Hux could feel it again. That gentle tug of someone trying to force their way into his head. He knew who it was instantly, he just didn't know why Kylo Ren wanted to know what he was thinking.
“Ren!” He shouted without turning to look at the man who he knew was in the room somewhere. Ren had been making an extra special effort to get into Hux's mind lately. Ever since the destruction of the Starkiller base, he's become even more of a nuisance, which Hux previously thought was impossible.
“I've warned you about this.” Hux said dangerously as he turned to glare at the dark figure standing at the door.
Suddenly the whole room's eyes were on Hux, everyone, including Mitaka was watching in anxious anticipation. Whenever Hux confronted Ren in front of the crew it almost always ended badly.
Ren tiled his ridiculous mask in Hux's direction. “I don't take orders from you.”
Hux's lip twitched in anger. In all the time he has spent with Ren, he has never once felt like he had any authority over the man, and he hated it. He hated Ren, but he didn't need the whole crew hearing that so he decided he'd handle it in private.
“My office. 1800.” Hux responded sternly and turned back to his datapad, hoping that ignoring Ren would get him to leave.
He needed to find out why Ren was doing this. These futile attempts of a mental intrusion were getting unbearable. Funnily enough, Ren had barely tried this before everything happened with the resistance. He would maybe try once every few months, but now he was being extremely persistent. Every single day Kylo would continue to try hack away at the wall Hux had built up around his mind. He had to know why. A thought he had was Ren could be trying to listen to the heavy mess of thoughts Hux was having about defeat they were dealt.
The blow made Hux question everything. His skill, his ability to do his job.
Ren would probably get off on hearing the self doubt in Hux's thoughts.
At 1800 hours exactly Hux marched into his office. Ren was already inside, which instantly made Hux's temper flare. He hated when Ren just let himself in.
“Why are you trying to get into my head, Ren?” Hux asked as soon as he shut the door behind him.
“What do you mean?” Kylo replied, his voice modulator not altering his voice enough for Hux to not recognise the insincerity.
“If you want to know something then ask, Ren. Just like a civilised person would do.” Hux bit out.
“I won't need to. I'll find a way in... sooner or later.”
Hux had been in the room less than five minutes and he was already wanting to throttle the man child. “You realise that I have been trained to block force mind readers, Ren. I am prepared to answer you if you have a question, but you will not be taking anything from my mind against my will. So... out with it.”
Ren was silent for quite a while. Hux couldn't see his expression, but he knew Ren was trying desperately to think of something to say. After what must have been a full minute of silence Hux huffed impatiently.
“Well, if that's all...”
Ren turned his back for a moment. Hux thought he was about to exit the room until he heard the unmistakeable noise of Ren releasing the clasps of his helmet.
And there it was. The odd, mismatched face of Kylo Ren carefully watching Hux's face for any hint of movement. Though Hux was doing his best to remain expressionless he struggled to hide a slight grimace at the large, ugly scar that covered quite a lot of Ren's face.
Kylo definitely noticed the slight change in Hux's expression and struggled to hide his own reaction, which almost seemed like disappointment, but as quickly as the emotion appeared, it quickly flickered to anger. And then Hux could feel it again, the brat was trying to enter his mind again. This time beating and throwing himself against the walls that Hux had built up.
“Ren, you will stop this NOW!” Hux yelled, but Ren continued to press harder against the walls, even moving closer and holding his arm out to deepen the connection.
Hux immediately whacked Ren's arm out of the way and closed the distance between them, then, using every ounce of strength he had, he slapped Ren in the face as hard as he possibly could.
Ren stumbled back, his hand immediately going to his cheek.
“How dare you!” Hux yelled. “You fucking idiot!”
Kylo didn't speak for a while, his hand was still clutching at his face, his breathing was heavy and he hadn’t moved an inch since he fell.
The attempted assault on his mind had stopped as soon as Kylo hit the ground, but Hux was still furious. He stomped towards Ren and forced him to look up by grabbing his chin in a death grip.
“You will NEVER try that again, or you will receive a punishment far worse than a simple slap to face, Ren”
Kylo seemed to be in shock, his mouth gaping slightly and his eyes seemingly stuck in a confused stare, but Hux could tell he was still paying attention. Once he was sure the message had gotten through he released Ren by roughly letting go of his chin and storming out of the room.
It was after Hux had left the room he realised how potentially dangerous his action was. He had hit Kylo Ren. Hard. If Kylo wanted to, he could've used the force to destroy Hux on the spot... but he didn't and Hux wasn't sure why. He knew Ren would be reprimanded by Snoke if he was to kill the General, but that wouldn't stop Ren from hurting him. Hux didn't think so anyway.
Once back at his quarters, Hux completed his usual tasks. He showered, had dinner, picked his clothes out for tomorrow. The whole time just waiting for Ren's retaliation to come in some form of mental or physical torture. But it never did, and Hux slept better than he had for a very long time.
The next day Hux went about his job as per usual. He didn't see Ren all morning, and didn't feel anyone trying to get inside his head either. It was bliss.
When Hux did see Ren, it was around 1500. Hux was walking to the new bridge of operations to perform a check on his staff when Kylo Ren came around the corner. He was wearing his helmet again, which Hux found somewhat humorous. He knew the slap he gave Kylo would've left quite the mark. He even smirked a little as Ren walked by, who was not sparing a single glance in Hux's direction. In fact, it seemed Ren was doing everything in his power to avoid Hux's attention completely.
The next two days continued like that. Ren kept his distance and Hux didn't feel a single intrusion. Although, on the third day, Mitaka came to Hux in his office with a worried look on his face.
“General, Kylo Ren has had another one of his... episodes.”
“Hux openly groaned “What has he destroyed this time?”
“The main panel, Sir.” Mitaka responded quietly.
Hux shot up from his desk. “What? Why?!”
Mitaka shook his head nervously. “I-I'm not sure, Sir. He just stomped toward it and started slashing away with his saber.
Hux inhaled deeply through his nose and began walking out the door. “Is he still there?”
Mitaka shook his head. “He left pretty much straight after. I believe he went to his quarters though.”
“Right. Get technicians working on the panel immediately. I want a damage report within the hour.”
“Yes, Sir!” Mitaka said quickly, as sped off towards the bridge.
Hux immediately went towards the wing where he and Kylo's quarters were situated. Once he reached Kylo's room he didn't even bother to pound on the door. Instead he pressed the enter button and stormed inside. Kylo was facing his desk, he didn't turn around when Hux entered, but his body stiffened at the sound of the sudden intrusion.
“What the fuck were you thinking destroying the panel!? Do you have any idea how much this will cost to replace. The effort it will take! How cou-” Hux stopped talking abruptly when Kylo turned around to face him.
… Now, Hux knew that the slap would leave a mark, but he didn't think it would be as glorious as it was. He could see every one of his fingers outlined and indented onto Kylo's cheek with a deep purple bruise, the palm mark was a glowing, bright red, and he wasn't sure, but Hux swore he could see what resembled a cut a little lower down.
Kylo's expression was unreadable. He looked angry, but also unsure.
Hux peeled his eyes off his masterpiece for a moment and went back to looking at Kylo's eyes. “You destroyed a very important piece of equipment. I want to know why.”
Kylo took a deep breath in and seemed to think about his answer before eventually smirking at Hux “Because I knew it would piss you off.”
Hux's eyes flashed with rage and he stepped forward. “You child. You're insufferable and pathetic.”
Kylo watched Hux carefully as he closed in.
“What will it take to get you to grow up?” Hux said as his eyes scanned over the dark bruising he'd caused. Which was even more impressive up close.
“Did you not learn the first time?”
Kylo inhaled deeply at that.“What are you going to do? Hit me again, General? Didn't peg that for your style.” He said almost challengingly.
“Keep talking, Ren, and you'll see exactly what I plan to do.”