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            Just as everything with them and their relationship, being able to kiss one another involves a process.

            The first time they actually, properly fuck- not just hanging around in closets for desperate handjobs and whispered curses, but coming back to Hux’s room to violently undress each other and bite bruises into the other’s skin on his bed –Kylo Ren, master of the Knights of Ren, top apprentice to Supreme Leader Snoke and constantly unforgivable asshole, wants to spend the night. Hux immediately realizes he’s one of the maybe (if he’s generous) three people Ren has ever actually slept with, and whoever the first two were must have been sweet, because as Hux is coming off his orgasm high Ren throws his arm around him. Ren pulls him close. He feels Ren’s mouth snuggle into his shoulder, right between the bloody bites he’d left not even five minutes prior, like there’s something soft between them. Like they’re close.

            Hux tries not to let the disgust show, but he can’t help it. He scoffs out loud, pulls away suddenly and fixes Ren with a glare. “What do you think you are doing?” he hisses. There’s a half second where something in Ren wilts, and then he’s met with an equally enraged glare.

            “I’m sorry. Did that not hurt enough?” Ren sneers, rage simmering under his words. “Come closer, General. I’ll make sure you bleed this time.”

            “Get out, Ren. We’re done here.”

            Ren’s lip curls and he looks like he’s about to spit directly into Hux’s face, or scream, or pull him back into bed for another round of violent hate fucking. Instead, he wordlessly stands, dresses at a speed that is absolutely faster than should be allowed for that much clothing, and he’s gone, stalking down the halls of the Finalizer. He seems to take all the light and warmth with him when he goes, and Hux curses Ren’s damnable mystic Force nonsense for the feeling of cold that seeps into his bones.

            It takes Hux all of one blindingly hot shower to wash the cold away, but it disappears and he forgets about it, falling back into bed and sleeping soundly.

            He notices these little touches every once in a while from then on, moments where Ren seems to forget where he is and remembers wherever he came from instead: a curved hand gently resting on Hux’s hipbone with the gentle ownership of a lover instead of a fuck; the smallest ghost of a kiss against Hux’s shoulder; soft, curious fingertips across Hux’s chest. Hux punishes him for it every time, throwing him out of the room or pinning him to the bed and scratching down his chest as hard as Hux can manage. Ren never mentions it, never fights it. He always accepts his punishment silently, infuriating Hux further.

There’s something about it that doesn’t sit right in his stomach, that whispers to him at night when he can’t sleep. There’s something deeper between them, and in Ren himself, that Hux can’t put his finger on. It’s nameless, and nameless is harder to ignore, harder to condemn. He imagines his father scoffing at him, giving him hell for being disconcerted by something as pointless as a feeling, something so sentimental as guilt. Ren is a fuck, simply put. A distraction, a toy, a stress reducer. There’s nothing but rage and hatred wrapped in those black robes of his, and Hux shouldn’t look too deeply into him because there is nothing to see.

            But one night, Hux decides to let it go. Ren drapes his arm over Hux’s hips and Hux allows it, allows the gentle kiss on his shoulder. He says nothing, he stays motionless. It makes him the tiniest bit uncomfortable, because something here shouldn’t exist, but he’s too tired to keep second-guessing every stupid thing that Ren does. It’s not like it’s hurting him, it’s not like Ren’s going to start shouting to everyone that Hux let him cuddle.

Something here in this room doesn’t belong with them, but Hux can’t shake it, so he stops trying. It’s that thing again, that cold that seeps into his bones. It’s warmer now, but it’s the same sensation, the same impossible to ignore nameless thing. At the very least, it’s still nameless and he will be damned before he’ll give it a name.

            Ren seems to catch onto his discomfort, because as they’re sinking into a comfortable silence together, just before Hux begins to drift to sleep, the knight stands and silently dresses, disappearing as always. It leaves Hux feeling empty, cold again. He has to take another shower to wash off the odd sensation of shame, but it clings to his skin after the fact, keeping him awake. It lingers for days. It makes him feel sick.

            The next time it happens, too, Hux lets it go, curious to see what happens. He feels Ren pull him closer and leans into it, letting out a low sigh. It feels… right, somehow, something gentle that doesn’t weaken him. Something sweet, he’d go as far as to say. Ren nuzzles into Hux’s neck and he sighs again, drifting off to sleep. When he wakes, Ren is gone, the bed beside him ice cold.

            This little experiment continues for some time. It takes Ren two months before he feels comfortable to stay almost through the night, still wary that Hux will change his mind and throw Ren out again. Though they don’t dare discuss it, both men are aware of the change. Their sex becomes less about besting the other and more about enjoying the company, not that it gets any less violent. Ren still sports Hux’s bruises under his tunic, still lets Hux suck angry red welts into his shoulders and hips; Ren still bites Hux to bleeding, still leaves hot, sticky scratch marks on every slice of white skin from shoulder to thighs, connecting his freckles with blood. They still hiss, still curse and bite and rage, but afterwards Hux lets himself be pulled close and Ren lets himself fall asleep. It may be fragile and timid, but it’s comfortable, and though Hux knows Ren’s just as afraid as he is that it’ll be ruined any moment, they both seem to enjoy it.

            The kiss, though. The kiss still surprises Hux. Somehow, he never sees it coming.

            “You’re getting sentimental,” Ren mumbles behind him one night, causing Hux to turn in his arms, eyebrow already raised.

            “I’m not the one who tried to snuggle the first night, Ren.”

            “Ah, yes. My mistake,” Ren snorts, shaking his head at Hux. His face is drawn and pale, his eyes sporting dark bags, and Hux wonders how long it’s been since the knight slept.

            “You look like hell, Ren.”

            “What do you care.”

            “I care in that I don’t want you dying in my bed because you can’t handle it,” Hux replies, annoyed. “I don’t want the Supreme Leader blaming me for your poor choices.”

            “Don’t worry,” Ren sighs, and he sounds so tired. Beaten down. “I’ll vacate if I feel my mortal coil coming undone.”

            “That’s appreciated.” Hux watches Ren close his eyes, feels Ren relax against him. This peacefulness comes only in bursts, and he appreciates it when it does; it may have been out of the question for them months ago, and it may be something still constantly questioned by both men, but it’s a welcome break from the screaming destruction that usually punctuates their waking hours, usually on behalf of Ren. Hux realizes very suddenly he’s never actually seen Ren like this. Usually he’s facing away when he’s being held, or only seeing Ren’s face when he’s vicious and sexual, biting Hux’s lips to shreds.

            He looks so young. He looks so lost. He looks almost gentle, a word Hux has never once used to describe the hurricane of a man. Unmasked, Kylo Ren looks like a child that doesn’t belong anywhere near the First Order, but in this moment he looks like he belongs here, wrapped in Hux’s arms, and that’s just disgusting. Hux snorts, amused at his own romantic drivel, and Ren makes a soft inquiring noise, half asleep.

            “Nothing, Ren,” Hux replies softly, and then he loses control of himself. He nudges Ren’s chin with his forehead, prompting Ren to nuzzle into him, and before he can realize what he’s doing, he kisses Ren.

            It’s soft. It’s sweet. It doesn’t belong here either, but that doesn’t stop Hux. There’s a cold horror that seeps into his stomach afterwards that quickly turns into a defiant fire of fuck it, fuck it all when Ren opens his eyes and looks into Hux’s, confused.

            “Hux?” Ren manages before he’s kissed again, deeply, Hux pouring every single second of that fire into Ren, as much as he can. This moment is already slipping through his fingers, disappearing into an inevitable fight, and Hux is gripped with panic suddenly at his own inevitable disgust and moves to pull away- but Ren stops him. Ren kisses back. Ren pulls him closer and nibbles gently at his bottom lip, moans into his mouth, replaces Hux’s fire with his own strange sweetness.

            Oh, thinks Hux. Is this what you are?

            Ren pulls Hux under him, pulling away only long enough to take a breath. He peppers Hux’s face and neck in sweet kisses, hands dragging gently down Hux’s sides and gripping his hips. One arm slips under Hux, giving Ren the right amount of leverage, and Hux can feel the air move with Ren’s damnable Force nonsense, something pulled silently to him, not that Hux cares to see what it is. There’s clearly something in Ren that Hux has accidentally opened, and Hux is content to let his control go long enough to see it through. He works his hands into Ren’s hair, moans when Ren pushes slowly, thankfully lubed (ah, that’s what it was), into him. He arches into Ren’s chest with each thrust. Ren rewards his every movement with the right motion, as if he’s reading Hux’s mind- and he’s probably is, Hux remembers somewhere vaguely on the outside of everything. He’ll have to complain about it later, because right now it’s just right.

            Right now they’re just right, and nothing in this galaxy will make Hux ruin it for either of them.

            Ren’s mouth hardly leaves Hux’s the entire time, and Hux lets himself get drunk off of it, drowning in the feeling of lips and tongue, the taste of softness. Ren’s pace is slow, content. It feels like the culmination of Hux’s hard work, of their relationship becoming something usable. Of Ren’s trust in him. Of promises Hux can make and take later, of power they could share. Of something he should be afraid of but refuses to be, something he stares straight into the face of and says try me, try to take this from me, this is mine.

            Ren isn’t far behind him when he cums, moaning, his fingers tightening in Ren’s hair. He can feel the soft breath on his shoulder, feel Ren’s body tighten and the kisses pause only long enough for Ren to ride out the waves. Ren continues kissing his neck and shoulders, over the bruises and marks from before. Hux pulls on his hair, pulls Ren’s face up to kiss his mouth instead. He lets himself another deep, thoughtless and desperately needy kiss.

            “Don’t you dare,” Hux gasps when they break away again. “Don’t you dare let this go to your head.”

            Ren laughs softly against Hux’s collarbone. “Of course not, General. I would never.”

            “You still disgust me.”

            “Likewise.”

            “I will never hesitate to throw you out an airlock,” Hux lies, and Ren laughs again. Hux’s stomach pulls. Fuck, that’s a lovely noise. “I will end you the second I’m allowed.”

            “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Ren mumbles against Hux’s jaw, kissing his ear.

            That night, Ren stays until morning, arms wrapped tightly around Hux, keeping him close. The warmth between them remains unspoken, nameless, but neither of them seem to mind.