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Children of War

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Snoke summoned Hux in the midst of his shift which sent the general into an unusual spell of anxiety. It wasn’t uncommon that Snoke would only ask for Hux instead of having Kylo attend a meeting with him, yet something shivered up his spine hearing that the Supreme Leader wanted to see him immediately. It certainly wasn’t helping that the young lieutenant that had supplied the message avoided eye contact with Hux.

Hux tried not to let his nerves get the best of him. He dug his fingers into the palms of his hand as he strode down the corridors of the Finalizer. Perhaps it was a good thing Snoke was summoning him, it could have meant that Snoke was more impressed with Hux’s project than he expected (though Hux knew it was just perfect). Snoke gave praise out sparingly and always with great purpose. The rare times he heard Snoke praise Kylo, it had sent the knight into a strange trance, not that Hux could really blame him or understand. It may have been a 'force' thing. Hux himself did take great pride when Snoke seemed impressed but didn’t let it get to his head, unlike Kylo.

But Snoke didn’t call Hux to praise him like a dog. The corridor seemed clear of troopers which only added to Hux’s discomfort. When he entered the windowless throne room which held Snoke’s imposing projection, Hux made sure each step he took appeared to have the utmost confidence. On the inside he was withering because he knew Snoke was searching for anything he was hiding. He felt the guilt of hiding himself as he went into the wide, void-like holochamber where Snoke’s projection waited. 

The blue hue of the hologram did well to hide the true ugly tones of Snoke’s flesh-colored skin, but it couldn’t hide the texture and rotting scars. Hux did his best to hide his thoughts about Snoke every time he saw the alien, worried his curiosity would offend him. If Kylo was good for anything, it was teaching Hux how to defend himself from the Force when he had no connection to it.

Well, Ren taught him that amongst other things but Snoke didn’t need to dig too deeply on those matters either. 

The Supreme Leader’s holoprojection looked down to Hux, slouching in his throne.

“General Hux, the weapon is making good progress I take it?” Snoke asked though he didn’t sound all too interested.

“Yes Supreme Leader. The weapon is making great developments given how short ago we began the process. The Republic has yet to make any formal concerns or statements about our great weapon,” Hux replied. Snoke made a low hum of bored approval. He sat up straighter and Hux suppressed the urge to be straighter in his stance as well. He was standing as straight as a board already.

“Very good. I made you General for a reason. You continue to live up to my standards, young Hux,” Snoke praised. Hux was proud for a moment but was left uncomfortable with the fact that he isn’t the only Hux that Snoke knew, even if he is the only name in his bloodline left.

“You called for other reasons, Supreme Leader?” Hux asked under the assumption that the talk of Starkiller was over. Snoke gave a nod.

“Yes. I have a mission for you to go on. Diplomatic. To the planet of Quirinal. On your current course, taking a detour on a shuttle should prove to be convenient enough to get there and back to the Finalizer in a timely manner. You will receive more information to your datapad,” Snoke told him.

Quirinal wasn’t a hostile planet to the First Order. They were neutral and had been up for consideration as a good trading port for the Order. Hux was just surprised Snoke seemed to actually be considerate in the processings of diplomacy. He had been more focused on the Resistance and force users than of actually dealing with the First Order’s place in the galaxy. It had it ups like it gave Hux freer range to make his own choices, but it also gave Snoke this air of mystery that often unnerved Hux. He didn’t know all of Snoke’s plans, but he certainly knew Snoke was planning something of great magnitude. Kylo may have known the extent of Snoke’s plans for galactic domination, but he doubted that. Kylo was extremely straightforward and tended to concentrate on whatever task was put in front of him like the two brain-celled animal he was.

“Yes Supreme Leader. I will organize a batch of stormtroopers to accompany me. Quirinal is an excellent planet to make allies with,” he replied. He wasn’t supplying praise to Snoke, he just wanted to assure that their perspectives aligned. Snoke sat back, tapping his fingers against the armrest of his throne. The tap-tap-tapping of Snoke’s sharpened nails gave Hux chills. He wasn’t afraid, but today Snoke made him particularly uncomfortable. The look in Snoke’s eyes somehow both demonstrated a disinterest and quiet plotting.

“Keep the number of troopers small, General. You will be accompanied by Kylo Ren when he returns shortly from his mission.”

Hux blinked. Bringing Kylo Ren sounded like a recipe for disaster. Kylo hardly dealt the diplomacy or politics, he was merely the attack dog of the Order that snuffed out enemies. His unbridled temper was sure to get in the way of reason, thus ruining their chances of true allegiance from Quirinal.

Hux liked Kylo in only a few ways, and even then ‘like’ seemed as if it was too strong of a word. He liked to think of Kylo as a rival of sorts, using him as petty motivation, but he knew Kylo had his strengths. Weaknesses, though, could not be overlooked just because some masked idiot could move objects with his mind.

“Supreme Leader,” Hux replied plainly.

“You have concerns, General?” Snoke asked.

“As Lord Ren is a valuable asset, I am unsure of how he will handle this diplomatic mission. His temper is quite… fiery. And, personally, I would be more comfortable attending alone or with someone who specializes in planetary relations. Sir.” Hux was firm in his explanation, inserting the ‘sir’ tactically to keep Snoke placated. He removed the usual bitterness he had when discussing Ren. They were valid concerns and Snoke appeared to recognize that.

Kylo Ren was a sure distraction in many ways. Hux was just unsure in what way Kylo would choose to distract him or manipulate his purpose. Snoke seemed to smirk a little as if he found Hux’s considerations amusing. 

“I understand your concerns General Hux. He will prove himself, and this will be a valuable lesson to him. Besides, as of late you both appear to get along better. I intend to use that as it last,” Snoke told him. Hux swallowed, his body stiffening a little. He locked up his thoughts of Ren.

He wasn’t sure how Snoke would react if he knew. A part of him knew that he’d consider Hux a distraction, but their relationship wasn’t exactly defined. Long nights in Ren’s bed didn’t mean there was a relationship, there was just some sort of mutual understanding between them. They both needed a break at times, to release stress or to forget their worries or to replace their usual fighting with something that was (usually) less bloody and far more pleasing. But no way in hell could Snoke know. There’d be no good end for them if the Supreme Leader found out about their ‘canoodling.’

He didn’t even know if Snoke understood humans. The Supreme Leader was clearly a humanoid of sorts. If he was full alien or mixed, Hux didn’t know. It was ironic, considering the First Order’s pool of employees was primarily human. Hux himself didn’t care how their troopers looked, as long as they were moldable and fit into a trooper uniform. His personal ideas didn’t speak volumes to the actual amount of aliens in the Order though.

“Yes, well. It is better for us to try to get along. He can be,” Hux tried to find the least offensive word, “trying at times but it is manageable.”

That was a lie. Kylo destroying consoles with his saber or choking officers who didn’t look at him right was not at all manageable. It was an odd thing to consider lucky, but Hux was lucky he found an agreeable way to release Kylo’s anger.

No strings attached, of course.

Of course.

“I have faith you’ll both come back unharmed and successful. You leave tomorrow. Kylo will return after you finish your shift. Relay the message, but he will also get a copy on his datapad when he returns,” Snoke instructed. Hux nodded.

“Yes, Supreme-” Snoke’s hologram cut out suddenly, like he decided the conversation had already concluded. Hux sighed and tried not to be irritated.

He couldn’t help it though, he didn’t want to have to deal with Ren. Every time he returned from a mission, whenever it was successful or not, he was always in a sour mood. Ren’s patience would run thin, taking it out on whatever he could. Hux figured it had something to do with him having to work without his knights nowadays.

Hux didn’t particularly understand Ren’s little group of black-masked savages, but he knew Ren was their leader. He got the sense that Ren must of been worried about them, or perhaps even lonely. It may have been a safe hypothesis to say that Ren took his attention, positive and negative, to Hux with his knights gone. Kylo didn’t exactly have any friends on the ship. Even if they always argued, Hux was the only person who held any sort of conversation with Ren. His officers commended him for his bravery, and Hux would roll his eyes at them.

The General returned to the bridge, counting down the hours until he had to see Ren. He dreaded having to deal with Ren after his work hours (even though he constantly worked) but he’d handle it of course. 

Of course.

 

/////

 

Hux didn’t receive formal notice when Kylo Ren returned to the ship. In fact, his only notice was when Ren burst into his room still in his robes and helmet. Hux jumped out of his seat, clutching his thermos so his tea wouldn’t spill onto his datapad.

He looked up, seeing Ren’s dark imposing figure take up space in front of him. The knight was breathing heavily through his mask as a sign he had probably rushed down the halls.

“What the pfassk are you doing in my room you barbarian?” Hux exclaimed, more baffled than angry.

“I have better things to do than to babysit you on some - some errand,” Ren thundered through his mask. Ah, so he received Snoke’s instructions before Hux relayed them. Perhaps this was better. Still irritating. But better.

Hux took in a deep sigh. Unlike Ren, he tried to make it so his all actions were not dictated by strong emotions. “It’s not an errand Ren. It’s a diplomatic mission to an important planet. Quirinal can supply us with plentiful medical supplies, which you would know if you read the holosheet.”

“I did read the fucking assignment. Why did Snoke send it to me? This isn’t my problem,” he told Hux. The corner of Hux’s lip twitched in disdain.

“He told me that he wanted you to gain some diplomacy skills. Why is beyond me. It honestly isn't a big deal for you Ren. You would have been harassing my officers with nothing to do if you didn’t get this assignment anyway,” Hux responded calmly.

Ren stepped closer to his desk. Hux moved his tea further away from the edge of the desk, awaiting Ren’s impending hand-slamming against his desk.

“You cannot comprehend what I do,” Ren growled. Hux shivered at his tone but kept an outer shell of coolness.

“Perhaps not. But maybe you don’t understand what I do either. I’m trying to make this easy on you Ren, so stop being a kriffing child. Do you want to be productive? Then stop complaining about what you can’t control,” Hux ordered, close to being fed up, “and take off that ridiculous bucket.”

Ren didn’t move for a moment. Amazingly, he did as he was told as released the latches of his helmet and pulled it off his head. His dark hair bounced out of its restricting counter, revealing its messy curls and waves. Ren’s aquiline nose always jutted out first every time Hux was Ren’s face. He was most likely the only one who’s ever seen Ren’s face (beside Snoke).

Hux recalled the first time he ever saw Kylo’s face. He was taken aback by its youthfulness. Ren wasn’t traditionally attractive with his exaggerated features and freckles and moles, but Hux couldn’t help but think Ren was beautiful. Rens stilled upon having heard Hux’s thoughts. 

Here again, having known Ren’s face by now, Hux was still mesmerized by it. Ren took a deep breath in and smirked. It immediately infuriated Hux.

“Did you miss me?” Ren asked in his husky, low voice. Hux felt his cheeks grow red. Damn mind reader. 

“No, I didn’t particularly miss you and your temper tantrums. You demonstrated that very well because the first thing you did when returning to this ship is break into my room.” He didn’t even know how Ren knew his code.

“The Force,” Ren told him.

“Stay out of my head, Ren.”

“Why should I? It’s so interesting in there.” Hux ground his teeth together.

“Common decency would a plausible reason,” Hux replied, going back to his datapad. The finance reports had become fickle tasks, as Hux predicted, due to the construction of Starkiller. Hux didn’t have to be psychic either to know they would get worse now that Kylo was back on the ship.

“Well, we aren’t decent people,” Ren supplied seriously. The response somehow made Hux uncomfortable. He knew Ren was just trying to be edgy, but the topic of morality was a strange thing for them both. Hux didn’t think of himself as evil, but maybe Ren thought of himself that way because of all of his dark side nonsense. It was weird thinking about himself in terms of his decency.

“Speak for yourself. My subordinates like me. Perhaps you should get their respect as well,” Hux replied. His face gained the blue hues of the light of his datapad, his eyes reflecting the little lines of information. Ren stared, watching the light shift on Hux’s face.

“They respect me. Fear me.”

“Fear is different than respect Kylo Ren,” Hux asserted. He looked up from his datapad, “and fear can only get you so far. Respect garters unbridled loyalty. People will die for you even if you don’t ask them to. They know what you want and give it to you with the desire to prove themselves. Fear may make people work for you but they’ll crack under the pressure. They’ll snap.” Hux snapped his fingers together. 

It sounded more like a warning than advice. Ren tilted his head curiously. He noticed Hux wasn’t wearing his hair gel. It was supposedly his sleeping hours but Ren had only known Hux to sleep after being thoroughly fucked into exhaustion. Something about Hux’s loose hair made him appear more vulnerable and younger. Ren could imagine himself running his hands through Hux’s fiery hair. He’d probably purr like the needy cat he was.

“My knights respect me,” Ren retorted, his voice flat. He was still standing, his mask held under his arm. His focus shifted from what Hux was actually saying to how his lips moved.

“Perhaps, I don’t know them. This ship works differently than your force cult though.” Ren narrowed his eyes at Hux. He never understood why Hux always found the need to question or put his nose up to something clearly more powerful than him. “Your knights may work for Snoke and you, but they are not in the First Order’s command. We are supposedly Co-Commanders, so please Ren try to be agreeable.”

Ren straightened his posture suddenly, his eyes slightly widened. Hux looked up from his datapad, an eyebrow raised.

“What?”

“You said please to me.” Ren seemed genuinely surprised.

“So?” Hux asked, nonchalantly.

“You’ve been acting strangely, my General,” Ren said smugly, going up to the desk and leaning over it to cast a shadow over Hux. Hux didn’t move. “Desperate?”

“Usually when someone says please they themselves are trying to be agreeable. I’m just trying to create some peace between us.” 

“What, you don’t think spreading your legs is working? Because I quite enjoy it,” Ren growled flirtatiously at Hux, biting his teeth together to make a clicking noise. Hux instantly turned red. He lifted his hand, threatening to smack Ren.

“You kriffing brute!” Hux yelled, sneering at Ren. Ren merely stopped his motion with the Force before Hux could actually smack him across the face. Hux struggled in his force bonds.

“You’re so pretty General, I don’t know why you stress so much,” Ren teased. He touched Hux’s burning cheek. Though Hux was stuck in Ren force bonds, he still tried to pull away. He removed his hand from Hux’s face and jutted his lip out. He let go of his force bonds and Hux stumbled a little into his desk.

“I stress cause of idiots like you always causing me trouble thinking they can go around and do whatever they want! And don’t degrade me you prick,” Hux lectured, slamming his fist to his desk.

“Didn’t mean to insult you, General. Shall I make it up to you?” Ren insinuated. Hux despised Ren’s flips in personality. His anger was relentless and completely stupid, but his dominance made him cocky and proud. They both worked against Hux in different ways. He didn’t know what side of Kylo he hated more.  

It still bothered Hux that their relationship wasn’t defined, his mind kept drifting to the uncertainty he had. Hux hated uncertainty. Everything had to have some meaning and purpose and Hux wouldn’t want to be at a loss. As much as Hux liked to keep it undefined, it also confused him. He wasn’t one for relationships. As much as he mocked Kylo for being lonesome, Hux didn’t have any close friends either. Phasma counted, perhaps, but she was close to him strictly for her loyalty. They talked but he didn’t know too much about her in regards to her interest or other relationships. She probably wouldn’t die for him, but she would fight for him. His lieutenant, Mitaka, was uniquely loyal. But they weren’t friends either Hux supposed. Mitaka was his subordinate and just trying to also gain respect back from Hux. Hux thought it also was strange to be close to subordinates. He didn’t like anyone thinking he had favorites, though Mitaka certainly was more tolerable to him than everyone else.

And naturally, there was Kylo Ren who stood in front of him with a sly little smirk. Co-Commanders? Not by choice. Friends? No way in hell. Lovers?

He looked into Ren’s deep, dark eyes. They were always so mixed with emotion, like a black pool of dying and newly born stars. At the moment Ren was trying to be flirtatious, but his eyes spoke a million more truths.

Hux told himself they were not lovers. That required opening more than his legs. Fuck buddies sounded the most appropriate but too vulgar. Hux certainly didn’t like wording it like that.

“We have a mission and you will go and be reasonable. Return to your quarters Kylo,” he instructed. He began organizing his desk, demonstrating he’d like to retire for the night. Kylo’s smirk vanished. He almost seemed disappointed. “And take a shower.” 

Kylo let a short sigh and placed his helmet back on his head. Hux stood up to escort Kylo out politely, but Kylo showed he rather leave without Hux’s hand. Hux could tell Kylo was going to wallow in Hux’s rejection like the self-entitled brat he was.

“Goodnight then Hux. I will see you tomorrow,” Kylo said, his vocoder distorting his voice. He saw himself out, stopping at the doorway. “Have nice dreams. I’ll visit you in them.” 

“Any dream with you is a nightmare Kylo Ren,” Hux muttered, running his fingers through his hair.

It wasn’t until Kylo left that Hux realized how tired he was. Any interaction with the mysterious knight was utterly exhausting.

Hux changed into his black pajamas for the night before crawling into his bed. It was strange going to bed without his datapad in his hands. If there was one thing Kylo was good at, it was getting Hux to sleep. At least Kylo driving Hux to exhaustion let him sleep longer than two hours.

 

/////

 

Hux did in fact dream of Kylo during the night but it wasn’t because Kylo had invaded his dreams like he said he would. 

It was a mythical sort of dream. His senses felt oddly heightened for a dream. He felt airy, almost like he was weightless. He dreamt he was floating in space, but his body was warm and embraced. When he turned to see who was holding him he was met with Kylo’s large nose pressed to his neck. Kylo had his arms wrapped around his body, specifically hands over Hux’s stomach. Kylo was still as if he were sleeping. It was strange, he could feel the warmth of Kylo’s body but the pressure wasn’t there except for over his stomach.

Hux turned his hand back to the form where he was met with the glowing stars of the galaxy and its cosmoses enveloping them. He wondered if this is what it felt to be a god if any existed. He figured being a force user was the closest you got to be a god.

Did he have a god at his fingertips?

The galaxies formed glittery clouds around them and covered up their nakedness modestly. Despite them lacking clothes, Hux felt as if there was nothing sexual about their position. Though Kylo was spooning him in a laying down position, they seemed to sit upright in space. The various colors of the bursting stars and cloudy lights relaxed Hux. The purpled, blues, and reds of the galaxy curled through the strands of his hair and wrapped itself around Hux’s waist.

Two bright stars seemed to float towards him like gems for his picking. Hux our his hands out to let them come into his hands. The slowly moved into each of Hux’s palms and floated right above his skin. One of the stars turned a soft blue and the other a fearsome red.

Dreamy-eyed, Hux slowly closed his hands to capture the little stars. Kylo seemed to tighten his grip on him.

When he closed his fist, he found himself awake and back to reality. Hux blinked sleepily, needing a moment to gather himself. He realized his hands were shut into a fist next to his face. He loosened one hand then clutched it back into a fist, making sure he was actually awake.

He sat up slowly, realizing he woke before his alarm actually went off. It was a common occurrence for Hux to never sleep to the time he required. He slept very little.

He felt strangely warm in some parts of his body and cold in others. He recalled dream Kylo’s body enveloping his and feeling warm all other. Hux still felt ethereal. He wanted to lay back down and let the galaxy swallow him up again. 

His face flushed at the remembrance. How embarrassing. If Kylo knew he had a romantic dream about him Hux would never hear the end of it. Wet dreams were one thing, those were the dreams Kylo invaded from time to time, but romantic dreams were a true sign of a personal connection. That was the last distraction Hux needed in his life. 

He was a General with much to do. He couldn’t waste his time with romantic affairs. Or any affairs. Perhaps it was time to end his liaisons with Ren. Ren used their sexual encounters as an opportunity to overstep bounds and Hux needed it to be clear where he stood in everything because it seemed Ren forgot.

The uniform he dressed in didn’t have the same warmth of the galaxy that had enveloped him. He kept thinking back to his dream but found the more he thought about it, the less he remembered. Hux secured his belt around his waist and found it looser than he liked it. He did tend to overcompensate for size with the padding in his uniform (Ren called him small before. Hux hated it). 

Hux prepared for his impending stress session by chugging more caf than he should. With his bags packed he headed to his shuttle.

Ren, expectedly, wasn’t there. Granted, the shuttle didn’t leave for another half hour but he would have appreciated it more if Ren could take the first steps towards being responsible.

Lieutenant Mitaka arrived to see Hux off. He seemed flustered, some of the strands of his hair out of place. His cheeks were flushed and his cap wasn’t put fully on his head. Hux rose an eyebrow, suspecting that Mitaka woke up later than he wanted. He stood up straight and saluted the General. Hux raised his hand, signaling it was alright for Mitaka to relax.

“Lieutenant. I wasn’t expecting you,” Hux said. That was a lie, he knew Mitaka would see him off no matter what the mission was. Hux could have just been visiting family for an hour, not that he had any family, and the loyal lieutenant would make the effort to say goodbye or relay final orders for Hux.

Honestly, Mitaka was a godsend. When Hux spoke of respect and fear of Ren, Mitaka was a perfect example. His respect for Hux made Mitaka go the extra mile to please him and work with perfunctory effort, while his fear of Ren made him nervous and slowed down his work. 

“I had to make sure your departure went accordingly. Best of luck, sir. I am sure the delegations will go well,” Mitaka said. Hux put his hands on his hips, his lips curling upwards slightly. 

“I’m sure I can handle it. We’ll see about Lord Ren though,” Hux told him. Mitaka instantly tensed up. Again, a perfect example of Hux’s effect on the crew in comparison to Ren’s dreadful presence.

“Lord Ren is going with you?” Mitaka asked worriedly. Hux raised an eyebrow and Mitaka added a hurried, “Sir!”

“Supreme Leaders orders.” Mitaka folded his hands in front of his body and shifted his jaw stressfully. 

There was one drawback to Mitaka’s relentless loyalty, he tended to worry about Hux too much. His intentions were good, but it also implied Hux couldn’t handle Ren. He was right and wrong in various ways but Hux rather say that Mitaka was wrong to assert his strength.

Hux sighed. “Don’t worry Lieutenant. We must all start somewhere, Lord Ren is just starting here. He’s better off the ship anyway. I trust you’ll keep things running well in my absence.”

Mitaka wasn’t Hux’s next in command, Captain Peavey, unfortunately, tended to grab that task of watching the bridge, but he was Hux’s lookout with Captain Opan. Opan has a different role than Mitaka though.

“May I speak plainly sir?” Mitaka asked apprehensively.

“Go ahead,” Hux said. He tilted his head to the side when he noticed Kylo striding down towards him, bags in hand.

“Lord Ren is a danger to you I believe. I know you are capable, sir, but perhaps there is a better way to-”

“Mitaka,” Hux said firmly, looking to the imposing figure standing behind the poor, poor lieutenant. Mitaka shut up immediately, feeling Kylo’s large gloves hand grab his shoulder.

Mitaka jumped at the feeling then turned slowly. Kylo’s mask hid his emotions and his stance didn’t reveal much of anything either. Mitaka, on the other hand, was visibly cowering. The poor man went through so many shades of white and grey across his face so quickly. Hux made a note to work on Mitaka’s ‘bravery,’ though he did understand the intimidation. 

“Lord Ren,” Mitaka stammered. Kylo didn’t say anything. Mitaka gulped and tightened his lips. “Have a good trip sirs, I am sure of its success.”

Mitaka quickly walked away, keeping his eyes to his feet as he did so. Hux stared at Ren, unamused. When Mitaka was out of sight, Ren spoke.

“Not only is he your shadow, General, but he also appears to be your puppy as well,” Kylo jeered, stepping onto the shuttle. Hux followed, rolling his eyes and tucking his hands behind his back as he walked.

“Mitaka means well,” Hux said, acknowledging the stormtroopers who saluted them. Hux and Kylo walked down the corridors of the large shuttle towards their rooms, where the path was clear of troopers. Somehow Hux always got stuck close to Ren. He figured no one else would take any spot near Ren anyhow.

“Being cowardly and gossiping isn’t exactly meaning well,” Ren retorted, slight sarcasm floating in his voice. His vocoder often changed his tone, but Hux came to know Ren as being overly sarcastic and degrading towards others when he wasn’t engulfed in rage. He wondered where he got his tongue from because he doubted Snoke taught Ren his sass.

“You will not undermine my men, Ky-lo ,” Hux warned, exaggerating the syllables of the knight’s name.

Kylo turned and slammed Hux against the wall with a thud. Hux gasped, shutting his mouth quickly when Kylo put his hand against his neck. The cold, uneven metal against Hux caused his hairs to stand up. Hux tilted his face upwards, glaring at the knight.

“Watch your tone General,” Kylo told him. He had a bit more pressure to Hux’s neck and Hux exhaled sharply through his nose. 

“Remove your hand from me,” Hux said through his teeth. Ren seemed to caress the sides of his neck before releasing Hux. Ren disappeared down the corridor into his room at the end of the hall without another room.

Hux felt his neck after Kylo disappeared, not wanting the force user to see him check himself as if he was afraid of Ren’s power. There were no injuries, the feeling merely worked up Hux. He didn’t particularly like being throttled by the neck in most contexts. Hux suspected Kylo liked the domineering feeling of choking someone out, but not necessarily the sexual appeal (or at least, Hux hadn’t exposed Kylo for the sexuality of it).

He tried not to stay too much on the feeling in case Kylo caught his thoughts and feelings through the force, Hux moved on from the thoughts. He went to his room, using a key code to open it. As much as it may have been an excessive waste of valuable space on the ship, he was glad to have his own room. 

Hux’s bags were already in his room. The trip to Quirinal would only be about three standard hours but Hux considered taking a nap. He knew he should get any sleep he could, but he had the strange inclination to dream again. The dream was just surreal in every sense but brought Hux this strange warmth. Hux never had good dreams or memorable ones in fact. Even the few that Kylo invaded didn’t stick with him long.

Looking at the bed, Hux unzipped his boots and stepped out of them. He knew by sleeping he’d ruin his gelled hair and crinkle his uniform but he planned to change before dropping down on Quirinal.

The ship gave a beep, warning that takeoff would commence soon. He sighed and sat down on the bed, datapad in hand. Hux laid down, staring at the glowing screen of his datapad deciding to make sure he had all the correct facts about Quirinal. Unlike Ren, Hux planned to make a good impression on the planet. 

He reread the information on Quirinal as carefully as he could. He knew about the planet, but Hux wanted to be sure he wouldn’t inadvertently offend them in some way. Kylo definitely would. He considered sending a message to Ren to make sure he actually read up on Quirinal but he didn’t want to open up the opportunity for Ren to converse with him.

Quirinal was known for its warm climate and advancements in medicine. It made large progressions in its once impoverished society with their various forms of medicine from machines to herbal. They played a lot with different experimental bactas, which namely an army needed the most of. And, perhaps luckily, they have been seemingly neutral. The problem was that their neighbors were Resistance sympathetic, which made the planet uncertain about having an alignment with the First Order. 

The addition of the planet in Hux’s hand would be exponential. The medical supplies would prove great, and the chance at more troopers, but Quirinal was almost a hotspot for tourism and important to many planets who had injuries or diseases they needed assistance with. A connection with them would greatly improve the First Order’s outreach.

Hux yawned and rubbed his eyes. He scrolled through the notes, reading a hefty paragraph about the planet’s climate and how now it is being popularized as a tourist spot to go swimming and sunbathing. Hux didn’t plan to do either of those things. He can’t imagine Ren dressing out of his robes either. It is a true testament to if Ren read about the planet if he decided to keep his cowl and endure the heat. It is amusing, but Hux probably wasn’t one to talk because he was weak to the heat.

Hux kept thinking about warmth. The thought of the strength of the sun and how its energy warmed that planet made Hux slip into a state of relaxation. He was imagining it again, that comforting warmth from the galaxy. He knew damn well that the galaxy was a heartless, cold void and that the stars would set fire to any planet caught too close to it, but that dreamy warmth of little cosmoses wrapping themselves onto Hux.

When Hux opened his eyes, he was back floating in the pool of space. He was bare again except for the clouds of cosmoses and star wrapping around his hips like a sheet. He was warm but it wasn’t the same as before. Kylo wasn’t there. He was utterly alone, yet didn’t feel lonely.

There was a presence that Hux couldn’t explain. He didn’t know where it came but Hux just felt as if something was there trying to comfort him. A dark cloudy mass appeared in front of him, glittering and sparkling like thunderclouds. Apprehensive, Hux put his hand out to it. His middle finger touched the galactic cloud and pulled back slightly. It just felt like near transparent cotton. He inserted his hand into the cloud, finding it to heat his hand. Hux wanted to stick his face into it but pushed the impulse away. 

It felt like he was both touching something yet touching nothing tangible at the same time. The feeling confused and intrigued him. 

When he began to pull back his hand, white glowing streams emerged from it and began to wrap itself around Hux’s arm. He panicked for a moment, trying to pull away but found that the pull of the cloud wasn’t threatening. It was almost needy, lonely. It released Hux and began to float away and Hux suddenly was filled with a sorrow that ran down his face.

“Wait,” he called to it, reaching his hand out. It seemed to reach its hand out as well.

“Hux?” A voice asked. It wasn’t the call of the galaxy though, it was Ren’s voice. It was mellowed out though, questioning Hux.

Hux turned around to see Ren standing in front of him, dressed in black. He was standing and Hux realized he suddenly was standing too, in comparison to how he was floating before. He was clothed again but was dressed in a white fabric like some sort of gown. The galaxy around him was gone. Hux frowned his brow when the warmth of space was gone, only to be replaced by Ren who stood away from him.

Hux woke when the shuttle rumbled. His datapad nearly sliding onto the floor but a Hux quickly caught it before it could startle anyone nearby. He rubbed his eyes and sat up, realizing he had ended up taking a nap. He was partially disappointed in himself for actually having a nap.

Hux ran his fingers through his hair to try to get his hair back into place but knew it was hopeless. After sitting up and stretching, Hux grabbed his bag off the floor and headed to the refresher. He needed to clean up before arriving on Quirinal.

He had momentarily forgotten about his lonely wanderings in space. He had momentarily forgotten about his loneliness.