After that, Solo started showing up everywhere. Didn't he have Jedi business that required his attention? Apparently not, because it seemed as though hardly a day went by that he didn't darken Hux's doorway. He was in General Organa’s office; he was in Hux's office; he was in the mess; he was in the gym; he was even, somehow, impossibly, outside of Hux's residence.
"You. Again," Hux said, when he came out of his apartment and found Ben Solo standing with a dark-haired girl of perhaps fourteen in the hallway. Solo looked startled for a moment, and then he smirked.
"Hux," he said.
"What," Hux said, "are you doing here."
"We're meeting Uncle Corran," the girl said. "He lives just over there, down the hall. Are you Aunt Leia's Hux?"
Hux didn't particularly like being anybody's anything, but the description was accurate enough. "I'm attached to General Organa's command, yes," he said. "And you are--?"
"Rey," Solo said. "My cousin."
Wait for it--
"You know, I would've thought you slept in your office," Solo said. "Standing up in the closet, maybe."
"Don't insult him for having a work ethic just because you don't," said Rey, who clearly had the same good taste and imminent sensibility as her aunt. Because Hux couldn't top that, he merely raised an eyebrow in Solo's direction. Solo responded by wrapped one of his long arms around his cousin's neck and putting her in a headlock. She squealed in response and managed to twist around so her foot was braced against Solo's hip, which gave her enough leverage to fight back. Hux pressed his lips together at their lack of decorum, but at least they were too occupied squabbling to notice his escape--
Unfortunately, at that moment a third member of their party chose to make a surprise assault from the rear. The screeching child flung himself around the corner, collided with Hux's knees, bounced into the wall, and then leapt straight for Solo. Solo let go of Rey just in time to catch the boy; Hux might have been impressed with Solo’s reflexes were Solo anyone else.
Solo hoisted the child up on his hip. "Hi, Ben," he said. He grinned crookedly at the boy, ducking his head away as he did so, almost as though he didn't want to smile in front of Hux.
The infant beamed back. "Hi, Ben!" it repeated. Hux was moderately interested to note that the child was, like Hux himself, a ginger.
"Whozzat?" the infant said.
"That," said Solo, "is Captain Hux. He works for your Aunt Leia."
"Ben," Rey interjected, "where's Uncle Corran?"
"Did you escape?" Solo said.
"Mum's not going to be happy if Corran's letting him run around in the corridors again," Rey said. "Doesn't matter how much Corran says he misses having a kid around--"
"Hold a moment," Hux said. "This child is your cousin?"
"His cousin," Rey corrected. "My brother."
"And his name is also…"
"Ben," Solo said.
There was a moment of silence that was internally punctuated by the sound of Hux's brain overclocking itself. He could have chosen any career. He could have gone into academia; he could have made a living as a civil engineer; he could even have stayed with his family in the dying Imperial Remnant, been branded a terrorist, and gone early to his grave. But no, not for Brendol Hux II was a life spent in his father's shadow--he'd just had to apply to the Republic's Naval Academy, break his back to earn a position under General Organa, and become involved with this clan of reprobates. Hux didn't even like Jedi. He mistrusted them, for one, and he wasn't entirely sure they were as powerful as everyone liked to believe they were, for another, and, in conclusion, the cadence of Ben Solo's voice did nothing to change those judgments.
"You're… serious," Hux said.
"Obviously he's named after me," Solo said, shifting the infant so he was holding it by its armpits; it dangled in front of Hux, its flame-colored hair flopping over its forehead and a bit of drool on its chin. "My namesake and heir. I believe Uncle Luke was so impressed by my talent that he had no choice but to name--"
"We thought he was dead at the time," Rey said. She made a swooping motion with her hand. "Shot down over Imperial space. They had ysalamiri, we couldn't feel him through the Force, Mum was about to give birth and…" She shrugged. "Well, we didn't really miss him, but naming the baby after him seemed like a nice thing to do."
"I came back," Solo clarified, and then he flipped the child over so it was hanging by its ankles. Judging by the burble of laughter, Ben Skywalker approved of this treatment.
Hux disliked showing weakness in public, but just this once, he allowed himself to pinch the bridge of his nose between his fingers.
"I," he said, "am leaving. You, all of you, will stay here. We will forget this encounter and carry on with our days."
"I don't want to forget," Solo said, and then his eyes went wide, and then he scowled ferociously. "I… don't like forgetting things," he offered, somewhat too late to prevent his elder cousin from jerking back to stare at him. "Anyway," he concluded petulantly, "you can't make me forget. You aren't Force-sensitive."
"I could use drugs," Hux snapped back, because obviously that was the thing to say. "There are certain chemical compounds--or, or blunt-force trauma."
"Try it," Solo said, drawing himself up to his full height and brandishing the toddler at Hux like a weapon. (The toddler squealed in glee.) "Have you ever even thrown a punch?"
Some very small, very hidden part of Hux crushed itself into oblivion. He swept his gaze down and then back up over Solo and let his lip curl. "Have you?"
"Ben--" Rey said; only the infant looked at her.
"Stay out of this, Rey," said Solo.
"Ben," she said again, and then dropped her voice. "This isn't helping."
Solo finally looked at her. "...Fine," he said. "Captain Hux. I'd say it's been a pleasure, but I doubt anyone has ever expressed that sentiment in your presence."
Hux bristled, but before he could retort (with what he imagined would have been an incredibly cutting remark), Rey said, "Sorry about him. Ben--"
"Ben!" the infant said.
"Bens," Rey corrected. "Come on, Uncle Corran's probably waiting." And then she marched them off down the hall despite Solo's ferocious glare. Before they were out of sight, Solo hefted the infant over his shoulders and set him there; the child let out a happy screech and then leaned down to tug at his sister's hair. It was not a charming scene in the least. Hux was an excellent judge of what was charming.