I absolutely loved being able to befriend wild animals and keep them as pets in Animal Parade. Having a bear was awesome! I’d love to see this come back with other animals like a wolf, eagle, deer, lion, crocodile, etc. Get creative, and give me some pets!
THIS TURNED OUT SO SAPPY. Regardless, I hope you enjoy! My Hux might be a bit similar to yours, I apologize, but CWU’s influenced me so much I’m pretty sure it’s become one of those things that’ll follow whatever I write. I hope you like this!
Luke doesn’t say anything when Ben hands him the lightsaber. Just reaches out for it, the fingers of his cybernetic hand closing over the worn, scratched metal. The lightsaber fitting neatly into his palm the way it never had for Ben, somehow. But as the weight leaves him, sliding off his shoulders, he thinks: now he understands why.
Rey is standing beside Luke. Tall and strong and beautiful but still every inch his baby cousin, and the selfish, cowardly part of him hopes she doesn’t reach out for him because if she does he doesn’t know how he can ever leave her all alone. But she doesn’t. She’s grown up, somehow, with him barely noticing it until the day she’d knocked him back into the training mat and gave him a concussion. The singed end of her newly cut-off braid curling around her tear-damp cheeks, and instead it’s Ben who reaches out for her, like they’re fifteen and five all over again.
“Take care of this place for me, okay?” He mumbles into her braids. She lets out a sob that’s half a laugh, but she’s the first to pull away. The first to step back.
“You’re doing the right thing,” she tells him, and he knows, he knows it. The rightness is singing in his veins with every step he takes. His breathing coming in faster, freer, and when he finally emerges from the temple the muggy Coruscanti sunlight washes over him like a caress. Like a blessing.
He looks back at the Temple only once more. For a moment, he thinks he sees his grandfather’s ghost smiling at him. He grins back, pulls his hood up over his face.
The hangar is deserted when he gets out of the shuttle. Ben can sense this the moment he steps down, blinking from the harsh light. For a moment he hesitates. Hand insinctively going to the lightsaber - the new one - hanging from his belt.
Rather too late for that, don’t you think?
The rest of Ben’s trepidation evaporates when he hears the voice. Dry and clipped but with a gentleness to it, if you listened hard enough. Just like him. He makes his way down the empty corridors, only half-wondering where the hell everyone else is. Scoping out the corridors but the Force tells him nothing. Just the bright beacon of a man, waiting for him alone.
Ben supposes, it’s one advantage of being the head of a military junta - you could command your subordinates to do what you wanted, and no one dared question it. He hurries on when he feels a slight tug at his chest, and it feels like that last day at the temple. Light filling him up, sweet and soft as he follows the flame-bright presence. the tug in his heart that only getting more insistent as he gets closer and closer, almost running when he finally reaches the general’s private quarters.
Hux is waiting for him. Turned away from the door towards the transparisteel viewports. His hair lit by starlight. He doesn’t turn when Ben enters, he waits. Until only a foot of distance separates them. Ben so close he can hear Hux’s soft breaths. See the rise and fall of his shoulders through his thin shirt, and this is important, somehow. It occurs to Ben, with a startled rush that this is the first time he’s ever seen Hux without some uniform or another, hiding the fragility beneath.
“Hux,” Ben whispers. Hux turns. Even his hair is slightly mussed, like he’s been running his hands through it in distraction, and Ben has to resist the urge to reach up and touch him.
“You know, I was thinking of having my troops witness your arrival.” Hux says. His voice disinterested, almost mild. “Think of how that would boost their morale. The New Republic’s pet Jedi, paraded around on a leash. It would make great recruitment propaganda, don’t you think?” He faces Ben now, fully. His blue eyes are cold.
“I thought you wanted to keep me for yourself, General.” Ben drawls, then regrets it when he catches Hux hide a flinch. There are shadows beneath his eyes, a wary tension and tightly mastered paranoia. So afraid to trust, without letting himself know it.
“Why did you come here, Ben?” Hux asks quietly. Ben shrugs. Slowly moving towards Hux when the latter doesn’t take a step back. Cradling Hux’s hands in his palms, and Hux lets out a sharp little exhale when Ben slots their fingers together. Gently stopping him digging his nails into his palms, a practiced movement that never fails to have unwilling comfort washing over Hux. He drops his gaze, takes a step closer.
“For the same reason you let me in,” Ben says. “For the same reason you let me see you, alone.” Pressing Hux’s hand to his lips, Hux’s yearning is so sharp Ben can almost feel it slicing through his mouth like a hungry kiss. Hux’s lashes are trembling. Between them, Ben can hear the question Hux doesn’t say aloud.
He’s thought about this moment, truth be told. He knows the story of his grandparents, how his Anakin Skywalker loved Padme Amidala so much that he broke himself in half kneeling to the would-be Emperor just so she could be spared. But this doesn’t feel like breaking. Ben’s knees folding beneath him in one smooth movement, and Hux’s hands are in his, warm, clutching tight. His eyes wide as Ben presses his mouth to the backs of his hands, his palms, mouthing over the callouses formed by writing and handling blasters, every inch of skin he knows and loves.
“I will do all that you ask,” Ben says, voice breaking with the weight of what he’s feeling. “Never doubt I’m yours.” Pulling Hux closer to him, so that his forehead brushes the top of his hip, and he closes his eyes. Thinking of light, so much light, as Hux takes an unsteady breath.
Anakin Skywalker had kneeled, and that defeat had destroyed him, and everyone he loved. When Palpatine bade him rise, it was with a new name and a terrible burden on his shoulders. Hux tugs Ben Solo up, and the only weight he feels is his lover’s slight frame gathered in his arms.
“I love you,” Ben whispers against Hux’s hair, and the light sings as Hux breathes it back, shaky and soft against his skin.
WHAT OMG I love this so much!! It turned out beautifully! I felt a palpable relief that increased by increments throughout this, and the ending was like the last of some clouds parting. I hope you’ll post to AO3! Thank you so much for submitting it here in the meantime. I’m about to get started on writing for the day and I feel inspired by this, it’s lovely, and the whole emotional and literal atmosphere surrounding Ben’s decision is so well drawn. <3
IMAGE. One of my big pet peeves is that parades only seem to happen on certain designated holidays or for special events. Obviously, it is our god-given right to have a parade anytime we want. Build a Mardi Gras-style parade float and drive it down main street. We must see something related to GISHWHES on the float (a mascot, an item, etc.). - GISHWHES 2014
“First day of GISHWHES - this is impossible! Last day of GISHWHES - anything is possible! Every.single.year. Best week ever.”
I think anyone who comes out should be entitled to a party where they invite all their friends who have to bring their pets. It'd be rainbow themed or with their sexual orientation's specific flag. And then everyone would have an impromptu pet LGBTQ+ pride parade. This needs to happen.