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Everything is fucked.

The shipment of components for the new shields has not arrived. The Resistance is still out there somewhere, probably regrouping. The inhabitants of a moon that Hux deemed suitable to build a new Starkiller on are not willing to surrender to the First Order, and they will need to be pacified, which will take time and resources. And even though Hux can deal with some of this, there are still orders and decisions awaiting Kylo’s personal approval, and he just wants the burden of responsibility to disappear for at least a few moments.

Kylo wants to grab his chest, dig his nails into the skin there, until he can feel his ribs and then tug, hard as he can, till he’s ripped into pieces. He can’t meditate in this state, but then he’s not been able to meditate for weeks. He should go to his quarters and try anyway, because if he doesn’t calm himself down he might explode, or maybe collapse into himself and implode. Yet the sole idea of closing himself within the ascetic walls of his rooms makes him turn around and run away from them—like a captured fathier escaping his box.

He needs to ground himself; he’s got to find a safe place with familiar surroundings, but one that doesn’t feel like a prison.

He closes his eyes, lets out his breath, and tries to see inside himself, seeking for a hint of a place or activity that would bring him some peace. What the Force supplies is… Hux, and Kylo sighs, because this is not the first time he’s been presented with this solution.

He needs Hux guarding his back while his mind is drifting in the abyss, dissolving within the Force, and absorbing the peacefulness, the answers, and the meaning of everything. He also needs Hux to help him unwind, calm down, and burn some of that excess angry energy before he’s even able to start meditating.

When Kylo storms into Hux’s chambers, Hux is still working. And as much as Kylo needs Hux’s attention right now, he doesn’t want to force Hux to stop whatever he’s doing because he knows exactly how this will go: Hux will comply—because of course he will, he won’t dare deny his Supreme Leader—but his mind will be stuck on some work-related problem during their fuck instead of focused on the pleasure. Kylo prefers the frustration waiting until Hux is done with the most pressing matters.

He plops down next to Hux on the ridiculously soft blue velvet couch Hux seems to have an obsession about, stretches his legs in front of himself, and waits. For lack of anything better to do, he observes all the micro-expressions on Hux’s face and tries to guess what kind of message Hux is replying to without using the Force. Hux’s mouth twitches constantly and there’s a deep crease on his forehead that’s almost always there when he’s working—the anger, frustration and disappointment marring Hux’s smooth features.

It’d be way more efficient if Hux just holo’ed everyone instead of typing up replies to the countless messages he gets, but Kylo won’t suggest it. He prefers Hux like this: silent and focused. It’s so much better than listening to Hux addressing people in person; he’s haughty and arrogant then, his face alternating between a mockery of an expression that Hux imagines is how powerful people should present themselves, and a one of a smirking toddler who got away with a vicious prank. Hux also takes pleasure from listening to his own voice, which in turn makes Kylo want to gag Hux and keep him blissfully silent forever.

So yes, by all means, Hux typing out the replies is infinitely better. There’s only the buzz of the Star Destroyer engines, the clicking sound of boots of Stormtroopers patrolling the area outside Hux’s quarters, and the furious tap tap tap of Hux hitting the keys on his datapad.

It’s soothing, to the point of lulling Kylo halfway to sleep.

He’s jostled from his nap by Hux’s fidgeting. Hux cracks his knuckles one by one, then stretches his fingers, balls his hand in a fist, and stretches it again. He gets back to typing but after a moment he huffs and opens and closes his hand again a few more times. When he repeats it after another few minutes and then hisses and rubs at the inner side of his palm, Kylo has had enough.

He reaches out to grab Hux’s hand, tugging on it to get it closer, and then rubs Hux’s palm, feeling for the muscles aching from cramping over the keyboard. He kneads and rubs gently the soft, delicate flesh of Hux’s hand and only pauses when he senses some odd disturbance.

He looks up to realize that Hux has been sitting completely motionless, his heart beating so fast that Kylo thinks Hux will pass out in a moment. Hux’s pupils are dilated, his breath coming in shallow gasps that Hux is trying to keep as soundless as possible.

Hux is terrified.

Kylo looks down to where his fingers touch the muscles in Hux’s delicate hand. He looks up again. He doesn’t get it. He’s gentle enough and Hux isn’t in that much pain. Or at least he’s in less pain than just a few seconds ago when his palm hurt. Yet he’s emitting such great waves of distress and confusion. It’s almost as if he’s never been touched before outside sex or a fight, and oh...

Kylo thinks back to the times he’s been offered some physical comfort without violence or sexual intent. There was this moment with Rey through the Force connection and Han’s gentle palm on Kylo’s cheek just before Han fell off that bridge. And before that, ironically, Luke—the day before he tried to murder Ben in his sleep.

Kylo can remember it just as vividly: Luke’s callused fingers, gentle, careful as he was cleaning the scabs on Ben’s knuckles, a wound Ben had inflicted on himself during a fit of rage so intense that he couldn’t contain the anger within him lest he burst into flames. Luke’s hands had lingered upon Ben’s then, just a moment too long, as if Luke had wanted to make sure that Ben had been okay. But then something had passed between them, Ben being soothed into this false sense of safety and opening up his mind too much. Luke had inhaled sharply, seeing something in Ben he shouldn’t have seen.

So, the so-called comforting touch hasn’t done Kylo much good in his life either, and maybe Hux is right to be unsettled by it.

Kylo drops Hux’s hand and stands up. He might as well turn it sexual if it makes them both feel better.

“Undress and get on the bed,” he barks.

Hux blinks, shudders and then exhales, and Kylo thinks he’s made a good choice because there’s so much relief and gratitude in this single exhale that it almost hangs in the air like a sprinkle of lantern light on the Life Day evening.

 

#

He fucks Hux hard and fast, with Hux’s face pressed tight to the mattress and Kylo holding him still with a tight grip around Hux’s wrists. It’s how they both like it: Hux slightly lazy and passive in bed, just willingly taking whatever Kylo is giving him. Kylo doesn’t mind—he likes to give it to Hux and he likes it fast too, without elaborate foreplay, in and out, the bruising pace leading straight to the strong release they both need to wind down.

When they’re done, Hux lies on his back, his bony chest still heaving slightly from the exertion, skin covered in a thin sheen of sweat, hair mussed and cheeks flushed. Kylo can feel the energy in the room slowing down, settling along with Hux, and it fills him with the sense of security and peace he’s been looking for. This is why having Hux is so good. In the rare moments when Hux is too sated and exhausted to keep plotting and scheming, he’s like a frozen ocean—nearly still, with depths hidden and waves calm. Nothing else and no one else gives Kylo such a break from the turmoil of the surrounding world. Soon, Hux will stir and his mind will churn, whirling back to life, and billions of thoughts will burst out, but Kylo likes that too because it’s like watching a huge, complex star system sparking to life.

For now, he settles next to Hux and closes his eyes, reveling in the silence.

He’s almost reaching the point where his mind is clear enough for him to get up and try to meditate, when he feels a feather-light touch on his hand. He doesn’t open his eyes but waits, surprised and intrigued, because this has never happened before.

Cool, soft fingers trace the outline of Kylo’s hand, slowly, very softly, almost not there, as Hux maps out the shape of Kylo’s palm, thumb, index finger. Then Hux slides his gentle touch up to the inner side of Kylo’s wrist, hovering over the pulse point, and then further up the inside of Kylo’s forearm. It tickles a little, but it also sends a pleasurable shiver through Kylo’s whole body. His breath catches, and Kylo tries to calm it down so as not to spook Hux. He wants Hux to continue whatever he’s doing, almost like he’s wrapping Kylo in a Force-sensitive blanket.

Hux keeps stroking Kylo’s skin for a few long moments. Despite Kylo wanting to give in completely to the tingling, overwhelming sensation, he’s also too curious about Hux’s motivations not to peek a little. When he presses gently against Hux’s thoughts, so tenderly that Hux might not notice Kylo peering inside his mind, he’s greeted with a marvel: determination, idleness and reverence melted all together. Whatever Hux is doing it’s not sexual for him right now, but Kylo cannot separate his own sensations from arousal altogether. It’s gentler than desire though. Perhaps it’s how intimacy feels, he thinks. He’s never experienced that, even if he’s been subject to idle stroking and a stray comforting touch: his mother petting his hair, or rubbing his back whenever he had a cough. He pushes those memories aside, focusing back on Hux and Hux’s exploration of Kylo’s body.

Kylo sighs lightly and allows himself to be swept away along with the touch, his skin getting more sensitive with each pass of Hux’s fingers and at the same time desensitized, because Kylo seems to be losing the ability to pinpoint where exactly Hux’s fingertips are touching his skin at this very moment. Kylo’s nerves are confused and so is he, but it’s a good confusion, a little transcendent as if he’s left his body. At the same time he feels reconnected to every part of himself, present here and now, secure with Hux.

When the touch slows, wanes and ceases, for a while Kylo doesn’t notice it. He is hypnotized into feeling that Hux is still stroking him everywhere. When he focuses on Hux’s mind, though, he learns that Hux has fallen asleep.

Kylo opens his eyes to look at Hux’s relaxed form. Hux’s eyelids are fluttering lightly, little tremors of Hux’s body indicating that he’s dreaming about something, but perhaps for once it’s a good dream, because Hux’s facial features are peaceful, his lips half-parted in a slight smile.

Kylo curls onto his side and wraps his arms around Hux, wanting the peace of Hux’s dreams to rub off on him, wanting to leach them from Hux’s mind. He suspects that when Hux wakes up and finds Kylo in his bed and cuddling, he’ll snarl at him, and he’ll make bitter, sarcastic, hurtful remarks about it for ages. But honestly? Kylo doesn’t care. He’s willing to risk it for this moment of peace. Even if it’s more of a temporary ceasefire than a long-term truce.

He inhales Hux’s scent, sweet and clean, and so very Hux, and he lets dreams take him away too.