"Do you have a second?"
Hux dashed around, busily gathering up papers. He was late for a meeting, and was in a hurry to get there.
"Not really, Kylo. I'm already so late. Why, is something wrong?"
Kylo had his hands in his lap, looking down at the floor.
"Yes and no. I just, I really wish you'd sit and talk to me."
"Yes and no," Hux repeated, digging in a drawer for a folder. "That's very specific. Since you can't seem to give me a straight answer, I'm going to go ahead and guess that No, nothing is wrong, or if there IS, it can wait until I come back."
He found the folder he was looking for, hurriedly stuffing his papers inside. He double checked everything before he picked it up and headed towards the door.
"I'll be back in about an hour, okay? Love you!", he called, already halfway out the door.
He actually returned about 3 hours later, the meeting material having stretched out much longer than he anticipated. He walked down the hallway to his and Kylo's quarters wearily, feeling like a hot bath needed to be in his immediate future.
"'Lo?", he called, opening the door. "I'm home."
He was met with silence. The lights had all been turned off, leaving everything very cold and bleak looking.
Hux walked around and switched on the lights, checking all the rooms as he did so for Kylo. But he was nowhere to be found.
He must have had something to do with Snoke, Hux thought to himself, heading to the refresher. He drew himself a steaming hot bath and lowered himself into it, resting his head against the edge.
He must have dozed off, because the water had turned icy cold, and the light from the windows was gone, nighttime having fallen.
His teeth chattered as he got out of the tub and dressed himself in one of Kylo's warm wool robes.
He made himself a cup of tea and went into the living room, sitting on the side couch and going over his schedule and paperwork for the next day. He glanced up at the door every so often, expecting Kylo to come in at any minute.
Eventually he stopped looking at the door and started to look at the clock. He was shocked when he realized how much time had passed between his coming home and now; it was almost 1 in the morning!
Kylo never trained with the Supreme Leader this late.
Frowning, he picked up his datapad and sent a Comm to Snoke, asking him if he was still training with his husband. He'd feel bad about sending anyone else a message so late, but not Snoke. Snoke rarely slept.
Snoke replied within a few minutes.
Ren was sent on a mission to the outer rim, to supervise squad 2315 in retrieving T.R. supplies. Copy of this in your Report 23-A.
Hux read that and frowned, picking up his folder and searching for that particular report. Snoke was right, it WAS there, that he was being sent on that supervisory jaunt to the outer rim. He had been so focused on the subject matter for his meeting that he had completely overlooked this.
But why hadn't Kylo told him this, himself?
It was very unlike him to leave for any length of time without first saying goodbye, or at least leaving a note.
There hadn't been a note, but . . .
Maybe this is what he was trying to tell you before you left for your meeting, Hux thought.
But if that had been all, why did he make it seem like there was more to it? Something more serious?
It's nothing, Hux told himself, getting up and stretching. You're just tired and worrying over nothing. He'll be back in a few days. Now go to bed.
He followed his own orders and walked into their bedroom, tossing and turning before he could finally fall asleep.
Two days passed, then three, and Hux still had not heard from Kylo. His report had stated that Kylo and his crew would return from their mission in approximately 5 days, so Hux wasn't exactly worried.
Rather, he was confused.
Kylo had never been one for datapad messaging; yet Snoke made him take one with him whenever he was away from
base for more than one day at a time.
Hux sent Kylo a series of messages, just to check in with him, only to receive no reply.
Sorry didn't get chance to see you before you left. Be safe. Love you,
Going to bed soon. Miss you.
Are you not receiving these, or are you just ignoring me?
Snoke showed me messages you sent HIM detailing mission status. So you ARE ignoring me. Starting to worry now.
REALLY starting to worry now. Answer me please.
Ok so you are ignoring me, or just don't want to talk to me. Fine. But I need you to please send me something to let me know you're alive. Just that you're okay. Please? That's all I want.
Are you aiming to give me a heart attack?
Finally, just before he went to bed on the third night, Kylo sent him back a message. It was just two words, but it was enough to temporarily quell Hux's growing unease.
On the day that Kylo was set to return, Hux left work early, coming home to make dinner for him.
He knew that Kylo was angry with him for some reason, and the case was often that he could be appeased with food.
So he set to work creating a lovely meal for the two of them, creating a romantic dining atmosphere by lighting candles and putting on a holodisc of soft, classical music.
Then he sat at the table and waited.
By now the food had grown cold, and Hux was annoyed.
He should have been home an hour ago, he thought to himself, getting up to check his datapad.
There was no message from Ren, of course; but there WAS a new one from Snoke.
New mission details 34-T to follow in attachment. Ships FY-3 and FY-4 being taken. Leader: Kylo Ren, Captain Yaslinn.
Hux felt his hands tremble as he opened the attachment. The new mission was a raid on a planet in the next system. Apparently Kylo Ren had been back long enough to go see Snoke and volunteer to spearhead this mission as well, without taking the time to come home and tell Hux about his upcoming prolonged absence.
This mission would keep him away for at least another week.
Hux opened up his data channel to Ren. His fingers were shaking as he thought out a message to type to him--but in the end he couldn't say anything.
He felt scared, and very sick.
Not bothering to put any of the food away, he merely blew out all the candles and went to bed.
The next several days were very long ones for Hux.
He didn't send anymore messages to Kylo, knowing that he wouldn't respond anyway. Rather he kept tabs on him through Snoke, knowing that the Supreme Leader was probably wondering why Hux didn't just contact Kylo himself.
Hux was laying in bed very late on the 6th night of Kylo's absence, trying to force himself to fall asleep.
He was startled to hear the sound of the doors in the living room open, and a person shuffle in.
He knew immediately it was Kylo, by the characteristic shuffling that his heavy boots made on the carpet.
Hux kept his eyes closed and remained on his side, facing the wall as Kylo tiptoed into their bedroom. He could sense him standing there and looking at him, before he turned and made his way into the refresher.
The shower came on, and Hux laid and listened to the water pouring down for what seemed like a long time.
Eventually Kylo came out, and turned off the small lamp before crawling into his side of the bed.
A few seconds passed, and Hux found that he was holding his breath. He waited for Kylo to shake his shoulder, wake him up. Talk to him about why he had volunteered for the second mission without saying so much as a word to Hux, or responded to any of his datapad messages.
He waited for something, anything.
Instead Ren turned over and fell asleep, snoring lightly into his pillow.
Hux felt his chest clench; he knew that something was wrong between them, and wanted desperately to know what it was, so he could fix it.
Listening to Ren snore, he knew that tonight wouldn't be the night to do it.
So he forced himself to fall into an uneasy sleep, telling himself that they could talk about it when they woke up.
The next morning, before Hux had even opened his eyes, Kylo had already gotten dressed and left for the day.
Three days passed, each day much like that first one, when Kylo returned home.
Hux didn't bring up any of the last few weeks when he finally did get a chance to see Kylo at home. He merely tried to talk to him, hold normal conversations, but was given only mono-syllabic responses in return.
Hux had never been one to let his personal life interfere with his professional one, and that was still the case now. Yet often during the day, during lulls in his meetings, he found himself distracted, thinking of his husband.
He asked him to come into his office one day in the middle of the week, and Kylo came in, looking annoyed to be pulled away from his training with Snoke.
"What is it, Hux?"
Hux tried to ignore his hostile demeanor, putting on a cheerful face.
"Sorry to bother you; I was just wondering if maybe you'd like to have lunch with me today. One of my Lieutenant's wives made him the most delicious berry cobbler, and he brought me a whole container full. I thought maybe we could have that with some wine. What do you say?"
Kylo blinked at him, then shook his head.
"That's alright; I've got things to do."
He began to head for the door, but Hux had jumped up from his seat and was ahead of him, slamming it shut before Kylo could walk out.
"'Lo," he said softly, putting his hand on his arm. "Come on, sit down, please. We really need to talk."
Kylo looked at him, then went and sat in the chair on the opposite side of Hux's desk, looking at the floor. Hux sat back in his own seat, patiently waiting.
When Kylo wouldn't speak, Hux said, slowly,
"I know something's wrong, here; only I'm not sure what. I wish you would tell me, so I can fix it."
Kylo wouldn't look at him; instead, he crossed the room to the window, looking down at the training grounds below.
"I don't think this is working, Arm."
"What isn't working?"
Kylo turned to face him.
"This. Us. This marriage. I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I just don't feel like we work together anymore. I'm sorry."
Hux sat still in his chair, completely floored by Kylo's words. He couldn't remember how to open his mouth and speak, and when he finally did, the only thing he could get out was,
"Why would you say something like that?"
Kylo began fiddling with the fringe of his cowl, looking back out the window.
"You never have time for me anymore. We barely even talk. It's like . . . "
"Kylo, we're both busy almost constantly. You and me BOTH are. You know this."
"Yes, I know, and I understand and accept that. And I could TAKE that, IF we had any kind of time at all together, or at least talked once in a while. Like we used to. Do you remember when we first started dating? We would lay in bed for hours and just talk about everything imaginable. Now we barely say "hello" or "good morning."
Hux swallowed hard, as the truth of Kylo's words hit him. He was so preoccupied with work, and always so tired, that he had been making less of an effort to see and talk to his husband.
"You're not . . . you're not seriously saying that you want to . . . to LEAVE me, are you?"
"I'm not saying that I WANT to, Hux. I'm saying that I may NEED to. It wouldn't be fair to either of us, to hold on to something that's already dying."
Hux had to close his eyes against the rush of dizziness and pain that he felt, listening to Kylo.
He stood up shakily, crossed the room to where Kylo was standing, and hugged him timidly.
He couldn't imagine, he literally could NOT imagine, not being able to put his arms around Kylo anymore. Not being able to hold him, to kiss him. To sleep next to him every night.
"Please, please give me a chance, 'Lo. A chance to make this work, to fix this. Please?"
Tears were coming now, adding a shaky, unsteady quality to his voice.
"I think it might be too late," Kylo replied, his own eyes tearing up.
"And besides, this is the whole problem right here: you look at everything like one of your 'problems' to solve. I'm NOT a kriffing 'problem' that you have to 'fix'. I'm your HUSBAND, and I need love from you."
Hux buried his face in Kylo's chest, crying harder now.
"I DO love you! I love you more than myself, more than my own life. Hells, you ARE my life!"
A knock sounded on his door. Hux straightened up, cleared his throat and called out "Yes?"
From the other side of the door, a voice called out, "We need you to come to Sector 34-F. There's a defunct navigational computer that needs your evaluation and repair approval."
Hux looked up at Kylo, who was looking at him with a sad smile on his face.
Kylo removed Hux's arms from around his waist, and stepped back.
"Go.", he said softly, staring once more out the window. "I'll see you at home, okay?"
For a few moments, Hux felt like he couldn't speak, he couldn't walk away from this room, from his husband.
Then he forced himself to move, hastily wiping away his tears as he numbly put one foot in front of the other. He opened his door and followed the Captain down the hall.
Hux returned to their quarters several hours later, hoping against hope that miracles still existed, that Kylo would actually be there, waiting for him.
They did, and he was.
He was leaning back against the couch, dozing lightly, his head propped up with one of the end pillows.
Hux stood and looked at him for a long time, trying to fully appreciate how handsome his husband was, before he gingerly sat down next to him and gently nudged his shoulder.
Kylo yawned softly and blinked his eyes rapidly, adjusting to the brightness of the room. He saw Hux looking at him and said nothing, biting his lip and waiting for him to speak.
"I talked to Snoke. I'm taking the next week off of work. Starting tomorrow. I've gotten all of my duties taken care of and covered."
"That's nice, Hux, but . . ."
"You're off, too. I cleared it with Snoke. I thought maybe we could take a trip together."
Kylo looked at him in disbelief.
"A trip? To where?"
"I wasn't entirely sure yet, but I was thinking maybe Arkanis? You liked it when we went there on our honeymoon, didn't you?"
"I did, but . . ."
"Of course if you don't want that, we can go somewhere else. Anywhere you want, honey; tell me and I'll take you there."
"Hux, you don't have to do this. It's okay."
Hux took Kylo's hands in his, forcing him to look at him.
"It's NOT okay. Any time you think it's okay to tell me that you think our marriage should end, isn't okay. I love you and want to be with you. Maybe a trip will help us reconnect?"
Kylo said nothing, drawing his hands away from Hux's.
"I can't lose you. I would die if I lost you. Look, maybe this will help us, maybe it won't. But I've got to try. Please, please, just give this a chance?"
Kylo was silent, and Hux could tell that he was wrestling with himself on how to react.
Finally, he gave him a small smile, and relaxed the tense set of his shoulders.
"Arkanis WAS quite beautiful, the last time we were there. If I go . . . will you pack my things for me? You know how I hate packing."
Hux smiled back, embracing him. "Of course. I'll do anything you want, 'Lo. Thank you."
He kissed him on the cheek and stood up, holding out his hand.
"Come with me, and tell me what you want in your suitcase?"
Ren hesitated, then grabbed Hux's hand, allowing himself to be pulled into their bedroom to pack.
"Hand me that wrench, will ya?"
Kylo handed him the wrench, shaking his head.
He had convinced Hux to take a detour from their proposed destination of Arkanis for a few days, in order to visit his parents. He hadn't seen his mother in quite some time, now, and had really missed her.
His father, well; Kylo had never really gotten along with him. His mother said that that was because the two were far too alike, and Kylo could see that, as much as he didn't want to admit it.
Hux was inside with Kylo's mother, talking. Both of them had leadership roles in politics and could find hours worth of topics to talk, laugh, and argue about.
Kylo was more like his father in that he didn't give a Kriff one way or another about things like that, so while Hux was inside debating with his mother and helping her make dinner, Kylo had come outside, watching his dad as he made more repairs to his ship.
"You know, I feel like every single time I see you, something else on this hunk of junk is broken."
Han grumbled but said nothing.
"I have to ask; why not just scrap it for parts, and get a new one? Like mom's?"
Han popped up, looking at his son with disgust.
"Scrap it? JUST scrap it? Are you crazy?"
"Maybe. But I'm not so crazy that I don't see the ridiculousness of throwing away a perfectly good ship just because there are a few things wrong with it."
"It's more than a few things, dad. It's everything, and it's all the time."
His father disappeared back under the ship, grumbling to himself. He popped back up a few minutes later, and the look on his face told Kylo that he was in for a long lecture.
"Did I ever tell you that this is the ship that--"
"--that made the kessel run in less than 12 parsects?", Kylo finished with him, rolling his eyes. "Yes, dad, you've told me at least a hundred times. But still--"
"Have I told you that this is the ship your mother escaped in, with Luke, Lando, and Chewbacca, from the hands of the empire, when I was frozen and taken away--"
"--in the carbonite?", Kylo finished with him again, chuckling. "YES, dad, I know."
Han crawled out from under the ship, wiping his hands on his shirt and picking up his ale from the ground. He took a long swig, then scrubbed his shirt against his sweaty forehead.
"I guess you have heard all these stories before, haven't you, kid?"
"Did I ever tell you about the horrible fight your mother and I had, about a week after we were married?"
Kylo thought for a minute, pursing his lips.
"No, no I don't think you ever did."
Han sat down on one of the thick stumps, next to his son, and passed him his ale. Kylo took a swig and passed it back, grimacing as always at the taste.
"It was so long ago, I hardly remember it. What I do remember was that it started because Leia said that I wasn't ready to be married; that I was just as immature and self-centered as the day we met."
"Son, I was so angry that I couldn't see straight. I felt that I had changed so much, done so much for your mother, and she didn't appreciate any of it."
"I stormed out to my ship. I was going to take off, but, lo and behold, the rear left thruster wouldn't fire up."
"Your mother came out after about an hour, asking why I was still there. I started yelling and telling her that my ship was broken, that she was right, that I would just leave on foot if that's what she wanted; a whole bunch of things."
"So what did you do?" Kylo asked.
Han smiled, taking another swig of his drink.
"It's not what I did; it's what SHE did. She actually apologized to me. Yes; SHE said sorry to ME. She even came on board the ship, tried to help me fix the broken thruster."
"Was she able to fix it?"
"No. Neither was I. But in the process of trying, we, uh, we found other things to do."
Kylo blushed as his father's thoughts hit him.
"Dad! Seriously! Why would you tell me this?"
Han smiled and put his hand on Kylo's shoulder. "You were conceived that night, son. On this ship."
Kylo blushed redder than ever, scrubbing his hand across his hot face.
Neither said anything else for a while, until eventually Kylo broke the silence, with:
"Is that why you won't get rid of this old thing?"
"Yes, and no. For that reason, and a thousand others. A thousand memories, both good and bad. But you know what? Honestly, so long as I live, I could never give this up."
Kylo sat silently and thought about his father's words, sitting with him under the rapidly darkening sky.
The back door opened, and his mother and Hux came out, smiling.
"Dinner's ready, boys," said Leia, as she walked up to Han. She took in his disheveled appearance and frowned.
"Did you fix whatever you needed to fix?"
Han put his arms around her and grinned. "Nope."
Leia pushed him off and sighed.
"Han, if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times, it's time to get rid of--"
"Don't pick on him, mother," Kylo interrupted, standing up and clapping his dad on the back. "He'll fix it one day. Right, dad?"
"Exactly," Han replied. With a grin he bent down and swooped up Leia into his arms, ignoring her laughing protests as he carried her into the house.
Kylo looked at Hux, who was looking after Han and Leia with a wistful smile on his face.
"Are you feeling alright, Hux?"
He turned and looked at him.
"What do you mean?"
"You just look, I don't know, tired. Or sad; I can't tell which."
"I'm not sad; I actually feel kind of good. Maybe a little tired, but good. Talking to your mother is like, well, like reading a good book. I'm always interested in what she's going to say next.
"I know what you mean. Sometimes I really miss being away from her."
Hux took his hand and squeezed it, as they began to head indoors. "Then we'll make more of an effort to come visit, more often."
"Really. I promise."
Hux stood for a moment, looking at Kylo's father's ship. He walked around it, fingers trailing over the peeling pain and rusty exhaust vents.
"Wow. This ship . . . ", he began in a low voice, so Han wouldn't hear him, "This ship is a disaster. Does it even work?"
"It does, but sporadically. Dad likes it, though."
Hux shook his head, heading back towards the house.
"You're mother's right; he should get rid of it."
Kylo followed him silently, thoughtfully back into the house.
Arkanis was one of those planets where it always seemed impossibly beautiful, no matter what time of the year.
Beautiful, but wet.
A warm, steady rain fell over the lush greenery of the land almost constantly, lending a misty, ghost-like quality to the trees and mountaintops.
Hux had grown up here, although they never actually visited what was once his hometown. Too many painful memories there, connected to his father whom he hadn't see or spoken to in a number of years. His father hadn't even come to their wedding, and although Hux said he was glad of this, Kylo could sense how much that had hurt his feelings.
They stayed in the small, quaint hotel that they had been in during their honeymoon.
Hux had walked around, opening all the windows and letting in the clean-scented air, his mind consumed with memories of their last time here.
As if reading his mind (which he probably was) Kylo walked up behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist.
"Lots to remember here, huh?"
"There certainly is."
"You know, this time around, I hope we make it out of our room more. I'd like to explore the scenery OUTSIDE of the bedroom this time," Kylo said jokingly, squeezing Hux's waist before going into the refresher.
"Personally, I don't think I'll see anything as stunning as what I saw in our bed; but if you want, we'll go exploring," he called through the refresher door.
The two spent the afternoon hiking along one of the lower mountains in the west, Hux borrowing one of Kylo's long hooded robes to shield himself from the rain.
The going was tough, at first, for Hux. He wasn't used to so much physical activity, and found himself stopping often to catch his breath.
Kylo was in his element, having spent a great deal of time over the past decade engaging in hardcore physical training with Snoke.
Hux got the sense that if he wanted to, Kylo could jog straight up the steep slope of the mountain path with no problems, and not even break a sweat doing it. Yet he was patient with Hux, pulling him along and stopping to rest with him when necessary.
They finally reached the top, and stood looking out at the land below.
"It's beautiful here," Kylo murmured, sighing a little. "So calm, so quiet. I'll be sad when we have to go back."
"So will I."
They were both silent for a while, resting on a large rock and gazing out over the land. The sun had finally made an appearance, breaking through the dreary clouds in a spectacularly-colored sunset.
Hux turned to Kylo and said, quietly,
"Do you remember the day we got married?"
"I remember. I was so nervous, I threw up at least 5 times before breakfast. I spent almost a solid hour brushing my teeth after, to get the taste out before our first married kiss."
Hux glanced at him. He hadn't known that.
"You probably thought you were making the wrong decision, huh?"
Kylo shook his head, nibbling reflectively on his knuckles.
"No, actually, I thought I was making the best decision I had ever consciously made, and that scared me. It scared me so bad that I couldn't think straight."
"Why would that scare you?"
Kylo turned towards him, his eyes reflecting the last red-golds of the fading sunlight.
"It's scary, when you know in your heart that you're doing something good. After a lifetime of making poor decisions, finally choosing something that you know is the best thing for you, is scary. I don't know how to explain it better than that."
Hux sat quietly, staring into Kylo's face.
"I was scared, too," he whispered softly. "I didn't vomit, but I did almost faint in the ship on my way to the venue."
"And it wasn't because I was thinking in terms of good decision, bad decision. I was thinking about my father. I was thinking about how many of his weddings I had to go and sit through, about 4 all told from the time I was 8 to adulthood."
"I kept thinking that, maybe, I would turn out like him. That you would leave me, like his wives had all eventually left him."
"I guess I was right," he finished sadly.
"I am just like my father, always putting work before everything else. His wives all got sick of the neglect, and left him. Now you're thinking of leaving me, too. Honestly, I can't blame you."
The last of the light faded from the air, leaving them in a dusky blue-gray twilight.
"I don't know anymore, Hux. I don't know how I feel, I don't know what I think. Two things are for sure: I love you, and I'm in pain. Everything else is confusion."
"I love you, too. Why can't that be enough?"
Kylo didn't answer, so Hux went on.
"You know I've always been faithful to you, I've never cheated on you, or . . ."
"Yes, you have," said Kylo, interrupting him.
"What are you TALKING about?! I have NEVER given my love to ANYONE but YOU!"
"Yes, you have," Kylo says calmly, facing him. "Your job. Your job is like your mistress. Your office, your desk. Do you have any idea how many times I've wanted to go in there with my saber and just slash everything to pieces?"
Hux took a calming breath, watching the way his hands were shaking on his knees.
"Everything is my fault? Is that it? What about YOU, Kylo? Do you have any idea how many times I wished I could kill Snoke, for the same reasons you just listed? Or drop explosives on your stupid training grounds?"
Kylo looked at him incredulously, his jaw dropped.
"If you felt like that, Hux, why didn't you ever tell me that before?"
"Why did you never tell ME before, that my working was bothering you so much?"
Kylo looked down at the now dark village below, observing the small twinkle of lights spread here and there among the houses and shops.
Finally he turned back to Hux, with a small smile on his face.
"I guess . . . I guess we BOTH have problems with communicating. Something our marriage needs help with, I guess."
"I can handle that," said Hux, timidly grabbing hold of Kylo's hand, "As long as there IS a marriage, to work on."
Kylo squeezed his hand, but said nothing.
"I want you to do me a favor, Kylo. If for any reason you really truly feel like you're going to walk out, walk away from me; don't tell me first. Kill me. Pick up that lightsaber of yours and shove it through my heart while I'm sleeping. It'd hurt a lot less than watching you walk away."
Again Kylo said nothing, only grabbed Hux's other hand, pulling him to his feet.
"Come on," he said softly, turning on his saber to light the way. "We really should be getting back before it gets any darker."
Hux held tightly to Kylo's hand, following him and the ruby glow back down the path.
Kylo came out of the shower and walked into the bedroom, where Hux was busily typing into his datapad. He looked up when Kylo entered the room, hair still dripping, a towel around his waist.
It was late afternoon, and a kind of melancholy had settled around the two men, as today was their last day in this place. Each was nervous about returning to the inevitable grind, wear and tear of their everyday lives; and the effect that it could possibly be having on their future together.
That is, IF they still HAD a future, together.
They had spent the day exploring the many shops and cafes in the little village, and taking in the scenery. The rain had been light today, allowing them to cover more ground comfortably.
They were back in their room, now, each of them lost in their own thoughts. Kylo had gone to take a shower, and was emerging from the refresher, looking like the God of the Dawn himself.
"You look really tantalizing," Hux told him, his eyes roaming appreciatively over Kylo's body.
Kylo smiled and sat down next to Hux, playfully leaning over and shaking his wet hair in Hux's face.
"Thank you. You're not looking too bad, either."
He placed his hand on Hux's thigh, leaning in to kiss him.
"You know, it's been a really long time since, uh, you know . . ."
"I know. That sounds amazing."
He turned away from Kylo and picked up his datapad.
"Just let me finish sending this message to Lieutenants Walton first, I just need to make sure that . . ."
He stopped speaking as he felt the weight of Kylo's icy cold stare on him. He slowly put down his datapad, and turned towards him.
"You're working right now? Seriously?"
"I'm not really 'working', I'm just setting things up for my return tomorrow. It'll only take me a few minutes to . . ."
Kylo stood up abruptly, walking into the refresher and slamming the door. Hux sat numbly, staring down blankly at his datapad.
Kylo emerged a few minutes later, fully dressed.
"I'm going to the cantina down the street. I need a drink."
Hux stood up quickly, grabbing for his coat from behind the door.
"I'll come with you."
Kylo glared at him, then yanked Hux's coat from his hands and flung it across the room. It hit the small lamp sitting on the table by the bed and knocked it over, cracking it.
"Just . . . just stay here, Hux. Leave me alone."
"Kylo . . .", Hux began, putting his hand on his shoulder.
Without warning, Hux was reeling backwards and striking the wall with a heavy thud. Not hard enough to hurt; but hard enough to shock him.
The last time Kylo had used the Force on him in such a way had been years ago, back before they had even started dating, and were nothing more than contentious co-workers.
He saw the shock register in Kylo's eyes, too.
Before Hux could say anything, Kylo walked to the front door and pulled it open, leaving Hux behind.
An hour passed, and Kylo still had not returned home.
This was beginning to feel like deja vu all over again, with Kylo walking out and leaving him.
Well, this time Hux wasn't just going to sit back and let him go.
He pulled on his coat and headed for the cantina at the end of the block, steeling himself to face Kylo.
He walked in, squinting his eyes against the momentary dimming of lights. The smell of smoke was thick and acrid, and his throat twitched a little.
He looked around until he spotted Kylo, sitting at the far end of the cantina. He was sitting gracefully on one of the little stools, watching the people nearest him.
He took a deep breath and sauntered up to him from the opposite side, taking him by surprise.
"Excuse me, is this seat taken?"
Kylo looked up at him and smiled a little, shaking his head and wordlessly gesturing to the stool beside him.
Hux sat, not taking his eyes off of Kylo.
"I'm sorry," he drawled in a low voice, putting his hand on Kylo's arm, "I'm usually not this forward with strangers, but you're really very attractive. I wonder if I might buy you a drink?"
Kylo blushed, looking down at the counter. "That's very sweet of you. Be my guest; buy away."
"What are you having?"
Hux signalled the bar-keep and ordered them both a glass of crystal wine. As the girl set the drinks down in front of them, Hux smiled, lifting his own glass.
"Sweets to the sweet," he said, clinking his glass with Kylo's before taking a sip.
Kylo set his drink down and looked back up at Hux, smiling. Before he could say anything, Hux was leaning close, and said, "You know, I think you may have the warmest, most beautiful brown eyes I've ever seen. I could get lost, staring into them."
Kylo blushed again, tilting his head. "Yours aren't so bad, either. Such a vivid blue. Reminds me of the ocean by my home."
"Do you live around here?"
"No. I live far, far away."
"In this far, far away . . . do you have a boyfriend?"
"Husband, actually," he replied, raising his left hand and flashing his wedding ring.
"Husband? That's too bad. But I guess I should have expected that; only a fool would let someone like you remain single for long."
"I don't know about that. It may be he's a bigger fool for marrying me in the first place."
Hux frowned, taking another sip of his drink.
"Why would you think that?"
"Oh, there's a lot wrong with me. I have a temper. I'm sloppy. My communication skills aren't that great; neither are my people skills."
"What's your husband like?"
"Pretty much my opposite in every way. He's neat, detailed and organized. An impeccable dresser. Verbally gifted, and a natural leader. Extraordinarily handsome."
Hux blushed, laughing a little.
"Sounds like a real pain in the ass, to me."
"He can be, sometimes. But so am I. We're different, but we match perfectly."
Hux looked down at the bar, toying with his drink.
"It sounds like you really love him a lot," he said in a low voice.
"I do. He's like a fairy tale; like Prince Charming come to life."
Hux could feel himself getting choked up, and had to clear his throat several times before speaking again.
"Do you . . . do you think he feels the same way about you?"
"I do. In my heart, I do. It's my mind I have trouble with. It can't seem to reconcile the disparity between someone as magnificent as him, loving someone as flawed as myself."
"I think I could answer that for you, actually."
"What you label as 'flaws' are actually endearing personality traits that, entrusted to the right person, can grow into remarkable characteristics. What you call 'temper' could be seen as 'passion'; what you call "sloppy' could be viewed as 'artistic creativity'. How you see things really depends on your point of view, I suppose."
"Point of view, huh? That sounds like the teachings of a certain Jedi master of old."
"I guess I would know all about that, MY husband IS a Jedi. Or rather, a Force user, but still."
Kylo took a sip of his drink, grinning.
"Your husband is a Jedi? That must be interesting. What's that like?"
"It's magical, actually. That's the only way I can describe it: magical. He's incredibly strong in his gift, wonderfully talented. I've seen him do things that I wasn't aware could be accomplished by a human being. And the weirdest part of all? He has no idea just HOW incredible he is. His talents, his charisma, his looks."
"Not to be disrespectful," he continued, smirking at Kylo, "But I'm positive that my husband beats out yours in regards to physical attractiveness. When I first met him, I wasn't sure that I wasn't dreaming. I thought, nobody real could seriously be THAT handsome. But he was. And he gets better looking every year. Hells, every DAY."
"I don't know about that," Kylo said, laughing, "My husband is pretty damn gorgeous."
Both of them laughed, Kylo spilling some of his wine in the process. He got up and walked to the opposite end of the bar, to grab some napkins. He returned and mopped up the little spill silently, still smiling.
Hux watched him a while, before saying,
"I'm sorry about earlier, 'Lo. I was being unfair to you, and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to drive you away, especially not on the last night of our vacation."
Kylo smiled and patted him lightly on the shoulder. "It's okay; I was being an ass, too."
Hux signaled the bartender and paid their tab, before taking Kylo by the hand and pulling him out of the cantina and onto the sidewalk.
They walked along the quiet streets to their hotel at the end of the block, pausing to look into the closed shop windows here and there. Or rather, Kylo looked in the windows, and Hux looked at Kylo.
They got back to their hotel and into their room, turning on the lights.
Hux went into the bedroom and began to pack up their clothes for their trip home tomorrow, and Kylo sat on the edge of the bed, watching him.
Hux felt a growing sense of dread concerning their imminent departure. He still didn't know whether he had managed to work things out with Kylo, if his words had made any difference in the way Kylo felt.
Without realizing it, Hux was speaking out loud to Kylo, his back to him as he slowly packed.
"It's an odd feeling; thinking that today or tomorrow or any day might be the day your husband decides to pack up and leave you. Terrifying, in a way. The not knowing. The . . . the fear of asking."
Kylo sat quietly, offering no response. Hux turned around to face him, and continued.
"If you ever feel like this again, if I ever make you feel unimportant, or like you're not my number one priority, TELL me. Even if you think I'll get mad. Even if you have to break down the door during one of my meetings."
"I can't promise that I'll be perfect from here on out," Hux continued, reaching out and grabbing Kylo's hands, "But I can promise that I'll be TRYING. I'm going to start entrusting more of my workload to my Officers, rather than try and do everything myself. You know me, you know that I'm a control freak; but I'm going to TRY. Hopefully it'll mean more time to spend together."
"You'd do that for me?"
"Maker, Kylo; I'd do ANYTHING for you. Silly man, don't you know that by now?"
He pulled Kylo into a kiss, letting his mouth linger and tease over his sweet lips.
Kylo sighed happily as Hux began to pull away, grinned, and pulled him roughly into another kiss, surprising the General.
It was a long time before they managed to come up for air; not that either was complaining.
Kylo spoke first, still entwined in Hux's arms.
"I'll try and be better, too. I'll try and be more understanding of the pressures you face at work, and appreciative of the time we can spend together. Like you said, it won't be perfect, but I'm willing to try with you."
"Do, or do not; there is no try," Hux quoted for him with a smirk.
Kylo chuckled, leaning back on the bed.
"Okay, then, no 'try'. Let's just do it."
Hux grinned as he slowly climbed over Kylo, pinning him down, his knees on either side of Kylo's waist.
"Agreed. Let's do it.", he mumbled, kissing Kylo while slowly peeling off bits of his clothing.
"I didn't mean 'do it' like that; I meant our marriage, silly."
Hux kissed down Kylo's neck, leaving a trail of bite marks and hickeys to his chest.
"Why not both?"
And Kylo could find no argument for that.