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Kylo Ren hung in the bacta tank, his hair drifting like snakes around his face; the breather a parody of his usual vocoder-mask. The medical droid wheeled up beside the tank and clicked to get Hux's attention. "He will awake in two minutes, General." Hux nodded an acknowledgement, studying the knitted scars over Ren's side, the muscles over the plane of his stomach. He did not let his hands curl into fists; anger at an unconscious man was pointless.

 

Lord Ren lacks discipline, Commander Hale had said, when he came aboard the Finalizer with Ren, and in his tightened mouth Hux had read the truth of it. And yet, for the first months of their acquaintance, Hux saw nothing to confirm it; Ren was fierce, and angry, and a terrifying fighter, but he was hardly undisciplined. In the year since, he'd never seen even the skin of his hands -- his face, yes, but nothing else. Ren must train somehow, must bathe, but he did it out of sight of the ship's crew and cameras. Not one slip-up, one accidental exposure, in all that time, spoke of deliberation and care. But the Ren of the recent past --

 

It was only after the search for the Jedi Skywalker began that Ren became unstable. Phasma's report on Ren's spontaneous execution of the Republic loyalist Lor San Tekka -- well. Lacks discipline. Phasma said the old man claimed to have known Ren before he was Ren, and that his saying so had provoked Ren into slaughtering him instead of interrogating him.

 

Ren's eyes opened, in the tank, and he snapped his head around, then kicked for the top: he'd been badly hurt before, then. Those to whom bacta was new tended to panic upon waking, often trying to break the transparisteel tanks open with their bare hands. That Ren could have destroyed the tank with the Force, Hux did not doubt. "When he is released, send him to me," Hux said to the medical droid, as the tank's seal hissed open. He turned on his heel and walked out; behind him he heard the wet slap of Ren's hands on the top of the tank, the alarmed "Sir! You'll reinjure yourself!" from the droid. He knew, without looking, that Ren had not used the autohoist, but pulled himself out under his own power, the whole long slick height of him. He was of a size with Phasma, even taller than Hux himself.

 

The door hissed shut behind him, and he retired to his rooms; if he must deal with Ren, he preferred to do so where he was most comfortable. 

 

Perhaps two hours later, his door chimed. He was filing his nails, still in shirt and trousers beneath his dressing gown, but he felt no obligation to be formal for Ren -- and only Ren would have come to him unannounced. "Enter," he called, without looking up. The door opened, and closed again; Ren was a silent presence, heavy, like the air on a high-grav planet, pressing down. He stopped by Hux's knee, close enough that his black-clad thigh was visible in Hux's peripheral vision, almost close enough to touch. The hairs on the back of Hux's neck stood up, but he did not stop; the glass file's soft rasp light against Ren's darkness.

 

"General," said Ren, and then Hux did look up: Ren was not using his vocoder. He wore standard medical discharge clothing rather than his own; the First Order red of the medtunic reflected eeriely in his eyes.

 

"Ren," he said, setting the file down. "How nice of you to join me. I trust you have recovered?"

 

Ren made an impatient gesture. "The medical droid said you wished to see me."

 

Typical; ignoring Hux's words; waving them aside like they were of no consequence. Hux tested the edge of his fingernail with his thumb to avoid striking him across the jaw; he'd like to split that newly-healed scar open with one blow. "Leader Snoke has ordered me to bring you to him."

 

"Ah. And so you also bring yourself. Are you afraid, General, of what your punishment will be for losing Starkiller?" 

 

"You should worry about your own skin, Ren."

 

"I am not responsible for your lack of security. Your tragic mismanagement of the Order's greatest weapon."

 

Hux slammed his left fist on the table as he shot to his feet. "Your recklessness on Jakku set Starkiller's destruction in motion!" His left hand stayed behind him when he stepped closer to Ren, jerking him back like a tethered fenwolf. Ren smiled -- or rather, bared his teeth. He's only just healed, Hux thought, and jabbed his free hand sharply into Ren's ribs, where he'd seen the ropes of new scars. Something flared in Ren's eyes, hot and shocking; Hux felt it scald through him, and his left hand was abruptly free. Like that, do you? he thought, but was not fool enough to say it aloud. "Get out."

 

Ren raised one naked hand, never breaking eye contact, and curled his lip. "No."

 

"I will see you punished for this."

 

"I'm sure you will," Ren answered. They were nearly chest-to-chest; Hux trembled with the effort not to strike Ren again. "Give in," Ren said. "Give in to your hatred, General."

 

Hux inhaled, pressing his lips together, exhaled. He controlled his rage, driving it down. "You lack discipline, Lord Ren. Perhaps I should take you in hand myself."

 

This time Ren did smile. "Perhaps you should." He took Hux's hand and placed it on his scarred side, tightened his grip enough to make both of them wince in pain.

 

Cold rage and hot desire swelled from the pit of Hux's stomach. "Get on the bed," he heard himself say, as if from a very great distance, and Ren stepped back, still smiling, and stripped himself bare. He never broke eye contact; everything about him spoke of challenge, of an anger answering Hux's own, only barely contained by his skin. He backed into Hux's bedchamber, not looking behind himself. He must be seeing with the Force --"On your back," Hux said, and could scarcely believe it when Ren laid himself out, one arm behind his head, the other on his stomach between his navel and his cock. Hux wet his lips, and crossed the room. He removed his dressing gown, hanging it on its hook by the bed. With shaking fingers, he rolled up the sleeves of his shirt; Ren watched, silent, heavy-lidded, the weight of his presence oppressive once more.

 

"The thing about bacta, Lord Ren, is how exquisitely clean it leaves the patient, even...inside." He looked down at Ren, who had yet to make a sound, whose hatred and desire showed in his face, in his swelling cock. If Ren knew what Hux intended, he gave no sign of it. Hux considered for a moment, then opened his bedside drawer for the lubricant. He wished to punish Ren, but he did not wish to have to answer questions. Sending the man back to medical with internal wounds would raise questions. "Do you know what I'm going to do to you?" 

 

In answer, Ren only drew up one knee and stretched, arching his back and making the scars on his side twist in the low light. 

 

"Very well," said Hux, and slicked his hand to the wrist, moving to kneel beside Ren on the bed. "We'll see how you handle this." With his dry hand, he flattened Ren's cock to his stomach, and pressed one knee hard into Ren's scarred ribs. When Ren arched his back again, Hux drove two fingers into him, as roughly as he dared. Ren's bare hands slammed down, one on the bed, one on Hux's thigh; Ren's grip was vicious and bruising, but still he made no noise.

 

Hux spread his fingers, opening Ren for more. It had been a few years since he'd done this, and he'd treated his former partners with more care. But then, he'd hated them less; he hated Kylo Ren as much as he thought he was capable of hating anyone, hated him like a knot of ice in his heart, and hated him with a heat that wanted to see him ruined, screaming and begging in Hux's hands. He slicked his hand again and slid four fingers inside, pressing on the stretched rim with his thumb, the freshly-filed nail too smooth to catch on the flesh, but the hard edge of it enough to burn. Ren's fingers dug into Hux's thigh, clenching and unclenching; Ren's own thighs trembled as if he were trying to lift a weight beyond his strength.

 

Hux bent his hand and pushed his thumb inside, pushed deeper, wanting Ren to speak or cry out or do something, anything, but stay silent. 

 

Ren's mouth opened, and he shuddered violently, his stomach muscles rippling, as he drew Hux's hand fully into his body. Hux held perfectly still, watching him, waiting, then curled his fingers. Ren writhed around his wrist, his body convulsing, shaking apart, his cock jerking under Hux's other hand, spilling hot between Hux's fingers. Cry out, damn you, Hux thought, but Ren made only the barest, softest noise in his throat.

 

When Ren collapsed back to the bed, Hux found his arm abruptly snapped backwards, the invisible Force pulling it from Ren's body. He could have done that at any time, he realized. Discomfited, Hux stood and wiped his hands on his sidearm's cleaning cloth. Streaks of pink, but no bright red; good. Ren would need no medical attention; no inconvenient questions would be asked. 

 

Ren, on the bed, had risen to his elbows and was watching him. His face was unreadable, as blank and emotionless as his mask. Hux looked down at him, and Ren pressed his hand against the front of Hux's trousers. Hux wanted to pull Ren to kneeling and shove his cock into into that damnably silent mouth, but he controlled the impulse. This was no time to give in to mere lust; if he had failed at sufficiently punishing Ren, he at least would not punish himself. "No," he said. "Unlike you, I am no stranger to the discipline of the service." Ren bared his teeth and gave Hux's cock a parting stroke, a shock of pleasure so hard that Hux had to bite his lip to keep from spilling. He took the cleaning cloth from Hux's suddenly-nerveless fingers and wiped his stomach, then skinned back into his discarded clothing, more rapidly than Hux would have thought possible after having another man's fist inside his body. He'd seen more gently-treated men than Ren shake for a full hour, afterwards. 

 

Dressed, still unreadable, his presence still a terrible pressure, Ren inclined his head -- not quite enough to be respectful. Hux jerked his chin up, acknowledging the gesture. "Til tomorrow, General," Ren said. It was the first thing he'd said since Hux had ordered him to the bed.

 

Before Hux could find an answer, Ren was gone.