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The Trials of Love and War

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A hundred thousand flittering, fluttering leaves caught the warm rays of the sun. And a small pair of feet pounded the soil.

“Xantos Fuil Andromias!”

Frozen, blonde, and gangly stands the teenaged boy, as you stand triumphiantly before him. He peers over a heavily bandaged shoulder, expression vacant.

"You didn't listen to a thing your dad told you!"

You are a child, and this boy, Xantos, has approximately six years on you. He is your elder, fourteen years of age, a dreaded teenager.

Regardless of your age, your tone is but an annoyance to him- though you see it as an indistinguishable threat. Xantos' hand is stretched precariously toward a tree branch, though he'd lowered his leg when he heard you barreling through the undergrowth after him.

"Dad didn't say anything about climbing." Though his tone is stand-offish, it's similar to that of an older sibling's. But, his voice is still devilish. Your brows furrow at this, your stance widens, and you feel an annoyance growing rapidly in your chest. You huff, and an idea strikes you.

In a heartbeat of a moment, you feel a triumphant grin mark it's way across your youthful features. You have but one power.

"I'm telling!"

It's a childishly ecstatic screech loud enough laughter to call attention from anyone in the three mile radius. Though it's not unexpected, you take back off through the undergrowth.

"Hey! Don-"

You don't stop to listen to the teenaged boy scramble after you. You feel his panic. It makes you giddy, and you laugh harder. He's longer legged and significantly faster than you are, but you're more clever than he gives you credit for. With a sharp veer to the right, you run toward a rocky hill you'd climbed numerous times before, and scramble up as fast as your legs can carry you. You're heaving, out of breath, but still laughing nevertheless.

"Qira!" Your voice is loud, sing-song almost, as you see her home at the bottom of the hill. She is only eleven, but you look up to her greatly.

"What?" The girl bellows in response- not an unhappy question, but inquisitive. You only give a shriek of laughter in response and clamber clumsily down the hill. You slip a few times but never fall.

When you reach the bottom of the hill, Qira stands waiting, arms crossed and brow raised, it's a put-on sort of thing- her actions are too animated. You know she does her best to downplay her excitement at seeing you, but you can sense the admiration between the two of you. It’s mutual, if slightly different.

"I'm telling on Xan." You point a finger towards yourself, a prideful smile coming on. Qira gives a hoot of a laugh, knowing full well the look of exasperation that crosses the boy's features so often because of your curious nature. She was still doubtful, as you still did retain a habit of fibbing.

"For what? You can't get him in trouble for being a dork."

You feel your prideful smile go impish, and your hands are balled into fists as you give another laugh. "I caught him climbing!" Qira's hands cover her mouth, but this action doesn't silence her laugh as her eyebrows flick upwards. "Even with his dislocated shoulder?" You just nod quickly, giggling.

Qira's eyes flicker behind you and then upwards to the hill in one fell sweep. In your breathless, quick conversation, he had caught up- and looked even more panicked seeing you laughing with Qira.

"What'd she tell you?" Xan's voice is loud, but hesitant, unwilling to give any implication he did anything wrong. Qira grins wickedly, your name rolling off her tongue, a mock question to him, and no other response.

You're in the middle, gazing back and forth between the two older children. When you start to think this awkward quiet is going to be too much to bear, Xantos shifts from one foot to the other, "She's lying y'know."

His hands slowly make their way out from his body, open palmed, offering a shrug and a slight head shake. You make a noise of offense, looking to Xan with fire in your gaze.

"I am not !" You aren't yelling, not yet, but being provoked by the older boy could make that soon a reality. Xantos sneers, voice softly mocking, "C'mon Qira, you can't believe this." The boy's brows raise, and he pouts his lips slightly, shrugging again.

"She doesn't even have any evidence."

All in one moment you feel a wildfire rage roar through your being. You stamp your foot down onto the lush grass beneath you. Hands balled into your fists at your sides, you spin on your heel to face Qira, "I know what I saw, and I'm still telling, if you believe him or not!"

It is the best you can manage at your age for an asserting of your power, and it works. Xan lets out an exasperated, "Damn it!" Before you take off again. You point an accusatory finger toward him after his remark. It's your silent, but universal gesture of, 'I heard you', before your little boots are squelching upon the moist ground as fast as you can manage. You hear Qira's booming laugh and can see her freckled face lighting up in your mind, it's enough to usher you onward. It isn't long at all before you round another corner and another structure stands before you. It's a floor bigger than Qira's and a little better kempt, though the thick growth along all of the building proves that the plant fauna is nearly uncontrollable here. A bulky blonde man is loading things out of his freighter, you scrunch up your nose at the sight of it.

Even as a child, you know the thing is a piece of junk. With the man is your very best friend, an unusually tall Twi'lek girl with skin as blue as can be. Aeshin'Zava, though you always called her 'Aes'; as that was easier for the both of you. She had at first disliked it, as she thought it was too similar sounding to a boy's name, but you think she grew fond of it in habit. You both were the same age, and were only born about a month and a half apart, her being younger. Your mother had known Aeshin's since they were young, and you had always known Aes' mother as 'Auntie'.

"Sebastian!" You call, waving your arms wildly to capture the attention of the man. He stops in his work, and wipes dirtied hands off onto his pants. He crouches with open arms and a warm smile, readily expecting your approach. "Hey there kiddo, didn't think I'd catcha' today."

You bolt forward, laughing, allowing him to sweep you up and swing you round. Sebastian Andromias was the father of Xantos, and had briefly dated your mother in her early adulthood. They hadn't clicked as romantic partners, but they worked extraordinarily well as friends. You saw him as a secondary father figure- or perhaps a first? You never voiced it, but preferred when yourself and mother were around Sebastian, compared to your father. She only yelled when she was around him, but with Sebastian, she seemed (albeit only a little) more happy. You then remembered why you were there.

Clutching at the back of the bulky blonde's jacket, you stiffened. "I saw Xan climbing, and he said a bad word!" Your words were spouted with a devilish fire, and you felt satisfaction when Sebastian turned to the side, still holding you, to watch Xantos burst into the clearing. The teenager’s face betrayed his feelings. Shock, annoyance, and a vague disappointment.

"Dad..." He started softly, and then Sebastian spoke up, interrupting him. "What did I tell you, Xantos?" The blonde boy's eyes were trained on his father's feet, and he mumbled something inaudible.

"Look me in the eyes when I speak you."

Xantos' grey eyes sparked with something you couldn't pinpoint as he stared his father dead-on, perhaps it was a new-found defiance? "You said not to overexert myself. Climbing a tree wasn't going to do that." There was an edge on his words like a knife, and you could feel Sebastian's shoulders tighten beneath your arms. He was a quiet, slowly angry sort of man when provoked, and it radiated off of him like heat.

"If it wasn't for that little tattle-tail than you'd not have to worry about it either." Xantos' brows were arched, his hand was outstretched toward you, accusatory. You flinched, now very much angry, and decided to put on your best act.

You were going to ensure he got his for this.

You pinched your brows, and buried your face into the large man. "I just didn't want Xan to get hurt." Your words wavered like your grasp, and you forced a shaky breath, it wasn't easy conjuring tears- but you managed. Once Sebastian felt your tears through his jacket, he lost his temper.

"You're going to apologize Xantos. Now. To me, and to her." Sebastian's words were crisp, unquestionable.

You had this man wrapped around your finger, and both you and Xantos knew it. The boy would be asking for the firm hand of punishment it he disobeyed. You could feel a matched fury to his father's, only outweighed by a stark rebellion.

"No." Was all he said, loudly, clearly, in a tone just as crisp as his father's.

In an instant, Sebastian sat you down, blurry eyed on a crate he'd just carried off of his ship, and took hold of the teen by his ear. It was almost comical as you watched, as the heavy scolding began, the list of repulsive chores Xan would be stuck with almost bringing on a laugh. You were a touch guilty, but more or less pleased you had gotten your way. You watched as Xan stormed inside to start, slamming the door behind him. Sebastian sighed deeply and shook his head, disappointed, and vaguely sad. He was reminded of his wife, who had been just as hardheaded as his son. You could feel it, but said nothing.

"I know you were trying to be a good person." Sebastian said to you after a quiet moment or so, rubbing your back. "Thank you for telling me."

You only nodded, now feeling a significantly more guilty. You hadn't intended to upset Sebastian, all you wanted was your revenge on Xan. Then again, you were technically doing both a favor. You were keeping Xan safe from harm and letting his father keep up on his activities. Xan was a free spirit anyway, this was good for Sebastian to hear. This was what you convinced yourself anyways, and being a child, you accepted it.

"Don't beat yourself up kiddo." Your thoughts were interrupted by the words murmured by Sebastian, who let on a crooked grin. "I gotcha' something when I was on Naboo." He prompted, helping you off the crate with a steady hand.

You squinted a tad, suspicious, "Last time you went to Naboo you only brought back spare parts for your ship. Xan likes that stuff a lot more than me." The bulky man hummed softly, "Mhm. Too bad then, because that's all I brought." You frowned, unable to tell if he was teasing or not.

Turning over his shoulder to look to see if you were following, he noted that you'd slowed considerably.

"Kiddo," Sebastian chimed gently, at a loss you hadn't comprehended his teasing. "C'mon now."

You huffed in response, feeling exceptionally prone to begin to pout. "Seb, I don't need to know how to fix a ship, you and Xan will always be there to do it."

This prompted a laugh from him, deep and clear, you were puzzled as to what he found so funny. You crossed your arms, and he ruffled your hair.

"You're awful gullible, kiddo. I'll teach you someday though, but for now I do have something you'll like more."

Yet again, your interest was piqued as you saw Sebastian stick his hands in his pant pockets and shuffle his hands around. His gaze strayed to the right, and his brows pinched. It was such a stark contrast to his previous expression, you wondered if he was trying to make you laugh. You offered him a smile and it seemed to work. It wasn't a spectacular sight, but your gaze lingered, eyes sparkling as you cooed a soft, "Oh!"

The crystal shined brilliantly in the light, polished and pristine. Your hands reached to touch it, it was blocky looking and clear as glass. And tiny. Even in your small hands, you noticed it was small; perhaps three fourths of an inch, but all you really recognized at first was how smooth it felt in your palm. It was a clumsy design, and the leather string that tied around the stone seemed to have been dropped in ship fuel by the consistency, but you loved it, the feeling fluttering in your chest was personal proof. You knew this was yours- something meant for you, rather. In an instant something struck you, an unusual emotion you couldn't form into precise words. You'd opened your mouth to speak, but your eyes grew wide and you nearly dropped it. In a matter of seconds it was glowing, a fluorescent green that illuminated your features. It was unusually warm to the touch.

"Seb?" It was more of a question than a simple statement of his name, and your voice was deathly quiet. You weren't sure if it was supposed to do this, and you expected an explanation, and soon, because you'd never seen anything like it.

The look on Sebastian's face displayed a pertinent shock.

"Ah well, the guy I bought it from said it was a..." He squinted a touch, lips pursing. "Ky...somethin' crystal. He said they were used by force users a time ago. I thought it was silly, but maybe not."

He took it gently from your palm, twirling it between his fingers. "M'not sure if it's safe kiddo, but I'll ask around." He gave you a pat on the shoulder and pocketed it again, slipping into his home, likely going to put away the little necklace for safe keeping.

You approached Aeshin softly when he left, toeing the damp earth with the toe of your boot. Neither of you said anything at first, but you saw a smile grow upon her round face as she pulled something from out of her own pocket. A necklace near identical to your own. A spark of curiosity arose in you, and you hesitantly held out a flat palm,

"Can I see it?"

Aes' eyes shined with something knowing, you both were thinking in sync, and you both knew it too. Sometimes you wondered if you two were twins in soul with how similar your thought patterns were. The alien girl sat the necklace softly in your hand, and almost immediately upon contact you noted it changing. Like swirling smoke, the green glow came upon it again, and in a few short moments it was glowing, warm, almost living. You felt oddly connected to it, now that you considered your feelings. Your hands longed moreso to hold the stone you had first touched, though this was a 'close enough' content.

"It's you." Aeshin whispered excitedly, knowingly discovering something foreign and exciting.

"Whatever you're doing..." The girl's voice trailed off. "Do you think you can do it again?"

It was this day, fourteen years ago that you discovered your abilities.

But of course, this is just a memory.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

Across the landscape on the edge of your vision, you caught the last rays of the sun. The uncomfortably moist atmosphere of the day didn't cease as the shade crept its way over the hills and valleys- it never was cool on your home world. Your shirt, soaking, clung to your frame, and you felt beads of sweat trail down your forehead and continually down your face. Using the back of your hand, you wiped away what you could. The sounds of the night were readily approaching, amphibians and insects chirping and humming a symphony of their own. Birds were quieting, only the daring few sang their songs. You stopped, and slung your bag off of your back to the forest floor. You swallowed back annoyance and mild disgust at the squelch it made upon the moist earth.

"You good?" A warm voice ventured from in front of you. "Peachy, Aes." You flashed the alien woman a grin, and a thumbs up with both your hands for good measure. You presumed this would be enough, but you presumed incorrectly.

Aeshin's fists made their way to her hips, which were jutted to the side. "What did you forget?"

You nearly flinched at the accuracy of her snarky question, but kept your face as blank as you could manage, and said nothing.

"Hm?" The woman pushed further, leaning closer toward you. You gave a sigh of defeat, unwilling to play any games, "My water."

You didn't meet her gaze and you squeezed your eyes shut, feeling your boots sinking into the mud, centimeter by centimeter. "And possibly an extra pair of socks." A triumphant smile marked your friend's face, and she crossed her arms, turning to the side to stare at you over her shoulder. She gave a proud hum. "Convince me to share."

Her voice was mildly taunting, but was also light-hearted. You clenched your jaw, feeling that you were much too uncomfortable and much too hot to play any games. You put forth a grimace of a smile, no happiness meeting your eyes. "I'm going to die if you don't give me a damn drink."

Aeshin rolled her eyes, ignoring the animosity in your tone. She took a metallic canteen out of her bag, and offered it to you. Perhaps you were a bit too quick to grab it, because your friend snickered. "If you'd come better prepared maybe you wouldn't be so fussy." The only thing that kept you from giving her a scolding smack on the arm was your thirst. You'd been out all day, and kept quiet since the morning.

You had quite the talent of being too embarrassed with yourself to ask for help, ever. Once you'd downed a reasonable amount, you had been tempted to dump the rest over your head, but you reconsidered, knowing it would be selfish to waste the rest of Aes' water. You shook the canteen, water sloshing noisily on the inside. This was your not-so-subtle tactic in attempting to get your friend's attention. Though you usually would have spoke, you felt a little too frazzled to do so. Aeshin gave a sigh- and you were often thankful she was so patient of a friend, but you didn't voice this thought. The alien woman shook her head, gently grinning, "So impatient."

Part of you knew she was right, and part of you could really care less. You gestured to the trail ahead with an open palm when Aes took the canteen, ready to continue on your journey home. Aeshin loved this world more than any she'd ever been to- you wished you could be anywhere else. You wondered if you romanticized 'anywhere else', when 'anywhere else' could possibly be frighteningly foreign. But you longed for something different, a change, temporary or otherwise. It hadn't been your idea of fun to venture out into the mudlands for a day-long hike on a day you'd gotten off work; but you weren't going to kill the excited sparkle in your friend's eyes when she was at your home at five in the morning, conversing with your silently, and unhappily roused mother. You heard the repulsive sounds of mud underneath another two pairs of feet, and with the agitated string of slurred, baritone curses and separate, loud, high-pitched laughter. You recognized the unknown before it recognized you. Qira and Xan- you must have been closer to home than you'd previously imagined. It was a strange feeling on the air, weary distaste and woozy amusement, intertwining like a sour melody, but never melding. Two different emotions from two different beings. Something was off though, you shifted your stance, focusing. You couldn't quite pinpoint what was wrong, it was almost heavy, muted, like mud in a puddle. Only when the familiar pair stumbled through the foliage did you see the two that appeared to be drunk, though more than likely, on a spice high. You could have sworn you felt Aeshin's heart ache at the precise time as your own.

Rori had been notorious for spice since the days of the old republic, hutt clans had staked claim to numerous mines of the stuff, relying on the drug and their criminal, authoritarian influence to sway the people of your planet. Though Naboo was the moon's main supporter, they couldn't give you everything- especially not good paying jobs. That was what spice offered, with the side effect of addiction and internal, crippling decay. Even long after the economic rush had slowed, the remnants were ever present in the people of your planet. Everyone knew someone who'd been in contact with the drug; family, friends, neighbors. Everyone knew someone. The phrase stung like salt in a wound. You had been avoiding your childhood friends for the sole reason they weren't themselves anymore. You couldn't bear to look at them, and you could already feel tears welling up at the sight of them. It made you even more upset as you could feel Aeshin's gaze boring into you, and you felt true, hot tears begin to stream. Shivering, even in the humid air, you enclosed your dominant hand loosely around your necklace. Though the crystal was aglow constantly, and the dusk further illuminated you both in an unwavering, green light. With an identical necklace, you were sure Aeshin was your match. You wondered what you looked like to the duo opposite of you. With their eyes glazed over, sunken, and dark-rimmed, you could only wonder if they even recognized you. Choking on your tears, you didn't say anything as Xan stopped his incessant mumbling, mouth slightly agape as he met your tear-clouded gaze.

Xan looked like his mother in the dim light. You blinked, and could only imagine Sebastian's heart-wrenching pain at seeing his only son, ensnared in the same prison that killed his wife. This man was always like an older brother to you. Maybe you weren't always the kindest to one another, but you had been near inseparable. The tired, ever-handsome blonde in front of you was an empty shell of the boy you'd grown up with, the troublesome trickster with a heart of gold and diamonds and all the precious gems you could think of. He was noble, he was honest, and he had always been your protector. You cried harder, breaking your own heart, thinking about how it'd take Xan years to piece himself back together- if he didn't kill himself first.

You wanted to speak but nothing came, and you felt sadness like a creature in your chest, slithering, cold and slow, making you ache like you were fifty years older than you actually were. When Aes took hold of your free hand, you winced as if she had hurt you, though you were too emotionally caught up in yourself to notice any pain regardless.

"Breathe." Came the instruction. You hadn't even noticed her standing practically on top of you, holding your free hand still in her own, her other arm wrapped gently around your shoulders. "Everything's okay." Aeshin soothed, giving your hand a squeeze, her bright eyes were trained on yours when you turned to glance at her.

She radiated calm, but her words to you were like a match to gasoline, and her aura did nothing to lull your anger.

You tore away from her comforting grasp, now shaking violently with a building rage. "You can't tell me everything is okay and expect me to believe it!"

You had reached the point in your rage in which you were giving your unspoken, final warning. Your words had been deathly quiet, composure slipping. In those still moments, with you matted hair plastered to your face, boots caked in mud, fingers trembling and face twisted in fury and sheer anguish, you were someone different. A stranger. Aeshin, knowing, stepped back from you and said nothing. Her eyes said volumes however, and it was starkly evident you had hurt her. With your boiling thoughts and ragged breaths you'd recognized your quick-tempered fault, but something was flowing in you that you couldn't control, and something that a sick part of you desired, wanted to let it run wild.

And you allowed it without the slightest resistance.

You held up a flat palmed hand, conjuring an aura constantly surrounding you and in an energy push, you sent Xan flying, and as he struck a tree behind him, he was knocked unconscious. Qira gave a shocked squeak, now even more disoriented, scrambling to the body of your friend.

Over the course of the years, you'd developed unusually strong force abilities. Most of the time, even basic exercises were difficult without a steady train of thought. Hovering a stone a few inches above your palm could be extraordinarily difficult with your habitually meandering mind. However, when you experienced pure, raw emotion: glee, fury, and embarrassment- the works, you were frighteningly precise and well-wielded with the force, and admittedly, sometimes accidentally overbearing. This was one of those moments. You couldn't bring yourself to stop.

"Qira!" You vaguely startled Aes, who took another step back. Visibly confused, the freckle-faced woman turned to look at you.

Her round face had grown skeletal over the course of the year or so, and she appeared more of a phantom than the girl you once looked up to. Her expression seemed heavy, eyelids drooping as if she was greatly fatigued. Her facial movements seemed delayed, somehow wrong. Her entire body slumped as if she was weighted down. Her eyes flickered slowly, and her brow furrowed. When she spoke your name, you could have screamed, but instead you buried your face into your hands and wept. You felt so weak, so helpless, you couldn't stop them, and you couldn't change their minds. You were deathly afraid for Qira, for Xan, and all they were doing was poisoning themselves. If the physical evidence wasn't enough, the way Qira had stated your name like a question shattered your previous rage into a million, white hot, little pieces which were all swallowed whole by that slick, repulsive creature living in your chest.

You composed yourself momentarily. "You're sick." Your voice was shaky, and your tears continued. "You need help, and we can help you, Qira."

Freckled face heart-shatteringly blank, Qira was ever-silent. She breathed through her nose, and laid down next to Xan; allowing herself to be doused in a thin layer of mucous-esqe mud. You knew though maybe she'd comprehended what you said, she wanted no help from you or Aeshin. You were repulsed, and angry, you did nothing to stop the noise of pure rage that left your lips, which had been pulled back into a snarl.

"Fine!" Your voice was booming, hoarse, and your fists were clenched so tight you could feel your nails piercing your palms. You were sure to bleed, but you were numb with the return of your own unrelenting fury to think of that then.

Your whipped around to Aeshin, who looked as emotionally exhausted as you were. You were shuddering and heaving, and you swallowed your sobs. She'd always been better composed than you, and you were usually a calm person, but her silent weeping proved you were in the same boat. You softened immediately at this and mimicked her previous actions, and took her hand. Your thumb brushed over her knuckles gently,

"I'm so sorry." Part of you wondered if you were really apologizing to just Aeshin. "We need to go home."

Careful not to be too forceful as you wrapped an arm around her shoulders, you took a soft step forwards. Too sad to be upset at you, she merely nodded, a hand covering the lower half of her face. You needed your mother, or Sebastian, or someone- anyone to comfort the two of you. It was in those moments you questioned how much more you could bear of this wretched planet on your own.

 


 

You ached like death in the chair, back stiff and limbs heavy. You had a headache that didn't seem to want to quit.

"I don't know how much longer I'll be able to stay here, Aes."

Your words were barely a whisper, and you thumbed at the stone that rested gently between your collarbones. Over the years you'd grown accustomed to using the little, glowing trinket as a makeshift worry stone. The shard's originally crisp edges had become rather dull over the years from how often you touched it. It was a physical comfort to you; some would consider your restless, you were often deemed incapable of keeping your hands still for too long. Which wasn't untrue, you weren't one to not be doing nothing- unless of course you found something exceptionally interesting. Even with mundane things like watching the newest film released, or even doing standard paperwork, you found your mind wandering. You'd feel a compulsive need to pace, or stretch- inherently, in was in you just to move.

Aeshin wrung her hands, and gave a near-silent sigh, "I know." Rubbing gently at her temples, she hummed, "Have you considered your options?" Aeshin offered after a quiet moment, shrugging.

You squinted at this, her suggestion much too vague for you to work with. "What options? You know I'm not making enough money to move off this planet- nonetheless buy myself a ship." Your brow furrowed and you leaned on a palm. "Sometimes I think I come back here from work with less credits than I go with." Your grumbling stirred a slight smile upon the face of your friend, but it quickly dropped as the twi'lek woman became serious again.

"I meant the military." You winced visibly, and the woman silently noticed. "Aes, you know I'm not the fighting type, I couldn't-" You were sharply interrupted. "I'd mean as like...an intern or something, communications, maintenance. I don't know, something safe." You groaned quietly and rubbed at your eyes, "You know my mom and Sebastian both wouldn't like it, and I'm not sure if I'm even comfortable joining any war groups." Aeshin stood up, stark determination marking her pretty features.

"You're a grown woman, aren't you? You don't need their permission for anything." Aeshin jutted a finger toward herself, letting on a near devilish grin, "And if you need permission, you have mine."

Pacing now, the alien woman stiffened her shoulders and whipped her head toward you. "Not the Resistance," Aeshin's voice was like daggers upon your ears, she made clear who she didn't want you to affiliate with.

"The First Order. We're close enough to the Outer Rim to be considered unaffiliated turf- but, I suppose you could join either side."

You scrunched up your nose a tad, not truly liking the idea. "I don't really want to join anyone." Your tone was sharper than you intended, but you looked to your friend with soft eyes. Aeshin was clear, and it became apparent which side she stood on.

"The Order pays more than the Resistance, which can help towards the future, and they don't force you to take permanent leave. You can come back home on holidays and celebrations and such." Aeshin held out a hand to you, though it signified agreeing with her moreso than an offer to help you up from where you had been seated.

"A few months away from everyone would do you some good, I think." Brows tilting, your friend gave a smile- contrasting greatly from her previous stiffness. "Just think about it, okay?" You paused, and nodded, deciding against saying anything more.

And you did think about it. You thought about it for quite a long time. And after a week or so of just weighing your options, you decided that Aeshin was right. You deserved a little time away, and learning a new trade certainly couldn't hurt you. You found Aeshin returning home from a hike and stopped her before she had a chance to get inside.

"I'll go." Your voice was near stern, composed- almost, but you could feel your heart beating heavily in your chest. "I think this is for the better." You murmured to Aeshin's beaming grin, daring not meet her gaze- wanting not to regret your decision.

She patted your back and sighed, content, now seeming more a proud parent than a best friend. "I'm glad to hear it."

The woman gushed, and you cracked a grin immediately in response to this, "Of course you're glad to hear it, you've just been trying to get rid of me." Mock-offended, Aeshin took a step back and made a noise of disgust, "I wouldn't dare! Even though you're the worst person I’ve ever met."

You found yourself laughing, but Aeshin turned serious, and eyed you carefully. "And ah, what recruiting office will you be reporting to?" Her gaze was slightly critical, but shined with a slight curiosity. You bit your lip gently, and sighed through your nose.

"The First Order." Your voice was a remnant of a mumble, but Aeshin seemed triumphant, and gave you a stronger clap on the back. "Atta' girl!"

You couldn't help but laugh at your friend's exposition; she seemed to support the Order greatly, so you assumed they couldn't be that bad.

 


 

With one hand you typed personal information into a borrowed holopad, and in the other you thumbed at your necklace, mildly ill at ease. This was more professional than any job interview you'd been to, and the pages upon pages were indeed monotonous, but it made you unreasonably anxious. You felt a warm hand squeeze your upper arm, and you jumped at the touch, but sighed deeply once you recognized who it was.

"You startled me."

The woman's lips showed a light-hearted smile. "You're stressing out over this." You absentmindedly chewed your lip, and only hummed in response, not willing to admit she was exactly right.

Sometimes you swore she could read your mind.

"Ease up, it's just forms. Standard stuff you know. Everyone does this." Granting her only another hum, she rolled her eyes and sat herself down next to you. After a few minutes of comfortable silence, you decided to speak up,

"This is hard."

Your words were almost childish, but the near-breathless whisper you'd spoken the sentence made your true feelings show clearly, it was like seeing through a pane of glass. You were deeply unsure, already deathly homesick, worried, afraid, and honestly mildly agitated. You were like a child going to school for the first time- you dared not willingly part from your familiarity, but the allusive unknown beckoned to you and your hesitant mind.

"You're on the last part." Aeshin encouraged, rubbing your arm gently, "You need this, and you've done way too much to turn back now." You managed a quiet laugh, knowing full well that was the truth.

You felt a few tears blur your vision and you heaved a shaky breath. "I'm so afraid."

Aeshin squeezed your arm again, more firm than the first time, "You're going to be fine, I promise." You only sighed and rubbed your eyes with your palms.

You managed a small smile.

"Lets see how well you can keep your promises."

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You had been stationed for training on a frighteningly distant planet otherwise known as the most creative string of numbers and letters you'd ever heard. You despised it more so than Rori and frankly found the entirety of the base rather dingy. Living on the base was by far the hardest thing you'd ever done, and slacking off wasn't an option- not on this military post anyway. You thought you were more homesick than anything.

You had sometimes watched in awe on the way to training at the orderly lines of troopers that marched past, and it was strange to see them when they ate or carried on regular conversation with associates and companions. Admittedly, sometimes you forgot there were people behind the helmets, and seeing faces was almost foreign with the near continual white blur that you passed in the mornings and in the evenings. Wanting not to take up a job as a technician, nor as an intern, you went with Aeshin's suggestion of working in communications. It wasn't what you imagined, and it certainly wasn't as simple as you'd imagined- you had expected more of a business infrastructure to the First Order, and you were frankly a little caught off guard.

Being that numerous ships and bases had communications directors, you and a handful of cohorts would be expected to work on an individual task at one time, and you weren't a group worker. It wasn't that you disliked the people you had to work with, but you had a slight difficulty recognizing outside ideas that didn't correspond with your own, and you had unfortunately done your fair share of snapping and hissing when work simulations triggered some extreme frustrations. Days dragged into weeks and you silently pondered how long you could take this. You couldn't imagine yourself doing this kind of work for however many months you'd signed yourself off for. You could only think it was a mistake, a fault by yourself and Aeshin, but you still didn't want to be home. You ached, and you couldn't find a way to fix it.

You woed when the morning came. You had been prematurely awoken by the indistinguishable hum of your Order-issued holopad. A message flashed across the screen, and you squinted, unhappily roused from your sleepy stupor by the screen's brightness. "All personnel will report by division to their authority figure for a mandatory evaluation at 0600 hours." You gave a heavy blink, pushing your hair back with your hand. Now, what was the time? Glancing at the digital clock heading the top of the screen, you nearly gave a screech. 5:45 AM.

Thinking dozens upon dozens of curses as you threw on your uniform on and desperately ripping through your slumber-tangled hair, you did your best to look composed as you stumbled out of your quarters and bolted down the familiar halls. The only comfort you felt was the slight, weighted bumping of your necklace against your chest. With your rapid heartbeat and heavy breathing, you did find a sort of peace as you rounded the corner to your workplace. It was a little cluster of office-esqe desks and computers and such, not even your own division really, rather, it was a corner set aside for yourself and your peers.

A handful of your cohorts stood, shoulder to shoulder, eyes flickered to you as you entered, and you didn't mistake the contempt and vague annoyance that filled the air as you stepped in, likely disheveled and wild looking. You decided against saying anything and felt eyes boring into you as you scurried to the end of the line. You were thankful for your own decision. Over the course of about fifteen more minutes (exceeding the expected time), other associates made their way inside, but your eyes stayed glued to the floor. This was unusual, now that you had the time to piece two and two together. Not often did you have morning drills like this, and for the whole base? You wondered if something awful had happened, and wrung your hands.

Your superior wasn't in sight, and a few of your coworkers were conversing quietly amongst themselves, but quickly they grew silent, following the sound of numerous pairs of boots. You stiffened yourself, tightening your stance. You hurriedly tucked your necklace into your uniform. Even if you weren't on the front lines, or even wearing that pristine, white armor, you did understand a majority of the expectations for all workers- and on an unannounced call to your duties early? Something felt very wrong. You ran your fingertips over the seams of your uniform out of a vague anxiety. Daring to roll on your heels to peer forward, you eyed your approachers.

You only recognized your training director, but with him was a group of people. Your eyes trailed down their chests and down their arms, and a blond man leading them obviously was in command. You could feel your stomach sink when you recognized his uniform markings as that of a general. You swallowed a lump in your throat. It wasn't as though you'd done something wrong, but when a general was called, and called unannounced, there was serious business about.

Once the group stopped, you could feel everyone become significantly more tense, and the blond man took a few steps toward your group. He flashed an attempt at a warm smile,

“Regulatory check.” He stated clearly, eyeing your coworkers and yourself.

He was lying, you could sense it. You gently worked your jaw, near painfully grinding your teeth. There was an air about the room that felt positively electric, and not in the exciting way. Deciding to push away your gut intuitions, you studied the general. He didn't wear a cap, unlike his brothers and sisters in rank, and his uniform was almost messy. Almost. Every now and again you'd notice an unironed crease in his uniform, or a dull looking button. Didn't he have someone to do those things for him?

At one point the general and yourself made eye contact. You briefly broke it to study his face, eyes sweeping quickly across his features. The general held a look like he'd be likely to start laughing at any moment; he had deep laugh lines, and lips that seemed shaped into a constant, minuscule smile. His hair was cropped rather short, but you could still make out his blond waves fighting against whatever product he wore in his hair to tame it. He had calm eyes, which shone a steely blue in the pale fluorescent light. This man didn't feel like a general to you, you sensed a warm interior, clumsily hidden behind a supposedly stiff exterior.

In a heartbeat of a moment, his eyes shifted to you, and you directly. Besides his stare, you could feel a handful of your cohorts side-eying you. You ceased any movement but stood your ground, meeting the general's steely gaze. You wondered if you looked too much a mess for the officer. The general furthered to stand directly in front of you. You gave a subtle nod, unblinking and silent. It was an action of calm respect- you trusted this man had the authority to do as he pleased and you weren't willing to upset him.

His expression stayed the same, but he eyed the string of your necklace, and reached out his hand and untucked it from under your top with his index finger. He held the crystal in his hands, studying it and thumbing it's dull edges. You didn't attempt to hide the narrowing of your eyes and the clench of your jaw. If this man didn't stop touching your necklace you swore you were going to explode. Near immediately after the thought, he blinked, seemed to oblige, and tilted his head.

“What is this?”

You didn't meet his gaze, staring coldly at the wall behind him. You wouldn't let this man have the satisfaction of eye contact.

“A gift I was given as a child, sir. It's just something to keep me from being so homesick.”

You were now agitated, and didn't attempt to swallow the defiant edge on your words.

The general was ever silent, and a large smile came on him. “I see.”

He turned slowly, and approached your director. You couldn't hear what was said, but the tension in the room nearly made the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up. You nearly paled completely when you felt the eyes of your associates boring holes into you. You jumped out of your skin when your director called your name.

“Sir?”

You replied quietly, mouth suddenly dry. “Go with Brigadier General Kynnovan.” Was the simple command, and you gave a nod, obeying. Very much unhappily at that.

The general gave you a grin, content he had the upper hand.

“Please, come along.”

Rather than walking behind the man, he insisted you walk beside him. His band of officials had dissipated greatly, a handful of the group from before tailing behind in pairs and chatting among themselves. It had been quite a few minutes since you had left with the Brigadier General, and they weren't short minutes. You felt incredibly awkward, but the man didn't seem to notice. Clearing your throat quietly, you weakly tried to initiate conversation, hoping this man was willing to speak with you.

“So,” you started, voice soft. “You're the Brigadier General for the whole First Order?”

This brought forth a laugh from the blond, who turned to face you.

“Am I very intimidating?”

He asked, barely restraining from the apparent sheer hilarity that he made you uneasy. Your mouth felt dry again, and you spoke, voice even more quiet.

“Uhm. A little, sir.”

He gave a deeper laugh, and you forced yourself to continually match his pace. “No need to be so formal, it's Wes.” He held out a hand and you shook it. Awkwardly, at that.

He eyed you carefully, blue-gray eyes surprisingly warm. “Unless you prefer 'sir'.”

You nodded, “I think I do.”

Laughter aside, Wes nodded, understanding your nervousness. “On a serious note, I suppose you're curious as to why you're with me.”

You nodded an affirmative, and there was a brief quiet, and a sigh from the blond. “Let me be straight to the point with you, darling. I know exactly what you are. Our force sensors picked up on you immediately.” 

The general's voice wasn't harsh or forceful, but you were immediately covered in goosebumps and felt physically sick. This had come about too quickly, and you weren't prepared for it, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise. You would run. You had to run! But where?

”I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Quipped the general, eyeing you and stepping closer. 

“You're not going to kill me!” You managed out quickly, eyes suddenly wide, panic enveloping every fiber of your being. You could hear your own heartbeat, and it reminded you of a caged bird, thrashing wildly against the bars of its enclosure. You felt trapped. You began your direction backward, nearly stumbling and falling.

Wes quickly stretched out his arms, turning on his heel and steadying you. “No, no, I'm not. Compose yourself.”

He looked you in the eyes, attempting to lull your fears. “I'm going to take you to the General in Chief, and I trust him.”

When you took another step back from him, his gaze softened, “When you're in my presence you're safe, I swear it." A pause, "I'm like you, and I'm alive, aren't I?”

You knew that he wasn't lying. But you were still greatly alarmed. After another few moments of you poorly attempting to calm yourself on your own, the man took action.

“Come on now.” The Brigadier General mumbled, wrapping an arm around your shoulders and giving a squeeze- comparable to that of a parent. “You'll be alright.”

You had never known military figures to be comforting people, but you weren't willingly going to be rejecting the General. He was still an authoritative figure to you. You stayed stiff, but clutched at your own arms. Giving a shaky sigh, you were still feeling as if you might burst into tears at any moment. Your heart was thundering in your chest, but you were slightly at ease you were with someone who wasn't completely irritated with your presence.

“Let's chat about something else to calm your nerves.” Wes stated matter-of-factly, still having yet to loosen his grip on you. You squirmed.

“Where are you from?” Came the simple question.

“Rori, Naboo's largest moon.”

“I've heard the trading there is doing very well.”

A pause, “The spice trading maybe, but not like it used to be.”

Wes only patted your shoulder at this.

“Do you have a family?”

“Parents.” You murmured.

“Friends?”

The question stung like salt in a wound, and you nearly winced. You only hummed in response. 

You decided it was time you started to ask some questions yourself. “And what about you, General?”

You faced him, only then truly aware how close you were. You shifted your weight away from him.

His gaze stayed firmly ahead, “I'm from Chandrila, I have a large family, and they're all very dear to me. I do have quite a few friends also, but few are very close to me here in the Order.”

You had recognized a slight accent before, but you'd expected it now to be significantly stronger since he was an core-world born and raised man.

Wes picked up on your curiosity, “I only lived on my homeworld until I was old enough to leave.” He explained, briefly meeting your line of sight.

It was odd to meet someone with the same level of emotional sensitivity as yourself, but it certainly wasn't bad to know you weren't an outlawed freak of the universe itself- at least there was one person in the galaxy who was like you.

"I also suppose you're wondering where I'm taking you," The General stated quickly, off-topic, obviously a little more than willing not to speak of his home planet.

You hesitated and answered with a question, "Will you scare me again?" Part of you was mildly agitated that he had struck the situation upon you so quickly, you thought a fair warning would have put you at ease.

This brought a devious smile to the General's face, "I'll do my best not to." He paused. "Your thoughts on flying?"

"I can handle some."

"...For long periods of time?"

You squinted a tad, "how long are we talking?"

"You're coming with me to the mothership of the Order." The blond stated plainly, patting your shoulder yet again.

"The Finalizer?" You questioned, thoughts then swirling quickly in your mind. "But my training isn't complete here, I still have-"

Wes interrupted you, vaguely reminding you of Aeshin’s intrusive speech style, "you're now part of something bigger than your training and role in communications here."

Your brows pinched. This wasn't what you signed up for, all you wanted was to get away from home for a while, and now you were worried it could be much longer before you'd be home again. You couldn't imagine permanent living on the Finalizer. You'd move your family on the ship before they made you stay alone.

The General side eyed you, grip yet to loosen around your shoulders. "You have quite the fiery streak." He put on yet another grin; there was positively no way he hadn't felt your shoulders tighten. "I felt your anger earlier when I observed your pendant," His gaze flickered from yours to the green crystal that sat on the dip between your collarbones.

"Was it truly a childhood gift?"

"Yes." You answered simply, hand instinctively reaching toward it. You allowed yourself to reveal your habit of thumbing the corners, and the General watched carefully. "Do you know what it is?"

"A crystal that reacted when I first touched it." The words sounded childish as they came from your lips, but you had quickly given the man your basic understanding of the necklace. Wes seemed content you'd gotten straight to the point,

"That, my darling, is a kyber crystal." He chimed, "before the creation of the Order, force warriors used them to power weapons- sabers rather."

You met Wes' gaze, listening intently to the information about your tiny pendant. "A crystal that size likely couldn't be used in a full scale weapon, though possibly in a knife of some sort. But regardless of its size, it reacted when you touched it. You're a force user. You may be trained into a force warrior of some kind."

The man continued, "You have an incredibly stark aura signature. I've only ever seen that in a slim few throughout all the galaxy." Wes hesitated briefly, "do you know of any powers you may possess?"

You thumbed at the stone a little harder, knuckles turning a pale white. You had begun to feel suspicious. "I'm not sure I'm comfortable discussing that, sir."

The General patted your shoulder, and you knew that he knew you did have abilities, but you also knew he wasn't going to interrogate you. It was then Wes released you from his vice-like grip, and you noted the approaching hangar directly down the hall. The General had basically herded you there, distracting you with idle chat. You didn't have a choice, and the both of you knew it. You knew next to nothing about the Finalizer, nor of your fate, and you swallowed hard.

"Guess we'd better get going, huh?"

Your words were quiet, and the smile of the General told you that he had won.

Chapter Text

Polished black boots made soft, metallic thuds against the shiny floor panels of the same color. The blond began in his ascent. He was going to see the general in chief. He approached an elevator, and rather than pushing the buttons, he placed a flat, ungloved palm on the black glass area above the panel. It scanned his hand.

 

“Wes Kynnovan,” he spoke, clear and bold. 

 

The door slid open with a quiet hiss, and the general was taken to an unnumbered floor. After a few moments of a humming silence, the doors slid open to reveal a man with fiery red hair interacting with a myriad of hologram screens. He typed, tapped, and swiped, not noticing the blond visitor. 

 

“General, sir,” chimed Wes, a hair above his speaking tone. The man did not notice.

 

“Hux!” Called Wes, clapping his hands for good measure.

 

Hard blue eyes flicked to the blond. 

 

“Know your place, general.” Snarled the redhead. 

 

Wes only laughed, “Yes, sir.”

 

“What could you possibly need?” Questioned the general, closing the hologram screens with a flick of his wrist. 

 

“The force sensitive, we found her.”

 

The general stood unwavering, “Her?”

 

“Yes, her. Human. Young, seemingly healthy, and capable.” 

 

The redhead furrowed his brow, “I want to see her. We need to decide if she is truly as capable as you are led to believe.”

 

Wes only nodded in response.

 

Hux’s face contorted, “Ren will get to her if we don’t first. Act quickly, Kynnovan.”

 


 

 

“Get off of me!” You hissed, struggling to pry a gloved hand off your arm. The trooper who had grabbed you sighed heavily, his vice-like grip on you unceasing. 

 

“Then give me the unregistered devices.” 

 

“I told you already, I’m not giving you anything!” 

 

Your voice was raising in volume, and you jumped when you heard your name reverberate in your ear. You weren’t used to this new earpiece quite yet. 

 

You pressed the button on the earpiece, “what?!” Your screech made the blond on the opposing end flinch, to which he replied, “darling, you’re going to wake the entire base. Go with the trooper.” 

 

“I’m not going anywhere! He’s trying to take my transmitter!” 

 

“Give it to him.”

 

“I’m not doing that!” 

 

“It will be in safe hands. I assure you.”

 

You let out an angry cry when the trooper snatched the transmitter from your grasp. 

 

“That isn’t his to take!” You were positively fuming. 

 

“Cooperate, won’t you please? Follow the trooper. He’s taking it to communications.” 

 

Furious and left with no other options, you obliged with the general’s orders, not hesitating to try and harm the trooper. It seemed you weren’t quite angry enough to do more than trip him over his own feet, however. 

 

You soon approached a wide open area filled with men and women sitting at large monitors, groups with holopads, others typing, and others planning media on their hologram screens. Large screens displaying First Order emblems and slogans lined the dark paneled walls, and the mixture of clicks, beeps, talk and tapping was a bit chaotic on your ears. Your fury quickly faded when you realized how impressively large scale this operation truly was. There had to be at least 300 people in the room. You had yet to explore the Finalizer, but you did know it was nearly two miles long alone, which left plenty to discover. 

 

The trooper approached a wall with a disposal slot, and slipped your transmitter in. You twitched, and had to remind yourself that Wes had said you’d get it back, but it wasn’t like you could do anything if it was gone anyway. The trooper grabbed your arm again, and you opened your mouth to shriek, but a loud voice stopped you. 

 

“That’s enough!”

 

Wes strode quickly towards the two of you, and the trooper immediately released you, easing into a silent salute. 

 

“I can take care of this. Thank you greatly. I will report to your supervisor your success.” Wes put on a broad, flashing grin and held out his hand; the trooper awkwardly shook it, only nodding and hurrying away. Wes snickered, “they never know how to react quite properly when I try to shake their hands.” 

 

You only stared at the general with his faux neat hair and careful dimples. You could tell he was at least a middle aged man, but his boyish nature led him to appear younger. Had he not been both conniving and your supervisor, you perhaps would have found him attractive. In a subtle sort of way of course. 

 

The general peered at you, apparently oblivious to your analytic gaze. 

“Come along now, darling, you have paperwork to fill out. I don’t want you throwing a fit over this, it isn’t too terrible, I promise.” He grinned almost wickedly, motioning for you to follow. A stark contrast from the pushy nature of the trooper. And so, yet again without a choice, you followed Wes. 

 

The man led you to an empty office, and sat you down at a desk. Across the desk was a larger, black leather seat, and a view of the stars behind. It was a bit awe inspiring, but the absence of another made you hesitant. Whose office was this? Where were they? Why was this necessary? What paperwork would you be filling out?

 

One of your handful of questions was answered when Wes slid some papers in front of you. “I need to attend a board meeting, and you will be alone in this office until the director returns. Her name is Venussia Terrano, and you will address her as Director Terrano. Fill these out the most accurately you know, and the best of luck, darling. I’ll be seeing you shortly.” 

Wes only patted your shoulder and was gone before you could watch him go. But you still had so many questions. 

 

As always, you obliged, and began on the monotonous forms, marking and describing what little you knew. However, as time ticked by, you had a thought that put you a bit on edge.

 

“There are a pair of blasters in the desk,” 

said the thought matter of factly.

 

You were a bit alarmed, having experienced intrusive thoughts before, but nothing quite this strong.

 

“Open it.” 

 

But you thought against it. It wasn’t your desk, you’d already pissed off a trooper and perhaps General Kynnovan, you didn’t need blasters, and more pressingly, you hadn’t finished your paperwork. 

 

“Open it.” 

 

You ignored the thought.

 

“There isn’t crime in looking.” 

 

You heaved a sigh, and did nothing, though only now you saw the blasters in your mind. Streamlined, dark, extra precise. On the handles of each were engraved the director’s initials, “V.T.” You’d never seen such pristine weapons. Perhaps there wasn’t crime in looking after all. You rose from your seat and slipped behind the opposite end of the desk, and you tried the handle of the drawer. Locked. Damn.

 

“You can open it.”

 

And yet again you thought against it. You had no keycard, there was no way you could open it!

 

“Focus.” 

 

And you did. Hard. After a few moments and a bit of strain, you willed it to open. The drawer beeped softly, and you tried again at the handle. Success! You picked up one of the lovely blasters, and admired just how clean and smooth it was. You felt rather proud of yourself. After this however, did you feel a headache coming on, rather quickly at that. You could hear the blood roaring in your ears, and you blinked heavily at the sudden feeling. You quickly sat down. 

 

“You could kill with those.” 

 

At this you fought much more explicitly against the thought. 

 

“I won’t! I’m not hurting or killing anyone!” 

 

“Do it.”

 

“I won’t!”

 

And at this point the pressure of the headache increased, and you felt warmth on your upper lip. You placed a finger to touch it. A nosebleed. 

 

“Do it.”

 

You felt so capable of it, but you could feel something boiling in your chest. Anger. You were furious. You could somehow track down that trooper and shoot him for treating you so horribly. Or shoot Wes and his boyish grin full of holes for bringing you to this place so far from home. Or perhaps you could-

 

Your thoughts were ceased by an ear splitting scream. You looked up from the desk to find a tall, pretty woman with dark hair and dark eyes yelling something incomprehensible to you. She had a blaster raised to you. You had been fighting with your thoughts so hard you didn’t even see her come in. You presumed this woman was the director. The pressure in your head suddenly ceased, but your headache remained. You could focus again.

 

“Why are you in my desk? Were you trying to steal from me? Put down the weapons! Put them down! I can and will shoot your stupid ass!” 

 

You put down the blasters and raised open palms, surrendering to the woman.

 

“Why were you in my desk? You’re fucking bleeding everywhere. Shit. You know what? Get out of my office. Now. I said get out! Get out!” 

 

The blur of commands were clear as day to you, and you scurried out as fast as you could manage. That blaster was pointed at you the whole way. The doors slid closed behind you, and you slumped against the dark paneled wall. You now held a hand to cover the blood that had been and was dripping down your face. People at the work stations closest to you eyed you carefully, and a trooper meandered over, curious as to why so many had stopped working to stare. 

 

The trooper stood before you, arms stiff at her sides. 

 

“Are you in need of assistance?” She asked carefully.

 

“I don’t really need any help. Please just show me where a restroom is.” You explained quietly, a bit embarrassed. 

 

“Follow me please.” 

 

And of course, you did.

 

“I know what the director can be like,” started the trooper. “I’m sorry she did that to you.”

 

You were shocked at the statement, “oh no, no, no, she didn’t do this to me, it-“

 

“You don’t have to lie for her. It’s alright.” 

 

It seemed to be that you couldn’t convince this woman otherwise, so you kept your mouth shut. You would explain it to Wes, he would understand. And even if he didn’t, he would be able to sense you were telling the truth. Once you reached the restrooms, you thanked the trooper, and did your best to clean up and stop your bleeding.

 

Wes, for the second time that day, got an earpiece full of screaming from a frantic young woman. 

 

“General! I need you down here, now!”

 

He winced, turning down the volume on the device.

 

“Director Terrano, if you are having difficulties with the holopads again, you call tech, not me.” 

 

“I don’t need fucking tech! It’s that stupid girl you left in my office!” 

 

“What?”

 

“She got into my drawer, tried to steal my blasters and bled all over the fucking place!”

 

“I’m sorry, what?” 

 

“You heard me, blondie. Get your ass down here so I can watch you send her to containment!” 

 

“Keep composed, director, I’ll be right down.” 

 

For the first time in his life, Wes felt about as stressed as Hux always looked. He sighed, and began on his way to the communications hub. When he eventually reached it, you were sitting again by the doors, a man kneeling by your side. Someone, having assumed the worst, called down a medical officer to check out your ‘injuries’. He was currently doing a scan of your nose and cheekbones, searching for breakage. Wes approached carefully, and said your name to get your attention.

 

“Sir, I really don’t need this, can you please tell this man to leave me alone? Nothing is broken.”

 

“You don’t know that.” Snapped the medical officer.

 

Wes put on his best serious expression. He could sense your honesty. “You are dismissed, officer. If I am in need of your assistance, I will ask you to return.”

 

The officer looked stunned, but silently packed up his equipment and left. 

 

Wes offered a hand to help you up, eyeing the gauze on your nose. “What did you do?”

 

You sighed, rubbing your temples. “I don’t know, I mean, I was sitting doing my paperwork, and I wanted to look at the blasters in Director Terrano’s desk. They were very nice weapons is all. I was...thinking about them. And then I got a nosebleed, and she freaked out on me and told me to leave so I did.” 

 

You offered up a tiny, coy smile to Wes, who for once in his life was not smiling. He was deep in thought. “You must have overexerted yourself. Perhaps if you’d shared with me your abilities, then I’d had known better than to leave you alone with a desk full of guns.” 

 

You felt a bit guilty at his remarks, “I don’t know what got into me, sir. I’m sorry.” Wes sighed.

 

“Follow me, darling, there’s someone you need to see.” 

Chapter Text

A deep sigh.

“Please...repeat yourself once more.”

Before you sat the infamous ginger general, who seemed incredibly disappointed and just as much confused. His brow was furrowed, and he stared you down with a fierce scowl and ice in his vibrant blue eyes. 

You stood in front of the massive, dark desk, Wes hovering close behind you. He observed silently. You squirmed a bit, mildly horrified by the redhead before you who seemed to have not slept more than three hours in the entirety of his life. This would be your third time repeating the story to him. You wondered if he was truly deeply analyzing what you were saying, if he was crazy, or if he was too exhausted to grasp it. You didn’t plan on asking.

“I was in Director Terrano’s office,” you started softly, swallowing back a stutter. “I was filling out my paperwork, and-“

“What paperwork?” Demanded Hux. His first question. 

“A trooper took my transmitter. I needed to fill out papers for it.”

The redhead gestured for you to continue.

“I was filling out my paperwork, and I wanted to see her blasters, Director Terrano’s, in her desk, they-“

“Stop,” interrupted the redhead. His second question. 

“How did you know the director had blasters in her desk? Who told you?”

“No one,” you started softly. “I just...saw them. Does that make any sense at all?”

Hux stopped looking at you, and instead stared at the blond behind you with arched brows. Wes only nodded, urging the other man to press you onward.

“Continue.” 

You nodded quickly, “Uh, well, they were very nice blasters. The nicest I think I’ve seen. It sounds stupid I know, but I just wanted to see them for myself. So I unlocked the desk and-“

“Enough.” Said Hux, silencing you yet again, this time with a raised hand. You felt a bit irritated at the general in chief’s behavior towards you, but didn’t dare voice it.

“You haven’t been here 36 hours, who gave you a keycard to a director’s desk?” The third question. 

“No one. I don’t have any cards at all, sir.” 

Wes gave the tiniest of smiles, and nodded approvingly. Hux remained stoic, but his rigid posture softened in the slightest- you saw it in his shoulders. His cool gaze was unwavering. 

“Is there anything else essential I need to know, miss...?”

You said your name to him, and he repeated it back to confirm. You nodded and finished with, “I didn’t do anything with them, truly, you can check, but by the time Director Terrano found me, I had a horrible headache and a nosebleed.” You decided it was best you skimped on telling General Hux about how you felt ready to kill.

Hux sneered, “Yes, Director Terrano seems to have an uncanny talent for providing those things.” 

You said nothing to fiery haired man, but you could hear a silenced chuckle from behind. Wes held in a laugh at the snarky remark- you could feel it. Hux scowled deeply at this and shifted his gaze to the left. As close to an eye roll as he could manage and still be professional.

“Wes thinks I overexerted myself, but I don’t know. I’ve never experienced that, and I’ve done more in the past than unlocking a drawer and handling some blasters.” 

“And what exactly have you done?” 

Rather than answering the general, you opted to say nothing, and clenched your jaw. You found your hand straying to your pendant. It was still too risky. 

“You will tell us eventually.” 

You felt the hairs on the back of your neck stand up at the threat. Had Hux not been so cold, you wouldn’t have considered the statement as such, but the way he said it nearly made you shudder. This man’s ambition frightened you. 

Wes piped up, breaking the tense quiet, “Do we have any plans yet, General Hux?” 

He kept his hard expression, “I cannot allow her, as a newcomer to skip her punishment.” His eyes flicked to you, exceptionally less icy, but they quickly left, “but I will lessen it significantly.” 

You shifted your weight from one foot to the other. You were nervous, unsure of what to anticipate. But you trusted Wes would keep you from anything too unbearable.

“You will go to a blaster training class to ensure you do not mishandle any more weapons.” 

His blue eyes stayed the same, but Hux gave the slightest of smirks, “Although you did commit the act of criminal possession and unlicensed handling of a weapon, I will admit that I am impressed by your ability to obtain said weapons.”

You were shocked. It took great effort for you not to let your jaw drop. You did allow your eyes to widen. You could not believe what you had just heard. It was insanity!You commit a serious crime and you get off the hook because of just how you got the blasters? What kind of military organization was this? 

Hux’s gaze become cold again, “Many would not be granted this opportunity. I expect you to be both gracious and compliant.” 

“Yes, sir.” 

The redhead looked to Wes. “You are dismissed. Her training starts tomorrow. Do not disappoint me. Go.”

Wes put a hand softly on your arm, and you knew that it was indeed time to go. 

You left the large, dark room with Wes, and as soon as the onyx-colored elevator doors shut, he looked at you with a rather impish grin.

“Hux likes you. Very much.” 

You scoffed at that, “Yeah, right.”

Wes looked at you again, with raised brows, now smiling wider, “That man has never even told me he can tolerate me, and I’ve worked with him for two years.” 

“Sir, I don’t think-“

“Darling, call me something not so stiff, won’t you? Wes? Kynnovan? Something? You’ll be seeing much more of me, so why not be more comfortable?” 

You corrected yourself, really not any more comfortable, “Wes, I don’t think that means very much. General Hux said he was going easy on me because I was a newcomer.” 

Wes crossed his arms, and side eyed you playfully, “Did you not see his smile? I’ve certainly never seen that man smile.”

You rolled your eyes, “You’re ridiculous.” You hesitated a moment, looking to the man with curious eyes, “if I can say that to you.” 

Wes’ face immediately hardened, “No, you may not. I suggest you mind yourself. I’m still your superior.” 

You quieted abruptly, taking a small step away from the man, “I’m sorry, I-“

A booming laugh came from the blond who gave you a soft shove, “I’m only teasing you, darling. You know I’m not like that.” 

Your guilt faded quickly, and you laughed along with the general, “Wes, don’t do that to me! I’m too nervous here still for you to joke like that.” 

“You’ll get used to my humor,” he quipped, seemingly rather proud of having terrified you yet again. “But I just hope you can get used to the training here. I’m near certain with the General in Chief’s affinity for you, that you’re going to Silas Teraah.” 

You gave a hesitant look to Wes, your brows pinched, “Should I know his name?”  Your smile was wry.

The general appeared shocked by your question, “You do realize where we are, do you not? The Finalizer is the largest and most highly accredited New Order training ship in the galaxy, and Silas is the best of the best!” Wes leaned in close, “I’m not supposed to reveal this to you, but between us, Hux is a hell of a sniper, and he was trained by the one and only Silas Teraah.” 

West straightened his posture, tucking his hands neatly behind his back. You could see more creases in his uniform. 

“We’ll just see what happens,” you mumbled.

It was an awkward quiet for a bit, but Wes seemed entertained by just glancing over at you. 

Attempting to break his bemused attitude, you asked a serious question, “Does Hux have abilities like us?” You didn’t know the name of ‘the force’ but Wes still understood what you were asking him. As desired, he did become more serious for you.

“That, my darling, is a question I don’t have the answer to.”

He squinted a little, “There have been times I’ve swore that man has just read my mind, but if he has it, he’s certainly never shared it with me.” 

You only nodded, “So just you and me?”

Wes seemed to become uncomfortable, and he crossed his arms and shoulders much tighter, “Well, no, not quite. There’s one more we know for certain.”

“And who is that?” You asked carefully, noting the blond’s demeanor. “Can I meet whoever it is?”

Wes worked his jaw, drumming his fingertips on his arm, “It’s for the best you didn’t until Hux and I are guaranteed your safety.” The tall man looked to you with calm eyes, “I choose my words carefully so not as to worry you, but he is incredibly dangerous. Unpredictable. A sith. We’ve decided it’s better you stay away from that, if possible.” 

One of those words stuck out to you. Sith. As you heard stories of the Jedi as a child, you also heard those of the Sith. Slaying Jedi, women, children, animals- they were a product of evil. They hurt people and sought mayhem, destruction. Your eyes grew wide.

“What’s his name?” You asked carefully, hoping to personify the ‘dangerous’ and ‘unpredictable’ Sith man described to you. 

Wes no longer looked to you, the stiffest you’d ever seen him, his voice quiet.

“His name is Kylo Ren.”

 


 

The training room you were sent to was unusually small. Correction. Not small, but significantly smaller than what you were accustomed to. Back on your old base, the training areas were the largest constructed areas on the planet, but on the Finalizer perhaps they were working with more limited space. You leaned on a metallic, paneled wall, every so often peeking at the large (and force field protected) wall of blasters not ten feet away. The field hummed with energy, and you dared not touch it, but paying no mind to prior events, you presumed there was no harm in looking. You approached it carefully, pacing along, hands in your pockets. You still wore the uniform from your old base, and you stuck out among both the troopers and regular personnel. While the troopers had their black and white armor, and everyone else in pristine black uniforms, your smoky charcoal grey marked you as an outsider, so you weren’t near as surprised as you could be when you heard a man call a question to you from behind.

“Who are you?” Asked the man.

You turned slowly to face him. The stranger was about ten feet away from you. He was tall and broad shouldered, his skin a rich brass and his eyes a deep brown. His black hair was cropped short, but you did see that he donned a bit of facial hair, very much unusual for military men.

You said your name, and finished with, “General Hux issued me mandatory blaster training after a...little mishap in communications.” 

The man squinted, studying you, but held his ground. He seemed to be trying to figure out just what the mishap was.

“My name is Silas. Silas Teraah. I will be your instructor.” 

You offered up a small smile and a nod, in your head noting that Wes was correct in his prediction. Perhaps you did have the ginger general’s favor.

“I don’t know your uniform or your rank. Mind sharing that with me, kid?” Asked the man, crossing a pair of muscular arms.

“I was stationed on another planet, and I haven’t been here long. Um, this is my second day here, actually. I don’t have any Finalizer uniforms yet, Silas- uh, sir. I also don’t have an official rank or anything, but on my old base I worked as an officer in communications.” 

Silas looked at you like you had two heads. You thumbed at your pendant nervously in response.

“That sounds...average. I don’t train average people. What’d you do to get here?” 

You blinked, carefully choosing your words, “General Hux didn’t tell you?”

“No.”

You presumed you could tell him, since you’d first outed yourself as so very ‘average’.

“I broke into Communication Director Terrano’s desk and handled her weapons. She caught me in the act and this training is my punishment.” 

You thought Silas looked at you like you were crazy before, but the face he gave you then said otherwise. 

“How’d you get a keycard?”

“I didn’t.”

“You set off the alarm?”

“No.”

“Who told you she even had blasters in there?”

“No one.”

Silas stared you down cooly. Silence.

“I have some special abilities. ...I don’t really know how to describe them to you. I’m sorry.” 

Silas raised his brows and pursed his lips, “I guess you’re supposed to be here, then.”

You tried smiling softly at him again, but he only stared you down with his dark eyes. You would call him cold, but he had warmth like a wildfire compared to the ginger general. 

“Hux didn’t tell me much,” started the blaster specialist, “but you must be pretty special, kid, to train under me. He hasn’t asked for me specifically since he had his security guys trained. And that was years ago.” 

The man strode towards the panel next to the guns, and began typing in a code, you were watching, but he shot you a fierce glare, “You mind?” He asked.

You turned away immediately at the hiss of a question, “Oh,” was all you said. 

The butt of a gun slammed into the back of your head, and a heavy boot in your side knocked you to the ground. You gave a cry, shocked, hitting the padded floor hard; you scrambled onto your back to face the instructor. You blinked slow, seeing stars, “What the hell was that for?!” You rubbed your head, which was now throbbing wickedly. Your side would bruise, but your head hurt much more than that. 

The first hint of a smile from Silas, “Sorry, kid, but I won’t lie. Hux told me not to go easy on you.”  His battle stance relaxed and he held out his free hand to help you up, you took it gently. Silas slid his hand out of your soft grasp, gripped your wrist firmly, pulled you toward him, and twisted your arm behind you at an awkward angle. You gave a pained scream at this, and he held a blaster to your temple. You hoped he didn’t plan on shooting.

“First lesson,” started the gunman, as you squirmed and choked back cries, hurting greatly under his grip, “don’t trust your opponent not to take advantage of you or your situation.” 

He released you, and you fell back to the mats with a heavy thud.

“Are you ready yet?” He sighed, nonchalant, blaster still in hand. You worked your jaw, growing increasingly angry with the man. You dove for his legs and got an excruciating kick in the chest. You were back on the mat. You had the wind knocked out of you, and you wheezed painfully for a minute or so, struggling to suck in air. The instructor pointed the gun at you.

“If this was an actual fight, you’d be dead three times by now.” It was stated matter-of-factly, Silas not hiding his arrogance. 

You were furious now, and focused hard. You pushed the man with your force abilities, and tried to rip the blaster from his grasp. Instead he only stumbled, grabbing at his blaster. You didn’t get his gun like you had intended, but you got the chance to force yourself up to push Silas. But, unfortunately, the man was lightning. By the time you were back on your feet, he had balanced and the end of the blaster was pointing at you again. “Neat party trick, kid. But it’s gonna take more than that to beat me at this.” 

You were wheezing, hurting, and rather unwilling to fight. You had begun to sweat, your hair clinging to your neck. You didn’t put it back because all you expected to do was shoot! You glared at him, trying to think. How were you supposed to beat a man with a blaster?! You looked around the room wildly. 

“You don’t have anywhere to run,” snorted Silas. “We’re training, remember?”

You sent an evil glare his way and snapped, “That’s not what I was looking for.” With a glance and outstretched palm toward the wall closest to the door, you flipped all the switches you could see to the off position. It was now pitch black, excluding your necklace, which glowed a vibrant green in the dark. You dove at Silas, and in turn you got a fist to the cheek. You gave a pained wail, knowing this would be sure to bruise in the least. The man sighed, stepped forward, and hit you in the face again, hard, knocking you to the mat. That punch hurt much, much more. You could taste blood and you choked back a sob. He tsked at you. “Great idea, kid, but your necklace gave you away.” 

He crouched down, looking over you, and took the pendant in his hands. “This thing is nice. Since this is the fifth time I ‘killed’ you, I think I’ll take this as a prize,” he taunted. You laid there still, disoriented from how hard he had hit you. Your whole face and head throbbed. With a firm grip, he snapped the cord off your neck, and held it up to his face. “Since you thought it’d be funny to turn out the lights, this will be my flashlight now.” Silas taunted you more, brows raised in the dim light. When you regained some clarity, you found yourself in a white hot rage. You let out a scream and forced an outstretched palm, sweeping Silas’ feet from out from under him, he fell backwards and hit the mat with a loud grunt. You first sat up and watched him follow suit. You knew you had to stop him. With both your outstretched hands, you did everything you could to hold his legs down. He fought against it, and you struggled against his strength. 

As you did all you could to hold him down, you backed up towards the wall, tripping a handful of times and nearly crashing into the guns in the dark. You resorted to holding Silas down with only one hand, and grabbed the gun that was closest to you. You fumbled, turned off the safety, turned around and held the gun with both hands, aimed towards the green light. At this point, Silas got up, sauntered over, and turned the lights back on. You were sure you looked wild, eyes wide, lip bleeding, hair in every direction. The gunman gave you the first real smile. 

“That’s what you’ll learn to shoot with, kid.” 

You looked down at the weapon, studying it carefully. It was a black blaster pistol with a longer barrel. It had a wide array of settings from stun to kill, and it fit comfortably in your hand. Simple, but effective.

Silas tossed you back your necklace, and you quickly snatched it up, shoving it in an empty pocket. “Sorry to piss you off,” he started, “I just wanted to see what you could do.”

You didn’t move, blaster still pointed his way. “I’m done now, look.” He put the safety on the gun and held it with the barrel facing himself. He walked to the wall of blasters, and put it back in its spot. He raised his hands high, and walked a good fifteen feet from the wall. “I’m done, I swear it.” You trusted yourself enough with the gun, and put it down. You would not put it back on the wall.

“You’re dismissed for today,” Silas said smoothly. “Keep the blaster. Bring it back tomorrow.” You flicked on the safety and the stun option for good measure, and slipped it in your waistband. You began to leave, and by the time you reached the doorway, the man chimed in with a, “Nice job today, kid.”

You turned around and glared at the man, “I have a name.”

 


 

When you were certain you were far from the training room, you could feel hot tears streaming down your cheeks. Not only were you physically beaten, but you had been humiliated all the same. You pressed the button on your earpiece and spoke, steadying your voice first, “Wes? Are you there?” A moment of soft static, and then a response, “Yes, darling, what do you need?” You laughed softly a little at the stark contrast between Wes and Silas. You were thankful for the jokester general and his kindness towards you. “I finished training for today, where do I go now?” 

A stiff voice that did not belong to Wes interrupted your conversation, making you jump, “The two of you need to return to my office at once.” And with that the voice was gone.

Wes hummed, “that was Hux. Be prepared to hear him more often. The generals all share a line. We’ll be seeing him now I suppose. Turn on your locator, I’ll meet you where you are. Stay put please.” 

And with that, Wes disconnected. You obliged, wiping off your tearstained face. The cheek where Silas had punched you twice was deathly swollen, and it tingled and hurt immensely to the touch. You wondered if he broke your cheekbone, especially considering how blurry your vision had become on that side. 

It took about ten minutes for Wes to arrive, and when he did you immediately went to Hux’s office, following the same procedure you did before. In the elevator, Wes was avoiding looking at you, “I’m sorry Silas hurt you.” He offered quietly. You thumbed at your pendant in your pocket, “He isn’t the kindest man.” 

Wes only smiled sadly in response. 

The black doors slid open, and Hux stood with a hand on his earpiece, speaking rather harshly to someone. You shrunk at his tone of voice. 

“I said repair it today, I expect it complete by tomorrow. This isn’t uncommon and you know it as well as I, major. Finish it before I speak to you again.” And with a click, Hux ended the call with the man, and turned to face the two of you.

A tiny woman with large eyes and dark hair stood next to the doorway. She moved out of the way and smiled wide, “Oh! Excuse me! I didn’t hear you! I’m very sorry, General Kynnovan, I-“

“Enough.” Hissed Hux, and the chatty woman suddenly quieted.

He faced the two of you, hands tucked neatly behind his back, classic scowl marking his features. He said your name, and you looked to him, silent. He walked towards you slowly, and then circled, studying your battle wounds. Wes instinctively moved out of the redhead’s way. Hux held a leather gloved hand beneath your chin, forcing your head up to  look directly at him. His icy eyes were close to yours, and you felt yourself flush at the lack of distance. You hoped the trauma to your face would disguise it, and it seemingly did, because Hux gave you no reaction whatsoever.

“I told Silas not to be too gentle with you,” he started stiffly. “But I did not ask him to break your cheekbone.” He didn’t cease eye contact; nor did he remove his hand from your chin. 

“How much pain are you in?” 

The question shocked you, coming from the frigid Hux, “A fair amount.” Was your conclusion after a moment. 

He stared a moment, stepped away from you, and then snapped his fingers.

“Nurse, do your job. Wes, come with me.”

The ginger general tucked his hands behind his back, and began to the opposite site of the large office space.

The darkhaired woman approached you with a spring in her step, “Hello!” she said cheerfully, setting a briefcase down and rummaging through the contents. 

“I’m Carrie, I’m a nurse. It’s such an honor to be called by the generals! I don’t know you, but you must be important, too,” she concluded, bringing out a handheld device. 

“General Hux sure knows his stuff!” She ran the device over your cheek and whistled lowly, “it sure is broken.” 

She pressed a button on the device and it hummed, making your face grow hot. The entirety of your face was both tingling and itching, and you squinted your eyes. 

“This is melding the bones, right?” 

“Yes, ma’am!” Chirped the nurse, smiling brightly to you. You smiled softly back. 

Wes and Hux stood together discussing something softly. You saw the slightest of grins on Wes’ face, but the fiery haired man stayed as cold as ever. After about twenty more minutes of the humming device, cleaning your busted lip, applying a lotion to your bruises and ointment to your aches, the two generals walked side by side back towards the two of you; Wes casually striding, and Hux, stiff, near marching. 

“Are you ready to retire?” A growing familiar pair of icy eyes were again upon you.

“Yes, sir.”

“Wes, take her please. Nurse, you are dismissed.”

“Goodnight, General!” Called Wes, waving and grinning. Hux said and did nothing in response, only staring with a frown. The nurse took the first elevator and you and Wes the second.

Similarly to before, when the doors were shut, Wes looked at you with a wild excitement in your eyes.

“You’ll be promoted in no time, darling! I’d dare say that you’re Hux’s favorite.” 

You heaved a sigh, a little more annoyed with Wes this time, “that isn’t true.” 

A gentle touch showed your cheek was still swollen and tender, “he wanted me to be trained by Silas! That man is a lunatic!”

Wes snickered, “and Silas will be getting his right now. Hux told you he hadn’t intended for your bone to be broken. He brought you a nurse and even asked how you felt. I’ve seen that man watch his fellow generals bleed to death on the battlefield without so much as a blink.”

You shrugged, brushing off the blond. You felt he was prone to exaggeration.

Wes grinned deviously, “you don’t believe me, I can feel it. Well now, listen to this! Do you remember where you were staying before?”

You nodded, “the barracks of course, where the troopers and standard personnel sleep.”

Wes’ smile grew, his expression triumphant, “now guess where you’ll be staying?” 

You only shrugged, thumbing your pendant absentmindedly. You decided you’d take what General Kynnovan said with a grain of salt.

“Next door to the both of us. Our quarters. And all generals on the Finalizer for that matter. You’ve been provided the guest General’s Suite, darling.”

You stood in silence a moment. Could Wes be right? You felt incredibly flattered for a few silent moments, and then you remembered why you were on the Finalizer. You weren’t just a communications officer from some tiny moon, you had some sort of rare special ability, and you were being trained under some of the most powerful men in the galaxy because of it. Hux wasn’t showing you favor because he liked you, it was because of your abilities. Rather than trying to argue with the beaming blond, you smiled at him, chuckled, and replied with, “you make a good point, Wes.” 

When the elevator came to the desired floor, the two of you stepped off. Wes was describing how luxurious the rooms were, what it was like being a general, and how wonderful life was as top in command, but you weren’t really listening to him. He was background noise to you as you thought about your entire day. 

You noted your abilities had grown stronger in your control of them, how you now owned your first blaster, how you’d broken bones and had them healed quickly by the friendly nurse, and you still questioned the General in Chief’s view towards you. You wondered how long training would be, and you only stopped in your pondering when Wes handed you a black keycard with a glittering red stripe. ‘GENERAL’ read the card, in large, sparkling red letters, and you looked at the door before you. ‘5’ was the red number above. Wes walked quite a ways next door to ‘4’, and at the end of the hall was ‘1’. You presumed that was Hux’s place of rest, if he did that at all. 

“Goodnight!” Called Wes, smiling as always at you. 

You waved to him in turn, “goodnight, Wes.” 

You slipped the card into the slot on the panel next to the door and it opened. You were glad you hadn’t listened to Wes’ description, you were gracious to have it be a surprise. 

Windows nearly twenty feet high made up the back wall of the room, large black and red drapes could be shut to block out the starry view, but you had no intentions of doing such. Everything was shiny and dark. The black tiles of the walls and floor were still cold, but a series of lush, black rugs made it significantly more comfortable. 

Not only did you have a full kitchen, but a full sitting area and master bed and bath as well. 

In your living area, you had a large holopad which displayed a program in full color, not the usual blue. The current transmission showed an alien man speaking of current core world happenings. The news. You listened closely and realized it was only First Order conditioning and propaganda- a product of the communications wing you were sure. You toyed with the buttons a bit and eventually just turned it off. 

The kitchen was pristine, all black tile, black cookware and stove, as well as a conservator of the same color. 

You meandered over to the bedroom. Your aching body slumped at the sight of the bed. The room was just cool enough to be comfortable, and the decorative and soft red and black bedding with the matching fur throw beckoned for you to come sleep. 

But you had more exploring to do. 

You went to the closet and found uniforms and shoes, none of which in your size, but you supposed that could be fixed. You poked in drawers, dressers- the like, finding socks, intimates, gloves, comfort wear and sleepwear. You were nearly all set. You eyed the bathroom, knowing that you needed to shower or bathe, and then you could go to bed. And so you did just that. 

Unsurprisingly, the bathroom was all black, and harsh white lights lined your large mirror. You looked at yourself for the first time in two days and winced. You were a mess. Your hair was about as wild as a wookiee’s, you had a black eye coming on and your cheek was still swelled up to the size of a moon. Your body was littered with bruises and welts, but it was nothing that wouldn’t fade within a few days. You still were rather mad at Silas for doing this to you. You experimented with the controls of the tub and shower a bit, eventually figuring out how it worked. After a longer-than-expected boiling shower, you slipped into some underwear and a large nightshirt. You crawled into the bed, comfortable and cool in the black satin sheets, and feel asleep near immediately. 

Little did you know what the coming day would bring. 

Chapter Text

There was no shrill beeping nor any obnoxious chiming from your holopad to wake you. You slept as long as you pleased that morning. Which, in reality, wasn’t much later than usual because your body had become so accustomed to your old base’s schedule. It was around quarter to seven when you woke up.

You stretched rather ungracefully in the foreign bed, limbs heavy and face still throbbing painfully. It would take a few days for you to fully recover from your beating. Right now you just had to stay hydrated and fed to aid in the healing process. You rubbed the sleep from your eyes with clumsy hands, sighing deeply. After simply laying there and ‘waking up’ for a good ten minutes, you willed yourself out of bed and into the bathroom. It was there you washed your face, used the toilet, and brushed your hair and your teeth, pausing only to stare groggily at your reflection in the large mirror. You were willing to bet a shocking amount of credits you’d get sick of this all black interior and decor very soon.

You went back to the bedroom, slipping on a pair of black socks and some baggy pants. You stretched yet again, and meandered out of your bedroom into your sitting area, and you nearly gave a screech at what you saw.

Wes.

He sat comfortably on the sofa, his dark boots on the shiny, black coffee table. The blond appeared to be watching some early morning political report. His jaw was moving carefully. He was chewing an obscenely large amount of something, you noticed, and he was holding some sort of foodstuff in his hand. With your still blurry eye, you couldn’t make it out. You guessed it to be a type of veg-meat, and you wrinkled your nose at the thought. More pressingly, you had no idea what to say about the general in your private quarters, so you opted with the easiest choice.

“Wes?”

He peeked over his shoulder, and gave a large grin. He spoke with his mouth full, “Good morning, darling! How did you sleep? Well I hope?”

You blinked, “...Good morning, Wes. It was nice, thanks.”

He seemed not to understand your shock still, but after a moment of silence and his continual chewing, he tilted his head slightly, “You’re being rather quiet. You’re probably wondering why I’m here.”

You only nodded in response.

He finally swallowed his food, and reached for a glass of water, “Guess who brought you breakfast?”

You gave a genuine smile, “Aw, thanks, Wes! That was really nice of you.”

He shook his head, eyes sparkling devilishly, “Guess again.” 

You blinked, smile fading, knowing now full well who it was, “...no!” Was all you said, eyes widening a hair.

The blond went from mildly humored to giddy, strolling zealously around the couch and up to you, taking you so familiarly by the shoulders and herding you to the dark kitchen counter.

Had you been back on Rori, you’d have turned your nose up at the meal, but with months of military slop, the breakfast provided was heaven. It was a classic breakfast: an omelette, toasted darkwheat bread with bantha butter, and a pear. While maybe the toast wasn’t so impressive, the eggs, butter, and fruit were delicacies in this time of war, even for the First Order. Military spending was what came first, unless you were the General in Chief you supposed.

Wes nudged your shoulder, side-eyeing you playfully, “Don’t you feel bad now for sleeping in? Your food is cold. You’re lucky I didn’t eat it myself.”

You said nothing to the general, instead focusing on a slip of paper tucked beneath the tray.

“Silas has received more specific instruction on your training. Consider today a day of rest. Be ready to return to your training tomorrow morning, beginning at 0500 hours.

A.H.”

You squinted at the initials, “What’s the general’s first name?”

“Armitage.” Said Wes cooly, reaching for your pear. You pulled the tray away and jokingly narrowed your eyes at the blond. You took a bite of the fruit and chewed it slowly, thinking about the General in Chief.

“What’s his past?” You asked carefully, “General Hux, I mean.”

Wes smirked a little, “Why do you want to know?”

You swallowed, “I want to know if he’s treating me like this because of my abilities or because of another reason. The more I know about this man, the better.”

Wes stared at you a moment, eyes suddenly shining with something you couldn’t quite pinpoint. “Fair enough.”

Wes leaned against the counter, and stared at the holopad in the sitting room. His eyes were not trained on you.

“Hux is young,” the blond started, “exceptionally so, but I don’t know his year of birth. He was born in the outer rim somewhere, on some miserable, rainy, little world where all the wealthy settled after the last war. Arkanis, I believe is the name.” 

You looked to Wes to continue, but he only blinked, expression unusually stoic. He was quiet for a bit.

“His father is the respected Commandant Brendol Hux, one of the pioneers for the Order’s battle and intimidation tactics. A bit of a radical man if I do say so myself, but that stays between you and I.”

The blond side eyed you, that same unidentifiable look in his eyes. You wondered why you couldn’t sense what he was feeling.

“It is speculated his mother was but a kitchen worker, he’s a bastard of sorts,” said Wes softly.

“Brendol is anything but a kind man, and he treated Armitage horrifically. However, he ensured his son received the best. The best training, best schooling, best uniforms- you understand what I’m saying, don’t you, darling?”

You nodded, and the man looked away again. “That’s about all I know. And a lot of that is unconfirmed rumor. He’s quite the private man.”

There was a long pause.

“Thank you, Wes.”

The man replied only with a soft smile. You took another bite of the fruit, still unable to pinpoint both Wes’ feelings in the current moment, as well as the redhead’s towards you in general.

You tried to lighten the mood, slipping into a drawer and removing a butter knife. You sliced your toasted darkwheat in half, right down the middle. You even dabbed a bit of extra bantha butter on one of the halves, and offered it to Wes. He took it and thanked you softly. You decided to try and ease whatever Wes was feeling.

“Why so moody, general? Are you jealous of me?”

“I’m not jealous,” he snorted. “I’m at a higher rank than you, thank you very much.”

You chuckled at the statement, continuing to work on the pear. “You’re acting kind of weird,” you started, “what’s on your mind, Wes?”

The man sat silent, took a bite of his half of toast, chewed and swallowed, and then took yet another bite. “I worry for you.” He said quietly after the unnatural pause.

You gave a laugh, but Wes looked to you with that same emotion from before in his steely blue gaze, “I’m being serious.”

Taking another bite of the fruit, you started with, “Listen, Wes, I don’t think-“

“You continually brush me off,” he interrupted, serious. You nearly flinched. He took another bite. “But I mean it. You don’t know these people like I do, and it’s best you don’t get to know them that way.” 

You furrowed your brow, “I’m a grown woman, I can-“

The blond interrupted you again, “I consider you my friend. And you are a very special woman, you do know that, don’t you?”

You stayed quiet this time, and Wes took the final bite of his toast. “We used machines to find you,” he started. “But they only picked up on those with a strong force presence. Not the kind of presence they have.”

Those steely eyes were not on you, but the large windows along the back wall; the glittering expanse of space moving by ever-so-slowly. Wes was reflecting on something, “General Hux? Kylo Ren? Those are dark, wicked men who have done unimaginable things.” He finally looked to you, “And when I was on the base, I sensed you immediately. And you, my darling, you are not dark like those men. Not in the slightest. A bit temperamental perhaps, but not dark.”

You said nothing, unsure of how to reply to the general.

“I became worried when you took Venussia’s blasters from her desk, and even more so when you came back from your training with Silas. You must be conscious. You cannot allow these people to get to you.”

Wes finally let on a faux smile, his dimples not appearing. He had noticed how large your eyes had grown, “But perhaps I’m worrying to much. They may not be affecting you, but you may be affecting them. Our Commander in Chief in particular. I’ve never seen Hux quite so soft.” You laughed softly at the statement.

The blond got up quickly, not giving you much time to reflect. He shoved you playfully and snatched the half-eaten pear from your grasp. You snickered at this, reaching for it back, but he swerved out of reach and took a bite himself, apparently unbothered by the fact you’d eaten more than half of it already. You scrunched up your nose, “Gross, Wes!”

“I don’t think so.” He looked at you carefully and took another bite. You could feel your face grow warm. Had he not been your closest friend on the Finalizer, you would have guessed he’d been flirting. “Rest up, darling, you certainly need it. Enjoy your breakfast. I may come check on you later.”

You watched Wes in his abrupt leave, your face still burning. You waved and offered up a gentle, “See you later, then.”

 


 

This area of the Finalizer was dark and inaccessible to every single person aboard- excluding two men. The dimmed lights, freezing temperature and general lack of sound did not seem to bother the pair approaching the unusually large doorway. The only noise was their footsteps. The atmosphere was pure electricity, the two men refusing to even acknowledge the other’s presence. Hux’s face was contorted just a hair more than usual, but the stiffness of the masked man was all that revealed his emotion towards the redhead. They both stopped at the doorway, looked at each other, and they each pushed open a door. Silently refusing to enter after the other. Their paces both quickened, and the men eventually reached the end of the room in which a gigantic holopad was located. A blue light illuminated around the floor tiles and from a projector in the ceiling of the large room. An enormous hologram appeared of a man- or what appeared to be a horribly disfigured man, upon a throne. He was draped in gold, ancient, his face gnarled and sunken, but he was undeniably someone of great power. The two men looked up to the projection, neither speaking initially.

“Supreme Leader,” started Hux after a silence, his voice clear. “The force sensitive being. We’ve found her. She is human, young, and rather healthy.” The redhead scowled deeper, “her fighting and force abilities leave much to be desired, however. She will prove useful to us in time.”

“Excellent,” drawled the giant, adjusting in his throne, “I ask the two of you discover what her strengths are, and if she is more use to one of you than the other.”

The general and the knight glanced at each other, and Hux’s face twitched with contempt. He held back a snort at the notion, choosing to look to the Supreme Leader instead. “Kylo Ren,” drawled the disfigured giant, “I expect you to more thoroughly inspect her force abilities. Hux is not the man for determining that.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.” Replied the knight smoothly from behind the mask. Hux stiffened considerably and turned on his heel to leave.

“General Hux,” growled the disfigured old man on the throne. The redhead turned to attention.

Snoke surveyed both the men. “I trust you both will reach a reasonable conclusion and return to me when you know.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.” Hux said, returning then to his stiff exit. The hologram began to dissipate.

Kylo followed suit.

 


 

You had quite the day of rest. You’d been lying on the sofa, dozing off and on, watching low-budget togruta romances and soaps when you were awake. What a blessing this hologarbage was! This was the first day you’d gotten off in who knows how long. Your comfort was interrupted by a beep and a whirring at the door. Wes.

“Hi,” you chimed mellowly in greeting, not bothering to look up from the holopad’s projection. You took a swig of water from a glass. “How did today treat you, Wes?”

Silence. You paused the holoprogram and turned to look at Wes. Only it wasn’t Wes. You grew red in the face rather quickly, embarrassed and surprised at the man in your quarters, “General Hux, I wasn’t expecting you, I’m sorry.” You sat up straight, trying to tidy yourself in front of your commander.

He said nothing for a moment, staring at you with cold blue eyes. You gave a wary smile, clearing your throat nervously and standing up, “Um, let me change into something a little more appropriate. Won’t you? Thank you, by the way, for letting me stay here, it’s very comfortable.”

“That isn’t necessary,” quipped the redhead, and you froze. He studied you, definitely not subtly. You felt a bit like an animal in a zoo, or more appropriately, something to be experimented on, tied down to a lab table.

You tucked messy hair behind your ears and crossed your arms, rather self conscious.

“What can I do for you, General, sir?”

Hux glanced at your kitchen, noticing the tray from the morning was empty and soaking in the sink. He softened a hair, ignoring your question and asking one of his own, “How was your breakfast?”

You walked towards the kitchen counter, crossing the room slowly, “It was lovely, thank you. I really appreciate it, and the time off of course.”

The redhead only nodded, following you over. He slipped off his large coat, and rested it on the counter. He sat down, still rigid, and you weren’t really sure what to say. The general’s face stayed stern, brows arched. He wouldn’t look you in the eye.

“I’d like a drink,” he said decidedly. “Have you found any here yet?”

You blinked, “Uh, no, sorry.”

His gaze finally flicked back to you, “Enough apologizing. You are not weak, nor do you even need to be sorry.” 

You only blinked in response.

The redhead remained stiff, and pointed to the cabinet on your left with a gloved hand. “The alcohol should be in there, and the glasses next to the conservator.” You nodded, following Hux’s instructions. “I’d care for a glass of Blossom Wine, it’s from-“ 

“From Naboo.” You interjected, turning to smile at the general.

“Yes,” he said slowly, eyes flickering across your face.

You grabbed a singular glass, and he spoke up, “two.”

“I don’t know if I should,” you said softly, and the ginger only stared you down in response.

You grabbed two.

Hux removed his dark leather gloves and his military jacket; donning nothing but a black, long sleeved shirt underneath. He stood up from the bar style seat at the counter. He came up behind you, and you nearly froze at the lack of space. He removed the glasses and bottle from your hands. “Sit,” came the simple command. You obliged, slipping around him carefully.

Hux sat them on the black counter and reached into a drawer, fumbling about until he found a corkscrew. He uncorked the wine and poured the glasses. He handed you one, and you took it, thanking him softly.

You took a sip, thinking almost to repeat your question from before. Instead you downed a significantly larger amount of wine. You needed it.

Hux seemed a mildly appalled by your action, and grabbed your wrist. You flinched at the unexpected movement. He saw your expression, and softened his grip alongside the harsh expression on his face. “Like this,” he murmured, and fixed the way you were holding the glass, adjusting your fingers with a gentle precision. You noticed a tinge of red on his cheeks, and when he saw you staring, he released your hand and coiled back. “By your knowledge of the drink, I thought you’d have knowledge of the glass,” came Hux’s sharp remark. You sat the glass down, still a bit embarrassed. “Be conscious,” echoed Wes’ words in your mind. You hadn’t been really thinking about what was going on. What the hell was this man doing here? Asking for a drink? You became a tad suspicious.

“I’ll only have a glass,” you said as confidently as you could manage, “what with my training so early tomorrow and everything.”

Hux nodded, face and vibrant blue eyes returning to their frigid state. “Yes. That’s why I’m here to speak to you.”

You leaned on your elbows across the counted from the tall man, and he carefully swirled the wine in the glass. You studied his hands before he spoke. He had clean, graceful fingers. You wondered how his hands would appear upon a sniper rifle. Much more deadly, you concluded.

“You will not be training with Silas tomorrow, but instead with someone else.”

“Will it be Wes?” You asked.

The ginger general stiffened from his slightly more relaxed stance, sat down his glass and brought his arms rigidly to his sides, “No, it will not be General Kynnovan.” Hux shot you a glare, “And I expect you to call him by his title.”

You shrunk, “yes, sir.”

“You will be training with a man named Kylo Ren. You will refer to him as Commander or Master Ren. He is a Sith lord and he will be determining the extent of your force abilities.”

Hux looked at you with a vacant expression, “Silas will seem a kind, kind man compared to him. And he will not stop in harming you regardless of if I tell him otherwise.” The man’s features grew darker, “and he will be harming you.”

The color drained from your face, and you felt a horrid dread in the pit of your stomach. You finished off your glass of the expensive wine. You knew now you’d need another, and poured it out.

“Force abilities?” You questioned, and Hux scowled, shoulders tightening. “Ren will be able to explain it much better than I could.”

You nodded in response.

“He is dangerous. Be cautious and listen to what he tells you. I have already assigned you both a nurse and a doctor as well as informing Ren that you are to be my healthy student as well. I will protect you as much as I can.”

“You’re going to train me?”

“Eventually, yes.” The redhead refused to look at you again.

There was yet another awkward silence, and you studied the ginger. For a man so excellent at his job, it surprised you he lacked casual social skills. His fiery colored hair seemed a touch messier than usual, and you spoke up softly, running a hand through your own hair, “You have a strand of hair loose, General.”

He took a flat palmed hand to either side of his head, smoothing his hair back into place.

“It’s rude to stare,” hissed the man, and you looked away from him.

Instead he stood up and came closer to you, expression a little softer. You knew that he’d never dare voice it, but he seemed apologetic for snapping at you.

“May I see your injuries?” He asked gently, expression and stance softened.

“Yes, sir.” You replied, tilting your head to reveal the swelling and your black eye. You had closed your eyes, and jumped when his icy fingers touched your cheek.

“Apologies,” he murmured, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

You laughed a little, opening your eyes ever so slightly, “your hands are cold, it just surprised me.”

The general stared at you with his bright blue eyes, only this time they were near as cold. Just cool. His brows weren’t arched, nor were they pinched, and his mouth was not curved into a frown. He was relaxed for once.

A beep and a whirr at the door.

“Hello, darling! You won’t believe the day I’ve had! Tell me, do you know Commander-“

The blond stopped in his tracks, a deer in headlights. To the man walking in, the scene before him was rather shocking. On your holopad, paused, was a foreign romance film, on your countertop laid both the General in Chief’s overcoat, gloves, and jacket, also on the counter sat a bottle of expensive wine and two glasses, and with the general near pressed up against you with a hand oh-so-gently cupping your face, it seemed rather incriminating.

“I um, I can leave,” started Wes sheepishly, his usual gusto and confidence out the window. You felt the color drain from your face again.

“I was just leaving,” concluded Hux sharply, his usually deathly pale complexion now a vivid red. He donned both his military jacket and overcoat, taking the wine by the neck of the bottle and walking briskly away from you. He left his gloves. You only stood in shock.

“Have a nice night,” said Wes hesitantly as the fiery-haired Hux left without another word. Once the door shut again, the blond man looked at you with eyes the size of moons. You downed your second glass of wine and collected the other, putting them in the sink.

“What...what did you two do?” Questioned  the man, no usual trace of a smile on his face.

“Nothing! It looks bad I know, and he got embarrassed. I promise you nothing happened, Wes. You can check if you need to.”

The blond general relaxed, sensing your honesty. His next remark was faintly sarcastic, if a little biting, “what a bummer that is.”

You then became red in the face, “he came over for a drink and to tell me I’m training with Kylo Ren tomorrow.”

Wes’ smile dropped again, “what?”

“He came over for a drink-“

“Not that part.”

“I’m training with Kylo Ren tomorrow.”

Wes’ brows pinched, and he began towards you, “that isn’t good at all, he’ll-“

“Hurt me. Yes, Hux told me that. He has a nurse and a doctor ready for me already, and he told Kylo Ren to be careful.”

The tall man snorted, “that won’t do anything.”

You said nothing, only frowning.

“You have to get on his good side. I’m not strong enough to protect you from him.”

“Hux said the same thing,” you sighed.

Wes’ expression became fierce, his mouth contorting into a harsh scowl, “I suppose you two talked about plenty while I was away, then.”

You furrowed your brow, “What’s the matter with you?! You act like you really are jealous!”

Wes looked at you for the first time with anger, “I am simply trying to protect you,” he hissed.

“There’s only so much you can do, Wes! I appreciate it, really, but I’m not just a kid. I can take care of myself!”

Wes said nothing to you, his eyes hard. After a deep sigh, his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose, he threw up his arms, exasperated, “Fine!” And with that, he stormed out of your quarters, the doors whirring quietly behind him. You gave a huff of annoyance and flopped dramatically onto the counter. What you wouldn’t give for the rest of that wine right now.

 


 

Your next morning was not so pleasant as the one before it, and you awoke to an annoying beeping from your holopad. You groaned and pushed the button on the side, glancing at the projection of the time. 0400 hours, just as expected. You forced yourself to sit up. You had an hour still before you needed to leave, but you had no idea where you’d be training with the so very infamous Kylo Ren. A notification popped up on your holopad’s projection, and you pressed the button to activate it. It was from two hours ago, and an image of the ginger general appeared.

“Good morning,” he spoke, no warmth in his tone. “At 0500 hours you are to report to the third floor on the left of sector A3. You are to locate facility 0700, room C29. Remember what I told you last evening.” And the recording ended. You paused it before it could repeat again.

You blinked, groggy still. You’d have to replay the message so you could write down the directions. How big was this ship? You swung your legs over the side of the bed, and shuffled around in the drawer next to it, coming up with a notepad, but no writing utensil. You willed yourself on your feet, searching various drawers until you found a working pen. You pressed the replay button on your holopad, writing down the instructions, but also studying the man with groggy eyes. You wondered if he’d always been so cold.

Instead of wondering about the frigid man, you got up and got ready for the day, finding the most comfortable and well fitting athletic wear possible. What you had chosen was still too big, but better too big than too small. You’d rather not rip your pants in front of a sith lord.

And so you began on your way to find the training room, glancing down at your notepad every so often. Your heart raced, and you were growing incredibly nervous. You found the floor and sector with ease, but had difficulty with the facility and room. You stood in the long, black hall, identical to near every other on the Finalizer and frowned. You heard a pair of boots approaching from behind. An officer. It was an older, brunette woman with hard brown eyes.

“Ma’am,” you started, getting her attention. “Would you care to show me where this is?”

“Not at all,” she smiled, her warmth insincere. The woman plucked the notebook from your hands, and when she read the directions, her eyes grew wide.

Her shock turned into a accusatory anger. “Are you stupid, girl? You won’t come out of that room as pretty as you are now.” Her words were a hiss, and she shoved the notebook back into your hands.

“General Hux told me that-“

“General Hux?” The woman perked up, interrupting you, her cold eyes suddenly aglow. “This was his order?”

“...Yes?”

“Follow me. I’ll take you right there. My sincerest apologies, miss. Truly. Could I possibly help you with anything else at all?”

You nearly gave a snort. This woman went from insulting you to kissing major ass in about two seconds flat, just at the very mentioning of the General in Chief. You despised the woman for that. You only shook your head in response, following on her suddenly brisk heel. When you reached the room you thanked her, and she scurried away much faster than you could have imagined possible.

Your anxiety was near through the roof when you finally slipped inside. Your palms were sweating horrifically, hairs stood up all on your body, and your heart was in your throat. When your eyes scanned the room, and you saw the cloaked figure in the center of it, you could hear nothing but your pulse pounding in your ears. The large man was incredibly frightening, and you visibly flinched when his masked face turned to look at you. He approached you slowly, sauntering the whole way, steps heavy even on the padded floor.

You were practically trembling when he was not two feet away from you. He stood nearly a foot taller, his large shoulders and chest accentuated moreso by his cape. His arms were thick and muscled. This man was not slim like Hux nor chiseled like Wes- he was real, raw power.

“You’re afraid of me,” spoke the man, the deep, mechanical voice from the mask covering you instantaneously in goosebumps.

“Yes.” You answered softly, sure each of your eyes were the size of a moon.

“I can feel it,” he said confidently, and you didn’t dare blink.

The man was absolutely correct. You now knew what Wes meant when he said this man was dark.

Kylo Ren wasn’t icy like Hux was. He was all heat and flame, you felt waves of pure, hot power radiate off of the man. He had a angry, painful, intoxicating aura about him- you didn’t know how to even describe it. How to describe him. But you could pinpoint for certain that he was strong- stronger even more than he looked. You swallowed, stiff as a board. He raised a black gloved hand to you, and you flinched when he brushed his leather fingertips on your forehead.

“You don’t know anything specific,” he said. “But people have let you know to be wary of me.”

You swallowed, and you were immobilized with fear- until you realized it wasn’t actually fear, but Ren forcing you still. Your blood roared in your ears, and you panicked, looking to the sith with pleading eyes.

“Hux told me you wouldn’t reveal your powers to him. And since you didn’t do that willingly, I’m going to discover them myself.”

“I’ll tell you,” you spoke, terrified, using all your resistance to choke through your paralysis.

“It’s too late for that.” Said the man, and you squeezed your eyes shut tightly as he forced his way into your memories. It felt as if all the pressure of the universe went to your head, and you gasped at the indescribably painful sensation, contorting your face tightly, body trembling. 

You relived all sorts of moments, most of your abilities being fun or mischievous sorts of tricks, nothing all that important to the man. When Kylo finally found your last memory, your skirmish with Xan and Qira, he said nothing for just a moment, and instead spoke after letting you reflect.

“You are so much stronger than you allow yourself to be.”

You only choked, unable to cry out or sob, reliving all the emotions of the moment. You felt hot tears running down your face and you couldn’t will your arms up to wipe them away. But the masked man did with his glove, still keeping you frozen in time.

“Watch,” said Kylo, pressing on your swollen cheek. You only squinted hard, unable to pull away, even in the throbbing pain. He showed you an image of Xantos. He had lost his golden glow, and his eyes were rolled into the back of his head. He was disgustingly clammy, with no color, lying in some filthy alley. His face and body covered in angry blisters, a symptom of the spice usage. He was dead, and Qira was digging through his pockets, stealing what little he had. She looked to be a walking corpse, her skin hanging loosely off alarmingly thin arms and legs. She was also covered in the red blisters.

You cried hard at the sight, unsure if it was real, or just some sick illusion Ren was using to provoke you. It didn’t really matter, as it did the job.

“Stop,” you begged, “please.”

“Your friends are worthless. They don’t care for you, nor do they care for themselves. They deserve to die.”

“No!” You protested, trying to tear out of Kylo’s invisible grip.

The man behind the mask said nothing, continuing to show you the scene. After another few moments you grew furious rather than mournful, tears falling faster, and you tried to let out a scream.

“You want me to stop this?” Questioned Ren, the mockery in his tone making you more angry.

You stared at him in where you presumed his eyes would be, boiling.

“Then make me.”

You managed out a scream, fighting your way out of his force grip. You tore his hand from your face. Once he had momentarily stopped your paralysis, you stretched out both hands and tried to push him like you’d done Silas. He took only two steps back, a display of his sheer strength. He held out a singular hand and used his own force powers to grab you by the throat. You immediately gagged, legs kicking at the air as he lifted you up. Now even more angry, you felt sweat drip down your face as you pushed his arm away with your force powers- only to send you with it.

You crashed into the floor mats, and the wind was knocked out of you, just like in your battle with Silas. You struggled for air, gasping and wheezing. You clawed at the mat, trying to get up and fight. With harsh steps towards you and a rather swift movement on his part, you received the toe of Kylo’s boot to your jaw. You heard a sickening crunch and screamed, tears flowing hard still. You held it with your hands, wailing like some kind of wild animal.

“Fight back!” He roared.

Your anger now outweighed your fear.

You looked up at him, struggling to stand. “Get up,” snarled Ren.

You managed to get onto your feet and approached the large man as quickly as possible; you swung and struck him in the stomach with all your might, but he didn’t even flinch at your attack. With a twitch of his hand, yours contorted into an unnatural shape with a series of nauseating crunches. You fell to your knees and screamed again, in more pain than you’d ever been in before, even when you were with Silas. You clutched your hand close to your chest, sobbing near uncontrollably. 

“You’re pathetic.”

You wept and stared daggers at the sith, who towered over you.

“Make me stop,” he demanded again in that robotic, wicked baritone, grabbing a fistful of your hair and forcing you onto your feet. You continued to cry, feeling angry and utterly helpless.

“...I can’t.” You wailed between sobs, and he shoved you again to the floor mats.

When you hit the floor, he clicked something beneath his mask, and the voice modifier moved up. You winced even before you saw the face behind the mask, expecting a myriad of horrific scars, or even a decrepit old man. Kylo threw the helmet aside. 

Instead of some disfigured monster or some evil old man, you laid eyes upon a young, handsome face. The man before you had large, dark eyes, a regal nose and high cheekbones, his face littered with freckles like stars, matched with a soft mouth and a head full of thick, dark, wavy hair. He was shockingly attractive, in a very odd sort of way. Your eyes grew wide at the sight, and you blinked away more tears, shuddering at the pain you were in.

“You should have taken the warnings more seriously.” He spoke with a venom, his speaking voice without the mask foreign to your ears, but not any less frightening.

Before you could even think to speak, he held a gloved hand up to your face, and everything went completely black.

Chapter Text

When you came to, your eyes were burning fiercely. You were lying on your side, and your jaw was partially hanging slack. When you went to move it back into place, it hurt enough to make you yelp. You decided it was best to leave it alone. The swelling was immense, and your entire face was throbbing. Your injuries from Silas were not helping you any.

Your hand was what hurt the most. With blurry eyes, you flicked them over to study your injuries, moving your head as little as possible. You choked at the sight, feeling hot tears flow from your sore eyes down already sticky cheeks. Your fingers were unnaturally askew, largely swollen, bruising horrifically. You twitched them and wailed in the pain. You needed medical attention desperately, and you knew it. Your eyes focused slowly on a shadowy figure that strode to you and kneeled before you to speak. Kylo Ren.

Wrapped around his hand was a familiar and still snapped leather cord, a glowing green crystal illuminating its surroundings attached to it. Your necklace. He must have looked through your pockets while you were knocked out. You were too furious to find him handsome as you did before, and his dark eyes shone with a sort of animosity you had little desire of provoking further. That desire changed with one question.

“Where did you get this?” Ren snarled, near trembling with fury.

You tried to speak. While the sound did come out, your broken jaw made your words slurred and largely difficult to understand.

“Mine,” you managed loosely, fury outweighing your better judgement more and more by the second, “It’s mine.”

The dark haired man narrowed his eyes at you, and gritted his teeth as he spoke, “you will tell me.”

He gripped the tiny crystal hard, a series of cracks flecking across the surface. What appeared to be tiny bolts of electricity sizzled about the stone. He would break it, you realized, and you used your good hand to reach out for it.

“I told you,” you slurred stubbornly, “it’s mine.”

Kylo’s eyes became wider, flashing with something you weren’t so sure was sane.

He crushed the crystal in his gloved hand.

It fizzled and let out an electrical crack, the shattered remains instantaneously draining of their vibrant, green, hue. You choked back a sob at this, and winced when he threw the shards of it at you. You expected more torture, but instead, you got none. Kylo stood up, glared down at you for a moment, picked up his mask, put it on, and left the training room. You were alone.

You reached into your pocket to retrieve your holopad. It was gone. You blinked heavily, searching about the room while moving as little as possible. You had one option left.

You pressed a trembling finger on your earpiece, “Wes,” you cried, voice both shaky and slurred. Static. “Please.”

Static.

You had one other person you knew you could call. You pressed the button twice, summoning a sort of automated operator.

“Hux?”

 


 

Your trip to the medical ward was a blur. You only recalled bits and pieces. A flash of fiery red hair, hands cold enough to feel through your clothes, yelling, arguing, harsh white lights- a prick in your arm, and it was gone. When you woke up again, you felt nauseous and stiff.

You saw movement out of the corner of your eye, you turned your head slightly, blurry eyes focusing. Before you sat a familiar dark haired nurse. “Carrie?” You slurred, “What are you-?”

“No talking, hold still!” She quipped harshly, a familiar, warm, buzzing device resting below your ear. She was healing your broken jaw. You scrunched up your nose at the itching and tingling beneath your skin. It felt like dozens of insects, but you were happy to finally receive treatment.

You said nothing and looked at the woman. She was rather pretty, you concluded, and her dark brows furrowed as she worked.

She looked at you instead of the handheld device, and her brows pinched deeper with something. You couldn’t decipher if it was pity or worry.

“Master Ren wasn’t the gentlest with you,” said the small woman quietly, “but this is tame compared to what I’ve seen him do before. You’re a very lucky woman.”
You scoffed and she shushed you in response.

You watched her look up from her work, and her eyes grow wide. “I have to go now,” she murmured quickly, “be nice.” You blinked heavily at this, very much confused as she scurried away.

A figure approached and stood almost exaggeratedly over you.

“Hello there,” came a deep, caramel smooth baritone, and your eyes focused on the man above you.

Dark hair, lashes, and eyes, a large smile and prominent dimples, marked by both a strong jawline and strong cheekbones. This man could be a model, and you hadn’t the foggiest idea as to who he even was.

“Sweet girl,” he began, “what were you doing with Master Ren? You’re lucky to be here alive.”

The man ran fingers down your cheek, and you felt your hair stand on end. He grabbed Carrie’s handheld device and read something off the tiny screen. Sure this man was a pretty face, one of the prettiest you had seen, but his aura was certainly off. You only frowned, shying from his touch. “Who are-?”

“I’m the head doctor on the Finalizer,” interrupted the man matter of factly, “Doctor Arekson. Amminius Arekson, but you, you can call me whatever you like.” He gave you a charismatic smile that made your skin crawl.

“You had many injuries,” he grinned, “had is the key word here, sweet girl.”

His eyes flickered curiously as he read over a holodocument over your wounds and status. “The general was actually the one who brought you here. He’s such a professional man, I didn’t know he had it in him to carry anyone, nevertheless a woman.” The doctor paused, “and who are you exactly?” He smiled near wickedly, “You must be a very, very special woman.”

You knew what the man was insinuating and narrowed your eyes at the doctor, “That’s classified. All you need to know is that I’m here for treatment.” Your face seared hot with pain from your jaw when you spoke, so you refrained, perhaps temporarily, from insulting him.

The doctor seemed only entertained by your response, “quite the feisty one, aren’t we?” He ran his fingers through your hair and you visibly flinched. You stared daggers at him, “don’t touch me.” The handsome man only laughed. He reached to touch you again, and you stopped his hand mid-reach, holding your repulsively swollen dominant hand out towards him, the force making your hand ache, “I said, don’t touch me.”

The doctor stepped back, mildly horrified in your show of power. He clutched his own slightly shaky hand, “very well.” Amminius cleared his throat awkwardly, and pressed the button on his earpiece, “Hux? Yes, hello. The girl is awake.” The man glared with honey brown eyes, a chilling darkness behind them. You glared right back. The doctor left shortly after his call to the general.

When Hux arrived, you were completely alone, nodding off. An icy hand on your forearm startled you from your sleepy stupor, and you flinched, inhaling sharply through your nose.

“My apologies,” began the now familiar redhead, bright blue eyes cool, but not cold, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

There was a look on his face you couldn’t quite describe, and you only offered a rather swollen smile in response. Upon hearing footsteps approaching, you watched the general’s face change with a careful curiosity. His brows deepened, eyes narrowed, and lips pursed- he had softened to speak to you and only you. Behind the tall ginger happily swayed the ever-chipper Carrie.

“General Hux! Oh my! What a surprise, I’m happy to report that this lovely lady will be healed in no time! She needs to rest for a couple days, though, all of this swelling needs to go down, and she’s going to need proper treatment, not from these flimsy things. Now I must say that-“

“That’s enough,” said Hux sharply, and Carrie immediately was silenced. Almost childishly, her dainty hands covered her mouth. She stared in silence at the general with enormous brown eyes, and Hux heaved a sigh and gestured vaguely to you, “I’m going to take her to her quarters. I expect you to be ready for my call tomorrow morning, Mrs. Armande.”

The dark haired woman nodded, and Hux helped you down from the medical bed. Awkward, bloodied, barefoot, and in a robe barely covering your essential bits, you shuffled awkwardly beside the general in chief. Your bruised forearms covered your chest and pelvic regions. As icy as ever, Hux did not dare to even side-eye you. Your face felt unbelievably hot, but not a twinge of pink ringed the pale man’s cheekbones. The walk to your quarters was almost humiliating, but you were more relaxed when you boarded the elevator with the ginger general, away from prying eyes, or so you imagined anyways. You still did not reveal yourself, but your shoulders drooped from exhaustion, and your knees were beginning to tremble at your own weight. Hux did not turn to look at you when he spoke, but he held a firm forearm for you to clutch to, “refrain from fainting, won’t you?” He sneered, and trembling harder, you clutched to his arm like a vice. He silently sighed and softened his shoulders when your struggle was truly revealed. Holding you upright with ease, the general walked you slowly out of the elevator and to your door, which seemed like a mile stretch, and he used his own keycard to open the door. You couldn’t have been happier to be to your home away from home, and your eyes went blurry with tears of relief. Shortly after having entered, a quiet sob rose slowly from your chest, until you were blubbering softly with an equally horrified and appalled Hux still on your arm. He seemed even moreso now to be at a loss for words, and led you silently to the black-tiled bathroom. He helped you sit softly on the edge of the tub, wherein you continued to cry. He left the room, returned with clothes, and cleared his throat over your weeping. He stated your name rather defiantly at first, but his tone softened as he continued, “you’re going to clean yourself up and compose yourself. I will be waiting on you to finish.” And he left you alone again in the bathroom.

Crawling into the tub, you disrobed and sat on the frigid tile, crying into your hands. After another few minutes, you turned the water on, and let the boiling droplets pound onto your horrifically aching back. You sat for what felt like an eternity, before willing yourself to your feet and slowly scrubbing away the blood and the grime of the day, as carefully as possible with your throbbing, dominant hand. Eventually you turned off the water, dried off and used the towel to clear the copious amounts of steam off the fogged mirror. You were horrified at the woman before you. Never before had you seen so many welts, dings, scrapes and bruises all on one body. You looked like a victim of abuse. No, you thought, I am a victim of abuse.

For as special as you supposedly were, you were treated like nothing more than a rag doll. Something to be tossed around, to comply, to sit idly util she was stitched up and ready for use again. Fury boiled up in you until you were physically red in both your face and your chest. You splashed cold water on your face and exhaled, toweling down again. You brushed your hair and dressed yourself, exiting the bathroom silently.

Hux, as promised, sat waiting, but he had his personal holoscreen projected in front of him wherein he was working, and had somehow discovered a large bottle of what you guessed to be Correllian firewater. Half of it was gone. He did not seem to notice your entrance, so you sat across from him on the couch opposite, bundling up with a plush throw, and watching the redhead carefully. Per usual, his expression was rather sour, but you wondered if he would soften again when he noticed you. You leaned forward and slipped the whiskey-substitute away from him, and eyed it carefully. After a moment, Hux reached for the bottle absentmindedly, and when he couldn’t feel it, he peered away from his screen to find you reading the label instead. He closed the screen with a flick of his wrist, and removed his overcoat again, similarly to before. The silence was unquestionably awkward, and the two of you had great difficulty looking at the other. After a few minutes, you spoke up softly, “thank you.” Hux’s face hardened even more and he stood, donned his overcoat, and left without a word.

You were alone after the fact for three days.

Well, not quite. Carrie visited you in the mornings and in the evenings, running tests and whining about her director, Dr. Arekson. But you didn’t listen to her when she spoke, really. You simply liked the background noise.

One morning you laid on your sofa, arm propped up, the swelling having decreased greatly on your dominant hand, but it was still present. As usual, you were watching a Togruta soap, the purple alien woman pleading with her male green counterpart to stay with her, instead of leaving her for the blue alien woman. You began to think of home, and of your own blue alien friend, Aes. Your heart ached at the thought of her. You’d been beaten and thrown around so much in the past week you hadn’t once thought of home. You missed your mother and Sebastian quite a bit, and even Xan and Qira. Well, Xan and Qira more than you were willing to admit. You could feel your eyes strain for tears, but you couldn’t seem to conjure any. Instead, you buried your face into your hands and made yourself as tiny as physically possible.

A beep and a whirr at the door.

“Oh, please don’t tell me you’re crying,” came the familiar voice, and you looked up to a face you knew well.

“Wes?”

In all his blond, cocky glory stood the brigadier general, except his face wasn’t playful like before- it was twisted with something you had a great difficulty pinpointing.

“I heard what had happened to you,” his brows deepened, and he said nothing else.

You could feel your body temperature begin to rise as quickly as your anger, “and I called for you first, Wes. I thought you were my friend.”

Wes’ usually arrogant demeanor melted away, and he palmed the back of his neck with a deep, nasal sigh, “I was still upset with you.”

His second reply came rather coyly compared to his usual booming tone, “I thought you were simply upset with my disappearance. That was wrong of me to assume.”

You still sat, face flushed with anger for the boyish blond, “you knew I was in the medical wing, and you still didn’t bother to even visit me?”

The man’s brows pinched angrily at this, “who do you think carried you to the wing?”

“Hux.”

“He helped, but he didn’t carry you,” Wes sneered, “nor did he stay with you till the nurse was available! Don’t you remember any of what happened?”

You blinked and thought back to what had happened. Perhaps it was a flash of blond, not red hair, and maybe those cold hands belonged to someone else. You ushered Wes towards you, slipped up his sleeve and felt bare skin. Cold. You felt guilt gather in the pit of your stomach. Perhaps you’d jumped the gun too soon in your own anger for Wes and overt trust in the general in chief.

“I’m sorry,” you said softly, “and no, I really don’t remember much at all.”

Wes’ face sank at the indication of truth in his past jab, which it appeared he had not truly realized, “let me make it up to you.” He said softly, holding an open palmed hand for you to take, and you did.

 


 

You had never been to Wes’ quarters until that evening. And needless to say, you could tell he was living there. Wes was obviously quite the slob compared to your quarters, but you hadn’t been there long at all, and he had been present for at least two years. The walls were lined with various flags, particularly ones of his home world and other core worlds, among knitted blankets and tapestries, alien patterns lining them. Various trinkets and useless knickknacks lined his shelves. A large holoset was within his living room, and his kitchen sink was full of various plates and cutlery. Overcoats, button ups and uniform trousers were strewn about. You realized that Wes’ messy uniforms were not only an indicator of his personality, but also his lifestyle. He reminded you a bit of a teenage boy in that regard.

Your body ached with every step, but you didn’t mention it to Wes, instead leaning on the counter identical to yours, but likely not as sanitized. “You’re messy for a Chandrilian,” you taunted softly, your black eye aching with your large grin. “Isn’t that a bit of a generalization, darling?” Taunted Wes back, reaching to give you a playful shove, but stopping at your largely visible wince. The blond quickly put on a frown at this, “I’m sorry.” You shook your head, chuckling awkwardly, “I’m just a little used to throwing fists now.” You cracked a wider smile, but this did not ease his worried expression.

“Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?” Wes seemed genuinely concerned, as well as genuinely apologetic. You rubbed your tender jaw softly, “I’m kind of hungry, actually, I haven’t eaten since noon.” Wes walked around the counter immediately, opening his conservator and pulling out numerous foodstuffs.

You watched a while, what you guessed to be an hour or so, in a bit of a trance, as Wes cooked with an astonishing grace. For as messy as he was, as well as his living quarters, he very well could have been a professional chef. Perhaps that’s how he maintained such a boyish glow. When he finished, he had made the two of you some type of meatless soup, accompanied by some stale, pre-baked bread. It wasn’t extravagant, but it tasted like home.

“Wes, this is fantastic,” you said, clapping the blond playfully on the back. “You’re a great cook.”

“Thank you,” he said simply, his dimpled smile soft.

You both ate in silence for a bit, but it was anything but awkward, it was homey, comfortable in a way you hadn’t felt since you had been, well, home.

“When will I get my transmitter back?” You questioned softly, “I haven’t spoken to my mother in a week.”

Wes winced a little, and took in a spoonful of his soup, “It’s been, ah, temporarily confiscated.”

“I know that,” you replied, “but when will I get it back?”

“They have to take it apart and put it back together, it could be months,” said Wes quietly, and your jaw dropped in disbelief.

You were ready to throw quite the fit, but you refrained from doing so when Wes spoke quickly, “you’re more than welcome to use mine to contact home, you’ll just need to give me the access codes necessary.”

You quieted, ate your food, and after a moment said decidedly, “I want to do that soon.”

Wes nodded in response. You didnt say anything after the fact, and fell back into comfortable silence.

Once you finished eating, you rose to leave, but Wes rose from his seat as well, “stay, won’t you, darling? Consider it an official apology from me, since you didn’t know I was on your side before.”

You hesitated, but quickly obliged, sensing Wes was genuine in his proposal, and so you stayed.

Although it was rather awkward, you managed, as one would do at a childhood sleepover, in the familiar but foreign bathroom, navigating your way hesitantly through the shower, struggling to find a brush and not a comb, and brushing your teeth with your finger. Eventually you slipped out of the bathroom and into Wes’ bedroom, which was much more heavily decorated than the rest of his living space. You even eyed frozen holograms, ancient, on a clunky holoprojector, from before your time of what you believed to be a young Wes among friends and family. You picked one up, of a beautiful, slender blonde woman and a curly haired, dimpled baby, who you presumed to be Wes.

“I was quite the handsome little Chandrillian, don’t you think?” Came a voice from behind, as a casually dressed Wes approached. The tight cotton shirt, wild curly hair, and baggy pants did much for the general, who you decided looked much better and less stiff dressed down.

“You were a beautiful baby, Wes.”

“You act like I’m not now!” He feigned, playfully snatching the holoprojector from your grasp. He pressed a button noisily on the side, wherein a projection of himself was revealed, perhaps nine or ten with a mouthful of something suspicious and eyes the size of moons. Wes began to laugh at the sight of it, “my mother, the woman from the photo earlier, made about half a dozen sweetpies for some horrid meeting for my father, and I ate two whole ones!” He was laughing near hysterically at this point, “I could barely move for three days after I ate them!” You laughed along with him, your heart aching even more for your childhood friends. For a while Wes simply showed you holograms and told stories of his childhood, wherein you deemed him a child near as mischievous as you were.

When he reached the end of his photos, you leaned over and hugged the blond, “Thank you, Wes. Goodnight.”

Understanding your exhaustion, he offered you his bed, and retreated to the sofa for the night, something else you thanked him for. You crawled into the large bed, nearly drowned in the scent of the blond, and fell quickly into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

You awoke regretfully to the sharp and irritable ringing of your holopad. Four rings were followed by your fumbling to pick it up and shut off the alarm. Only it wasn’t an alarm, it was a call. You clumsily smashed the ‘answer’ button.

“Yes?” You slurred groggily, rubbing your eyes, and stretching with a yawn and a tremble.

“Return to your quarters immediately,” snapped a familiar voice, with more malice than you had ever heard in it before.

“General Hux?” You forced open your blurry eyes to see the contact projection of a familiar angled face and flaming tresses. “What are you-?”

“That is an order.” Hux’s voice was the loudest you’d ever heard it, and so was the slamming his fist on what you assumed to be a desk.

“Oh,” you thought. “Someone is pissed.”

“Yes, sir,” you mumbled softly, groggily, and he ended the call with an aggressive swipe.

You swung your feet out over the side of the bed and hopped out, rushing to the attached bathroom. Wes was showering. He peeked from behind the opaque glass when you entered.

“Uh, excuse me, darling,” he snickered a little, “I know you’re from a moon of all places, but knocking is something you do when-“

“I think I’m in trouble,” you interrupted coyly, rummaging about for a brush.

“I beg your pardon?” The blonde furrowed wet brows.

“Hux called me and is pissed, I don’t...I don’t know.” You explained quietly, rinsing the sleep from your eyes.

Wes visibly paled, “Oh.”

The man gesticulated to the holopad you had set on the sink with a dripping hand, “when you weren’t in your quarters for breakfast, he likely tracked your holopad and assumed the worst.”

“...What do you mean?”

Wes worked his jaw, “he probably thinks we slept together.”

He shut the sliding door of the shower, but continued to speak. You could feel his discomfort, but more importantly his fear.

“You need to explain to him that isn’t what happened,” said Wes quickly, turning off the water. “Care to finish up outside, darling?” He asked, voice cracking softly. You nodded and scurried out.

“Shit,” you thought quickly. “Shitshitshitshitshit,” came the rapid repetition as you hastily put on your clothes from the day before and brushed your hair out as neatly as possible. Steam billowed from the bathroom.

“Wes,” you called gingerly, and the bathroom door opened with a whir. With a towel held precariously, dripping wet, droplets rushing down a chiseled frame, the man gave you a visibly shaky albeit playful shove.

“It’ll be fine, just tell the truth.”

You felt fear radiating off of him aggressively and you fought back a shudder. You forced on a smile and turned on your heel to leave.

Wes called your name and you turned, “Darling, you are so much stronger than you know, and I am blessed you are someone I can call a friend.”

You blinked at the eerily familiar words, but grinned genuinely and returned to the blonde, giving his free hand a squeeze, “Thanks, Wes.”

And with that you left, rather abruptly at that. Fear gathered in your chest as you approached your own door. Was Hux there? Was Silas? Would you be punished? Would Wes? Maybe you could explain yourself, make it look not so bad. But it wasn’t bad, you thought, swiping your keycard. You tensed as you entered the dark space you called home.

You didn’t remember drawing the curtains.

The back of a hand connected to your cheek with a sharp crack, and you yelped, more in surprise than in pain. You raised a hand, using the Force to draw open the curtains and let in the starlight. The eternal night casted the room black and white, but a familiar figure stood before you.

“G-general,” you stuttered, holding your cheek, teary eyed from the intensity of the strike, “what are you-?”

“Whore,” he hissed loudly over your confusion, and grabbed you by your arms, “you fucking insolent whore!”

You fought against Hux’s iron-clad grip, alcohol smelling of the ginger general more strongly than you’d ever noticed before.

You used your powers to pry his hands off of you, “Shut up! That isn’t true!”

You took several steps back, back pressed against the barstool chairs of your kitchen. His eyes widened a little, shocked at your blatant usage of your force abilities, but he pushed further. Drunk and emboldened, walking menacingly toward you, “don’t you know the punishment for sodomy?”

“Sodomy? Hux, listen to me, we didn’t-“

“Ah, I see. So you actually fucked Kynnovan, you didn’t just gag on his-“

“That is ENOUGH!” You shouted, outstretching a hand and knocking the general to the floor. You could feel him fighting against you, and he was relatively immobilized, but in his drunkenness he proved no match for your force abilities.

“I didn’t have sex with Wes, fucking listen to me instead of accusing me of things that aren’t even true!” You were red in the face, yelling louder with each word, “he is my friend, and we were reconciling over a fight, that’s it!”

Hux gave a snarl of an expression, and you could feel his fury boiling over. “Lying girl,” he growled, returned to his feet, and approached you closer. Your hand stayed outstretched still.

“Let me show you,” you offered in frustration, shakily, and pressed your fingertips gently on his temples as he approached. He did not move, even though he had the opportunity to do so. You revealed every tiny detail of your evening to the inebriated redhead, who looked at you with a burning, red hot malice. Not his expected icy glare.

When you finished you took a step back and looked pleadingly to the ginger general, “I’m telling you the truth, and I showed you everything that happened, please just-“

You were silenced by the blaze of Hux’s newfound emotion, which rolled off of him unmistakably. Lust. You were bewildered.

He looked at you, glazed over, with frightening, icy eyes, and brought a hand gently toward you. He wrapped his fingers up in your hair and drew you intimately close, his other hand rested beneath your jawline on your windpipe. The curve of his suddenly erect crotch was pressed unapologetically against your stomach. You flushed deeply and squirmed hard, tears again pricking the corners of your eyes, panicked at the ginger’s actions, much too sure of the next ones, “General, no, please-“ was all you managed out.

He gave your throat a firm squeeze and kissed you clumsily on the mouth. You were too shocked to fight, arms stiff at your sides, eyes wide as moons. You could taste firewater on him, and grew light-headed at being asphyxiated. Or perhaps it was the alcohol? Panic and unexpectedness of the situation? Regardless, you did not kiss the redhead back.

Hux recognized this and pulled away after an uncomfortable moment. His eyes were frostbite on you. “So be it,” he growled through clenched teeth, and released you. You brought your hands immediately to your neck and took rapid, shallow breaths. The ginger general retrieved the gloves he had left on your kitchen counter days prior and exited your quarters, leaving you burning with anger, embarrassment, and a loss for words.

“Wes,” you murmured quickly to yourself, and trembling, entered his access code on your holopad. He answered quickly, in the process of buttoning up his uniform for the day, “hello, darling!” The blue mass of pixels in front of you gave you a familiar dimpled grin. “Ah, you’re alive and well I see. But I can’t feel anything through your projection. What happened?” He questioned mellowly, smoothing out the fabric along his chest. His golden curls hung untamed.

“Fucking hell, Wes, I-“ you were interrupted by a loud sound on the blonde general’s end. “Ah, the man of the hour! Good morning to you, Hux! I imagine-“ and you watched the blue figure turn towards the redhead and be struck by a fist to the jaw. You tried to hide your gasp.

“Oh come on, now Armitage,” managed Wes, who you watched spit blood onto the tile, “you can hit harder than that.” And so he struck Wes again, and again, and again, who simply took the blows and did not fight back.

The blonde coughed a little, wrenched over and visibly in pain, “as I was saying, I imagine you’ve assumed the worst. I do certainly hope you didn’t strike our force sensitive the way you’ve struck me.”

“Shut up,” spat the drunken redhead, who then looked up and saw you watching in shock over the holopad. He sauntered over and turned it off. You choked and rushed out your door and down the hall to Wes’. You tried your keycard. Locked. You banged on the metal with heavy fists, screaming like it was the end of the universe as you knew it. “Wes!” you wailed, “open the door, please! Please!”

The click and the beep of the door unlocking made you freeze and hold your breath. The stench of alcohol greeted you in the dark crack of the door- Hux. You gritted your teeth and leapt for the door. It whirred shut abruptly.

“You have training with Ren,” came the muffled, but unmistakably wicked hiss of the redhead, “go to him now before your brigadier general is charged with something I have to execute him for.”

You choked back a sob, trembling with white hot rage. You sensed the truth, and with no choice, left your poor blonde friend the way he had left you.

-

You had already memorized that metallic abyss of the ship wherein you were to be beaten to a sobbing pulp by Ren. You were far too hurt and full of rage to worry about your own wellbeing at that point in time. On the Finalizer you were rewarded for criminal behavior, and not only punished, but humiliated for your friendships. It made no sense, and only made your temper volcanic.

You stomped into the room, ready to fight that masked bastard himself, only to find the room empty. Twitching with pent up anger, you kicked the padded wall a few times, hissing curses through clenched teeth and pacing like a lunatic. Eventually you huffed and sat down on the padded floor, sweating bullets. Your anger had forced your body temperature up, and your tantrum had done you no favors. You laid back on the mats, feet planted flat and knees buckled towards the ceiling. You held your face in your hands and began to weep. Ugly and bodied and full of everything you were feeling. Why couldn’t you be back home on your boring little moon, with your biggest concern being your spiced up childhood friends? Your heart ached in your chest.

“Pain flows from you like water,” unexpectedly came that all-too-familiar robotic baritone.

Kylo Ren had entered the room while you had been distracted during your tantrum.

You sat up immediately and began in scrambling backwards, fear settling in at warp speed. You trembled at the masked man, your pure fear leaving you speechless. A beat.

“And do you know what water does to iron?”

Heavy boots thumped closer towards you. Your back was pressed against a padded wall, and you clenched your eyes shut, hot tears running down your face. Your breath hitched it your throat as you choked back sobs. You pleaded internally for him not to strike.

“It rusts it at first, and degrades it to nothing. Nothing but dust.”

You sobbed, and forced blurry eyes to the huge, dark creature above you.

“Be the water, girl, not the iron.”

Leathered fingertips met your forehead, and a dramatic, almost mocking sigh came your way from Kylo. You felt him thumb through your morning like he would a novella.

“You’ve been violated,” he stated matter-of-factly. “By that General in Chief himself.” You began to cry again, and he shushed you with shocking softness. Your lip trembled as you silenced and searched for eyes behind the slab of frigid metal before you.

“Take off your mask,” you pleaded quietly, body shaking with your sobs.

A long moment of silence, but like before, Kylo brought his hands to the bottom of his mask and clicked the release, the voice modulator raised, and off came the mask with a steaming hiss.

You looked to the sith for something, anything, but his sharp features revealed nothing to you. Tears began to pour once again. His deep voice was almost honeyed, chills were sent through you with his words, “it was a mistake.”

A blink on your end, to an unmoving stare on Ren’s.

“Your mistake,” he said evenly, and your eyes widened.

“I don’t-“

“Understand? Of course you don’t,” he scoffed, “let me simplify this for you.”

The sith crouched to your level, placed his gloved knuckle beneath your chin and forced you to look him in the face. His black eyes revealed nothing to you. No heat, no ice, just emptiness. A dark mirror.

“You could have sated Hux, you knew what he wanted and yet, you denied him.”

Your brows tilted in disbelief at the beast’s remarks.

“So unbelievably selfish,” he sighed again, “and now your friend will be lucky to survive.”

Ren stood up, and stared down at you in total silence.

“How can I fix this?” You rasped, “Please, tell me.”

Ren allowed a trace of a smirk, but his eyes stayed dead, “you will make Hux stop, or your friend will be stripped of his rank and executed.”

You grew angry again, “I have no idea how to do that! What do you mean ‘make him stop’?!”

A flicker of heat was revealed in Kylo’s eyes, “let me teach you.”

You felt yourself trembling, but with what you couldn’t place.

“Show me how.”

Chapter Text

 

Kylo was not a person to you before the moments following your submission.

 

A horrifying, powerful mass of darkness with a mask the shape of death and a band on his mind tight, tight- ready to snap. You did not want him to put on his mask again, but he donned it as you left the training room. You followed him silently as he made his way upwards from the bowels of the ship, down dimly lit and dark-tiled halls. You were alone. Which was strange to say the least.

 

You were certain at this point Kylo was reading your thoughts when he commented, “anyone with common sense knows to stay clear of me.”

 

He turned and looked over his shoulder from behind the mask, “soon enough it will be the same for you.”

 

You simply stared moon-eyed in response to the sith, cotton-mouthed and shaky.

 

He clicked his tongue, a robotic crack of a sound, “can you look any more afraid?”

 

Blood rushed rapidly to your cheeks and your ears, “I...um.”

 

Kylo hummed only in response, almost a laugh. He seemed practically gleeful. You could feel his hatred for Hux. Yes, that was the feeling, without question. You presumed he was excited to fight, his energy was bubbling hot and restless on your senses. You quietly followed behind, thoroughly shaken up. Healthy fear still fluttered in your chest at the man.

 

“I am going to show you so very much, today. Your potential is invigorating. How long we’ve awaited for an apprentice.”

 

Kylo’s matter of fact response left you biting your tongue and trying to hide your thoughts. It seemed he just liked listening to himself talk.

 

“We?” You questioned, curious.

 

“Hux and I.”

 

You shrunk at the general’s very name, nausea and shame overtaking you. Ren barked your name and you flinched, taking a skittish step back.

 

“Stop,” came the command, and you stood stiff as a board without opposition- much to the dismay of the sith.

 

those emotions,” he growled, beckoning you to continue on with only a feeling, back tightening in frustration. You felt his anger growing, coming to a boil immediately. Ren was not a difficult one to read, his aura was suffocating in its intensity.

 

You hadn’t the slightest what he meant. The sith turned with hostility, cape flourishing with the sheer melodrama of it. With a step back a little too hard at the action, you lost your balance. Ren grabbed your wrist with lightning quickness, much to the dismayed and painful creak of your shoulder. You winced and gritted your teeth, body worn from your weeks of overexertion. Kylo grabbed your other wrist with his other hand and rocked you back onto steady feet. The closeness was overwhelming. Ren smelled sharp and hot, all leather and spice.

 

“Hone your pain, you anger, bury your fears, but don’t forget them- yet.” And with shocking speed he was turned back around and walking towards your destination again. It seemed like the moment before was a distant memory or some unusual daydream. You took a steady breath and quickened your pace.

 

By the time you reached the general’s quarters, you were trembling with unbridled fury. It was comparable to that fateful day you last saw Qira and Xan. You had heeded Kylo’s remarks and the more you thought about your encounter with the redhead, the more furious you became. The sith stopped you, and forced open Wes’ door. Without hesitation you walked boldly into the darkness, only to be met with infuriating silence. You called your power to turn on the lights, wherein they grew near painfully bright with a sharp hum. You let the masked man behind you tend to stopping them from bursting with hot, electrical sizzles. The fluorescent noise made you twitch. The room appeared empty.

 

“Hux!” You called out in fury, invigorated and red-hot with Kylo at your side. You were met still with silence.

 

You turned to the masked man, who spoke the same time and the same phrase, “they’re not here.” Speech cluttered and overlapping, you blinked rapidly. You had mirrored each other to a T. The sith remained stoic, but you nervously fumbled with the hem of your sleeve. These feelings left you restless.

 

“Why are we synced?” It was clear without a doubt this was not coincidence. You could feel it.

 

“How observant,” came Kylo’s tone faintly mocking, as he sauntered your way and towered over you.

 

You bristled visibly and clenched your jaw taut, again looking up to where you assumed eyes to be, “you didn’t answer my question.”

 

A robotic scoff from behind that wicked sheet of metal, “does it matter? Your potential is unmatched, think of our combined ability.”

 

You inhaled sharply, frustrated with the riddles the sith was providing instead of plainly speaking.

 

“I thought you were going to show me how to fix this,” came your accusatory hiss, but Ren stayed unfazed. Not boiling in the slightest, perhaps even calm. You sensed his aura, but not his feelings. He answered only in a sweep of an open palmed hand, nearly a shrug. You turned on your heel so as to not reveal the anger on your features. You paced the room listlessly, thoughts muddled, trying to think of how to remedy the situation yourself.

 

“Remember this?” Spoke a voice in your head.

 

It suddenly clicked.

 

You swiveled immediately on your heel to face Kylo, who you were certain was grinning wickedly from behind his mask.

 

“It was YOU?” You hissed, confusion and anger rolling over you, vividly recalling your blur of events with Director Terrano and her gorgeous blasters.

 

Kylo said nothing.

 

You pressed your hands to your temples, fighting back a scream. What a fucking pain in the ass this all was.

 

“Hone that feeling,” offered the sith. “Seek the power within it to find your friend.”

 

You stared in response.

 

“Trust your ability,” come the robotic tone simply, and you snorted. What kind of self-righteous nonsense was he on about? He said nothing yet again, but you tried...whatever he suggested. You plopped unceremoniously onto the tiled floor and squeezed you eyes shut. Darkness. You absentmindedly brushed at where your earpiece would be.

 

“Wes?” You called, an echo in your own skull.

 

Well, you knew that wasn’t right.

 

“HONE it,” growled the sith from behind, and you were rather unsure of your next step. You fought back a huff and remained quiet, taking the flames of your emotions and simmering them.

 

“No,” barked Ren, losing patience rapidly, “use your FEELINGS to call out to him.”

 

You cursed, loudly.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

 

Kylo forced you to your feet with a flat palm and the force. You wobbled a little, but regained your balance quickly. He stepped in close and pressed on your still swollen cheek with his leather-gloved hand. You flinched, fear returning as quickly as it had departed. Blinking hard, you visibly winced in pain- but Ren kept you still. He brought your feeling to the base of your throat, and let you take the reigns from there. You felt fear still sit in your chest.

 

“Wes?” Your throat flickered subtly with movement as if you were speaking, but no sound came out. You felt that was the right thing to do. The commander removed you from his painful grip and took three or four heavy steps back.

 

You knew this was exactly what he meant.

 

Radio silence from Wes. You brought the voice in the base of your throat to Kylo, significantly calmer than your tantrum moments prior. Your voice did not waver with fear in your mind, “I learn better through hands-on experience,” you thought. The voice that told you to take the blasters seemed mellow, almost pleased, “then this is how we will do things.”

 

Although you were still deathly afraid of the sith, you felt more confident in yourself. You rocked gently on your heels, anxiousness of the situation making you squirm. You called out again to Wes, but still you were met with a deep, dark quiet. A void. That was the only way to describe it.

 

“Where is General Kynnovan?” Asked Ren, tone level again.

 

“I...I don’t know, I can’t reach him,” you admitted.

 

Kylo simply stared in response. You imagined him scowling deeply and shrunk a little.

 

You worked your jaw, calling out to Wes again, growing more sure of your voice with each word sent to him. And yet, still no response. You were yelling into a force hole.

 

You wanted Kylo to try.

 

“...Has he said anything to you?” You offered quietly, fright fluttering in your chest as if whipped by an icy wind.

 

Again, nothing.

 

You frowned, slumped, and listened hard. Silence from Wes, and now silence from Ren too.

 

You simmered quietly, mulling over why in all the stars he wouldn’t answer. Your eyes widened greatly at a possible outcome in your head, “can he say anything to me if he’s unconscious?”

 

“No,” came Kylo’s quick reply.

 

You felt the gusto you possessed fly out the window, you had great difficulty conjuring words, “we have to find him, sooner than later.”

 

There was silence from Ren as you stood panicking, before you had your epiphany.

 

“I have to call out to Hux,” you felt a clammy chill wash over your palms.

 

“Smart girl,” came the honeyed, sardonic retort of the sith.

 

You ran your fingers roughly through your hair, heartbeat quickening immediately. You felt cold sweat gather on your back.

 

“You are stronger than he is,” said Kylo, “and you know it.”

 

“I can’t-“

 

Ren silenced you, soundless words on the tip of your tongue with a twitch of his hand, “don’t say that to me- ever again.”

 

You swallowed hard when he released you from your invisible bond.

 

“Do it,” he growled, mask crackling in the lowness of his angry baritone.

 

You felt sweat along your neck now, anxiety building. You gathered your power in the base of you neck.

 

“Hux?” You called, “I need to talk to you.”

 

“No,” came the redhead’s reply immediately.

 

“Commander Ren and I require it. Lead us your way,” you feigned confidence although you felt you might throw up.

 

A snarl from the ginger general, “and why can’t Ren talk to me himself? How do I know you aren’t just looking for your friend?”

 

You were shocked to find he seemed significantly more sober in his thoughts than in the hour or so prior.

 

“I’m training, remember?”

 

Silence for a long moment. But not a hole to yell into, more like an open room with Hux on the opposing side.

 

“...We’re in my quarters, the code is 6627.”

 

You could feel a shudder roll over you, “see you soon, then.” And with that, the conversation ended abruptly. You felt weak in the knees, and you slumped a little more.

 

“It’s time to go,” stated Kylo in a matter-of-fact tone, dragging you out of your stupor with haste.

 

You wrapped an arm across your body and rubbed the other- this was the last way you expected your morning to turn out. The redhead made you feel violated and small.

 

“Push that feeling down,” he chided, and you shrunk back again.

 

“Wes is there with him, you know it, be prepared to fight with your words, not the force.”

 

The force? The words were unclear in definition and yet, you knew exactly what Kylo meant.

 

“Okay,” you mustered softly, shaking yourself out a bit in anticipation, “let’s go.”

 

Exiting Wes’ quarters with swiftness, the sith followed at your heel as you approached that ominous black door. The hall seemed to stretch on forever- until you were there. Ren stepped heavily over you, and you slipped over sideways to give him room. Removing a dark leather glove, he held a pale hand to the reader instead of a card. The door opened without a moments hesitation. He slipped the glove back on immediately.

 

The sith hummed thoughtfully and pointed his mask your direction, “your ability will make anywhere accessible, from the corners of the galaxy to the reaches of these quarters.”

 

You searched Kylo’s mask with skittering eyes, shocked, this was a power you had too? What kind of abilities did you really possess?

 

“You will learn, in time, girl. That is something we have enough of to spare.”

 

The sith stepped into the darkness first this time, and you conjured the lights. These quarters were significantly nicer than yours or Wes’ and you took in all you could of the enormous living space. Your eyes flickered to a single chair facing a window encompassing the vastness of space...with a dark mass on the tile beside it. That was them, you concluded. How theatric. You turned to face Ren, who was looking at you expectantly. You swallowed hard.

 

“General Hux?” You called out, steadying your voice with great effort, “we’re here to chat.”

 

“What all have you learned today?” Came the general’s slurred voice from behind the chair. A hand stretched out lazily, and a bottle of dark red liquid caught the starlight. Still drinking, you concluded.

 

“Enough,” you remarked, approaching Hux. Kylo was like a ghost behind you, following and saying nothing.

 

A snicker from Hux, who seemed utterly entertained by your response. You approached closer, fighting back that biting chagrin and fueling your temper. You had to fight back gritted teeth when you spoke, “so let’s talk.”

 

You walked around to the front of the chair, the redhead draped unceremoniously atop, coat unbuttoned and sprawled about, standard general’s cap missing. A mess of fiery hair was swept about his face and he looked up with icy blue eyes. A smirk grew on his features at the sight of you. You felt like he was dissecting you with his gaze.

 

“You start,” he flashed his teeth in a grin and sat up, leaning forward. He took a drink of wine, maintaining fierce eye contact. You looked at the mass on the floor and swallowed down a gasp, “what have you done to Wes?”

 

The general waved a dismissive hand, “he’s alive.”

 

You worked your jaw in fury, “that isn’t what I asked.”

 

Hux rose to stand and you forced him back down into his seat with a sweep of your hand.

 

Was it always this easy?

 

The ginger general contorted his face, boiling, but immobilized, VERY drunk on top of it all.

 

“Sober up, then we’ll talk.”

 

You kept the redhead in his seat, who fought against you with the all the power he had.

 

You knelt down to Wes, tears daring to spill from your eyes. You unfurled him from the shape he was in onto his back. You could sense he was alive, but Hux had done serious damage. You bit your lip, tears blurring your vision as you brushed gentle fingers across his bruised face, “why didn’t you fight back?” Shallow breathing was your only response. You heard the sound of Kylo’s boots approach. The snarl that came from Hux made you flinch, “you are a BASTARD Ren!” The sith seemed joyous in his fury. “You are such a pathetic drunk, general.”

 

“Um,” you interrupted the bickering between the two men, ever-keeping Hux cemented in his chair. “Master Ren, can you wake General Kynnovan for me?”

 

Kylo ignored Hux’s loud protests, and rested a heavy hand on your shoulder, “place your hands on him.” You followed the sith’s instructions, and you closed your eyes. A violent surge of energy made you gasp and stirred hot in your chest. You felt Kylo’s hand leave, along with the sensation.

 

“Find that,” came the robotic hum, and the masked man turned to the furious, spitting Hux, face nearly as red as his hair. “Be quiet, Armitage.”

 

This only prompted more fury from the redhead, who fought viciously against his invisible bonds. You turned to look at the general. His fiery hair hung loose, shoulders tight as he fought against you, his teeth bared and screams tearing through the air. Kylo stood tall and silent, a boiling, dark mass. You turned abruptly away and back to Wes; your hair standing on end. Both of these men were horrifying in their own rights. You needed to just focus on your friend before you were too spooked to function.

 

A deep breath, and a search within your chest. A spark. Not Kylo’s wildfire, but a spark. You coaxed it from within you, bodily temperature rising. Your cheeks flushed and you exhaled deeply. Warm, not hot. With a firm press, you nudged the heat from within you and into Wes. He inhaled sharply as you poured that energy into him, the bruises on his face dwindled to discolored splotches within seconds. He opened his eyes, heavy and clouded. That quickly faded, clarity encompassing him with a start. He pulled you immediately into a tight hug.

 

“Hello, darling! Did you wake me? I must say, I feel better than when I went out.” He grinned, a glimmer of pain splicing his features as he sat up straight. You slumped, your body aching. You gave what little you had left to your closest friend. Sweat gathered at your brow from your action with a sharp exhale on your end.

 

“Ooh...hey now, take a breath, easy...easy,” he supported you fully as you slumped into him, you were ready to crawl back into bed. Your limbs were heavy and your fought your eyelids to stay awake.

 

“Are you okay?” You asked groggily. When you lolled your head up to look at him, any remnants of bruising or swelling had disappeared completely. His steely eyes caught the starlight. Amusement and concern ebbed from Wes as he gave a dry chuckle, “I’m much better now. You, my friend, are looking rather tired. What did you do?”

 

“I don’t know,” you admitted, “Commander Ren showed me how to wake you up, but I think I did a little more. Your bruises are gone.” You only then noticed the silence of the room. You looked up to see Hux unconscious in his chair and Kylo standing above, arms crossed tightly. Alarm shot off the blond general like a torrent of ice water on your senses, and he scrambled back, you firm in his grasp.

 

“Compose yourself, General Kynnovan,” came Kylo’s even response.

 

“...You’re training her well,” Wes spoke gingerly after a long pause, soft eyed, standing to his feet with ease and helping you to yours. You wobbled intensely on your feet, any strength you had gone. You gripped on the general so you wouldn’t fall.

 

Kylo stood tall, cape swaying as he shifted his weight. The mask pointed towards you, “I will call to you when the time comes again to train.” Without warning, Ren held a gloved hand to your face and the world around you melted into a peaceful black.

 


 

You opened your eyes to a sickly pale-blue sky. Warm, salty air whipped across your cheeks. You inhaled, the weight of the ocean’s air heavy in your lungs. But which ocean? You felt the grain of sand beneath your fingertips. You forced yourself up off your back, hands pressed behind you. A familiar man sat on a dune, a good few feet away. His dark hair was tousled by the air. You heard the waves crashing close by.

 

You opened your mouth to speak his name, but when the man saw you, he recoiled visibly. Anger flashed across his sharp features and the wind grew stronger, “how are you here?”

 

“...Where am I?”

 

He blinked, and rose to his feet, his regular speaking voice foreign on your ears, “it doesn’t matter.”

 

You followed suit, and he seemed greatly offended.

 

“Kylo, I-“

 

Rage became clear in his features and his body language, he pointed an angry finger at you, “DON’T talk to me.” Waves crashed noisy, angry in the distance. He assumed his normal stance, but was less intimidating without the armor, mask, and cape. He was clothed in a simple gray shirt and dark linen pants, barefoot in the black sand.

 

“Where are we?” you asked, testing your luck.

 

“This is MY place,” he snapped, “how did you get here?”

 

“...You put me to sleep,” you murmured after a long moment, trying to remember events prior.

 

His eyes flickered with realization and you stood your ground. Everything was kind of hazy. You wondered if you were in a dream. But Kylo had said this was ‘his place’? That made no sense.

 

“This is my domain,” he explained quietly, still bristling intensely, but not enough to bring you harm. “I don’t know how you got here.”

 

You stood silent, unsure of what to say. You crossed your arms, deciding to push a bit more, “then wake me up.”

 

His face flushed a little, having obviously not considered the option. He tightened his stance and hardened his face, “just...hold still.”

 

You closed your eyes as his bare hand was outstretched your way.

 

Nothing.

 

You opened your eyes, and he was staring at his hand, fighting shock. He held it out again- and nothing.

 

“Wake yourself up,” he hissed, turning on his heel to leave.

 

“Since I’m here,” you started, volume louder than anticipated, “can I make my own domain?”

 

You could see Kylo battling in his mind at your boisterous question by his minute movements. You knew it was a bit much to ask, but he turned again to you, the breeze ruffling his dark hair even further. He sighed deeply, “come with me to the water.”

Chapter Text

Time flowed much differently in Kylo’s domain than in the waking world.

Or well, maybe Kylo.

It was very obviously him. Those sharp angled features, freckles like stars, large shoulders and chest- but he had no helmet, no cape, and while he was certainly awkward, short-tempered, and often difficult- he wasn’t ever genuinely cruel. The Kylo of the waking world’s wrath was instantaneous and unrelenting. You could tell when you pushed dream Kylo’s buttons and knew when to stop. Sometimes he would snap, but he never struck you or put you in any imminent danger. Not anything he couldn’t take care of himself anyway. He didn’t much like for you to call him Kylo Ren, so you settled simply upon ‘master’.

The two of you had been training tirelessly for a little more than six weeks.

Physical and force exertion; your power and bodily strength had increased greatly during your time away from the waking world. Without a doubt, you had grown much more comfortable with this softer version of the sith. You didn’t pay mind much to what you said, and knew you could rouse yourself from sleep any time you pleased. You were contented with this gentle Kylo and gorgeous landscape. The thought of the icy tile of the Finalizer made you queasy.

You sat on an enormous woven mat on the obsidian sand with Ren, breaking bread- quite literally. You tore off a chunk of your half and took a hearty bite. You watched the horizon and the set of three suns dip below the line of the frothy sea as you ate, one sun right after the other. Soon thereafter you laid back flat and stared silently against a vivid tangerine sky, rapidly shifting to a rich violet.

“Master?”

Kylo looked to you, still working on his half of the loaf.

“Is this even real? Or am I having one hell of a dream?”

He contorted his face and spoke after swallowing the bread, “of course this is real.”

You scrunched up your face, unbelieving and still feeling rather blasé, “you know, you agreed to show me how to make my own domain a few weeks ago. What gives?”

Ren looked at you for a long moment, black eyes lit up warm in the sunset. A smile twitched at the edges of his mouth, “you have much to learn.”

You crossed your arms, “you’re avoiding my question.”

The dark-haired man scowled deeply, “not just much to learn from me.”

You squinted in confusion.

“It’s time for you to go back now. You’ve learned a lot from our time together. I’ll still be here when you come back again.”

“I don’t want to go,” you protested instantly, sitting back up and facing Kylo.

“You need to talk to your family, your friends,” he chided, his tone a genuine softness. He tucked a strand of hair behind your ear and you did not shy from his touch.

He trailed his fingers with a tenderness down your arm and pulled away, hesitating, “and you need to talk to Hux. He knows what he’s done and is rightfully embarrassed.”

You made a scoff of protest, turning away from the man beside you. He slipped his hand into your own and brought it to his chest.

You looked to him again, to be met with a softness beyond words, “be patient with him, and listen carefully to what he says.” You hesitated, but nodded an affirmative in response, sighing through your nose.

Another hand met you cheek, porcelain pale fingers carefully sweeping away a loose strand of hair, “I ask you two things.”

“Of course,” you hummed, searching his dark eyes.

“You need to come back to me,” he murmured, and you nodded an immediate ‘yes’. No hesitation there.

“More importantly, don’t talk about this to anyone when you go back. Especially not me.”

You made a face, “what?”

“Please, promise me.”

You hesitated for a long moment, looking at this man before you. You knew for sure in that moment it wasn’t Kylo Ren with you. But...you weren’t afraid. There was a deep trust and affection in those dark eyes, regardless of who it was you’d spent these spanning weeks with.

“I promise.”

A smile spread large and warm across not-Kylo’s face. He squeezed your hand tightly in his own and he pressed a kiss against your forehead, and then against the corner of your mouth. His lips were soft and sure. You felt blood rush rapidly to your cheeks, but you didn’t look away. You took in the softness of his face once more.

“I’ll see you soon, I promise,” you whispered.

You forced your eyelids open and brought yourself back to the waking world.

It took a good moment to process your surroundings. It was dark and chilly, but you were somewhere soft, comfortable. The noise of people did not surround you, just the whir of air passing through a vent. Your quarters. You were in your quarters.

You sat up, clinging to sleep; but you felt genuinely good, incredibly well rested. Willing yourself awake, stretching, and trotting to the the bathroom, you took in your reflection in the mirror.

You looked stunning.

The dark circles beneath your eyes had completely disappeared, as well as all your facial swelling and bruising. Your cheeks were round with life and tinted a warm, healthy color, your hair was glossy, lips healed and smooth, and your complexion much brighter. You lifted your shirt hesitantly and gaped, all your bruises, dings and scrapes had disappeared. Your lower half matched your top.

Physically, you felt significantly stronger, and flexed comically at your reflection, giving your bicep a good squeeze. Shock overtook you further when you felt hard muscle beneath your fingers. You didn’t really think anything done in not-Kylo’s domain would follow you to the waking world.

You stripped and showered quickly, pondering deeply over the weeks you spent with the dark-haired man, swearing you could smell salt and fresh air wash off of you and slip down the silver drain. A pang of sadness tugged hard at your stomach.

There were new clothes you’d found atop your dresser, and you unfurled them from their neat pile. No note, nothing. A frown teased your features. You assumed they were for you- they were your correct size, soft, breathable. The dark material was cool on the skin. You put them on with ease and walked back into the bathroom to admire how they looked. Sleek, black, and adorned with a shimmering red trim. You left your room, and fidgeted a bit with the collar of your top.

Wes sat on your sofa and turned abruptly at your footsteps, he stood and his eyes widened a little at the sight of you, “wow.” He shied a little at his own phrase, and cleared his throat, starting again, “I assume you slept well?”

You gave the blond a big grin, meeting him halfway across the room and wrapping him up in a tight hug. He seemed a bit surprised at the action, but hugged you back regardless. His hands ran carefully over your upper back, feeling out your new muscle. Confusion billowed off of him, but you spoke before he could, “I just needed a really, really good sleep.”

You pulled away from the hug, and Wes looked at you with a burning curiosity. You gave him a knowing look, “I’ll explain later.” He seemed to be dying to ask you more, but you both knew you would say nothing else.

“How long was I asleep?”

Wes furrowed his brow in thought, “ten, maybe twelve hours?”

Your eyes widened immediately. Your showdown with Hux and training with Ren was this morning.

Wes eyed you carefully, steel-colored eyes flicking across your features, “are you alright, darling?”

“Are you?” You spurted out.

“You already took care of me,” the general reminded you softly, concern painted across his eyes. “Do you need to sleep more? And do you remember what happened this morning?”

“No...I- yes,” you said quickly, squeezing your eyes shut, frazzled. “I’m rested, and it just...doesn’t feel like it was a few hours ago is all.”

A deep, deep frown marked Wes’ boyish face. For once in his life he said nothing.

“I’m okay! I just woke up, you know,” you assured him, giving a fighting grin.

He seemed sated with the answer, and gave you a playful punch on the shoulder. This time you didn’t flinch- you could sense that he noticed.

“Soo the outfit,” Wes started softly, awkwardness tinging his tone.

You struck a playful pose, “it’s nice! Did you bring it for me?”

The blond flicked his eyebrows in disdain, a scowl returning to his face, “guess again.”

You thought for a moment, working your jaw carefully, “did Hux?”

A solemn nod, you could sense he was fighting back a scoff.

“I should talk to him,” you said wistfully.

“That’s quite possibly the last thing you should do right now,” sneered Wes, incredulous you would bring up the idea.

“You’re right,” you agreed, not-Kylo’s suggestion shimmering in your thoughts, “I need to call home. Can I borrow your transmitter?”

Wes nodded, unbuttoning his general’s coat and patting his pockets absentmindedly. He found the device and handed it to you in good time. You quickly dialed your mother, who answered after a few uncertain rings. You started with ‘Hi, mom.’ But when she yelled your full name, you knew you were in huge trouble.

You swallowed, a bit nervous, “um, hi again.”

“You haven’t talked to me WEEKS!” Came her angry reply. You could all but feel her fury through the transmitter. You shrunk a little, thumbing at the empty place where your pendant used to hang.

“Well um, I haven’t been able to, I got a promotion.”

“Wha- well, where are you?!”

“The Finalizer.”

What you assumed to be angry silence was your answer.

“It was a big promotion. A REALLY big promotion. I’m on the biggest ship in the fleet, not on that awful base anymore.”

Silence again.

“Do you not believe me? Would you like to talk to the brigadier general of the First Order?”

A muffled thump on the other end.

“...Mom?”

“Who the fuck is this?” Demanded an intense, familiar voice.

“Aes!!” You yelped, immediately recognizing your best friend. “Oh Aes, Aes, it’s me! I have so much to tell-“

“Why the hell didn’t you call sooner?” Her voice cracked as she interrupted you, you could see tears threatening to spill from her angry eyes in your mind.

“I...I couldn’t, they took my transmitter. I’m on the Finalizer. I got a really...really big promotion. I’m with a general now. One of THE generals, actually.”

A shocked silence, “did you tell your mom?”

“Well, just now.”

“She fainted. Sebastian is with her now.”

You were the one in shocked silence this time around.

“Are you actually being serious about this whole promotion thing?”

“I swear on my life.”

A snort from the twi’lek girl, “prove it.”

You handed the transmitter to Wes, who had been watching with cool eyes. You leaned into the speaking end, “this is Brigadier General Kynnovan, Wes Kynnovan. He’s my best friend here.”

A long pause from Aeshin, “Hello, Wes.”

“Good to be introduced, Aeshin,” the general said softly, eyes shining with something you couldn’t pinpoint.

You stared awkwardly, and Wes simply handed the transmitter back, a trace of unknown emotion lingering on his face. You turned your attention back to the transmitter.

“Well?” You asked, a brow quirked.

“I know his name,” said the alien woman quietly, almost defeated, “I believe you.”

You gave a triumphant smile, “I knew you would!”

Quiet again, and your smile drifted away.

You gave a little bit of a cough, “my whole world has kind of been flipped upside down. I’m learning so much here! It doesn’t feel real.”

Silence on Aes’ end. You squirmed awkwardly. Was she really still this angry with you?

“Um, well, fill me in on back home. How is everyone?”

“I...” she started softly, and then stopped. You furrowed your brow and stayed silent, waiting for her to continue.

“The First Order came to us,” she said softly, sadly, and you listened only in response.

“They ransacked the town, they...they took all the children,” her voice trembled with sadness and you pinched your brows.

“Wait...what do you-“

“Your mom, me, Seb, even Qira and Xan...we, we all joined the fight. We’ve taken back our district and hopefully the rest of Rori by the end of the rainy season.”

“The fight?”

“The Resistance.”

Your jaw dropped, “wait, wait, you mean to tell me-“

“I really shouldn’t talk to you, for your own safety,” said Aeshin plainly, voice laded with despair, “but you’re my friend and you need to know.”

Choking on your words, you were too stunned to get out anything coherent.

“The Order isn’t what I thought it was, you need to stay safe and off the battlefield. Please.”

The pain in Aeshin’s voice brought you to tears, which clouded your vision, “what am I supposed to say to that?”

The twi’lek woman only sighed.

“You’re out here joining the enemy- the losing enemy, and you’re telling me to stay off the battlefield? You’re putting yourself in so much danger- and for what?”

Hurt ebbed in her tone, “we did what we had to-“

“No,” you snapped, anger boiling up in you, “you made the wrong choice.”

A long, painful silence.

“...I don’t know when or if I can talk to you again.”

Tears poured hot from your eyes and you swallowed back your rage, “I- I love you. And mom. And Seb. And Qira and Xan too.”

A muffled sob on Aeshin’s end, you were sure by the sound of it she was covering her face with her hand. Her pain was a physical weight on you.

“Tell them. I’ll just...I don’t....”

Your voice was barely comprehensible over your crying, “I love you all so much, but I don’t know when I’ll be home again. YOU need to stay safe, okay?”

“Okay.”

“I’ll...I’ll talk to you sooner than later, Aes.”

And the transmission was cut. You let out a mournful wail and collapsed into a heap of yourself. Wes helped you back up and steadied you with soft words, “breathe...breathe, come on now, don’t get all worked up.”

You just cried more, heart weighing heavy in your chest, “what am I supposed to do? I can’t help them.”

The blond gave a tiny smile after a few moments of your weeping, wiping tears off of your face with his thumbs, “now, perhaps, would be the best time to get a favor out of Hux.”

Your eyes widened in realization, and your tears of sorrow changed to tears of joy. You squeezed Wes in your arms, a groan and a wince from him making you lessen your grip.

“You’re brilliant, Wes!” You were immediately filled with newfound energy. You did you best to stop the tears, rushing to the bathroom and washing your face with icy water. It took a good fifteen minutes of zen for you to calm down. You dabbed your swollen eyes and calmed yourself completely, heartbeat slowed again to normal.

You stepped into the living space and brushed out your hair, feeling bright and zealous, “I’m off now, Wes. Wish me luck.”

The blond gave you a playful salute, “Best of luck to you, darling.”

You gave a smile and strode out into the hall, bringing your power now familiarly to the base of your neck.

“Hux, are you sober?”

“Enough.” Came the ginger general’s snide grumble.

“Let’s talk,” came your smooth retort.

“I’m in my quarters,” his reply sounded more like a defeated sigh.

And down that dark hall you went, dread no longer weighing on you. You were not afraid of Hux. You knew now for certain he could not overpower you. Well, unless for whatever reason you would want him to.

You gave a few good, hard, knocks on the general’s door. A moment passed before it opened with a smooth whir. Before you, dark eyed and truly a mess, stood Hux. Red burned brightly on his face and ears at the sight of you and he frowned, stepping aside. The general nodded his head sharply to usher you inside, wherein he avoided your gaze completely. You entered without expression.

Hux closed the door behind you, the lights dimmed nearly all the way in his quarters. His fiery hair had been haphazardly slicked back, messy strands still loose about his face. He donned the underclothes of his uniform, a long sleeved black shirt, his dark military trousers and wool socks. He smelled sharp and splintery, reminiscent of ice, all liquor and cedar. You stared at him and he stared at the tile beneath your feet.

“This is a bit awkward,” you murmured, slipping off your boots with ease, “mind if I have a drink?”

The red-haired man gave a disbelieving snort, eyes trained on your boots instead of you, “you can’t possibly be serious.”

You gave a tiny smile, “oh, but I am.”

He clenched his jaw, and walked slowly over to his sofa, presumably to lie down, “please, help yourself.”

You quirked a brow, mischief in mind, “not very hostly of you.”

He bristled visibly, turning around and walking back, “I’m currently suffering from veisalgia, thank you very much.”

You snickered, “sounds like another word for “hungover” to me.”

Hux rolled his eyes, but allowed on a brief smirk, “it is.”

You both understood the new power dynamic at hand, but you wanted to get on his good side. You knew he wanted to get on yours too.

Hux gained enough confidence in himself to make complete eye contact with you, his face still vibrant. He poured you a glass of blossom wine, and the floral aroma made you soften a little. You wrapped your fingers around the glass the best you remembered how.

“You look...different,” he said with a bit of a scoff, his reddened cheeks betraying his tone. You could sense he noticed your new clothes and the glow about you.

“I am,” you hummed, “I’ve learned a lot today.”

Shame poured off of him and he crossed his arms, leaning on the counter. His mouth was worked into a hard line.

You took a sip of the aromatic wine, eyes trained firm on the general.

“I- I made a mistake this morning.”

You sat down the glass with a soft clink.

“I’m...apologizing.”

“Are you?”

The man clenched his jaw tight, face becoming the reddest you’d seen yet, “what I did was wrong, I will admit. I think you’re...”

He buried his face into his hands, “you...are an object of my fascination.”

You said nothing, silently encouraging him to continue. Hux peered up at you from his hands with darkness in his eyes, and you felt the hairs on the beck of your neck stand up in alarm.

“That you will stay,” the ginger general spoke slowly, evenly, heavy lust weaving and ebbing through any shame he felt, “but I suppose I should keep my hands to myself from here on out.”

You took another drink of wine and nodded, staring right back at Hux, “considering you still have yet to train me, I think that would be for the best.” A small smile, “I think I can take you now anyway.”

Hux flashed his teeth in a wicked grin, “you should see me with a gun.”

You blinked slowly, then shook your head with a teensy smile, fighting curiosity,

“I need to ask you a favor- a big one,” you said lowly, leaning in on the counter yourself.

Hux’s eyes dilated, and he quirked a brow, “this is request I get on the daily.”

You leaned in close, brows pinching in minute anger, “you owe me, Armitage.”

Blue eyes flickered with the realization of your implication and he tightened his shoulders, puffing out his chest, “and what exactly do you need?”

“I’m from Naboo’s moon, Rori.”

“I am familiar, yes.”

“I need you to withdraw the troops.”

Hux leaned away from you and could not fight a scowl, “that certainly is a big favor to ask.”

“My family, and my friends...the Order’s presence is...difficult.”

Hux sat quiet, drumming his fingers on the marble countertop. You were absolutely not going to mention that your family and friends were a part of the Resistance. A long pause.

“Alright,” sighed Hux.

You grinned, toothy and wide. The redhead gave you a sneer in response, “don’t expect this kind of favor to be a common one.”

You were overjoyed regardless, and outstretched your hand quickly, “that is all I ask of you, General.”

The redhead took your hand, and gave you a firm shake.

“This means the world to me.”

You smiled so wide your cheeks hurt, and clasped your other hand over his. He flushed deeply, and pulled back, “I’ll...I’ll make the call now. You’re dismissed for today. Let’s both get some rest this evening.”

Chapter Text

“Again.”

You were drenched in sweat, breathing hard, and covered in angry, red welts. You held a smooth stick in your grasp like you would a sword.

Kylo Ren, the Kylo Ren of the waking world, had stripped down to the layer beneath his armor, cape and mask discarded all the same. His messy dark hair stuck to his face, sweat dripping down his brow.

“Did you hear me, girl? Ready your stance,” came his biting command.

“Sorry,” you mumbled, not-Kylo heavy on your thoughts. You hadn’t been able to reach him the night prior, (or any night at all, as a matter of fact) a few nights after Hux had agreed to remove his forces from Rori. You held up the rod, widening your feet apart and pushing your shoulders back. You gave a low breath and nodded to him, ready.

The sith dug his feet into the mat and gritted his teeth, running at you full force. He raised his rod far above him as he reached you, and you snapped yours up into a defensive stance over your head, narrowly avoiding a painful whack. The powerful blow met the two sticks, and the wood of yours splintered under the sheer force of Ren’s attack. You fumbled against him with a strained grunt. You were stronger than before, but still not strong enough- and pushed a firm foot back to steady yourself.

Kylo pulled away with ease and swung with a circular slash at your midriff, catching the fabric of your top and leaving you stumbling back further. Another narrow miss. You exhaled sharply, bringing your rod back up on the defensive.

“Come on,” he growled through clenched teeth, stepping away from you, “act like you’re trying”

You worked your jaw and ran at the sith without comment, swiping at his leg. He caught your weapon with a sharp noise, twisting the wood out of your grasp with a flourish and sending it spiraling to the padded floor. Kylo stepped forward with speed and gave you a firm kick to the ribs, bringing you to your knees with a yelp of pain. The commander sauntered close and leaned over your collapsed form. He held his stick beneath your chin and forced your gaze to his. Shame burned your ears, cheeks, and the welts from his weapon across the entirety of your body. Your losses were painful ones, quite literally.

“You’re distracted,” he said with malice, dark eyes narrowed.

You said nothing, eyes locked on his own.

Kylo searched your gaze intently, but held out a pale hand. You took it gently as he helped you to your feet, wherein he stepped in intimately close. Leather, spice, and sweat overwhelmed your senses. You blushed fervently, mind straying blatantly to not-Kylo and how gentle he was with you. He smelled exactly the same as the Kylo of the waking world.

The sith’s face contorted in profound confusion with your affectionate emotions, but he did not step back. Less than a foot was between the two of you now.

You stepped away from him and his soul-searching gaze with speed, knowing you couldn’t and didn’t hide the feeling, all while picking up your wooden rod to fight again.

Kylo did not follow suit.

“Desire,” he spoke evenly, deep voice quiet, “is something else you can hone.”

You blinked, “I don’t know wh-“

“I’m not ignorant,” he hissed, and your eyes widened to the size of moons. Did he know who it was you had visited in your sleep?

“Please, let me explain myse-“

He silenced you with a harsh look. Not physically for once, simply implying it was his turn to speak. You shrunk a little.

Ren stepped in even closer yet again and plucked the rod from your grasp, tossing it aside with his own. You stared up at him in silence, parting your lips to speak.

The sith pressed a hand against the side of your body, and trailed down with an intentional slowness to your waist, wherein his other hand met your cheek. Goosebumps rose immediately. His skin was intensely warm- hot, even through your clothing. Physically, you knew who this was, even if his personality was different. Your cheek grazed the familiar callouses of his palm.

“I understand,” he murmured near soundlessly to you, dead eyes sharp. “It’s lonely, I know, being the only ones in the galaxy with such consummate power,” came his whisper, squeezing your waist with an unashamed firmness. His black eyes flickered with newfound heat.

You still said nothing, eyes even wider than before. Logically, you knew this wasn’t the man you trained for months with during your sleep. Not quite, but muscle memory of the gentle moments shared with not-Kylo left you ever-leaning into his touch.

The heat of his hands seemed more intense, pouring into you, before you realized it wasn’t just your imagination- it was the Force. It took your breath away, and you leaned back, before Kylo gripped your face and pulled you back in close. You pressed against him as he did to you, body to body. His eyes burning, a wildfire, boring into your own. You tried to channel the energy he was pouring into you, and when he inhaled sharply, you knew you had done just that. You leaned on tiptoes up and pressed your forehead against his, closing your eyes, taking in the flow between the two of you. You focused on the volcanic intensity of the feeling within yourself, stretching all the way out to your fingertips and toes.

Kylo released you, your bond still largely present, a fresh sweat breaking out at the heightened temperature. Crouching down low, the sith grabbed your stick and tossed it back to you. Catching it with ease, you assumed a battle-ready stance, tout de suite.

The sith began towards you quickly, not running- but still aggressive. You swung for his shoulder and he blocked, sending a jab your way in turn. You channeled the heat in your body and leapt aside, slashing at Kylo along the way. He pressed a forearm underneath your own and pushed against it hard, sending the rod and your attack away from him.

Four steps back.

You took a large breath, savoring the fiery high your connection roused. You paced and Ren followed suit, wild eyes trained carefully on one another. You assumed the offense again, approaching with haste, your underhanded slash met with a defensive crack of wood on wood. You gritted your teeth and tried an overhanded attack, again, met with another crack of wood. Kylo sent an underhanded swipe your direction, and you kicked his forearm away, landing a quick strike against his thigh.

His eyes widened a little, but he steeled his expression shortly thereafter and came at you with a newfound intensity. He gave an angry, guttural roar, slashing at you left and right in rapid succession. You struggled against his expeditious onslaught, and made a noise of surprise when he swept your feet out from underneath you with the Force. You landed on your back with a heavy thump and a wheeze. Kylo went in for the killing blow and forced his stick down onto the padding with both hands, roughly two inches from your head. You looked at it, fear stirring in your chest, before looking up.

He stared directly down at you with a burning animosity, and you watched an intense flame roaring in his wrathful black eyes. You laid stunned for a moment, breathing heavily, Kylo panting and dripping sweat above you.

You felt your connection sever as if cut by a guillotine and you flinched hard at the shock of it. Cold of the room overtook you.

Kylo twisted his face, savage-eyed, and tore away from you. He said nothing as he pulled his armor, cape, and helmet back on. With much less than grace, he unclipped a weapon foreign to your eyes from his belt and it hissed to life with an audible click, intense and unstable. Its stunning crimson coaxed a gasp from you.

Ignoring your response, the sith commander stormed from the room. His cape billowed behind him with a dramatic flourish, alongside the hum of his wicked saber. Off to destroy something, you were certain.

You waited a good few moments in silence before you pushed yourself up on your elbows, thoroughly shaken, and wiped the sweat from your face with your sleeve. You figured it was a good time to clean up and get something to eat.

-

Boiling hot water poured over you in the shower, stinging the thick red stripes that littered your body. Little wooden sticks did a lot more damage than you thought. You winced over the marks, and ran your hand across, trying to heal them yourself- to no avail. You gritted your teeth in frustration and turned down the temperature of the water, finishing up scrubbing the sweat and grime of the day from your body. After you showered and toweled off, you slipped on a silky crimson robe you found tucked in the back of your dresser. They certainly pushed the color scheme here, you thought with a roll of your eyes. The cool fabric felt good against your skin, and that was what mattered.

You treaded softly on bare feet into your living space and made straight for the kitchen. Your stomach rumbled, and you hummed, giving it a comic sort of pat. Rummaging about your conservator, you pulled out half a stick of bantha butter, a carton of pikobi eggs, alongside various spices from a drawer and a loaf of darkwheat bread from a cabinet. You assumed Hux had whoever sent your breakfast the other morning leave you with the rest of the ingredients, and for that you were thankful.

And so you cooked, making yourself a fine brunch, rich in protein, carbs, and fat to make up for your exhaustive morning training. You ate and placed all your dirty dishes in the sink for later. Fatigued, you approached your sofa and grabbed the dark throw, wrapping yourself up in its plush darkness and lying down. You had nearly fallen asleep when there was a beep and a whir at the door. You furrowed your brow deeply, answering with a hiss, “Wes, come back later, I’m sleeping.”

A voice that didn’t belong to the blond general replied with cool disdain, “you sound quite awake to me.”

You shot up, hair tousled from your lounging and robe slipping off your shoulder. You whipped around to the see the familiar redhead and scowled, bringing the plush blanket up over yourself protectively, “you know, you and Wes could stand to call before you come barging in here.”

Hux stood rigid, hands tucked neatly behind his back- his expression was frostbite on you.

“I believe you forget who is allowing you to stay here.”

You shrunk, and muttered a quiet apology. The general pulled his cap on tighter with a leather gloved hand and cleared his throat, “you’re freshly bathed. I assume you’ve trained with Ren already today.”

You nodded as Hux approached. A quirk of his fiery brow and a prying look about his features, “...and how did that turn out?”

You draped the black throw around you like a makeshift cape, the clasp your hands at your neck. You worked your jaw, “I thought it went alright. Well, up to a point.”

The ginger general stepped slowly closer to you, “to a point?”

You stared deep into the redhead’s frigid blue eyes, refusing detail, “exactly.”

Hux raised both brows this time, pressing harder, further, “he threw a tantrum and destroyed some paneling- nothing surprising, I simply wondered if you had the slightest as to why.”

“...I don’t know what I did to piss him off,” you admitted finally, voice barely above a whisper. A pink hue came about your face remembering your intense shared moment prior. Your force bond made your heart race in your chest.

Vibrant eyes took in your features with an unmatched chill, “I see.”

You unwrapped yourself from the blanket and pulled your robe hastily back over your shoulder, before pulling up the rest of the silken sleeve and flashing the angry stripes of Ren’s assault on your arm alone. Hux studied your marks with a curious sweep of his eyes, but you spoke before him.

“We trained with wooden rods, but what kind of weapon does Kylo Ren normally use?”

Hux curled his lip in disgust, “are you inquiring about the deformed mess of metal and kyber he calls a saber?”

You blinked and pictured the hissing, crackling and glowing shape of a sword in your mind. You nodded slowly, “yes, actually, that sounds about right. The red one.”

Again, you spoke before Hux could, “a saber?”

The ginger general screwed up his face, “has he taught you anything at all?”

Your brows pinched with a frown and the redhead recoiled visibly, realizing the animosity in his tone. He cleared his throat and softened minutely, expression still indignant, “a lightsaber is a weapon wielded by force users. I couldn’t tell you what happened to Ren’s, they aren’t supposed to look like...that.”

With a leaden movement, you rolled your sleeve back down, deep in thought. Your hand strayed to where your pendant used to sit, and you looked at Hux.

“Where can I get one?”

A snort of disbelief from the general, with which he crossed his arms tightly across his chest, “I haven’t any idea. I’m not a magical cult leader, thank you very much.”

You felt nervousness ebb carefully off of Hux, and you crossed your arms to match, “I can feel something, general.”

His face twitched tight with ire, “you’re wrong.”

With a huff of frustration, you decided against pushing the redhead any further and leaned back into the cushions of the couch with a stifled groan of pain. Your red stripes burned- you were certain to bruise. Hux’s eyes flickered over you inquisitively but he said nothing, arms still tightly crossed.

You turned to the general, whose eyes shifted away from you just as soon as they had landed. He did not look at you when he spoke again, “I may not be some mystic of the Force, but I am certainly the General of the First Order. I’d like to invite you to attend a...celebration of a new project with myself and with Ren.”

“What kind of project?”

A wicked twitch of his mouth that could perhaps be called a smirk, “that’s the surprise of it.”

Your gut twisted in apprehension, sensing it couldn’t be anything good, but that tiny glimmer of hope in the icy gaze of the general made you reconsider. You gave a nod, “I’ll go.”

Hux visibly fought a genuine smile, pulling back his shoulders into a proud stance. Within the same moment his hard gaze returned, “you stand a buffer between Ren and myself that he isn’t going to slaughter- perhaps you will ease the tension of our trip there.”

You contorted your face, “you’re only bringing me so you don’t bicker?”

Hux sneered, “mind your tongue. You are powerful, that I cannot deny, but you are still only an apprentice.”

A huff escaped from you, knowing he was right. You leaned on your fist, deciding not to simmer on the thought too long, “will General Kynnovan be coming along?”

A curt nod, “the most important of us will be, yes.”

You said nothing else and watched Hux twitch in the awkward silence, “I suppose I’ll be leaving then.”

Shrugging, you laid down, wrapping yourself up in the throw with a contented hum and closed eyes, “only if you insist.”

When a long moment passed and the general did not depart, you opened an eye in interest. He looked away from you instantly, a pink flush about his face, and you knew he had been staring. Hux was exceptionally good at concealing his emotions, but not the ones involving you.

“I think training you tomorrow would be wise,” said Hux matter-of-factly, as he ran his fingers tight across the brim of his cap.

You closed your eye again, “are you asking me or are you telling me?”

Stifling a laugh was difficult when you could feel the annoyance shoot off of him. You opened both eyes and allowed a tiny smirk, “you’re too easily riled, Hux.”

His face grew bright immediately- with anger or embarrassment, you weren’t sure which. He hardened his face, inhaling sharply. Although his face was still full of color, he fought it hard with a steely expression, “I will meet you here tomorrow at 0600 hours.”

“See you tomorrow then, general.”

With no reply and a deep scowl, Hux left.

-

You slept a concrete fourteen hours, a much needed and deep, dreamless sleep. You still couldn’t reach not-Kylo nor his domain. When you awoke, the red streaks of your sparring remained, tender still. You dressed in light, flowy clothing and made yourself a quick breakfast, eyeing the time on your holopad. You finished your morning routine, pulling your hair back and eyeing your holopad yet again. 5:50. You still had ten minutes. You bounced on your toes, restless, awake, and ready to tackle the day. You decided you’d wait in the hallway, perhaps by the elevator for Hux. With brisk steps you approached your door and slipped out into the hall, narrowly avoiding a collision with the ginger general who stood waiting, early himself.

“Good morning, general,” you chimed, eyeing him carefully.

He clenched his jaw and narrowed his eyes at that, but you weren’t so sure you really believed his expression of annoyance.

“Follow me.”

You nodded, trailing behind him and following him down, down into the now familiar bowels of the ship. You passed the room wherein you normally trained with Ren, down two lefts and a right to yet another training room. It was roughly a quarter the size of the one you were used to, and featured a roped off platform. It encompassed most of the room.

“A boxing ring?” You questioned, and the redhead turned to you with a fiendish grin.

“Smart girl,” he chimed sardonically with a wince from you, removing his overcoat and gloves. He continued onwards by pulling off his usual long sleeved shirt to leave only a dark tank-styled shirt beneath it. His trousers and boots remained, and only then did you observe they were different than any you’d noticed him don before. Less formal, more ready for movement. You assumed he intended to work up a sweat, so you were glad to have chosen light clothing all the same.

He picked up his overcoat and reached into an inner pocket with confidence, retrieving a few rolls of hand wrap. The general peered up at you through fiery lashes with a glare, “it would be wise to stretch.”

You blinked, a little embarrassed, having been the one to stare now. Nodding an affirmative you began with joining your hands behind your back and pulling, easing the tightness of your chest with a crack of your shoulders. You did the opposite, joining your hands in front of you and pulling forward.

You continued on for a good few minutes, lovingly tending to your tight joints. Hux eyed the harsh red lines across your arms and tsked softly. You looked up at him, mid-piriformis stretch, “hm?”

“Are you quite finished?”

You carefully got to your feet and gave a curt nod.

Blue eyes flickered cold across you, “you’re going to run through some warm up exercises, and then I am going to show you how to fight-“

A scowl, “without your sith tricks.”

Hux took a step back from you, beginning to stretch himself, “thirty crunches, start there.”

You obeyed without a word, dropping back down to the mat. You felt strain at about fifteen and you began breathing harder, sweat dappled across your hairline. A moment passed.

“Twenty five high knees.”

The general peered from under a freckled arm with a tricep stretch as you again obeyed, eyes on the ring.

“Fifteen climbers.”

Heat tugged at every point of your body, and sweat dripped down your back. You finished with a huff, sucking in air perhaps a little too readily. Hux fought a smirk.

“End it with a plank.”

About forty seconds passed before he crouched down, your eyes flicked up to the general and his deep, tired gaze. You blinked sweat out of your eyes.

“Stand up,” he instructed plainly, as he rose back to full height himself.

Just as before you obliged, and Hux held out a hand to you.

“Let me wrap your hands before we begin.”

You held out your dominant hand and watched as the redhead wrapped it with elegance, weaving smooth x’s between your fingers and across your knuckles. He did the other and you flexed slowly beneath the taut fabric.

He looked up at you again, “have you fought hand-to-hand before?”

“No.”

Hux finished up your second hand and his face grew soft, “we’ll start slow.”

The redhead wrapped up his own hands with shocking deftness, flexing his fingers for good measure himself.

“The weakest points of your body are the eyes, the throat, the middle of your chest, and the groin.”

With smooth strides on the rubber-padded flooring, Hux took a few strides back.

“Mirror me,” he said stern, blue eyes shining in the sterile fluorescent lights above.

He widened his feet apart a little more than a foot, slightly staggering his stance, knees just mildly bent. Hux tilted his hips forward just a smidge, elbows bound tight to his body, fists at his cheekbones, chin tucked in the slightest. He held the pose a moment, before relaxing and crossing his arms. Icy eyes flashed to you expectantly.

You did your best to do mirror his stance, and the redhead stepped forward, tweaking your pose with cold hands. He pressed your shoulders back, and brought your fists higher with a stony expression. “Good,” he murmured.

“Relax,” came the command. You obliged.

“Assume fighting stance,” and with an inhale you, again, obliged.

Hux tweaked your stance, and you repeated the exchange over and over until the redhead was pleased.

“Think of that before you sleep, in the shower, while you eat- it will become muscle memory.”

You nodded an affirmative, bouncing on your heels. A flash in his eyes and a slight twitch of the ginger general’s mouth revealed amusement.

“Are you ready to begin?” Hux asked, a brow quirked.

“I think so, yes,” came your quick- perhaps too quick, response.

A scoff, “I haven’t even taught you how to block.”

You hesitated, “Do I need it?”

Hux bit the inside of his cheek and furrowed his fiery brows, annoyed, “you’ve spent too much time with Ren.”

Hux stepped away, leapt up onto the platform with a grunt, turned around and crouched, holding out an arm to help you up.

“Join me,” he ordered, brows deepening further.

You obeyed, grabbing his forearm and hoisting yourself up. With a surprisingly smooth movement, Hux ducked beneath the ropes and stood in the center of the square. He seemed to have loosened up significantly, flexing his fingers more. You studied him beneath the vivid fluorescent lights. The ginger general was normally covered in his full military wear, but you were finally able to get a good look at him. Slim, as expected, but he did have more muscle to him than you’d imagined. Precise hands, raised to fists now. While his eyes were dark rimmed, there was a energy to them you hadn’t noticed before.

With a deep inhale, you approached Hux close, and he assumed stance. You mirrored him and shifted into comfort while he peeked above his wrapped fists with a sinful gleam in his eyes, “You don’t have to be anxious, I swear I’ll be gen-“

You sent a hard fist to his bicep, interrupting him, and he flinched in shock rather than hurt. His bright eyes were widened, and he absentmindedly rubbed the spot where you’d struck him. You bit your tongue and fought a grin, feeling lively and bouncing on your heels. Hux was anything but entertained, face twitching with agitation.

“So be it, then,” came the general’s hardened response.

“Aw hey, hey,” you spoke softly, anxiety making your heart leap to your throat, “don’t be-“

And he struck you just the same.

“Ow!” You cried out, recoiling visibly.

Hux could not fight a smirk, “not so fun, is it?”

You threw another fist his way but he stepped sharply to the left, avoided your attack, and landed a heavy punch to your ribs. You choked back a pained cry, as he had hit already bruised flesh from your training with Kylo the day prior. Hux did not seem to notice and took a step back, assuming the defensive. Fiery tresses and two glints of humored ice met you above his wrapped hands.

You worked your jaw, and threw another fist towards Hux, who simply blocked it with his forearms. You attempted to find an opening, but his stance made it difficult- you supposed that was the point after all.

Reaching out to strike again, Hux whisked forward and gave you a quick strike to the arm. Still sore from his first blow, you leaned right, and gave him opening on the left, wherein he swept you up into a chokehold with a graceful flourish. Any stiffness that was in him simply seemed to belong to the General Hux in uniform- you understood then why he didn’t warm up as you had.

The redhead squeezed his arm around you tighter.

You gagged, standing on your tiptoes, struggling hard with shaky legs to meet his height. You gripped his forearm with both hands, squeezing tight, and trying to fight against the ginger general. Your heart thrashed wildly in your chest, particularly at the knowledge Hux had more than mild sadistic urges. You could feel the carnality pour off of him.

“Admit it,” the man whispered against the back of your ear. The stimulation made your hair stand up as you struggled harder.

“Admit what?” You croaked against the crook of his arm, eyes watering.

“You need me,” you could hear his grin as he said it, and felt his fingers brush through your hair.

“I need you to let me go,” you whispered hoarsely, anger present in your tone and bodily thrashing. It only entertained him.

“Say it,” he demanded, voice fervid and hungering. You tried to call the Force, but you were growing dizzy at the lack of proper oxygen, and only loosened his grip against you. You wrangled yourself partially out of his grasp before he wrapped his arms tightly against your torso. Able to breathe and focus a little better, you again pushed his arms away from you with the Force. You shimmied down a teensy bit lower before launching your elbow violently against Hux’s abdomen. He gave an audible wheeze and loosened his grip on you completely, wherein you crouched all the way down and swept his feet from underneath him with a Force push. He landed unceremoniously on his back with a grunt.

You rose to your feet to speak, but not before the redhead pinched the back of your knee- hard, between his fingers. You let out a shriek of pain and went down to your knees. He gave you a heavy push and your side met the floor within that very second. You pushed yourself up onto your elbows, but Hux sprawled his body across yours, hindering you from getting up. You went to give him a good whack, but he beat you to the offense, strangling you much more aggressively than his lusty game prior. He was boiling.

Hux straddled you on the floor of the ring, fingers tight enough on your throat to leave marks. You choked, eyes watering hard as you looked up to the blurred general.

“You want to fight dirty, girl? I am perfectly capable of that.”

He lessened his grip in your asphyxia-spurned daze, and snatched up your hands, pinning them above your head.

“Using your power is cheating.”

You said nothing, sucking in air with heavy breaths and trying to steady your mind. If you could call enough of your power-

“You couldn’t win without it,” the ginger growled, only after did a degenerate flash of teeth appear, stretched into a grin, “and you couldn’t win with it either.”

Cold fingers ran across your cheek, and you felt the general’s calloused trigger finger in particular. Your vision became clear as oxygen returned, and you saw something flash in Hux’s eyes, something you weren’t so sure was sane.

“Get up,” he smiled, “we’re going to go through this again.”

Chapter Text

You opened your eyes to a familiar pale sky. With a greedy inhale, heavy, salty air entered your lungs. You were exactly where you wanted to be. Shooting upright on the black sand, you scanned the area for the man you had come to know so well. His name came to you before you realized what it was.

“Ben-”

Your immediately pinched your brows at the name you had called out. Ben? That was his name?

It felt right.

Clambering over a pitch-colored dune, you peered out at the pale, foaming water. The familiar shape of a man stood ankle deep in the gentle sea, dark hair ever-messy from the wind. His broad shoulders were tight with tension, you could feel it tugging in your chest.

“Ben!”

He turned quickly, surprise on his face first, but then a smile spreading soft. The dark haired man turned on his heel and began towards you, his pace quick and his long strides determined. You hopped over the mound with less than grace and bolted to him, kicking up wet black sand in your wake. You leapt into Ben’s waiting arms with noisy laughter and he spun you around, nearly breaking you in half in his affectionate embrace. With a soft, wet crunch, you were back on the sand. Peering up at him, your smile wobbled.

“Why didn’t you tell me your name?”

A pinch of pain trembled at his dark brow and he shook his head, messy black hair eternally whipped by the salty air, “it wasn’t the right time.”

A silence, before he noticed the bruises of Hux’s hands across your neck and your vivid red stripes of battle with Ren. His shoulders slumped in what you felt to be sadness.

Ben ran his careful fingers across your face and throat, bruises from your sparring with Hux melting away, then nimbly down your arms, and then with a kneel your abdomen and legs, removing Kylo’s marks. He held porcelain hands to you and you took them, meeting him on your knees.

Black irises shone a burnt umber in the pale daylight, and you saw something in his eyes you couldn’t quite place, “we have a full force bond now.”

You blinked, not really responding, “Ben, who are you, really?”

He rubbed his thumb across your knuckles, expression pushing guilty, “I’m...I’m Kylo Ren.”

You were puzzled, “but you’re also Ben?”

His eyes shimmered with a tenderness as he placed a hand against the curve of your face. You leaned into those familiar callouses, “smart girl.”

He meant it.

Ben pulled on you gently, and you allowed him to lead you to the dark sand. You sat more comfortably than on your knees, facing the man before you. He did not let go of your hand.

“I’m the part of Ren he doesn’t want to believe exists anymore- the person he used to be, before he became a sith.”

You simply studied Ben’s contorted expression.

“I know training is difficult,” he started, squeezing your hand, “but Ren is being gentle with you. He doesn’t realize why he doesn’t want to hurt you.”

Your eyes widened a little, again, saying nothing.

Ben smiled while he spoke, “he also doesn’t realize I’ve known and trained with you a lot longer than he has. But he can feel it- our connection.”

He had leaned close and you had all the same, your eyes alight. The sharpness of his branding scent overtook your senses and you gave Ben’s hand a firm squeeze, sighing contentedly. He hovered over your mouth, hesitant.

With a slow lean inwards, you closed the gap, meeting his soft lips with a Force-feeling that could only be akin to warm rain across your skin. You melted completely into Ben, face flushed, and he brought his hands to your waist and gripped you tight. That feeling in your chest told you he was afraid to let you go.

The kiss was comforting and full of affection, the movements of it deliberate, and your heart stirred adoringly in your chest. The Force sensation of rain felt hotter and beat more intensely against your skin but you ignored it, deepening your kiss with the man even further.

Ben pulled away and your eyes fluttered open, confusion overtaking you. It wasn’t just that Force-bond warm across your skin- hot, tropical rain was physically pouring over the both of you. It stirred the cold water of the sea to steam. Ben rose with ease and helped you to your feet, cheeks flushed vividly.

“Let’s get somewhere dry.”

And so you followed, fingers interlocked and your bond as strong as ever.

You spent a little more than four months with Ben this time around, without any regret. It was you and him and no one else. And it was perfect.

Sitting cross-legged and a bit bored, you twirled a wooden fork around in the air above your head. You had no need to raise a hand or even look in its direction- your powers had increased substantially while you were away from the waking world. Something about being with Ben made your power simply bloom. He eyed you halfheartedly, sitting cross-legged himself and poking at a small fire. A nuna sat on the coals, the smell enticing a grumble from your stomach.

“You normally keep me a lot better fed than the Order, but I’m starving over here,” you complained, rising to your feet and hovering over Ben’s shoulder. He pressed a kiss against the outer side of your thigh while he sat, and wrapped and arm around the backs of your legs.

“You’re impatient,” he scolded, his dark gaze kind.

“Am I?” You feigned hurt, pressing a hand daintily over your heart.

The dark haired man gave a grin before bringing the nuna up over the fire with the Force to cool. Fat dripped off and burst hot in the tiny flame.

“This is going to be our last meal together for a while,” Ben declared, voice barely audible over the crackle of fat in the fire.

You frowned genuinely, bringing your hands up to tuck hair behind your ears and then cross at your chest.

“Why do I have to go?” Your protest was childish, even on your own ears. You knew full well why. Living in a dream was ludicrous.

Ben sighed deeply, rotating the meat with a twitch of his fingers, allowing more fat to slip down the skin of the swamp turkey.

“When you come to visit me, you set yourself into a hibernation trance.”

“Hibernation trance?”

“You enter a completely unresponsive state in order to recover physically and conserve energy- your vitals signal that you’re essentially dead. Only another Force user can pick up on it.”

Ben stood, eyes flashing with anger. He brought trembling hands to you, only to wrap you up into a protective embrace, “Hux thought he’d killed you he’d choked you so hard nearing the end of your training. Your body simply couldn’t handle how rough he was with you.”

You could feel his back tighten with fury, “Ren was NOT happy. But he isn’t ignorant. He picked up on what you were doing and is going to ask you about it.”

Ben brought the nuna down onto a thickly folded cloth atop a flat piece of driftwood, attention completely on you as he rubbed tender circles into your back.

“You need to eat a good meal so I can leave you with a final lesson.”

“Final lesson?” You whispered, confused, with fear fluttering your heart in your chest.

“Not forever. Just long enough to stop from rousing suspicion.”

You leaned heavily into Ben and bit your lip. A hard swallow, “what are you going to teach me?”

He loosened up a little, a chuckle in response.

“Do you remember the first thing you asked me to show you?”

You broke away from him with speed, darkened eyes springing to life, “how to make my own domain?!”

Ben laughed, planting a firm kiss on the top of your head, “I told you I would eventually.”

“Well come on,” you removed yourself from the dark haired man and looped his arm in yours, spirits high, “we’d better get this nuna down quick!”

He chuckled and with that, the two of you sat and ate. You burnt the roof of your mouth on the hot meat and tongued the blisters tentatively. Your excitement outweighed your better judgement and you continued eating, with rapidity at that.

“You’re going to choke,” scolded Ben with a wide smile, humored by your enthusiasm.

Had your mouth not been full of nuna you’d have said something snarky, but you shot him a glare as you chewed. He simply rolled his eyes in response.

The two of you finished eating sooner than later and you jumped to your feet, eyes glittering with excitement.

Ben chuckled a little, leading you to the sand yet again, cross legged. He sat across from you and took your hands in his own. You frowned a little.

“Breathe. I want you to separate yourself from this place.”

“What?”

“Make a barricade in your mind if you have to,” he offered, “just don’t be here.”

You pouted a bit, fairly confused, but you sighed and closed your eyes. You could see yourself and Ben in your mind, as if you were looking down from above. The familiar heat of the force sparked within your chest, reddening your cheeks with your hot exhale. In your mind you built a blockade around yourself and Ben, stark ivory and clean-cut.

“Remove yourself.”

The image in your mind turned completely to white, the sight of Ben before you the only color and permanence.

“Excellent work,” your master congratulated you with a smile, squeezing your hands.

Ben leaned in close, “picture a simple place- it doesn’t matter where. Remember, simple.”

Simple, you thought, furrowing your brow. You supposed that was why you always woke up to a pale blue sky in Ben’s domain, it was a solid starting block. In your mind you called a dark treetop, willowy trunks and branches permeating nearly all of a fantastical blue sky.

A pause.

“Well, this is more complicated than I expected...but it’s working. Do what feels right,” encouraged the man you adored, pride in his dark eyes. You smiled gently in response, mind set in forming your little world.

The tree trunks formed with graceful curves as your eyes moved slowly downwards, and you ended their height with a solid clearing of tall grass. It tickled your arms and you grinned wide. With a flicker of your eyes beneath your eyelids and an exhale, you flooded the terrain with emerald-hued crystalline water. Freshwater- roughly knee deep and smooth bottomed, shiny black rocks piled about in some areas. Patches of land stayed raised far and wide, all within hopping distance. The temperature rose intensely. You kept your eyes closed, picture in mind, the soundlessness of the experience making you fidget.

“Go on,” urged Ben, “you’re doing wonderfully. If you can handle it, add more.”

You cut the grass to a reasonable level with a swipe of your gaze and looked up, dappled rays of sunlight permeating the curved branches of your trees. You flecked hundreds of lily pads across the sparkling water, a chorus of amphibians following shortly thereafter. The chatter of birds and the smell of damp earth and muddied water were your finishing touches.

Ben’s eyes were shining with complete endearment, and he pressed soft kisses against each of your closed eyelids. He squeezed your hands tight.

“Finish it,” he whispered, grinning ear to ear. You etched this place into every corner of your skull with the Force and tentatively opened your eyes.

The scene before you was exactly as you had seen it, smelled it, and heard it in your mind.

You laughed, shocked and happy and swept Ben up into a tight embrace, covering his face in loving little kisses. He seemed just as ecstatic as you, squeezing you tight in his broad arms.

“I did it!”

“You’ve grown so much,” Ben said lovingly, but not before fighting a snicker, “but why in all the stars did you choose somewhere so...damp?”

You laughed, “I’m from Rori, remember? It’s like home.”

Your master only shook his head with a smile, helping you to your feet. His expression grew wistful.

“You know it’s time for you to go back now.”

You only nodded as you bit your lip, tears pricking the corners of your eyes.

Warm fingers swiped away any tears threatening to stream down your cheeks and he shushed you gently, “don’t cry, we’ll see each other again soon.”

“Ben, I...” the words would not come.

He smiled softly, “I know.”

You met his lips in a final, sad kiss and squeezed his hand goodbye.

Your eyes flickered open.

A machine hovering over your wrist screamed to life with a harsh noise and the sickly fluorescence of the Finalizer made your stomach churn. You knew exactly where you were. A familiar woman with a head of thick, dark hair pressed a series of buttons on the machine, finally silencing its cry.

“Hi Carrie,” you chimed mellowly with a peaceful stretch, blinking sleep from your eyes.

The tiny woman looked horrified and clutched your chart to her chest.

“Oh um, hi. Y-You were just completely unresponsive. What is...how are you um, this alert?”

You flashed her a reassuring smile, “oh, no need to worry, I just needed a good sleep.”

Carrie did not blink, “you’ve been completely unresponsive for three whole days.”

You widened your eyes a little at the complete time stretch, offering a tiny shrug, “it was a much needed sleep.”

The tiny woman still did not acknowledge your response, fingers shaking, “Commander Ren made us keep you here, swearing you were alive. I...I guess he was right.”

The color drained in your face and you worked your jaw in anxiety, “where is Commander Ren now?”

Carrie squirmed, “I don’t know.”

You nodded, swinging your legs over the side of the hospital bed, “that’s fine. I’m going to head back to my quarters now.”

The nurse’s movements become quick and frazzled, a myriad of ‘uh’s and ‘um’s nervously escaping her lips.

You thanked her and turned on your heel to leave, only to face the handsome doctor who had tended to you a few weeks prior. A wicked smile spread across his chiseled features.

“Hello there, sweet girl. Please, sit back down.”

“Doctor Arekson,” you spoke levelly, fighting back displeasure, “I really must be going.”

“Why the rush?” He purred, stepping closer, a syringe from his pocket in hand. He released the cap with a quiet click. You did not want to know what it contained.

“Don’t take another step,” you warned him. A white blur flickered in the corner of your vision as a trooper donning the medward’s black cross across his chest dove to pin your arm down to the bed. You held up a softly curled hand and knocked him flat onto his back. Amminius had been approaching, but fear flickered clear across his features as you sent the second trooper that had approached you skidding across the dark tile. You hadn’t done enough to harm, just to frighten. You turned to the doctor with narrowed eyes.

“Do I need to repeat myself?”

The doctor’s face had grown ghostly pale as he had already recapped the syringe and tucked it back into his red doctor’s coat.

“No.”

You smiled without genuineness, hatred hot on your fingertips, “that’s what I thought.”

You walked past the angry doctor and out to the shadowy halls, up the elevator and to your quarters. But not before stopping at Wes’ door. You gave it a good few knocks and waited- to no reply. You treaded to your quarters with a disappointed frown, flashing your card and entering the space. You brought your feeling to the base of your throat.

“Master Ren, I’m awake,” you called tentatively.

“I know,” came his all-too-familiar response and you swallowed, pushing down your longing for Ben.

“We have much to discuss,” came Kylo’s matter-of-fact and response and you nodded as if he was there with you, anxiety flickering in your chest.

“Alright,” you offered plainly, a little unsure of what else to say. Ren severed your connection with no other word, and you exhaled sharply.

A knock at your door.

Puzzled, you turned on your heel and opened it with the press of a button and a whir, only to find a familiar face and coppery hair within your line of sight. You brows pinched in anger.

“Hello, General Hux.”

It took great effort not to punch him square in the middle of his face, “what a surprise.”

He fidgeted in his pristinely polished boots, avoiding eye-contact with you, “how are you feeling?”

You pursed your lips, battling your temper, “much better now.”

Hux tightened his hands, which were already clasped hard behind his back. The noise of leather revealed his action and he gritted his teeth.

“Will you be joining Ren and I tomorrow morning in our departure?”

“Tomorrow morning?”

“To christen a new project, I believe we’ve already discussed it,” the general replied smoothly.

A dark shape behind Hux led your gaze over his shoulder.

“Commander Ren,” you nodded in greeting.

Hux’s face visibly soured and he pushed back his shoulders, saying nothing.

“Come to the hall and join us,” beckoned Kylo.

The general begrudgingly stepped aside, frigid eyes narrowed.

You stepped to the left corner of your doorframe, leaning on it softly. Ren was to the wall across and Hux on your direct right. You willed your door shut with the Force and shoved your hands in your pockets.

“Are you quite finished, Armitage?” Came Kylo’s mechanical baritone.

“Not quite,” sneered Hux, “the girl hasn’t given me an answer.”

That frigid sheet of metal turned to you, “to what question?”

“If I’m joining the two of you tomorrow,” you said soft in response, not letting the redhead speak for you.

Kylo stood rigid, cocking his head in the slightest. You almost thought you’d imagined the motion until he asked, “and what is your answer?”

You battled better judgement in the back of your mind, “yes.”

The ginger general did not smile, but his shoulders softened at your response, “good.” Kylo said nothing.

You crossed your arms, shifting your weight, “and what is your question for me, Master Ren?”

Hux’s icy blue eyes flickered blatantly with interest, and he turned to stare at Kylo Ren, who did not reveal any emotion.

“You are completely healed,” he stated, mask turning to Hux, “your injuries were near fatal.”

The redhead had the decency to look a little embarrassed, and turned away from the two of you with narrowed eyes.

“It has been three days. Healing at this speed should not be possible without the use of the Force is some way. I don’t know how you’ve learned this ability, but I will admit I am impressed.”

You only nodded, encouraging Kylo to ask his questions.

“Where are you retreating to heal?”

You gave a teensy crack of a smile, “my place.”

Hux stared with raised fiery brows out of your peripheral vision. You could feel his interest, but ignored him.

Kylo seemed unfazed with your response, and only hummed, an inhuman, mechanical noise.

“I’ll show you,” you offered.

You could feel interest ping off of the large man, and he stepped forward without hesitation. You raised a flat palm to him, and he rested his against yours. You gave Ren the inner etchings of your mind and you could sense him stifle a gasp.

“How did you learn to do this?”

“Patience,” you replied gently, stifling a smile. Technically speaking, it wasn’t a lie.

Ren barely fought approval, “you have grown in power since you’ve been away- I can feel it.”

Your cheeks flushed and you allowed a proud sparkle to flash in your bright eyes. Hux scoffed.

The both of you turned to him, his cold gaze intense, “you tell her she has grown and yet she cannot fight hand to hand?”

“Strength is not purely physical, Armitage.”

A twitch of his face in anger, and Hux said nothing. Hatred shot off of him with intensity- it nearly made you flinch. Ren did not move, a dark boulder.

You cleared your throat in the silence, “how long will our trip be tomorrow?”

Hux’s gaze stayed planted on Kylo Ren and he replied with a hiss, “too long.”

You had to refrain from a sigh, tomorrow was going to be a very, very long day.

Chapter Text

The morning of your departure came quicker than you had expected. A feeling in your gut told you that you would not enjoy the day that was to come.

You tugged anxiously on the dark fabric of your new sith garbs. It seemed Hux and Kylo had reached a surprising unanimous decision that your athlesiure wear was not appropriate for the ‘christening of a new project’ as the ginger general had so lovingly described. You would NOT so-lovingly describe the clothing as a dark, brooding mess of stiff fabric and theatrics. You supposed it was all in the image of it, as you would be meeting and socializing with all the other generals.

Tall dark boots and loose trousers, beneath what (for lack of a better word) could be described as the fanned bottom of a trench coat and the top half of a cardigan clasped at a stiff, high, collar. You donned a thick, dark shirt and chest plate beneath, thin black gloves near reaching your elbows. A hooded cape sat atop your shoulders and nearly brushed the floor- all rimmed the Order’s shimmering crimson.

Hux had rather harshly commented you were simply too soft and feminine featured to truly be intimidating- even when you scowled; and so some sort of cosmetologist prepped your hair and makeup while you sat in your quarters, wildly uncomfortable. The man darkened your brows, your eyes, and your lips all while hollowing out your features. The woman in the mirror looked sharper and more fierce, older than the young adult you truly were.

A group of stormtroopers were at your quarters by the time the cosmetologist had finished, and even more to your dismay they escorted you personally to Kylo’s command ship. You could feel eyes on you and tried not to slink about, strikingly uncomfortable with all the attention. Usually no one gave you a second glance.

You let out a sigh of relief once you boarded, finding a dark chair in the saloon and slipping into it. You slumped backwards, using the edge of a fingertip to dab at your makeup, careful not to smear the artist’s work. It appeared you were the first aboard. The sounds of troopers, marching footsteps, and ships revving stirred the peripheral of your hearing, but otherwise it was quiet. No movement either. You rose nimbly from your seat, cape billowing with a sharp flick behind you as you quickly became acquainted with the vessel.

Bright eyes scanning the saloon, you eyed what you imagined to be the cockpit, and drew closer. Your suspicions correct, you ducked through the doorway to an abrupt step down.

Nearly falling onto your rear, you clutched the seat on the right, that of the copilot, to steady yourself. It jerked wildly, but you again stopped yourself from falling with a widened stance and a squeak of your boots, kicking away your cape in annoyance.

Embarrassed, but thankfully alone, you eyed the controls and the hangar from the front of the ship. You settled into the black seat, eyes scanning the dizzying panels, buttons, and levers. This was much more complex than anything you’d ever flown before, and you hovered a darkly gloved hand playfully over what you knew to be button to start the engine. You wiggled your fingers, humming in amusement to yourself.

“Do you know how to fly a military ship?”

You nearly jumped out of your skin at the familiar robotic baritone. Embarrassed, you leapt out of the chair, face surely red as your uniform’s crimson detailing.

“No,” you managed out, barely above a whisper.

Far too large for the doorway, and certainly too large for the cockpit, stood Kylo Ren. His dark frame revealed ease, and you did not feel anger. He stood unmoving and silent, the steady rise and fall of his chest the only revelation he wasn’t some romanesque statue.

“I um- I should go,” you fumbled over your words and took a tentative step forward, but the sith did not budge. You peered up at that sheet of cold metal and watched it cock to the left. Ren’s amusement flickered hot like the lapping tongues of a flame on your senses.

At a loss for words, a thought clicked into place and you stepped instead to the side.

Kylo entered the tight space with you, settling comfortably into the pilots seat. He turned to you, expectant, “do you know how to fly a regular ship?”

A hesitation, “...yes.”

“Sit,” came the robotic hum.

You obliged, stepping around the co-pilot’s chair and reseating yourself, stiff as a board.

Kylo relaxed fully into the chair when you sat, joining his hands with elbows atop the arm rests. You sat still and taut, legs crossed at the ankles and hands neat on your lap.

“We can find you more appropriate attire after our gathering today,” said the man, amusement flecking his tone. It seemed he knew exactly what was bothering you.

Your shoulders slumped and you exhaled in relief without a second’s hesitation.

“I can feel your discomfort,” he stated in confidence, “but to be my apprentice, know sometimes that discomfort is necessary.”

You nodded in response, just happy to know these weren’t going to be your robes from this day on out.

You heard footsteps approach, but Kylo did not look directly that way, his mask turned almost to his shoulder, “First Officer Torsa, I will call for you when I desire your presence.”

“Yes, sir,” said a man’s voice from behind, soft, anxiety trailing off of him like beads of sweat. You swiveled in the chair to look at the true copilot and he flinched hard, fear shooting off of him. A pang of guilt fluttered in your chest, and you thought to smile, but the commander’s voice interrupted.

“You are dismissed,” came Kylo’s low snarl and the copilot scurried off.

“I didn’t mean to scare him,” you mumbled, again, rubbing softly at your darkened eyes. The makeup was irritating your skin.

Kylo said nothing, but you could sense what you said annoyed him.

Your hand grazed the dip between your clavicles with a nasal sigh. As always, seeming to enjoy speaking with his modified voice, Kylo spoke up.

“Everyone who needs to be on the ship is here, close the boarding platform.”

You brought heat of the Force to your fingertips and leaned in Kylo’s direction, hand tentatively flipping a switch near his side of the controls. You felt satisfaction when you heard a warning noise and the sound of a mechanical incline from behind.

“Good,” the sith said, and you flicked your eyes to him with speed, surprised. Ben didn’t shy in supportive words, but this was a first from Kylo. He did not move.

“Why have you stopped? Inform the control tower of our departure.”

His snide comment made you shrink a little and you only nodded in response, the Force leading you to another button. You pressed it, said Kylo’s name and then your own before finishing with, “permission to depart?” You asked the question smoothly, feigning confidence.

“Granted,” came a woman’s voice, stern.

Kylo fiddled with a few controls before the ship rose and exited the hangar. It shot off into the cold expanse of space, streaks of light whipping around the vessel at dizzying speed. You clutched the arm rests of the seat, jolted by the assault on your eyes. Motion sickness nearly overtook you before Kylo rested a firm hand on the top your chair.

“Leave,” he commanded.

You rose quickly and left the cockpit, boots heavy and the whisper of your cape soft against the air.

Eyeing the saloon, you searched desperately with sharp eyes for a face you knew, the murmurs of the unknown people quiet. You spotted the true co-pilot, who avoided your gaze with urgency. He was very much afraid of you.

Your eyes flickered to a glossy, dark ponytail and realization overtook you. You knew whoever that woman was with her back to you. And so, you trailed to a seat on the wall diagonal from her, eyes gently prying.

The familiar woman was playing cards with a man you did not recognize. You could see a blaster, an outline beneath her formal, decorative uniform and the shape of it struck instantly in her mind. The woman whose blasters you took- Director Venussia Terrano.

She side eyed you, her monolids swiped with a sparkling First Order red, and said nothing, returning to her game.

You supposed you didn’t really know what you’d say if you spoke to the woman, and instead shifted your gaze again to the copilot. His gaze whipped away from you and to his feet.

You rose softly and walked over to him, careful as to not spook him. His brows pinched deep in anxiety as you spoke.

“Hi,” you chimed softly.
The man tensed but still did not look up.

“Officer Torsa?”

His entire body trembled as his gaze came to you, and you battled confusion in your mind. What had Kylo done to this man to make him so afraid?

“Ma’am,” he greeted shakily, brown eyes skittery with fear.

You sat in the chair across from him with intentional slowness and gave him another soft smile.

“What’s your first name, officer?”

“Yen.”

“Yen Torsa,” you said his name matter-of-factly, and then your own in an introductory tone. You extended a gloved hand, again, without any semblance of speed. Yen tentatively took your hand and gave it a gelatin-firm shake.

“A...a pleasure, ma’am,” he managed out, sweat beading his hairline. You still terrified him.

“Can I ask you a question?”

His dark eyes widened and he pursed his lips, “yes, ma’am.”

“Why do I scare you?”

The copilot visibly flinched at the question and scoured your face for detail- he felt he was being led into a trap, you could feel it.

You smiled again, soft and encouraging, “please, tell me.” The ‘please’ seemed to steady him, albeit only a little.

“Your robes are like Commander Ren’s, your war paint and features are so dark- I’ve...I’ve heard rumors about a sith apprentice and her grueling training. It’s you, isn’t it?”

You blinked, surprise overtaking you, “I guess that is me.”

Officer Torsa pressed his back firm against his seat, his own whirling thoughts smothering him, “...I see.”

You did not invade his space and instead wrung gloved hands, “don’t be scared- please? I promise I won’t do anything to hurt you, Yen.”

A gloved pinky was offered his way and the man softened intensely, having difficulty fighting a smile. He leaned forward, uncertainty on his aura, but a grin dared to fight his pursed lips. He hooked a pinky against yours and you gave it a reassuring squeeze.

Yen finally smiled.

After that, you spent the next hour and a half or so simply talking. What he liked to eat, what you liked to eat, where he was from, where you were from, how he spent his days and how you spent yours- conversation came naturally and Yen was completely relaxed by the time an unfamiliar planet came into view. You saw the light in Yen’s eyes leave, as if extinguishing a flame.

“We’re here,” the copilot said softly, and the strangers on the ship turned idly and peered out the spanning windows. An icy expanse of woodlands and machinery, thousands of worker ships flying about. Welding, constructing, fidgeting- this project was still under renovation.

“The former planet Ilum,” explained Yen, “now Starkiller Base.”

Something sat heavy in the pit of your stomach at the name. Fear, guilt, anxiety- whatever the emotion was, it made you as nauseous as when Ren had sent the ship into light-speed. You again, gripped the armrests of your seat as the sith maneuvered his ship into a hangar, landing softly and without turbulence to crown his skill in flight. The boarding platform lowered with a mechanical hiss and the handful of strangers arose from their seats, Yen the caboose of the orderly line out. He turned over his shoulder and said your name, getting your attention.

“I’m glad we met.”

You only smiled in response and he smoothed out his uniform, turning with a grin and following the others out. Your gaze grew wistful as you watched them leave and trail out, out, to wherever this christening was. You sighed softly, placing a hand on your hip and blinking slow. Kylo’s voice came stern from behind,

“I see you’ve made a friend.”

You turned quickly, cape swishing across your polished boots. Anxiety worked in your gut at Kylo’s anger- red hot and bubbling on your senses and evident in his snide remark.

“I um...I spoke with First Officer Tersa, yes.”

The sith’s shoulders rose and fell, anger apparent in the mechanical crackles that were his labored breathing.

“You’ve shown him that you are weak.”

You took a step back with eyes the size of moons, and raised gloved hands in your defense, “I think there’s been a misunderstanding, I-“

“I misunderstood NOTHING,” came Kylo’s seething growl. You swallowed hard.

“He will pay for your mistake,” snarled the sith, and you could feel the color drain from your face.

“Kylo, please, no,” you plead his first name before realizing it and he strode forward, wrapping his gloved fists up in your cape and yanking you towards him. You stared up at the silver mask of death himself and physically fought back a shudder.

“You are to call me MASTER or COMMANDER Ren. You will not make this same mistake again.”

Your gaze flashed with fear, sadness, and then defeat. Hot tears pricked the corners of your eyes, wet and heavy. The sith released you with a huff and a light shove, walking around your wobbly form and down the ramp.

“Compose yourself before someone sees. Call out to me when you do.”

You turned and watched him leave, heavy tears slipping down your cheeks. You guessed it wasn’t appropriate to enjoy much anything while you were a part of the Order. After a few moments of frustration and fixing your makeup, you called out to Kylo and he showed you which way to go to find him.

After a dizzying set of turns and a trip up in an elevator, you reached a pair of shiny red doors guarded by two troopers, insignias of higher ranks marking their pristine white armor.

“Who are you?” one asked.

You said your name, and the troopers did not budge. The other spoke, “We can’t allow you entry.”

“I’m with Commander Ren and General Hux,” you insisted, brow furrowing in annoyance.

“Identification?” Sneered the first.

You crossed your arms, and you all knew you had none. The troopers stood their ground.

You raised a palm, heat ebbing from your temples and the tips of your fingers. You forced the heat into the men before you.

“Step aside, please,” you said plainly, fighting aggression.

The second trooper spoke up with a snort, “listen girl, we don’t-“

You cut him off with a twitch of your fingers, and you willed both their legs to move. They stepped aside with noises of protest and fear. The troopers stood rigid on either side of the entrance. You willed open the doors with your chin high, and entered.

Before you was a sleek, dark room with a full bar and spanning windows, much more wide than tall. Nearly forty black uniformed individuals stood, drinks in hand. Many turned to stare at you, but not all of them. A cap was removed and you saw a familiar flash of blond.

“Welcome, darling. Don’t be nervous.” Chimed Wes in your mind with a simultaneous raise of his glass and a nod. He put his cap back on with an elegant movement. You eyed the brooding mass of a man in the corner. Kylo stood with his arms crossed and thought nothing to you. A familiar face stepped into view- Hux. The general was intimately close, enough to reach out and touch you. He made no such motion. His mouth twitched ever so slightly but then his expression returned to that ever-frigid sheet.

“How good of you to finally make it. You’re late,” he sneered, red brows furrowed.

You didn’t apologize, and only frowned to Hux in response. He sipped amber liquid from a crystalline glass, blue gaze unceasing on you. You could smell Corellian firewater.

His mouth twitched up again, a familiar deviousness flashing in his eyes, “help yourself to something to drink.”

“No, thank you.” You mumbled softly, a burning feeling overtaking your subconscious. Eyes flickering over Hux’s padded shoulder, you eyed Director Terrano, glaring holes into your very soul from behind glittering, red-lidded eyes. Though she lacked the capability to communicate with you via the Force, you could hear her thoughts.

“I can’t believe they let this dumb bitch in here,” she hissed in her mind, champagne glass trembling in her hand at her pure fury. A second more and it would shatter.

You blinked, and it combusted.

The high-pitched noise of glass and the fizz of champagne alerted the relatively quiet room, even the ginger general turning to stare. Her dark gaze did not break from you. The murmur of another woman overtook Venussia’s senses, who suddenly seemed surprised at her own strength. She whipped around, face flushed, and stalked to the side of the room opposite, long, shiny hair moving with her.

Hux took another drink and scoffed, “that woman could learn a thing or two about subtlety.”

“So could you.”

You stepped away from the redhead and his eyebrows shot up at your passing remark, offense betraying his normally unbreakable demeanor. You didnt turn to see any more of the redhead and instead strode to Wes, gathering anxious stares on your trip over. You were unashamed in interrupting whatever conversation he was having with some pretty, curly-haired brunette who had the markings of a colonel. His attention was immediately on you and he nudged playfully at the woman with his empty glass in hand.

“THIS is the apprentice herself,” the blond grinned, and the woman looked at you with enormous eyes. She clutched her sparkling glass in against her chest, her throat bobbing with fear. You thought to smile, but you knew whatever consequence Yen would face, this woman would as well. You forced your face still, if a little stern.

“I must be going,” she spoke rapidly, walking away as fast as her composure would allow. Wes looked at you with shining gunmetal eyes, endearment beaming off of him.

“Look at you,” he whistled lowly, eyes scanning your body, “that getup can’t be comfortable.”

“It isn’t,” you grumbled and he visibly fought a laugh. You fought one too.

Wes’ grey eyes shined with something you couldn’t place, but you thought maybe it was pride, “you are so, so strong now.”

You didn’t fight a smile at that.

“Your cheeks are red beneath that makeup,” he teased. “But you do look much older, more...mysterious. Spooky, even.”

You fought an eye roll at his taunting and shook your head with a sarcastic remark, “you’re funny.”

He smirked, “I know.”

You could feel both Kylo and Hux staring daggers into you but ignored them both, stepping outside the throng of military personnel and closer to a more intimate corner. Wes only followed, perpetual smirk gracing his boyish face. You watched worker ships buzz around outside the window.

“We’re on Starcrusher Base?” You questioned, voice soft.

Wes snickered, “StarKILLER, darling, don’t let anyone else hear you say that.”

You shook your head, ignoring the blond, “this place doesn’t feel...right.”

Wes quirked a golden brow, “do you really think this base was named ‘Starkiller’ for the drama of it?”

You blinked, thinking an affirmative. Wes sighed and set down his glass on the window ledge, “this is a superweapon, darling, at its completion it will be able to destroy entire SYSTEMS, and it can’t be long now. Perhaps a year or less.”

You didn’t hide your shock, “it can do WHAT?”

Wes’ flickered his steely eyes about, “keep your voice down, we don’t want any more attention than we’re already getting.”

That was the nagging feeling tugging at your subconscious- you knew something was wrong, but you didn’t know it was this.

“Again, it’s not ready yet,” said Wes quietly, interrupting your thoughts.

You blinked, “then why is everyone here?”

A shake of his head, “this...certainly isn’t everyone. We’re here to sort of ‘cut the ribbon’ on the finalization of the hyper-canon.”

The general crossed his arms and scowled a little, “it’s an excuse for a change of scenery and to drink.”

You frowned, but you could sense your blond friend was being honest. You only nodded.

Wes stepped away from you, tipping the brim of his general’s cap and beelining for the bar, “go enjoy yourself, make some new friends, and don’t stay in one place too long.”

You felt there was a weight to his warning you didn’t want to question, and you trailed behind the blond, the recognizable shape of a lone man at the other end of the bar calling to you. You approached him, and almost thought to smile. Instead, you sat on a seat next to him.

“You grew a beard,” you said smoothly, and the man turned, brows pinched.

Brown eyes shined with surprise, then recognition, “yeah, I did.”

Silas but his lip and gave you a playful punch on the shoulder, “Hey, kid. How are ya’? I haven’t seen you for a minute.”

You smiled a little, “I’ve been pretty busy.”

The man took a blue colored shot in front of him and did not flinch as is went back, “yeah, I can tell. I’m not a big fan of the robes.”

You smiled bigger, “me neither.”
He ordered another drink, side eyeing you.

“Well anyway, I’m a little busy myself right now, but I’m here if you ever want to train, kid.”

You took the cue he wanted to be left alone.

“As long as you don’t beat the living hell out of me again, it’s a deal,” you extended a gloved hand.

Silas took it and gave you a squeeze hard enough to pop the cartilage in your fingers with a snicker, “talk to Hux when you’re free. I’ll see ya’ sooner than later.”

You slipped off the barstool, “Bye, Silas.” He gave a mock salute without turning and picked up his glass, again, alone.

You felt three pairs of eyes on you. Kylo, Hux, and Venussia. You weren’t really sure who to talk to before you felt fingers brush your forearm and turned. Yen.

“Hey,” he said softly, smiling at you.

You pushed your way into his mind, “Yen, can you hear me?”

His eyes widened, “woah, don’t-“

You shushed him, voice in his thoughts, “just don’t say anything, I need to-”

A voice interjected, clear and piercing over the murmur of conversation and the open air.

“I would like your attention,” called General Hux from the middle of the room, raising a freshly filled glass of firewater. The black-clad officers and officials turned to him, arms raised in salute- Yen all the same. Your hair stood on end. You quickly slunk away, cape whispering at your heels, and to Kylo. The sith stood unmoving, arms crossed tight in his corner. Neither of you said anything, and only watched the ginger general on his leader’s high.

“Today we are gathered to celebrate a feat of great achievement for The Order,” started Hux, icy eyes alight.

You turned to the masked man beside you, and his gaze stayed firmly ahead. Hux continued to speak and you felt the sith grow annoyed under your gaze.

“What?” came Kylo’s robotic growl.

“You don’t exactly seem excited to be here.”

He was quiet for a moment before he spoke, voice dripping with malice, “you’re right.”

You fought a smirk at his snide remark as your eyes flickered back to Hux and his winded speech.

“-and because of this, I would like to propose a toast, not only to us, but in our success in taking one step closer to bringing the galaxy to a natural order!”

He raised his glass high, glittering amber firewater sloshing off the rim, before tossing it back. Everyone with a drink followed suit, calling “to the Order!”

Again, you grew unnerved at the blatant nature of the regime. You fidgeted anxiously with the material of your gloves before Kylo turned on his heel and slipped behind you.

“Where are you going?”

Ren only gestured with a gloved hand for you to follow, and with a sigh, you did. As a pair, you exited the room, only to find the pair of troopers gone.

“What did you do to the troopers?” Asked Kylo smoothly, not turning to look at you.

“I made them step aside,” you said honestly.

A hum of faux-interest from Kylo, “I told them not to let you in. Where are they now?”

You screwed up your face, “I didn’t hurt them.”

Kylo seemed disappointed, but said nothing more. He led you down another dizzying set of turns and an elevator down, down and out, onto the planet’s surface.

You felt cold, colder than you’d ever been before, and fought a shiver. Your breath came out in frosty puffs, and you caught white flurries on your black gloves. You looked at them close, the teensy patterns leaving you in disbelief.

“What IS this?”

Kylo turned to you, mechanical baritone sharp, “what is...what?”

You held out a glove to him, but the substance was gone. You furrowed your brows and instead pointed to the frigid air, “these white things.”

“...It’s snow,” Ren said after a very long pause, apparently in disbelief you were unfamiliar with the stuff.

You shook your head, “huh. I didn’t know that’s what it looked like. I’ve never seen it before.”

“Obviously,” Kylo remarked, and turned on his heel, marching off the platform and off into what you thought to be an expanse of wilderness. And still, you followed, gripping your cloak tight against your shivering frame and pulling up your hood.

It felt as if you had been walking for hours. Your fingers and feet were numb when you reached a massive cave. You could feel something tugging strong in your chest, warm, not hot.

Kylo turned to you as you peered into the darkness, before you thought you saw a flicker of light. You turned to him quickly, “did you see that?”

The sith said nothing, only gesturing with an open palm to the darkness. You could feel he had been here before.

You stepped into the cave, careful of the thin layer of ice along the rocky floor. You supported yourself along the wall, an intense heat making your cheeks flush. You initially mistook it for your own heartbeat, but the cave thrummed beneath your fingertips, alive with the Force.

“Where are we?”

“Listen,” he hissed at you, saying nothing else.

You closed your eyes, obviously to darkness. You pressed warmth into the stone beneath your fingertips and it pushed back, warmth in the center of your chest. It called you forward. The ice turned to slush as you drew deeper into the warmth of the cave. You reached a fork in your invisible path and asked the cave which direction to go. You flinched hard when a myriad of unfamiliar, overlapping voices told you ‘left’.

After a good walk, you heard the sound of rushing water, loud on your heightened hearing in the pitch darkness. You opened your eyes to complete darkness. Flying drops of moisture tickled your cheeks.

“Commander Ren?”

You called out to him in your mind and he listened, but did not respond. He immediately severed your connection and you huffed in annoyance. You did know he hadn’t entered the cave with you, but you certainly didn’t feel alone.

You brought warmth to the base of your throat, “um...hello.”

The cave said nothing.

“I don’t know why I’m here,” you said to the cave, and you felt a dizzyingly large number of listeners chuckle or comment. You shook your head. You needed to focus on one, or a handful of them.

“I need to know,” you thought smoothly.

“Crystal,” said one voice, a woman’s.

“Kyber,” said another, a man’s.

“Yourself,” said another woman’s.

You paused. A kyber crystal? Yourself? Your answer was hazy at best.

“I need to see, can you help me?”

“Your vision,” said one, a man you hadn’t heard.

“Light,” said a woman.

“The water,” said another man.

The water, light, vision...you thought, puzzling.

With a deep crouch, you felt blindly about the cave floor in the dark until you met a teensy stream, more like a sliver of mountain runoff, and followed it to a deeper body of water. The surge of water grew deafening. It was a waterfall, and this was the pool beneath.

The voices grew concise, less muddled and overlapping, taking turns to convey clearer information.

“Reach into the water,” said a woman from before.

“And touch what lies beneath,” said a man.

You obeyed without fear, removing a glove and dipping your hand into the warm pool. By the time you reached your elbow, you began growing worried. How deep was this water? You pulled up your sleeve high, fingers finally grazing a point on the bottom, nearly sharp enough to cut. The water became aglow, a vivid green, the crystals beneath a warm, living color. They thrummed gently with your heartbeat, slow and steady. You could see the entirety of the cavern, and let out a triumphant laugh that echoed off the walls, full of joy and wonder. Hundreds of thousands of sparkling crystals lined the walls of the space and groups of tiny waterfalls gave the illusory sound of one large waterfall.

The voices of the cave gave you words of encouragement and affirmation before shifting to something different.

“Now you must choose,” said a woman.

“Let it speak,” said another woman.

“You will know,” said a man.

You blinked and walked along the pool and biggest waterfall before you, eyeing your green reflection.

“Okay,” you said uncertainly, “thank you.”

The voices murmured ‘your welcome’s and other similar phrases before fading into silence again, the roar of water all that remained. You felt much more alone.

You brought the warmth of the force to your ears, scrunching up your nose at the tingly sensation. You heard a tiny voice, like that of a child. Honing in on the sound, the roar of the water faded into nothing.

“I’m here,” said the tiny voice, that of a little girl.

“You’re what I’m supposed to find,” you thought matter-of-factly, and the voice quieted. You apologized quickly, “sorry, sorry.”

“I’m here,” she repeated, and you drew closer to a patch of crystals near a smaller fall. A medium-sized crystal stood nestled between a pair of rocks. It made your fingertips positively burn. You reached down, removing your other glove and shoving it with its twin in a pocket.

Your brought your painfully hot hands to the kyber crystal, and your fingers were met with a cooling relief that made you sigh. The crystal nearly leapt into your hands as it left its spot between the rocks with a sharp clink. Its color shined a near blinding, pure, green, as the stunning view around you returned to darkness. You held the crystal out as far as your arms would reach, and followed the timy smidge of light of the crystal and the speck of daylight at the end of the tunnel.

When you finally reached the mouth of the cave, Kylo sat on the rock cross legged, helmet sitting next to him. His sharp-angled features were brushed red with the cold, and his eyes were ever-empty. His dark hair rustled in the freezing air as he gestured widely to the mechanical parts on the stone before him.

“Sit,” he barked, and you obliged, pulling on your gloves and pulling your hood in tight.

Ren held out a gloved hand, “let me see the crystal.”

You showed it to him, a pang in your chest fluttering sharp at the memory of your pendant. He flickered black eyes to you and frowned, annoyed.

He held the vibrant crystal in his gloved hand, and he looked you in the eyes when he held it up, eyes full of fire, “it’s nearly perfect.”

You took it gently back from him and brought it up against you, relieved at its return.

Kylo pushed some sort of mechanical part toward you.

You quirked a brow, “what’s this?”

Kylo crossed his arms, the freezing wind whipping his dark hair across his angled features, “that is for you to decide.”

You brought the warmth of the Force to your throat and spoke to the cave, “Can I ask you for help again?”

A chorus of affirmatives came your way, muddled again.

“I need to put this...thing together.”

There was no hesitation in the help you received from the voices in the cave. And so, step by step, you constructed the cylindrical object in a span of roughly 20 minutes, Kylo growing more furious by each passing second. You finally clicked the last panel into place, and held the object in your hand.

You gave an awkward smile to Kylo, who was trembling with rage.

“Who taught you to do this?” He questioned, eyes wild and voice soft. The wrong answer would make him snap.

“The voices,” you said truthfully, fighting a pause.

Ren’s volcanic temper was temporarily lulled as he fidgeted, looking much like a madman, “the voices...”

His black eyes were suddenly on you, and then his hand bound tight across your wrist. You made a noise of surprise and winced at the tightness, gripping the newly constructed object in one hand and your kyber crystal in the other.

“You made your saber with ease, now it is time to insert your crystal.”

Your eyes flickered with realization, “my saber?”

Immediately Kylo’s deformed weapon came to mind- yours was already at least ten times as pristine. The sith released you and you rested the base of the saber against the crook of your leg, removing the panel you had just placed. You went to insert the crystal into the husk of the heavy cylinder, much like you would a battery, but Kylo grabbed your wrist again and shook his head slowly.

“You aren’t finished,” he said, deep voice full of malice.

You blinked, and heard the tiny pleading of the crystal, “no, please don’t.”

Your eyes widened as you looked down into its near blinding greenness.

“Pour your anger, your sadness into this kyber crystal,” commanded Kylo. It nearly vibrated in your hand in negative response. You knew that was not what it wanted. You thought to tell him no, but something in your gut begged you not to more than the protests of the stone. You gripped your fingers around it tight, heart thrashing wildly in your chest.

You brought heat into your fingertips until it burned intensely, physically, your skin already becoming blistered at the contact on the stone. It’s green wavered and with Kylo’s pride shooting off of him, you only pressed further, hissing in pain.

“Good,” he encouraged, “but you need more.”

A moment of struggle passed, and you began to cry as the pain in your fingertips crept up your hands and forearms, blisters appearing atop your harshly reddened skin. It was like you were on fire. The crystal screamed in tortuous pain with your sobs, still in the voice of a little girl. It stirred you into tremendous guilt.

“Do not stop,” said the sith through clenched teeth, the kyber crystal now a bubbling, muddy amber.

You now screamed in pain, veins bulging at your temple. Blisters spread across your chest and up your neck, like flames of hellfire lapping at your body.

There was a brilliant crack of white and sound, and in your mind you saw yourself in a black and white scene, wielding a lightsaber, unsheathed. You watched yourself slash it down over and over again across a little girl- she couldn’t have been any older than eight. You were nauseated. Through the desecration of her tiny body, you made out a necklace beneath her shirt, leant down, and yanked it up by the cord, ignoring the stench of burnt flesh and hair. A tiny, green kyber crystal. You immediately gagged.

The girl was you.

Still screaming, sobs hysterical, you snapped back to reality, Ren holding you firm by your forearms. Snowflakes stuck to the tears and smeared black on your cheeks, the entirety of your face wind-burnt.

Your body shook with stifled sobs, and with blurry eyes, you peered down at your crystal. It was a stunning red, hot in your hands, not warm like the green kyber crystal prior.

It was silent, and did not speak to you. You knew it was dead.

You placed it into the husk of the weapon and shut the panel. You held the saber out to the side of you and clicked its release. It hissed wickedly to life and melted the snow beneath it, it fought you in your own hand.

Kylo gave a twitch of a smile, dark eyes flickering with an intense heat, “excellent work.”

He grazed your cheek with his fingertips, and you winced, expecting pain but found none- there wasn’t a single blister on your body.

“It’s time we go visit First Officer Torsa, don’t you think?”