After seven false leads, Kylo starts to lose to truly lose his patience, wondering for how many months and years he'll have to chase after little shreds of information.
"You don't have anything for me?" Kylo asks the trembling assembly of librarians; they don't say anything. "Very well." He pulls out the saber and ignites it. They all scream, backing up against the far wall of the room as the red blade appears, hissing and crackling as angry as his mood. Kylo steps towards them, raising the blade over his head.
"Wait!" One of the women shouts, flinging herself forward in front of the crowd with her arms raised above her head. "Spare the others, please! I'll do anything!"
The Chiss woman had declared herself the superintendent of the building; Kylo's not surprised she tries the self-sacrifice. What surprises him is his own pause and consideration--but Kylo is a young adult male, twenty-one, and rarely does he get an offer for anything, and not from women with smooth blue skin or firm breasts or soft, wet lips. He wonders - and yet there is no one here to stop him, and his body aches already from the possibility alone, wanting something so easy to reach out and take.
He lowers the light saber as he mulls over the offer (watching how her chest heaves with every scared, quick breath). He doesn't have to kill them; the weapon itself scares them into silence and submission. And if they talk, the First Order can destroy them, later.
"Order the others to leave," he says, gesturing with the lightsaber to the door behind him, and he sees what might be a single breath of relief rustle through the assembled crowd. She says something to them, and they skitter around him to the door. Kylo doesn’t wait for their footsteps to disappear before he steps up to her, reaching out to take her chin his free hand, his gloved thumb smearing dust over her face.
Twenty-eight-years-old, Kylo steps off his ship into the hangar of the Finalizer and sees General Hux in the flesh for the first time: he's young. Younger than himself, Kylo remembers, and utterly defenseless compared to everyone around him, like the troopers with their helmets and armor and Kylo with his mask. Kylo can see Hux's neck, his face, his clear green eyes, and he thinks, I have never had someone like this.
The wonderful thing about a life-or-death circumstance is that people get intensely creative. Kylo never knows what someone is going to propose, but - skimming over their thoughts as they do it - the action is always steeped in desperation and hatred. Kylo doesn't care. He revels in the hatred. It makes him stronger.
They're fast enemies, vying for the attention of the Supreme Leader. Hux seems to enjoy it, lying in wait when he has to before one accomplishment or another draws all the favor towards himself. Kylo, being the apprentice (and in a past life, an only child), feels the jealousy and anger so acutely that Snoke himself recognizes it, laughs, and tells him to embrace it.
Once, a man tries to bite him, and Kylo leaves him a bloody wreck in the mud. After, he holds his partners down, even if he doesn't have to, because sometimes it's necessary.
After one meeting with Snoke, they're about to part ways between Kylo going back to the ship and Hux continuing inside Starkiller base for even more meetings, when Hux stops him at an intersection of two grey hallways, grabbing at Kylo's elbow.
No one has ever grabbed his elbow like this, but Kylo allows it, as curious as he is annoyed. "Something you need, General?"
"That is the question I have for you, Ren." Hux looks straight at the slit in his mask. "Care to explain why you like to stare?"
"I want to see the moment you fail," Kylo explains simply, enjoying the way Hux's expression hardens. "And when you do, I will burn off your precious stripes in the view of your troops and officers."
"Not before your own failures have you begging for my assistance." Hux pulls back his hand. "I'll see you on the bridge." He walks off, and Kylo watches his back for a moment before continuing onto the hangar. No one speaks to him this way, and yet Kylo feels no urge to pull his lightsaber and strike this nuisance down.
Twenty-nine-years-old, Kylo feels a dearth in people willing to offer him anything for life. These would-be worshippers of the Jedi, these petty monks, they only sit back and wait for death and their spiritual acquaintance with the Force, which Kylo is all too eager to give - but it's too easy, it's too simple, and his training has stalled: Snoke asks him to wait. Another test.
Captain's meeting. Kylo doesn't attend because he commands any troops, but he needs to ensure the availability of troops for his own devices versus what the First Order requires for expansion. It gives him the chance to usurp any orders he deems pointless or conflicting - including parts of Hux's staged training programs.
"Kylo Ren," says Hux at the end of the meeting before Kylo gets a chance to stand in his chair. "Stay after; we have a matter I wish to discuss."
The conference room is part of Hux's own administrative wing, adjacent to his office and communication center. A lesser man might feel more threatened, but Kylo simply waits, drumming his fingers slowly on the surface of the long conference table. When the last of the captains have left, Hux gets up from his seat, steps over to Kylo, and sits at the edge of the table right next to Kylo's arm, folding his hands together over his thigh.
"Is there something you want that you're not asking me, Ren?" Hux asks, his voice quiet but with no less demand in every carefully punctuated vowel.
Kylo leans back in his seat, tilting his head to look up at Hux. "What leads you to think I am?"
"Because I have spent the last ten years watching men around me long for things to the point their frustrations become obvious, and in the worst case, they sabotage their own career to execution. I do not need 'the Force' to see this." Hux leans in, just slightly, "Neither do I need it to benefit my allies, if they need it."
"You want to help me?" Kylo scoffs. "Why would I need your help? This ship is already as much mine as it is yours, whether I am your ally or not."
"And yet you lack the benefits of its network--you annoy my captains and you distract my troops with your wild bursts of emotion. If they are afraid to approach you as a reasonable man, do you think that will benefit you on the battlefield, away from all your other knights? Can you see more than twenty pairs of eyes? I doubt it. You can barely see yourself."
(Kylo has never had someone like this.)
He's sick of looking up at Hux, so he stands, but keeps just as close, one hand fisting at his side. "And what makes you think you see me any better?"
"I notice when you stare," Hux explains, still calm, even as he tilts his chin up to look at Kylo. "And for how long. It usually implies only two intentions."
"One: you want to kill me."
"That's a lie," Hux snaps back. "Or you would have done it already, now that I've challenged you. Nothing stops you. Two: you want me for your own satisfaction."
Kylo snorts. "You think too much of yourself, General." He turns, walks for the door--
"How long has it been, Ren?" Hux says to his back. "How long has it been since you've taken advantage of some unfortunate creature who saw Luke Skywalker, once upon a time? When was the last time you forced someone to their knees? A year? Two? Have you found a better way to pleasure yourself?"
His anger moves him more than reason; he should have left, or cut the man down. Instead, he spins on his heel and extends out his arm, jerking Hux off his seat on the table and into his grip, fingers curling in Hux's jacket. "I can take whatever I want from whoever I want," he hisses, but the flash of power doesn't startle enough fear in Hux: he still meets Kylo's gaze and doesn't pull away from his grip. They're equal enough that Hux can still stand in Kylo's grip.
"Why take something when it can be freely given to you?" Hux asks. "Would having my attention make you agreeable?"
Kylo's grip eases, anger diluted with confusion but also Hux's apparent generosity (though nothing is ever freely given, Kylo reminds himself, least of all good relations). "How much attention?"
Hux doesn't break their eye contact, but his hand moves forward, pressing through Kylo's robes and trousers and cupping his cock firmly. Kylo's thoughts derail immediately other than: yes, it had been too long, and while he doesn't need this he wants it, and he has gone too long without getting something he wants.
"I can give you my mouth today," Hux says, his grip unyielding, "but then I have to return to work."
"I accept." Kylo pushes Hux back towards the table, but before they reach it, Hux raises both hands to Kylo's chest and steps around him, pressing him back to stand, leaning, against the edge of the table--and then he goes to his knees. Kylo's hard at the very sight.
True to form, Hux is nothing if not efficient and precise: he pushes aside Kylo's robes, presses up the padded tunic to his waist, then starts on his trousers, ignoring Kylo's hand that slides to the back of his neck, curling slowly in red hair. "If you are so strong in your mystical powers," Hux wonders as he unzips Kylo's trousers, "why the armor?"
"Presence," Kylo says, and that's all he can say before Hux's mouth takes his cock, warm and wet, and Kylo can't help a groan behind his mask, tightening his fingers in Hux's hair. Hux starts with a slow pace, his tongue pressing along the underside of Kylo’s cock from base to tip, and Kylo can feel the knotted frustration from months of stagnation and failure begin to loosen.
But he wants more.
Once the feeling plateaus, Kylo starts to cant his hips in Hux’s mouth, hand firm at the back of his head. His eyes are closed and he sees through touch and Force alone, his own will and energy pressing outwards and feeling Hux’s. He feels bright, hot ambition, mutual attraction, so much strength - and he drowns himself in the novelty of it all that he barely notices Hux’s hands working on his trousers, easing them down his thighs in between every little thrust of his hips.
His rhythm quickens, and he loves the feel of this, of using Hux’s mouth and throat so completely. Hux is accepting it so well, too, not even gagging, his hands on Kylo’s bare thighs but not pushing him away. Has Hux done this before, Kylo wonders, is this how he managed to ascend so quickly through the ranks, to inspire such cooperation in the First Order’s largest project, to maintain the biggest flagship in history? Has anyone else held him still like this, sliding their cock through wet lips and fucking his mouth while he struggles for breath?
And then he feels it: fingers between his legs, sliding behind his balls and further back, and Kylo’s rhythm stutters to a stop, pulling back, but not without the slightest brush of teeth that sends a thrill of danger and raw panic up his spine. “What--” His own voice is breathless and harsh now. He looks down to see Hux watching him, licking his lips, gaze unyielding as Kylo feels his finger slowly circle the sensitive cluster of nerves.
“No one has done this to you, have they?” Hux asks. The finger pauses, presses.
Kylo jerks Hux’s head back, a warning; a light tube shorts overhead. “Stop.” Hux’s other hand fixes right around his balls and Kylo lurches forward from the waist up, caught by the sudden pain and pressure, panting a little before he collects his focus again. “--I’ll tear your mind apart,” he forces out.
“There’s no need for that, Ren,” Hux says with a damnable little smirk at the edge of his mouth. “You’ll enjoy this; you have my word.” Kylo watches, mostly in disbelief, as Hux pulls his hand back and sucks--obscenely--on two of his fingers, until they’re slick with spit.
In his distraction, Kylo’s grip eases, and when Hux slides his fingers back again, he also leans forward, easing his grip on Kylo’s balls and returning attention to his cock. Hux hollows cheeks during long, hot drags of his mouth, pulling Kylo into an unfamiliar, uncontrollable desperation: his hand shakes where it rests on the back of Hux’s neck, and he gasps, shudders, as Hux’s fingers slide into him, stretching him with a sharp burst of feeling that pierces through a hollow part of his being, dragging him completely into the present. A cluster of information screens near the door all crack, starburst and simultaneous.
Hux continues, his pace not distracted by anything around him, or what Kylo says or the noises he makes. His head continues to bob on Kylo’s cock, tongue here and a little teeth there, and his fingers thrust steady, but now they curve, now they stroke over a spot that has Kylo gasping, the on-and-off pressure never giving him time to focus and hitting him anew every time until he’s trembling all over, gripping tight at Hux’s hair again and pulling him down onto his cock so he can--
Hux’s fingers thrust hard into him, pressing deep onto that well of pleasure inside of him as Hux’s throat swallows around his cock, and Kylo yells, hunching over as he comes as hard as he ever has, shuddering as the energy drains out of him and all the chairs push themselves away from the conference table, toppling over in a clatter of metal and leather.
As Kylo struggles to calm his breathing, to collect himself, Hux pulls back off his cock with a slick, wet pop. He has the same smug, pleased look for Kylo - who is very grateful for his mask - and then his fingers move, pressing again to get a strangled noise from Kylo as the sensation trips from pleasure to pain, too much, too soon.
“I dare say you enjoyed that,” Hux says, withdrawing his fingers. He rolls to his feet in front of Kylo and reaches into his pocket for a deep red handkerchief to wipe his fingers with. “I did give you my word, after all, and I keep it.” He folds the cloth back into a neat square before sliding it back into his pocket, and after his attention is all on Kylo again, looking him straight in the mask.
“Understand that I would rather give this to you than sabotage the First Order by allowing your tantrums and rush to judgment,” Hux says, his voice low, and he leans close enough to press his palms against Kylo’s thighs again, blunt nails digging into his skin; Kylo raises his arm to press across Hux’s chest, but doesn’t push him away. “But I can get you removed from this ship just as easily, and you will have to find your lost master through freighters and smugglers. Resources are sparse, and Leader Snoke trusts my judgment.”
“He would never side with you.” Kylo spits the words, but his anger feels half as powerful now, dragging up through a thick fog of lingering satisfaction.
“Are you certain? By all means, sacrifice your well-crewed shuttle and your private quarters, and see how well the Force alone can sustain you.” Hux steps back, breaking their touch, and turns for the door. “I’ll give you five minutes privacy here,” he tells Kylo over his shoulder. “Make yourself presentable.” A glance to the chairs on the floor. “And the room, too, if you can manage it.”
Kylo grabs the edges of his trousers, starting to dress and not intending to spend all five minutes here. Before Hux steps out of the room, Kylo calls to him: “I’ll have more than just your mouth, next time.”
“You can try,” Hux calls back, and the doors slide shut.