Kylo Ren is forced to leave the Finalizer, abruptly ending his growing relationship with Hux, and begin intensive training on multiple planets across the galaxy. Three years later and Kylo makes his return to the First Order ship immediately looking for Hux. But what he finds is an emotionless, heartbroken man who also happens to have a new robotic arm due to a battle gone wrong. The guilt Kylo feels is overwhelming.
Kylo hadn’t wanted to leave in the first place.
The Supreme Leader had been adamant, insisting that the training he wanted Kylo to complete could not be done on board the Finalizer, the place where Kylo most wanted to be.
‘Conquer the elements,’ Snoke had said. ‘Overcome nature’s harshest of storms and most hazardous terrains, and you will come closer to the Force. Go.’
It would mean travelling across the galaxy, finding planets that harboured the conditions that he needed to survive until he could return to his master successful, which had meant leaving Hux, meant terminating their budding relationship before it has time to bloom.
Hux hadn’t shown much emotion when Kylo had broken the news to him the night before he was due to leave. In fact, Hux hadn’t shown any emotion at all, just simple acknowledgement and then sex. Quiet sex that was usually loud and filled with passion: Hux just seemed to lie back and let Kylo get himself off before sleeping silently side by side.
With nothing more than a quick goodbye—Kylo had hesitated for a moment before leaving, wondering whether to kiss Hux, something to remember him by, but Hux hadn’t so much as opened his eyes as Kylo had dressed—Kylo had left the General’s quarters, knowing that he has to get over this relationship quickly if he were to succeed in his training, and return to Hux as quickly as possible.
That had been 3 years ago.
Kylo’s orders are to return to the Finalizer to resume joint command with General Hux, though Snoke had made a jibe that, with Kylo’s new strength and his triumph in his recent training, Kylo is leagues above Hux and his lack of Force-sensitivity.
Kylo had agreed with his master, fighting the urge to defend Hux and his exceptional mind.
He flies to the Finalizer at maximum speed, finally allowing himself to think of Hux again, having tried to blank him out until his work was done, the desperation to merely see Hux again almost overwhelms him. As Kylo arrives and steps down from his Command Shuttle, his gaze darts around the hangar bay searching for Hux, expecting him to be stood in his usual authoritative stance to greet Kylo from his mission.
But Hux isn’t waiting for him; he isn’t even in the hangar bay.
Kylo is grateful that he has his mask on; he’s able to hide the intense mix of sadness and anger in his eyes.
Without even hesitating, Kylo marches off, his new robes flowing behind him, and begins his search for Hux.
The bridge, the meeting rooms, his quarters. The last place that Kylo needs to look is Hux’s office, and he even finds himself hearing a strange distortion through the Force as he nears the door, and he knows that Hux is inside.
Kylo doesn’t knock—he’s never knocked—before entering, immediately seeing Hux sat at his desk.
But something is frightfully amiss. Kylo can sense it.
Hux’s face is slightly obscured by the light blue hologram of a grand star destroyer floating above the desk, but Kylo can see the dark circles under his pale eyes, his red hair slightly longer and merely brushed back out of the way rather than combed military-style.
“Ren,” Hux says, monotone, with a quick glance up from his datapad and straight back down again. “Can I help you with something?”
Kylo can’t help but feel pierced by the coldness of Hux’s tone.
“I expected you to be in the hangar for my arrival,” he replies, voice distorted by his mask, hiding his upset.
Kylo gives the holographic blueprints a quick look before fixing his gaze back on Hux.
“So I see.”
The room falls completely silent, the air between them cold and tense, and Kylo has never felt less powerful in his life.
“If there’s nothing else, Master Ren, then I’ll have to ask you to leave me to my work,” Hux snaps, even pointing to the door, but the gesture makes Kylo feel like he’s staring at the fierce end of a gun. Deciding that Hux seeing his hurt eyes will aid his cause, Kylo unclasps his helmet and removes it, suddenly feeling much more vulnerable.
“Hux, don’t be like this, I didn’t—“
“I said,” Hux spits, flattening his palms on the desk as he stands up, head hanging between his shoulders. “Leave me.”
Kylo’s chest hurts. “I already did.”
Hux visibly shakes as though physically hurt by Kylo’s words. The emotion is rolling off of his consciousness in tsunami-like waves, threatening to knock Kylo out if he concentrates too hard on their source. Too suddenly for Kylo’s liking, Hux moves, storming away from his desk and taking long strides towards the ‘fresher door on the other side of the room.
Kylo leaps forward, grabbing Hux by the hand before he can get away, but he’s unnerved what he feels.
Hux’s hand is freezing cold, fingers thinner and sharper than Kylo remembers. And he remembers.
“What…” Kylo mutters, looking down at Hux’s hand, terror surging through him.
Hux doesn’t stop him as he eases his jacket off, sliding it down over his arms until he’s left in just his undershirt, revealing the true extent of his injury. From the middle of his left bicep, Hux has a cybernetic limb, bare of synthskin, gold metallic skeleton on show for the galaxy to see.
Hux is naturally left-handed.
Kylo feels as though he may faint, his mind and heart and soul consumed with guilt.
“Hux,” Kylo gasps, subconsciously tightening his grip around Hux’s robotic hand. “I…I’m sorry—“
“Don’t.” Hux turns finally, revealing a black eye and a split lip, stitching on his forehead. “Don’t you dare fucking apologise to me, Kylo. You chose to leave me, just when I was falling—“
Hux bites his lip, flinching as he catches his cut with his teeth, and shakes his head. He yanks his hand out of Kylo’s grip and wraps his natural hand around his robotic bicep and rubs it slightly as though trying to warm it, and Kylo feels his eyes brim with tears.
“No, Hux, no,” Kylo says, voice breaking. “I wanted to stay, but my training, it was—Snoke said I had to go. I thought you understood.”
“I thought I did understand you,” Hux replies. “But it appears as though I’ve never been more wrong in my life. Get out, Ren. It’s too late.”
Kylo sinks to his knees, shoulders shaking as he tries to
hold back his sobs, but fails. He kneels in front of Hux, somehow wanting to show his anguish, wanting to show how willing he is to go to the ends of the galaxy for Hux, but he realises it just makes him look weak.
“Ren,” Hux says, tone seemingly calm, hiding a storm. “Get up.”
“No,” Kylo says through gritted teeth. “Never. Not until you know that I would never abandon you. Armitage. Please, understand.”
Kylo reaches his trembling hand upwards, seeking out Hux’s cybernetic, latching on tightly once he finds it. The fingers twitch slightly in Kylo’s palm, and he guesses that Hux isn’t yet used to it, movements still slightly stiff.
“Kylo, stop. It’s a waste of time. Get up.”
“No! Hux, please.” The tears on Kylo’s cheeks are hot, burning his skin, but the only feeling he concentrates on is Hux’s cold fingers against his sweating palms.
Carelessly, Kylo scans the edges of Hux’s mind, searching for the incident, the battle that took Hux’s arm from him. When Kylo sees it, he wishes he never looked. The battle had been fierce, only thirteen days ago, Hux with the ground squadron, fighting nobly against the attacking clan.
The grenade. The explosion. The pain.
The guilt is consuming him, suddenly seeing Hux lying under a cold light in the medical wing, writhing in pain as the medics try to sedate him, left arm already unsaveable, lost in the blast.
‘Ren! Help me! Please!’ Hux cries, gritting his teeth, overcome by pain. His eyes unfocus as drugs begin to consume him, his body relaxing on the examination table, uttering four desperate words before an oxygen mask is strapped over his mouth. ‘Come…home…Love…you.’
Kylo comes back to himself with an anguished shout, burying his head against Hux’s thigh, squeezing his hand.
“My fault,” he cries. “I’m sorry, Armitage, so sorry, I should’ve been there, I failed you, but please, don’t leave me, not like I left you, I can’t bear it any longer—.”
For a moment, when Hux pries his cybernetic hand from Kylo’s grip, Kylo expects it to contort around his neck to crush his windpipe in payment of his failure. He can’t help but gasp and recoil when the metal hand strokes through his hair softly. He looks up as the cold fingers caress his cheek.
“I can’t feel you,” Hux says, tears streaming down his cheeks. “Ren. I can’t feel you.”
Hux falls to his knees too, sitting opposite Kylo, hand still on his cheek, caressing it, as though he believes that if he tries hard enough, he’ll be able to feel the smoothness of Kylo’s pale cheek with his metal fingers. Chest aching from sorrow, Kylo reaches for Hux’s other hand and brings it up to his cheek.
“You can,” Kylo says, his own hands cupping both of Hux’s, voice shaking though he tries to keep it strong. “See? I’m here. Right here, Hux. Stars, I’m never going to leave you again.”
Hux opens his mouth to reply but a cry escapes instead, and he suddenly lurches forwards, flinging his arms around Kylo’s neck to cry into his shoulder. Kylo holds on tightly, guilt surging through his veins, constricting his heart until he swears that its quick thrums are chanting Hux Hux to him, one final taunt of his weakness.
“Ssh, Armitage,” Kylo soothes, rocking him gently. “You’re safe. I promise.”
Hux’s natural hand slides up to grasp the hair at the nape of Kylo’s neck, pulling at it, combing it through his fingers, and Kylo slides his eyes closed, defeated by his guilt.
Kylo knows that the kissing and affection will come later. Now, Hux needs him. And he isn’t going to fail Hux again.