SENATOR KYLO REN FINALLY CLEARED OF JEDI KILLER ACCUSATIONS
After six years of investigation, Judge Turis Envel has declared that Kylo Ren, Naboo’s controversial representative in the New Galactic Senate, holds no guilt in the infamous massacre at Luke Skywalker’s Jedi school. “In the face of a complete lack of evidence, and Kylo Ren’s demonstrated lack of strong Force ability, I am closing this case,” declared Judge Envel. “It is time for all of us to focus on healing.”
Many have described Senator Ren’s entire political career as a move to distance himself from the shadow of Skywalker’s school, as well as his own family. Originally known as Ben Organa, Ren left the school shortly before the massacre and has had no further contact with his parents, Alliance heroes Leia and Han Organa. Ren has since served as a senator for nearly as long as he was investigated for being the Jedi Killer. Though dogged by controversy, Ren has an impressive history of achievement in the Senate, prompting some to compare his meteoric rise to that of Emperor Palpatine’s.
When asked how this ruling would affect him personally, Ren said with his characteristically firm, clipped tone, “I moved beyond the massacre long before the clumsy investigation did. Nothing has changed for me.”
Hux tossed the datapad back on the table. How the Intelligence Office staff read so much Rebel pabulum was honestly worthy of more credit than he’d previously given them. The esteemed Senator Ren, suspected murderer and certain liar, refused to meet with anyone of a lower rank than General. He was also the only senator willing to speak with a representative of the First Order at all, so Hux was bundled off to Hosnian Prime, to bow, scrape, and otherwise do the opposite of what his rank and upbringing had trained him for.
“We’ll be dropping out of hyperspace shortly, sir,” Mitaka said. Already a nervous-looking man, Mitaka’s face had curled into an even more nervous arrangement.
“And the Rebels haven’t blown us out of the galaxy yet,” Hux observed.
“Right. A tactical error on their part. Sir, the Minister for the Protection of Families has given me a short message to relate to you, about your meeting with the Senator.” Mitaka looked at Hux’s polished boots, radiating misery. “She wanted you to know that if you find it difficult not to, ah, forgive me for having to say this sir, it was ordered, difficult not to take advantage of the Senator’s known profligacies for the same-sex that it would not be entered on your record as a second offense against the family.”
That private message could have been sent over email instead of the embarrassment of having it delivered personally; Hux would have to look into how he’d attracted the minister’s displeasure. Mitaka had started to sweat when Hux finally replied, “The word, Lieutenant, is ‘proclivity,’ not profligacy.”
“Thank you for the correction, sir. Is there anything you need?”
Mitaka seemed to evaporate from the room. Hux turned back to his irritated scrolling through his datapad, skimming articles with titles like “Accused ‘Jedi Killer’ Speaks Against Disarmament in the Mid Rim” and “Senator Trashes Yet Another Repulsorpod in Reaction to Moisture Farm Bill’s Defeat.” His loathing for the mission steadily rose.
But the First Order was desperate for the Rebel government to relax its trade sanctions. With the Order’s resources caught up in the Starkiller project, the people were literally starving in the more remote colonies, and civilians often went without basic items. Senators already aiding the First Order wouldn’t dare risk having their financial ties exposed by publicly expressing their real loyalties. As for Ren, sympathy for the First Order was almost the only thing the press hadn’t yet associated him with, making him useful to their cause. Except for the facts that Ren was temperamental, had no consistent political alignment, and was probably only meeting with Hux to stoke his already substantial notoriety into a campaign for even higher office.
With thirty minutes left before they docked, Hux went to the viewport to watch the swift descent towards Republic City. There were so many lights. Not only in the capital, but in blooms of development across the whole planet. It was 22:00, well past the time when electricity began to be rationed on most First Order worlds. The skyscrapers were just coming into view when the shuttle was seized by a tractor beam and pulled into the spaceport.
Republic City was built on the suffering of its people. He would not be misled by the prosperity of the lucky few who took advantage of the chaos after the Emperor’s death.
The shuttle lurched to a stop. Hux was as ready to meet the senator as anyone of his station could be. His uniform was in perfect order, and his greatcoat would make up for what his genes lacked in cutting an intimidating figure. Unfortunately, both Ren and the false Senate had been unequivocal in their demands that Hux go unarmed and unguarded. What was Hux going to do—lead ten people into a successful assault of the puppet government?
“Docking complete,” the pilot announced over the comm. “Local time is twenty-two hours, twenty-nine minutes. The Senator’s already waiting for you, sir.”
“Lower the gangway,” Hux commanded. The shuttle’s crew gave Hux one last salute before he descended.
Advertisements covered the spaceport walls and aliens walked alongside humans in the crowded walkways. It was chaos, but Hux was removed from it all by the private platform. Senator Ren was the only person waiting for him, without the horde of assistants and guards Hux had expected. Ren lacked the feverish energy he showed in most of his Senate holos, instead standing serenely in the hooded shimmersilk monstrosity he wore that passed for Republican fashion.
There were niceties which should be said. Hux had even watched a few diplomatic holos on the trip, so they were fresh in his mind. But he was a general, and not some pseudo-droid flunkey. “I thought politicians were always late,” Hux said.
Ren tilted his head as if he hadn’t quite heard. “Your propaganda must have misinformed you. Arriving early has its advantages.”
“That disappointed look on your face. Hello, I’m Senator Ren.” He held out his hand for Hux to shake. The way Ren did it, it seemed as if Hux was supposed to kiss his ring. “You must be General Hux. You’ve very loud in your holos.”
Hux reluctantly put his hand in Ren’s. Contrary to what one of the headshrinkers back at the Academy would say, Hux learned nothing from Ren’s grip. “I believe in what I’m saying.”
“Conviction is rather rare in the New Republic,” Ren replied, smiling blandly. “I’m surprised the First Order agreed to my request. They might be looking to get rid of you.”
The thought had been nagging at Hux ever since he had been chosen for this vile assignment. But his enemies had nothing useful to work with beyond Hux’s small list of vices. Offenses against the family by someone of Hux’s rank meant nothing. General Sere doted on his three half-Theelin bastards and had sent an aide in his place to serve his required courses of reeducation. Failing to move the Senator, on the other hand, could go much worse than that for Hux.
“You can be flattered to know that I’m quite valuable,” Hux replied. “Where are your guards?”
“Out of sight. Republic City is quite safe, and I’d like to show you some of it.”
Hux had to walk quickly to keep up with Ren as he turned to leave the dock. “Why?”
“I can read a report on the effects of the trade sanctions on the Unknown Regions. But that tells me nothing about what kind of people the First Order creates. Like me, you’re part of the first generation after Yavin.”
The door slid open, revealing the frenzied nightscape of Republic City. Hux’s protest that he wasn’t like Ren at all went tactfully unsaid as he resisted gawking. He tried to imagine how much everything had cost, the wasted labor on creating the most garish and useless buildings possible. All of this industry left without a single guiding hand.
In the absence of a proper government, Hosnian Prime’s marvels would be short-lived. Just as they always had, the Core Worlds hoarded all the resources for themselves. Seeing their wealth up close, when he was beholden to Ren just to ask for his small share of it, brought bile to Hux’s throat.
Ren’s speeder was twice as big as it needed to be, idly hovering just below the walkway. He had the nerve to steady Hux by the arm as he stepped in after him. Hux resisted jerking away, but not the revealing flush. If the senator wanted to play the gallant instead of a politician, the night would be excruciating. At least the speeder had ample space, despite the arrogant spread of Ren’s legs.
“You asked for me specifically?” Hux said.
“Of course,” Ren replied. The speeder’s engine came to life with a deep growl, probably from thousands of credits of aftermarket modifications. “The others of your rank have already been defeated once. I have no interest in them.”
Being requested was a relief, but an insult to the First Order could not stand. “My comrades were not defeated. They recognized an unwinnable battle, created by a cowardly mass conspiracy.”
“A strategic retreat,” Ren said, with a smug curve to his lips.
“I would not be here without their sacrifice. This… thing,” Hux declared, at a loss for words to describe the New Republic, gesturing at the buildings they were passing, “would have crushed me. I’m a soldier.”
“But you’re not fighting a war. Are you, General?” Ren looked at Hux searchingly, daring him to admit that the First Order wasn’t the toothless fringe group the Rebels pretended it was.
“We are prepared to fight.”
“Perhaps you would do better to learn to feed yourselves first.”
Hux grit his teeth. “The New Republic created our famine.”
“The Unknown Regions aren’t without resources. You must be doing something with them.” Ren paused, considering his next words. “A blaster that’s never fired is an ornament, not a weapon.”
“It can still send a message.”
“A weak one.”
In that, Hux silently agreed. Ren was an enviable pilot, nimbly entering the busy skylane and maneuvering around traffic. Instead of going on a salesman’s pitch about the benefits of demagoguery, Ren kept quiet. The skylane eventually slowed to a clog even Ren couldn’t avoid, and he brought the speeder to a stop. He pointed across from Hux at an alien trapped in the same traffic jam.
“That’s my least favorite journalist,” Ren said, switching to a wave when the alien flailed about for a camera. Ren reached out to check that Hux had buckled in, his hand trailing over his chest, and this time Hux couldn’t stop himself from backing against the seat in alarm just as the camera’s flash went off. “Don’t worry; we’ll be fine.”
“Do you realize what this will look—”
Ren killed the speeder’s engine and nudged its nose to the right, sending them into a wild dive towards the ground.
“Are you completely mad?” Hux snarled, his heart somewhere in his throat. He tried to press the ignition and wrest control of the speeder, but Ren grabbed his wrist and squeezed.
“I know what I’m doing.”
One look at Ren, and Hux knew he would break his wrist if he kept struggling. There might be a bare kilometer left between them and the ground. Ren let go and casually switched the engine back on, bringing the speeder level just in time. Hux gripped his thighs to hide the involuntary tremble as Ren accelerated, zipping past the mass-produced shelters Republic City’s poorest workers lived in. Good to know that ‘democracy’ hadn’t really changed.
“He would have followed us all night,” Ren remarked. “And I knew you’d want to see the slums.”
Their wild descent had knocked Ren’s hood back, making him look younger. Hux wasn’t sure what to think of him; his features veered between pretty and awkward, and his profile was mostly nose. The First Order would have made him cut his hair and improve his posture.
“There are spies even down here,” said Ren. “The New Republic is desperate to know our every word. But I know a place where they can’t listen in.”
Ren’s secure room was a private box at the Republic Reborn Opera House. As he explained it, the Rebel government was too afraid of offending corporate “copyright” to exercise its legal right to plant surveillance wherever it was needed. It was a laughably easy loophole to exploit. The only real punishment for criminal activity that Hux could see was being forced to sit through Squid Lake, which was certainly as awful as the name suggested.
Their box was placed so high up that Ren had to stand just to see the singers. Hux, having no curiosity about Mon Calamari drama, stayed in his seat and out of the operagoers’ eyelines.
“There’s a spice deal going on in the box across from us,” Ren whispered, leaning on the railing. “That Devaronian’s worth more than half this planet. Even the First Senator’s not too expensive for her to bribe.”
Hux sipped at his second glass of Corellian whisky. The personal questions he had dreaded never came; Ren rarely asked his opinion. After watching Ren nearly smear both of them across the surface of Hosnian Prime, Hux suspected he might not even have to speak for Ren to know his mind. The Imperial Security Bureau had destroyed knowledge of the Jedi too well, leaving Hux to wonder what Luke Skywalker’s most famous failure was capable of.
There was one common vein in Ren’s speech: contempt for the New Republic. Hux was so desperate to succeed that he could hardly believe his own ears when Ren detailed all the ways corruption had overtaken the government.
“You seem dissatisfied with the New Republic, Senator Ren,” Hux said, trying to keep his voice neutral.
Ren turned to Hux. “If we were on Coruscant, we could have sat in the Emperor’s box at the Galaxies. The Naboo paid for it, and the owners thought it would be more of an eyesore to tear out than to leave up.”
Hux found himself tensely tapping his fingers against his glass. “Don’t you find it repulsive, having his things?”
With a shake of his head, Ren replied, “His possessions ought to be used, rather than superstitiously treated like cursed artifacts of the dark side. Not all Palpatine did was wrong.” Ren looked over the audience, a febrile cast to his eyes. “Though none of it lasted, because his understanding of the Force was flawed. He killed his master before he could be taught his final lesson.”
“You left yours.” The words tumbled out before Hux could stop himself, bringing Ren’s attention back to him.
“He had nothing to teach me.”
Ren had a new master. Something had wormed its way into the New Republic, working in secrecy to—what? Hux’s mouth was dry. Ren might support the First Order; how he had been turned against his own parents was beside the point. Sith Lords, the legends went, had hideous yellow eyes. Ren’s were merely very brown.
“Would you like me to bring you to Coruscant?” Ren asked. He leaned over Hux, placing his hands on the armrests. Anyone spying on them would just see the silk of Ren’s sleeves and his bent back. “Taking up the same space as your dead idol, thinking the same thoughts about ruling the galaxy?”
Nothing Hux could do would paint a bigger target on his back than admitting his ambitions in public, and Ren thought it made for good flirtation. Hux was still reeling when Ren brushed his knuckles against his jawline, tilting his head the way he liked. This was the time for Hux to tell Ren he was flattered, but unwilling to complicate their negotiations.
“No one’s looking at us. I can tell.”
Ren kissed Hux’s temple first. He lowered his lips to Hux’s mouth, kissing him so lightly that Hux had to take control. Pressing his hand to the back of Ren’s neck, he pulled him closer, trusting Ren to keep what they did out of sight. Ren kept yielding to him, letting Hux slip his tongue past his lips and take all the time he wanted. Hux shouldn’t be doing any of this, not in fucking public where someone bored with the opera could look up and see Senator Ren being tongued by a high-ranking officer of a militant fringe group. And it would reach the First Order eventually, land on the desk of the Minister for the Protection of Families, and she would ask Hux exactly how many good little soldiers he planned on conceiving with his new boyfriend. A teacher had made him sit with a bar of soap in his mouth for half an hour just for doing exactly this, kissing someone with an inconvenient set of parts, and it all made him furious. He pushed Ren away, relishing the annoyed furrow between his brows.
“This won’t influence my decision,” said Ren.
“Good.” Hux believed him. Knowing what little he did of Ren, it seemed likely that he’d made up his mind before Hux had even left friendly space. “Then I want you to fuck me.”
Of all the unnecessary luxuries of life under the Rebel government, Hux’s new favorite was the small lobby behind their box seating, and its locking door. Ren glanced at the couch and declared that Hux was too tall for it, settling on pushing him up against the bar cabinet.
“Usually bring shorter men up here?” Hux asked.
“Yes,” Ren said, drawing Hux into another kiss before turning him around. “Does that make you feel superior?”
“Many things do.”
Hux braced his arms on the bar top, next to the still-open whisky and the glass tumblers. If Ren wasn’t careful, he could send a whole month of a junior officer’s salary crashing onto the floor. His hands were clumsy on the old-fashioned buttons of Hux’s breeches, but quicker to slide his fingers into the band of Hux’s briefs and pull them both down past his thighs.
“Your tunic is too long,” Ren muttered.
Sighing, Hux reached down to unbuckle his belt and undo just enough buttons to yank the whole thing over his head. He was already chilly by the time his tunic hit the floor. Ren’s hands were hot on his lower back as he pushed Hux’s undershirt up, and he could hear Ren fiddling around with his own clothing. Anticipating sex with someone new always left Hux nervous, eager to get any of the awkwardness over and done with. Hux’s arousal surged when Ren nudged his legs further apart; it was supposed to be humiliating to let another man do this to him, but he’d never felt any shame. Just that same simmering anger at being held to someone else’s standards.
“Don’t spend forever with your fingers up my arse,” Hux said.
“Yes, sir.” While Ren searched through one of the cabinet drawers, Hux wondered if some holovid star might have recently been in his place, hoping the lubricant wasn’t scented. Ren pulled Hux flush against him and asked, “Are you sure?”
“Congratulations on your penis, Senator,” Hux replied dryly, because Ren was smug enough before Hux found out he was hung like a bantha. “You’re easily in the top percentile of cocks I’ve internalized.”
Ren laughed, running his hand possessively over Hux’s waist, skimming low enough to brush his fingers over his dick. “I didn’t realize a sense of humor could rise all the way through the ranks.”
“I was promoted very rapidly.” He hoped Ren sensed him rolling his eyes.
With a blissful lack of preamble, Ren pressed two slicked fingers inside. Hux sucked in a breath as the slight edge of discomfort made him even harder. He felt pinned by Ren’s weight as he loomed over him, working his fingers while sliding his cock between Hux’s legs. It was so close to what he wanted but not enough. Hux could still think about all the ways the night had frayed into a disaster. Ren withdrew completely, leaving Hux to shiver under the air vent and listen to Ren fiddling with the lube again. After too long, Ren’s hands were back on Hux’s waist and the thick head of his cock nudging at his hole. Ren pushed in slowly, but at his size, making it painless was impossible. Hux loved every second.
“You bastard,” Hux gasped as Ren went all the way in. “You absolute bastard.”
“I can stop. Mind the vent; the noise carries.”
Ren started to move, with relaxed, shallow thrusts. He dragged his hand up Hux’s chest, rucking up his undershirt until all Hux had was a narrow band of fabric to cover himself. Hux felt miserably exposed to Ren, who kept touching him everywhere with those hands that made him feel small, licking and nipping at the bared flesh of his nape and shoulders.
“You have so much anger and fear,” said Ren, “and the only thing that makes you feel in control is to feed them."
“Do you psychoanalyze everyone you sleep with?”
“Just you,” Ren replied, with a rough snap of his hips that made Hux choke off a shout. Hux’s knuckles whitened as he gripped the edge of the cabinet, his thoughts finally narrowing down to the sharp pleasure of being filled up and fucked.
But then Hux’s damn comlink went off in the tunic he’d thrown out of his reach. Ren paused, then stretched out his arm and the comlink went flying into his hand. Hux would’ve jumped if he didn’t have the Senator draped over him. Ren handed over the comlink, looking very pleased with himself.
“Endor’s moon,” Hux mumbled, double-checking that the comlink was set to ‘audio only.’ “Please don’t make a sound. Or move.” He pressed receive. “Come in.”
“Evening, sir,” Mitaka said. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but it’s been three hours.”
“Negotiations take time, Lieutenant.”
“I hope they’re going well, sir.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Hux saw Ren smirking. “The Senator is receptive,” Hux said.
“Excellent. Interior Affairs just called over the comm, asking when you would be returning.”
Again, Mitaka was playing messenger boy for veiled threats. He wondered if Mitaka even noticed. “When I’m done with Kylo Ren.” The man currently disobeying Hux’s command by idly tracing the bones in his shoulder.
“I’ll inform them right away.”
“I have a message for you to add on. Ready to copy, because I want this verbatim.” He waited for Mitaka to fetch his datapad. “To the Director of Interior Affairs: This became a military matter as soon as I received the assignment. As such, my actions are outside of your domain and you are to keep your political pissing contest where it belongs, in your dreary little building and out of my hearing. Do you have that down exactly, Lieutenant?”
“Yes, sir,” Mitaka replied, sounding wretched.
“Good. Do not contact me again unless it’s an absolute emergency. Out.” Hux ended the call and tossed the comlink to the ground.
Before Hux could say anything, Ren was tangling his fingers in Hux’s hair, turning his head to bring their lips together. Ren was aggressive this time, cupping Hux’s face with one hand and stroking his cock with the other. Well, Ren wasn’t the first person to get off on Hux giving orders. Ren slid his thigh beneath Hux’s to push him upwards, rocking him forward on the balls of his feet with each thrust. The only thing keeping Hux from moaning was the fact that Ren was still kissing him, sloppily and like he wanted to take even more from Hux than he already had. Ren kept treating Hux on just the right side of rough, his grip on his hair tightening as he released Hux’s mouth and bit down on his shoulder.
“Fucking beast,” Hux cursed, feeling every tooth. He couldn’t last after that, coming into Ren’s hand.
His tone perfectly unaffected, Ren said, “Hold still.”
Ren moved his soiled hand onto Hux’s hip and yanked his head back, his mouth gentle as he kissed a line from beneath Hux’s ear to the base of his neck even as he increased the pace. Hux was too sensitive now, his heartbeat starfighter-quick against Ren’s lips. Ren finally groaned and stilled, thrusting one last time as Hux felt the unpleasant drip of come down his inner thigh.
Abruptly, Hux was aware he had his breeches around his ankles, a Rebel senator’s softening dick up his ass, and a vent blasting icy air down his exposed chest, all without the distraction of an erection. “Get off me,” Hux said. Ren did as he was told, freeing Hux to pull his shirt down and try to clean himself up. He was spitefully thinking of using part of Ren’s robe when Ren opened another cabinet drawer and handed over some refresher wipes.
It didn’t take long for Hux to put himself back into a degree of respectability. Ren looked perfectly serene, his hands clasped underneath his sleeves. Since he was already at the bar, Hux poured himself two fingers of whisky.
“Do you drink, Ren?”
“Thought not.” Probably something to do with the Force. Hux took a few swallows while doing up the last few buttons of his tunic with his free hand.
“You’re in danger back home, aren’t you?”
“Organizational infighting. I imagine you know all about that sort of thing.”
“I do.” Ren touched Hux’s arm, an inappropriately intimate gesture now. “You look tired, General. You can rest a few hours at my apartment, if you need it.”
Ren’s penthouse had an administrative blankness to it. There was hardly any furniture, and almost everything was in shades of black and gray. If it weren’t for the windows overlooking the city, Hux could have believed himself back on the Finalizer.
“I almost never bring people here,” said Ren. “Including myself. Help yourself to whatever you want; I keep no secrets at home.”
To his surprise, Ren left Hux on his own so he could use the refresher. It seemed calculated to give Hux time to consider his situation, but he was grateful for the solitude nonetheless. Hux went to stand by one of the floor-length windows, where the view of Republic City from above was more meditative than enraging.
He’d let his frustration with the First Order’s newest crop of bureaucrats get away with him. Interior Affairs and its satellites like the Ministry for the Protection of Families certainly had their uses. They kept him supplied with stormtroopers, maintained loyalty amongst the people, and Hux had no desire to go back to the inefficient nightmare of martial law. But they had overstepped by treating Hux like an errand boy who needed guiding. Only Hux’s true peers—his fellow officers, the people who made the First Order what it was—believed in him. The whole system suffered without a single, strong person at its head. That was why the First Order needed an emperor.
Alone, the apartment was disquieting. Hux didn’t believe in haunted places, ever since his father had taken him to Korriban as a boy. Standing bored beside the empty tombs was one of his oldest memories. But the hackles on the back of his neck kept rising whenever he looked to the hallway on his right, as if something awful lurked there.
When Ren came back out, he was wearing a bathrobe which barely reached mid-thigh. He joined Hux at the window, smugly aware that Hux was eyeing everything he hadn’t seen earlier that evening.
“We should talk about how you fetched my comlink,” Hux said, refusing to be distracted by Ren’s pretense of an outfit and the fact that he’d blow-dried his hair.
“That was nice of me.”
“And read my mind,” Hux added.
Ren crossed his arms, defensive for the first time. “I wouldn’t trust you if I hadn’t. I never looked deeply; you’d have felt it.”
As unsettling as it was to think of Ren riffling through his head, the potential usefulness of his ability was staggering. “Your Force abilities aren’t weak. Why show me, when you’ve lied about them to the Senate?”
“Because I trust you.”
Trust was rare in Hux’s world. He never fully trusted anyone, and now Ren kept offering it up, like he thought it was something Hux would want. Ren had probably learned more about Hux overnight than his closest friends knew after years. It was unfair. Hux should walk away, but Ren kept dangling that appalling trust in front of him, and he was starved for it.
“Are you a Sith?” Hux asked, trying to find his footing again. “Is that how you’ve kept yourself a secret?”
“I like how you started with that, instead of asking me if I killed Skywalker’s students. I am no more a Sith than you are an Imperial. They are dead movements.” Ren drew close to Hux again, as if he could never leave any space between them, and whispered, “I need the war you’re planning. Give it to me, and I’ll see you made Emperor.”
It was a madman’s offer. There were only two of them, after all. But history had always reshaped itself around the great—why couldn’t the next shapers be him and Ren? Saying “yes” to Ren felt too simple. Hux kissed him instead. Ren indulged him, wrapping his arms around Hux with that deceptive delicacy he sometimes had. It probably wasn’t how Palpatine and Vader had sealed their loyalty, but they were, ultimately, failures.
Ren broke the kiss, holding one finger to Hux’s lips as he said, “I want to take you to bed with me.”
Hux had already stayed longer than he should. He followed Ren to the bedroom, in the opposite direction of the strangely dreadful hallway. A few muted lights turned on automatically, illuminating the oversized bed and little else. They didn’t even make it to the bed before Ren’s hands were at the buttons of Hux’s tunic.
“It wouldn’t be fair to undress me again while staying clothed yourself,” Hux said, catching Ren’s wrists.
With a shrug, Ren untied his robe and let it slip to the floor. “Enjoy.” His legs looked even longer without anything on, and he had the sort of body Hux couldn’t achieve without relocating his entire life to a bench press. Ren undid Hux’s collar, nipping at the freshly uncovered hollow of his throat while working on the rest of the tunic’s buttons.
“You’re fascinated by my uniform, aren’t you?”
“The New Republic has no military.” Ren was much quicker with Hux’s clothes this time, using the Force as much as his fingers. “I’ve never met a soldier before.”
“I’ve never met a politician,” Hux replied, wriggling out of his undershirt after Ren slid the tunic off his shoulders.
“You’ll be disappointed if you expect any of the others to resemble me.” Ren’s eyes focused on the quadanium identitags Hux wore around his neck. Holding them between his fingers, he said, “I wondered about these.”
“They’re for identification.” Pushing Ren the last few steps to the bed, Hux settled on top of him, enjoying looking down at him for once. “DNA typing doesn’t work very well when it’s been torpedoed.”
“Really,” Ren replied, slipping his fingers back under the identitags, nails blunt against Hux’s skin. “I like you more than I expected to. None of this was planned.”
Trying not to smile, Hux asked, “Offering to take over the galaxy with me, or having sex?”
“Neither. I thought you were only a fanatic with a tailored coat who could roll his R’s.”
“I’m every one of those things.” Hux made an extra effort to draw out the R.
“You’re also ambitious,” said Ren, moving his hands down to Hux’s waist, where he seemed to prefer them, “under the coat and the sneer. But it must for hard for someone like you, in the First Order.”
Of course Ren couldn’t resist a moment of Republican condescension. “They always have a way to get a hold over you. If it weren’t who I wanted to fuck,” Hux replied with a sigh, leaning down until they were close enough to kiss, “it would be something else.” He pressed his mouth to Ren’s, savoring how soft his lips were before exploring the rest of him. It was too comfortable to have Ren on the bed; an invitation to waste time, really. Hux licked a line down Ren’s neck on his way to bite the thick muscle of his shoulder, digging his nails into his waist. Ren groaned and thrust against him, making Hux wish he’d bothered to take his breeches off but only a fire alarm could get him off Ren right now.
Some of Ren’s hair had fallen over his eyes, so Hux reached up to tuck it out of the way. On impulse, he traced Ren’s lips with his fingers, then pushed. Ren opened his mouth, licking at Hux’s fingers with obscene relish before taking them down to the knuckle. Attractive as the performance was, Hux wondered if he could make Ren drop it. Removing his fingers, he slid them between Ren’s thighs, giving him a few moments to protest. Ren spread his legs, biting his lip as Hux copied his earlier move and pushed in two fingers. Hux changed his position so he could prop up Ren’s thighs with his own, keeping Ren exposed.
“You look like you want to devour me,” Ren said.
“You would know.”
He sucked a bruise high up on Ren’s neck, where people would have to see it. Ren’s response was to run his hands through Hux’s hair, pressing on the back of his neck for more. Needing somewhere more sensitive, Hux lowered his head to drag his tongue over Ren’s nipple as he arched his fingers inside him, making Ren gasp and squirm against him every time Hux moved. It had been too long since Hux had been with anyone fit, and he almost wanted to gratefully rub his face against Ren’s chest. He could probably get off just by sliding his dick between Ren’s pectorals.
Hux was uncomfortably hard in his briefs. Irritably, he used his free hand to unbutton his breeches and ease some of the pressure, earning a curious stare from Ren. Neither of them had gotten a good look at each other at the opera, though Ren had mapped out Hux’s body with his hands. “Take everything off,” Ren said.
Reluctant as he was to get up, Hux moved aside so he could remove his boots and shove his breeches down with a speed he hadn’t had since his teens. Ren barely even gave Hux that much time before he was pulling Hux back on top of him.
“Do you have anything in here?” Hux asked, worried that Ren might be the statistical freak who never wanked before bed.
With a nod, Ren held out his arm and crooked one finger, opening the dresser drawer. Hux was just able to reach inside and feel around for something bottle-like. Reading the label, which featured a leering Grand Admiral and a horrible pun, Hux said, “Oh, you definitely weren’t intending to bring me here.”
“Are your brands not Republic-themed?” Ren asked, raising one eyebrow.
“We have,” Hux replied, slicking up his fingers, “a standard issue, medical grade lubricant called Slick-X. We pretend no one has fun with it.”
As Hux pressed three fingers inside him, Ren exhaled, canting his hips for a better angle. “Sounds dire.”
To hold off the ideological debate Ren was probably putting together, Hux adjusted his position, practically lying between Ren’s legs so he could finally wrap his tongue around Ren’s oversized cock. Ren moaned and put his legs over Hux’s shoulders, which was all the encouragement Hux needed to take the first few centimeters into his mouth as he kept fucking Ren with his fingers. He was so big that Hux knew his jaw would ache almost as badly as his ass already did, a reminder that would follow him back to the shuttle. Blushing, Hux opened his mouth wider, letting Ren’s dick hit the back of his throat. Ren swore, yanking hard on Hux’s hair and rubbing his thumb over Hux’s cheek.
“I’ll never be able to indifferently watch one of your holos again,” Ren murmured, thrusting into Hux’s mouth. “I need you to fuck me now or I’m coming down your throat.”
Attractive as the second option was, that could be saved for another time. Hux pulled off and withdrew his fingers. “Any preference?” Hux asked.
Ren patted one of the pillows next to him. “Your lap. I want to see your face.”
“So you can compare it to the holos?”
“I’ll need something when you’re away,” Ren replied, kissing where Hux’s cheek was flushed.
Hux distracted himself from Ren’s nonsense by fastidiously rearranging the pillows against the headboard. As soon as Hux sat back, Ren settled over him, pleasingly heavy. Hux couldn’t resist crushing his mouth to Ren’s, biting his lower lip when he felt Ren’s lubricated hand on his cock. Then Ren was lowering himself onto Hux, his thighs straining as he did it with the same slowness as when he’d entered him.
“Not calling me a bastard this time?” Ren said.
“Only if you don’t move,” Hux replied, pinching Ren’s nipple. Ren twisted the chain of Hux’s identitags around his knuckles and tugged, making Hux choose between tilting his head up or being choked. Hux grasped Ren by his hips and ground into him, tucking his face underneath Ren’s neck as Ren began to ride him. Ren reached down to stroke himself, tightening his grip on the identitags until his knuckles were pressing against the most vulnerable part of his throat. They were both gasping with effort. Hux couldn’t even get enough air to warn Ren that he was about to come.
“Don’t come yet,” Ren said, the words landing like sparks inside Hux’s head. His orgasm kept building to a painful peak without any relief, and he could almost cry with frustration. “Hux, please, I’m close, just a little more,” Ren pleaded, before Hux felt his warm release over his chest. Hux came a second after, finishing harder than he ever had in his life.
“Nerf-loving Rebel scum,” Hux muttered, trying to get his thoughts together. “That’s not what the Force is for.”
“Celibacy was one of the Jedi’s most senseless traditions,” Ren replied, getting off Hux and haughtily stretching out on the bed.
Eyeing the mess Ren had left on his stomach, Hux said, “I need to sleep for a year.”
Hux sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “Fine. I’m using your refresher.”
Ren waved his hand. “It’s to your left.”
The carpet felt needlessly plush under Hux’s feet as he made his way through Ren’s dark cave of a room. His thigh muscles were already starting to smart, and a quick check in the mirror revealed a red line around Hux’s neck that would fortunately be hidden by his collar. Hux was too old for this. He rested his forehead against the cool tile of the shower as he tried to decipher the different setting symbols. Deciding on the one that looked like a person getting fragged, Hux let the severe waste of water resources pummel his sore body while he washed away all the evidence. The shower blasted him with hot air when he shut the water off, which was an entirely useless invention when towels existed.
Ren was nestled under the sheets when Hux came back out, his fingers skimming over his datapad. “I won’t propose the relaxation of trade sanctions,” Ren said, putting the datapad aside. “Make Senator Deen introduce it. I’ll ensure it passes without branding me as a sympathizer. Deen’s credibility will be spent, but he’s close to declaring bankruptcy and you’ve already bled him dry.”
“Why are you certain Deen’s one of ours?”
“Because he thinks about the Order during committee meetings, and I’ve had access to his bank statements for months. He’s spent a fortune on you.”
Ren’s bureaucratic patter had a soothing familiarity to it, minus the mindreading. Hux joined him in bed, counting off the years since he’d spent the night with someone. Before his latest promotion would make it at least four. He’d never particularly liked it, but he also rarely liked the people he had sex with. At least Ren didn’t rush to snuggle him.
“Deen’s a good man,” Hux said, relaxing despite himself. “We didn’t realize he was having financial trouble.”
Turning onto his side, Hux faced the doorway out of habit. Ren rested his hand on Hux’s waist. “A mix of blackmail and being a poor sabacc player.”
Hux was considering whether or not he wanted to push Ren’s warm hand off when he fell asleep.
Nightmares rarely happened to Hux. They were usually mundane, too. He’d go to the bridge and realize he wasn’t wearing breeches. Or he’d be back in the cantina, twenty years old and stupid, his hands cuffed while he contemplated the black mark of a family offense following his career forever because some self-important peace officer didn’t care who Hux’s father was. After he found out, his father had the man transferred to security on a mining planet.
This nightmare was new. Something unbearably weighty was sitting on his chest, a grey shadow-creature with a slash for a mouth and two pinpricks of light in its deep-set eyes. Hux tried to shove it off of him, but it only got heavier. Hands stroked Hux’s face, large, soft hands which Hux realized were Ren’s. “Let me in,” Ren whispered, “let me in.”
Hux woke up with a start. The monstrous weight was Ren’s; in his sleep, he’d thrown a leg over Hux and clutched him to his chest. Heart racing and covered in sweat, Hux pushed Ren off. Ren stirred and opened one eye.
“Bad dream?” Ren asked.
“Your overdeveloped chest made me think I was being crushed to death.”
“I’ll have to stop working out.”
“Don’t you dare.” Hux looked around for a clock. “What time is it?
Ren fumbled around for his datapad and thumbed it on. “It’s seven in the morning.”
Hux started getting out of bed at the word ‘seven’ and had found his uniform by ‘morning.’ He could be out of Ren’s apartment within twenty minutes. His comlink showed no new messages, which spoke well of Mitaka’s ability to follow orders.
“I’ll have my droid make breakfast,” Ren called out after Hux ducked back into the refresher.
Hux considered his cover story while he tried to decipher the complicated code of Republican grooming products. Why did everything have to be named after aliens? ‘Sullustan Shine’ was, judging by the smell, aftershave. ‘Zabrak Zing’ was soap, and ‘Cerean Serenity’ was hair product. Cereans barely even had hair.
He would report that last night, Ren had dragged him to a painfully boring opera recital. That was true. Afterwards, Ren took Hux to some sort of debauched Republican party, where he continued to prevaricate over whether or not he was willing to help the First Order, and asked for a truly staggering amount of bribes. However, Hux persisted in his mission, getting valuable information from Ren and promises of future cooperation. No one would completely believe the story, but neither would they know what Hux had actually done, and what mattered was that he had achieved Ren’s support, for free.
By the time Hux had made himself the image of a proper First Order officer and went to the kitchen, the droid had set out food for five. There was a lavish array of pastries and various meats, fruits, and cheeses, leading Hux to wonder what exactly the Core worlds thought breakfast was supposed to be.
“I wasn’t sure what you normally ate, so I had him get everything,” Ren said, slipping a piece of livid orange fruit in his mouth. He was leaning against the kitchen island, almost conservatively dressed in a navy tunic and trousers that didn’t have a trace of gold beading.
“Is that a modified assassin droid?” Hux asked.
“Evasion: I have not committed violence in twenty-six cycles,” the droid stated. “Reassurance: you are completely safe with me.”
Ren shrugged. “The HKs have a good look to them. Their programming is nearly flexible.”
The assassin droid pushed a cup of caf over to Hux as he took a seat. Hux sipped at the caf and politely selected a single pastry. The impact of everything he’d done with Ren was something he could only process slowly, with mounting nerves. He’d suspect Ren of toying with his head, if it hadn’t felt so distinctive when Ren had used a mind trick on him during sex.
Fucking hell. At least the pastry tasted good. Hux would still have his position when he returned to the First Order. Ren could read the mind of every senator in the New Republic, and wanted to make Hux an emperor. Also, he was probably a murderer and definitely mentally unstable. Hux rather liked him.
This was manageable, somehow.
“Tell me about the Starkiller,” Ren asked.
Stiffening, Hux replied, “Don’t you already know?”
“Not in the detail I want. You’re in charge of it, aren’t you?”
Ren could probably sense Hux’s surge of pride. The Starkiller project would be his legacy even if he died tomorrow.
“That’s a lot to ask of me,” Hux said. Ren looked disappointed, and Hux was reminded that Ren had already revealed so much about himself. It was safer for Ren, though; no one would believe Hux if he reported Ren to the authorities. Telling Ren anything about the First Order’s real plans, on the other hand, meant life or death. “After the trade sanctions are relaxed.”
“I won’t force it out of you,” said Ren, anticipating Hux’s unspoken worry. “There’s someone I want you to meet.”
“Through a holoprojector. It’s down the hall.”
Down the hallway that had Hux shivering like a superstitious child. “Your master.”
Ren smiled. “Come with me. I know you can’t stay much longer.”
Hux fought back the irrational urge to say no. He followed Ren, puzzling over how the air seemed to get more oppressive. Ren’s energy was high, and he kept looking at Hux out of the corner of his eye to make sure he was behind him. It was like Ren shifted into another person, straining towards something far away.
He opened to a door empty of everything but a holoprojector. It was a large room; easily the biggest in the apartment. The ghastly aura was so thick, it was like being crushed under it. Hux could think of nothing to compare it to, except the terror he’d felt when he learned that his father had died. “Ren,” Hux said, embarrassed by how pathetic he sounded.
Ren put his hand on Hux’s shoulder, leaning into him. “There’s nothing to fear from him. You have shared interests.”
“What shared interests?”
Turning on the holoprojector, Ren replied, “Restoring order to the galaxy.”
The image flickered at first, showing nothing only noise and splotches of black and gray. But soon, there was a great pale face looking down at Hux.
“General,” said the figure, “I believe we will be of great help to each other.”