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Through The Cold Lonely Nights

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It was a firm hand that roused Kylo Ren from his slumber. That hand which was grabbing his shoulder was persistent and relentless, almost bordering to tormenting. His consciousness was drifting back to his body with a groan followed by a string of inaudible slurs that was muffled by his pillow. His eyes were suddenly too heavy, impossible to pry. He believed someone glued the lids together.

“Ren, Wake up! It’s time for you to cook breakfast!”

Kylo gave a guttural groan as an answer and pull the blanket higher to hide his face.

“Ren! Be an adult and move your sorry arse out of my bed! I won’t tolerate this childish behavior any longer!”

If he were truly awake, Kylo would definitely heard the threat which was implied in those angry words. Unfortunately, he wasn’t awake so his sleepy mind decided to ignore it and went back to sleep. He let out a shriek when the warm blanket was snatched from him, exposing his naked body beneath it. The cold against his skin sent a jolt through his nerves. He woke up shivering and angry.

“What the fuck?!” He protested. His eyes flew open and hardened into a glare.

Brendol Hux Jr, the insufferable bastard who disturbed his sleep, was glaring back at him. The red haired man was sitting at the edge of the bed with his arms folded in the front of his bare chest. He should look ridiculous with hair tousled beyond help and with giant bite marks littered across his pale neck and collarbone, but to Kylo’s utmost dismay Hux was still looking as menacing as he was clothed in his usual three pieces suit. He even looked more dangerous, like a feral cat ready to pounce him to his death. How he could pull on this stunt, Kylo often wondered. He had yet found the answer to that mystery.

“Your turn to cook breakfast,” Hux told him.

“There’s no need to be loud so early in the morning.”

“Would you prefer if I literally kicked you out from my bed, Ren? Because that’s your only other option.”

Kylo clenched his jaw to prevent himself from saying something foolish that may anger the other man even further. Hux was not the type of man who threw empty threat. He did kick Kylo out from the bed once. It was an experience Kylo didn’t want to relive. For someone so scrawny, Hux was strong. Another mystery Kylo had yet able to find an explanation.

Kylo turned his head to find the alarm clock on the nightstand. “It’s only 6:08, Hux.”

“I went to bed last night with every intention to wake up at 5:30 until you decided we should shag before I go! Brilliant idea that one. At least the sex was great as usual. You do remember my cab arrives at seven, don’t you?”

Kylo was sure he wasn’t fully awake. He didn’t understand what the hell Hux was trying to tell him.

“You forgot,” Hux said. He sounded dangerously annoyed. “Brilliant. Just brilliant! I can’t believe I asked you to look after my house and Millicent while I’m gone.”

“Shut up, Hux. It’s too early to be dramatic.” Kylo groaned and brought his hands up to his face. His mind tried to supply him with his previous conversation with Hux. He remembered Hux telling him about his upcoming business trip to Japan. Hux told him about his taxi which would arrive at seven. Kylo remembered he promised he would cook breakfast. “Shit.”

“Shit indeed, Ren.” Hux didn’t roll his eyes, but he might as well did that. “Now get up and cook me breakfast.”

“Alright! Alright! I get up now! Geez.” Kylo got up from the bed and put on his discarded boxer which laid neglected on the floor alongside his other clothes. He heard footsteps going towards the adjoined bathroom. His heart sank in horror when he realized what was going to happen. He put on his grey tank top and fled the room as quick as he could.

“Ren! I told you no hickey you arsehole!”

By the time Hux came out from the bathroom with a murderous intent so clear in his eyes, Ren had already sought refuge in the kitchen.

***

As the punishment for the hickey, Kylo was forced to do the dishes and fed Millicent while Hux was out on the porch to smoke. Fucking asshole. Kylo grudgingly did as he was told; put the dirty plates in the dishwasher and fed that damned spoiled furry ginger cat. Millicent meowed at him when she saw him with her food and proceeded to rub her body to his legs. The very first time she did that and left a trail of orange fur on his pants, he wanted to murder that cat. Now he had gotten used to it, he still wanted to kill that cat. The only thing that kept her alive was Hux. Hux would kill him if he did that.

“My leg is not for you to rub yourself onto,” Kylo said.

Millicent kept rubbing herself to Kylo’s legs, naturally.

“Go bother your daddy,” Kylo told the cat.

Millicent purred and bumped her head to his calf.

Kylo groaned in defeat.

After he made sure Millicent ate her food, Kylo went to the porch. He found Hux there who was leaning to the railing with his cigarette between his fingers. On his right side was his suitcase, a clear indication that he was ready to go. He turned his head to acknowledge Kylo’s arrival before he set his gaze on the lawn once more. Kylo joined him, standing right beside him and basically intruding his personal space. It was a bit cold out there. Winter would come soon. Kylo adjust the red scarf around his neck, not bothering to tuck it properly into his black hoodie like Hux did with his blue scarf.

“You’re going to Japan for a month,” Kylo said.

“I’ve told you about that already,” Hux said, eyes still fixed on the lawn. “It’s a big project, Ren. First Order Architect will gain more clients in Asia if we succeed. After Europe and America, it’s time for us to expand to Asia. Soon the world will know about the First Order and I can win the Pritzker Prize before I turn 40.”

Brendol Hux Jr was a well-known British architect. The only son of the great British architect Brendol Hux Sr, he was known as a very talented and ambitious young man. He moved to the states to escape his father’s shadow and he ended with Snoke. His talent was the reason why Snoke assigned him as the principal architect for First Order Architect. It was also the reason why Snoke ordered Kylo to work with Hux so he could learn from him. Hux had four years ahead in architecture world and he was already on the list of international starchitect. There were a lot of things Kylo could learn from him. Or at least that was Snoke told him. Snoke promised to help him open his own architecture firm one day. One day. Kylo wasn’t sure when.

“It’s a long time, a month,” Kylo pointed out.

“I’m aware.” Hux paused to take a drag off his cigarette and blew a faint white smoke out from his lips.

Kylo didn’t smoke. He hated it. It reminded him of his father, a lowly mechanic with shadowy past who somehow got married to a high-born lady like his mother. Hux was different. He never got the glimpse of his old man when he saw Hux smoking. There was elegance in the way he held the cigarette between his leather clad fingers. Those fingers, they were an architect’s fingers not a mechanic’s fingers. Those fingers created a lot of beautiful designs. They shaped spaces, defined its used and arranged its aesthetic. Elegant. Kylo could stare at Hux’s fingers all day long and showered them with endless kisses.

“Why are you staring at me like that?” Hux asked him.

Kylo turned away. He fought back the blush that threatened to creep up to his cheek. It seemed he failed because Hux was laughing at him. He blamed his pale complexion.

“Ren, about this business trip…”

“Don’t worry, Hux, I can take care of your cat and your fucking house during your absence,” Kylo cut him. It irritated him a bit seeing how little faith Hux put on him over this simple task.

“I will be gone for at least a month,” Hux continued, “will you be alright?”

“Stop taking me for a kid! I’m 30 years old, idiot!” Kylo argued. Fucking bastard. He wondered why did Hux always treat him like a child.

“It’s not a proof of maturity, Ren,” Hux pointed out. “I’m sure your cousin Rey is more mature than you.”

Rey, his kind-hearted cousin who was still studying architecture in nearby university. She was on her path to become like her father Luke Skywalker. She lived near Kylo’s old apartment so he was given the task to look after her by his mother and Uncle Luke. Sometimes he helped with her assignment when he could spare his time for her. Rey hated Hux, unfortunately. She said Hux was an ambitious man who would do anything to achieve his goal. She didn’t understand it was one of the reason why Kylo found Hux very hot.

“Relax, Hux. I’ve been living here for more than three months now-,”

“Thirteen weeks,” Hux told him, “you’ve been here for thirteen weeks. 93 days to be exact.”

Kylo shut his mouth and gave the red-haired man an odd look. Hux raised an eyebrow. Kylo then shook his head and dismissed the idea of Hux being a creep for counting the days he spent here. Hux was weird sometimes. To be honest, all architects were weird in their own way. His uncle Luke lived like a hermit and worked like a hermit. His mentor Snoke never met his clients face to face. And there was him. He was known for his legendary tantrum, something he wasn’t really proud of.

“My point is,” Kylo continued, “I’ve got the hang of it, ok? I won’t trash your house if that’s what you’re afraid of.”

“Good,” Hux said, “remember you’re just a tenant here. This is my house, not yours.”

Kylo was sure ‘tenant’ was not a word to describe his living arrangement with Hux. One, he didn’t rent a room in his house. Two, he slept with Hux in Hux’s bedroom. Three, all his clothes were in Hux’s closet. Four, his toiletries were in Hux’s bathroom. His designated bedroom was now his working studio. Kylo wasn’t a mere tenant. He wasn’t sure what he was. He thought he was more like a freeloader.

“Don’t forget to feed Millicent,” Hux said.

Kylo rolled his eyes. “I won’t forget to feed Millicent.”

“Don’t forget to take her to a groomer every weekend. I mean it. Every weekend. I’ll know if you skip one week.”

Kylo had seen the bill for the grooming. It was ridiculously expensive. “I will take her to a groomer every weekend.”

They both saw a black taxi stopped in front of the house. Hux threw his cigarette into a glass ashtray on the nearby table. He took a glance at Kylo, his blue eyes twinkling with something Kylo couldn’t quite describe. For a moment, he looked slightly uncertain. It was like he was expecting something from Kylo but it wasn’t really clear. Kylo didn’t know what it was.

“This is it then,” he said. A strained smile found its way to his face. It looked forced and unnatural. It was kind of painful to see that.

Kylo felt an urge to wrap his arms around Hux and hugged him close. He wanted to kiss those soft lips and tasted the man before he went to Japan. A goodbye kiss. Something inside Kylo cringed when he thought about that. It sounded so syrupy, truly an appalling idea. He didn’t understand why he suddenly really wanted to do that now. He wanted to kiss Hux. Hux’s lips were very good to kiss. Those lips were inviting him to be ravished for one more time. Wasn’t it a thing couples usually did?

But they were not a couple, were they?

“Enjoy that weird raw fish food that you like so much,” Kylo said instead.

“It’s called sushi, Ren. How can you-,” Hux shook his head and took a deep sigh. “Never mind. You have an awful palate anyway.”

“I’m not the one who eat raw fish with weird seaweed and rice.”

Hux held up his index finger in a warning. An ugly frown replaced the strained smile. It was a more natural for him. “I’ll let it slide because I don’t want to start an argument with you before I go, but don’t press your bloody luck. I bloody well mean it.”

Kylo nodded his head. It was now his time to make a strained smile appear on his face. “If that’s what you wish.”

Hux took his suitcase and straightened his back. “See you next month, Ren.”

Kylo watched Hux walked towards the taxi and watched him go. After that, he went back inside, ignored Millicent, and prepared to go to work. His thought wandered to those lips, imagining how soft they were and how much he enjoyed biting them until they bled.

He really should have kissed Hux.

***

Kylo found it hard to sleep at night during Hux’s absence.

The first night Kylo found it hard to fall asleep because he felt something was wrong and he was missing something. It took three hours until he managed to persuade his brain to stop thinking and let him sleep. The second night he didn’t sleep because he needed to finish his work. The third night he fell asleep on his drafting table and waking up with a sore neck. The fourth night he was able to finally catch some sleep, but it was no better than the first night.

It was the fifth night when Kylo thought this whole deal was ridiculous. Kylo opened his eyes and turned his head to the empty space that belonged to Hux. He could picture that redhead asshole lying there in his silk pajamas. He usually berated Kylo’s sleeping attire which consisted only of a loose pants or sometimes nothing at all. Before he went to sleep, Hux always read an architecture article on his tablet or read one of Le Corbusier’s book or any modern architecture theory because he was such a nerd. Kylo liked to watch Hux read. It was a strangely relaxing sight. He liked to see how Hux’s green eyes focused and trailed those words with intense concentration. Sometimes he pursued his lips just a little bit when he read a line he disagreed with. The look of pure concentration was such a sexy look on Hux.

Kylo took a deep sigh and turned his gaze away from Hux’s space. He concentrated on the ceiling above him instead. He tried to absorbed every detail he could find in hope to knock himself out from sheer boredom. It didn’t help because the only thing his mind cared for was the way Hux breathed when he was sleeping. Or the way he said ‘Good night, Ren’ before the turned off the light and went to sleep. Or those rare nights when he woke up with Hux’s back pressed to his chest and his arm numb under Hux’s weight. The more he thought about it, the more his chest ached from something he didn’t quite understand. It was something he didn’t want to recognize.

Then he heard something jumped on the bed.

Kylo immediately got up and looked at Hux’s side of the bed. He found a ball of orange fur on Hux’s pillows. Groaning to himself, he turned the bedside table on to get a better look at Millicent. Kylo looked at the door and found it was opened. He wasn’t sure which was more alarming, Millicent jumped on the bed and slept on Hux’s pillow or the fact that cat managed to sneak into the bedroom without him noticing. How did she do that?

“You’re not allowed here,” Kylo said to the cat.

Millicent casted him a curious look.

“You’ll leave fur on the bed,” Kylo said again.

Millicent canted her head to her right side.

“Your daddy would be mad if he knew,” Kylo warned her.

Millicent meowed when she heard the word ‘daddy’.

“Get off!” Kylo pushed the cat from the bed.

Millicent growled and scratched his hand.

Kylo inspected his hand and was grateful Millicent didn’t leave any serious injury. He grudgingly admitted defeat and let the cat do anything she wished. He took one last glance at Millicent before he turned the light off again. He folded his arm under his head to get himself more comfortable. He fell asleep listening to Millicent’s purr.

***

Kylo looked at his drawing on his drafting table. A concept design for a shopping mall. The client wanted something different, new, shocking, and out of the box. It was Kylo’s specialty. He was great at defying all notion and normal perception. Critics said his style was ‘chaotic harmony’, a contrast to Hux’s ‘rigid order’. When Kylo studied under Luke, his uncle tried to make his style more balanced, more humane, more humble. When he studied under Snoke for his master degree, he found the harmony in his chaotic mind. It created something new and different and shocking. This project, this shopping mall, it should be right up his alley.

Kylo hated it.

He scrapped the paper from his drafting table and threw it on the floor. It was only when he ran out of paper when he realized he was surrounded by crumpled paper balls. He slammed his fist on his drafting table with a loud frustrated groan. He banged his head on its wooden surface once, twice. After that, he got up from his seat and proceeded to trash his office. He kicked his trash bin, threw every book in his bookshelves to the wall, and punched the said wall again until his hand hurt.

He heard footsteps from the corridor and they were coming to his office. Kylo was expecting Hux to come and scold him but of course, it wasn’t him. It wasn’t that annoying slim redhead that visited him but a very tall blonde woman. It was Phasma because Hux was not here. He had been gone to Japan for eleven days now. He wasn’t here to scold Kylo. He wasn’t here to tell how stupid he was and how childish he was. He wasn’t here.

Hux wasn’t here.

“Are you quite done here, Ren? You’re scaring the junior architects,” Phasma asked.

Kylo turned his back to Phasma and started gathering his books and put it away on the bookshelf. He didn’t want to talk about it.

“You’re quite moody nowadays,” Phasma said. Kylo could feel her blue eyes drilling holes on his back. “Care to tell me what the problem is?”

“It’s not your business,” Kylo replied.

“It is if it’s affecting your productivity,” Phasma argued. She invited herself in, ignoring his warning glare. She knew Kylo wouldn’t do anything to her because she was Hux’s most trusted woman. Bitch. “Ren, don’t pretend I don’t notice how your performance has dropped lately. You haven’t finished the concept design for that shopping mall.”

“It’s not your fucking business, Phasma! Fuck off!” Ren snapped. His fingers were holding Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture a little bit too tight.

“Hux appointed me to be in charge in his absence so I’m sorry to inform you. It’s my fucking business.”

Hux wasn’t here. Phasma was here. He didn’t want Phasma to tell him what to do. He wanted Hux, but Hux wasn’t here. Hux wasn’t fucking here.

“I know you’re upset because your boyfriend is not here-“

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Kylo corrected her.

Phasma shut her mouth and blinked her eyes. She nodded her head slowly. “Alright, he’s your partner or whatever it is you guys call your significant other.”

“He’s not my significant other!” Kylo finally turned back to glare at Phasma. He felt a sense of victory when he noticed how her shoulder twitched and her eyes widened when faced with his anger. Fear. He noticed fear hiding beneath her calm mask. Hux never fear him.

“Sure, of course. Whatever. I’m not here to meddle with your romantic-,” Phasma stopped when she felt how dangerously close it was for Kylo to maul her to death with a book. “I’m here because your tantrum is disturbing your coworkers and because your performance has dropped significantly. I want to know why and I want you to sort it out.”

Phasma looked at him with a condescending gaze. Those blue eyes were sharp, unrelenting, and they showed how determined she was to help him to sort things out. He put away the history of architecture book and took a deep breath to calm his nerves. It failed so he took another one, and another one.

“He hasn’t called me,” Kylo said. Hux called him once he arrived at his hotel. Kylo was about to go to sleep when he received the call. He complained to Hux that he was disturbing his sleep. Hux complained to Kylo that he was wasting his time and he pointed out international call was expensive. They ended up arguing for a minute before Hux proceeded to tell Kylo about his flight and his plan for the week. Kylo felt better after the phone call.

Phasma raised an eyebrow. “So this whole outburst is really because your boyfriend neglects you?”

“He’s not my boyfriend!”

“Really, Ren?” Phasma shook her head in disbelief. She took a very deep breath. “Alright, listen to this. Hux is busy. You know how he is. Maybe he forgets. For all I know he hasn’t got any boyfriend since he came to the states so it’s very understandable if he doesn’t know how to function as one.”

“I’m not his boy-,”

“If you miss him so much you can just call him.”

Ren clamped his mouth shut. He blinked a few times, trying to comprehend what Phasma had told him. “No.” He turned away and started putting his discarded books on the shelf.

“Why wouldn’t you do that?”

“Why would I?” Kylo took The City of To-morrow and City Planning by Le Corbusier and his mind traitorously replayed the night he spent arguing with Hux about the great modernist architect and how that argument ended up with them fucking. He grew hot with anger and arousal.

“You miss him.”

“I do not miss him.”

Kylo heard Phasma sighed loudly behind his back. He could picture her doing a very epic eye roll too. “Call him, Ren. And finish that concept drawing soon. You have a meeting with the client tomorrow.”

Ren heard the door being opened and closed. He threw Brutalism: Post-War British Architecture at the door just because he could.

***

That night Kylo couldn’t sleep.

It had nothing to do with Hux.

Everyone who drank four cup of coffee was supposed to be awake all night even though it didn’t sound healthy. Years of coffee abuse during architecture school made his resistant against caffeine went sky rocket. Hux didn’t like it but Hux wasn’t here to berate him about his unhealthy beverage so he could drink whatever he liked. He could drink that expensive scotch Hux stuffed in his studio. Single malt, Hux’s favorite. A perfect payback for days without any phone call from that ginger skinny ass. It was there for him to steal in Hux’s studio because Hux didn’t lock his studio. Kylo had checked it. He spent his first day alone in this house sitting on Hux’s seat and doing nothing in particular for approximately one hour.

Hux would kill him if he touched that scotch.

Kylo slapped his own cheeks. He needed to focus on his task. He needed to finish the concept drawing for that damned shopping mall. The client wanted to see it tomorrow. Today he supposed. It was two in the morning and it gave him less than eight hours to finish. Eight hours to produce something. Something. It was just an early design concept. At this point, clients would gladly see anything as long as it was pretty enough for their eyes.

He spent another hour to finish his drawing until it looked presentable. He stared at it, had a moment of existential crisis because it looked like crap. He erased some lines, added more lines, looked at it again, and regretted why he added these lines. He redid the lines, stared at his drawing for two minutes and had another existential crisis for the third time. He checked the site analysis his junior architects done for him, checked his notes for the room requirements requested by the clients, checked his notes for other important bits. He looked at his design once again. It should work. This design was what the client asked for. It looked good.

Not good enough.

He rested his head on his drafting table. The angle he set made the position very awkward and it hurt his neck. He didn’t know what was lacking from his design. Hux usually knew what was wrong with him. He would give an advice and they would argue because Kylo usually didn’t want to admit Hux was right. They shout at each other and then they kissed. Kylo did the same when Hux had a problem with his design. Despite their different aesthetic direction, they gave solid advice. They made a great team. But unfortunately for him, Hux wasn’t here. He couldn’t ask for Hux’s opinion because Hux wasn’t there.

He saw his phone lying on his desk.

He called Hux.

He didn’t know what possessed him to do that because he didn’t miss Hux. He kept telling himself that he just needed to discuss his design with Hux. He surely didn’t miss Hux. He didn’t want to hear his annoying British accent. He didn’t miss Hux. He didn’t mi-

“Ren, what’s wrong?” asked that annoying British accent from the other side of the line.

“You haven’t called me. It’s been two weeks.”

There was a slight pause. Why did he ask that?

"Are you serious?” Hux asked. Kylo could picture Hux scowling when he said that. “You’re calling just to ask me why I haven’t called you.”

No, Kylo wanted to say. He called because he wanted to discuss a stupid shopping mall and his meeting with the client today. “Why haven’t you called?” Kylo didn’t mean to ask that too. He blamed it on the lack of sleep and caffeine.

Hux let out a very loud exasperated sigh. “Ren, I’m in the middle of a very important meeting here. Can it wait?”

“No.”

Kylo’s face twitched when he heard Hux swear under his breath. When he was angry, Hux’s accent became sharper and harder to pick. Kylo thought it was amusing as long as it wasn’t directed at him. Now he was the subject of Hux’s cursing, Kylo found it scary.

“I’ll call you back in five minutes,” Hux said. “Restrain yourself and don’t do anything stupid.”

The call ended after that. Kylo felt anger boiling at the pit of his stomach and spread through the fiber of his nerves. Every inch of his body shook with barely restrained fury as he stared at his smartphone screen. How dare Hux to do this, he thought. Fucking bastard! Kylo screamed at the top of his lungs until his throat hurt. He was grateful Hux’s house was at a secluded place in his neighborhood. No one would hear him scream.

Hux called him four minutes later and Kylo’s rage dissipated if only just slightly. Kylo had to give credit to Hux for being true to his words.

“Alright, Ren. I just asked a very important client to stop our meeting so I can talk to you. It’s better worth my time. If I lose this project because of some stupid reasons, I swear I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”

Kylo thought he heard it wrong. Did Hux just stop a meeting because he wanted to talk with him? It was odd. Hux liked his work more than anything in this world. Kylo wondered if it meant Hux liked him more than his work. The thought warmed something inside him and suddenly the anger was gone. He felt quite giddy in fact.

“Ren…”

“Phasma told me to call you,” Kylo explained.

“Did she now?” Hux sounded skeptical as always. “Why?”

“Because my productivity has dropped significantly,” Kylo told him. “Because she thought I miss you.”

There was a pause. Kylo didn’t know if it was ‘I’m-trying-so-hard-to-restrain-myself-from-killing-you’ pause or not. He lacked the visual cue. Hux might have an impressive poker face and hard to read, but Kylo had long found the key to read him.

“You miss me,” Hux said, his tone was devoid of any usual annoyance and irritation. Ren even dared to say he sounded surprised. Delightedly surprised. “You are really capable of feeling any other emotion except anger and frustration and occasional crazed lust?” The note of mild amusement sneaked into Hux’s words.

Kylo Ren didn’t blush. The warm that crept up to his cheeks was nothing. He didn’t get embarrassed by Hux’s accusation because Hux was wrong. The growing persistent warm on his cheeks was nothing, really. He didn’t blush.

“You’re an asshole,” Kylo said.

“And you’re an insufferable man-child,” Hux countered. He sounded more amused than angry, which was good, maybe. “How’s my house? You haven’t destroyed anything yet?”

They talked about Tokyo and the house and Millicent and the First Order and Kylo’s design and everything. Hux ended the phone call with a promise that he would try to call Kylo or skype Kylo once a week. Kylo continued his work feeling strangely motivated. He went to work and nailed his meeting and everything was great.

“I see you’ve called Hux,” Phasma said during their lunch break. A little smug smirk was plastered on her stupid face.

Despite the fact he had to endure her smugness for the rest of the day, Kylo still thought everything was great.

***

Both Kylo and Hux could cook but it was mostly Kylo who did all the cooking. Kylo could cook anything he cared to learn. From simple food to complicated dish, Kylo could make it. Hux always gave him a satisfied smile and a compliment when he managed to make something that was up to his standard. It was a small reward but it was worth the effort. Hux had a mesmerizing smile, even though it was just a small tug on his lips that could barely pass as a grin. That small smile, that rare sign of humanity, was something Kylo yearned to see more from Hux. He began to seek for it and he offered to cook more just to see that satisfied small smile.

He only realized it lately that Hux had manipulated him to cook for him with that small satisfied smile. Hux didn’t deny it, in fact, he looked downright proud of his little scheme. Kylo yelled at him and Hux yelled back. They had angry sex on the kitchen counter to settle their argument. After that, Kylo went back cooking for Hux. Kylo really didn’t know how it ended up like that.

Needless to say, Kylo had no problem living alone in Hux’s house since he knew how to cook. Hux had a housemaid who came every day to keep his house clean so he just needed to focus on feeding himself and Millicent.

Kylo was cooking curry at the beginning of his third week without Hux. The ginger skin ass told him about a great curry house he went with Shigeru Ban (that Shigeru Ban who won Pritzker Prize and named 21st innovator in architecture by Times magazine, how on earth Hux could have a private meeting with Shigeru Ban was out of the question). He complained it wasn’t as spicy as he liked it to be and blamed Kylo for ruining his palate from all the spicy foods he cooked. Kylo had high spicy tolerance and it seemed it had rubbed off on Hux as well. Because Hux didn’t stop bitching about the curry, Kylo decided to make curry and then sent a photo to Hux to spite that man. Hux would be mad. Maybe it would force him to come home soon.

Kylo should have focused more on the task at hand rather than on his petty thought to make Hux mad at him because he didn’t realize he had cooked too much for one person.

“Shit!”

Ren swore to himself as he gazed down at a pot full of bubbling curry. He really didn’t mean to cook this much. His body and mind went into autopilot and decided to make food for him and Hux. Kylo was not proud to admit that it wasn’t the first time. He cooked too much Bolognese sauce for spaghetti last Wednesday. Right now he had a week's worth of curry. A week. He couldn’t eat curry for a week. He would get sick. He could throw the curry away but he didn’t want to let this curry go to waste. There was Millicent, but he was pretty sure cat couldn’t eat curry so he had to share it with an actual human being. The only person he tolerated enough in this whole world beside Hux was probably Phasm. He needed to call her. It wasn’t too early for dinner and it was Sunday so Phasma should be at home.

“Do you like Japanese rice curry?” He asked when she picked his call call.

There was no immediate answer from the other line. “I do. Why do you ask?”

“Come to Hux’s house, I’ve made curry for dinner,” Kylo replied.

Another pause. “Why would I do that?”

“I made too much curry.” Kylo swore he heard a laughter. His face suddenly hot with anger and embarrassment. “If you don’t want it then fine! Don’t come! Forget I’ve asked you.” He considered to call Rey but he wasn’t desperate enough to do that. Not yet.

“Should I bring something? Wine perhaps?” Phasma asked.

“I don’t think wine is a suitable beverage for curry,” Kylo answered. Hux liked to drink green tea with his curry. Kylo usually drank water because he honestly didn’t know what the point of drinking tasteless green tea like Hux did. “Just come here. You don’t have to bring anything.”

“What a considerate host. I’ll see you soon.”

Phasma arrived not long after Kylo finished preparing the dinner. She discarded her jacket and revealed a loose grey tank-top beneath. Kylo raised an eyebrow at her chosen attire.

“I was on my home from the gym when you called,” Phasma explained. “You actually called me at the most convenient time, Ren. I’m famished.”

Kylo noted how big Phasma biceps had become and felt a pang of jealousy blooming. Phasma was a woman. It wasn’t fair. “You’re allowed to eat curry?” Kylo asked because he knew gym goer usually had a strict ridiculous diet to keep bulky.

“You make it sound like I’m in a scary diet program,” Phasma said with a scoff, “free food is free food. Where’s the curry?”

It wasn’t the first time Phasma came to Hux’s house. In fact she had been here often. Hux, the true workaholic, sometimes used the guest room as an impromptu meeting room during holidays and weekends. Phasma was one of his unfortunate subordinates who had to spend their day off discussing projects with their boss. Phasma had no trouble finding the dining room and made herself at home. It was a little bit unsettling, but Kylo didn’t let it affect him. Not much.

Phasma was delighted when she ate the curry. She said that it was good and helped herself to a second serving. Kylo didn’t mind it. In fact, he was relieved. At least, he didn’t need to throw the curry away.

“You miss Hux this much, huh?” Phasma asked.

Kylo almost dropped his spoon.

“Wonder what Hux would say if he knew about this.”

Kylo now deliberately dropped his spoon to conjure extra flair for his murderous glare. “Phasma!” The words came out more like a growl.

“Yes, Ren?” Phasma raised an eyebrow and gave him a challenging stare.

Kylo felt his willpower withered under her scrutinizing blue eyes. He grabbed his spoon again and looked down at his curry. “Please don’t tell him anything.”

“Give me some curry for my lunch tomorrow and we have a deal.”

Kylo wondered what the consequence for beating the shit of Phasma was.

***

Kylo was not in a good mood.

It was actually not a rare thing because Kylo was usually not in a good mood on a daily basis. This time he was in his worst mood. The employee lounge that was once carefully decorated was not in a total wreck like someone let loose a wild savage hound there. A wild savage hound in the form of Kylo Ren. Kylo destroyed the room because his office was already in the similar state. No one dared to approach him, not even Phasma.

“Umm, Ren? There’s a call for you,” said Mitaka.

Except Mitaka apparently.

Kylo turned towards Mitaka who stood there in the doorway like a frightened little child about to face the wrath of his parents. In his hand was a smartphone which was belong to Mitaka, maybe. The other man visibly winced when Kylo growled at him.

“It’s from Hux,” Mitaka explained, eyes still wide in apparent fear. “He insisted, Ren. Please take the call.”

Kylo stormed towards the other man and snatched the smartphone from his grip. He gave a low groan as a greeting. That was the only thing that bastard deserved.

“Care to tell me why Phasma called me just to tell me that you’ve gone mad?” Hux sounded annoyed. “Do you know what time it is here? I still need my sleep, Ren. This is the worst wakeup call in my whole life.”

“Fuck you!” Kylo yelled at him.

“Very sensible. Typical you,” Hux said. There was a loud groan from the other line. “Are you still upset because I’m still needed here?”

Kylo clenched his jaw and gripped the smartphone harder. He still remembered the shouting match he had with Hux last night. Hux still needed to be in Tokyo for another month. Kylo forgot why. He was too busy yelling at Hux to comprehend what the other man was saying.

“No, I’m not,” Kylo denied.

“I take it as a yes,” Hux concluded. Hux grumbled and took a very deep breath to calm his nerves. It did nothing to calm Kylo’s nerves. “Listen, Ren. It’s not my decision to spend another month here but I’m needed here.”

“You’re needed here too,” Kylo pointed out, “you’re the principal architect. Your employees can’t function normally without you.”

I can’t function normally without you was the actual thing he wanted to say. He didn’t say that. He still had self-control.

“I’m flattered to hear that,” Hux commented. He didn’t sound flattered at all. “I don’t like it either, Ren. I want to go home, but like I said it’s not my decision. We have to get used to it. I know you miss me and all-,”

“I don’t miss you,” Kylo still tried to deny it.

“Really, Ren? I’m hurt.” There was a note of amusement there for an unknown reason. “Especially since I’m starting to miss you and your incompetence.”

That surprised Kylo. He was at lost now and could only gap like a goldfish. It was a little mercy that Hux couldn’t see him. “You miss me?”

“No one can make my coffee like you do,” Hux replied, “and I have no one to give me sexual release as well.”

His anger had dissipated completely and was replaced by excitement. “I bet you want me to suck you or to fuck you hard.”

Hux laughed. He really laughed. It was a strange sound yet welcomed. “Don’t be so vulgar, Ren.”

“What are you wearing?”

“Seriously, Ren? Are you aware you’re using Mitaka’s phone.”

Kylo took a quick glance at the pathetic man who was standing beside him. Mitaka’s face was red from a lot of emotions. Mitaka then made a loud whine when Kylo narrowed his eyes into a glare.

“How many times do I need to tell you? Stop terrorizing my men!” Hux protested.

“It’s boring here without you,” Kylo said after he got bored by Mitaka’s pitiful wail. He wondered where Hux picked that guy and why. “Come back soon.”

“I can’t promise you that,” Hux said. “I’ll try to wrap things here as soon as possible. I can’t let you wander around unattended.”

That jab irked Kylo. “You’re talking like I’m a brat.”

“You are a brat,” Hux said.

“I’m an adult,” Kylo tried to argue.

“I’ve yet seen any proof to support your argument.”

“Fuck you!”

“Really, Ren? How very mature of you. I’m not surprised,” Hux said, clearly unimpressed. “Are you done? I need to go back to sleep.” Hux sounded tired and sleepy. Kylo almost felt guilty. Almost.

“Go back to sleep, Hux.”

“Oh trust me, I have every intention to do that,” Hux said. He yawned, that sound brought a small smile to Kylo’s face.

And just because he could, Kylo asked, “Cybersex soon?”

Hux snorted. “Give the phone back to Mitaka. I think you’ve scarred him enough for one day.”

The call ended right there. Kylo threw the phone to Mitaka and headed back towards his office, leaving a very horrified Mitaka alone in the wrecked lounge.

***

“Morning Ben.”

Kylo gave a big unimpressed scowl to his cousin who just emerged from her apartment lobby. She was carrying a big architecture model while trying to keep her grip on her bag. “My name is not Ben,” Kylo pointed out.

Rey’s apartment was not far from her university; she usually took a bus to go there. But when she needed to bring her model to her universitystudio, she called Kylo to help her. Kylo had been her personal on-call driver since she moved here, much to his dismay. It had something to do with his mother’s order to take a good care of his cousin or she would flay him. Many mistook his mother’s small figure as a picture of a gentle older woman. Kylo knew perfectly well what kind of demon lied beneath that false façade.

“Yeah, whatever.” Rey diminished Kylo’s remark with an eye roll. “Help me with this, ‘kay?”

Kylo eyed the model of a site plan with slight interest. It appeared to be a site plan for a train station. The buildings were made from used milk boxes or cereal boxes. Trust Rey to turn junks into an adequate architecture model. He did call her a ‘scavenger’ for a reason.

“It’s an early design concept. You know how review works. My professor would disagree with my concept and I need to do it again,” Rey explained.

Kylo had an intimate experience with the whole ‘do-and-redo’ thing of course. He helped Rey with the model and brought it into his car while Rey hopped into the front passenger seat. They chatted a bit about Rey’s academic progress. Kylo thought Rey had a real talent in architecture. She could be a great post-modernist architect. He would gladly tutor her in the way of deconstructivism if only Uncle Luke didn’t say no. That old hermit couldn’t see her talent could flourish in the way of chaos like his.

“So how’s life?” Rey asked, out of nowhere.

“Not your business,” Kylo answered.

Rey gave him a shrug. “You’re cranky without your boyfriend.”

“I’m not cranky,” Kylo denied. He wondered how Rey knew Hux was not here with him. “And I’m not his boyfriend.”

“Yeah, sure,” Rey said, tone flat and devoid of any emotion. “The last time I checked, ‘not-boyfriends’ don’t live together and have sex on a regular basis.”

Kylo gripped the steering wheel tighter as he fought the need to yell at her. “Shut up.”

Rey was silent for a while. Her eyes were firmly fixed on the road. “So, you haven’t broken up yet?”

Kylo turned to her, his dark eyes hardened in a glare. “Rey, stop!”

“To be honest, I’m actually impressed, Ben. Three months living together and you haven’t tried to kill each other.”

Kylo clenched his jaw. There were times where they wanted to do that but Rey didn’t need to know. “It’s Ren not Ben.” He settled with correcting his name instead of arguing.

“I don’t like him. He’s an asshole.” Rey continued. “But you look happier since you two hooked up. It’s good, I think. I guess it takes an asshole to hook up with another asshole.”

“I don’t need your approval or your blessing. What I do with Hux is not your business,” Kylo snapped.

“You don’t need my blessing, sure. Just saying, you know.”

Kylo didn’t get it but he let it slide.

Actually no, he didn’t let Rey’s comment slide. He pondered, took his time to really think about what she was trying to say. Rey used to like him when she was a kid, when he was still Ben Solo instead of Kylo Ren. He didn’t really know what put distance between them as they grew up, maybe it had something to do with his fight with Uncle Luke over the matter of principle and it sent his uncle went away and be a hermit. She never said something nice to him again nor did she looked at him with adoration like she used to. There was a bit of resentment in her gaze when their eyes met. They grew distant. So hearing Rey talked about his relationship with Hux, when she said she thought it was good, it was the nicest thing Kylo ever heard coming from her mouth.

“Thank you,” Kylo finally said. The word felt heavy on his tongue. “For thinking it’s good.”

Rey turned to him. Her eyes went huge with confusion and shocked. Kylo kept his gaze on the road ahead, embarrassed and afraid he misinterpreted Rey’s word. Not long after that Rey burst out laughing. It was his time to stare at her with confusion and shocked when she laughed and laughed, there were tears in her eyes.

“Oh Ben,” she said with a brilliant smile that was full of adoration for her cousin.

She called him Ben again. Kylo decided he didn’t mind as long as she smiled like that.

***

It was on the seventh week when Kylo missed Hux so much, he couldn’t even deny it any longer.

They skyped every weekend and Hux called him when Phasma reported Kylo’s tantrums so he could talk him down. They talked for hours when they skyped and sometimes they ended up doing more than talking when Hux was in the mood. But it wasn’t enough to fill the holes inside him. No matter how many insults they traded or arguments they had or jokes they shared, Kylo wanted Hux home with him. He thought about going to Japan himself, but Hux told him firmly that he would be very mad if he did that.

Kylo looked at his dinner. It was a simple fish and chips, deep fried until it was crispy just like the way Hux preferred. He paired the meal with that scotch Hux stored in his studio. Not a good combination but he didn’t care because he barely touched his food. The bottle was half empty. Kylo drank the scotch every night as a petty revenge for Hux’s absence. He knew Hux would be angry and he didn’t care. He drank it with ice like Hux did, but he didn’t smell it first like Hux did. He just drank it and let it wash away this terrible longing for that stupid man. He shouldn’t be surprised when he found out It didn’t. The scotch doubled the longing.

Kylo headed back to Hux’s bedroom, their bedroom. His dinner and the stolen scotch left abandoned in the dining room. Hux would probably berate him for it but he wasn’t here. Kylo took off his shirt and threw it on the floor. He could hear Hux’s voice scolding him but Hux wasn’t here. Kylo threw himself on the bed. He could picture Hux getting mad at him and called him ‘savage beast with no manner’, but Hux wasn’t here. Hux was far away in fucking Tokyo eating fucking raw fish and meeting all Japanese top fucking architects.

Kylo hoped Hux was suffering like him as well.

He felt something jumped on the bed. Millicent had claimed Hux’s space again. She slept on the bed with Kylo every night. She shed fur but it was better than sleeping alone. Kylo reached out, petted her fur, and let Millicent lean to his touch and purred. Kylo sat on the bed and scooped Millicent into his arms. The cat purred contently as he gave a peck on her head.

“Do you miss him, Millie?” He asked.

Millicent meowed.

“I miss him,” Kylo confessed.

Millicent looked at him with her wide eyes.

“Don’t tell him I miss him.”

Millicent rubbed her head against Kylo’s cheek. Kylo took it as a yes.

***

It was Sunday evening when Hux finally got home.

Kylo was in his studio trying to finish his work. He almost didn’t hear the shout from the front door because he was in his studio, struggling with a new design, while wearing his headphones that blared a heavy metal songs. He heard Hux was yelling and thought he was dreaming. He heard it again, thinking that he might go crazy. He took it off and then he heard it. Hux’s voice from the front door.

“Bloody hell, Ren! Where the fuck are you?!”

He threw his headphone away and ran to the front door, his heart pounding so fast behind his ribcages. . Every step made his heart swell in anticipation. He felt he might burst once he set his eyes upon the red-haired man who standing there at the foyer.

“There you are,” Hux said with mild irritation in his voice. “I was wondering if you have turned deaf. Now help me with my suitca-,”

Kylo kissed Hux.

It was such a very cheesy way to welcome Hux home, the kind of thing that couples did. Kylo wasn’t sure what they were, Hux never said they were a couple. Despite the fact that they might not be a couple, Kylo kissed him. He remembered that day when Hux left, when he should have kissed Hux but he didn’t. He had spent two months wallowing in regret, haunted by those lips. He didn’t want to repeat his mistake. He kissed Hux like his life depended on this kiss. He tried to communicate his feeling through that kiss. All of his frustration, his anger, his desperation, his loneliness, his longing. He wanted Hux to feel it. He wanted Hux to free him from those terrible things. His life might be really depended on this kiss. This was Hux he was kissing. Hux was here now. Hux was here. Hux was here.

“Welcome home, shit head,” Kylo murmured, his lips ghosting over Hux’s lips.

“Shut up and kiss me again, you twat,” Hux ordered.

And so Kylo kissed Hux again.