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It Could be Worse

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Chapter 1:

Ice clinked as Hux set the glass down. The burn from the alcohol hardly noticeable, now that he had a decent buzz going. The celebration continued around him. His brother was married, their fathers wish finally coming to fruition. Hux was still a disappointment, but now it seemed like he could be ignored for the ‘better’ son. It wasn’t the best solution, but it was the only one Hux was going to get.

Hux snorted to himself. There wasn’t a time that Hux remembered when he wasn’t a disappointment. Ever since he could remember, his father Brendol had that look on his face every time he even glanced at Hux. He’d long since given up on being anything other than a huge failure to him.

The evening light slowly shifted to dark skies. Now was the time that Hux should make himself scarce. His step-mother didn’t really talk to him much, and he doubted Brendol was thinking about Hux at all.

“Armitage Hux, my… It’s been a while since I last saw you... Ten years, hasn’t it?”

Hux held back a shudder and turned to that voice that he would never be able to forget, no matter how hard he tried.

“Armitage, look how tall you’ve gotten.” Snoke brushed his fingers through Hux’s hair. The teen shivered, not liking the look the older man gave him.

Hux shifted away, the memories flitting through his mind. He hid the discomfort, the unease and plastered a smile on his face.

“Mr. Snoke, I’m so pleased you could make it today. I know how busy you are.” Brendol said, appearing out of nowhere and for once, causing Hux to be grateful for his father’s disgust with Hux. Though, for the most part, the man ignored him, whenever someone he deemed valuable approached Hux, he would immediately intervene and lead him or her off to some other part of the party.

“Of course, Brendol. I wouldn’t want to miss your sons big day. The ceremony was beautiful. Junior looked absolutely besotted with her. I’d just seen Armitage here and wanted to say hello. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him again.”

“Ah, yes. He’s moved quite a distance away. I’m surprised he even came to the wedding.” Brendol drawled with a cutting glance at his eldest son. To Hux, Brendol clearly wished that he’d stayed away. “Come, my wife will be delighted to see you, as will Junior.”

Brendol led Snoke away, much to Hux’s relief, leaving him alone once again. Hux glanced over his shoulder, at the table, his brother and parents were sitting at. Hux hadn’t been seated anywhere near them, not that that was a surprise really. Yes, his brother had expressed sorrow about that, but in all honesty, Hux expected it. What would have surprised him was being anywhere close to Brendol.

With that in mind, Hux swallowed the last of his drink, then made his way out of the packed reception area. He’d spoken to his brother and greeted his new sister-in-law. There was no point in staying any longer, considering he wouldn't be able to speak to either of them again for the rest of the night. It would be best to take his leave, his brother would understand if he even noticed that Hux had gone.

With quick steps, Hux made his way out the door, and towards the lawn that still had more than a few of the guest lazily dancing around as the music drifted from the reception room. Brendol had spared no expense on making his brothers wedding absolutely perfect. The ceremony outside, with food and drink inside. Everything beautifully decorated with flowers and ribbons. Not a thing out of place.

Hux glanced behind him one more time, taking in the beauty of the place. Obviously his step-mother’s choice of location. She’d always said that her son's weddings would take place here.

He was too busy contemplating to notice the small group of men walking by, and only when he slammed into something hard did he notice. “Ooof-!” Hux stepped back and looked up. Not something, but someone. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going.” Hux apologized, cheeks flushed as he noticed how handsome the man he’d run into really was. Black hair that fell slightly past the nape of his neck, with dark eyes and pale skin. From the way the shirt clung to the man’s chest, he was in very good shape.

“It’s alright, I wasn’t paying much attention either. Kylo Ren.” The hand that stuck out towards Hux was slightly larger than his own. Hux gripped it, and shook it, not even hiding the way he let his eyes drift down to check out the rest of the man standing in front of him. Then he frowned slightly as the name rang a bell, though he couldn’t quite place from where.

“Armitage Hux, I’m sorry again.” Hux reluctantly let go of the very large hand and stepped back slightly just in case Brendol was watching. It wouldn’t do to make him think he was hitting on one of his guests, even though Hux had never told his family that he was gay, even the slightest show of interest would make sure that Hux never stepped within ten feet of anyone blood related again. Hux inclined his head, eyes checking the man out again, before walking away... damn. If only he’s seen him at a bar, and not his brother's wedding, then Hux would've stayed and asked questions like whether the man, Kylo Ren, preferred men. Not outright, but he’d be sure to find out.

If only.

Hux walked away with a bitter smile, already knowing he’d probably never meet the man again.

He didn’t notice the way those dark eyes watched him leave. Nor did he see that another pair of eyes had watched the exchange.

OoOoOoOoOoO

Hux woke with a groan, the pounding in his head not making things pleasant at all. The sunlight that filtered through the slightly open curtain only made it worse. After getting to his hotel, he’d ended up at the bar instead of going to his room. Things went a little fuzzy, and Hux wasn’t even sure how he’d gotten back to his room.

At that thought, Hux sat up suddenly, scanning the room around him. After a few seconds, he relaxed as he saw his suitcases right where he’d left them before leaving for the wedding. There didn’t seem to be an extra body next to him, and from what he could tell, all he was was hungover, and not sore at all. Just a bit tired.

About ten minutes later, Hux pushed himself up and off the bed. He went into the bathroom and turned on the shower, making sure that the water was blistering hot. He hissed when he first stepped in, but Hux relaxed after a few seconds. It even helped him feel a little less hungover and miserable.

After the shower, Hux quickly dried himself off, brushed his teeth and then got dressed in his semi-casual business clothes. Yes, it probably wasn’t the best attire to feel comfortable on a plane, but he had to be presentable wherever he may be.

Once he was satisfied with his appearance, Hux made sure everything was packed away. His suit wasn't dirty, but he did want to have it dry cleaned just in case when he got back home. One last look around the room and then Hux made his way out and down to the lobby to check out. His flight wouldn't leave for a few more hours but he did need time to make sure he turned in his rental in time. It was better to have enough time in case something got delayed anyway. And he didn't necessarily want to eat either, his stomach was still a bit squeamish as it was.

Suddenly, his phone started ringing as he was talking to the front desk attendant. Hux checked his screen and was about to turn it off when the name flashing at him registered to his slightly hungover mind.

Hux finished with the attendant and answered the call, feeling a shiver of unease go through him. “Yes?” Getting a call from Brendol was rare, getting one from him the day after his brother's wedding is downright unexpected and more than a bit worrying.

“You haven’t left yet?” The brisk voice asked, and Hux could hear the irritated undertones in those words.

Hux held back a sigh, not wanting Brendol to lash out. “Not yet. I’m checking out of the hotel now. I need to turn in the car next. My flight leaves in a few hours.”

“I’m sending my assistant to pick you up from the car rental place. You won’t be leaving today.” With that, the call ended, and Hux couldn’t help but gap in shock down at his phone screen. For a second, irritation rose up, making him clench his teeth. Then he sagged in defeat, already knowing that he wasn't going to leave. Hux quickly changed his schedule, then made his way to his rental. Now instead of semi-relaxing while waiting on a plane to get home, he would be anxiously waiting to see what his father wanted with him.

It was going to be a long day.

 

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

 

Hux waited, more than a bit irritated that Brendol’s assistant still wasn’t there. Not that he thought his father had told whoever it was to hurry. If anything, he’d been ordered to finish whatever his or her regular duties were before heading off to pick up his eldest son. “Why did I even listen? Why did I even pick up the call?”

With a disgruntled sigh, Hux shifted on the bench for the hundredth time. He would figure out what Brendol wanted, then book another flight as soon as he could. A quick call had canceled his previous plans, and he’d sent an e-mail to his boss saying that he would not be back at the scheduled time. Good thing Hux was valuable, otherwise, he was sure he’d have trouble from it.

“I’m sorry for the wait, Mr. Hux.” A voice that sounded vaguely familiar said from his side.

Hux started a bit in surprise. He hadn't even heard anyone walk up to him. “It’s alright, please just call me Hux.” And then Hux’s brain short-circuited when he saw the man. It was Kylo Ren. The gorgeous man he’s met the other night at the wedding. Hux breath hitched but he cleared his throat and gave Kylo a smile that might have been more of a pained grimace. Quickly to cover it, Hux grabbed one of his bags. “Didn’t think I’d see you again. Did Brendol happen to mention to you what he wanted with me?”

Kylo grinned a bit roguishly then bent down and picked up the other bag before Hux could finish reaching for it. “Not really. Mr. Hux just said to pick you up and take you to his office by 3 pm.”

“Of course he did.” Hux couldn’t help but scowl, ducking his head so it wouldn't be that noticeable. Of course, he’d make Hux wait hours and not even give him the time that he would be picked up.

The walk to the car was a bit tense but Hux was sure that Kylo knew it wasn’t because of him. Kylo seemed a bit surprised that Hux jumped into the front passenger seat instead of the back one. He was probably used to driving with people in the back seats.

“Not to pry, so if you don’t want to answer, you can just ignore me, but I’ve only heard Mr. Hux talk about Junior?” Kylo trailed off, looking at Hux from the corner of his eye.

For a couple of moments, Hux was quiet. Kylo might just be curious, but then his father could also have wanted the man to tell him everything Hux said about Brendol. After a few moments, Hux shrugged to himself. His father already knew Hux wasn’t fond of him. He’d avoid going into details though. “I’m not one of Brendols favorite people. My mother was a housekeeper that Brendol hired and she decided to keep me.”

Hux glanced over at Kylo and saw him frown a bit, surprise clear on his face. “Wow… That’s…” The man trailed off, clearly not wanting to say something shitty about his employer.

Hux couldn’t help but chuckle. Kylo seemed like a good guy, with his feeling clear on his face. He wondered how he’d gotten to work for Brendol. The man definitely didn’t attract the kindhearted. “Brendol’s a bastard. Not literally, that'd be me.” Hux said easily, glancing out the window, watching the scenery pass by. He hoped that whatever it was, that it would be finished quickly.

 

The rest of the drive went in a comfortable silence that was broken only by the radio playing softly in the background. The headache that Hux had had for most of the day had finally diminished to a slightly dull ache at the back of his head. That was another good thing. The first being able to see the man he’d outright ogled the day before sitting next to him. Now that he knew that Kylo worked for Brendol though, that dream/fantasy went down the drain. Hux could still check Kylo out though.

“I’ll pull up at the front you can leave your bags in the car with me. I’ll be taking you wherever you need to go afterward.” Kylo said after pulling up to the front of Brendols building. Hux hesitated for a moment before nodding in agreement. He still took his laptop bag with him though. That he was not willing to leave anywhere out of his sight.

“Armitage,” Brendol said dryly, making Hux flinch a bit before turning around.

“You wanted me?” Hux said, walking away from Kylo and the car.

Brendol scowled, not bothering to keep the displeasure of talking to his oldest son hidden from his face. “I didn’t. Mr. Snoke personally asked me to keep you here. He wanted to have a talk with you about something.” Obviously, Brendol was choking on the words, face turning slightly red. With that, Brendol turned, and he had no choice but to follow.

Hux wished he’d been on the plane before getting the call.