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Kylo pauses, panting. His hair hangs in his face, matted with sticky wetness that is somewhere between blood and sweat. He shakes his head, and small drops splatter around him, joining the mud on the ground and mingling with the filth already there. Kylo’s breath steams in the air, coming in small puffs. He tightens his hand around the handle of his saber.

“The area’s clear, Supreme Leader,” a trooper snaps out, saluting as he comes closer. He pauses just outside the reach of Kylo’s saber.

Kylo nods sharply, still gasping for breath. His whole body seems to hum, a plucked bowstring trembling in the wake of an arrow, unbroken even at the memory of the destruction it has just released.

“And the general?” He manages to grit out, clenching his teeth to still his shaking.

“He has arrived back on the Finalizer,” the trooper shifts from side to side. “I haven’t gotten an update on his condition yet from the medbay.”

Kylo ignites his saber, and its power sings through him. His bones hum with it, and Kylo smiles fiercely as the trooper takes a step away from him and he slams the saber down into a body lying in the mud.

Blood and rain hiss in the air. Kylo’s saber spits sparks, and he wrenches it free from the body with a growl. He turns from the trooper, stomping towards his shuttle. He hardly notices the podium that lurks, smoldering, off to one side of the muddy yard. Troopers line the edges of the square, their white armor drenched with rain and stained with dirt.

Kylo looks completely away from the platform. The handle of his saber bites into his flesh, and even the soft leather of his gloves doesn’t protect him from the ridges and lines of hard metal that run along it.

When he reaches his shuttle, Kylo pauses again, taking a deep breath. He turns to the captain standing at attention next to the hatch, and the woman shrinks back for a moment, before squaring her shoulders.

“Spread out. Find anyone involved in this atrocity and dispose of them. I don’t want a single traitor left on this stinking planet,” Kylo bites off the words as he stomps up the ramp to the shuttle.

Inside, he throws himself into the cockpit, retracting his saber and starting the preflight checklist with hands that ache. He runs through his preparations as fast as he ever has. The shuttle comes alive, lights flashing and air hissing in through the vents. Kylo takes another deep breath, filling his lungs with the freshness of the filtered air. He shakes his head, trying to clear away the stench of singed flesh and burning wood.

He falls into a chair, and lights flash as the shuttle starts to lift off. Kylo brushes his hair back from his face. As he sets his hand down, it leaves messy streaks across the controls. He pulls off his glove then, fingering the filth that clings to the controls. Kylo clenches his fist, and spreads muddy, gritty blood across his palm.

“Ten minutes to the Finalizer,” the ship announces.

Kylo glances at the empty seat beside him. He clenches his grimy hand. He almost fancies he can see the faint impression in the chair where Hux would be sitting.

Hux isn’t there, though.

It should be a relief. Kylo should breathe more easily here, without having to watch for a knife about to slip into his back. It is not so. Kylo’s shoulders are tense, his cape seeming to rest more heavily on his shoulders and his belt too tight around his waist.

Hux is his.

Hux belongs to the Order, and the Order belongs to him. Hux is not for some traitor to deal with no a meaningless planet that should have already been pacified.

Kylo’s eyes slip shut. This was not how he expected that today would go. Four hours ago, when he and Hux had climbed aboard this shuttle, they had wondered if this would be good location to set up a major base. Hux had argued against it, claiming that the planet wasn’t significantly industrialized for a base.

“If we’re going to be a new order for the galaxy, we have to start somewhere. Why not here?” Kylo had asked. “We’re told this planet voted to join the Order, and didn’t simply roll over and show its belly. They’re wise enough to want us here.”

Hux had frowned, his fingers dancing over his datapad.

“The vote wasn’t as solid as all that, Ren,” he’d murmured. “Just a slight majority in our favor.”

Kylo had shrugged. Hux and his numbers seem as inseparable as the two halves of the Force, always together and always working at cross purposes. Sometimes he wonders if Hux feels as though he is waging a war not with the Resistance, but with his datapad, forcing its scrolling code to bow to his wishes. It had seemed that way earlier today, as Hux tapped away at the screen.

They’d landed and Hux had finally been forced to put it away. He’d made his way out of the shuttle after Kylo, trailing in his wake. Kylo had swept along, watching the cheering crowd as he made his way to the podium. When he’d climbed to the stage and taken his place in the center, the crowd had fallen silent, looking at him with upturned faces.

With that many people about, it was hard to read any one individual in the Force. Instead, Kylo had almost panted with the feeling of adoration pouring in on him. A fierce, lusty, breathtaking adoration, one that twisted his stomach and choked him with its potency. He’d drawn in a long, steadying breath before he’d raised his hand to them all.

That’s when Hux had struck. He’d slammed into Kylo, shoving him from the center of the stage and down to the mucky ground below. Kylo had roared, his saber igniting, but then he’d seen Hux doubled over, clutching his ribs. The air seemed to thicken, and sound of the blaster shot to echo about the square as Kylo watched Hux scrabble at his tunic. Around his fingers, crimson leaked, and his pale skin was wet with scarlet blood. Kylo had vaulted back onto the platform, roaring.

He’d taken a moment to steady Hux, his hand going to Hux’s back and keeping him from falling to his knees. It had only taken a second, but when Kylo had looked back out at the crowd, it had been pandemonium. Hux was making small whimpering sounds beside him, slumped over the podium, but Kylo had only spared a moment to see that troopers were headed towards them. Then he’d leapt into the crowd, his saber singing to him, whispering its need through his bones.

Kylo hardly remembers what happened next, only the smell of blood and the warm splash of it across his face. His mind had gone blank, and he’d wanted to rip bones and sinews open with his bare hands, to take apart anyone who’d dared to try to destroy his Order. He’d shied away from thinking about Hux at the time, had tried not to look at where a streak of Hux’s blood must have painted the back of his hand until the hand was covered in viscera and grime. He simply acted, ridding the square of the vermin squirming and crawling away from him on shaking legs.

And now Kylo’s here, a minute away from the Finalizer, the traitors dead or dying on the planet below him.

He can still feel where Hux’s hands landed on his shoulders, shoving him out of the way of the incoming blaster bolt.

***

The medbay is a hubbub of activity. Machines whir from every side, a med droid brushes past Kylo with its pinchers clicking rhythmically, and a nurse steps in front of Kylo with his hands on his hips. A growl rumbles in Kylo’s throat, but the nurse doesn’t move out of the way.

“Let me see the general,” he snarls.

“Not a chance. You may be the Supreme Leader, but you’re covered in the Force only knows what, and you’re not getting any farther in here before you wash up.”

Kylo glances down at himself. His tunic is stained with something that shimmers in the harsh medbay lights. There’s water and mucus and blood on the edges of his cape, and his footsteps are rust colored. As he looks, a tiny droid skitters up, trying to mop away the stains that trail in Kylo’s wake. He purses his lip, but the nurse only looks pointedly at him, raising an eyebrow.

“The general is in bacta, in any case. He won’t be out for another twenty minutes. Come back then,” he, his voice softening at the last words.

“Don’t let him die. I won’t have my officers killed off by traitors and liars.”

“No, sir.” The nurse snaps a salute, and Kylo turns on his heel. He stalks out of the medbay with his boots leaving streaks on the floor and his hair falling into his eyes.

***

Kylo walks back into the medbay half an hour later. His hair drips water onto his shoulders now, and his cheeks are still hot from his shower. Clean now, his cape sweeps silently along the deck as he turns to the nurse standing at attention near one of the few private rooms at the back of the bay. It’s a new one, her short hair almost as bright as Hux’s where it peeks out from beneath her cap. Kylo stops right in front of her, glaring.

“Is he out of the bacta?” Kylo asks.

“Yes, sir, but…”

He hardly hears her objections as he pushes open the door. Inside, Hux is perched on the edge of the bed. His chest is bare except for the wide, white bandages that wrap around it. Across his chest and under his arm, Kylo can see bacta patches peeking out from beneath their coverings. Hux’s legs hang over the edge of the mattress, thin and pale, the soft down that covers them seeming almost white in the medbay’s harsh light. Hux looks up as Kylo steps into the room. He grimaces, and Kylo rolls his shoulders back.

“What are you doing here?” Hux grits out, his voice dry and rasping.

“You saved my life,” Kylo says, grabbing a flask of water from the table near Hux’s bed and handing it to him.

“For the second time, yes.”

Hux tips his head back and his throat works. As he sets down the flask, a drop of water runs down his chin. Kylo steps closer, until he’s standing less than a step in front of Hux, their legs almost touching.

“You didn’t have orders to do so this time,” Kylo tells him.

Hux chuckles, his voce still cracking even after the water.

“I could have left you the first time as well, orders or no.”

Kylo nods slowly. He knits his fingers together behind his back, his palms still aching from earlier.

“Yes, you could have,” he agrees. “You could have left me alone. No one would have been surprised.”

“No, they wouldn’t have.” Hux starts to get up from the bed. He groans, stumbling, and Kylo’s hands reach out to catch Hux before he can stop himself. Hux rests heavily in his arms, and Kylo heaves him back onto the mattress.

“So why didn’t you?” he asks bluntly.

“Would you believe me if I told you I did it out of loyalty?”

Kylo laughs, and presses one hand to Hux’s pale shoulder.

“Not a chance.”

“What if I said it was for the good of the Order.”

“You’re lying.”

“Fine,” Hux groans, standing up more slowly this time. “I did it to make them love me.”

“Who?” Kylo asks, one hand hovering near Hux in case he falls again.

“Every one of them. The whole Order. Did you know there were newsies there? Holocams in the corners. Everyone’s watching it now, watching how I threw myself in front of you, seeing the moment when I saved the Supreme Leader. They’ll love it.”

Kylo turns away, his throat working and the bones creaking as he clenches his fist. Hux laughs behind him, moving around with slow, steady footsteps.

“Don’t tell me you’re angry. I’m the reason you’re standing here.”

Kylo nods, still not quite able to speak. Hux’s hand lands on his shoulder, pressing down hard.

“Help me back to my room, would you?”

Kylo offers an arm, swallowing hard around the lump in his throat.

“I killed them,” he murmurs as he leads Hux our of the medbay. He waves away a nurse who seems about to protest their exit, and she skitters away like a mouse droid.

“Who?” Hux asks.

“All of the traitors,” Kylo says.

“I doubt that,” Hux pauses for a moment as they make their way down the corridor, looking straight at Kylo. “That would be quite a feat, even for you.” He tugs Kylo into the lift as Kylo responds.

“Anyone there who didn’t bow before me. The troopers are finding anyone else on that stinking planet who was involved.”

They step out of the lift and Hux leads Kylo to his chambers.

“A very nice touch,” he beckons Kylo inside. “Getting rid of the traitors before the cameras.”

“I wasn’t thinking about them.”

Kylo sinks into a chair near the door. Hux pours amber liquid into a glass, lowering himself onto the couch and groaning softly.

“Oh really?” Hux takes a long swallow and waves the glass at Kylo. “I don’t suppose you want some.”

Kylo shakes his head. “Why did you really save me on Starkiller?” he asks.

Hux tosses back the last swallow of whiskey. He sets the glass down with a heavy clunk, and looks at Kylo from beneath lowered eyelids.

“Why did you really kill those traitors?” Hux throws back at Kylo. Kylo gets up, taking three slow steps forward.

“You know why,” he mutters.

Hux nods. He stands up slowly, pressing his hand to his side. Then he beckons to Kylo again, walking towards the bedroom.

“Are you coming?” he asks.

Kylo nods, reaching up and freeing his cape from his shoulders. It slithers down to settle on the floor, and Kylo leaves it without a backward glance. He races across the room, grabbing Hux around the hips and lifting him off the ground. Hux gasps.

It’s only a few steps through the door and to the bed, and Kylo lays Hux down on it gently. Hux looks up at him, his eyes wide and his lip caught between his teeth.

“Well?” he asks.

***

Kylo takes a deep breath. Hux is laid out beneath him, with nothing covering his nakedness save for the bandages still wound around his chest. Kylo runs a finger down the centerline of Hux’s body, over the dip between his ribs and then across his belly. He strokes the faint softness there, and Hux squirms, then gasps.

“Careful, Ren,” he mutters.

“Of what, Hux? Of you? Are you going to break, just from a few touches?” Kylo taunts, even though he wants to press his face to Hux’s skin and bury himself in the feeling of Hux around him. Even though he’s already falling apart.

“No,” Hux hisses. “Just… go slow tonight. I’ve been through a lot today.”

Kylo softens, and he feels the teasing lightness slide from his body like water down a window. “I know,” he whispers, and now he really does press his cheek to Hux’s belly and nuzzle at his hip.

“I said slow, not soft.”

“So demanding,” Kylo whispers, biting Hux’s hip and licking at the crease where Hux’s thigh joins his torso. “Isn’t bacta supposed to leave you just the littlest bit euphoric?”

“This is me being euphoric,” Hux growls, spreading his legs wide, his cock slapping against his belly and his skin growing pink.

Kylo pinches the soft curve of Hux’s thigh, nuzzling just below his balls. When they first started this, whatever this is, he’d marveled at how Hux’s muscles stretch long under his skin, at how Hux seems to be a contradiction of soft skin and sharp angles. Now he revels in it, pressing his cheek to Hux’s thigh and flicking his tongue out to whisper over Hux’s balls. Above him, Hux gasps, his fingers curling tight where they clutch the mattress.

Kylo takes a deep breath, trying to fill himself up with the scent of Hux’s skin. He grimaces, though. Hux smells of bacta and antiseptic, of the medbay. Kylo nuzzles at Hux’s balls, forcing him to spread his legs wider, trying to seek out the places where the musk of Hux’s sweat still clings. Above him, Hux laughs breathlessly.

“What are you doing?” he hisses.

“Trying to smell you,” Kylo growls back, frustrated.

“What?” Hux exclaims.

“Forget about it,” Kylo groans. In his quest, he’s got his mouth pressed up behind Hux’s balls, and now he has a new goal in front of him. Hux says something, but it comes out as a strangled whisper when Kylo flattens his tongue and lets it slide over Hux’s blush-pink hole.

Hux’s thighs quiver around Kylo, and Kylo’s own cock goes rock hard. He gives Hux’s ass little kitten-licks, tracing the tight muscle that clenches before him. As Hux starts to pant, Kylo runs his hands over Hux’s legs, pressing them upward to give himself more room.

“Careful,” Hux groans, but he doesn’t seem like he’s in too much pain, if the way his voice rasps is any clue. Kylo nods, the motion making his nose bump into Hux’s balls, and Hux gasps. One of his hands disappears from the mattress. When Kylo looks up again from where he’s still licking across Hux’s hole, starting to slip the tip of his tongue just inside, Hux has set a tiny tube of lube down next to his ass.

“Did you want me to do something with that?” Kylo asks.

“Kylo…” Hux murmurs, and Kylo shivers as the way his name sounds when it falls from Hux’s lips.

“Did you maybe want me to stop?” Kylo murmurs, his lips brushing over the smooth skin behind Hux’s balls.

“I will kill you,” Hux snarls.

“Right after you stopped someone else doing the same thing?” Kylo laughs. He pops open the lube with one hand, though, and squeezes some out onto his fingers. They drip a little onto the bedsheets, but he ignores it as he rubs them together. Then he returns to tonguing Hux open, a single slick fingertip joining his mouth.

“Yes,” Hux hisses, and Kylo isn’t sure whether he’s answering the question, or gasping as Kylo starts to work him open. It doesn’t matter in the end, though, because now Kylo can fit his tongue inside Hux, and that’s all he can think about.

His finger is deep in Hux’s ass, and Kylo curls it, searching for the spot that will make Hux fall apart. At first, he can’t quite find it, isn’t deep enough, but then Hux’s thighs quiver and his back arches. His ass rocks down onto Kylo’s mouth and finger, little hushed whimpers escaping his mouth.

“Like that, baby?” Kylo mumbles. He isn’t sure that Hux can make out the words, not when Kylo goes back to sucking and licking at Hux’s ass immediately after asking the question. It does’t matter, though, because Hux’s hips are starting to fuck against his finger. Kylo licks up the spit and lube running down Hux’s ass, shoving it back inside Hux with his tongue, and follows it with another finger.

Now that two fingers are inside Hux, Kylo can rub steadily at the spot that makes Hux twitch and tremble around him. He spreads his fingers out, one pressing deep inside Hux as the other rubs steady circles. Hux groans.

“More,” he whimpers.

“Greedy,” Kylo tells him, pulling away. His chin is slick with spit and lube. He gets to his knees, his fingers still rubbing steadily inside Hux. Beneath him, Hux’s cock is flushed and thick, lying on his belly, a little pool of precome shining slickly. Hux’s lips are bitten red, and there are bright spots high on his cheekbones.

“Not greedy,” Hux protests, his voice breaking on the words. “Just deserving.”

“Oh really?” Kylo leans forward, kissing Hux hard. Hux moans, and Kylo wonders if he likes the taste, lube and bacta and his own skin all mixed up with Kylo’s spit. If he does, he’ll never admit it.

“Nasty boy,” Kylo whispers anyway. Hux shakes his head, but he can’t seem to bring himself to protest, not when Kylo presses deeper inside him. He arches up, seemingly like he can’t decide whether to fuck himself down onto Kylo’s fingers or reclaim Kylo’s mouth.

“Don’t hurt yourself,” Kylo laughs, his free hand going to Hux’s bandaged side. Hux growls, but lays flat on the bed, his face stormy.

“Then fuck me already. If you don’t want me damaged, give me what I need.”

Kylo laughs, sliding his fingers out of Hux slowly. For a moment, he lets them rest on Hux’s hole, feeling as it twitches, empty and wanting. Then Kylo takes hold of his own cock, guiding himself to rest against Hux.

“You want this?” he whispers.

Come on, Kylo. You know I do.”

“Maybe I like to hear you say it,” Kylo whispers as he presses inside Hux. Hux is so tight around the head of his cock, and for a moment Kylo has to close his eyes. After teasing himself with Hux’s body, after putting his mouth on Hux, his cock is achingly hard, and feeling Hux clench about him is almost too much for Kylo.

Almost, but not quite.

After a moment, he can press forward. Hux is so hot inside, nothing like the marble statue he tries to imitate. He squeezes down on Kylo, and Kylo can see his cock jerking with each little movement Kylo makes inside him. Kylo bites his lip, his hands going to Hux’s thighs and hips and his fingers smearing slick across Hux’s bandages.

“Maybe,” he gasps out as he finally presses all the way inside Hux, “maybe I need to hear it.”

“Fuck,” Hux curses, the word jarring as it spills from his perfect lips. “Fuck, Kylo, I need it. I need you.”

Kylo starts to move, his head falling back and his thighs aching as Hux clenches about him. Like this, he can’t quite watch Hux, but he thinks that if he could he might come right away, too fast, his whole body falling apart. Instead, he stares at the top of the bulkhead behind the bed, panting as he snaps his hips forwards. Below him, Hux is fucking against him, lifting his hips to meet Kylo’s every stroke. It’s close to the point of being unbearable, tiny sparks made of heat and something sweet flooding through Kylo, settling deep down in his body, against his spine. His skin feels like it’s one giant nerve, and every brush of Hux’s body against his, every caress makes his eyes flutter shut and his stomach muscles jump.

“I need you like this,” Hux says suddenly, and Kylo’s eyes fly open, his head falling forward so he can look Hux in the eye.

“What?” he gasps out.

“I need you to fuck me. I need you to kiss me,” Hux wraps a hand around his own dick, his knuckles bumping against Kylo’s abs as he strokes himself. Kylo’s balls draw up, every stroke of Hux’s hand on his own cock making sympathetic pleasure run through Kylo’s body. He finds himself matching Hux’s strokes with the snaps of his tips, pacing him.

“I need it all,” Hux whispers. “I need you to moan for me, I need you to kill for me. I need everything you can give.”

Light explodes behind Kylo’s eyes, and his back stiffens. He thinks he yells Hux’s name, but he can hardly hear himself through the fog of pleasure around him as he comes. Kylo’s hips snap forward faster even than before, driving deep into Hux, and Hux gasps.

It seems to go on forever. Just as Kylo starts to come down, Hux tenses around him, his ass squeezing down around Kylo’s cock as he comes as well. It wrings another few feeble spurts of come out of Kylo’s softening cock, and Kylo whimpers at the overstimulation. Hux doesn’t notice, of course, lost in his own pleasure, trembling and twitching beneath Kylo.

Finally, though, they both sprawl bonelessly against one another, Kylo panting against Hux’s neck and Hux looking sightlessly up at the ceiling. It’s warm in the room, and when Kylo nuzzles the edge of Hux’s jaw, the smell of bacta has been replaced by Hux’s own sweat.

“This is why,” Kylo whispers.

“What?” Hux asks, slurring even around the one word.

“This is why I killed those traitors.”

“So you could keep fucking me? Hardly a noble cause, Ren.” Hux scoffs, his voice missing only a little bit of its regular sarcasm.

“Don’t,” Kylo warns, biting Hux’s neck warningly. “Not right now.”

“Alright, then. I won’t as long as you say it out loud,” Hux says.

“I killed them because they hurt you. Because I couldn’t stop myself. Because I’m the only one allowed to do that,” Kylo confesses in a rush of breath.

“Good,” Hux whispers, carding a hand through Kylo’s hair. “Very good.”

Kylo falls asleep like that, his softening cock resting between Hux’s thighs and Hux’s hand in his hair. When he wakes, Hux will be mostly healed, and they can go back to throwing each other against walls, whispering hatred and poison as though murmuring words of love. Now, though, they are bare of all those pretenses, and instead they curl into one another, stripped down and stronger for their wounds.