Title: The General’s Wife Author: Divapilot Genre: Drama, angst Characters: Armitage Hux, Breha Solo (OC); mentions of Leia Organa, Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo Era: ST Summary: Breha Amidala Solo Hux learns of the events of Starkiller Base and the subsequent destruction of the Resistance fleet. Trigger warning: Domestic violence This is a sequel to the 2016 work Bad Romance Connected works and OC character info below the spoiler tag Spoiler The character of Breha Amidala Solo was created for the work True Blue. She has also appeared in [url=https://boards.theforce.net/threads...solos-complete-cover-posted-4-24-17.50026135/] The God of Second Chances [/url], All I Have to Give , and as a secondary character in One Hundred Blessings Breha originally was created to be the fourth child of Han and Leia; in this work (and in Bad Romance) she is their second child (in the New Canon universe). You can read more about her here and here. Sincerest thank you to @Ewok Poet and @Findswoman for their insightful betas! **** Breha adjusted the emeraude earrings, making sure that they hung exactly as he would desire them to against the curve of her pale neck. Tonight was important to him. Every detail mattered. She had to look elegant but not so much as to be distracting, feminine but not weak, and he had no tolerance for error. She took a steadying breath and closed her eyes. When she reopened them, she saw the reflection of a pleasant if dispassionate smile, eyes bright without the appearance of deeper perception. A motion behind her in the mirror caught her eye. She turned away, her ivory shimmersilk gown rustling with the movement, and approached her husband. He adjusted the hem of his tunic, and she reached out and brushed a minute speck off of the shoulder of his dress uniform, then trailed her hand gently down the front of his chest, the act of a loving wife. He turned his head to look at her, assessing her appearance. Satisfied, he held out his hand, palm up. Obediently, she slipped her smaller hand into his. Armitage wrapped his arm around hers, pulling her arm flush with his torso and steering his wife as they left their bedroom. They walked together toward the main foyer of the mansion, the click of their shoes echoing down the empty marbled hall. “This party,” Armitage began, almost apologetically in tone. “This is not my idea. But as word of our victory has gotten out, the men seemed to feel that a celebration was in order. You understand, of course.” “Of course,” she echoed. Her mind sifted through a thousand possible interpretations of his words. Our victory. Celebration. What victory? What destruction would the First Order find so important that they would be celebrating? She smiled benignly at her husband while her thoughts raced to her mother. For not the first time in her life Breha wished she had some inkling of a Force sense so even if the worst had happened at least she would know, but the entirety of that inheritance had gone to her older brother, Ben. No, he called himself Kylo Ren now. She shoved that thought aside. As they approached, the main doors of the mansion unlocked and opened for them automatically. They stepped out into the courtyard and Breha inhaled the fresh air. For so long she had been unable to feel unfiltered sunlight on her skin or to breathe air that hadn’t been cycled through the mansion’s filters. She turned her face toward the unfamiliar touch of an actual breeze. She had no time to enjoy it, however. Armitage held the door of the speeder open for her, and she gathered the skirt of her gown and entered the vehicle. He climbed in after her and settled himself on the leather seat, and she shifted slightly to give him more room than he actually needed. He turned to her and she looked at him with what she considered a very good impersonation of a devoted spouse. He smiled indulgently at her, a smile that almost reached his cold green eyes. “But you don’t know about the victory, do you, Breha?” he asked. Even now, nine years into their arranged marriage, Armitage spoke to her as if she were still nineteen years old, a naive and idealistic schoolgirl. She was not surprised to detect gloating in his tone. He had something, some devastating information that he enjoyed taunting her with. What else would make her husband so gleeful, so eager to attend a formal ball, of all things, except the opportunity to put her into a position where he could exercise the most cruelty? If that was his plan, it was best to keep things defused for as long as she could. Besides, her mother might not be dead. She didn’t know that yet. Breha kept her face open and continued to smile at him. Armitage’s pale lips pulled together into a thin smile. He clasped his hands together loosely. “Well, you’ll find out tonight. Our glorious future is upon us now. This is our time.” He leaned back in his seat and his eyes stared forward. Breha knew that by “us,” he was speaking of the First Order. She was beyond deceiving herself into thinking he cared enough about her to think of their future as a couple. The vehicle pulled up to the officer’s hall, an enormous, elaborate building. Huge black and red banners fluttered against the facade. Armitage exited first, then gallantly waited for her to follow. He held out his hand and she dutifully took it. They walked past rows of young officers in smart black and red uniforms, through a gauntlet of Stormtroopers, their armor polished to a stinging shine. As they entered the main hall they stopped at the top of the stairs. Armitage waited for the word to spread through the crowd that he had arrived, and very soon all eyes were on them. He stepped forward and Breha slid behind him as the crowd of revelers roared their approval of him. People began to work their way up the stairs towards them. The press of people nearly overwhelmed her. Almost all of her time was spent alone, and now that their daughter had been taken from her and sent to the Academy on Armitage’s command, she spent her days in isolation. This sudden onslaught of humanity (nearly everyone in the crowd was human) was jarring. She fought her urge to flinch against the sudden commingled scents of perfume, the jostling of nearby bodies, the chaotic conversations that threatened to smother her. Steady, she thought. Remember who you are. The granddaughter of two queens. The daughter of a princess. Breha took a breath and raised her chin higher. Hands shoved past her in an attempt to shake Armitage’s own. He detached himself from her and stepped into the appreciative crowd, and Breha held back, knowing better than to insert herself into his spotlight. It only took a few minutes before someone began calling for a speech, and Armitage was ascending the stairs again. Someone at the top landing produced a vocal projector and he grasped it. Breha faded to the side and watched him from a few meters away, a precisely calibrated look of pride on her face. She was the general’s wife. She had a role to play. She knew the cost of getting this wrong. He spoke briefly, but the words seemed to have a mesmerizing effect on him and on the other true believers. She listened intently. Breha knew this would be her only opportunity to learn what had happened to her mother, and perhaps to her brother. The mansion where she lived afforded no access to the outside world. She was not permitted to contact anyone and no one bothered to contact her. And once Armitage returned to the Finalizer, the doors would be shut and relocked behind him, leaving everything he owned — including her— safely stored away until his next visit. Armitage spoke of a great victory for the First Order — the destruction of Hosnian Prime and of the scum who would oppose their will. The entire system had been reduced to rubble. Breha suppressed a horrified gasp. Billions of people lived in that system. This was an atrocity; a genocide, like Alderaan. She glanced at the others around her, but they stared at Armitage with expressions of rapt exultation. Her stomach turned. “Mrs. Hux? Are you all right?” An older woman beside her looked at her solicitously, then her expression turned to concern. “Dear me, in your condition, perhaps you need a chair,” the woman continued. Breha nearly panicked at the thought that this woman would signal for assistance, detracting from Armitage’s speech and his moment of glory. “No, no — I’m just—” Breha gestured to her husband, who was nearly shouting now, carried away by his description of the battle. The woman frowned, then smiled knowingly. “Of course. Your husband is a great leader.” Her voice became reverent. “He is doing the gods’ work, you know, restoring humanity to its rightful place and putting all those subordinate species back where they belong. You must be so proud.” Breha hid her disgust and smiled kindly back at her. “Yes,” Breha agreed. “So proud indeed.” The older woman turned her attention back to the speech and the danger passed, but Breha resolved to be more careful of her emotions. Invisible was best, and the best way to be invisible was to conform to what everyone around her was doing. She turned toward Armitage and beamed at him, sifting through his words for details that would reveal the fate of her family and the current state of her mother or her brother. Armitage was speaking about Crait. Crait? She searched her memory. It was an unremarkable world, no settlements, no use to anyone. But something had happened at Crait. If nothing else, Armitage was skilled at working up a crowd. Armitage had news that he wanted to reveal, something that he had held back for this moment. The crowd listened intently as he regaled them with the story of how they had destroyed — “decimated,” he said — the Resistance fleet, driving them back and picking their ships off one by one. It was only a matter of time before the remnant of those terrorists were wiped away. Breha allowed herself to relax. If General Organa were dead, he would have crowed about it by now. She listened to the cadence of his speech and recognized that he was getting ready to reveal his prize. Armitage continued, announcing that there was an unexpected bonus from the battle at Crait: Luke Skywalker was dead. Kylo Ren had defeated the Jedi Master in battle. The Jedi were no more. The crowd roared with approval and Breha swallowed hard. So that was his great secret, the knife Armitage had waited to plunge into her heart. Her uncle was dead. She clapped along with the others, her smile widening appropriately. Her uncle was dead and her brother had killed him. His speech over, the music began playing and Armitage scanned the crowd for her. She navigated her way over to his side. He held out his hand and she quickly took it, and he guided her to the dance floor. The party swirled around them, laughter and champagne, sparkling gold intermixed with military red and black. She smiled graciously and laughed at all the appropriate times. Her uncle was dead. Breha’s mind wandered to her memories of him, despite her pressing need to focus on this party. It had, of course, been many years since she had seen Luke, as she had been isolated from her family and friends since her marriage to Armitage, but she recalled a kind, thoughtful man. Luke and her mother were incredibly close, as twins often were, and she wondered how her mother was dealing with the loss. Probably shoving it to the side to be dealt with later, once the immediate crisis was handled. Not unlike how Breha herself was trying to deal with it. Finally the musicians paused for a break. Breha excused herself from the group that had gathered around her and Armitage to congratulate him for his resounding success. As the general, Armitage had an entire suite in the officer’s hall to use for his personal needs tonight, and as his wife, the suite was hers to use as well. She dared not take more than a few minutes for herself, but when she felt that she had sufficiently recovered from the surprise news of Uncle Luke’s death, she prepared to return to the party. She checked her appearance in a mirror in the suite’s lounge and was reapplying her lip color when the reflection revealed that Armitage had entered the room. She straightened, put the cosmetic away, snapped shut her makeup case, and turned to greet him. “Congratulations,” she said. He walked slowly over to her. She stiffened. She knew that look on his face too well. Armitage smiled but it was a viper’s grin. He reached out and readjusted the neckline of her dress, pulling it higher, then his hand strayed to her hair. He unpinned one of her dark curls and let it fall onto her shoulder. “It was a brutal fight, Breha,” he said suddenly. “The Resistance fought with what they had, scrappers that they are, but they were completely out-weaponed.” He put his hand on her arm. “Out-powered.” He moved in closer to her, until he was pressed against her, and whispered in her ear. “Outnumbered.” She closed her eyes and shivered. He continued to whisper. “All those ships, fleeing for their lives, like rats before a flood. Such a brilliant explosion with each one. You should have seen it.” Armitage stepped back, still gripping her upper arm. “Nonetheless, it’s the little things we remember best, isn’t it? The destruction of the Hosnian system, for example. It’s just too much to take in all at once. Yes, billions of people died. But our minds can’t really fathom that. We need the personal connection to make it real.” Again, Breha’s mind went to memories of her uncle. This is why Armitage had followed her into the lounge, she realized. To taunt her about Luke’s death. “Did you pay attention to my speech? What did you think of it?” His question was a snare and she knew it. “You — Your victory was impressive. Everyone agrees.” Armitage pressed her more tightly, trapping her against the counter. His left hand continued to squeeze her upper arm, and his right hand began to explore her hair again, loosening curls that unraveled onto her neck. “Of course. But you, darling. Were you impressed?” She fought to maintain her calm demeanor. “Your accomplishment is a turning point in this war. Snoke will reward you.” Armitage stopped and laughed abruptly, letting go of her and backing away. He stood beside her, slouched against the counter, his arms folded. She rubbed her upper arm where he had gripped her. “Right. You don’t know,” he said. “Snoke is dead. Kylo Ren is the Supreme Leader now.” Despite herself, Breha looked up at him in surprise and met his eyes. Ben is the Supreme Leader? She glanced away to try to process the implications. “There is something else you should know,” Armitage added. “Han Solo is dead, too.” The room seemed to suddenly lose oxygen. Breha clutched the counter for support. Dad. Her stomach lurched. No. It couldn’t be true. Her husband smiled grimly. “Terrible tragedy.” He looked away from her and studied his nails as he continued talking. “I wasn’t there, of course, but I saw the security footage. Bloody gruesome thing. I don’t know what the old man thought he could achieve, talking to him.” “What?” Breha stammered. The room continued to wobble violently around her and she struggled for her bearings. “What do you mean? Talking to whom?” Armitage looked up and glanced at her. “Oh. Did I not mention? Kylo Ren killed him.” Breha’s mind spun. She began to breathe heavily and her knees threatened to give out. He continued as if oblivious to her distress. “Stabbed him. They were talking and then suddenly Kylo took out that raggedy laser sword and got him right here.” Armitage put his fingers together into a point and pressed them into Breha’s diaphragm, under her sternum. She recoiled and he went on. “Got him right through the chest and out through his back. “The old man had this look of, well, hmm. What was it. Surprise? Confusion?” Armitage smiled as he found the right word. “Ah yes. Disappointment. Your father’s final emotion was disappointment as he tumbled off the walkway and into the reactor.” He glanced at Breha’s horrified expression. “Oh, don’t worry, darling. He was long dead before he incinerated.” Breha’s body shook uncontrollably. The loss was a physical blow. A wave of nausea swept over her and she considered vomiting. Dad was gone. Breha reeled against the thousands of happy memories of her close bond to her father, each one striking her like shards of glass in an explosion. She struggled not to cry, but the tears forced their way out. At the sight of her tears, Armitage finally broke his reserved persona and allowed himself this pleasure. She cried out as he grabbed her hair and pulled her head back, forcing her to look at him. “I told you years ago I would destroy your rebellious family,” he spat. His face twisted into a vicious scowl. “Your uncle is dead. Your father is dead. Your mother has lost her army and we have her pathetic, shriveled remnant within our grasp and she’ll be dead soon too. And your brother may as well be dead to you.” He roughly released her and shoved her away. She fell to the floor. The expensive ivory shimmersilk pooled around her. Armitage circled her like a predator, then squatted beside her and observed her tears coldly. “Your family is all but gone. Who are you without them to define you, Breha? Where could you possibly go? Who would want you? No one is left to care about you. You’re nothing.” He paused and his voice turned icily gentle. “But you still have me. You’re not nothing to me.” He watched her weep for a minute or two more, then his aggression faded to irritation and he sighed. “I don’t know why you’re carrying on like this,” he said. “When my father was finally murdered, it was a relief.” He held out his hand to her, and she placed her hand in his automatically. He lifted her to her feet, maneuvering her to stand in front of him. He turned her so that he stood behind her, trapping her between his arms, his hands flat against the counter on either side of her, pressing her smaller body between his own and the counter. He gripped her chin in his hand and forced her to look up and into the mirror. Her makeup was disturbed where the tears had trailed down her cheek, and her hair was disheveled. She felt his breath on the back of her neck as he spoke. “Look at you,” he said, staring at their reflection. His voice dripped with disgust. “You’re a mess. Clean that up before you go back out. You’re the general’s wife. Act like it.” He stared at her in the mirror for a moment longer. Then he drew his hands down her torso, touching her body at his will; his possession, his greatest trophy. His hands came around to the front of her and lingered on the subtle roundness of her pregnancy. He spoke quietly. “You have five minutes. I expect you to be back beside me by then.” With that, he let go of her and turned suddenly to stride out of the room. Breha stood frozen in place until she was sure he was gone, then raised both hands to her mouth to smother the guttural cry of grief that threaten to erupt from her. She forced her hands down and placed them on the counter, then worked to get her breathing under control. She looked into the mirror again, assessing the damage to her appearance that needed to be fixed. He meant what he said about five minutes. Silently, she picked up a cleansing cloth and wiped up her tears. With each mechanical action of reapplying her makeup, she felt herself folding inside herself, like a collapsing set of boxes, until whatever was left of her was deeply pushed down. She was the general’s wife and she knew how to play the part. She repinned her hair with trembling hands. Then she looked in the mirror and practiced smiling. The woman in the mirror, pretty but unsubstantial, smiled back at her passively. It would do. Breha put her makeup case back in her purse. There would be time to mourn her father when Armitage returned to the Finalizer. For now, though, she would tuck her heart, broken and as brittle as a thousand razor-sharp shards of glass, deep inside of her, and continue. With one final glance toward the reflection, she smoothed the wrinkles of her gown, took her purse, and left the lounge to go back to the ballroom, where Armitage was waiting for her.