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"Is it that you are so self-centred that you have no concept of anything beyond what immediately affects you, or that you're so petty you can't bear to congratulate me on a success that benefits the entire First Order simply because you hate me?" Hux posed the question stiffly. Two hours had passed since Hux walked into the office he shared with Ren, who hadn't yet said a single word.

 

"Here we go," Ren muttered under his breath and then huffed a sigh. "Hux, I don't even know what you're talking about."

 

Ren set down the datapad he had been studying onto his desk and looked up at Hux across the room. Shortly after Ren had stolen the title of Supreme Leader, he had insisted that his desk be set up in Hux's office. There was plenty of space for both desks; that wasn't the problem. It was the principle of the matter, Hux feeling like he was constantly under watch and scrutiny. As if having Ren in close proximity would lessen Hux’s musings about how he could someday take the title for himself.

 

Hux set down his own datapad, which he had failed to focus on for the last twenty minutes while his frustration towards Ren mounted. "That's even more concerning that you're so oblivious to your surroundings that you aren't even aware of—"

 

"Can we skip the lecture about my worst qualities and get to what I've done wrong this time?" Ren cut him off. He looked both tired and irritated; pinched brow, shadows under his eyes, downturned lips.

 

Caught off guard by Ren's lack of argument but unwilling to lose his momentum, Hux crossed his arms. "Did you know I implemented a new combat simulation program for every member of the First Order?" he asked.

 

Ren mirrored his posture across the room, his own arms crossed over his chest. "No."

 

"Unsurprising," Hux snapped. "If you paid attention to any of the reports I sent you, you'd know our personnel rank lower on combat skills each year and participation in training has become resistant at best." This was another thing about Ren that drove Hux crazy: he expected Hux to spoon-feed him information like Hux was merely administrative staff. And yet Hux couldn't refuse or else the whole Order would crumble. "To address this I developed a combat sim with ten stages designed like a leisure video game."

 

"Okay, and?"

 

Ren sounded bored and Hux bristled. "And it's become massively successful. Those who fail a stage keep coming back until they win. Even those who beat the sim a few months ago are requesting to retest. I'm assuming to improve their scores and because they enjoy the challenges. And combat test results are showing an immediate improvement."

 

Ren rested one elbow on the desk and his chin in his palm. "What are the challenges?" he droned out like he was following a script to shut Hux up.

 

Hux took what he could get and continued. "Each stage focuses on a different type of combat: evasive and offensive attacks in star ships; hand to hand combat; sniper shooting and so on. And if you reach the end of the final stage you fight me," Hux stated this proudly. He had designed the sim himself. It certainly didn't show enough of his skills to give his enemies insight to overpower him, but it was enough to pose a satisfying challenge.

 

"You?" Ren scoffed. "And someone failed this test of yours?"

 

Hux's expression soured. "Silly me to assume someone of your limited intelligence could understand the complex design and psychology behind such a program. Excuse me." As he said this Hux took his datapad in hand and stood from his desk. Hux didn't know why he had even bothered trying to knock some sense into Ren, let alone hope that maybe, just this once, Ren could acknowledge his hard work.

 

"Where are you going?" Ren demanded.

 

"Elsewhere," Hux answered plainly. "I can't stand to look at your face a moment longer."

 

"Or what; you're going to cry?"

 

Hux's gaze flickered back for an instant before he started walking out of the room. "Play the tenth stage of my combat sim and you'll find out."

 

#

 

The next day Hux sat in a meeting room, staring with a bored frustration at the wall. He had scheduled a meeting with Ren but the man was now two hours late. That went beyond rudeness and bordered on the chance that Ren had somehow gotten himself killed since Hux last saw him the cycle prior. The thought had amused Hux as one hour of waiting had crept into two, satisfying his anger by imagining Ren slipping on his cloak and toppling down some garbage chute never to be seen again. But now a niggling worry he couldn’t ignore began to gnaw at his insides and Hux stood from the table with a sigh.

 

A few minutes later he was on the bridge at Mitaka’s station asking that he locate Ren. “The system indicates he’s logged into your combat sim in holodeck E, sir.” Surprise and then satisfaction hit Hux in a burst that had the corners of his lips curling upward. “Do you want me to override the sim and send him a message?”

 

“No, leave him be,” Hux responded. Truthfully he had only organized the meeting to inconvenience Ren; he could do the work on his own. “Thank you, Lieutenant.”

 

Mitaka bobbed his head and returned to his work as Hux exited the bridge. He returned to his private rooms and began working through the reports he had planned on reading to Ren. It really was dull work and Hux’s mind began to drift, wondering how far Ren had gotten in the combat sim and if he was enjoying it. The sim should provide a challenge even to Ren, who wouldn’t be able to use his Force abilities to give him an advantage. Hux struggled and failed to focus on his datapad, instead finding himself looking forward to the next time he saw Ren. There was no way Ren could deny the brilliance of Hux’s combat sim once he had tried it for himself, and Hux was ready to finally have his accomplishment noted.

 

#

 

Hux was seated at his desk reviewing the latest budget and making some changes when Ren walked into their office. Hux looked up and noticed the way Ren’s gait hitched for an instant before smoothing out again as Ren took his desk across the room. Ren seemed determined to avoid Hux’s gaze, ignoring Hux’s attempts to make eye contact and prompt Ren into saying something. Instead he powered on his own datapad and put on a show of being wholly engrossed in what he was reading.

 

Hux felt something sag within him and his next exhale sounded heavy in the quiet room. Ren didn’t look up, not that Hux expected him to. Hux told himself to be patient; maybe Ren was actually making an effort to read all those reports Hux had sent him. Maybe as one of them left the office Ren would quietly admit to Hux that the combat sim had been an excellent addition to their training regime, wanting to avoid Hux gloating while they sat together.

 

He told himself all this and tried to work but three hours later Ren stood and headed for the door without a word.

 

“What did you think?” the words stumbled over Hux’s tongue in their rush to escape before Ren was gone.

 

“About what?” Ren paused but barely looked back over his shoulder.

 

“The combat sim,” Hux clarified, hating the tightness in his chest that he couldn’t explain. “When you missed our meeting yesterday I had you tracked down and I saw you were in the sim.”

 

The silence stretched so long between them Hux thought maybe the moment had frozen in place. But then he received a half shrug as Ren continued through the door, one word drifting in his wake to worm into Hux’s ears: “Passable.”

 

The impact of the word felt like a punch to the gut and effectively stole any retort from Hux’s lips.

 

#

 

Ren left on a month-long envoy mission to meet with the two queens of Altius Prime. Hux had suggested that Ren host the queens on their ship instead or at least that he send Hux in his place for safety reasons but Ren had insisted. Hux hadn’t argued, nor had he seen off Ren’s shuttle and his small entourage of trained bodyguards. Let the idiot get himself killed for all Hux cared. He remained on board, running the First Order the way he normally did.

 

Reports showed that his combat sim continued to gain popularity, to the point where personnel had to book scheduled appointments to play when it wouldn’t interfere with their duties and also to allow equal opportunity. It should’ve made Hux elated but his satisfaction and pride had been crushed beneath Ren’s heel of indifference. It shouldn’t matter to Hux – one opinion over many – but it did. And so he set aside the reports about his sim program and focused on other tasks.

 

Ren’s return was an unwelcome one, especially since he reported limited success with the two queens he had met with. Just the sight of Ren’s face brought back the word in Hux’s mind – passable – and a disappointed sickness that churned in his belly. Thankfully, Ren seemed determined to avoid Hux in return, never meeting his gaze and excusing himself from the room whenever Hux entered. Soon they were back to the way things were when Snoke was still Supreme Leader; both of them working independently and interacting only when forced. It was inefficient, Hux knew that, but at least they didn’t kill one another.

 

#

 

Months passed.

 

People commented on how Hux’s combat sim seemed to continuously grow in popularity by the week.

 

Hux got sick of hearing about it.

 

He was standing in the small throne room Ren had outfitted for himself when he was going to host ambassadors or intimidate tenuous, unreliable allies. Hux had dropped his parade-rest posture ten minutes prior when he entered the room and found Ren’s seat empty. Now as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, Hux’s patience wore thin and he turned on his heel to leave. Hux returned to Mitaka’s trusted side to ask a question he got tired of voicing. “Can you locate Ren for me?”

 

A few keystrokes later Mitaka answered him. “Holodeck E, sir. Your combat sim is active.”

 

Hux frowned in confusion. “Again?”

 

Mitaka had no further explanation for him, Ren’s activities a mystery to him as much as anyone else. Hux thanked him and made a beeline for his rooms. Once his door was locked and Hux was comfortably seated on his couch, Hux unlocked his datapad. There was a video feed that recorded every combat sim training session in the holodecks, though only Hux and Ren had unrestricted access. If there were concerns about the performance of an employee Hux could review the video and provide limited access to that individual’s superior for further action but otherwise, it was an untouched archive.

 

Hux selected Ren’s profile and stats filled the screen. His eyes widened when he saw the number of hours Ren had clocked on the sim; to reach that number Ren must’ve been in the sim over an hour every few cycles. What could he possibly be doing spending so much time on something ‘passable’? Ren was a skilled fighter, Hux knew this, so he doubted it was the challenge that kept Ren coming back. Maybe he enjoyed beating Hux’s sim, killing him over and over the way he never could in reality lest the First Order fall apart around him.

 

Frowning now, Hux pulled up the archive of videos for Ren’s sessions. There were so many he wouldn’t be able to review them all unless he dedicated a few solid days to the task. He decided to pull up the first video in chronological order and let it play out. Hux was impressed despite himself to see Ren beat the first nine stages without fail. Of course he knew Ren was powerful; enjoyed watching Ren’s strength and abilities at work, in fact. But he had been expecting Ren to struggle a little more when he couldn’t use the Force to aid him, and was quickly proven wrong.

 

Until Ren reached the end of stage ten and was confronted by Hux in a large open training room. Hux was a little confused when he watched his sim shrug out of his General’s greatcoat and chuck it aside as he hadn’t had that coded in, but then the rest of the program played out flawlessly. Much to Hux’s pleasure, Ren lost.

 

The next two videos were chrono-dated in order immediately after the first one and Hux set the next one to play. Ren had bypassed the first nine stages and initiated the program immediately at stage ten, which was only possible for personnel who had successfully cleared earlier stages previously. Ren charged Hux’s sim, lightsaber drawn, and ended up beaten a second time. Oh what a wonderful feeling.

 

The third video began the same as the others. Hux’s sim discarded his greatcoat and then followed its sequence. This time Ren was more patient and let the sim approach him first, waiting for an opening until five minutes later he overpowered Hux and disarmed him, the sim’s hands raised in surrender. Hux had debated for a while on how the sim should end. He didn’t want his personnel getting familiar with the idea of killing him but he also wanted to instil the lesson of have no mercy. To successfully beat the combat sim program the individual had to kill his sim or else risk giving Hux’s sim an opportunity to regain his weapon.

 

Hux waited for Ren to strike. Instead Ren wavered, lightsaber inches from the neck of Hux’s sim.

 

More confusing was when Hux’s sim smiled and lowered his hands. “Congratulations. Now you may choose your reward.”

 

In one smooth movement Ren extinguished his lightsaber and cast it aside, sending the hilt skidding along the floor. In the next movement Ren flattened Hux’s sim bodily against the wall and muttered “you stuck up pain in the ass” before kissing him like the world was ending.

 

Hux paused the video as heat flooded his body. He knew he was blushing, and staring at the frozen image of Ren pinning him to the wall and kissing him wasn’t helping his body calm down. Hux cleared his throat and minimized the video, instead sending a quick message to Mitaka’s datapad: clear my schedule for the next three days.

 

Then Hux brought up the code for the sim program and reviewed it in detail. After a few minutes of searching Hux noticed that a few lines of code had been altered; specifically, the sections relating to his sim’s outfit and the ending sequence. Had Ren done that? As far as Hux knew, Ren had zero coding capabilities so did that mean someone else had hacked into the program and Ren stumbled across it by chance? Was this the same code being run for every individual participating in the program? These worries nagged at Hux as dread welled up within him. Was this why his combat sim had become so popular? He would need to review all of Ren’s video logs and some random feeds from other personnel as well and get to the bottom of all this.

 

Hux brought up the video again and stared for a long minute at the still image of him kissing Ren. Aesthetically Hux found they looked quite attractive together, and then he hated himself for thinking such a thing. Hesitantly he set the video running again and braced himself for what would happen next, wondering if his sim would seek an opportunity to grab a weapon and not understanding the tiny voice in his head hoping for something different.

 

Ren continued to kiss the sim while keeping him pinned to the wall. His hands were digging fingers deep in Hux’s ginger hair, holding his head in place, and Ren’s leg had wedged itself between the sim’s thighs. Hux shifted his weight on the couch when he saw the sim’s legs bow to accommodate Ren at the same time as his arms wrapped around Ren’s shoulders to pull him closer. As Ren rubbed his leg against the sim’s groin, the sim broke away from the kiss with a whine. The noise made Hux cringe – there was no way he sounded like that, thank you very much – but his horror was overridden by an aroused shiver when he heard Ren’s answering moan.

 

Suddenly the screen went black and Hux sat forward, wondering if his datapad had crashed but instead realizing the video feed had ended when the sim program did. Hux slumped back against the armrest. He was now overly aware of his heart’s quick patter and the erection tenting his pants. Hux couldn’t believe he had gotten hard watching Ren kiss a simulation of him… even though it had looked like an excellent kiss. He shook the thought from his head and set aside the datapad, ignoring his erection in favour of getting off the couch to grab a tumbler of whiskey. He was in over his head but hopefully a little alcohol would ease the way.

 

#

 

Over the next three days Hux remained holed up in his rooms and scoured video logs of Ren’s time in the combat simulation, as well as the videos of others completing the program. Hux’s research began from a clinical state of mind, wanting to figure out who had changed the coding of the program and why. When cross-referencing Ren’s videos with the feeds of others, Hux realized quickly that new coding was applied to his sim weekly like clockwork, and those changes were active for every individual’s run through the program, not just Ren’s.

 

The changes made to Hux’s sim were mostly aesthetic in nature. His fighting style change rarely and if it did, it was an unrealistic change that simply added additional challenge like Hux’s blaster never needing to cool or run out of ammunition. His behaviour also changed very little; in fact, beyond the difference Hux had first noticed between what had been programmed and what he saw in Ren’s first few videos, things remained static. What the unknown hackers seemed most focused on changing was Hux’s attire and stars were they creative. Each week Hux’s outfit became a little more scandalous and risqué.

 

Hux knew he would need to go back to the programmers to beef security protocols to stop external coding changes. He also knew that if these hackers were determined enough, Hux would need to admit a tactical defeat and bring the program offline. Either that or have his sim removed and a kill sequence added to abort the program if a likeness to Hux was re-inserted into the simulation. While it wasn’t the worst thing to find out the majority of your crew found you attractive, Hux saw no value in fanning the flames. Unknowingly he had been a source of entertainment for months and the only thing stopping him from having each participant whipped was the knowledge that everyone had continued to follow his orders without fail.

 

Hux would do all that, but not yet. If he shut down the program immediately Ren would know Hux knew the truth. After all, judging by the chrono-stamps on the videos, Ren had taken to visiting Hux’s sim religiously at least three times a week. Even when he had been on his away mission, using the tiny holodeck on board his personal shuttle. Hux was… flattered. But also confused by what he had seen on Ren’s videos until he took some time to reflect on it all. Hux had a plan to confront Ren about it but he planned to wait until his preparations were complete. In the interim, Hux had shamefully indulged in watching every single one of Ren’s encounters with his sim.

 

#

 

After the first kiss, Ren hadn’t re-launched the program that day. Nor the day after that. Hux wondered if Ren was resisting the urge to go back or simply coming to terms with what he had done – was kissing Hux’s sim a spur of the moment decision or the realization of a lingering desire Hux had been previously unaware of?

 

Days later Ren had launched the program and beaten Hux’s sim a second time. When the sim offered for Ren to choose a reward, Ren had stepped back into the sim’s personal space. The sim was pinned to the wall again but this time with gentler pressure and the string of kisses Ren pressed to his lips and jaw were affectionate to the point that it made Hux’s heart flutter to watch it. He hadn’t known Ren was capable of such tenderness. Hux had to rewind the video and increase the volume when he realized Ren was murmuring something against the sim’s skin. During his second watch-through Hux heard the words before the sim program terminated: I’m sorry I hurt you; I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

 

Not all of Ren’s encounters with the simulation were as soft and gentle. The next video had been the first indication to Hux that someone had toyed with the coding for his sim’s attire. When Ren entered the room, Hux had been sans greatcoat and his General’s uniform was per regulation except that all of the fabric had been made skin-tight. Hux had seen the way Ren’s face went red at the sight of the sim, and had also noted the way Ren’s fighting style turned rushed and sloppy in his urgency to get the sim to himself. Ren had lost once and restarted the program immediately for a victory. The reward Ren claimed was to strip the sim bare and fuck him into the floor, shouting through his orgasm like a predator satiated by his claim.

 

The sight and sounds of it had Hux’s waning erection return more insistent than ever. Hux dug the heel of his palm against himself before he realized what he was doing. Then he pinned his hands at his sides, refusing to give in to temptation despite his body’s begging. However, Hux only had so much restraint. For the next two videos of Ren running the program over the week, Hux watched himself be fucked twice more. Judging by the expression on his sim’s face, they were excellent fucks. But still Hux resisted, red-cheeked and hands clasped into fists as Ren took his sim against the floor again and then the wall.

 

It was the video after that Hux wasn’t prepared for. A week had elapsed in terms of the video dates so Hux’s outfit had changed again. This time he was dressed as a traditional Vaalin consort to the reigning king. The sim wore a white robe that covered him from the column of his neck down to his ankles. The fabric clung to his torso and thighs, showing only Hux’s bare toes and the expanse of his back through the sheer fabric cascading down from his shoulder blades to his waistline. Hux’s sim looked severe, regal and tantalizing.

 

Once Ren won his victory he took his time peeling away the robe slowly, his typical frenzy muted in favour of a simmering passion. Hux watched Ren kiss every inch of his bared skin and eventually take Hux into his mouth. It was when Hux saw Ren’s throat constricting around his cock that Hux lost himself and slipped his hand beneath the waistband of his pants. Hux stroked himself slowly as Ren sucked his sim off, quickening his pace when Hux’s sim arched off the floor and came down Ren’s throat with a cry. Hux’s orgasm threatened to break and then receded until Ren stripped himself down and thrust into the sim’s body with controlled, steady movements. However odd it sounded, it was the sight of Ren’s muscular back arching and the way his powerful arms trembled when he orgasmed that brought Hux over the edge in tandem.

 

The video ended and Hux set aside the datapad as he stared at the ceiling. His heart was racing, his fingers sticky with come. Hux licked his lips. What was he doing? What was Ren doing? Ren hated Hux – didn’t he? But that hadn’t been an affectionless fuck, and Ren’s sweet kisses and gentle touches didn’t imply hatred either. Even Ren’s whispered apology to the sim early on; had that been an apology about his ‘passable’ comment that he couldn’t stomach voicing to Hux directly? And why not? Did he think Hux would reject him? More importantly, would Hux reject him? The semen drying on his hand said otherwise.

 

Hux forced himself off the couch and into the shower, desperate to clear his head and wash away the uncertainty that made him feel unclean. After a break away from the datapad Hux felt more centered. He decided that he would watch the rest of the videos showing Ren’s time with the combat sim program over the last few months and then gauge what he would do next.

 

Hux had been expecting an ongoing string of porn-like videos but he was surprised again when he loaded the next video in sequence. It was in the same week as the last video so Hux was still dressed as a consort. But instead of stripping the sim or initiating any sexual touches after defeating Hux’s sim, Ren simply walked forward and enveloped Hux in a massive bear hug. It was only when the sim wrapped his arms around Ren in return and Ren tucked his face against the sim’s neck that Hux realized he had been leaning forward on the couch, holding the datapad unnecessarily close to his face.

 

They hugged for what felt like an age. Hux only knew the video hadn’t frozen because he saw both Ren’s and the sim’s bodies expanding with their breathing. After a while the sim untangled them and pulled Ren by the hand towards the wall without a single word. Ren trailed behind the sim willingly and after Hux’s sim was settled in a seated position against the wall, Ren lowered himself to the floor curled around Hux with his head on Hux’s thigh. Hux suspected if there wasn’t such a size difference, Ren would’ve curled up directly in the sim’s lap.

 

As Hux’s fingers began threading methodically through Ren’s hair, Ren released a heavy sigh. “I wish I could do right by you.”

 

The sim didn’t reply; it hadn’t been programmed with the language to continue a conversation like this or voice Hux’s opinions beyond that of combat. Ren continued anyway, whispering things to the sim Hux thought he would never hear from his rival. Acknowledgements of Hux’s achievements; the envy Ren felt about Hux’s successes and how effortless he made them look; Ren’s desire for Hux to choose no one in the universe but Ren; the certainty that that desire would never be realized; Ren’s many fears about failing himself, Hux and seemingly everyone else.

 

Hux’s understanding of Ren unfurled and bloomed like the first flower during the thawing season back on Arkanis. He had always known Ren was troubled, erratic and emotional, but now he saw the depth of it and the strain it caused Ren to keep it to himself without a confidante to turn to. Ren had wanted Hux to be that person for him – possibly had wanted it for years – and it fractured something within Ren when that never happened. Hux had always assumed Ren hated him and kept him around only for his usefulness with the First Order so Hux had responded with terse professionalism at best. But what Ren had truly wanted was to whisper his fears into Hux’s ear and have Hux take his hand and make Ren feel like everything would be okay. They had both been bound by their assumptions, too scared of rejection and the unknown to take a chance.

 

Seconds before the video log ended, Hux paused it. He lost track of the time he spent staring at the screen, taking in the sight before him. Ren curled around a sim of Hux’s likeness, head on Hux’s thigh and silent tears making his cheeks shine. Hux’s fingers soothing their way through Ren’s hair, the sim’s expression open if not contemplative for its lack of programming to handle such a situation. Hux had always thought of Ren as an obstacle he would need to overcome to achieve his dreams. Now he saw a different path; one that wound its way beyond the horizon of what he could predict. What could they achieve if they joined forces, and was Hux willing to take a risk to find out the answer?

 

Hux sat and mused on it for so long his datapad screen switched to power-saving mode. Eventually he came to a decision and with less shame Hux allowed himself to load the next video. It took him nearly three day cycles to get through every video. They remained generally the same, though the outfits of Hux’s sim continued to degrade to the point of scandal. Some videos featured kissing or Ren seeking softer affection and companionship from the sim while other videos, especially the first ones when Ren saw the newest outfit, usually ended with Ren and the sim in a tangle of naked limbs. After his first orgasm, Hux got off four more times during the three days of watching.

 

By the end of it all Hux’s skin felt electrified with anticipation, his body eager rather than sated. Hux closed the video logs entirely and started putting his plan in motion to confront Ren about everything he had witnessed, and where that would take them next.

 

#

 

Hux stood in the centre of the small training room designated for his and Ren’s use near their rooms. He had booked it up so no other officers would interrupt and then he had sent an invitation to Ren for a sparring match. Hux hadn’t been sure if Ren would ignore it so in the message Hux had simply typed: we have some things to settle. Ren’s confirmation had come promptly and so Hux had come here to prepare himself and wait.

 

Ren entered the training room looking ready for a fight. In fact he was dressed in his combat attire that he had worn as a knight, leaving behind only his cowl and heavy cloak. Ren was already wielding the hilt of his lightsaber and he activated it the moment the door locked behind him. Hux took in the scowl contorting Ren’s face, as well as the way it wavered beneath the weight of Ren’s confusion as he took in the sight before him.

 

Hux had made a special order to a designer he knew on a small trading planet near the Outer Rim. He was dressed in the latest outfit the hackers had put his sim in, which was also the latest outfit Ren had stripped from his sim’s body. Hux wore a black leather, form fitting romper that clung to everything it covered. It concealed his entire torso, neck and arms, and his shoulders and forearms were protected with additional black plated armour pieces. His General stripes were threaded around the left forearm, just above where his matching black leather gloves began. The shorts were so short that the swell of his ass peeked out even when he stood straight and to manage this Hux wore sheer black stockings that disappeared into heeled combat boots. Unnecessary but aesthetically-pleasing straps trimmed with silver hooked around his shoulders, chest and hips.

 

The only thing Hux had changed from his sim was his weaponry. In the program his sim had wielded a lightsaber hilt in one hand and a blaster in the other. Hux didn’t know where to acquire a lightsaber and wouldn’t risk stealing Ren’s so that was out, and a fight wasn’t his final goal so he had skipped the blaster as well. Instead, Hux was armed with a black riding crop gripped tightly in one gloved hand, the leather stiff and new.

 

Hux had gaped at the screen of his datapad when he first saw the outfit, but the expression on Ren’s face now made it worth it.

 

Ren’s pupils had expanded with arousal, darkening his gaze considerably as those eyes roved hungrily along every inch of what Hux was putting on display. Without a word passing between them Ren extinguished his lightsaber and hooked the hilt onto his belt, realizing that a physical fight was not what this would be about. Hux watched Ren cross his arms over his chest but knew it was fear, rather than anger, that was twisting his lips downward.

 

“How much do you know?”

 

“Everything,” Hux said. “I watched all of the videos.”

 

Ren blushed and looked away, running his fingers through his hair as a nervous tick. “You couldn’t just stop when I had sex with the sim, could you? You had to know exactly how much I screwed up.”

 

“Ren, come here.” Hux’s voice was firm, as unyielding as the shaft of his riding crop. Ren hesitated, eyed the locked door behind him, and then walked forward to stand in front of Hux like he was approaching a firing squad. “On your knees,” Hux ordered. Ren didn’t comply at first. His lips curled into a snarl and Hux saw the way his hand twitched back towards his hip and the lightsaber. Hux added two words: “Supreme Leader.”

 

Ren leaned back, eyeing Hux suspiciously before slowly sinking to his knees in front of him. Hux raised the riding crop but paused when Ren flinched, anticipating a hit. He didn’t withdraw the riding crop but he didn’t move closer either. “It’s not just that I know everything, but that I now understand as well,” Hux told Ren quietly.

 

This caught Ren’s attention and he finally let their eyes lock. “I understand less than I thought I did,” Ren admitted.

 

Hux felt a burst of satisfaction in his chest, warming his insides. It was the first time Ren had confessed a vulnerability to him, which was a start in the direction Hux wanted them to go. Hux moved the leather loop at the end of the riding crop closer, pausing each time Ren tensed until Hux was at last able to caress the stiff leather across Ren’s cheek and along his jaw without Ren shifting away. Hux was determined to show Ren that he had no intention of being a passive recipient in anything they began, but he wouldn’t dole out pain either.

 

“I saw enough in the videos to know what you want from me,” Hux stated, voice still quiet and soft. The leather of the crop brushed down the column of Ren’s neck and Ren shivered visibly. “But there are a few things I need from you in return.”

 

“So you’re blackmailing me?” Ren grumbled, frowning as he looked down at the floor.

 

Hux tapped the crop lightly under Ren’s chin, just enough to encourage him to lift his face again. “Would I dress like this to blackmail you?” Hux posed the question with a raised eyebrow. “I could have blackmailed you in my uniform and it would’ve been significantly more comfortable, I assure you.”

 

“So why did you dress like…” Ren’s gaze turned heated again, the memory of his latest tryst with the sim no doubt crowding into his mind. “That?”

 

“Because I wanted you to look at me the way you looked at my sim,” Hux answered, offering up his own vulnerability.

 

“And the riding crop?” Ren wondered aloud, shuddering as said crop caressed his jaw again.

 

“To make sure you realize I am far more than a simulation,” Hux told him. “I’m not as submissive as the sim.”

 

Subtly Ren leaned into the touch of the leather against his skin and Hux relished in that small movement. “So what do you want?”

 

“A promotion, to start,” Hux said. “I need a title worthy of the work I do. We can deal with the semantics later.”

 

Ren rolled his eyes. “Hux, everyone already knows you essentially run the First Order. Why does a different title matter?”

 

“It matters to me because I deserve it,” Hux insisted, trying to keep his voice steady.

 

Perhaps Ren picked up on the slight waver because he didn’t press the issue. Instead he asked, “So what else are you looking for from me?”

 

This was where things got risky. “A companion; someone I can rely on.”

 

“Well you came to the wrong person for that,” Ren said as his expression soured.

 

Ren started to stand but flinched at the sound of the riding crop impacting skin even though Hux had snapped the leather loop against his own leg instead of against Ren. “Stay,” Hux ordered roughly and watched as Ren sank back to his knees. He took a deep breath before speaking, aware of the way Ren was studying him closely. “It was unfair of me to expect you to open up when I haven’t done so in return so let me speak plainly. I have been alone all my life. Acknowledgement and praise are myths I have sought but never been given. There is plenty I can do on my own but I believe we could achieve greater things together.”

 

Ren was weathering his bottom lip. “I would drag you down. I already do.”

 

“Because you are too focused on your failures rather than opportunities and your strengths,” Hux explained. “Kylo,” Hux sighed the name and lowered himself onto his knees in front of the other man. He momentarily set aside the riding crop to frame Ren’s face between his hands. “Everything will be okay.”

 

“You lie,” Ren accused even as he turned his face into one of Hux’s palms.

 

“Work with me rather than against me and I’ll show you that it can be true,” Hux implored.

 

“If I say yes…” Ren paused and then continued. “Can I—? Can we—?”

 

To silence his fears Hux reeled Ren forward into a chaste kiss. It had been a long time since Hux had kissed anyone and he was surprised by how good it felt to have the weight of Ren’s lips against his own. Ren was frozen with shock and Hux pulled back to wait for his decision, which came seconds later when Ren dragged him into a deeper, needier kiss. Hux knew Ren’s emotions ran deeper for him than the physical but after reflecting on it Hux had decided he wasn’t opposed to this sort of relationship with Ren. For now he wanted them to forge some form of bond and trust; if that developed into a steady affection over time, so be it.

 

Ren’s hands cradled the back of Hux’s neck before his fingers skimmed up through ginger hair, making Hux shiver. It was a heady experience, being with someone so physical. Hux allowed Ren’s tongue into his mouth to tease his tongue and brush along the roof of his mouth before he broke the kiss and nipped Ren’s bottom lip. “I want you to suck me off first, like you did for my sim.”

 

“I want to peel you out of every inch of that outfit,” Ren breathed heavily against Hux’s neck. “Will you let me do that first?”

 

Most of the outfit needed to be removed to get at his cock anyway so Hux decided it was a reasonable request. Besides, as his cock hardened the leather material of the romper became constricting. “Yes, I will,” Hux confirmed.

 

Slowly Hux grabbed his forgotten riding crop and broke away from Ren’s embrace to stand anew, memorizing Ren’s whine at the loss of contact. Ren didn’t need prompting before his fingers raced for the buckles of the straps to begin detaching them. They fell with heavy clunks onto the floor around Hux’s feet and Hux nudged the last one with his booted toe to get Ren’s attention on a pouch that had been hidden on his back. “The lube is in this.”

 

Ren nodded and removed the container of lube from the pouch after sliding all of the discarded straps away from Hux’s feet. Then Ren stood fluidly to reach around and grab the tag of the zipper at the back of Hux’s neck, pulling it down to slowly open up the romper and expose the bare skin of Hux’s back to the room’s warm air. Hux was a little disappointed that the hunt for the zipper hadn’t lasted long but he remembered Ren had already undressed Hux’s sim out of this same outfit and knew it well. Maybe Hux could order other special outfits if this experiment went well.

 

With them standing eye to eye, Ren splayed his hands across Hux’s bare back and leaned in, kissing carefully along the line of Hux’s jaw. To assure Ren that he was happy with the attention, Hux held the shaft of the riding crop lengthwise along the back of Ren’s neck, one hand on each end to bracket Ren in. Ren trembled and snuck his fingers beneath the fabric circling Hux’s neck, slowly peeling it down. As Hux’s neck was revealed by inches Ren started to kiss down the column of sensitive skin and whispered, “You’re so beautiful.” Hux’s breath hitched. “Do you believe me?”

 

“Yes,” Hux said, and felt the curve of Ren’s smile against his skin.

 

Ren continued to work Hux out of the romper, taking his time with the fabric clinging to Hux’s arms and pausing to work off Hux’s gloves. Hux alternated the hand holding the riding crop as Ren did so and groaned when Ren sucked one of Hux’s bare fingers into his mouth. “I’ve thought about these fingers touching me,” Ren told Hux as he licked and sucked his way along each finger. “I get off when I imagine you pulling on my hair.”

 

Through the haze of his arousal Hux reminded himself to use the riding crop and lazily traced it up and down the knobs of Ren’s spine while his other hand was occupied. “Consider it noted.” Hux cleared his throat after when he realized how gruff his voice sounded and he caught the smirk Ren flashed him. He didn’t chide Ren on the teasing look, too pleased by Ren’s willingness to offer praise now that he understood Hux’s needs.

 

Ren finished with Hux’s hand and returned to the romper. After Hux’s arms were free Ren pulled down the fabric until it was hooked on Hux’s hips, the boning in the leather keeping the outfit from folding entirely on its own. Hux tapped the crop to the laces at the front of his boots and enjoyed watching Ren race to complete the task set for him. Once both boots were unlaced Hux stepped out of them and shimmied himself out of the romper, setting everything aside in the growing pile nearby.

 

When Hux straightened up again, Ren swore. “Kriff, that’s just not fair.”

 

Hux looked down at himself with satisfaction. He wore a pair of lacy black panties and a garter belt which had attached to the stockings just beneath the leather of the romper shorts; this had been his own addition beyond what had been coded for his sim. As Hux looked back he felt another thrill of arousal at the openly appreciative expression on Ren’s face. He could also see Ren’s erection tenting his pants and Hux pressed a stocking-covered foot against it, feeling the way it twitched at the contact. “You’re overdressed.”

 

Hux had never seen someone strip so fast in his life, which was saying something considering Ren was dressed essentially in his battle armour. When Ren was in nothing but his underwear their eyes met and Hux raised an eyebrow. The underwear disappeared without a word of protest. It was obvious now how aroused Ren was since his cock was fully hard and curving up slightly against gravity towards his abdomen. Hux took the liberty of drawing the leather of the riding crop along the underside of Ren's cock and drank in the sight of Ren shuddering and arching his hips forward instinctively.

 

There was no hiding from the truth; Hux wanted Ren inside him. But he had something to prove so he held the shaft of the riding crop behind Ren's neck, leading him closer. "You still have work to do."

 

Ren's large fingers hooked under the fabric of Hux's panties and pulled them aside just enough to free Hux's aching erection. Then Ren paused and looked up the length of Hux's body at him. "Do you know how long I've wanted to do this?"

 

"A few months?" Hux wondered, remembering the months of videos he had watched.

 

Ren shook his head and pressed light, teasing kisses up the inside of Hux's right thigh. "I've wanted to do this since I first saw you."

 

Hux rolled his eyes. "I said I liked praise, not lies."

 

Ren nipped the skin of Hux's inner thigh hard enough that Hux yelped with surprise and his cock throbbed. Their eyes met again. "I'm not lying," Ren stated firmly. "I thought you were the most beautiful person I had ever seen. But I was jealous, not only of your looks but your ability to achieve so much at such a young age. Especially since I was Snoke's apprentice but he always deferred to your suggestions."

 

"He pitted us against one another," Hux pointed out. He slid his hand not occupied with the riding crop into Ren's hair, combing through the dark locks the way the sim had. Hux was soaking in each word Ren offered him but he wanted this to be a balanced relationship, and he knew Ren needed reassurances from him in return. "Now I want to help you achieve your potential."

 

Ren nodded his agreement and mouthed up to Hux's balls and the base of his cock. Hux kept his fingers loosely knotted in Ren's hair and watched as Ren wrapped one hand around Hux's base and lapped at the tip of Hux's cock with his tongue. Hux groaned as Ren parted his lips and slowly swallowed Hux down, his cock cradled on Ren's tongue. He had thought about this, anticipated what it would feel like, and found his imagination paled in comparison to reality. Hux tightened his hold on Ren's hair and leaned into it as Ren's lips reached his hand, Hux's entire length encompassed in heat.

 

"That feels really good," he murmured, wanting to offer some praise in return and to encourage Ren to continue what he was doing.

 

Ren didn't need further prompting. Ren's hand remained wrapped around Hux's base to angle his cock as Ren started to bob his head, cheeks hollowed as his lips sucked around Hux's sensitive flesh. Hux's toes curled against the smooth floor through the stockings as pleasure coursed through him in time with his racing heartbeat. He wished it hadn't been so long since he had had sex because he became distinctly aware of his lack of staying power when Ren settled into an eager rhythm. Hux groaned again, louder this time, and used his fingers in Ren's hair to push his mouth further onto his cock.

 

Ren resisted for a moment, breathing through his nose, and then moved both hands to Hux's thighs. Then, ever so slowly, Ren swallowed Hux to the back of his mouth. Hux's eyes clenched closed at the sensation, feeling himself leaking precome down Ren's throat. "Kriff, Ren. How could you consider yourself a failure when you give blowjobs like this?" Ren choked and withdrew in a rush, gasping through his laugh. Hux's lips quirked up, having barely thought about his words before voicing them but pleased by Ren's amusement. Before he could even apologize for causing Ren to choke, Ren's mouth was back on Hux's cock deep enough for Ren's nose to be buried in his trimmed pubic hair. Hux felt his knees tremble and go weak. "Oh stars. I'm not going to last long if you keep that up."

 

For another minute Ren ignored the warning, sucking on Hux's length and then teasing the head and tip with his tongue. Eventually Hux had to tap the riding crop on Ren's shoulder and pull back on his hair, Ren being dragged away from his task with a displeased groan. "Am I that good?" Ren asked and licked precome from his lips.

 

"You are," Hux confirmed, stroking Ren's hair in reward. "But now I want you inside me."

 

"I should've known you'd be demanding even during sex," Ren said, though his smile was light-hearted as he plucked up the container of lube and coated two fingers immediately. "While I get you ready I'm going to mark your thighs so you can't wake up tomorrow and pretend this didn't happen."

 

Hux quickly removed the panties, garter belt and stockings under Ren's hungry gaze. "You'll get no complaints from me," Hux said, not bothering to hide his anticipation or the way precome was dribbling down the underside of his cock into his pubic hair with arousal.

 

"That's new," Ren shot back with a smirk. Hux brought down the riding crop with a twitch of his wrist, the impact to the skin of Ren's back only hard enough to cause a slight sting. Ren hissed at the hit, his cock twitching in the air as he also spilled a glob of precome onto the floor. Ren said nothing further and brushed both of his lubed fingers between Hux's ass cheeks. The first finger slid in with no resistance and Ren paused to look up at him. "Did you already prep?"

 

"Two fingers," Hux confessed.

 

"That's hot," Ren told him and immediately pushed the tip of his middle finger in alongside the first. When it pushed in just as easily Ren thrust both fingers in to the second knuckle. At the same time he latched his mouth onto Hux's inner thigh and sucked hard. Hux tensed at the mix of pain and pleasure as he felt the bruise beginning to form beneath Ren's mouth at the same time as his hole stretched around Ren's fingers. Ren pumped his fingers in and out of Hux's body while he worked on the hickey he was creating and then withdrew his hand and mouth at the same time.

 

The lube container was re-opened and Ren slicked up a third finger. Then he returned to his previous position, pushing two fingers into Hux's hole and then wiggling in the fingertip of a third. As Hux adjusted, Ren decorated Hux's thighs with another hickey. And then Hux received a third and fourth hickey while his ass stretched around the finger Ren slowly but surely worked into him. By the time Ren had Hux open fully around the width of three fingers, Hux was rocking himself down to take him deeper as he felt the stinging collage of bruises littering his thighs.

 

"I'm ready," Hux said, feeling a little desperate as his orgasm began to build and his balls tightened.

 

Ren removed his fingers and mouth and he sat back on his heels to look up at Hux. The riding crop rested lightly on his shoulder but Ren seemed unbothered by its presence now. "I want to hold you down."

 

Hux swallowed hard as his cock throbbed at the mental image. He had planned to ride Ren but with his orgasm already licking at him like a rising tide, Hux was more interested in getting off than starting an argument. Hux had already made it clear that he wasn't some submissive ragdoll like the sim and Ren had been receptive to the change; he was happy with their established dynamic and ready to move on. "Alright," he agreed with a nod and let himself be dragged down to the floor.

 

Ren spread Hux out on his back and lying on Ren's discarded robes, which was unnecessary but touchingly sweet. Hux could see the marks sucked onto his skin as he parted his legs to accommodate the width of Ren's body. Ren knelt above him and grabbed more lube, stroking it over his erection as his eyes traveled every inch of Hux's body on display. When he was ready Ren led Hux's legs to hook over his thighs which changed the angle of Hux's hips. After that Ren took himself in hand and lined up the head of his cock against Hux's hole to push in with slow but insistent pressure.

 

There was a frozen moment of resistance before Hux exhaled heavily and his muscles relaxed. Ren's cock sank in two inches all at once and they both tensed and moaned into the otherwise quiet room. Hux started to pant when Ren thrust himself deeper, filling Hux's body in inches with each sway of his hips. Only when Ren was fully sheathed did he pause, his hands massaging Hux's thighs mindlessly. Hux left the riding crop on the ground beside him and instead reached up with a hand to draw in Ren's attention. "Tell me I feel good," Hux said, though it was more of a plea than he wanted to admit.

 

Ren caught Hux's outstretched hand and pressed a kiss to his palm. Then he leaned forward to hold himself over Hux's body with his hands and looked down at him with hooded eyes and parted lips. The movement forced Ren's cock a tiny bit deeper and Hux squirmed as the head of Ren's cock nudged against his prostate. "Hux, forget 'good'; you feel amazing. You're so tight and perfect for me, clenching around me in just the right way."

 

Hux blushed at the praise and whined when Ren shifted on his knees and his cock rubbed more firmly against Hux's prostate. "Ren..."

 

"Shh, I'm going to take care of you," Ren said and pulled himself out just to thrust back in to the hilt.

 

Hux cried out with pleasure and wrapped his arms around Ren's neck, desperate to keep Ren as close as possible. He wasn't new to sex but the tenderness of Ren's words and touches left Hux feeling more unsteady and emotional than he could remember being. Ren was making him feel amazing though and all Hux wanted to do was give in and enjoy – the way Ren seemed to know exactly how to thrust into his body to make sparks of pleasure dance across his nerve endings, and the way Ren made Hux feel like he really kriffing mattered.

 

"You do matter, Hux," Ren said between grunts, his pace speeding up rather than slowing down.

 

"I didn't say you could read my mind," Hux groused without any true anger.

 

"Hard to avoid when you're thinking it so loud," Ren countered. Ren slowed his hips and reached down to lead Hux's legs higher to wrap around Ren's waist, changing the angle again to deepen each thrust. As Ren ground against his ass, Hux locked his ankles together and slid all of his fingers up into Ren's long hair, refusing to let their bodies part until they finished. "When I began to lose faith in Snoke I fought for you, you know," Ren told him breathlessly. "I fought for your vision of the First Order because it was the only thing I could believe in."

 

"Ren," Hux moaned and arched beneath Ren's moving body. He spoke not to interrupt Ren but simply because he was overwhelmed by everything he was experiencing and felt like he would burst otherwise.

 

Ren continued to talk between hurriedly gasped breaths, his skin beginning to shine with sweat. "I thought you would never really see me and that I deserved no better because I couldn't compare. Yet hereyouare." Each word was emphasized with a sharp, demanding thrust that had Hux's entire body tensing as his orgasm descended like a raging, inevitable wave. "Your beautiful strong thighs are spread around me and painted with my bruises. Your sharp eyes are hazy for the first time and your skin is flushed because of me, right Hux?"

 

"Yes," Hux pulled on Ren's hair the way he hoped Ren would like.

 

A growl rumbled in Ren's chest and he fought Hux's pull on his hair only to keep their eyes locked, though Hux felt Ren's cock throb within him. Ren's hips snapped forward without pause, the force of each thrust enough to knock air from Hux's lungs. "Your greedy little hole is so perfect, stuffed full of my cock," Ren babbled. "You're going to let me fill you with my seed and walk out of here with it dripping down your thighs, aren't you?"

 

"Y-yes!" Hux stuttered as his orgasm crested – waned – simmered. So close. "Ren, please."

 

"Say it," Ren groaned.

 

"Yes!" Hux repeated

 

"No, say it!"

 

"I want your seed," Hux rushed through the words, mindless now with his need to come. "Please fill me."

 

As he said this Ren stiffened, his eyes clenched closed and his lips parted for a drawn out moan as he came with one final thrust inside Hux's body. Hux could feel Ren's come spilling inside him and while he kept one hand pulling on Ren's hair, his other hand snaked down to stroke himself off frantically. Before Ren was even spent Hux followed him over the edge, body bucking through it as he came messily across his own abdomen. Hux let go of his spent cock and Ren's hair to slump on the floor, utterly exhausted and sated. While Hux recovered, Ren kissed gently over his neck and chest, Ren's cock leaving Hux's body only when it had softened and slipped out on its own.

 

Hux felt the trickle of wetness coming out of his ass and he grimaced. Ren, who was still holding himself aloft above Hux, laughed. "You asked for it."

 

"Technically," Hux retorted, though he couldn't bring himself to actually complain. That had been the best orgasm of his life. He saw the way Ren weathered his lip the way he always did when he was uncertain. "What is it?" Hux prompted.

 

"Can I still kiss you?" Ren asked shyly.

 

"Yes, and I'd really rather you did," Hux answered with a small smile in return.

 

Ren took the invitation willingly and leaned down to brush their lips together before initiating a proper kiss. Hux tilted his face into it to deepen the kiss, not minding the slight taste of salt on Ren's tongue from when he had sucked Hux off. They were both too sated to get aroused again so the kiss remained gentle, interrupted only when Hux turned away to yawn. This triggered a yawn from Ren and they both chuckled, Hux surprised but not displeased at how easy it was to find common ground when they gave up the rival mentality.

 

"Hux, can I take you to bed? A proper bed," Ren amended when Hux raised an eyebrow.

 

The thought of a soft bed was wonderful; being joined by a warm, attractive man – even more so. Hux yawned again and nodded, allowing Ren to help him into a seated position even though it made his ass ache from being stretched and now left empty. Hux tucked away the idea of a repeat performance when they woke up together the next morning but for now pulled Ren into a longer, lingering kiss. Against Ren's lips he said, "That sounds like an excellent idea."