Talk Of The Base
Title: Talk of the Base
Disclaimer: We own nothing from the Star Wars franchise and are making nothing from this story.
Summary: Follows Memories. Having to deal with the past and others' perceptions of it.
Warning(s): Spanking; references to deaths of past characters; AU
Authors: BlackFox12 and Hope1iz
Hux had settled into his new position as Luke's son quickly. He only wished it was just as easy to settle into living in the base. While he understood the Rebel Alliance's reluctance to accept him, it was still difficult. There was more than one occasion he'd overheard their comments; critical of his Aunt Leia for allowing him and Ben to stay. That's why he wasn't surprised when he heard the soldiers at the table behind him begin to talk about them again.
Luke had planned to meet his son for lunch, but that plan had ended up going awry, as his sister had needed to talk to him about Snoke and Ben being protected from the Sith's evil influence. He'd sent a message to Hux through his datapad, letting his son know he was running late but would be there as soon as he could.
Hux had picked a corner table out of the way of the other people in the canteen. It wasn't enough to shield him from the usual comments. For the most part, he was able to ignore them. Until one voice, from a rebel soldier two tables away, carried through an unusually quiet time.
"...They were behind the order to blow up my home planet. My entire family was wiped out. I know the general believes they were under some sort of control and couldn't have done anything to stop it...but I'll never forgive them for what happened..." The voice got softer at that point, but the damage had been done. Losing his appetite, Hux forced himself to finish the sandwich he had so that it wouldn't look suspicious, but he quickly left as soon as he could do so without drawing attention to himself.
Talking to Leia had taken quite a bit longer than he'd anticipated and when he went to the canteen, Luke wasn't terribly surprised to realise his son wasn't there. Still, he sent out a message through their bond. "I'm sorry I was running late, son. I'm here now, if you haven't already eaten." He sent a wave of affection through the link, along with the apology.
"I ate a sandwich, father. I wasn't really very hungry after all," Hux sent back through the bond. He was obviously attempting to block emotion from leaking through with the thoughts, because he was failing at it horribly. A mass of churning, sorrowful, self-loathing filled guilt leaked through.
"Where are you, son?" Luke opened the link fully, so that Hux would feel how much he was cared about and loved...letting all of his emotions leak through to his son.
Hux didn't really know where he was. In the resulting guilt from what he'd overheard, he'd just taken off and walked. He knew he was outside the boundaries of the base, something Luke wouldn't be happy about under normal circumstances; the fact he had no clue where he was made it worse. "I don't know, dad..." he sent back through their link, along with a few images of what he was seeing.
Luke kept sending reassuring feelings of love, care and affection through the link, even as he also directed, "Stay where you are, son. I'm coming to get you. I love you," he added, the words reiterating the emotions he was sending through their link.
"Yessir..." Hux sent back his own feelings of willingness to obey, mixed with feelings of guilt and hopelessness underlying it. He sat down to wait for his father.
Luke kept the link open between him and his son, sending repeated feelings of love and care and affection; keeping Hux talking, so he didn't get lost inside his own head.
Hux continued to talk to his father not moving from the location he was sat at. He realized what Luke was trying to do by carrying on a non-stop conversation but went along with it. He was grateful his father loved him despite everything that had occurred.
Luke was at least familiar enough with the boundaries outside the base to have a good idea of where Hux had ended up. It didn't take him long to track down his wayward son and the moment he saw Hux, he didn't hesitate, instantly moving over to his son and hugging him tightly, warm feelings of love and affection and care and worry overflowing through the link.
Despite the deep feelings of guilt, and the very slight trepidation at the scolding he knew he deserved for just taking off like he had, Hux found himself immediately relaxing into his father's embrace. "You found me," he whispered inanely.
Luke tightened his arms around his son. "I would always come after you," he whispered, kissing the top of Hux's head. "I love you."
Hux relaxed further and snuggled into his father, seeking reassurance and comfort. "You shouldn't. I'm a horrible person," he said despondently.
Luke stroked Hux's hair, tightening his arms around him. "No, son. You made a mistake, but you let me bring you back. You didn't go beyond hope."
"Tell that to those whose families I destroyed..." His voice was full of guilt.
Luke kissed his head. "I'll take you back into the base, son. We'll continue this discussion in our quarters. But you are not a horrible person."
"It'd be better for everyone if they didn't see me anymore..." Hux didn't argue, but he obviously was reluctant to go back to base.
Stroking his son's cheek with his skin hand while cupping the back of Hux's head with his mechanical hand, Luke said quietly, "I know things have been difficult for you and Ben. I spoke with your aunt about it and there's somewhere on the planet we could start a new academy...if you'd both feel happier not staying at the base."
"How? Leia needs to be with her people and I know she won't want Ben away from her. Ben wouldn't want it either..." Hux said quietly. There was an element of hope in his tone, though, that hadn't been there before.
Luke continued to hold onto his son as he said, "She has people who she can trust to keep the base running while she's with us. Yes, there would be times she'd need to return here...but she can spend most of her time at the academy."
"We can be together and not bother her troops..." Hux swallowed. "That will be good..."
Luke stroked his head. "I can show you the site I have in mind later."
"Okay, dad..." Hux sounded a lot calmer than he had...a bit more hopeful.
"I love you." Luke held Hux a bit tighter for a bit longer and then asked gently, "Can I take you back inside to our quarters now?"
Hux nodded, hugging Luke tightly. "Okay, dad..." he answered softly.
Luke helped his son to stand, keeping his arms wrapped around Hux as he led him back into the base, not so much as loosening his hold.
Hux followed without argument. He couldn't help begging through the bond, though. "Please don't make me see any of others on base..."
"I'll take you straight to our quarters," Luke promised, proceeding to keep his word.
Hux leaned into Luke, meek and lacking confidence. He followed silently, allowing Luke to decide everything.
Luke didn't release his son even as he led Hux into their quarters. He sat down and gently tugged Hux onto his lap. "I know you were upset, but you shouldn't have just taken off," he said softly.
Hux's sense of guilt grew and he slumped against his father. "I'm sorry, dad..." he whispered. "I know better. I shouldn't have run..."
Luke kissed his head, tightening his embrace. "I understand why you were upset, but that's when you come to me, son."
"I... I know I should have immediately told you. I needed to get away and didn't stop to think first," Hux admitted.
"Is this the first time you've felt that need to get away?" Luke knew it wasn't the first time his son had heard those types of comments; that was the main reason for his discussion with his sister.
"Not entirely. Usually, you were right next to me, though, so I was able to ignore it..." Hux admitted more. "I should have just taken my sandwich and gone to our quarters when I realized you'd be late. I knew I had destroyed lives but hearing how I destroyed entire families..."
Luke stroked his son's hair. "I know how hard it is to hear, son. It's hard to see how those comments affect you. But running from the base isn't how you deal with that. Especially not when you don't know where you end up."
Hux slumped further. "I know, dad. I do. I didn't stop to think. I haven't felt like myself in... well, I've been in control for so long and now I feel anything but in control of myself. It isn't an excuse. I know I shouldn't have run. I just keep responding in ways I never would have before. I can't seem to stop myself."
Luke kept up with the gentle affection, even as he said softly, "You've been through a lot. And I know you haven't told me all of what happened to you." But he knew Snoke hadn't treated his son or his nephew well. "I am going to spank you, son." Not just for running, but because he knew how much the guilt hurt his son and wanted to help.
"Alright, dad..." Hux whispered. He didn't comment on what he hadn't told his father. There were some things he just couldn't put voice to. The fact his cousin had been through worse didn't help. He felt like maybe he shouldn't say anything, because then they'd know how much worse it was for Ben and Ben didn't want it known. As far as the spanking? He deserved at least that much.
Luke kissed his head. "I love you, son," he murmured. "So very much." He held Hux a moment or two longer and then gently moved his son over his lap.
"I love you too, daddy..." Hux finally gave in and used the term of address that he only used when he was willingly giving all control to Luke. The one he used when he needed his father to take care of him, because he just didn't know what to do.
Luke gently rubbed his son's back and then proceeded to bare Hux, sending reassuring feelings of love and comfort through their link.
Hux relaxed. While he didn't exactly want what he knew was about to occur, he felt more at ease and safe with his father than he had all night. And he knew he deserved what he was about to get. "I love you, daddy," he whispered, before going silent and opening himself up completely to the force bond. Luke would feel every emotion and would be able to tell immediately when he'd reached the right point, even if he didn't voice it.
Luke shifted his other arm so that he could press it against his son's back, keeping the contact even as he lifted his flesh hand and brought it down in a firm smack that he then repeated. He kept the bond just as open on his side, his love and care for his son flowing through to Hux.
Hux didn't make any noise as the spanking began. He'd been through worse pain and what was affecting him was the feeling of failure he had at having run and the feelings of guilt from what he'd done in the past, as well as the guilt he felt for worrying his father. Those feelings of guilt and failure screamed through the force bond. It wasn't necessary to voice anything, as Luke could hear it clearly through the bond. Hux wasn't trying to hide anything.
Luke could feel the emotions from his son and he kept the link between them open, love and forgiveness flowing through to his son, as he kept the skin-to-skin contact. "I love you, Hux. I could never tell you how truly happy it made me to bring you home with me...that I could finally claim you as my son. I'm only sorry it took me so long to do that."
"I love you too, daddy! I'm sorry I left without thinking. I'm sorry I became so broken. You deserve better." Hux was very regretful.
"You leaving worried me because I don't want to see you hurting...and I don't want you to risk endangering yourself because you felt like you had to leave." Luke began to swat a fraction harder and faster. "You are so important to me, son."
Tears began to slide from a Hux's eyes and he found himself wrapping his arms around his father's leg in a tight hug, much like a scared child. "You're the only one..." he thought guiltily. "You and my uncles, aunt and cousins. I never wanted everyone to love me...or expected it...but it hurts that I've made them all loathe and despise me...hate me. I became a monster!"
Luke kept the force bond open between them, his love and care for his son flowing from him to Hux. It hurt to know how much his son was hurting. "You didn't have anyone with you apart from Ben and he was wrestling with his own demons. You were both exposed to too much of the dark side through Snoke, but he doesn't have a hold on you anymore. You aren't his. You're mine."
"I'm yours, daddy! I am!" Hux began to sob at the same time as he went limp over his father's lap. It was a relief to know he wasn't under Snoke's control any longer; a relief that he belonged to his father. "I'm yours and I love you!"
Bringing the spanking to a stop, Luke wasted no time in drawing Hux up and into his arms, hugging his son close and tight. "I love you, son. So very much. I'm so glad I was able to bring you home."
"I'm so grateful you have me," Hux whispered and snuggled close.
Luke kissed his head. "I'm sorry it took me so long to act, but now that I have you...I won't let you go. I won't ever let you doubt your place in my life," he promised.
Hux just nodded in agreement, hugging back tightly. His belief in his father was completely clear through the bond.
Stroking his hair, Luke said softly, "I love you. And that won't ever change." He kept the link open, love and affection for his son continually overflowing.
Hux eventually calmed, his father's constant reassurance and affection easing him until he could handle his constant guilt about his past better. It didn't mean he wanted to face anyone, but at least he wasn't incapable of it if it was needed. "I think I could eat something now, daddy..." he whispered out loud, talking for the first time since Luke had come for him.
Luke nodded, holding his son tight. "I'll have some food brought here," he said softly, understanding his son wouldn't want to leave their quarters.
Hux continued to lean on his father, holding on just as tightly. "Thank you, daddy..." He continued to whisper, continued to use the more childish form of address. He wasn't feeling in control of himself- of anything, really- and needed Luke's strength. His words and behavior showed it all too clearly.
"I love you, son." Luke kissed his head, holding Hux tightly to himself, even as he arranged for the food to be brought to their quarters.
"I love you too, dad..." Hux sighed softly, letting his head fall onto Luke's shoulder. He was beginning to feel a bit more at ease.
Luke continued the gentle affection, only moving to get the food when it arrived and then settling Hux back onto his lap, needing to hold onto his son.
"Thank you for being here for me...it means a lot..." Hux said with a crooked smile. "Ben and I are very lucky you got hold of us..."
Luke smiled. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he murmured softly.
Hux's smiled turned into a grin. "Let's eat lunch now?" he said fondly.
"Would you like to sit up at the table?" Luke asked, figuring his son would let him know if he still wanted to be held like this while they ate.
"Yeah...It might be easier to eat." Hux gave an amused laugh, hugging Luke one last time before moving onto his own chair and waiting for Luke to join him at the table.
Luke sat down with his son, sharing the food out between them. He kept the link open with Hux, so his son could still feel how much he was loved and cared about.
Hux actually found his appetite was good, now that he was with his father. He let Luke feel how secure he felt, as well as carrying on a verbal conversation, letting Luke know what he thought he'd like to do in the future.
Luke listened intently to his son, giving Hux his full attention and responding where it was appropriate to do so.
Ben had walked into the cantina just in time to see Hux rush out. It hadn't taken long for him to gather what had occurred, since everyone there had begun talking about it as soon as the other man had disappeared. He felt himself growing angry. Unfortunately, that anger was easy to see, since it caused tables and chairs to rattle and dishes and cutlery to fall to the floor. Of course, the look on his face would have given it away, even if his lack of control over his force powers hadn't made it obvious. He was scowling. The cantina went silent as hostile, frightened faces looked his direction. He was grateful when, seemingly out of nowhere, Poe put a hand on his shoulder and led him back out of the cantina before he could decisively act on his anger.
Poe had been right behind Ben when the younger man had entered the cantina, so he had heard the same things and he knew why Ben was upset. Of course, even if Ben was justified in feeling upset, it wouldn't excuse him if he demolished the room, possibly hurting people inside. He'd quickly led his little brother out, though he did give his own glares toward the most offensive parties involved in the upset. He quickly led Ben back to their quarters. He didn't know if Han or Leia would be there. Or Chewie. But he felt their quarters was the safest place to keep Ben at the moment.
Han had returned to the living quarters, after speaking with Leia about her and Luke's plan to form a new Jedi academy away from the rebel base. He was now in the main room of the quarters, checking through a list of supplies on his datapad.
Poe had to move quickly to open the door to the quarters, as Ben was still having difficulty controlling himself. Every loose cart they'd passed had taken a quick trip down whichever hall they'd been on, often crashing into the far wall. Doors had been rattling as they passed. The door to their own quarters shook ominously in the few seconds before he'd managed to swing the door open and shove Ben through the opening. Quickly stepping into the room after his brother, he slammed the door shut before turning Ben to face him and putting both hands on his little brother's shoulders. "Calm down! Breathe!" he ordered, too focused on making certain Ben didn't do something he'd regret to notice that their father was actually in the room with them.
The rattling of the door had quickly alerted Han to the fact something was wrong and as soon as Poe brought Ben inside, he didn't waste any time moving to his sons. "What happened?" he asked quickly, his hand gently resting on Ben's waist.
"We walked into the cantina...I'm not sure what happened right before we got there, but the people who were still in the cantina when we arrived were talking about Hux and how they didn't care what Luke Skywalker said or did, he'd never be more than a murdering monster..." Poe answered quickly, his tone grim. "...I barely got Ben out before he brought the ceiling down on them." His tone clearly said he wouldn't have blamed Ben if the ceiling had come down; even if, in the long run, it would have made things worse for his little brother.
Ben didn't say anything, instead using the time Poe was answering their father to take deep breaths and try to calm down. He wasn't being terribly successful, though, his emotions too wild and unfocused.
Han nodded to Poe, indicating that he'd heard his oldest, and gently drew Ben into a tight embrace. "Your uncle's gone after your cousin. Luke will take care of Hux," he quietly promised his younger son.
Ben just nodded, unable to respond verbally and still having difficulty regaining control over his rage at those who had hurt his cousin.
Poe winced, seeing the anger still in Ben's eyes. He glanced at his father, worriedly. "Should I go get Mom?" he mouthed to the older man.
Han nodded to Poe, tightening his hold on Ben. He thought he could probably settle his youngest but didn't think they needed an audience for it.
Giving Ben's shoulder one last squeeze, Poe quickly left the quarters in search of his mother. He'd stay with her until she deemed it 'safe' to return back to join his father and brother.
Ben was still struggling to control himself, his breathing erratic, and a few of the knick-knacks that Leia had decorated the rather drab living area with falling to the floor. Luckily, they weren't breakable.
"I know you're upset, son...and I understand why you're upset." Han held Ben close for a few more moments and then gently led him to the couch. "But you need to control that anger. You need to control yourself." He sat and guided Ben across his lap.
The tiny table to the side of the couch rattled and Ben tensed up. He obviously heard his father. He just wasn't able to do what he'd been told. An unhappy growl was all that he managed to articulate; and it was an effort to keep it at a growl. He really wanted to yell and scream about how unfair it was. Everyone being angry at him? He deserved their anger. Hux had only joined because he was Ben's friend. And then he hadn't been able to get free. It was Ben's fault, not Hux's.
Han ignored the rattling, instead focusing entirely on his son. "I love you, Ben." The words were simple but heartfelt. He rubbed Ben's back as he bared his son.
Ben closed his eyes tightly, clenching every muscle in his body- including his backside- and took a labored breath. The table rattled more, and some pictures fell off of the wall, but he managed to maintain just enough control not to send things flying at his father's head. While Han turning him over his knee wasn't helping him to calm down in the least (not yet, anyway), he also knew his father only had his best interests in mind and loved him, so he couldn't truly be angry at the older man for stepping in as he was.
Han continued to gently rub Ben's back, even as he lifted his other hand and brought it down in a firm smack that he then repeated. "I know listening to those comments was upsetting. You don't want your cousin to get hurt and there's nothing wrong with that. But reacting in this way isn't going to help anything."
"I know, daddy..." Ben ground out through clenched teeth, closing his eyes tightly. "...That's why I've been trying not to destroy everything with the force, even though I was so tempted to remind them of what I could do if they crossed me or those I love..." he said, his voice tight. If the tone of his voice and the fact he was staying over Han's knee- despite being as tense as a tightly strung bow and obviously angry- didn't clue Han into the fact that Ben needed his father's help, the term of respect and affection would have.
"I know, son. You're too used to lashing out and letting your anger control you. The fact you've still kept in control enough not to bring the base crashing down around us? That makes me proud of you. Because I know how hard you're trying to do the right thing." He settled quickly into a pattern of swats, going down to Ben's thighs before starting over from the top.
Ben's eyes teared up at his father's words, momentarily distracted from his anger by the thought of Han being proud of him. "You are?" he asked hesitantly, his voice wobbly and some of the tension leaving his body.
"I am," Han confirmed. "I might not know much about the force, but I know you. And I know how hard you've been trying since I brought you home. I love you and I'm proud of you. You have any idea how good it makes me feel that you're here, with me, where you belong?"
Ben relaxed further at his father's words, the anger draining slowly as feelings of love and acceptance replaced it. As the anger left him, the rattling slowed and then ceased, the tension in his body disappeared until he was lying calm and complacent over Han's knee, and his breathing evened out. Of course, without anger to focus on and the tension being gone, he felt the smacks more keenly and it didn't take long at all for tears to begin sliding down his face. "I... I'm sorry I nearly lost control, daddy..." he whispered in a contrite voice, slumping slightly over Han's lap and reaching down to hold onto his father's ankle, the action causing him to slide forward slightly so his bottom and sit-spots were a better target. "I would have hurt all of them if Poe hadn't stopped me..." he admitted, in a guilt-filled voice.
Han kept his other hand gently stroking Ben's back, even as he swatted a fraction harder and faster. "You didn't, son. Yes, you could have...but you didn't. And next time, maybe you won't need Poe or someone else to stop you."
"Y... you think so? I... I don't feel like I'm in control of myself when I get angry..." Ben said, in a tiny voice. "...I don't know how I kept from doing worse things just now... oth... other than the fact I knew you and mommy would be disappointed in me if I did what I wanted to do..." He cringed at that admittance, slumping further in an effort not to fight the effects of the spanking. Even if he didn't like being spanked- and it really did hurt- it was still strangely soothing in that it allowed him to just give in to his father and let Han be in control of everything. It wasn't like he had a choice in when, where, how long, or if he'd be spanked. It was entirely up to his father; and Ben found that a relief, despite wishing he could feel that way in a less painful manner.
"That's still doing the right thing," Han said gently. "Even if it's just because of how me and your mother would feel. Or the rest of your family. I'm not going to let go of you, son. I'm not going to leave you alone again. I promise." He began focusing more swats to Ben's sit spots and thighs.
At those words, Ben slumped the remaining way over his father's knee and just accepted the spanking, tiny whimpers escaping with each smack; but he didn't beg for it to stop or even try to escape. He may not like being spanked, but he knew that it was helping him to calm his feelings. More importantly, it was reinforcing Han's words that he wasn't letting go; and Ben needed to feel Han holding on to him. Needed to feel that he wasn't being let go. Still, it did hurt. The tiny whimpers soon became quiet crying as the stinging pain turned into a heat that didn't end. Han wasn't even smacking all that hard, even if it was hard enough to sting. Ben could tell that. It wasn't really a punishment; it was something to bring him back into his right mind and be able to control himself. Control his temper. And that made it something to accept and not attempt to escape.
"I love you, son. So does your mother... your uncles... your brother... your cousin." Han slowed the force of the swats down a fraction as he spoke. "I know things are difficult on you and Hux right now, but neither of you have to handle it alone."
"I... I know, daddy..." Ben's voice caught and then he was completely limp over Han's knee, crying softly. His father had him, had control over him; even when he couldn't control himself. He needed to rely on his family. They'd help him. His own anger frightened him sometimes, but if Han had him- could bring him back to himself when he lost control over his anger- then there was hope for him. His bottom ached by now, but he felt like it was a good ache; it was an ache that reminded him that he was home and had help. Part of him wanted the spanking to continue, if only so he could continue to feel Han's strength and control; it made him feel safe. But the rest of him was ready for the spanking to end. He knew it would be difficult to sit for at least a short while after Han ended.
Han stopped the spanking and began to gently rub his son's lower back and his bottom, lightly soothing the heated skin. "I won't let you go. I'll always stay with you, son. I love you."
The soothing rubbing calmed Ben quickly. Soon, he was lying complacently over Han's knee, sniffling quietly. "I love you too, daddy..." he said, in a calm, tiny voice. "...Thank you for knowing how to calm me down... I don't want to be Kylo anymore..." He swallowed hard. "...I wish I could calm myself down without... without being spanked, though." His voice was chagrined. "...Snoke really messed me up, I guess. If pain is the only thing that helps me to focus and regain control..." His whisper was shamed.
"Is it just the pain, though?" Han asked gently, continuing the gentlle, soothing affection. "Because being over my knee isn't just about the pain. And I know you've been through worse." He'd seen the scars covering his son's body, after all.
"No, sir... no, Daddy... it's not just about that..." Ben admitted. "...It's... I feel safe when I'm like this..." His voice was uncertainly sheepish. "Because I know, even though I'm completely out of control... you're completely in control and will keep me from doing something I don't want to do... The pain helps focus me... gets my attention... but it's being over your knee and knowing that you're in control and I won't become a monster if you've got me that helps the most..." He whispered the last, not certain if he explained well or not.
Han stroked and rubbed his son's lower back and his bottom. "I do have you, son. And I won't ever let you go," he promised. "I know I went on the supply runs before and I wasn't around so much. But I know that was a mistake. And I know how much you need me. I won't take myself away from you ever again."
Ben swallowed hard, reaching down and squeezing his father's ankle as a sign that he heard and believed him. "I... I think maybe I either need to avoid all the public areas on base or make, sure I'm next to you at all times..." he said quietly. "...You or mommy or my uncles. Someone who can reel me in when I get angry. I get angry so easily..." He sighed softly. The rubbing had soothed the burning on his bottom, easing it to a dull ache. "Is that okay, Daddy?"
"It is. But your mother and your uncle Luke had a conversation earlier," Han said. "They talked about moving the academy outside the base. Your mother doesn't have to live here. She might have to return occasionally, but she can spend most of the time there."
"We could go away so that everyone here doesn't have to be afraid of me anymore? And Hux and I won't have to constantly be reminded of how horrible we were?" Ben's voice was childishly hopeful.
"So that you'll both feel happier." Han stroked his son's back. "And all the family can be together," he added.
"I'd like that, Daddy..." Ben said softly. "...I want to learn to control my anger. I know I need help for that... I'd rather learn how where I won't hurt anyone, though."
"I know, son." Han was about to add something else, but at that moment, the door to their quarters opened and Leia stepped into the room, the door closing behind her.
Ben tensed slightly, hearing the door open and close, but he recognized his mother's force signature immediately and relaxed again; although he did turn pink when he realized she'd see him over Han's knee, well-spanked bottom on display. He bit his lip, wondering how to explain what was occurring in a way that wouldn't disappoint her.
Leia moved over to Ben and her husband and sat down on the couch the side closest to Ben's head, reaching out to stroke his hair. "How are you feeling?" she asked him gently.
"I feel better, Mommy... calmer..." Ben answered without hesitation, even if he sounded slightly embarrassed that it took Han spanking him to help him reach that state.
"Good." Leia continued to gently stroke his hair and face. "Your uncle has your cousin in their quarters," she said, wanting to reassure Ben in case he was worried about Hux.
Ben couldn't stop himself from nuzzling against his mother's hand, his father's gentle rubbing and his mother's caresses calming him the rest of the way. "Is he okay?" he asked quietly, needing to hear it said.
"He is now," Leia replied reassuringly. "He left the base, but your uncle went out after him and brought him back. You don't need to worry about him."
Ben tensed again at the news that Hux had left base but calmed again once he learned his uncle had retrieved him. "If he left base, he's probably going to have as hard a time sitting as I am..." he said with a rueful grin. "Maybe they could come over for dinner with us?" he half-suggested, but mostly hopefully asked his mother. The fact that he'd gone from turning pink at her seeing evidence of him being punished to talking about it like it was the most normal thing in the world wasn't lost on him, but he felt the same way with his mother that he did with his father. Safe. Secure. And like she could control him if need be; she was safe around him. There was something freeing and soothing in knowing that there were at least two people in the world who weren't afraid of him, could control him and could help him learn to control himself. (Or, if he wanted to be really honest, four and a half people. He knew he'd submit to both his uncles, but the fact he hadn't even slugged Poe for daring to 'lead' him back to their quarters, as if Poe was in charge, was a revelation to him. His brother may not wield the same control over him, but he could easily learn to.) Ben snorted at the realization that, for all his posturing and domineering attitude as Kylo Ren, he didn't want to be in charge anymore. Being in charge sucked.
Leia smiled. "I'm sure they'd both like that," she commented. "I know Luke wants to show Hux the site he had in mind for the new academy later...perhaps all of us could join them?" she suggested, figuring Han had already told Ben about that; and if not, their son would ask for more details.
"I'd like to see it!" Ben quickly agreed. "I have so much to unlearn... to relearn..." He glanced at Leia, as if to ask if she'd help teach him. He already knew Han would. He had the tender backside to prove it.
Leia stroked his cheek. "I'll be right there with you to help you," she promised. "We all will."
"I'm glad... I need all the help I can get," Ben said somberly. "Did you hear what happened?" he asked hesitantly.
"Poe told me." Leia ran her fingers through his hair. "He also mentioned that you managed to keep control... even if that was slipping." Glancing at Han, she added, "I see your father helped the rest of the way."
Ben nodded. "Poe helped a lot, getting me out of there. I don't think I would have held back much longer. No matter how much I know you and daddy wouldn't want me attacking them and that it would disappoint you. I only held back as long as I did because of that, but I was losing it. And daddy did help. He calmed me quicker than I thought would be possible." Ben blushed, considering he was still face down over his fathers knee, bare bottom visible and making it obvious how Han had calmed him.
Han gently stroked Ben's back. "You're still a good kid, Ben. If you weren't, it wouldn't have mattered what I did. You'd never have calmed down."
"Maybe..." Ben hesitantly agreed. "It still took you handling me to help me calm down, though." Ben's tone was young and almost nervous.
Leia continued to stroke his hair and cheek, even as she commented, "That temper of yours will cause you problems in the long run. I'm not saying you can't learn to control it, but until you can on your own, you're going to need some incentive to do so."
"Yes, Mommy," Ben said, in a tiny voice, snuggling into both his parents as much as he was able in his position. "...I know I can't do it completely on my own. Even if I'm doing better, I've still tried and failed so many times..."
"The important thing is that you're still trying," Leia said. "Not being able to succeed doesn't make you a failure; it just means you need to keep at it."
"...I will. I know it's important. And with you and daddy helping me... my family helping me..." Ben swallowed and snuggled a little more.
Han wrapped his arms around his son in a hug. "And we'll always help you, son. No matter what," he promised.
"That's the only reason I'm here..." Ben admitted with a sniffle. "...Because you didn't give up on me and are always there for me. I just with I'd noticed... realized... sooner. So many bad things would have been avoided..."
"But you're back with us now," Leia said gently. "And we'll get past everything that happened before. Because we're together."
"I never want to leave you again..." Ben muttered sincerely. It was obvious he still felt a great deal of guilt from not only what he'd done to the galaxy, but what he'd done to his parents and family personally. Even if they had punished him already.
"We won't let that happen," Han promised, his voice sincere.
Leia stroked her son's face, seeing the guilt he was still suffering from. She gently moved Ben, transferring him to her lap instead of Han's.
Ben took a shivering breath but didn't fight his mother moving him. He did reach out a hand to his father; needing to keep contact with the older man, much like he'd needed the contact of his mother running her fingers through his hair while Han held him over his lap.
Han quickly took Ben's hand, gently squeezing it. He let his other hand rest gently on his son's leg, gently stroking there too.
Leia carefully settled Ben in place and then lifted her hand, bringing it down in a swat that was more stinging than truly hard.
Ben whimpered as the first swat fell. It may not have been hard, but he'd already been spanked by his father and it reignited the sting immediately. He didn't move or squirm, though. He relaxed as his mother demonstrated she was just as capable of helping him as his father was. It was a relief knowing that she wasn't afraid to handle him. Yes, she might have done so when they first retrieved him and brought him home, but she'd had time to see how broken and out of control he was now. She had every reason to worry and be afraid of his power- most of the base was- but she wasn't. "I love you, mommy... daddy..." he said, in a voice that Han and Leia likely hadn't heard since he was a tiny child.
Leia took Ben's hand in her other hand, even as she continued the stinging swats down to his thighs before starting over from the top. "I love you, Ben. Very much," she said.
"We both do." Han gently squeezed his thigh.
Ben closed his eyes and let himself lie pliantly over his mother's knee. He wasn't completely slumped, but he was close to it. He was crying; vocally and loudly enough that both of his parents could easily hear it, even if it didn't carry past their quarters. "I'm so sorry I was so bad..." he finally choked out.
Leia gently stroked his hand, beginning a third circuit of swats, going a fraction harder and faster. "You made a mistake, Ben. One that got out of control...but you're doing the right thing now. You let your father bring you home."
"I had to let him bring me home... I need you both so much... I couldn't admit it to anyone, even myself... but I needed to be with you..." He sobbed. His bottom was throbbing by now. Even though neither of his parents had spanked overly hard, the combination of the two spankings had added up and he was sore. Very sore. He couldn't stop himself from beginning to wriggle, trusting that Leia and Han would keep him in place.
Han gently wrapped his arm around Ben's legs, keeping his son close so he wouldn't squirm away and risk falling. "We needed you, kid," he said sincerely. "Not bringing you home was never an option."
Feeling both Han's and Leia's firm grips keeping him in place, hearing both of them reiterating how much they needed him, feeling the swats- which were likely very mild, but felt very hard- landing with unerring accuracy and frequency... it was too much to process and Ben stopped trying. He allowed himself to just go limp and cry, accepting the punishment and everything it entailed.
Leia brought the spanking to a stop and she and Han carefully moved Ben so that he was nestled on both their laps and they could both hug him and comfort him.
Ben snuggled close to both of his parents and eventually stopped crying. Sniffling, he asked, "Can... Do both of you have to work some more tonight?" He swallowed, looking at them both with wide, hopeful eyes; very much like he had when he was a child and wanted them to stay home with him instead of going off to their various obligations.
"No." Leia kissed his forehead. "We can both stay here with you." She answered for herself and Han, aware neither of them wanted to leave their son alone.
"Good... I want to stay with you and never leave your side..." Ben said, almost childishly, hiding his face against his mother's neck and squeezing his father's hand, since he'd never let go even when they were moving him to sit on their laps instead of over them.
Han wrapped his other arm around Ben in a tight hug. "I can speak for us both when I say we feel the same," he commented.
It took a while, but Ben finally calmed enough to realize he was still bare. Standing with a sheepish smile and a blush, he fixed his clothing with a hiss before wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. "You going to call Poe back in?" he asked softly. "I should thank him for getting me away from the cantina."
Leia nodded, reaching out and stroking Ben's hair. "I'll send him a message," she promised; so that Ben wouldn't have to worry about her or Han leaving to fetch his brother.
"Thank you, mommy... daddy..." Ben swallowed and looked between Han and Leia. "Thank you for taking care of me..."
Leia's smile was gentle. "We always will," she promised, before sending Poe the message.
Ben smiled shyly before moving back into reach of his mother and father. He was still in a needy, reliant mindset and wasn't quite ready to go back to being 'grown-up'. "Will Uncle Chewie, Uncle Luke or the others be coming over tonight?" he asked, curious, even as he shifted in front of his parents. He obviously wanted to be held again but didn't feel like he should or possibly could ask.
Han reached out and gently drew Ben back towards them. "I'm sure we can extend the invitation for them to come," he commented.
"If that's okay? I'd like to hear more about mommy and uncle Luke's school..." Ben admitted as he snuggled into his father. He only winced and whimpered a little at the soreness.
Leia stroked his hair. "I'll send them the message now," she said, doing so before wrapping her arms around Ben as well.
Poe arrived not long after his mother had sent him the message, closing the door carefully behind him so that none of the base's noise could penetrate what had become a safe haven for the family. He looked toward his little brother, noting the tear-stained cheeks and the needy way Ben was behaving with both of their parents. He quietly walked over and placed his own hand on Ben's back and began to gently rub, being careful not to dislodge Han or Leia's grip or comforting touch. "You okay, kid?" he asked softly.
Ben sniffled and nodded. "Yeah. Thanks to you..." he said, just as softly. "...Thanks for bringing me to daddy... getting me out of the cantina. I was gonna lose it..." he admitted sheepishly.
"Anytime. That's what big brothers are meant to do, after all. Look after their baby brothers..." Poe said calmly, grinning when he saw the way Ben grimaced at being called baby brother. It was entirely too easy and fun to tease Ben; not that the younger man didn't give back as good as he got.
"So... I should be doing a bit more things that you have to look after me and rescue me from, then?" Ben asked entirely too innocently.
Han shook his head, unable to hide his trace of amusement as he said, "Let me put my vote in for that not happening. I can do without you getting into any more mischief." His tone was lightly teasing, making it clear that he'd be absolutely fine with the mischief if it meant he could still have his son...have both of his sons.
Poe had an impish gleam in his eye as he retorted, "You know... big brothers aren't there just to protect baby brothers and get them out of trouble. Sometimes they're to help them get into trouble!" he pondered.
"And sometimes that can get them into trouble with their parents," Leia commented, reaching out to snag Poe into the hug as well.
Poe snuggled close to his mother, making certain his hand stayed on Ben's back. He smiled at Han. "I think I could handle that if it meant a family snuggle pile after..." He winked at his brother.
Ben snorted. "Yeah. The snuggling makes it easier to handle, but I think I'd rather get the snuggles without the sore backside..." He winced again and reached back to rub his bottom. "...Even if I need one, sometimes."
Leia kissed each of her sons' cheeks. "Well, getting into trouble won't change anything of how we feel about either of you," she promised.
"Or how glad we are to have you both in our lives," Han added seriously.
"We know..." Poe answered for both he and Ben, kissing his mother on top of her head and reaching over to squeeze Han's hand. "And we'll do our best not to get into too much trouble. We know you worry..."
Ben grinned ruefully. "What he said." He glanced toward the door, as he noticed it was opening again.
Han gently squeezed Poe's hand, glancing towards the door as Luke entered with Hux in tow, closely followed by Chewie. He grinned at the remaining family members. "I think we're planning on eating here later," he commented.
"Sounds good..." Hux's eyes widened at the visible signs that Ben had been crying. When he'd left, Ben had been fine. "Are you alright, Ben?" he finally asked cautiously. "They didn't go after you when I left, did they?" His tone was worried.
Ben snorted, embarrassed. "No. I almost went after them. Poe stopped me in time." He gave his uncle a crooked smile. "Daddy calmed me down the only way he could..."
"Did you talk about moving the academy?" Luke asked, closing the door as soon as all of them were inside.
Leia nodded. "I think we all want to join you to have a look at the site."
"I... I'm looking forward to it, Uncle Luke..." Ben admitted quietly. "...I'm trying, but I'm just not able to control myself the way I should and... I really need help. Momma and Daddy are doing all they can, but I think it will be easier when I'm not surrounded by people I've wronged for so long..."
"I know." Luke smiled, moving over and gently squeezing Ben's shoulder. "I think it'll be good for both of you."
Ben smiled at Luke, reaching up to squeeze his uncle's hand before kissing his mother, hugging his father and then gingerly standing up and walking over to Chewie. "You'll be going, too? Won't you, Uncle Chewie?" He bit his lip, then smiled up at the Wookie.
Chewie growled his agreement, wrapping his furry arms around his nephew in a tight hug.
Ben chuckled and hugged back just as tightly. "No one hugs quite like you do, Uncle Chewie..." he said in amusement, as his feet left the ground and he was left dangling in his uncle's arms.
Chewie growled out a sound that clearly meant good as he hugged his nephew tightly.
Hux laughed lightly at the sight of his rather tall friend being held off the ground like he was a child. He then turned toward his father. "The girl that is force sensitive... Rey... I know we are going as a family because the base doesn't trust us..." He glanced around the room at the rest of the family. "...But maybe she should come too. So she can start learning. She's powerful. Almost as powerful as Ben, if she isn't as powerful as him."
Ben nodded, his face still buried against Chewie's chest. "She is as powerful..." could be heard from their general direction.
"Finn won't want to be left behind if she is going and all the rest of us are going..." Poe said, with a hint of amusement. "He isn't force sensitive, but maybe he could learn some things; be a guard or something, if anyone asks unwanted questions."
Leia nodded and looked at Poe. "Do you think he'll be all right with Ben and Hux?" She knew there was history there and was concerned about her younger son and nephew... but also that the situation might be difficult for Finn too.
"I think he'll come around if he sees that I'm okay with them..." Poe said confidently. "All of his experiences with Hux and Ben were what he knew of their interactions with other troopers. As far as I know, he never had any one on one interaction with them until the day he left the order. He knows what happened to me and when he sees I'm able to look past that, I think he'll be willing to at least try."
Han nodded. "Maybe you should be the one to talk to him about it, Poe," he suggested. "As Finn seems to trust you the most."
"Yeah. I can do that. Who's gonna talk to Rey?" Poe asked.
"I can do that," Luke said.
"Great! So, what was the plan for the rest of the night?" Poe clapped his hands together and looked around.
It was a week later, and Ben was once again on the Falcon; this time, his mother, Poe, Rey and Finn joining him, his father, Chewie, Luke and Hux. They had left the base early that morning, after having packed up what belongings they'd need and tying up loose ends. The planet they would be living on for the unforeseeable future loomed ahead of them. "Are we the only ones that will be there?" he asked hesitantly.
"At the moment," Luke replied, smiling at his nephew. "There might be other Force sensitives who will join us." He glanced towards his sister, as if for confirmation, as he added, "But for the time being, we'll be the only ones there."
Rey nodded. "That's good..." she said quietly. She'd seen how the base reacted to Ben and Hux... and while she felt the distrust was deserved, the refusal to even attempt to give a second chance wasn't. Plus, she saw how it was affecting the two younger men's family; including Poe, who she viewed as a friend.
Chewie rumbled his agreement from where he sat with Han in the copilot seat. Leia had sat next to Ben and though she didn't embarrass him by holding his hand or wrapping her arm around him, she was sitting close enough to be in physical contact.
Luke glanced sideways at Hux, hoping to read his son's face and see how he was feeling, the bond between them open in case his son needed to reach out.
"I have to admit... I think I'll be slightly more comfortable as well. They don't look at me the same as Ben or Hux, but they still look at me suspiciously," Finn remarked.
Chewie rumbled an assurance that was probably unnecessary; that none of them would look at him suspiciously.
Leia sighed at the comment but didn't try to refute it. She'd heard and seen what people said and did, after all.
"I mean, I can't blame them, really... " Finn continued, after acknowledging Chewie's comment with a smiling nod. "...But it still happens."
"It will be nice not to be surrounded all the time..." Rey added in her show of support. They may not have been looking at her the same as the three younger men, but everyone somehow knew she was to be Luke Skywalker's newest apprentice, so they were still looking... all the time.
"Training will be easier that way," Luke commented.
"So... are we in separate dwellings? Or sharing one large one?" Hux asked.
"There are family quarters, much like on the base. The academy's smaller, but there's less of us there," Luke said, not seeing the need to add that he needed to keep his son close...and was certain Han and Leia felt the same about Ben and Poe.
Rey bit her lip and looked at the ground. Family dwellings meant she'd be on her own again. Not that she'd complain- she was used to it- but it was hard not to feel her aloneness when everyone else had a family.
Chewie noticed the look on her face and let out a low growl, offering to have Rey and Finn stay with him in a set of family quarters...so they wouldn't feel as left out of the family groups.
Finn perked up at the offer and Rey looked surprised, but they both quickly agreed. "That would be great! Thanks, Chewie!" Finn grinned.
Chewie patted each of them on the shoulder, growling to let them know they were welcome.
It didn't take long for the Falcon to land and everyone to disembark. They separated into their smaller family groups and went to their separate dwellings to settle in.
Chewie headed to his quarters with Finn and Rey, making sure he had everything he needed before he let out a questioning growl to the two youngsters... did they want anything in particular to eat?
"No thanks, Chewie." Rey smiled, before looking around at the tiny house. There were basically two rooms. The living area with a small area to prepare and store food, a tiny table with four chairs around it and a sitting area with two benches that could be made comfortable with cushions. "Cozy..." she said hesitantly, before cautiously walking into the other room. It was a small room, with a raised area for sleeping; again, it would only be comfortable once cushions, pillows or sleeping mats were added.
"I see the Jedi reputation for austerity wasn't exaggerated..." Finn scratched his head. "I guess our fresher is the outdoors?"
Chewie rumbled his response and opened one of the packs, carefully drawing out the supplies to make the place more homely. He glanced at Finn and Rey, asking if they had any preferences on how to 'decorate'.
Rey smiled and shook her head as she pulled out her few meager 'decorations'. "No, sir," she added. "I don't have that much, so really don't need much room..."
Finn just shrugged. He'd never lived outside of a barracks, so had no clue what options there could be.
Chewie passed Finn one of the packs, so he could prepare his own sleeping area, and asked if they had a preference for where to put their sleeping mats in the room.
"You should have the raised area," Rey said, with Finn quickly nodding in agreement.
Finn added, "Yeah. We can place our mats along the wall on either side."
Chewie rumbled an agreement, beginning to prepare his sleeping area; not that he needed to do much, as his fur would keep him warm. The supplies he'd brought were mainly for Finn and Rey.
Soon, Rey and Finn were unpacked as well. Rey looked at Chewie. "Are we eating on our own tonight?" she asked curiously, wondering if she should start fixing dinner.
Chewie looked between the youngsters, asking them if they'd prefer that or if they'd like to see about meeting up with some of the others for dinner.
Finn gave an uncertain look toward Rey. "I think maybe they'll want to be on their own... " He smiled crookedly. "I don't mind it being just us," he added.
"Just us is good." Rey nodded.
Chewie nodded, happy with that suggestion, and began to get some of the food so they could start preparing it.
Hux and Luke hadn't taken any longer than the others to move in. Unlike Rey and Finn, he hadn't hesitated to put his bedroll on the platform right next to his father's. "What would you like for dinner, sir?" he asked, once everything was in place.
Luke smiled and gently clasped his son's shoulder. "I'm happy with anything," he answered.
"I can throw together some soup. If you want something edible, that's probably the safest bet..." Hux said, with a sheepish smile.
Luke wrapped his arms around Hux. "Soup is fine. We can always cook something more substantial together tomorrow," he suggested.
Hux leaned into his father. "Something else you can help me learn..." he teased slightly. He'd not really had a need to learn how to prepare food when leader of the First Order. Now? He thought it might be a good idea.
Luke kissed the top of his head. "I'll help you learn anything, son," he murmured.
"Thanks, dad..." Hux blushed faintly, snuggling closer. He was more reserved than most of the rest of the family; but when it was just him and Luke, he was able to let himself be less reserved.
Still holding onto his son, Luke gently guided him through to the kitchen area, so they could start on the soup.
"You don't mind my sharing the platform with you, do you?" Hux asked curiously, as he began to gather the ingredients. He had been sharing a room with Luke for a while now, so he didn't think it'd be an issue. But while they'd been sharing a room, with the exception of the first few days after they'd first arrived and Hux was adjusting to being Luke's son, they'd each had their own bed. The sleeping area in their new dwelling only had the one sleeping platform.
"Not at all," Luke answered reassuringly. "I prefer it that way, to be honest."
Hux nodded with a smile. "I have to admit it makes me feel safer... " he said.
"It makes me feel better to have you that close," Luke replied honestly. "I love you. And having you close reminds me that I have you now. And that I won't ever risk losing you again."
"It makes me feel good too, dad... and it has been an eventful day. Maybe we can sleep early. Then get up early and explore?" Hux smiled.
Luke nodded. "That sounds good." He kissed his son's forehead and proceeded to help with making the food.
Ben looked around the tiny dwelling, glancing into the sleeping area and chuckling slightly. "One room? You gonna keep Poe and I close?" he asked teasingly, though the undertone of his voice indicated he was relieved at the fact.
"That's the idea." Leia gently squeezed his shoulder and smiled affectionately at Poe.
Han grinned at his sons. "We'd both prefer that."
"So... shall I set up my bedroll to the side of the platform, then?" Ben asked hesitantly, not wanting to assume that his family would want them right next to them...although he suspected that they would.
"That's the perfect place," Leia replied warmly.
Ben smiled and quickly put his bedroll on one side of the raised platform, against the wall. "You're sure I won't be in the way of you being able to walk?" he asked, even as Poe moved to the other side and put his bedroll down on the floor next to the other wall.
"Not at all." Leia reached out and gently stroked his cheek. "That's the best place for you. For both of you," she added, looking fondly at Poe as well.
Poe grinned. "It isn't like we can't pick our bedrolls up off the floor when we aren't sleeping..." he told his little brother.
"True..." Ben nodded, even as he made certain there was still a little bit of walkway between his bedroll and the platform where his parents would be sleeping.
"Don't worry about it," Han said, gently clasping his sons on their shoulders.
"Yeah. Okay, daddy..." Ben smiled crookedly, shifting to lean toward his father. "Are we going to eat then go to bed? Or is there something else we need to do before then?"
"I don't think so." Han wrapped his arm around Ben's shoulders, glancing towards Leia for confirmation before adding, "Unless there's something either of you need to do or discuss."
"I can't think of anything right now..." Poe said, with a shrug. "I'm assuming training will begin tomorrow, so we probably want to be as rested as possible."
Leia nodded. "We've got supplies to make a quick, simple meal." As she talked, she walked through to the other room to begin preparing the meal.
Ben followed his mother to help out. When he was standing next to her, helping get items together, he whispered, "Thanks again, mommy... for bringing me here..."
Leia smiled and wrapped her arm around Ben's shoulders, giving him a tight hug. "I love you. I just want you to be happy," she murmured, kissing his head.
"I love you too, mommy..." Ben whispered, snuggling close. "...I think I actually can be, with you and daddy helping." He smiled and continued to help with the food.
Soon, the food was ready and brought to the table for the four of them to settle down and eat.
Poe and Ben ate quietly, feeling the day's events catching up to them. Soon, they were helping to clear the table so that everyone could go to sleep.
It wasn't long before the four of them were settled in their sleeping rolls, Han and Leia both making sure their sons were close enough that they could be seen easily if either woke in the night.