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Fields of Gold

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Fields of Gold

 

Kylo could hear Hux’s murderous thoughts with so much clarity, it was as though Hux were speaking the words out loud.

He and Hux were alone on this fuck-all planet, floundering through a field of flowers that spread through the plains and up to the horizon. In the slowly setting sun, the flora looked like an ocean of uncanny creatures with many arms, undulating in constant motion. The plants had long, delicate stalks crowned with large bell-shaped white flowers, almost half translucent and gently lit from within with fluorescent light. They emitted a fine-grained luminous pollen that hung in the air and wavered in the mild wind like white fog made of fireflies.

Under different circumstances Kylo would probably appreciate this picturesque, if slightly psychedelic, landscape and would want to examine the plants and their pollen. But as it was he had to find a way out of this flower-desert and placate, or suffocate, Hux before he drove Kylo insane with his perpetual inner accusations. Kylo could hear snatches of Hux’s ire: “lacking skills” and “terrible pilot” and “poor choice” of emergency landing zones.

As if Kylo’d had any options after the ship’s steering systems had blown to hell. Hux should be grateful for the Force field Kylo had produced and the soft flowerbed that dulled the impact of the crash in the end.

Besides, it was Hux’s fault that they’d found themselves on this nowhere planet, far on the Outer Rim. Hux had reviewed and accepted this mission. Now their ship had no steering whatsoever, a broken hyperdrive, and totally dysfunctional comms and datapads. Ren would even suspectHuxof sabotage, if Hux hadn’t been so angry and surprised when all the main systems in the ship had shut down at the same time. Of course, Hux wasn’t the only person plotting the assassination of the new Supreme Leader. And many higher officers, especially those from the older generation, would benefit from Hux disappearing along with his Leader.

Kylo tried to trace back the stream of commands and requests that had led to him leaving on this trip with Hux alone. Now that he thought about it, it was odd and suspicious that no one had questioned why both the Supreme Leader and General had left the Finalizerat the same time, together, and without any kind of escort, not even a single trooper to guard them. Or maybe it hadn’t been odd. After all, Kylo had undertaken many missions alone in the past. Or maybe, simply, no one had dared to question their Supreme Leader’s command.

No matter. Kylo was at least positive that the crash wasn’t the effect of Hux’s scheming mind, and that made him feel strangely glad.

For now, they had to find a way to communicate with the Finalizer, and that required locating a space station on this odd planet, a working transmitter, or at least a living, sentient creature who would lead them to a means of communication.

Perhaps they should count the surrounding flowers as sentient beings, though; they seemed to lean slightly in Kylo and Hux’s direction as they pushed through the fields. The emission of pollen grew even more prominent with each step they took. It smelled sweet, syrupy even, and the smell intensified with every disturbance of a plant. Kylo felt his head spinning a bit, the scent making him itchy and dizzy, but also hot all over.

He stopped for a moment to catch his breath, and Hux went around him, pushing Kylo’s shoulder in the process. “It’s getting dark. Let’s go!” Hux said, stomping through the flowers and rousing them to spread more pollen around them yet again.

Ren’s head spun harder. He breathed out, focused on finding his sense of direction, and followed Hux toward something grayish that loomed over the horizon and seemed to be a harvesting station of some sort.

 

*

The planet’s sun was almost set, the last red rays of it turning the flower fields into pink-tinged sparkling meadows, when Kylo and Hux finally reached the round shapes of a harvesting compound. Hux had been silent for the last half hour or so, clearly exhausted from their trek, but at the sight of civilizationhe perked up.

“Finally,” he muttered in his haughty, snarky tone that both annoyed and amused Kylo. There weren’t any signs of life around them, though, and the five round buildings joined together by low connecting tunnels appeared to be abandoned—dusted over with pollen and dirt and long unused. Perhaps that explained the amount of flowers and pollen in the fields. Whoever had made a profit out of these mysterious crops was long gone, allowing the Force and nature to take over.

There was no transport to be seen outside. The nearby docking hangar was empty, filled only with old barrels of fuel and scraps of metal.

“Perhaps there’s still an operating communications system,” Hux said, without much hope in his voice, as they approached what looked like the compound’s main part. Like all the other building it was round, not unlike Luke’s house on Tatooine. Kylo stopped and gritted his teeth.

Hux glanced back at him, irritated. “Are you waiting for a host to invite us in? This is obviously deserted. Open that door so we can search for a comm. Supreme Leader.”

Kylo rolled his eyes. Hux really had no instinct for self-preservation, what with constantly trying to boss Kylo around and adding his title almost like an insult. He was too tired to play Hux’s games and prove his point, though, so he ignited his lightsaber and cut the lock off the door with one flick of his wrist.

Inside it was dark, and the stale air was thick with pollen. Kylo covered his mouth and nose with the sleeve of his tunic, trying to prevent the dust and dried pollen—or remains from the processing of it—from getting into his airways. His lightsaber cast a red glow, but it wasn’t bright enough to light up the place. Hux coughed and took out the emergency flashlight he’d packed from their ship. The strong white stream of light exposed a dirty floor, empty walls, and an open, rusty conservator. There was a broken bottle on the floor lying next to the conservator, and a shelving space that, upon closer inspection, appeared to be a pantry half-full of canned bantha meat, soy beans, and some kind of old-fashioned protein powder. At least there was food—something to supplement the nutrient bars they’d taken from their ship’s emergency kit.

Kylo turned off his lightsaber, reached to Hux, and extracted the flashlight from his hand. Hux’s fingers, usually cold, felt oddly warm, hot even.

“Stay here,” Kylo said, and with the flashlight in hand went on to explore other compartments of the structure. He had to bend almost in half to fit into a small corridor that led to another chamber. This space was smaller and less dusty. It was probably a sleeping space, as it hosted a low twin bed with a stained mattress and a metal closet filled with clothes that surely didn’t fit human anatomy. There was also a wooden basket next to the bed packed with rugs and blankets. Nothing useful.

Kylo moved to the adjoining tight space to find a fresher, equipped with a toilet and a shower. He turned the knob and, with a screeching sound, water spluttered into the sink and then stopped. It must need power to be pumped out of an underground well. Kylo examined the walls of the fresher and found a rusted, industrial switch next to the entrance. He pushed the lever up and, after a groaning echo, the power generator hummed to life and the whole place lit up with cracking ceiling lamps casting dull light. Good. Now they could explore the rest of the compound.

Unfortunately, Kylo’s investigation didn’t reveal anything of interest. There was a shed with replacement tools—presumably for the harvesting machine—and another structure housed a distillation lab, but there was no comm to be found. Kylo kicked an empty can in frustration. It rolled on the floor and hit the wall with a clang. A second later, a similar clang rang out from an adjoining space. It came from the place in the compound where Kylo had left Hux.

Gripping the hilt of his lightsaber, Kylo ducked into the corridor and went back to the entry room he’d left Hux in. In the center of the rounded space Hux sat on the floor, gasping.

“Hux?”

“Huh?” Hux looked up. His eyes were glassy in the flickering light of the malfunctioning lamps.

“What are you doing?” he asked, because he refused to question if Hux was okay.

Hux swallowed and scrambled to stand up. He straightened his uniform. “Nothing,” he said, with a bit of strain in his voice.

“So why were you...?” Kylo waved his hand and then shook his head. “Never mind. Come, have a look at the pieces of crap in the other room. Maybe you’ll be able to build a comm out of something.”

“I’m an engineer, not a wizard,” Hux huffed upon seeing the spare-parts room. “You can’t expect me to be able to whip up modern technology out of rusty spare parts for a harvester!” He wiped his forehead. “Stars, why is this place so hot?” He opened the flap of his uniform, something that Kylo had never seen Hux do before—his uniform had always been perfectly pressed and buttoned up. It revealed Hux’s neck, less pale that Ren would have expected. He looked up at Hux’s face; the General was quite flushed, too.

“It’s not hot,” Kylo said. In fact after the sun had set, the air around them, even inside the compound, had gotten icy cold.

“Well, I’m kriffing boiling.” Hux tugged angrily at his uniform and took off the jacket completely, then removed a padded blouse and a thermal long-sleeved undershirt. Underneath it all he wore a black tank top. His arms were very slim and white, dusted with golden freckles. Smooth. Kylo licked his lips.

Hux hung his clothes on one of the sharp teeth of a broken harvester cutter bar, and started puttering around the place in search of anything useful in the pile of spare parts. He kept muttering under his breath about pieces of junk and witchcraft, but he did place aside a few parts—a matrix, a spindle of wires, four huge thick glass bulbs, and a metal box.

For a while Kylo observed Hux’s search with interest, but eventually he got bored and turned to go out of the compound to check on the surroundings.

Outside the sky was dark, but the flower fields cast fluorescent light, moving back and forth like giant waves of white-green sparkles. It was unsettling but mesmerizing, and Kylo sat down on the ground with his back to the compound’s wall to watch this spectacle. He was tired, but he didn’t want to close his eyes. The flowers seemed to sing to him, beckon him, caress him with the Force. He reached out with his hand toward the field, and gasped when the shimmering pollen swirled toward him, as if reaching back. A ribbon of light flew closer and wrapped itself around Kylo’s arm. It was warm, gentle, tingling with Force. It whispered to Kylo, wanting him to follow its lead, tugging.

Come. Come, it said. Kylo got up and stepped into the field of flowers, letting the fluorescent light surround him, wrap him up, until he was lying down in this warm sea, relaxed, happy, free.

“Supreme Leader. Ren. Get up. Kriff, you’re heavy.” Kylo heard it as if through water. He felt something pulling him away from the field. “Stars, why do I always have to drag you out of something.”

They were back in the compound, cut off from the beckoning light of the flowers.

“Fuck,” Kylo said, when he felt his head clear. “This... These plants are something else, aren’t they? I think this pollen is stronger in the night.” He wondered if he’d ever wake up if Hux hadn’t dragged him out.

Hux leaned, half-bent, with his hands on his knees, taking deep breaths that caught in his throat a little. “No shit,” he managed in between breaths. He didn’t look like he could straighten back up. Beads of sweat formed on his arms and rolled down his skin. “I think—” He gasped. “I think I’ve breathed in too much of it now. What. What is this thing? I feel like...” He looked up at Kylo; his eyes were more terrified than Kylo had ever seen before, even more than when Kylo had choked him in Snoke’s throne room. “Is it alive?It feels like it has crawled under my skin. Everywhere!” He patted at his arms and legs, as if trying to brush off non-existent ants.

“I...” Kylo started. He wanted Hux to calm down because his panic was seeping into Kylo, too. “No. But they certainly are strong with the Force.”

“The Force!” Hux spat out the word, and then sat heavily on the ground. He had to support himself with one arm not to collapse completely. “If this is how the Force feels... how do you bear it?” He shook his head. “Don’t tell me.”

As if Kylo could explain to this pariah how the Force felt. “Did you make any progress with the comm?” he asked, annoyed.

Hux shook his head. At least he wasn’t as panicked and crazed as seconds earlier. “Not enough. Because someonehad to decide to drown in the field of Force-wielding flowers. Kriff. I still can’t breathe. I need to... This. Hurts.”

It was odd to hear Hux talking explicitly about being unwell. Usually Hux endured anything painful or disgraceful in petulant silence. He had to be really shaken up to express aloud that he wasn’t at his best.

“Let’s…” Kylo waved, stopped talking, and swallowed. “Let’s just rest for the night, and you may work on the comm tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Supreme Leader,” Hux said, with as much poison in his voice as he could muster. “For letting me rest. Since saving your life againhas exhausted me.”

Honestly, sometimes Kylo didn’t know if Hux was mocking him or speaking seriously.

Kylo went to the fresher and splashed water on his face. With the generator on, the water flowed quite easily, if irregularly. It was cold and rust-colored but clear enough to drink. Kylo took a few long gulps. It tasted like metal but was refreshing anyway.

When he went out of the fresher he saw Hux curled up on the mattress in the bedroom, shaking underneath a blanket he must have dug out of the basket.

“I thought you said you were hot,” Kylo said.

“Yes.” Hux’s teeth clacked together. “But. I’m cold, too.”

Kylo kneeled next to the mattress and on impulse reached to put his hand on Hux’s forehead—something Leia had done whenever Ben was sick as a child. Hux flinched and moved away from the touch.

“I think you might have a fever,” Kylo said. Hux’s skin was clammy and hot to the touch. “Do you have any stims in the bag?”

“I already took some,” Hux gritted out. “Doesn’t work. Just. Let me sleep.”

Kylo nodded, turned off the main lights, leaving only an emergency panel on, and decided to lie down next to Hux. He didn’t sense anything dangerous in their vicinity—if one didn’t count the sentient flowers—so he reckoned keeping guard wasn’t necessary. He wouldn’t mind resting for a while, too.

It was cold, indeed, so Kylo dug around the basket in search of more blankets and crawled up onto the bed. Hux was asleep but still shivering, and without giving it much thought, Kylo scooted closer to him and wrapped an extra blanket around them both. Through the layers of cloth he could feel Hux’s skin, burning like a furnace.

*

Kylo woke up to a moan.

It was dark, the green of the emergency light not giving enough visibility. Next to Kylo, Hux was thrashing in his sleep, gasping and whining.

“Hux.” Kylo shook his arm. Hux’s skin was even hotter than before. “Armitage, wake up.” Another whine, but nothing more from Hux.

Kylo stood up to flick the lights back on. Hux looked feverish, his lips were parted and dry, skin red from the high temperature. “Do you have another stim somewhere?” Kylo asked, but didn’t get any answer. He went to dig inside Hux’s bag, checking for medical supplies. There was a syringe with a general anti-inflammatory and painkilling substance pushed in between boxes of bacta patches, and Kylo took it. Hux seemed not to notice the sting of the stim, but he stopped thrashing a few minutes after the shot. Whatever infection he’d gotten, Kylo hoped that the medicine would fight it by morning. He covered Hux with one more blanket and settled down behind him to sleep. He cursed when he realized that he’d left the lights on, and instead of getting up he sent a flicker of thought to the switch, turning it off with the Force. Hux would probably think Kylo lazy. But what did Hux know.

Next time Kylo woke up it was dawn. Silvery light was visible through a crack in the room’s heavy dura-glass windows. Hux was sleeping soundly after the shot, but he still was a little too hot to the touch.

“Hurts,” he mumbled in his sleep. “Don’t. Please.”

Kylo felt an unwanted sting of discomfort. Hux was probably dreaming of his Supreme Leader knocking him around, throwing him into walls, choking him with the Force. Which Supreme Leader, Kylo couldn’t tell. Kylo wanted to get up, get away before the images from Hux’s dream assaulted him, but the warmth coming from Hux’s body was too nice to get away from. Hux’s skin smelled pleasant, too, despite his fever and sweat—like warm stones, or the golden syrup Ben used to eat as a boy.

Hux whined and turned on his back. His legs opened a little and Kylo almost choked on the smell that reached him. Hux. Smelled. So. Good.

Kylo crawled closer to Hux and nuzzled into the back of Hux’s neck. Here the scent was even stronger. Intoxicating. Calling to Kylo not unlike the flowers outside had called to him earlier. Kylo felt his cock stir. He wanted to grab Hux, push him into the mattress, bury himself in this heat.

Now, that was... surprising. Perhaps the proximity to Hux’s overheated body had awoken something in Kylo. Not that he hadn’t noticed before that Hux was in a way enticing—after all Hux was an unmated Omega, suppressants or not, and this had some effect on the primal instincts of Kylo’s Alpha nature. It hadn’t escaped Kylo’s notice either that Hux was quite attractive, with his red hair, sharp cheekbones, full lips, green eyes, and lean body. But Kylo had never considered Hux approachablebefore. And even if he had, his advances wouldn’t have been met with appreciation, and this particular part of human interaction had been ingrained as compulsorily consensual into little Ben. Somehow this belief had stayed with him as Kylo Ren—violent he might have been, often cruel to others, including Hux, but he’d never imposed himself on anyone in a sexual way.

Now though—now Hux was almost in Kylo’s arms, and he seemed so contentwith it. Kylo didn’t mind that one bit, either. In fact, he was very comfortable with it. With that thought, Kylo allowed sleep to take him away again.

*

Hux woke up in the morning a little more lucid, but whatever infection was consuming him must have hit him hard. He was still fighting the fever and he was clearly in pain—that much Kylo could guess from Hux’s quiet and careful moves and his gritted teeth. Kylo knew well the determined facial expression that Hux got whenever he was injured and not wanting to show it. Hux also hadn’t touched the ration bar that Kylo passed to him for breakfast. Instead, he’d taken the spare parts he’d assembled the previous night and set to building the transmitter.

There was no table, so Hux sat on the compound’s floor. It was weirdly disturbing to see Kylo’s always immaculate General in just his uniform pants and a tank top, sitting on a dirty floor, building something from dusty scraps.

Drops of sweat formed on Hux’s temple, and he wiped it with the back of his hand, leaving a gray smear on his cheek.

Kylo’s pulse rushed and, angry with his body’s urges, Kylo decided to leave Hux be and explore again, mindful of the beckoning flowers this time around. At least during the day their effects weren’t as potent.

He went into the distillation lab and dug around the shelves that were cluttered with vials, rubber tubes, and empty crates. Some of the crates were stamped with a distantly familiar logo of a three-leaf flower and a sign underneath.

F-lily, Inc. The sign read.

Stars. The reality dawned on Kylo like a hammer and made him chuckle out loud. This wasn’t a meadow of some unknown Force-wielding flowers. This was an illegal plantation of Fellutian’s lilys,commonly known as heat-inducing herbs

Kylo wiped his face in amusement, trying to suppress his underlying horror. The amount of pollen used in a typical potion equaled, what, a tip of a teaspoon, and it was processed, dried and then distilled stuff. And they’d been trapped in the midst of freshfields full of living pollen for two days now. They’ve been literally sleeping in it!

Being an Alpha, theoretically the pollen shouldn’t affect Kylo much; at worst it could make him horny, but he’d never heard of anyone being exposed to this amount and density of it. When he thought about it, Kylo did feel intoxicated a little, like after having a glass or two of strong wine.

But Hux—Hux was an Omega, and Kylo suspected that no suppressants in the whole Galaxy were strong enough to fight such an exposure to heat-inducing herbs. This wasn’t an infection. Hux was in heat.

 

*

“Heat?” Hux’s eyes were wide as saucers. He looked hot and disoriented. “That’s impossible. My suppressants—”

“Aren’t enough to ward off heat triggered by this density of pollen. Don’t you recognize the symptoms?”

Hux bit his lip, and Kylo could almost hear the cogs working in Hux’s brain as he reassessed himself. “I’ve been on suppressants all my life, so I wouldn’t even know what to look for,” Hux finally confessed tightly, trying to sound more offended than embarrassed.

Kylo knew that, of course. Heat and mating were closely regulated by the First Order, and none of the officers were allowed to succumb to the urges of their bodies. Besides, the First Order’s ideology was about making biology unimportant, not allowing it to determine the future of an individual. It was your potential that mattered, and modern medicine could make the starting point equal, no matter if you were born an Alpha or Omega. Still, General Brendol Hux’s son being an Omega must have been a disgrace, and Kylo believed that Hux’s life as an adolescent couldn’t have been easy. But whose was?

“Well,” Hux said. “This isn’t ideal, but it isn’t a catastrophe either, I suppose. After all, this is a natural occurrence. Omegas have suffered through this,” he motioned to his abdomen, “for centuries and survived without harm. I’ll just have to endure it for a couple of days and it will pass.”

“I guess,” Kylo said, not entirely convinced. But perhaps Hux was right. After all it was just heat, and, as Hux had said, it was natural, and it would pass. They would be fine.

*

They weren’t fine.

After a few hours of trying to work, Hux gave up and went back to bed, curling up there, shivering in fever and whimpering softly.

Kylo went outside, needing to escape from the cloud of Hux’s emotions that were spillingall over the place, as well as from Hux’s scent. Now that Kylo knew what that smell was, he was unable to not look at Hux as a potential mate, to not desire him. The urge to chase Hux, grab him, make him Kylo’swas getting increasingly strong and aggravating. It was suffocating.

Kylo busied himself with plundering the compound’s storage rooms, discovering pieces of a droid that perhaps could be assembled together. Kylo wasn’t as good at mechanics as he’d heard Vader had been, but he wasn’t the worst either. A functioning droid would perhaps give them more intel on the planet’s resources, although Kylo suspected that the strong Force field emitted by the herbs was making all complex technology useless. He’d already gathered that the plantation had been run by a sentient but not human species, certainly not one that could be subject to Alpha/Beta biology, and that it was run in an archaic style, with mechanical harvesters and simple droids, and no modern tech whatsoever.

Kylo considered going back to their ship for more spare parts, but that would mean walking back through the flower fields, and he wasn’t looking forward to being swept away by the Force of it again. Not to mention that the thought of leaving Hux alone made something dark and possessive rise up in his chest. After a few hours of useless tinkering with the droid, Kylo gave up and went back to check on Hux.

*

He found Hux thrashing on the bed, scratching at his arms and legs. His skin was already red and raw from fresh scrapes.

Kylo gripped Hux’s hands. “Hey. Armitage. Stop this.”

“I have to... My insides burn. It hurts so much.” Hux was practically sobbing, trying to pull his hands out of Kylo’s grasp. Kylo had never seen him like this. Could it be really that bad?

He dove into Hux’s mind, just a little bit, only to recoil and almost hit the back wall. This—this couldn’t be normal heat. This was agony. Kylo could barely breathe out of pain, and he’d only dipped his toes—so to speak—into Hux’s sensations.

He brought Hux water, placed a wet cloth on his forehead, and then curled up next to him, hoping that the smell of an Alpha, having an Alpha care for him, protect him, would make Hux feel better. He already knew it was a lost cause, though. Hux was literally burning, and Kylo had an inkling that Hux wouldn’t survive this heat, at least not without getting away from this planet and the influence of the pollen.

*

Another day passed. Hux’s moments of clarity were getting rarer and more spread out. He stopped communicating with Kylo. He refused water or any kind of nourishment. He didn’t even whimper anymore. He just lay there in the dirty blankets, curled up on himself, breathing in short, ragged breaths. His skin was dry and pale, grayish even. A wet spot of slick spread between his legs, staining the bed.

It should have been disgusting to see the immaculate General Hux debased like that, but to Kylo he was the most enticing creature in the whole Galaxy, and Kylo had to remind himself that this was just biology fucking with his head, that Hux didn’t in fact desire him, and that he didn’t want Hux this way either.

At night the flowers outside called to Kylo again, but he didn’t care about their lure anymore. He just wanted Hux’s agony to end. He was so attuned to Hux now, that he didn’t have to even try to sense what Hux was feeling. Waves of pain and desire hit him over and over, as if he were the one experiencing them firsthand.

Kylo was no stranger to torture. He’d been a subject of Snoke’s punishments many times in the past. He’d tortured people himself. But this? This was beyond what even he could imagine.

Hux was going to die of this if something wasn’t done soon; Kylo was sure of it. They needed to find a way off this planet, a way to get Hux to a medical center with modern technology. Perhaps somewhere nearby, on another planet in the Outer Rim maybe, there’d be treatment for Hux, someone who’d be able to tame this heat, or make it bearable at least. Kylo crouched next to Hux and held a can of water to Hux’s lips, but Hux didn’t want to drink.

“What can I do?” Kylo thought he sounded desperate, perhaps hysterical even. He lay down next to Hux again and wrapped himself around Hux’s slight frame. Stars, why did Hux still smell so good, even when he was dying. Kylo couldn’t think when he was this close to him, but he knew that his closeness made Hux feel a little better. He nuzzled into Hux’s neck and realized that he seemed to be doing that a lot lately. He licked Hux there, and then licked again. Hux strained.

“Fuck me.” Hux’s voice was so low, so small and broken, that Kylo wasn’t sure he’d heard him right.

“What?” Kylo pushed himself up to look at Hux.

“This...” Hux looked at Kylo, begging, and licked his lips. There was a crack on his chapped upper lip that opened and bled a little. Kylo wanted to lick it clean. “This should help, shouldn’t it? Isn’t that how it works?”

“Yes.” Kylo pressed himself back to Hux. His eyes burned. “This is how it shouldwork. But we don’t know if it can help in this case—I’ve never heard of anyone being under the influence of Fellutian’s lilysfor this long.”

“Then I’ll die on this cursed planet, but at least I’ll have something out of it.” There was bitterness in Hux’s voice and also a hint of despair, but most of all he sounded resigned.

Kylo tried to untangle the muddle of emotions, but probably Hux himself didn’t understand what he was feeling. There was fear and desire and hatred and even more desire hitting Kylo in waves.

“Is this what you really want? Would you want this if we weren’t here? If you weren’t like this?”

“But this is the point, Ren. We are. I am.” Hux turned away and added softly, “Just fuck me.” His voice wavered. “Please.”

Kylo closed his eyes, to think, to consider this without looking at Hux, without getting confused by the spiral of Hux’s emotions. But honestly? What else could he do. “Okay,” he said, reaching to push Hux’s hair back from his face. “Okay.”

Kylo started undressing. He knew what he was doing—more or less. He’d had sex before, even if it had never been with a human man, but Twi’lek women. It had been good, nice, sweet even, but it had also happened when he was Ben, not Kylo, which meant that it happened yearsago. But people did this every day. This was an instinct. The most natural thing. He couldn’t go wrong.

He slipped under the blankets naked and wrapped himself back around Hux, who was so warm, so pliant in Kylo’s arms. Kylo had imagined that they could be very businesslike about it—in, out, be done with it, but as soon as he brought Hux even closer to himself he knew this would not go how he’d thought.

When Kylo reached between Hux’s legs to slip off his damp briefs, Hux emitted a sound that Kylo was sure would stay with him till the end of his days. Something on the verge of gratefulness, anticipation, and need so great, need for Kylo, for Kylo only, only him in the whole Galaxy. Kylo wanted to run his hands over Hux’s overheated skin, to map his slim body, kiss and lick every part of Hux’s arms, legs, stomach, back. He wanted to take his time, explore Hux thoroughly, but at the same time he felt that urgency—coming from Hux or maybe from himself—to just claim Hux, bury his cock in Hux’s ass up to the hilt, fuck him hard, unload inside of him, and fill him up with Kylo’s seed to the brim, mate him, impregnatehim, make him Kylo’s forever.

He had to calm down. Take his time. He stroked Hux’s calves, and then his thighs. There was so much slick, so much of it. Hux probably didn’t even need to be prepared. Kylo wanted to scoot down and eat it all out, lick Hux clean, but in Hux’s fuzzy thoughts he could hear only “fuck me, fuck me, fuck me,” and the waves of craving coming from Hux were almost enough to knock Kylo over. Perhaps he could take things slow later. And why was Kylo even thinking about later?

Hux was still pliant in Kylo’s grip—he let Kylo maneuver him as if he were a doll, limbs adjusting willingly to how Kylo wanted him. Kylo positioned Hux on his side so he could keep his arms wrapped around him, but held Hux loosely enough to let him know that he could move away if he needed to. Oh, how he wanted to pin Hux down, bite him, fuck him into the mattress. But this was good too. He brushed Hux’s hair again and bit his neck lightly, not deep enough to leave a mark, but Hux stilled.

“Ren,” he begged again, but calmer now, as if his body relaxed in anticipation of the inevitable and stopped hurting so much.

Kylo positioned himself between Hux’s legs, the slick making it easy to direct his cock into Hux’s entrance, and pushed in.

Stars. Was Hux tight. Hot. Wet.

Hux whined.

Kylo caught a glimpse of something strong and dark—a hint of pain, and Hux gritting his teeth in silence. But the memory faded as quickly as it appeared, leaving only Yes and So good behind.

Kylo pushed in further.

“Yes,” Hux whispered. He sounded broken but awed—happy. “More.”

“I can’t. Hux, stop pushing. I don’t want to hurt you, okay?”

Somewhere in the frantic craze Hux was in, he looked incredulous, angry even. “Sure,” he said through clenched teeth. “Whatever you say. Supreme Leader.”

Kylo stopped and backed up for a moment. He felt something like black ice spreading through his body. Obviously, he was aware that Hux wouldn’t have had sex with him if it weren’t for the situation they were in, but he hoped to hell that Hux didn’t feel inferior and at Kylo’s mercy.

He was halted in his musings by Hux’s urging whine. “Ren. Please. Come on.”

“Okay,” Kylo muttered.

They’d get through this, he thought. He’d just fuck Hux back to normality and Hux would build a comm and they would be back on the Finalizer in two cycles tops. Or even if Hux didn’t manage to make a transmitter, Kylo would be able to focus and meditate and, with the help of all the Force that those flowers emitted, he’d contact someone. Rey. His mother. Whomever. He wouldn’t let Hux die on this kriffing planet.

He didn’t understand where this sudden concern for Hux came from. Perhaps he’d grown used to the little fox, or perhaps this planet was making him lose his mind, too, making him mad with the urge to protect his potential mate no matter what. Maybe sleeping in the field of flowers had addled his brain.

When Kylo was buried totally inside Hux, panting over him, Hux turned his head and their gazes locked. It felt like Galaxies clicking together, like finding the most precious artifact, like centering oneself in the Force. Like the whole Universe stopped in this sacred moment.

Kylo didn’t even know when he started moving again. His thrusts were long and slow; he wanted to cherish this moment, praise it, worship Hux and Hux’s body.

Hux wriggled and somehow it made Kylo thrust even deeper, so deep that Hux moaned out loud and then couldn’t keep quiet when Kylo started to fuck him hard and fast, with abandon. He pushed back, wanting Kylo deeper, and then cried out. Kylo felt him shudder with orgasm in his arms. The smell—starsthe smell! It was what pushed Kylo over the edge, too, and for the first time in his life he felt his knot swell on his cock inside of a partner, locking Hux in place, who stilled totally in Kylo’s arms, some Omega atavism making him immobile lest he hurt himself when his Alpha was knotting him.

“Oh fuck,” Kylo breathed out. His cock was pulsing with release, over and over, and over, and he was shaking with the knot settled deep and steady inside Hux.

“Kriff,” Hux said. There was appreciation and fear in his voice. “It’s so... I’m so full. Ren, don’t move.”

As if Kylo could. They were locked so tightly that even if Kylo wanted he wouldn’t be able to move, even an inch. He held Hux and licked his skin, on the shoulder blades, at the nape of Hux’s neck, on his ears, cheeks—everywhere he could reach. “You’re beautiful,” he said. It just spilled from his lips. “Mine.”

Hux shuddered again—and Kylo wasn’t sure if Hux was laughing or was affected by the laving of his tongue, but it felt good nonetheless.

At some point they must have fallen asleep, joined together like this, because when Kylo opened his eyes later, it was to Hux fidgeting in his arms. The knot has dissipated enough for Kylo to slip out. Everything between them was wet and sticky with slick and release.

Hux sounded... miserableagain.

The mystic glow of the flowers was bright from outside the window, so it had to be the middle of the night.

“Are you all right?” Kylo asked, voice groggy from sleep. He didn’t feel the overwhelming suffering coming from Hux anymore, but the want was there still. “Do you need me to bring you anything? Water? Or maybe something to eat?” After all, Hux hadn’t touched food in the last three days, and he was likely dehydrated, too.

“No.” Hux said. “No. But...” He turned to face Kylo and scooted closer, his erection digging into Kylo’s thigh. It was obvious what he wanted.

“Oh,” Kylo said. “Okay. Come here.”

He tugged on Hux’s arm and then rolled on top of him. Hux was still wet and hot, the slick making everything slippery and soft.

Hux clawed at Kylo’s back violently, trying to bring him closer, to urge him to fuck him fast, but Kylo thrust into him unhurriedly, deeply, with a kind of reverence. Outside the flowers seemed to be content with them, singing in Kylo’s head with joy and encouragement.

When the knot held again, Hux gasped and opened his eyes. The light reflected in them was as fluorescent, green and beautiful as the flowers, and Kylo couldn’t help himself—he leaned in and kissed Hux, soft and deep, needing to convey to Hux how gorgeous he was, how amazing, how perfect for Kylo. And not only in this very moment, but always, always.

Hux seemed to get it somehow. Maybe it was spilling into him through the Force. He met Kylo halfway with kisses that tasted like a promise of something good, of some life that they didn’t know or deserve.

“Yes,” Hux whispered. He cupped Kylo’s cheek with his hand, caressing the stubble there with his fingers. He kept looking into Kylo’s eyes until something shifted between them, some greater energy tied them together.

Kylo started coming, the knot keeping him in place, locking him with Hux for hours again, until Kylo was squeezed dry and had no seed to give anymore. Only then did Hux close his eyes and let Kylo lick away the tears that spilled down his cheeks.

*

It was morning, or maybe another afternoon. Kylo was exhausted, more than he’d ever been in his life, and that was saying something, but despite it, or maybe because of it, he couldn’t drift off to sleep. He observed the soft, finally peaceful rise and fall of Hux’s chest, and listened to his soft breathing.

Hux looked sated and relaxed in his sleep—younger, sweeter, happyeven.

Kylo let himself imagine a world that would allow him to have this: no one wanting his death, no one looking for him, no one wanting anythingfrom him. A little house on a distant planet, a mate to come back to after a day of harvesting Force-sensitive flowers. It was a childish, naive dream, of course, and he knew that even if the Galaxy wasn’t set on making Kylo its plaything, he and Hux would kill each other after just a few weeks of such an “idyllic” life. But it was nice to dream about forgetting the horrors of power, of fight and struggle, and what a little piece of shit Hux was.

Something flickered and tugged on Kylo with the Force. At first he thought it was the flowers’ influence again, but it was coming from Hux—from Hux’s insides. Kylo could—oh Force—he could feel lifetaking hold, like a spark of a little sun.

Kylo hung his head, letting his forehead rest on Hux’s, and breathed in the air Hux was exhaling out through his half-parted lips. Kylo’s heart was breaking into thousands of pieces. His soul was shattered. He might have recovered after his parents abandoned him, after Luke’s betrayal, even after Han’s death from Kylo’s own hand, but he would never recover from this. He was already mourning his loss. Hux would get rid of this problem as soon as they reached civilization and Kylo couldn’t do a thing about it.

*

In the morning Kylo woke up alone in bed. The blankets smelled of their mating but were already cold, so Hux must have gotten up sometime earlier. Kylo stood, wrapping one of the blankets around himself to keep the cold of the dawn away, and peeked into the main room. Hux, washed and dressed in his full uniform, sat by a makeshift desk made from crates, and worked on the communicator. His face was calm and pale, jaw set in determination. Upon seeing Kylo he glanced up and nodded in greeting.

“Supreme Leader,” he said.

Gone was the perfect way of gasping out “Ren.” Kylo wanted to scream at Hux, to grab him and shake him, make him need Kylo again. Instead he turned and stomped over to the fresher to scrub himself clean of Hux’s smell. As if it were possible.

Kylo’s hands were shaky, his vision swimming, and the vacuum of despair sucked at his insides painfully. He wanted to shout in anger, he wanted to annihilate this place, this planet, this whole fucking Galaxy. With a furious cry he punched the wall and then punched it again, and again, until he felt centered enough by the pain and the destruction of the compound’s structure that he could breathe again.

He washed himself, darkly enjoying the sting the metallic water left on his scraped hand, and dressed back in his clothes. He could be civilized about it. He could be all right about it all.

To busy himself, and not go crazy from still wanting Hux so fucking much, needing Hux, wanting to have Hux again and again, while Hux was so indifferent, Kylo started preparing a meal out of the bantha meat and some of the other canned goods he’d found. Perhaps he was pathetic and obvious, trying to provide for his mate—even though Hux wasn’treally his mate—and for the little life growing inside of Hux, a life that would soon be expurgated, but he couldn’t help himself. When he was done he all but threw a bowl of food in front of Hux and stood above the General until Hux started eating.

“It’s good,” Hux said after taking a bite.

Kylo sat opposite him on an upturned crate. “Yeah?” he asked, suppressing a smile.

“Yes,” Hux answered, looking down. He was smiling a little, too.

 

*

A few hours later the comm beeped and flashed a green diode.

 

*

Kylo wasn’t surprised when right after landing on the Finalizer, Hux headed straight to medical. He didn’t know—how could he without the Force—but he might have suspected that biology was biology and that being in heat, being knotted by an Alpha, might end in pregnancy.

Hux didn’t even look back, didn’t say anything, not even a vicious remark, didn’t grant Kylo even a head nod—nothing. He just followed droids and troopers from the rescue team, and Kylo stood in the busy hangar thinking that none of this—the ships, the Army, fighting the Resistance, finding Rey, having power or ruling the Galaxy—none of it was important anymore. Not when he could see Hux’s straight back as Hux walked briskly to the medbay.

Kylo turned and barked to the nearest troopers, “Prepare a ship for me.”

He wouldn’t stay here on the Finalizer. He didn’t even care about finding out who had been responsible for their ill-fated trip in the first place—he’d let Hux deal with it.

He didn’t listen to questions being asked, to protests and doubts of his people. He typed in the first coordinates he could think of and launched from the hangar. It didn’t matter where he was going, just as long as he was as far away as possible, so he wouldn’t feel this life being extinguished. No matter where, but as far as possible from Hux, even if it felt as if half of Kylo’s soul was being ripped from him.

Curse the Galaxy for taking everything from Kylo again—every single thing that he’d ever loved. Curse it all to hell.