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12 Days of Reyuxmas

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Reyuxmas Day1: “Food”

“The Gingerbread Fiasco”

            “Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh…” It was like a horror movie, the crime scene laid before her in such a gruesome, terrible way. Rey could smell the burning stench of gingerbread still lingering in the apartment, even after opening the windows to the frigid, wintry air, baking supplies strewn about the counter like she had no idea what she was doing (to be fair, she didn’t).

            All she’d wanted to do was put Hux in good spirits; he was always a bit down during this time of year, especially when attending the terse Christmas dinner with his father and Maratelle (she opted out tonight after last year’s insult fiasco—the thought of being under Maratelle Hux’s scrutinizing gaze was not something she ever wanted to experience again). The idea had been simple: bake a few gingerbread cookies and decorate them, waiting for him when he came home from his father’s. He’d appreciate the effort, especially the one she’d planned to decorate with his red hair and usual pout, and one with her buns.

            But then the problems started—none of the shapes she wanted to use came out correctly after she rolled out the dough. The cookies looked too gooey in the oven as she baked them, so she left them in for five minutes. Then another few, then another…

            Hence, the burnt smell permeating their home. Before she could even think about starting another batch, the horrid sound of Hux’s keys in the door halted her. Rey wasn’t that much of a crier, but the state of the kitchen… her holiday surprise ruined…

            “Well, that was just another excuse for the two of them to gang up on me and my apparent miserable excuse of an existence. What on earth is that smell… Rey?” Hux peeked over the counter to find her curled up on the hardwood floor, hiding her face in shaking hands.

            Immediately he knelt at her side, a protective arm around her shoulders. “Rey?” he asked again. “What’s going on?”

            Shaking her head, Rey hid her shamed face in his shoulder. Her tears started to soak through the scarf he had yet to take off. “I didn’t… I just wanted…” she tried, but holding it in just led to her emitting a pathetic sob. He must think something awful of her.

            Hux finally took in the state of disarray the kitchen was in, putting the pieces together. “Alright, let’s get up.” She’d really only ever heard this soft tone from him in the morning, or just as he was about to fall asleep. Rey still couldn’t look at him as he helped her stand, face flushed and stained with tears. But he kissed her cheek and pretended not to see, then pulled out his phone to make a call.

            “Hey,” he greeted when the voice on the other end picked up. “I know it’s late, but there’s been a bit of an emergency.” Rey finally stopped sobbing, now confused.

            But before she could question who was on the phone, Hux started to wave her away. “Grab a coat,” he ordered. “Maybe a toothbrush and change of clothes, too.”

            Too dumbfounded and bewildered to ask why, Rey nodded and silently did as she was told, haphazardly throwing clothes in her overnight bag.

 


 

 

            At first, when they got in the car, Rey occasionally asked where they were going, but Hux always deterred it with a vague “You’ll see,” or he’d turn the Christmas music up on the radio (especially strange, given he always said he couldn’t stand most of it). And Rey would sigh, watching the snow fall lightly as they drove and she’d adjust the heaters more to keep as warm as possible.

            Hux stayed practically silent, except to remark, “I called someone to clean up the kitchen. You really don’t have to worry about your… escapade. Or your need to be this… idyllic, flawless girl for me.” He reached over to take her hand and pressed it briefly to his lips. “You’re perfect as is.”

            Rey almost melted, sighing in relief. It was enough to shut her up for the rest of the drive.

            That was, until she spotted the familiar tree-lined street coming into view. Rey’s eyes widened as Hux silently pulled into the driveway, then grabbed her bag after he turned off the engine.

            Rey didn’t know how much of a disheveled mess she still looked when Ari, Hux’s mother with a penchant for baking, opened the door and immediately ushered them in. She greeted Rey with a smothering hug. “The Christmas Song” was playing lowly on a Bluetooth speaker. “Armitage told me, dear. I think it’s admirable you care enough to try something new.”

            “Mother, don’t bite too hard, now,” Hux warned, making his way to his old room so he could set their bags down. Rey noted the all-knowing smirk hiding behind his words.

            In Ari’s humbler kitchen, she’d already laid out all the ingredients to make perfect gingerbread cookies, oven preheated, butter softened, different colors of icing already in piping bags. Hux and his mother would do all this… for her? Rey placed a hand over her heart, touched immensely by the gesture. “Ari, how can I…?”

            Ari held up a hand to silence her. “Nonsense.” Well. Now Rey knew where Hux got that from. “I’m more than happy to help. The night’s not getting any younger, love.” She tied her long, golden hair back into a low ponytail. “Now, go ahead and drop the butter into that bowl there…”

            With Ari’s guidance, Rey found baking much easier. Even with Hux as their audience, Rey didn’t feel pressured or uncomfortable. In fact, with the warm Christmas décor, Ari’s soothing voice, and the lovely Christmas music as a backdrop, Rey got into her element, a grin on her face the entire time she took in Ari’s instructions. Aha. So she needed to let the dough chill for some time. And she definitely needed to add more flour when rolling everything out.

            “That’s why the cookies seemed so gooey in your first batter,” Ari explained, laying out another cookie on the baking sheet. She handed one of the cookie cutters to her son. “Come on, now, you’re not just sitting around here.”

            Immediately Hux conceded with a sigh, but he quickly got to work, cutting out a few cookies.

            “You’re a natural,” Rey teased, sticking her tongue out at her boyfriend.

            “Hush,” Hux smirked, tossing a pinch of flour at her arm. “I certainly didn’t inherit my mother’s impeccable baking talent.”

            “Now, I’m not about to let the two of you mess up my kitchen, too,” Ari cautioned as Rey prepared to retaliate. She picked up one of the cookie sheets. “Let’s get these babies in the oven, shall we?”

            While they waited, and Ari got started on the dishes, Rey pressed a chaste kiss to Hux’s lips. “Thank you, Tage,” she said, touching her forehead to his. “Really, I can’t express my gratitude enough.”

            “It’s no problem,” he replied, brushing some flour out of her hair.

            Once the cookies were out of the oven and cooled down, they all got to decorating: Hux trying to perfect Rey’s buns, and Rey trying to capture Hux’s signature pout. All of Ari’s, of course, looked professionally done, like they belonged on a Christmas display. Alone, Rey certainly didn’t have fun trying to bake, but with Hux and his mother…

            Rey looked up at them, and she could tell—they’d just started a new Christmas tradition.

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Reyuxmas Day 2: “Scarf”

“In Space, No One Can Hear You Shiver”

            It was like, no matter what she tried, there just didn’t seem to be any way Rey could feel any semblance of warmth on the Finalizer. Sure, she’d get hot and clammy during training with Ren, but while exploring the ship, while in her shared quarters with other female officers, the small, raised bumps on her skin never seemed to disappear.

            She’d asked Ren for more layers, and he noted that might only halt her mobility during training. Given her quarters were shared, she couldn’t exactly ask for a few more blankets at night without the other officers teasing her. Rey’s only solace was rubbing her arms or midsection whenever she found a moment alone—even the sonic showers seemed cold.

            Rey knew why this was; she knew how cold space could get and yes, the heaters were on every moment the Finalizer trekked throughout the First Order dominated galaxy. But her time on Jakku only showed Rey what warmth and dryness were. Her adrenaline rush on Starkiller Base kept her from realizing just how cold snow was. But in these moments alone, to herself as she tried to make her way through the huge, confusing ship, made her realize that she might be prepared for Ren’s ruthless teachings, but she was not prepared for the sudden change of temperature.

            Ren showed her a corridor he and a few select higher ups used as a shortcut, to make their presence seem more intimidating to petty officers and Stormtroopers. He trusted Rey with this corridor, and, when she actually had some downtime, sometimes she’d try to meditate here, as it was one of the only quiet (and maybe about the warmest) spots on the ship. She could hear when someone else entered the corridor, as steps echoed, and she’d pretend she was merely crossing when her paths crossed with, say, intimidating Captain Phasma.

            She didn’t know much about the ever-pouting General Hux, as the only times she ever encountered him were in initially meeting him, his green stare scrutinizing her rags, and in passing in this corridor, where more often than not, he’d be engrossed in his datapad and never acknowledged her. She’d never seen anyone with hair so vivid orange—she wondered if he was entirely human. Whenever she spotted him, she couldn’t help but stare, rude as it may be. But there was something about his thick frown and sharp cheekbones that fascinated her.

            Leave it to her to still be shivering as she heard someone coming down the corridor, interrupting her meditation. Quickly Rey stood, pretending to walk, when really she’d wait until the officer was out of sight before sitting again.

            This time, it was General Hux, sans datapad. Eyes wide, Rey plastered her gaze to the floor, as usually she could stare without him noticing. He wasn’t much taller than her, but something about the confident way in which he held himself had her shaking more than the cold.

            “General,” she addressed with a nod to the ground, her voice just barely above a whisper.

            He politely nodded in return as they passed, his large coat and regulation First Order scarf brushing her arm. Rey envied the layers he wore—he was probably never cold. She let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding.

            Just before she was about to sit again, his heavy steps stopped a few paces down. Then they got louder. Rey should just continue on her way, like she was just using the corridor as its intended purpose, and not her secret hiding spot. But her feet remained plastered to the ground. She kept her back to Hux.

            The last thing she expected was to feel the warmth of his huge coat and long scarf being draped over her shoulders. Immediately Rey pulled the fabric closer to her figure—what relief, to finally have some warmth on this ship. Ren always warned Rey that General Hux wasn’t a nice man, that he judged her immensely simply because she had the Force, and he did not. Then why this?

            For someone who wasn’t Force sensitive, he was incredibly intuitive, answering the question she'd only just thought of. “I can hear you shivering down the hall. No one’s going to be intimidated by a Knight of Ren who keeps shaking.” Even if his tone sounded a bit condescending, the gesture itself was incredibly nice.

            He was far skinnier under the coat. Less intimidating. No wonder he wore it all the time, to make his shoulders appear broader. Rey could finally look Hux in the eye, his eyes as lush as the vast forests on Takodana. “Thank you,” she replied, and she didn’t sound as timid as before. She could already feel the ends of her lips curling up into a shy smile.

            Hux hummed in reply, before starting back on his way. “Don’t let anyone see I gave that to you.” He didn’t wait for her to respond, just kept going on his way like this conversation never happened, heavy footsteps receding.

            It was then Rey looked down and noticed his coat also signified his status as a General, twin stripes circling the left sleeve like the ones on his uniform. He could simply demand another, and the sanitation department would immediately accommodate him. If only she held the same status.

            But this would certainly do for now, Rey decided as she wrapped the scarf around her neck. It smelled faintly of bitter tea and Corellian cigarettes.

 

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Reyuxmas Day 3: “Vacation”

“The Best Vacation in Mind”

            The gentle waves sparkled under the bright sun, the sky a perfect, serene crystal blue. Rey dug her toes into the warm sand and let out a quiet sigh as the sun kissed her skin. She closed her eyes briefly, arms holding Hux tighter to her, like she was afraid he’d leave.

            Hux hummed, not retaliating as he allowed Rey to wrap herself around him. His own hand grazed the small of her back, fingers lazily tracing arbitrary patterns just under the fabric of her shirt. For once, he wasn’t complaining about the possibility that he might burn, laying out here in direct sunlight.

            They laid on the sand without care, after making love in the lone house that lined the beach. If Rey looked back, she could still see the translucent curtains dancing in rhythm to the waves lapping at the shore. This was the place where it seemed like the sun never set, the air always perfect, time still and serene. The war did not touch them here, the way it did in every other part of the galaxy.

            “When you said you needed a vacation, is this what you imagined?” she teased, pressing her smirk into his neck.

            “I suppose this is as close as one could get to the perfect vacation. Not that I’ve ever really been on one,” Hux admitted, turning his face to kiss her forehead. His lips were always wonderfully warm. “How did you find this place, anyway?”

            “Just… browsing data files on planets I’ve never been to,” Rey replied. Admittedly, that was most of the galaxy. “This just seemed like the best place to get away from everything that reminds us of what we’re up against.”

            “What we’re fighting for,” he clarified, meaning their opposing sides.

            Rey shut her eyes for a moment. It was like, no matter how hard she tried, how far she was willing to trek for him, they could no longer be just Rey and just Hux. Just them, whatever this confusing, perplexing relationship was, this thing they were still trying to figure out. They’d have moments, sure: the feeling of his skin, hot against her, his fine hair, gentle as he’d occasionally rest his head against her neck. They’d both nod in empathy when it came to admissions of their shared lonely pasts—but they’d keep quiet about their present. Their uncertain future.

            The thought made Rey want to hold Hux so close she’d almost squeeze the life out of him.

            Rey knew normally Hux would complain that sand was getting everywhere, that this was messy and he was probably wearing too little in just a light linen shirt and grey pants, cuffed up to his calves so they could wade in the water (really, though, he looked fantastic in light colored clothes). But he dug his toes into the sand just as she had, surrounded by nothing but warmth and comfort.

            All too soon, Hux sighed in defeat, tilting his head back. Rey watched him swallow thickly. “I have to wake up soon.”

            It felt like an ice-cold stab to her heart, every time he said this. Rey shook her head against his shoulder. “No, we only just got here…” Really, she should also get her day started, too, but they so rarely had time for this.

            “Rey, it’s been hours. I hardly ever sleep as is—“

            “I know, and I can’t stand it.” She didn’t care that she sounded like some petulant child. There just never seemed to be enough time for them.

            She could make the time here stretch to feel like days. She could compile the most beautiful components of planets she’d just discovered to create their perfect utopia. She could hold him as close as possible, could lay with him and have it feel right, but never purely real. She could kiss him and those were his kisses, the ones she always yearned for. But she could never stop that terrible, inevitable factor of time from ruining everything.

            Rey knew Hux’s signature well within the Force, but there were factors to include: he could be anywhere in the galaxy, in a variety of different time zones, if he even slept at all. Really, she’d only concocted these escapes, these dreams within the Force, only a few times, if she could detect Hux. He welcomed it every time, but there was only so much of this she could take, before the yearn for the real thing would become too much.

            She sighed, trying to collect herself. No matter how hard she held Hux to keep him from leaving, it couldn’t prevent the inevitable. Rey slowly started to sit up, Hux following suit. She brought her hand to his neck, pressing her forehead to his. “When do you think I’ll see you again?”

            Hux closed his eyes briefly, contemplating for a moment whether or not to give a semblance of his coordinates so she could manage another meeting. But Rey knew he cared far too much about the First Order to betray them so easily, just as she would never betray the Resistance. “Soon,” he reassured instead, sealing it with a kiss.

            His lips were soft and pliant, as if it were the real thing—it certainly felt like one of his amazing kisses, anyway. Enough to make Rey’s head fuzzy. Soon. The promise of soon would certainly keep her going. “Soon,” she repeated, keeping her eyes closed. “I love you.” He wouldn’t say it back, she knew, and with a heavy heart, she let him fade away.

            Waking up in her Resistance bunker, Rey patted the spot beside her in bed, wishing it were warmer.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 4: “Mistletoe”

“Charmed, I’m Sure”

            Sometimes Hux would contemplate why he had a bit of a prejudice against mudbloods, but that would only lead him to remember that he himself was merely a halfblood, the bastard of pureblood Brendol Hux and the object of his lust, a golden haired mudblood Hux still knew nothing about. He couldn’t exactly put his finger on why, but for some reason the Ravenclaw minx across the room reminded Hux of her. Perhaps it was her brash nature, always sticking her nose where it didn’t belong, certainly not thinking about the illustrious Hux name when she asked to borrow parchment paper, or when she asked to share ink. She always forgot her books, too, relying on Hux in nearly every class they’d shared together since third year. When her hair wasn’t in its usual three buns, the ends always tickled his shoulder. Dirty as her blood might be, she always smelled like fresh mint.

            Had he known she’d still be taking his parchment, and using his ink, their fingers often brushing when they went to refill, Hux never would have eventually taken pity on her the first time she asked. It led to an odd… acquaintanceship between he, a Slytherin with family ties that related back to the founding of Hogwarts, and this girl, an orphaned Ravenclaw who mysteriously couldn’t remember the first few years of her life. The other Slytherins with similar family trees teased, of course, when she tried to catch him in between classes like they were friends (and, to be clear, she had friends—those two Griffindor boys whose names she’d definitely mentioned but Hux never bothered to remember). Behind her back, he’d said a few things he’d probably regret down the line, a stab of terrible guilt always panging him as if saying these comments about this girl somehow related back to his mother.

            She, like he, always spent her Christmas holiday here at Hogwarts, stuck with the other kids whose families didn’t care about them. It was the biggest thing they had in common, the only thing, Hux liked to elaborate (which was a complete lie). And here at this little party, surrounded by said kids who shared some camaraderie in being lonely together, he had no one.

            No one except the filthy little mudblood, who spotted him the moment he finally plucked up the courage to make an appearance.

            “Armitage!” She always insisted on calling Hux by his first name, the name with which his mysterious mother had christened him. She bounded over, bundled in multiple, mismatching sweaters despite the lack of snowfall outside. Though she’d lived at Hogwarts most her life, for some reason, she always complained she was cold.

            “Rey.” Hux nodded politely. He only used her name in conversation with her; in his head and with other Slytherins, she was always that girl, the Ravenclaw minx, or the filthy mudblood. He’d barely crossed the room, but she bounded to him with two cups of what looked like hot Butterbeer. Her hair was still tied in its usual three buns.

            “Happy Christmas!” she greeted with a grin, handing him one of the cups. Ah, that foam was unmistakable. Hux took a sip and enjoyed the feel of liquid butterscotch running down his throat, settling well in his stomach.

            “Happy Christmas,” he repeated, with much less enthusiasm.

            “I got you something. But I left it in my dorm—do you mind if I give it to you some other time?”

            There it was again, that nagging stab of guilt and pity. Hux hated it. “I suppose,” he shrugged. “But I must admit, I didn’t get anything for you.”

            “It’s really no problem.” She waved a careless hand, but her wide smile looked terse. “It’s just a… little something. Probably stupid.”

            In the awkward silence, they remained engrossed in their Butterbeer like it was the most interesting thing in the world.

            To Hux’s surprise, he broke the silence. “Your friends go home at Christmas?”

            She nodded. “Finn usually doesn’t, but this year Poe’s family invited him over. They’re very serious.”

            Hux didn’t know if she meant the family or her friends’ relationship, so he just hummed and nodded like he understood.

            “And your friends…?” she asked, meaning Gwendoline Phasma and Ben Solo (who insisted on being called his new, terrible name: Kylo Ren). Hux didn’t consider them his friends, especially not Ben.

            “Also away for the holiday,” he confessed. “I came for the feast.”

            “I did, too.” Hux hated that her smile was so wide, all teeth, with her hazel eyes crinkling. On anyone else it would have been extremely unattractive, but on her, it fit her square face well. “Have you eaten yet? We should make a plate and sit.”

            No one important in Hux’s circle would do something as discernable as attending this pathetic soiree. It was obvious the Ravenclaw minx wanted to seem like she was actually socializing, even if it was with him.

            “Sure.” Hux took another sip of his Butterbeer, but when he tried to take a step toward the feast, he couldn’t move.

            “Uh-oh.” She tried to step away as well, but she, too, was just as stuck. Slowly, she looked up, and, turning red, she let out a nervous chuckle. “Uh-oh.”

            “What? Hux demanded, but his fair skin paled further when he noted the small green abomination appearing above their heads. He tried to move again, with no avail. “Oh, bloody hell.”

            Charmed mistletoe. Stuck under it with an orphaned, Ravenclaw mudblood who never left him alone. Thank Merlin no one of import seemed to be around to watch this… unfortunate turn of events.

            It wasn’t that this girl was unattractive by any means—hell, if she had the right genes, if he knew this was a girl of which his father’s family would approve, he might even be interested. Her faint freckles could only be seen while standing this close, as could the flecks of green in her eyes. She bit her lip nervously. “We can’t move until we kiss,” she pointed out lowly.

            He could have quipped a witty remark in return, but he figured he should just get this over with. Hux simply leaned over and kissed her cheek. She still smelled like mint and her skin felt smooth.

            “There.” Not so difficult, right? But when he tried to move again, he still couldn’t take a step.

            There she went again with that nervous chuckle. On anyone else it’d sound far too annoying.

            “You have to kiss me,” she said. “And I have to kiss back. That’s how charmed mistletoe works, silly.”

            Hux held back a groan. How could it be so tedious, yet so terrible? He didn’t want to kiss her—that would mean he liked her, and he certainly didn’t. He certainly didn’t, no matter how inviting her lips might look after she bit them. And should his first kiss really be with this girl, of all people?

            “You do want to get out of here, don’t you, Tage?” she teased, using the nickname he never despised, but had never approved of, either. “Otherwise we can just talk under here all night. I’d prefer to talk somewhere else, but I can deal.”

            She… wanted to talk to him? Even if he always gave out simple answers and had to admit he sometimes tuned her out? Hux blinked, considering what she’d just said. He looked around again; the last thing the students were interested in were these unfortunate two, stuck under the charmed mistletoe.

            He sighed. He couldn’t let her know he’d never kissed anyone before—again, best to just get this over with. It shouldn’t be that big a deal. Slowly he started to lean in, and she took the cue to do the same.

            When their lips met, it shouldn’t have felt so pleasant. It shouldn’t have felt like a thousand little sparks flying, like everything was soft and wonderful. Kissing a mudblood should have been wrong. Then why did it feel so… right? Hux even let his hand brush her waist, and he felt her palm on his chest.

            Hux didn’t want to admit that they parted too soon. But he could take a step back now, assess what just happened.

            His first kiss had been with someone Brendol and Maratelle would never approve of. And yet, that gave him this strange sense of… pride, to defy everything he knew. The Ravenclaw minx grinned at him, like the cat that ate the canary, and Hux didn’t know how he could tell, but he just instinctively knew—that was also her first kiss.

            “No need to dally.” Rey—and yes, after something like that, maybe Hux would consider calling her by her name more often—gently took his hand and led him toward the feast. “Let’s eat.”

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 5: Snowman

“Light of the Season”

            “Whoa, careful!” Rey chuckled as Ava lunged to plop the (fake) carrot on their snowman’s face. Hux could feel his heart stop a moment as his hands scrambled to keep the baby close.

            Why was it that the most important thing in his life, the person he’d die to protect, always seemed to want to get herself into danger? He could be certain of one thing: Ava most definitely inherited her mother’s fearless nature, twinkling in her giant, hazel eyes. “You…” he addressed the baby as he pulled her up so she faced him, “are going to give me far too many worries.”

            Ava, who was still teething, just gurgled a giggle in return. She squirmed toward their creation again, presumably to prod at the snow with her mittens until the snowman fell apart.

            This was the first year Rey and Hux tried something rather new—two years ago, Rey had still been pregnant, Hux going over the top to make sure everything went smoothly before their daughter came, and last year, Ava had been far too young to do anything outdoors. This year, with her red tresses streaming, her freckles showing, Ava constantly pressed her nose to the glass whenever she noticed snow falling, longing to be out there for the first time.

            At least she inherited Hux’s tolerance to the cold—Ava thrived out here, willing to stumble over her chubby legs to help roll along each piece of the snowman. And even though she always seemed to freeze the moment she came outside, Rey’s grin remained plastered to her face during the entire family event.

            “Picture!” she goaded, pulling out her phone. Sighing, Hux took the obligatory ones of just Ava with her first snowman (presumably going on all of Rey’s social media platforms in moments), of Ava and Rey, then Rey snatched her phone back and took some candid shots of Hux and Ava, Hux refusing to look at the camera, of course.

            Rey switched the camera mode on her phone so they could take a selfie. “I know you hate it, but I want one of the three of us,” she ordered, and Ava, the little traitor, babbled in agreement, tugging on Hux’s scarf. “It’s going on the Christmas card.”

            And, of course, no one was in sight to do the task for them. Sighing, he held Ava up, Rey making cooing noises to get her to look at the camera. Hux hated smiling so much, particularly when Rey wanted to dress up how perfect their little family was for the world to see. But for his daughter, he’d grin if he had to.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 6: Traditions

“Our Crazed Christmases”

            Their first year together, Rey still lived in her run-down apartment in the wrong side of town. She felt out of place and too poor when the doorman at Hux’s complex called her “Miss” and pressed the button on the elevator for her, especially in her thrift store winter wear and shoddily wrapped gift. Hux admitted this was the first year he bought a tree and some simple, tasteful decorations in silver, white, and gold. The only gifts under said tree were Rey’s to Hux (a simple knit scarf from Etsy), and his to her (a Burberry trench so wonderful she could sleep in it).

            When Hux opened his gift, after Rey received her expensive designer coat, she flushed, thinking he’d hate it; she hadn’t spent nearly as much money as he did. But he still wore it to this day, and that first Christmas Eve he took her out to a fancy steak dinner. At that point in their relationship, the most they’d done was kiss. It didn’t stay that way by New Year’s.

            Their second year, Hux had asked Rey to move in that summer, and to his horror he realized she loved to decorate practically the moment after Halloween concluded. She bought kitschy ornaments at Hallmark for the tree, and added a few cute Santas and snowmen to greet them on every counter when they came home. Given Hux insisted on paying all the bills (and given she could hardly contribute on a barista salary), Rey had to find some way to make this huge, expensive place feel more like hers. Hux scowled, but he never asked her to return any of her new decorations. They cuddled on the cream leather couch under an expensive plaid throw, and made love next to the tree after a few too many glasses of wine.

            That year, Rey saved up for some cufflinks, balking at the price as she handed her card over to the sales associate. She doubted Hux even flinched when he purchased the Tiffany’s diamond heart necklace for her. When she peeled away the tasteful wrapping paper to reveal the famous robin’s egg blue, her fingers shook and her eyes filled with tears. Whether it was from shame or overwhelming joy, she couldn’t tell.

            “Tage, I can’t accept this,” she’d insisted, because they weren’t married. She was surprised they’d even lasted this long, that Hux hadn’t gotten sick of her excited nature or lack of money.

            “You can and you will,” he replied stubbornly, and he was of course right, because when he clasped the silver chain around her neck, Rey couldn’t explain the euphoria she felt knowing this beautiful piece of jewelry was somehow meant for her.

            It was the first year she told him she loved him. Hux had his own way of saying it back, mostly in the form of these way too wonderful gifts.

            Hux only wore the cufflinks a few times. He told Rey they were the best gift he had gotten from anyone, and something in his tone told her he was being truthful.

            Their third year, Poe and Finn had just gotten engaged, and they insisted on holding a Christmas party to celebrate. Rey knew they only invited Hux out of obligation, as an extension of their invitation to her, their soon-to-be Maid of Honor. Hux bought them their gift that he and Rey ended up sharing: a tasteful candelabra that was certainly of no use for their new life together. Poe shot them a terse smile as they opened the box, and Finn didn’t hide his disappointment. Rey bowed her head in shame by the mantel, keeping by the fire to stay warm.

            She could tell Hux felt out of place at this party despite the fact that only twenty or so people occupied the house. He stood out in his loud, red blazer, contrasted to the warm, green tree with his cool pout. At times he pretended like the cheap red wine in his glass was the most interesting thing in the world, swirling it around as he fixed his green stare on it. No one besides Rey took the time to really talk to him, and she hoped this would be the worst of their Christmases together.

            At their gift exchange later, Rey presented Hux with an assortment of ties she’d gotten on sale, trying to pretend like they came directly off a designer rack. If he noticed this (he certainly did), he still acted grateful, wearing those ties to work rather often afterward. He bought her a top-of-the-line espresso machine, and before she knew it, she taught him how to make a proper latte, enjoying the fact that, for once, she did something better than he did.

            The fourth year, Hux surprised her with an invitation to his father’s annual Christmas dinner, something that apparently went on every year, without her knowledge. Rey knew very little of Brendol Hux, except that she should probably fear him, with how Hux described the man: all frowns and disdain. On any other occasion she would never allow Hux to dress her as his Christmas gift; in this case, she took in every stylistic choice he made with wide eyes and silent nods, trying not to balk at the price of her outfit (well into four digits). She hired someone else to do her makeup, given her hands were shaking so much, and opted to keep her hair down instead of its unusual three buns. When they arrived at the sprawling Hux mansion, Rey took her boyfriend’s hand and squeezed tight.

            He was also trembling, she noticed.

            Rey had gotten Brendol and his wife a monogrammed ashtray (the only thing she could afford, really), and she silently thanked whatever deity that they refused to open gifts during the party. By the way Hux shook his father’s hand stiffly, without that signature red hair, Rey never would have guessed these two were father and son; there was no love in either pair of eyes, one green, one grey. She tried to offer a smile, but she was sure it looked more like a grimace. “It’s an honor, sir,” she said politely. “Tage speaks rather highly of you.”

            Brendol looked Rey up and down like she was merely a piece of meat. “I can see he didn’t pick you for your blood or family ties,” he replied stiffly as he saw right through her ruse, and from behind him, Rey heard a rather unpleasant scoff.

            “’Tage.’” Though she approached them at half their size in a wheelchair, a loyal butler pushing her along, Rey had never felt so small. She wanted to sink into the floor, her flush creeping up her cheeks. There were dozens of other guests milling about, but everyone pretended to be engrossed in their own worlds. Maratelle Hux made Rey’s special nickname for Armitage sound like a horrid curse. She hadn’t meant to address her boyfriend so casually; she was just extremely nervous. Eyes darting briefly to Hux, she noted how pale he’d gotten, white as a sheet. “A common name fitting for a common boy.”

            Maratelle held out a pale, slender hand, and Rey thought the blue veins that stuck out on her alabaster skin looked like spider legs. Immediately Hux bowed to her and kissed her sapphire ring. “Happy Christmas, Madam.” Rey knew him well enough to tell that his voice shook slightly.

            She wasn’t “stepmother,” or even “Maratelle.” She was “Madam.” Eyes wide, Rey trained her gaze to the plaid blanket draped over Maratelle’s paralyzed legs.

            “It’s rude to stare, girl,” Maratelle snapped, sneering at Rey under her pointed nose. Her poor, common self wasn’t even worthy of being called by her name. “Probe Armitage if you insist on snooping about my condition.”

            Rey felt her mouth go dry, her brain almost shutting off. She nodded dumbly, scared of Maratelle’s steely blue gaze and sharp jewelry. It was almost impossible to believe someone outside of Downton Abbey actually acted like this.

            There were too many utensils at dinner and she could hear Brendol or Maratelle scoff every time her initial guess came out wrong for what fork or spoon to use for which course. Hux tried to help along by translating the intense French courses on the night’s menu. The other guests sent Rey looks of pity, but really, they all seemed relieved that she was the scapegoat for Maratelle and Brendol's intense scrutiny tonight.

            The rest of the night passed in a blur, and after a silent ride back to their place, they went to bed shaking, clinging to each other like they’d just survived a battle.

            This Christmas, the invitation to Brendol’s dinner came their way again. Rey had not spoken to either Brendol or Maratelle since the last party, and the idea of going back seemed too horrid for words. Hux didn’t push her to go, and to Rey, that in itself was a wonderful Christmas present.

            There was no restaurant reservation, or kitschy decorations, or an engagement party, or a stuffy dinner this year. In fact, nothing they’d done over the past few years ever had a repeat, save, perhaps, the gift giving. She handed Hux his present, some aftershave and cologne she’d found irresistible, then offered to make some hot chocolate.

            After steaming the milk and toasting the marshmallows, when she turned, she almost spilled the drinks—for there, right before her in their kitchen, was Armitage Hux on one knee, a worried furrow in his red brow. The box that held the ring was the shade of robin’s egg blue she’d come to know so well. Rey set their mugs down to wipe the overjoyed tears that already fell from her eyes, declaring that yes, of course she’d marry him.

            She and Hux didn’t have any set way of celebrating, Rey came to realize as he slipped the brilliant diamond ring on her finger. Kissing him with all she had, she was proud to admit that, perhaps, their lack of tradition made for the most memorable Christmases of her life so far.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 7: Cozy

“Baby, It’s Cold… Inside?”

            Every once in a while, Hux would try to excuse the fact that Rey had grown up in the desert, always comfortable in warm, dry conditions. She relished in the sun, always basking in it if it even peeked through the clouds. At restaurants where they sat outside, she opted for the seat in the sunshine with him in the shade, face tilted up toward the sky like she was taking in nourishment. He commented she might get skin cancer. She ignored him, but slathered on the sunscreen when she thought he wasn’t looking (or rather, when he was suffering, trying not to burn).

            She thrived in summer; he thrived in winter, the briskness of the wind, the bite of the cold invigorating him. Rey, however, chose to think herself useless the moment a breeze hit, bundling up so immensely she could hardly move.

            As a child, if he was cold, he was simply ignored and meant to endure it. Eventually, he got used to it—for him, it was easier to warm up than to cool down. He didn’t understand how it was the exact opposite for Rey.

            Hux rather enjoyed walking with Rey in the snow, if only for amusement. Perhaps she over prepared in her puffed jacket, earmuffs, beanie, thermals, and multiple scarves, but to Hux, she was a cute, stuffed marshmallow. And even still, she still complained she was too cold, where Hux would have been sweating under all those layers.

            At home, no blanket was off limits, and Rey went from cute, stuffed marshmallow, to cute, stuffed burrito. Hux would have the heater on, even, and it was still too cold for her. Blankets never seemed to be enough, but when Hux joined her for some added body heat (whether or not clothes were involved was a different story, of course), Rey relaxed a bit more, not shaking against him. Whether it was in bed or the couch—he might be sweating under all these layers, but Rey held him so close, there was no way he could even move. Not that he wanted to.

            Of course, just when he was getting too hot, Rey always assumed she could be the blanket hog. At night, he’d always be awoken multiple times due to her rolling over yet again with another fistful of the warm material. Sometimes her ice-cold feet rested against his legs, especially when she pulled him in closer, deep in slumber when he counted the long, agonizing seconds until he finally succumbed to sleep. In the mornings, she smiled, well rested and ready to take on the day, and that was enough for Hux, fine with his lack of sleep if she was happy.

            On nights like tonight, cuddled before the TV under shared blankets, she still hogged up most of the warm material, leaving Hux’s feet exposed. Sure, he had slipper socks on, but perhaps it wasn’t enough. He huddled a bit closer to her; with Rey, he was either too hot or too cold. Rarely were things just right.

            “Are you comfortable?” she asked, actually contemplating giving Hux more blankets.

            If Rey had any less, she’d start shivering.

            “Never better,” he replied, kissing her cheek. He’d certainly lie for her benefit.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 8: Family

“Little, but Still Good”

            The Christmas when Ava turned three, all hell seemed to break loose. She’d made her first steps before she was even a year old, and they’d spent Christmas with Hux’s mother that year, Ari doting on little Ava like Hux figured a normal grandmother would. He and Rey left Ari’s cozy home with a bundle of gifts for their daughter, too many toys to count.

            The year before, Rey and Hux had been invited to an adult party at Finn and Poe’s, their first since they’d married. It was to show off their new house, of course, but the festivities had gone over so well (and to be honest, Hux certainly didn’t have a terrible time), they decided it’d become a tradition.

            “Admit it, you had fun,” Rey goaded on the ride home.

            “They had an excellent liquor selection,” Hux allowed, and he left it at that.

            Last year, Ari had made the few hour trek to watch Ava, and Rey and Hux came home to their kitchen gleaming with freshly washed baking dishes, and enough cookies to feed an army (Ava insisted she not only feed Santa, but his reindeer as well, Ari reiterated). They all left gifts for Ava under the tree to keep that magic of Santa alive, and in her two-year-old babble, she left a stream of tissue and wrapping paper behind, Hux frantically trying to clean up after her while Rey watched with a smile, only encouraging her mess.

            Everything had been smooth sailing this holiday season, all of Ava’s gifts wrapped and hidden, ready to be put under the tree on Christmas Eve. Hux and Rey had once again been invited to Finn and Poe’s annual Christmas party, and Hux even bought a new sweater for the occasion, putting more effort into their gift.

            Then the call came.

            “I’m so, so sorry, love.” Hux could actually detect Ari almost in tears on the other end. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed.

            “No, Mother, it’s fine,” he assured. “We can try to find someone to watch Ava, or… we’ll figure it out.” Obviously this was far harder on Ari, who seemed to really want to spend Christmas with her granddaughter again.

            Ari had a catering gig with a celebrity so hush-hush she couldn’t reveal it to anyone—a gig that was certainly going to set her for quite a while, and Hux couldn’t blame her for taking it, even at Christmas. Rey, too, was sympathetic. Little Ava would eventually learn to understand.

            Hux then, of course, called everyone he knew (and a few he didn’t really) to see if anyone wanted to watch a precocious toddler on Christmas Eve. No such luck, even with the ridiculous amount of money he’d be willing to pay. He didn’t understand; up until Rey, he’d really never been that into the holidays and celebrating.

            Rey called Finn and Poe to inform them of the unfortunate news. “We can’t find anyone to watch Ava,” she lamented over speakerphone.

            “Well…” Poe started cautiously, “you could bring her. But I doubt she’d be really entertained by anything.”

            Quite true. Hux remembered all the glass in their immaculate home. Ava would also not do well among a bunch of drinking, rather flamboyant men and quiet Christmas music. The whole night, Hux knew they’d just be chasing after their daughter, taking away from everyone else’s experience.

            “No, that’s fine,” Rey sighed, knowing exactly what would happen. “We’ll just drop off your gift sometime.”

            Rey briefly entertained the idea of Hux’s father watching Ava, but Hux immediately refused, knowing it was just as recipe for disaster. Ava had no filter, and Brendol had only met his granddaughter once—the night certainly wouldn’t play well.

            After the diapers and the endless questions and the messes, every once in a while, Hux just wanted Rey to himself. He supposed that would just have to wait for a little later.

            Christmas Eve, Rey popped in a few classic Christmas movies (It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, A Christmas Story), and the three of them took out some premade sugar cookie dough (as neither Rey nor Hux could bake nearly as well as Ari). Rey let Ava cut out as many shapes as she wanted to excuse their lack of knowing how to bake, and let her douse her cookies in sprinkles. Hux ordered Chinese for dinner, and Ava goaded him with questions on Santa.

             “How does he come down the chimney if we don’t have one?” she asked as Rey poured the milk for later.   

            “He improvises,” Hux replied slowly.

            “You know, Ava, I didn’t have a chimney when I was a little girl, either,” Rey pointed out. “I still got presents from Santa. He always finds a way.” She winked.

            That sated their daughter for now, who cuddled with them on the couch after her sugar rush. Everything went set out for Santa by the tree, and during White Christmas, Hux could feel Ava fall asleep against his side, then Rey, then his eyes continued to get heavier…

            “Wake up, wake up! I heard Santa!” Only the Christmas lights illuminated the room, and Ava poked her parents excitedly.

            Hux looked over at the clock. 2:04 AM. The stumbling noises outside were, of course, the trust fund kids who lived next door, probably coming home from some huge rager. The tree still looked bare underneath. Oh no.

            Rey’s eyes widened, and she looked between the tree, Ava, and Hux.

            Hux had to think, fast. He picked Ava up quickly. “Ava, my darling, Santa won’t step into our home until we’re all fast asleep. He’ll know. You do want your presents, don’t you?” he asked.

            Ava nodded, her eyes wide. “Okay, okay!” And Hux took her to her room, kissing her good night as she cuddled in all her plush animals.

            Tired and groggy as he and Rey were, they placed Ava’s gifts under the tree and took a few bites of the cookies, a few sips of the milk.

            To watch the excited grin on Ava’s face in the morning made this whole experience worth it.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 9: Gifts

“All I Want for Christmas Is You”

            Rey hated getting Hux gifts for Christmas.

            Every year it was the same thing, the same shtick—after the first year, when she saved up for a clearance scarf months in advance at a department store, he’d so easily splurge on a wonderful piece of jewelry. Hux always said it was the thought that counted, that he never really celebrated Christmas anyway, so whatever Rey got him, he’d appreciate.

            All probably a lie for her benefit, of course.

            Even the year they refused to exchange gifts, and Rey made good on that promise, of course he’d gotten her a wonderful bracelet. A bracelet she hardly wore, given it weighed on her with guilt and felt heavy and awful on her. If Hux minded, he never showed it.

            She could spend all year meticulously planning for Christmas, amidst getting gifts for Valentine’s Day and his birthday. No matter how much she saved, how much she thought out, nothing she gave ever seemed right. Everything was always too cheap, not good enough for his blue blood, even the time she sprang for a discounted Burberry trench (it cost more than two months of pay!). Every time Hux wore it (which was rather often), Rey could hardly bring herself to look at him.

            What could she possibly get Hux that wouldn’t make her feel guilty or terrible? Rey spent hours contemplating it in bed, Hux actually sleeping for once beside her, instead of up pulling God knew how many all-nighters for his company, or whatever it was he did with complicated contracts and important people.

            Her answer hit her square in the face, and Rey couldn’t believe how much of an idiot she’d been for not thinking of it sooner.

            Of course.

            After making her rare trip to Victoria’s Secret during their semi-annual sale (the only time she could afford to shop there), Rey found a few things she was sure Hux wouldn’t mind seeing on her, even if her chest wasn’t nearly as ample as the models adorning every display, always making Rey feel imperfect and small and all the things a girl wasn’t supposed to feel in a store like this. But she braved it anyway, bought a Santa hat and mistletoe at the convenience store, and hoped Hux liked what he saw.

            Candles littered the house as he came home Christmas Eve. Rey waited patiently by the fire, shivering despite how warm it was inside their home. Perhaps it was the stockings and all the bare skin she showed.

            Rey held up a glass of wine for Hux to take, his green eyes wide. “Merry Christmas,” she cooed, beckoning him over. “I figured the best gift to give you was, well… myself.”

            No matter how many times he unwrapped her, she figured, this would be the gift that kept on giving.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 10: Creatures

“A Very Merry Life Day”

            “Are you sure we can trust our toddler with a hoard of Wookies?” Leave it to Hux to be the worried parent, mostly because, well, he hadn’t spent a lot of time around other species in the galaxy. He still flinched whenever Chewie clapped him on the shoulder.

            Rey chuckled as she bounced Ava on her hip. For the occasion, Ava did not have her usual bun keeping her red tresses out of her face; Rey let her daughter’s hair stream down her neck. “It’s just Chewie’s family,” she assured—there would only be three Wookies to deal with. “Besides, we’ll be there. Luke and Leia will be there. Finn and Poe and the rest of the Resistance are celebrating, too. We wouldn’t be the best in teaching our daughter about Life Day, given we don’t really know how to celebrate it.”

            “What’s to celebrate?” Hux asked with a shrug. Luckily Chewie wasn’t within earshot—he took Life Day very seriously. He’d even been the one who offered to bring his family to the Resistance base, just so Hux could celebrate, too. “It’s just a candlelight ceremony, we all wear red robes and exchange meaningless gifts.”

            Sighing, Rey reached over and brushed Hux’s hair back. “Maybe you’ll get it if you actually participated, instead of sitting on the sidelines like we’ve been doing the past few years.” Ava tugged at the collar of Rey’s tunic, and Rey offered up her free hand so Ava would be more preoccupied with her fingers rather than stretching out the fabric of her shirt. “Our daughter is cooped up enough here as is, and Chewie was kind enough to bring the festivities to us.” Alright, so maybe she was guilt tripping him a bit. As a Resistance prisoner of war, it wasn’t like he had many places to explore, and given Ava was so young, she couldn’t do very much, either. Hux was the reclusive stay-at-home father who still didn’t feel comfortable fraternizing with so many people with differing ideologies. Rey knew she had to change that, and fast.

            So why not during Life Day, arguably one of the most peaceful days in the galaxy?

             When Chewie arrived with Mala and Lumpy, it sounded like a cacophony of dulled roars, and with the porgs following close behind, this could be perceived as either the most charming, or the most annoying gaggle of creatures socializing. Rey and Ava thought the former, Hux the latter, of course.

            Despite only being a toddler, Rey quickly taught Ava at least the basics of Wookie speak, so she could understand Chewie, who had taken such a liking to her wild and curious nature. At this age, she could already understand BB-8, too, the two of them getting into mischief whenever Rey and Hux had their backs turned.

            Rey knew Hux could be overprotective of Ava, the child who quite literally saved his life. Rey knew everything he did was for the baby in her arms, that he was willing to raise her on enemy territory because she was a part of him. But part of that enemy territory included the domineering and lovable Chewbacca, who could also be quite protective over Rey. She remembered Hux almost protesting the first time Chewie asked to hold Ava, but held his tongue, given at any time Chewie could rip his arms clean off.

            But Chewie cradled Ava like it wasn’t the first baby he’d held, and for a brief moment she was reminded of a young Ben Solo. Immediately Ava cooed in his warm, furry arms, and Rey could tell her daughter would form quite a bond with one of her dearest friends.

            “Chewie!” Ava cried as her Wookie protector and his family made their way over in greeting. Rey surrendered Ava over to Chewie, who held her up high like she was flying an X-Wing. She didn’t cower before his family, only giggled in their presence as Chewie introduced them. Hux, of course, stood stiffly, trying to be as polite as possible.

            Leia called for the festivities to begin, and Rey never realized how beautiful a holiday could be, bringing the entirety of the Resistance together with a homemade feast. For a brief moment, they could forget affiliation, could forget the war and just be. Chewie insisted on holding Ava during their candlelight ceremony, and Rey allowed it as long as the baby didn’t get near the flames in the candles they all held. Ava grabbed at anything she could possibly grasp, so curious about the unknown, so Rey took it upon herself to stand next to Chewie, just to keep her daughter in check. Poe and Finn embraced; Mala and Lumpy listened on as Leia made a grand speech on how wonderful it was to be with family this time of year, whether that family be by blood or by circumstance. Luke squeezed his sister’s shoulder affectionately.

            Briefly Rey took her eyes off Ava to gaze at Hux, who was surprisingly hooked on every word of Leia’s. He might still believe in his First Order ideology, but he respected Leia in that strong, quiet way of his. She grasped Hux’s hand and he squeezed back, a hint of a smile gracing the corners of his lips. Kissing his cheek, she could tell that he, too, was starting to feel the importance of Life Day bringing everyone together.

            Ava settled comfortably into Chewie’s fur, and when instructed, they blew out their candle at the same time.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 11: Fireplace

“I Can Weather this Storm”

            It always amazed Hux whenever Rey casually mentioned what she had or had not done with her life so far.

            Never experiencing a contained fire in a home fireplace was certainly one Hux remembered easily, finding the little fact equal parts sad and fascinating. Rey said growing up in the desert, there really hadn’t been the need for one in her foster home, and she’d grow up poorer than most. But given Rey seemed to shiver at the slightest drop in temperature, she might have benefitted from sitting in front of one.

            “I’d always see them in other homes or on TV or something, but that’s about it,” she replied.

            In their flat, luxurious as it was, Hux had to admit, he didn’t have a fireplace, either. Perhaps down the line, when they had children, when there was a reason to be someplace that supported more than the two of them, he’d find one specifically with a fireplace just as a bit of an inside joke between them. He pictured their first night with him setting up logs, burning old receipts just for fun with hot tea in hand. The flames would dance before them and he knew Rey would make some offhand comment about his hair and that it was the same color as the flames and that she, for some unknown reason he’d never understand, would probably call it beautiful.

            Fireplaces did remind him of winter, of course. They reminded him of his mother’s flat, because she, like Rey, didn’t have a fireplace. Yet her tiny flat, with one window in the kitchen permanently propped open because it was broken, always felt warmer than the majority of his father’s sprawling manor, where he spent most of the year. He’d sit probably far too close to the flames, watching them dance, and the way they licked at each other, how dangerous they could be if touched, told the odd, terrible story of his parents’ tumultuous relationship: Brendol, the rich up and coming lawyer, and Ari, the young, big-eyed ingénue who listened as he lamented how his wife couldn’t have children. Orange flames would engulf gold, just like how Brendol silenced Ari with his money when it came to raising his illegitimate son. But the warmth would wash over him like one of Ari’s hugs whenever she picked him up from school on their weekends together. Sometimes he’d fall asleep to the gentle crackling, and one of the maids would gently probe him from sleep before he got in trouble.

            At five he asked one of the maids why Santa always left his presents at Ari’s house, when the manor had a bigger tree and an actual chimney for Santa to enter. Maybe it was because he could never leave cookies for Santa the way Ari always faithfully did—Santa skipped the houses that didn’t believe, right?

            At that time, Maratelle walked by, sharp nose pointed in the air, as per usual. “You don’t still think he’s real, do you?” she scoffed. “Your mother sets up those presents and takes bites of the cookies because she still insists on babying you.”

            The words stung. Maratelle always had a way to cut him down just with how she spoke. Ari tried to convince Hux that Santa was indeed real, but he only halfheartedly believed it for another two years. Ari still made the cookies, though.

            “I have an idea,” he announced on Christmas Eve to Rey, who bundled up on the couch. This was probably the sixth time in a row (that he knew of) that he caught her re-bingeing Parks and Recreation. Why anyone would want to watch a sitcom more than once was beyond him, but apparently that was the popular thing to do with Netflix.

            “What’s up?” Rey paused the show and made some room for him on the couch.

            “Do you mind if I change this?” he asked politely, sitting beside Rey. She draped the blanket over his knees, pretty much trapping him against her. Not that he’d ever complain about that.

            Shrugging, she handed Hux the remote. “Are you willing to give The Christmas Chronicles a chance?”

            Hux scrunched his nose, scrolling to the search bar. “I have no use in seeing Kurt Russell as Santa.” He’d tolerate It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, but that was about it when it came to holiday movies. The rest always seemed trite and cheesy.        

            “Ooh, what’s this?” Rey snuggled closer to Hux as a log and small flame faded into view on their HD widescreen.

            The entire program was literally just watching a fireplace for an hour, logs aflame, soothing crackling emitting from the speakers. It wasn’t the real thing, obviously, but even from here Hux could almost feel the warmth he’d been so used to as a child. He could almost smell the burning logs, and was somehow brought back to watching the flames dance and tear down the wood before him.

            Contained fire online, in 4K. Technology really did wonders nowadays.

            Rey’s eyes widened, and she sat up straighter on the couch. “Whoa.”

            Sighing, Hux wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her in closer. “I know it’s not the real thing, but I thought this might sate you until we get that real house, with a real fireplace.”

            But she responded to this simple program with all the enthusiasm of a kid who, well, still believed in the magic of Santa. It was purely contagious. “I love it,” she murmured, pressing a quick kiss to the corner of his lips. “I didn’t even know this was a thing, thank you.”

            Well, it certainly beat having to catch her watching Parks and Recreation again, at least.

Chapter Text

Reyuxmas Day 12: Free

“I’ll Be Home for Life Day”

            “Where’s Mama?” Ava asked innocently, as she usually did when Rey had been gone for rather large stretches of time. This time had been a bit harder than most, given everyone else on the Resistance base chose to celebrate Life Day. And Hux supposed he did a little, if only to give him something to do around here, given how limited his actions were here.

            Usually Rey would be right here with them, exchanging gifts, helping Hux make dinner for the three of them in their isolated dwelling. Usually she made an effort to be around by this time. But she’d talked to them over holovid the night before, Ava propped on Hux’s knee as she reached for Rey like she could touch her mother.

            Sighing, Hux scooped Ava up in his arms, adjusting her tunic. “Remember our chat yesterday? We talked to Mother over holovid, and she’s been very busy on her mission,” he explained. Not that he’d ever know what type of missions she went on—he wasn’t allowed to know much of anything. “She says she probably won’t be home but wants to talk tonight. Is that okay?”

            It’d have to be. But Ava nodded in understanding. “When is she coming home, then?”

            More often than not, it was just the two of them, the redheaded duo set aside from the rest of Rey’s colleagues. Hux kept his head down most of the time, but his odd status as Resistance prisoner of war, still able to raise his daughter in a relatively free environment, always caused stares wherever he went. When Rey was around, those stares weren’t nearly as prominent. Hux supposed they stared at Ava with pity, wishing she hadn’t been born in such strange conditions. He knew they stared at him with scrutiny, waiting for him to do something to compromise the thin ice he already walked on.

            It had been over five years since his capture. Not once did he even consider breaking the intense rules laid out for him. All Hux had to do was gaze at the wide-eyed child in his arms, her grin huge whenever she saw him, and any ill thought he had was easily suppressed by her too-tight hugs and babbling usual nonsense.

            Hux never thought he’d ever be a father, much less to a child so happy. Much less a Force user, still learning the potential of her powers.

            “Soon,” he promised, kissing the top of her head. “How would you like to bake a cake for dessert tonight, my darling?”

             The best way to get Ava’s mind off her mother, Hux quickly learned, was to just change the subject.

            He always acted strong whenever Rey left for long periods of time, holding his head high, showing no emotion, as he’d been apt to do at such a young age. In the back of his mind, though he continuously worried about Ava, about what would happen to her if Rey never made it out.

            If Rey were ever killed in battle, what did that mean for him? What did it mean for Ava, if the father she’d always known were ripped away from her? Rey had always been Hux’s barrier in this strange situation, always the first one to defend Hux’s character (but never his ethics or affiliation, of course). Without her, Hux didn’t know what he had—but he’d be damned if anyone tried to take Ava away from him.

            She deserved the galaxy, and Hux couldn’t give it to her no matter how hard he tried.

            Talking to Rey last night sated Hux for the time being, knowing she was safe, but the days stretched out longer and longer without her. He had been the stay at home father, the one who raised his daughter practically singlehandedly (granted, there was nothing better for him to do, and Ava took up quite a bit of time). He’d been the one to wake up late in the middle of the night when she cried; he fed and clothed and kept her as safe as he could. He lived for her. He lived because of her.

            Ava nodded enthusiastically at the mention of cake, the subject of Rey forgotten (for now). Hux figured he had about ten minutes before she asked again.

            Once in their simple kitchen, he let Ava down, and she bounded for a little cup she used often, carefully pouring herself a glass of blue milk. Rey so often commented that Ava was a splitting image of him, but other than their red hair, he failed to see how his daughter bore much resemblance to him. Ava had Rey’s huge, hazel eyes, often so filled with wonder and enjoyment, and those freckles littered her face like a constellation. Her attitude certainly came from Rey, with how she dove headfirst into any endeavor, fearless and impulsive. She was an energetic little thing, and Hux loved her all the more for it.

            Ava was halfway through her milk when there was a knock at their door. Odd. Usually in emergencies and drills announcements came on, and on a day like today, so important to so many people in the Resistance, Hux seriously doubted anyone really wanted to talk to him.

            “Can I answer it?” Ava asked politely, pushing her cup aside.

            Hux certainly trusted her, even so young. He nodded. “I’ll be right behind,” he assured.

            Besides, with her lovely face, he figured if anyone were angry at him, they’d keep their composure around Ava.         

            Ava pressed the button for the door, and as it whooshed open, Hux’s eyes widened in shock.

            He could hear the loud gasp from even a few paces away. “Mama!” Ava squealed, hurling herself in her mother’s arms. Rey grunted, but seemed more than happy to lift her daughter and bring her in for a huge hug and kiss.

            The surprise came from the fact that Rey usually just entered the dwelling with her code—she almost never knocked. Even Hux was surprised at her slight deception, and when he composed himself, he made his way to her.

            “Oh, my stars, I missed you so much!” Rey told Ava, peppering her cheeks in countless kisses.

            When Hux made it to her side, Rey sighed and kissed him briefly. Yes, those perfect lips were certainly hers. He was still too stunned to say much. “I thought you were still on your mission.”

            “Perhaps that was a bit of a lie.” Rey gave a bit of an uncomfortable chuckle. “I wanted to tell you both so bad that I would be home, but I wanted it to be a surprise.”

            She didn’t need to make excuses. She didn’t need to explain herself. Hux sighed and kissed her again properly, wrapping an arm around her waist. Ava giggled; she was used to all the affection. “I’m always happy to see you, you know that.” This was their family completed, everything he ever needed in his arms. This was his whole galaxy right here. “I’m glad you’re safe.”

            To break the awkward moment, Ava tugged at the collar of Rey’s tunic. “We’re gonna bake a cake for Life Day!” she announced.

            The enthusiasm returned. “Are you now? Can I help?”

            “Yes!” Rey set Ava down, and immediately Ava grabbed her mother’s hand, trying to tug her along.

            Rey shrugged, reaching over with her free hand to take one of Hux’s. “I can’t say no to that face,” she admitted in defeat.

            “Neither can I,” Hux agreed, squeezing her hand gently.