“Supreme Leader,” Hux said as he stared up at the massive hologram that dominated much of the room. “You summoned me.”
“Yes, general.” The man—or creature, Hux had yet to determine which Snoke was—spoke in a low, grating voice that sent a shiver up Hux’s spine. “It’s about Kylo Ren.”
“What about him?” Hux couldn’t help the twist of his lips as he heard the name of the Knight of Ren. His reaction drew a soft chuckle from the Supreme Leader, though the noise was twisted and preternatural.
“I am aware that he is trying your patience,” Snoke said as he laced his fingers together.
“Supreme Leader—” Hux began, but Snoke held up a hand.
“You needn’t try to conceal this from me, General. I am aware that this is the case and I do not fault you for it. In fact,” Snoke said, as he leaned forward in his throne, “the issue of Ren’s actions is the reason I have called you here today.”
Hux frowned, but he remained silent.
“I am interested in you assisting of at least a part of Kylo Ren’s training.”
“Which part?” Hux asked, unable to contain his confusion any longer. He knew nothing of the Sith Lord’s dabbling in the so-called Force, and any other training Kylo needed was unbeknownst for him. All he could say for certainty was that Kylo needed an entire personality rehaul.
“The part concerning submission,” the Supreme Leader said. “I want you to make Kylo Ren submit to you by any means necessary.”
One Week Earlier
Hux buzzed the intercom on the wall next to Kylo Ren’s door. He had done this several times already and had yet to receive a response from the knight. Hux sighed quietly. He knew the Knight of Ren was in his chambers since he had already scoured the ship for him. Kylo didn’t spend much time in his private quarters, which was why it was the last place Hux had chosen to look.
When Hux didn’t receive a response after buzzing seven times, he punched in his override code. The door slid to the side with a soft breath of air. He stepped into the dimly light chamber beyond. It was sparsely furnished, so much so that Hux couldn’t bring himself to apply the term ‘living quarters’ to it.
“Ren?” Hux called as he walked into the room. He noted two doors leading from the room opposite him. One stood open, while the other was sealed shut. A warm yellow glow spilled through the open doorway. Hux walked to the door.
The room beyond was just as cramped as the one he had just left—he still didn’t know why Kylo had chosen to live in the guest quarters, which were hardly ever used and tiny on top of that—and just as sparsely furnished. Hux’s eyes drifted to the bed, where he was stunned to see a sleeping form. He hadn’t considered the Sith Lord one for sleeping since rumors of his skulking around the Fatlalizer late at night had always reached Hux’s ear.
Kylo Ren was bare from the waist down. The white sheets were tangled around his legs, mixing with the fabric of his loose black pants. Sweat glistened on his chest, which rose and fell rapidly. His face, which always startled Hux due to how youthful it appeared, was twisted in a horrid, distressed scowl.
Hux walked in trance to the bed. Kylo twitched and a small whimper left his lips. Hux winced at the sound, so in contrast was it to Kylo’s usual demeanor. If the deep rings that he always saw under Kylo’s eyes, as well as the reports of his nightly wanderings, were anything to go by, this was one of the few times the male had slept recently, and Hux realized now that he was witnessing the reason why.
Kylo gasped and jerked, his back arching off the bed. His mouth gaped open as if a silent scream were being yanked from his throat. Hux couldn’t take it anymore. He stepped forward and reached down to shake the boy awake.
His fingers brushed Kylo’s arm. Kylo’s eyes flung open. They ravaged the space surrounding him as if searching for some foe. A primal gleam was alit in them. When those black orbs fell on Hux, the male snarled and flung out his arm.
Hux gasped as invisible pressure bore down on his throat. His knees trembled and a hand went to his throat as if he would be able to ward off the Force choke. He gasped for breath and stared into Kylo’s eyes. Nothing in them showed any acknowledgement that the knight recognized him.
“Ren,” Hux hissed between his teeth. “It’s me.” When that didn’t stir familiarity in Kylo’s features, the general tried again. “Kylo, it’s Hux,” he whispered hoarsely.
Kylo blinked. His eyes flickered as if they were honing in on Hux's words. Tension left his body and he dropped his hand to the mattress. Hux sucked in a deep, raspy breath as he stared down at the other male. Kylo’s shoulders were hunched. He appeared to be trying his hardest to sink into the mattress beneath him.
“What are you doing here?” he finally asked. Sweat-matted hair covered his forehead. His breathing had begun to even out. Hux could make out the goose-bumps that covered his bare arms. The male hunkered down further as he registered the general’s probing gaze.
“I have a report I need you to sign off on,” Hux said, feeling the explanation entirely lacking considering the situation.
“Oh,” Kylo said. He draped a lean arm over his bent knee. His shoulder were wracked with the slightest trembles. “Is that all?”
“Yes,” Hux said as he turned on his heel. “I will wait for you outside.” He started toward the door, but he hadn’t gotten more than a few paces before Kylo’s voice made him turn.
“General.” His voice wasn’t tinged by its typical scathing and hostile tone. “Don’t ever enter my chambers again.”
“Understood, Lord Ren.”
It would appear that this request was not one that Kylo had intended on following himself with regards to Hux's own living space. It was typical for Hux to keep his quarters unlocked when he was on duty as it made him more accessible to his subordinates. He never would have expected Kylo to come charging into his room. If he had, he would have made sure to keep the door locked at all times.
The Knight of Ren was a swirl of black as he practically collided with Hux’s desk. The scraggly robe that was draped over his should billowed around him. Hux could practically feel Kylo’s dark eyes boring into his skull.
“What. Do you want?” Hux said with forced patience as he glared back at the male. He didn’t know for certain how old Kylo Ren was, be him older or younger than himself. Snoke only provided him with the necessary information and Kylo was about as forthcoming as a block of chrome.
“Phasma won’t let me using the training room,” Kylo said in a rush as his leather-gloved hands curled into small fists.
Hux stared at the other male He had never known Kylo to have a sense of humor, but this was absolutely laughable. And laugh Hux did.
“So, what?” Hux said as his laughter died out. His mirth dissipated due to the fact that tension that quaked Kylo’s lean body made him look ready to toss Hux’s desk aside and strangle the general with his own two hands. “You decided to come whining to me?”
“I—” Kylo began.
“If you have a problem with something Phasma is doing, take it up with her,” Hux said as he stood and rolled the kinks out of his shoulders.
Kylo stepped away from the table so he wouldn’t have to tilt his head to stare up at Hux. One of the many things Hux found comical about that helmet was how much of Kylo’s peripheries it cut off. The male had to turn his entire head to see someone beside him and bring his chin practically to his chest to look down.
“If she needs the training room, then you just have to wait, or use another one,” Hux said as he folded his hands behind his back.
Kylo actually had the audacity to growl at him. The noise was distorted by his air filter, making it sound even more animalistic. Hux frowned in slight annoyance. The boy was an undisciplined, festering miasma of emotions. Hux found this entirely tacky and had once voiced as much to Snoke. The Supreme Leader had only laughed away his concerns, which he had detected buried in Hux’s words, and had informed him that Kylo's lack of control wouldn't be a problem. Hux couldn’t bring himself to agree. Kylo Ren’s lack of control brought him many expensive problems.
“No,” Kylo snarled. “I need the bigger one.”
“Then wait your turn. And don’t bother me with your bratty grievances again,” Hux said, gesturing to the door by way of dismissal. Since he and Kylo were of even rank—a thought that always rankled him—he couldn’t dismiss the man with any expectation of him following the order.
“General, I assure you my training is of the utmost importance,” Kylo grated out.
“I am by no means doubting the import of your training,” Hux said coolly. “You simply need remember that you aren’t the only one on this ship who needs to train.”
Kylo scoffed as if he found the idea utterly preposterous. His fists tightened as he glowered at the general. Hux imagined his features to be contoured as such, since Kylo was more of a petulant child than the grown man he appeared to be.
“Was there anything else, Lord Ren?” Hux asked as he inclined his head in a polite manner that suggested he actually cared what Kylo had to say.
“No. General.” The voice that issued from the air ventilator sent a small shiver down Hux’s spine. The general was well aware that Kylo held only animosity toward him, not that he was special in this case. Kylo lost no love on anyone.
The Master of the Knights of Ren spun on his heels and marched out of Hux’s quarters. His heavy combat boots rang through the room. Hux didn’t sit until he could no longer hear the echoes of Kylo’s footfalls.
Kylo Ren didn’t speak with the general for another week—at least, not directly. They attended meetings together and found each other on the bridge. Or, rather, Kylo found Hux and proceeded to pace like a caged animal behind him, much to the general’s annoyance. They had not, however, exchanged a single word until now.
And now, Kylo had yet to get a word in edge wise as the general railed into him. After another failed mission to uncover any information about his former Jedi Master’s location, Kylo had taken his anger out on one of the control rooms. Hux did not appreciate this in the least. He had only just completed the paperwork regarding Kylo’s last destructive episode.
Kylo sighed and folded his arms over his chest. He sat on the solid sofa in Hux’s quarters. His eyes hadn’t strayed from the coffee table during Hux’s soliloquy, which consisted of spewing more insults at Kylo than the knight had even known existed. He didn’t much mind the general’s snarls. The lecture—for that was entirely what it was—reminded him of the many speeches Hux had given since he had become general. Kylo had become very good at tuning these speeches out, though he wasn’t particularly against witnessing the typically collected general fuming.
“You need to relax.”
Kylo jumped a good inch off the sofa when he heard the voice. It was much closer and softer than Hux’s previous tone. Kylo blinked and realized that the general had sat down on the coffee table in front of him. Kylo flushed, embarrassed that he hadn’t registered as much until now.
Hux was staring at him with icy eyes. His red hair was combed carefully off his forehead. His hands were clasped between his knees as he regarded Kylo with his typical calm.
“What?” Kylo replied in an admittedly embarrassing fashion.
“Relax,” Hux said. His lips twitched slightly at Kylo’s graceless response. “You need to relax.”
“What do you mean?” Kylo said carefully as he cocked his head to the sigh.
“Take off your helmet,” Hux said quietly.
Kylo frowned as he examined the general’s expressionless face. He had never been able to read the man’s features. Hux was a master of schooling his face to reveal nothing about his thoughts. Kylo swallowed. He knew all too well that he was the exact opposite in this regard. All the same, after another moment of hesitation, Kylo reached up and disengaged the seals on either side of the helmet.
Slowly, the knight pulled the mask off his face. His long black hair fell over his neck and a few stray locks of his bangs drifted in front of his forehead. He took a steadying breath as he stared at the general. The man leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees, and lay a soft kiss over Kylo’s lips.