For the wonderful @the-negotiator who asked for a Park Ranger AU, but I kinda expanded this out into my own realm of experience so it’s not really what you asked for. It also kinda got away from me. TW: references to serious animal abuse/death.
That’s Not A Hedgehog, That’s A Pine Cone
Kylo owns and runs a wild animal sanctuary and rehabilitation centre. His mother paid for it after he got thrown out of a succession of animal rights organisations for being too aggressively militant. He totally stabbed a guy for kicking a dog once. He may have been behind an arson attack on whaling vessel. Leia doesn’t want to know, she just wants to stop bailing him out of foreign jails, so she sets him up with some land and an old school house that he does up to serve as the animal hospital. He ends up with a team of loyal veterinarians and assistants that all live in the attic rooms of the house. He calls them his Knights. They all think he’s amazing and tolerate this nonsense.
Hux is an Animal Welfare Officer for a large international animal charity. He was in the Army but left after two tours due to a shoulder injury. The injury prevented him from joining the police like his father wanted. Frankly he’s glad, he’s not a fan of dealing with people. He’s good at getting them to do what he wants, he’s a natural leader, he just doesn’t want to be. He’s a nightmare for the call handlers (he’s made Mitaka cry over a map reading error) but the admin staff adore him, you’ll never see a more accurately written report and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty during rescues. He’s also excellent at getting convictions in cruelty cases, partially thanks to his report writing and partially thanks to his terrifying stare in court.
He owns a tripod ginger cat named Millicent that had been thrown against a wall as a kitten. She was one of his very first cruelty cases and he carried her around in his shirt for a lot of her recovery. She very cuddly and still likes to get into his clothes when fireworks are going off. Her original owner, one Albert Snoke, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering and sentenced to community service but he didn’t show up to his sessions. Two weeks later he died in a car crash, though the accident investigators said the brake line wore through naturally.
Kylo has a hyperactive red setter called Saber that he adopted from the charity centre Hux usually works from. He spent months doing volunteer dog walking at the centre just so he could have a chance to talk to the angry red head. Hux found him irritating as he’s really not there to deal with the public, that’s what the guys in the blue uniforms are there for Ren, please stop following me around. But he kinda warms to him after he manages to persuade Saber to come out of his run for the first time since he was rescued. Hux had found him as a bait dog in a dog fighting ring and Saber was terrified of everything. Something about this wall of muscle talking kindly to a sad dog melted a tiny corner of Hux’ frozen heart.