something.

You try to concentrate. You don't know exactly what you're doing, but...maybe...just maybe...with enough concentration and a bit of hope...

But it's useless. The Force doesn't help you. The knob stays in its place.

You sigh.

You've never felt so powerless and useless like this moment. The Force flows in you, but you're so fucking untrained, you're not even able to use it to open a fucking door!

Then, just before you fall into desperation again, you hear a strange noise coming from outside. It's something like electric cables sending sparks; a curious beep accompanies them.

You stand up from the bed; you don't know why or what you exactly want to do, you're still closed in your room, but you aren't comfortable staying on the mattress.

But electric sparks starts to come from the knob, and you istinctively go back on your bed.

That curious beep is here again.

Your face lightens with a smile.

“BB-8...” you whisper, recognizing the sound.

The door opens, and BB-8 shows up. He rolls in.

“BB-8!” you exclaim in a low voice, coming down from the bed and kneeling in front of him. “Thank you! You came to free me...”

He beeps in assent, but you hush him.

“Hush...!” you whisper. “If they hear you, we're fucked...Listen, you must help me just one last time. I have to rescue my father, but I don't know where he is! I need the coordinates...is there a way you could...”

He beeps again, and suddenly a blue hologram appears in your whole bedchamber. You recognize it as the holomessage you saw in the audience chamber.

You give a little cry of joy and without thinking you hugh BB-8; he doesn't seem so pleased, because he starts to beep with less enthusiasm and his metallic head makes a complete round around his body.

“What a little, intelligent, fantastic droid you are! I'm going to adopt you when I'll get back...!”

Still, he seems quite oppose.

You don't lose any more time. You run out of your apartments, but you stop at the threshold. It's late at night, and with the armistice the surveillance has been partially reduced, but there are still some stormtroopers walking the Palace's corridors.

Not to mention the fact that you could meet General Hux or your stepmother.

Or General Organa and Captain Solo.

Everyone's against you. Your friends aren't here to help you. You must be careful.

With BB-8 following you, you cautiously step in the corridors.

You have to stop and hyde yourself behind some statue or door every time you see a stormtrooper coming to your direction, but you're able to reach the hangar without being caught.

Everything is silent.

You're afraid of even breathing too loud. The hangar's door is closed, but the system can be easily hijacked. You look around yourself and you find your ship.

“Listen...” you kneel next to BB-8. “I need you to help me one more time. Can you hijack it?” you indicate the system which opens the hangar's doors. “I'll go get my ship”

BB-8 rolls his head and a red light turns on.

Coming with me? No, BB-8, I don't know if it'll be dangerous or not...”

An annoyed beep and a red light after another one.

“Poe's going to kill me...!”

He beeps so loud that you fear he'll wake up all the Palace if you don't allow him to come with you. You sigh.

“Okay, okay, you win. Come on, hijack that system and then run on my ship...”

BB-8 starts to work with the system, mechanical arms hijacking it while sending electric sparks. You run to your ship, a T-85 X-wing, and turn the engine on, leaving the door open for BB-8 to step up.

He finishes his work and run to the ship, the hangar' doors starting to open.

Not authorized take-off...” a synthetic voice fills the hangar. “Not authorized take-off...

“Oh, fuck...” you swear among your teeths while closing the ship's door and taking the file with the coordinates from BB-8. “Oh, well...” you put the coordinates in the ship's memory. “Anyhow they would've noticed my absence sooner or later...”

The hangar's doors open completely, and you make your ship lift off.

“Fasten your seatbelts, BB-8...” you murmur. “I'm coming, dad...”

And you take off, leaving the Palace and Theed behind you, before flying away from Naboo, across the stars.

Chapter Text

The coordinates are pretty clear – luckily your spaceship's memory could read them easily –, but it takes you more than forty-eight hours to reach that unknown planet. Your ship is very fast – and, let's say it, General Organa didn't use to say you flew as fast as a thunder because you were known in the Resistance for being one of the slowest pilots, not at all! –, but now you can imagine why your father and the other pilots needed three days of journey.

“Well...looks like we'll have to spend several hours in the space, BB-8...” you murmured when you saw how far that elusive planet was. Your father had talked about an asteroids storm in the holomessage, so you inserted the alarm in case you ran into another one, but the journey is proceeding smoothly, the ship practically driving itself alone following the coordinates, thanks to the autopilot you inserted. You turned off the communicator; you are pretty sure that all the former Resistance and General Organa know by now that you escaped and that everyone's probably looking for you.

Or perhaps they aren't...

“What do you think about Captain Solo's strange behavior, BB-8?” you ask after six or seven hours of total silence; you were too tense to speak and too concerned for your father to pay attention to something different than that odd sensation leading you – it is like the more you get nearer to your father, the more it grows stronger. And BB-8 had gone into energy rest a couple of hours after you left the hangar.

But now he's awake again and you are growing tired of the spaceship's silence.

“I mean...” the communicator's light is pulsing like crazy, indicating someone's desperately trying to contact you. You try not to look at it. “General Organa looked like she didn't want him to say something very important about this secret and personal mission”.

Now that you are thinking back about that mess in the audience chamber, you can almost see the oddity of the entire situation. You don't remember anything like that happening during the war: General Organa directed all the military operations, and nothing was secret amidst the rebels. There were no secret missions nor personal business. The fact that Captain Solo is working backroom – presumably behind his wife's back, which is the closest thing to a suicide attempt you can imagine – on something only the Force knows what it is, now that the war is over, well, you find hard to believe it's a good thing.

BB-8 beeps and rotate his head.

“Honestly, she looked like she was ready to slit his throat if he'd let something more slip out of his mouth...”

Silence from BB-8.

“Do you know what he's hiding?”

A low beep and an angry metallic hiss, and BB-8 begins to fidge around. You turn your head to face him while still sitting in the captain's seat.

“Hey, big boom, calm down!” you snort. “I didn't mean to accuse you of anything! Just asking. You have known General Organa and Captain Solo for longer than me, perhaps you know something I don't...Sorry, man”

BB-8 doesn't look like he wants to accept your apologizes, because he turns his back from you and doesn't stop with that low and angry hiss. The communicator's light keeps pulsing, it's pretty unnerving.

“Come on, I said I'm sorry...!”

That pulsing light is giving you nerves; you look at it and you sigh. Perhaps they changed their mind about helping you to find your father. You close your eyes and squint, then you open them again and take a long breath.

You press the communicator's bottom.

(Y/N)!” it's General Organa; that was to be expected; saying the truth, you would have been more surprised if it was your stepmother calling you. You imagine she's lying down on her bed, in the grip of a hysterical crisis.

“Yes, General...?” you grumble.

(Y/N), reverse the coordinates and get back to Naboo right now! It's an order...

“Then, feel free to consider this as a mutiny, General Organa” you say forcing yourself to stay calm. “My father is more important than any of your orders. And please, don't yell at me, I don't want to close the communication on your face...”

(Y/N)...” sighs General Organa's low voice on the other side of the communicator; she sounds tired and...almost sad. You have to admit that hearing her like this makes you feel sad, too. She's always been kind to you. “(Y/N), please, just listen to me and try to reason. Captain Solo...Han made a terrible mistake in sending your father and the other pilots in that foolish mission, and the coordinates you're following are pretty unknown to us...

“I don't care”

Just, please, be reasonable and reverse the course...it's more dangerous than you think

“Why?” you inquire. The asteroids storm had been an accident, it could have happened to anyone, and during the war you and the other pilots were used to long and dangerous journeys. You don't understand why General Organa sounds so worried.

She even sounds scared to death, you can't help thinking.

There is a long sigh from the communicator, followed by an equally long silence. Then, General Organa speaks again.

I can't tell you, (Y/N), I'm sorry...

“Then, I guess that for the same reason you won't help me save my father”

This wasn't a question, and in fact General Organa doesn't answer. There is another, painfully long sigh on the other side of the communicator.

I'm sorry, (Y/N)...

“Me too, General” you say while you reach out the communicator's bottom. “See you when I get back with my father”

At least I hope so, another intrusive thought you hasten to shut out.

No, (Y/N), don't...” she tries to beg you, but you're not willing to let you be moved by her entreaties. You turn the communicator off, ending the conversation before you change your mind. You bite your lip. You know you should be angry with General Organa for not having moved a finger to help you, but all you can think of is how kind she's always been to you.

After not even ten seconds, the communicator's light starts to pulse again. You deactivate it, and the bottom turns grey. You sigh as you rotate the seat and you run both your hands on your face and through your hair. BB-8 feelers vibrate as he makes a shrill beep.

“No, I'm not okay, but thank you for asking”

BB-8's next beep is low and almost sheepish. It sounds like he's sorry. Then, silence falls in the spaceship's cockpit.

You lift your left leg and plant the heel of your boot on the seat, hugging your knee and resting your chin on it. You close your eyes, breathing slowly. You try to concentrate on the muffled and metallic sounds the T-85 X-wing's engine is making, but soon your attention gets captured again by that odd feeling inside your chest. It pulses in time with your heartbeat, growing stronger and stronger as the spaceship drives itself through the Space, getting nearer and nearer to your destination.

BB-8 looks like he doesn't want to go on with any conversation. Perhaps he understood you're not in the mood. You start to feel very tired – you haven't slept the night before, and although you can't see it, you're sure the sun has already risen on Naboo.

During the war, you used to get up very early, sometimes even before dawn. If you were on a mission, it wasn't rare that you had to stand guard all night in case the First Order's stormtroopers or pilots decided to attack. If you weren't on a mission, you and Poe along with the other pilots and soldiers had a lean breakfast and then started with your training exercises. You were used to do at least ten running laps around the Resistance base on D'Qar followed by at least fifty flexures every morning, not to mention all the countless test flights and the training shots with the blasters.

You didn't mind, never did you mind. You rarely felt tired. You enjoyed the training, you enjoyed getting up early, having that lean breakfast with Poe and the other pilots and having those few laughs and stupid talk despite the Galaxy being a big mess. You enjoyed thinking you were fighting for a good cause.

You sigh.

When did you start to miss the time of war?

It's stupid and disrespectful. You'd deserve a good dose of slaps, you spoiled girl, you can almost hear your stepmother threatening you. She often used to threaten you when you were a little girl, and more recently when you had the audacity to complain about your arranged marriage – although she never actually slapped you.

You stretch your legs and rest your back agains the seat, sighing again. It's not that you miss the war, you realize: you miss your freedom.

It's almost grotesque, you think bitterly. I was in the first line when I had to fight for freedom, and now in order to have it for everybody I have to sacrifice my own.

You close your eyes. You refuse to cry. Even though General Hux isn't here to see you, he's still not worth your tears. And by the way, it's your duty, you say to yourself, this peace lies on this marriage...he's not worth my tears, but he's not even worth the war.

Fatigue is taking over you. Feeling the gold of Maratelle Hux's engagement ring around your left ring-finger, you slip into the world of dreams.

 

Fulfill your destiny...

You wake up with a start, gasping and panting and with your hands, face and forehead beaded with sweat. Your heart is beating like a drum and that odd sensation in your chest is stronger than ever. It pulses to the rhythm of your heart, but you feel like it has started to flow all over your body. It's inside you. It flows with your blood in your veins, it tingles down your fingers, toes and bowels and on your tongue and lips, it clothes your brain.

It hurts, you realize. But luckily the pain doesn't last too long. Just the blink of an eye.

Then, you start breathing again.

It's BB-8's worried and hysterical continuous beep beep that drags you back to the reality, in your ship's cockpit while you're surfing the Galaxy.

You wipe the sweat off your forehead. Shit. You're drenched with sweat. Cold sweat, you realize, asking yourself if you haven't got a fever.

BB-8's hysterical beep keeps going on, his lights pulsing like crazy and his antenna shaking.

“I'm fine, BB-8, don't you worry...”

The red light turns on, then he beeps again.

“What?” you goggle at him. “I was...screaming in my sleep?”

That was weird. You never had trouble sleeping. That would have been a fine mess during the war. The last time you screamed in your sleep because of a nightmare – and fell down from the bed as a result! – you were six years old and you were dreaming about a gross Rancor running after you.

“Well, it's over, now...” you try to calm BB-8 down. “Really, man, don't you worry...it was just a dream, nothing more...”

Just a dream, nothing more, but golly, what a bloody nightmare!. To be honest, you can't remember it very clearly. There's just that deep and cavernous voice saying to fulfill your destiny, and all you can remember was the colour red: you're quite sure that you were dreaming of being somewhere with red walls.

And than there was that feeling...deep inside your heart...like a secret guilt torturing you...

You shrug pretending it's nothing – but it was nothing! Come one, (Y/N), you fought in a war for so many years and now you're scared of a stupid nightmare you can't even remember?! – and rotate the seat so you can face the ship's master control.

You try to look busy in order show BB-8 you're fine. You look istinctively to the communicator's light, which is still off; you're about to check if General Organa has tried to contact you again, then you accidentally catch a glimpse at the timer's hand.

“Oh, shit!” you curse loudly. “Shit, shit, shit...!”

You look at the coordinates' screen: you've almost reached the destination, and you were asleep all the time! You feel like an idiot: you were meant to sleep just a couple of hours, and now you've been at the mercy of everything could have been hidden in the Space.

Thank the Force you consider yourself a skilled pilot, (Y/S)!

You check the coordinates' screen again, trying to figure out where the heck are you. BB-8 turns out his red light and shakes his antenna.

“For the love of the Maker, why didn't you wake me up?!” you grunt.

BB-8 gives you an annoyed beep.

“You tried?” you eye at him receiving a lot of annoyed insults. You go back to the master control. You have travelled for many hours and a large number of space. It doesn't take much for you to understand that you are in a part of the Galaxy you don't know. You are very far from the Naboo System and the Mid Rim.

You nervously bite your lower lip. During the war you and the other Black Squadron's pilot used to fight even in the Outer Rim Territories, but still, you are sure you've never been in that part of the Galaxy.

It doesn't even look like the Outer Rim, you think. Could it possibly be that you are in the Wild Space? That Captain Solo sent your father and the other pilots in some of the Unknown Regions?

Poe often spoke to you about how Captain Solo boasted of being a Space's wolf, and his stories about his ship, the Millennium Falcon, which had made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, but still you aren't too inclined to believe that he knows something apart of legends about the Unknown Regions.

But, be that as it may, this isn't the Outer Rim, and these coordinates have driven us in the Wild Space. Why Captain Solo sent my father here?

Hours before, in the audience chamber, you said you didn't want to know about that secret mission. Now you can't help but wonder about it. All that mystique is starting to sound a little...creepy.

A questioning beep comes from BB-8.

“I don't know...” you mumble. “But I guess we're in the Wild Space. Let's check the coordinates...” as you were expecting, there's not much left between you and the mysterious planet your father seems to have landed.

It takes only two or three hours, and then you see it.

There are many icy planets in the Galaxy. You know Hoth, although you've never been there, because it's well known that thirty years prior it hosted Echo Base, the temporary headquarters of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, until the Galactic Empire located it: it was the famous Battle of Hoth. And less than a year before, the Black Squadron was sent on recon under the two moons of Gale. And you could name so many others.

But this one, you never saw nor heard of it.

It's clear it's an icy planet. You can see it from the thin white mist surrounding it, partially hiding the patina of snow from which it's covered. And it's big; bigger than Naboo and bigger than Hoth – perhaps even bigger than Coruscant.

That odd sensation hits you again. Literally hits you – like a punch in your stomach. It leaves you without breath for a second.

He's here, you realize. That odd feeling is telling you that your father is there, on that damn planet. You can't explain why you came to realize this, you just feel it. And you decide to follow the feeling.

“Alright, BB-8, get ready for the landing...” you mumble while deactivating the autopilot and taking the lead of the spaceship. BB-8 stays quiet while you drive the T-85 X-wing throughout the space route to the mysterious planet. You slow the engine, preparing yourself to land.

Breaking through the white mist surrounding the planet is like entering to another world. For a moment, you feel like you're dreaming again. Even BB-8 gives off a puzzled beep.

“Yeah, that's odd...” you whisper. “Don't you worry, man...we just need to leave the mist behind our back”.

It's hard to drive in a snowy mist, but it's not only that. That feeling in your chest gave you another punch the moment you got near the planet, and for a moment you feel like you're wrapped in something warm and pleasant. Like a wool blanket. Like when you were just a little girl playing with dolls and toy-spaceships, and your father used to tuck you in the blankets when it was time for you to go to bed.

It's a comforting sensation, covering you from head to toe and warming you. It's a safe feeling, but you have to quell it and concentrate yourself.

You slow even more the engine because of the reduced visibility – it's practically impossible to see what lies below the spaceship. The moment you break the misty wall, you find yourself in the middle of a snow storm.

Snowflakes start to crash upon the T-85 X-wing's windshield.

“Fuck” you mutter between your teeth, grabbing the spaceship's steering more firmly and starting to make the ship lowering itself. The wind is very strong, and sometimes it makes the compartment shake, pushing BB-8 to hiss and beep in fear. “Don't you worry, man. I've got it covered...and by the way, Poe flies like a maniac, more than I do, I can't believe you're so scared...!”

BB-8 emits something you're not sure you've deciphered – but you can guess it's an insult.

You finally manage to get close to the planet's surface, and you find yourself driving the spaceship upon a wide expanse of trees. You guess it's a forest. A neverending forest – you have to fly upon it for half an hour in order to find a place where you can land.

It seems like there's not a spot left among those trees.

That feeling hasn't stopped pulsing in your chest, even though you've decided to ignore it.

And it's in a moment when it's stronger that you catch a free spot among the trees. There's snow on the earth, so the landing will be difficult, but you think you can make it.

You start to make the T-85 X-wing gliding.

When you reach the place, the spaceship sinks a bit in the snow, but everything's fine.

You sigh deeply, stretching your arms and resting your back against the seat back.

“Told you” you mutter. BB-8 beeps you to fuck yourself.

You stand up and reach the pilot desk. You turn the engine off, but you decide to activate the deflector shield. Just in case, you think. You're about to press the communicator's bottom; instead, you pass your hand on the spaceship's tarnished windshield.

It's of little use. The snow storm howling outside the T-85 X-wing is so strong that all you can see from the inside of the cockpit is just a white and misty glow.

BB-8 beeps a question when he sees you kneeling to reach beyond the pilot desk. You take a padded jacket and a pair of gloves and you put them on. You also take you blaster and secure it to your belt – when the armistice between the Resistance and the First Order was signed, there were a lot of clauses: your marriage and the obligation on both parties to report every weapon in order to inventory them; the Black Squadron was forced to report its starfighters, but Poe didn't want to hand over all his weapons to some ass-kissing bureaucrat of the First Order, “How do you know they're not planning to take all our weapons in order to mass-murder us in our sleep?”, he said; you knew General Hux didn't believe General Organa to be so stupid, but you accepted your friend's proposal to hide at least one blaster and didn't report it.

You always believed Poe was exaggerating the matter – and after six months had passed since nothing happened you are sure you were right –, but now you're happy to have kept that blaster hidden on your spaceship. Under the pilot desk you kept also a mechanical fusion lantern, and you take it.

“I'm going out” you answer to BB-8, putting on the fur-lined hood. “I'm not going far. I just want to check the surroundings. I can't see anything from the windshield”.

You open the X-wing's hatch. A violent slap of snow, cold air and frost hits you in the face.

The wind is howling so loud that you're forced to yell in order for BB-8 to hear you.

“I'll be back in a moment!” you shout. “Wait for me here in the cockpit, okay?”

You're sure BB-8 answered you, but you aren't able to hear it. You jump off from the ship.

You slip and almost fall on your bottom when your boots touch the ground: you've landed on the snow, yes, but when you chek better you see that the snow is covering some wood. A tree. And another. And then another.

What you initially thought was a clearing among that sea-forest turns out to be a bunch of trees that were shot down before your landing. You inspect that graveyard of wood, leaves, branches and snow: the trail of shot-down-trees spreads for a few metres from where the T-85 X-wing has landed.

Fusion lantern in hand and fighting against the snowflakes and the cold wind, you start to follow the trail. It seems that something else has crashed upon that piece of forest before your arrival. You hear BB-8 calling for you from the spaceship, but you keep going on, until...

“Dad!” you exclaim when you see what has crashed upon the trees; you recognize the metallic corpse lying in the snow in front of your eyes as your father's RZ-1 A-wing starfighter. You run upon it and start knocking furiously against the cracked windshield.

“Dad!” you call desperately, before realizing he isn't inside the spaceship. The hatch is still open, snow entering inside the cockpit.

You check inside. That feeling in your chest is still pulsing, but it's stationary. Calm. Like it's telling you that you're finally where you were supposed to be...almost.

The cockpit is empty. The engines are open and wet with snow, it only takes you a quick look to understand that it's too damaged to be useful.

You enter in the cockpit and check the pilot desk. The communicator is broken as well; you try to make it work, but soon you understand there's nothing you can do for almost anything: in fact, the pilot desk is breached, all the bottoms are broken.

You turn the holomessage machine on, and your father's holo-picture appears in front of your eyes.

Captain...Captain Solo...” you didn't remember it from the audience chamber, but now you see him: he's madid with sweat, his breath is heavy, he's got a wound on his forehead.

Captain, I'm...I'm (Y/S). There's been an accident. An asteroids' storm. I'm...I'm alone...I don't know where I am, but I'll send you the coordinates from the ship's memory...

You think about checking the spaceship's flight data recorder – luckily it's still intact.

You're almost shocked when you see the coordinates your father sent with his holo-message are the same he and his fellow pilots were following before they were caught in the asteroids' storm – those are the same coordinates Captain Solo presumably gave to them for their secret mission.

Those coordinates were leading exactly on this icy planet.

What is Captain Solo looking for on this Maker-forgotten place?

You still have no idea, but on the other hand you are starting to figure out what happened: Captain Solo sent your father on a mission to find this planet, but the pilots were caught in an asteroids' storm and your father was forced to make an emergency landing on the same planet he was looking for; being the engines broken he couldn't go back to Naboo, and being the communicator useless he had no other choice than to send an holo-message.

And being that cold, he couldn't stay in the cockpit. He probably had to find a shelter somewhere.

...please, please, send someone...please, help me...”

You get out from the cockpit and start to frantically look around.

“Dad!” you scream with all the air you have in your lungs. “Dad! Dad, where are you?”

You hear your echo coming back to you, but the forest remains silent.

You try again.

“Dad! Dad! I'm (Y/N)! Please, answer me! Dad, where are you?! Dad!”

You hear a beep coming from behind your shoulders. You turn around to see BB-8's antenna trembling for the cold.

“I told you to wait on the ship...” you mutter, still looking around, your hands on your hips.

“I found the ship, but I can't find my father...” you bite your lower lip.

You didn't expect such a wild place. Who knows what kind of beasts live on this planet? Wampas, ice scrabblers, rayboo...maybe rancors...

A beastly, low growl comes from the forest.

Or rathtars.

BB-8's antenna stirs as he starts to get nervous, his lights pulsing in fear.

Another growl comes from behind the trees.

“Hush!” you whisper to BB-8. “Shit...” you growl. “We can't stay here...”

The first thing it comes to your mind is to go back to the X-wing, but then you think again.

The snow storm is still strong and it's almost impossible to see anything in flight. You'll never find your father in that way.

But still, staying there is dangerous...not to mention that I have no idea how to find dad...

There's not a trail, not a print in the snow, not a clue of his whereabouts.

The only thing that seems to lead you is that feeling in your chest – like a sixth sense telling you which way you have to take, and at the same time reassuring you that there was still someone to look for.

You catch one last glimpse to the spot where the growl came from, then you turn to BB-8.

“Come with me...” you whisper.

He doesn't wait for you to tell it again. With your boots and the droid's lower part sinking down into the snow, you both leave your ship and your father's behind your back, running away from that growl. You wrap your fingers around the blaster, keeping turning your head to check the way behind you.

 

Almost half an hour later

 

BB-8's beep comes softly, almost suffering.

“I don't know where are we going, I'm just...following my istinct” now you're in the middle of the forest, you're surrounded by trees and it's almost half an hour since you last hear that growl; you don't feel you both in danger anymore, so you take your time to calm down, check the surrondings and, above all, BB-8. “How do you feel?” you inquire.

BB-8's answer is forcibly cheerful, but you can hear the pain in it. He doesn't look so good: his lights are opaque, his antenna trembles and looks floppy, and his head is covered with snow. You clean it away.

I should have left him on the spaceship, you think, but then you remember it wasn't a safe place. Still, you have to find a shelter as soon as possible – BB-8's parts and AI weren't programmed for resisting to such a low temperature. His internal system threatens to be damaged because of the cold.

You raise your arm to make light with the lantern. You had lost track of time since the coordinates reported you that the planet was near, not to mention since you had landed. Because of that forest and the snow storm you couldn't check the sky – great, you don't even know if there are more than one sun on that bloody rotten planet!

But now it's clear: it's getting dark.

The openings of sky among the trees' leaves are getting darker as the minutes passes, and it's becoming very difficult to see where you are putting your feet. Not to mention you are wandering without a real destination.

I have to find a shelter, you think, glancing again at BB-8. He's suffering the cool, though he tries to hide it. His engine's going to break if he keeps being exposed to such cold.

You don't think twice, and you take off your padded jacket and you wrap it around BB-8's mechanical body. You can't decipher his low beep, but you hope it's a sigh of relief. You don't even know if your jacket is of some use: a droid's body is not like a human or an alien's one.

Still, I have to find a shelter. For him and...for you.

Without your jacket you soon start to tremble from the cold, and you have the feeling that you are rapidly becoming a human stalagmite. You'll freeze to your death if you don't move away from the snow storm, and in a hurry.

You think again about returning to the spaceship. That would be a good shelter, at least for a while – but still, you don't know what's hiding behind your back. And you don't want to lose any more time in finding your father.

Fulfill your destiny...

You shook your head. The more that strange feeling beats warm in your chest, the more that strange dream keeps tormenting you. And you can't even remember what was about.

“Let's go...” you almost yell in order to raise your voice above the snow storm; it's getting worse. Great. “Do you think you can go on?”

BB-8 beeps a suffering yes.

“It won't last long, man, I swear” you promise.

You both go on. The feeling in your chest drives you – or at least you hope so.

You don't know how much time it takes. Minutes, or perhaps hours. And it gets darker and colder as time passes.

But then, you see it.

As the tree start to thin out, a big, huge, dark wall of iron and steel begins to stand out in front of your eyes.

The sight almost takes your breath away.

It could be easily sixthy feet tall or more. It looks like a giant black iron rectangle in the white snow. Like a sleeping beast. A squared roof towers on its top and at its corner there are at least four higher buildings, they look like towers or something like that – but truly, in this moment you couldn't give a damn about it.

“Look there, BB-8!” you shout. “Come on, let's go!”

Now it's not that feeling. It's the fucking instinct for the fucking survival leading you. You and BB-8 run towards the building, almost stumbling in the snow. The building hasn't got any window, or so you can guess, you don't stop to look clearly.

You stop in front of what you suppose is the front door. It's a high and massive iron gate, like one belonging to a spaceships' hangar. Perhaps, you think, this is an abandoned old military base.

It's closed.

For this you can tell your father can't be there, how could he get inside? But it doesn't matter, now more than anything you need shelter.

You grab one of the gate's iron protrusions and try to pull it in order to open it, but it's useless. You try again, and again, and harder than before, but it doesn't open up.

“Fuck you!” you shout, kicking the gate. “Fuck you!”

You punch the gate in a rage attack, but suddenly you hear a weak beep.

“What?” you whisper.

BB-8 looks awful. If he were human, you could tell he's suffering from hypothermia. He weakly goes near the gate.

“Can you open it?”

You're freezing. You have lost sensitivity to your arms, and legs, and nose, and you know that if the both of you stays outside for longer you will both die.

BB-8 beeps in response and, as he did in the hangar back to the Palace of Theed, he starts to use his engine to open the gate. When he has done, the iron door opens with a low clanging that echoes around the desert glade where the building is standing.

You can't help but find it a bit...sinister.

Still, you open it a bit more and give way to BB-8, who rolls inside; you follow him and close the gate, resting your back against it.

It takes a few seconds for you to recover; and the first thing you notice is that a deadly silence rules inside. You know it's normal for an abandoned building to be silent, but again you find the whole atmosphere sinister at best.

BB-8's low and painful beep breaks the silence. He had let your jacket slip on the floor, and he's trembling. His antenna vibrates like a leave left to the wind.

You run towards him and kneel in fron of him.

“Maker...” you sigh; this echoes against the walls. “Let me check...” you hurry, and he opens his control window in order for you to catch a glimpse on his engine.

This looks bad; you bite your lower lip. Really bad.

Many of his valves were damaged and loose, some of the cables were disconnected and there were parts of the engine which were almost frozen. You can't even imagine how it feels; it's like putting someone's brain in a pool of ice.

It's quite difficult to do something without proper tools, but you try your best, fixing everything you can with your bare hands, connecting the cables you are able to reach and tightening bolts.

BB-8 beeps a worried question.

“No, it's not so bad” you lie, trying to smile at him. “It's just...let's say you got a cold, man. I fixed what I could, but you need to rest. Do you wanna go in low-power mode? So you can recuperate...”

BB-8 beeps at you twice in an irritated way.

“I know Poe asked you to look after me, BB-8, but I'm talking for your own health. Your self-preservation system will send you in low-power mode anyway, if you keep treating yourself so poorly...”

Another weak beep of refusal comes from the droid. You sigh.

“Well, at least promise me you won't scramble yourself too much. And that you'll go in low-power mode once we're back to Naboo...” you murmur. “At least now we've found a shelter...”

You look up at the ceiling, following your echo keeping bouncing against the walls. It's very high, you can barely see it. The inside of the building it's just like it's outside: huge. You have stumbled upon what seems to be a foyer. It's bigger than an usual military base's entrance, it reminds you of the Coruscant Opera House's foyer that only time you visited it, when you were ten years old and your father and your stepmother were invited by a fellow politician of your father to see an opera.

There's not a single track of dust.

It's too clean to be an abandoned place..., you think.

During the war you had been in many places that had been abandoned for a while – usually First Order or Resistance's military bases like that – and the tracks of your and your fellow pilots' boots remained imprinted in the dust. Nothing like that happens here. Everything is perfectly clean. There's little forniture: just a long stair leading at an upper floor and long, thin curtains unrolling from the ceiling to the floor.

They're red and there's the First Order's mark on them.

Your hand triggers alone to your belt, where your blaster is. BB-8's beeps sound alarmed, and he starts to look upset.

“It's okay...” you whisper, trying to calm down as well. “It's...” dangerous. Horrible. A bloody rotten luck. “It's a First Order's military base, I guess. Don't worry...” you say. “They're not enemies anymore. We're at peace”

You notice just now that your hands are trembling. You tap your blaster, but then you raise both of your hands.

“Sorry for this intrusion” you claim loud. Your echo is the only voice answering you. “We didn't mean to trespass” you go on. “My name's (Y/N) (Y/S), I'm a pilot of the New Republic and I've served in the former Resistance under the leadership of General Leia Organa. He's my droid BB-8. I'm...” you are uncertain about revealing this, but then you think that, if that military base is occupied, you're the one who's in the wrong – you have trespassed, if you were still at war, enemy or not, they wouldn't have to think twice before shooting you. “I'm General Armitage Hux's bride-to-be” you take off your glove and raise your left hand so everyone hiding in the shadows could see Maratelle's Hux engagement ring.

There's practically nobody in the Galaxy who doesn't know about your marriage – it's the price of the peace, after all. Your stepmother showed you the wedding list a week ago – there were more than five thousand guests! More than the guests at Princess Leia's wedding thirty years before.

You knew less than the half of the names on that list. But once General Organa instructed you about them, you learnt they were among the most eminent personalities of the Galaxy – many of them belonged to the ranks of the First Order.

Nobody would shoot at the price of the peace, right?

“I mean no harm. Me and my droid were stuck in the snow storm and we needed a shelter. He's...he's damaged” you eye at BB-8. “If you could help him and fix him, we'll be so very grateful”

You're talking alone. You silence for a moment, waiting for someone to answer you, or for someone to show up. Nothing happens. You slowly lower your arms and raise your eyebrows.

“Is anyone here?” you ask.

Still no answer.

A beep of protest comes from behind you. You catch a glimpse around you, still waiting for something to happen or for someone to come out of the shadows, but it seems there's just the two of you.

“I come from Naboo” you say. “I'm looking for my father. He and his fellow pilots have been caught in an asteroid storm, and the coordinates have led us here. My father is (Y/F/N) (Y/F/S), he's been serving the New Republic too and he has also been a politician in Coruscant Senate”

Nothing.

You sigh. If someone would have wanted to show up or to shoot you, well, they would've already done. BB-8 beeps at you.

“I don't know...” you mutter. “It doesn't look so abandoned, seeing it from the inside. But I could be wrong...”

You move a few step forward, the sound of your boots against the floor making a disturbing sound. I didn't stumble here for no reason, you think. Yes, it's a shelter, but you followed that feeling in your chest supposing it was leading you to your father. What does it mean, an empty military base of the First Order?

You look at the stairs, then you decide to follow another way. A dark hallway opens in front of you, next to the stairs. You grap the lantern you let on the floor a while before, and you turn to face BB-8.

“Stay there” you say. If that feeling decided to lead you here, well, there's nothing wrong in trying to follow it again – perhaps it's right. “I'll be back in a minute”

You don't wait for him to answer and keep pacing through the hallway. By the way, he decides not to listen to you, because you hear him rolling after you.

Your heart is beating at a different rhythm. You can feel it. It's the first time that the Force is speaking to you so loudly; it rarely happened, even during the war. Yes, sometimes you could feel it flowing in you, especially during a fight or a perilous flight, telling you to be careful, keeping you aware of the danger. But it was very quiet, it could be easily mistaken with common sense of survival.

Now it's stronger than ever. Perhaps, you suppose, it's because it's about your father, this time. But you're not completely sure: there's something in this place that you can't fully understand. Something grabbing you in order to keep you there. Almost begging you to stay.

And you keep listening to the Force, until you hear a soft moan.

You stop suddenly. BB-8 almost hits your leg with his metal body.

“Did you hear that?” you ask, turning to face him.

BB-8's double beep and his lights turning on tell you that yes, he heard that too.

You have stopped next to a heavy metal sliding door. You press the button and it opens.

You hear again that moan, louder this time. So loud that now you can recognize it.

“Dad!” you shout, running inside the room. A steel staircase leads downstairs. You start to go down with only your lantern to englighten the way, BB-8 rolling after you. “Dad!” you scream again. “Dad, where are you?! Dad! Dad, answer me!” you grab the handrail with your free hand while you keep running downstairs. “Dad! Where are you? Answer me! Dad! Dad, I'm (Y/N)!”

Another moan comes, followed by a few coughs. A croaky and low voice reaches you.

“(Y/N)...” you hear you father say. “(Y/N)!”

“Dad! I'm here!”

You finally reach the floor, down in another long hallway. There's another sliding door in front of you. You recognize it immediately, it's the kind of door which could be opened only from the outside – it's a cell.

You open it, finding yourself in a small squared room with only a steel cot in it. Your father is half-lying upon it, still with the clothes he had when he departed.

“Dad!” you run towards him. His face is a mess, it's completely swollen: both his eyes are black and he's got a broken lip, a bruise at his mouth's corner and another one on his cheek.

You kneel next to him.

“Dad! I'm so happy to see you! How are you? What did you do?” you ask, checking his face. “Oh, Maker!” you exclaim when your eyes finally lay upon his arm. It's broken. It's swollen and lying on your father's leg. You can say the bone broke in a few points.

“What have you done to your arm?” you'd want to do something for it, but you don't know where to touch him and you're afraid to damage the arm even more.

“The...the crash...” he muttered; he's in pain, beads of sweat dripping down his face and forehead. “(Y/N), what are you doing here?”

“Captain Solo received the coordinates you sent to him. I came to rescue you” you explain quickly. “What happened? Who did you this?” you point at the cell. You don't wait for an answer – you know that whoever did this to your father, armistice or not, they won't be very friendly if they catch you – and grab your father for his healthy arm. “Come on! We...we have to go...”

“(Y/N)!” he croaks. “(Y/N), listen to me...it's very important...you can't stay here...You have to go away...”

“Why? Why I have to go away? I won't leave without you!”

“He's here!” he growls; the way he said it almost frightens you.

“He's still here, and he'll find you if you don't run away...”

“Who? Who are you talking about?”

Him!” you father growls in desperation and rage. “I don't know what kind of monster Captain Solo sent us to capture, but I won't let him hurt you! You have to run, (Y/N)!”

“Not without you!” you try to put your father on his feet. “Come on! If we are quiet and we hurry we can escape. My ship is...”

Who are you?! What are you doing here?!

You are startled when a deep, raw voice comes from behind you.

You have enough reflexes to grab your blaster and turn around, but suddenly your weapon flies away from your hand. You see it flying through the room and hitting against the wall, falling down to the floor.

BB-8 beeps with a scared tone, but soon him too ends up against the wall.

“What the...” your voice dies in your throat as you feel your respiratory tract being locked suddenly. You bring both your hands around your neck, trying to breath. The lack of oxygen becomes more and more dangerous, while you feel yourself being lifted without even be touched.

You soon find yourself floating within two feet from the floor, kicking the air while breathing becomes more and more difficult.

What are you doing here?” that deep and raw voice asks again. “How did you get inside?

You try desperately to breath, while facing a tall and dark figure standing in front of you.