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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.

Chapter Text

Kylo Ren was surprised that when he left his room Hux wasn’t waiting for him, ready to berate him for not changing into comfortable attire. Hux wouldn’t have noticed, but Kylo had actually worn fewer clothes than usual. He lost a layer of an undershirt to his attire. Kylo didn’t like exposing his skin to anyone, he liked the atmosphere of mystery he radiated. The fewer others knew about him, the better.

His mask stared into Hux’s door, considering opening it to pester the General. He reached inwards with the Force, detecting that Hux was up and about. Hux’s mind was strangely calm, almost stagnant like a low-frequency wave. Hux’s brain was almost never relaxed. It was constantly bouncing around from thought to thought. His mind was well organized like a filing cabinet of information, but he was constantly rummaging through the files.

Trying to be polite, but to also tease Hux, Ren reached out to knock on the door only to sense Hux was coming out anyhow. Ren withdrew and stepped back as the door opened. Hux flinched when he saw a big, black figure waiting for him. When Hux looked up to the looming figure, Ren felt his face heat up.

Hux had changed his appearance on the ship. He looked more well rested and much more handsome than he usually did. Kylo figured his calm mind and longer sleeping hours had something to do with it. Hux skin, though clear, was brighter and had more color to it. His cheeks appeared pinker than they naturally were and Kylo suspected Hux was wearing some sort of subtle blushing on his cheeks.

The General of the First Order was wearing rouge for some ungodly reason (Incorrect, ungodly would be blasphemy in its context. Hux was angelic in his looser, cleaner form). The blush made him appear cuter. Cute wouldn’t really be a statement associated with the fearless general, but something about Hux’s rosy cheeks made Ren enthralled. His cheekbones and the tip of Hux’s nose also seemed to shine more than usual, and Kylo didn’t know if it was from glitter or moisturizer. He didn’t know much about makeup but he knew Hux was certainly wearing some (Ren pushed away from the memories of his mother sitting in front of her mirror blushing her own cheeks and scolding him for throwing around her makeup brushes).

Hux’s hair was still gelled but in a different style that made him more appealing. He didn’t push back his hair all the way like he usually did. He had neatly moved his side part to cover half of the forehead as it would naturally, except it was firmly in place with his hair gel. Kylo was only slightly disappointed with Hux’s hair. It would have been nice to see it be free of gel but Kylo could appreciate it at least being in a style closest to its natural form.

Ren didn’t realize he was staring so hard until Hux had scrunched up his face and made an annoyed groan.

“Why are you standing outside my door staring you creep?” Hux said bluntly. That sharp tongue would get him in more trouble later in his days, but at the moment Ren was too baffled to harass him for his comments.

“You’re all dolled up, General?” Kylo questioned, catching himself from stammering. Hux shifted his eyes from side to side.

“I’m just trying to be presentable,” Hux said, moving past Ren to await their landing. Ren merely followed Hux as a shadow to his brightened features.

Ren continued, “Never thought you were the type to wear, what is it, blush? Glitter?”

Hux rolled his eyes. Even his outfit was different. It was still pitch black like his usual uniform but appeared thinner. It was made of some sort of charmeuse fabric. It had a sheen to it and was not padded at the shoulders in contrast to the General’s traditional style. He was without his large, imposing jacket as well that usually swung off of shoulders and gave Hux an image of grace and ruthlessness.

It was an entirely different presence this outfit gave him. It was more welcoming if that was the word for it, and though he showed Hux’s status of authority it somehow made him suaver. A big First Order emblem was posted on his upper left arm and he had a pin of the emblem on the right side of his chest. Even Hux’s belt appeared tighter in contrast to the belt Hux usually wore on the Finalizer that made him appear bigger.

Hux held his commander’s cap tightly. He placed it on his head as if it would prevent Ren from staring daggers into the back of his skull. Despite being a General, Hux didn’t necessarily like being stared at. He liked when people admired and listened to him but being eyed was different. Ren added a new level of discomfort with the mask on his face and his obvious interest in Hux.

“I don’t feel the need to explain how dressing nice makes a good impression on people. Maybe you should wash that greasy hair of yours since it’s always stuck in that bomb shelter of a mask,” Hux retorted with a scrunched up nose, making his disgust extremely apparent.

Ah, again with the mask insults. It seemed like a running gag with Hux, though he never seemed pleased with his own jokes.

“You dislike my mask so much?” Kylo asked rhetorically. Hux stopped and turned around, peering into the intersection of the hall that led to the access bay.

“Is it that obvious?” Hux spat sarcastically. Ren didn’t know why he bothered. “No, I’m not fond of it. I think that’s clear every time I ask you to take it off. It’s a cheap trick in hiding your emotions because we both know you cannot control them.”

Ren wanted to bite back at the General again. He balled his fists up but found his anger dissipating as he skimmed Hux’s mind and unraveled what was obvious.

Hux liked seeing his face. For practical reasons, yes, but Hux found something comforting in his face. Ren grinned with pride behind his mask. Poor General, so malleable when he saw someone’s brooding eyes. It was hypocritical of him to think of his General as being so easy since Ren was ready to lick Hux’s lips when he saw his new look. Even Hux, who demanded order in Ren, only was controlled and exposed by his most primal instincts.

The shuttle shook. Neither of them toppled but knew it was time to exit. They strolled to the docking bay where their troopers waited, blasters in hand. Ren tended to not bother with reading the minds of the mindless troopers unless he was looking for something specific. He and Hux stood out amongst them in an impractical way when considered, but there was in fact power in appearance. The dark clothes on Hux and Ren’s backs that contrasted their troopers showed how powerful they are. In a sea of blasters, they wanted to be seen. They wanted to show how untouchable they were.

Hux today contrasted everyone with exceptional beauty. Ren did notice some of the troops try to sneak a glance at their General, curious of his new look. An engrossing attraction didn’t infect the trooper’s minds, but Ren still felt that his face tightened at the thought of everyone just staring at Hux. He didn’t understand how the General would be okay with this. 

The shuttle landed on Quirinal, blowing out the dust from under the ship. The landing gear was ejected out and the ship settled with relative ease. Once the ship landed, the ramp came out of the ship and the doors opened. Hux squinted at the sudden sunlight blaring into the ship. Ren and Hux were surrounded by troopers as they exited. Kylo himself didn’t feel as if they needed any troopers given that he was there. He wasn’t going to act like Hux’s glorified bodyguard but he certainly was a better choice than any of the troopers (not that he was undermining their abilities at all, no, he wouldn't want to insult Hux at all).

When they were freed of the ship’s confinement the group was immediately hit with the humidity of the planet. It wasn’t the worst heat the planet could have had but Hux was still uncomfortable in his boots. His cheeks instantly flushed at the heat. Ren looked to him to notice his rosier complexion. So much for wearing blush, the sun was a more effective rouge than whatever powder Hux had put on.

A strange alien was there to greet the knight and the general, having their own guards dressed in green and copper armor. The bipedal alien had purple skin and large, fluffy feline-like ears protruding from its head. The voluptuous dark hair that sat on its head was hardly contained by a copper wire that was wrapped midway down its hair. The alien wore dark green pants and a similarly shaded top. The legs of its pants were larger to allow more airflow and the sleeves of the top was large and fit extremely loosely around the alien’s arms, allowing it to dangle.

“General Hux, so wonderful to finally make your acquaintance,” the feline alien said formally. The alien’s voice was exceedingly feminine. The alien bowed their head politely.

“Nice to meet you…” Hux paused as an invitation for the alien’s name.

“Ms. Manto Domus. But you may call me Manto,” she said. As she talked her ears flicked and turned. Hux couldn’t help but peer. “I am the assistant to Prince Himero Dolos.”

She froze up suddenly when her eyes met the ceaseless gaze of Ren’s mask. She cleared her throat and adjusted the collar of her uniform. She continued, “And this must be the knight Kylo Ren.”

Seeing that Ren wouldn’t speak for himself, Hux took initiative. It was for the best that Ren didn’t speak at all, Hux considered, as Ren’s thoughts processed into verbal speech was bound to piss off someone important.

“Yes, he’ll be accompanying us occasionally,” Hux said, emphasizing the occasionally so Manto knew that his presence wouldn’t be a burden. Manto looked at him up and down, her eyes seeming unimpressed.

“Of course. Anything for Snoke’s General and Knight,” Manto replied. She softly inhaled sharply as if she said something inappropriate. Ren stiffened at her words, curious. Manto looked down. Her tightened lips and datapad she held against her body couldn’t hide the downward twitch of her ears and Ren’s flow of the Force.

She was hiding something. It was already so apparent, and it was such a shameful weakness to reveal those hidden thoughts so soon. Ren figured Snoke’s purpose for sending him on this diplomatic mission wasn’t to play ambassador, it was to play with the mysterious ways Force. He couldn’t know for sure. The alien may have just been hiding something without importance.

Hux couldn’t read people like Ren could, that much was obvious.

When Ren skimmed her head lightly with the Force, her eyes immediately shot to him. He stopped, shocked by her glaring eyes. He was also surprised to find how hidden her thoughts were. Something was definitely there, but now easy skim of her mind wouldn’t prove to be fruitful.

“I will escort you both to the Prince’s castle. You two must be warm, I do apologize,” she said plainly, leading the group to the land cruiser.

Hux instructed the troops as they followed Manto, directing their instructions to try to stay out of the scene as much as possible. Ren took it that any sign of threat or distrust would offend the beings on Quirinal.

Once they got into the luxurious and spacey cruiser, they traveled to the castle in which the prince resided. The more they traveled into the tropical lands of Quirinal the stranger Kylo began to feel.

Something inside him shifted uncomfortably, whenever it was the force or some sort of nervousness he couldn’t tell. The warmth that hugged his body didn’t help either and Manto didn’t seem to have put on any cooling system on the cruiser.

Ren knew he had a particular mission on Quirinal, he just didn’t know what it was. He already figured Snoke didn’t want him asking too many questions. It was Ren’s task to find his own truth, deduct his own mission based on the clues around him. He glanced to Hux who was sitting next to him, politely speaking to Manto who seemed more relaxed than earlier. Hux was asking about her culture. She was some sort of alien called a Fyus, not that Ren had seen many of them.

He tried to skim her mind again, this time more carefully. His force powers threaded her mind like it was thin ice, trying not to alert her. She wasn't force sensitive but the force moved through her strangely. He hadn’t felt anything like it before. Perhaps it had something to do with her species. He pressed a little deeper, testing his limits.

Ren was only met with a blast of colors in his head. Red and blue cosmoses plagued his thoughts, its stars suffocating him and pulling at him. It didn’t hurt his head, it just felt exceedingly uncomfortable. There was a sudden, strange presence in the back of his mind. He felt as though he should pluck that piece of his brain and suffocate it. That, or embrace it. He wasn’t sure. He just hated the feeling it was supplying. The cosmoses choked him and made him feel useless, useless…

Useless?

He was only snapped out of these strange thoughts when Hux tapped his upper arm. Ren instantly flinched and the cosmoses vanished. Instead, he was met with a star that sparkled in Hux’s eye. He glanced down to Hux who was still red in the face with his mix of blush and overheating. Through the entire heat, Hux didn’t complain. He seemed strangely calm the whole time they were heading to Quirinal.

“Ren, relax would you?” Hux asked softly. Ren didn’t even notice he was changing the atmosphere aboard the speeder. The troopers appeared tense and Manto was squeezing her datapad.

Ren huffed underneath his helmet and the atmosphere relaxed. One of the troopers gave a relieved huff and Hux frowned at his need to express his sudden comfort.

Manto was staring at Ren, side-eyeing him. Her ears made it more obvious she was observing the force user. There was a distinct distrust between them and Ren wanted to find out why. The alien plagued his mind with uncertainties, with images of space and color that were riddled with the force’s pull. If she meant to portray some sort of force sensitivity, he didn’t know. But he knew one thing: He was the Jedi Killer. And if this girl had the force following through her, he knew he must have been reasoned to decide her fate. To destroy her or take her sense of reality over.

Kylo glanced to Hux and skimmed the General’s own mind.

Hux thought of glowing multicolored stars that he’d one day conquer. Ren said nothing.

 

/////

 

The palace of Prince Himero was made up of white marble and copper designs. It was a glorious building. The city they had landed in was clean and white, the design made to reflect the harsh heat of the sun. When they passed bodies of water, Hux would perk up slightly at the coolness it supplied. He definitely wasn’t made for the humidity, he didn’t know how Ren hadn’t yet complained.

Once they stepped off the cruiser they traveled through the courtyard of the building which was decorated with neatly cared for exotic plants. Some strange exotics animals rested among the plants, unfazed by the arrival of the newcomers. A strange pig looking creature with small tusks came up and even sniffled Hux, making little snorting noises as it did so. Hux lifted his leg abruptly and the pig flinched before calmly walking away. He half thought to kick the damn thing if it hadn’t been so weirdly polite.

Half of the stormtroopers stayed on the cruiser and headed back to the ship to repark it and guard it. Hux found it unnecessary to arrive with so many troopers. Snoke had suggested taking little, but even the small amount seemed like too much. The planet made him more relaxed than he expected, especially with Ren around. He also felt more secure with Ren around, though he didn’t want to admit it.

Manto led them into the main entryway where a young human man was standing, awaiting their arrival. The man was somewhere in between Hux and Kylo’s height. He wasn’t as broad as Ren was, but the man was robust. He had olive skin and dark black hair that was tied back into a short ponytail. He had a neat beard on his face that had strange shaved designs into it, like the waves of the violent sea. On top of his head was a copper, circular crown with a large gem stuck in the center.

He smiled upon seeing his guest, flashing his white teeth. The man was undeniably handsome, but Kylo already found him irritating. It was clear in his smile that he knew he was handsome.

“Ah, the young General Hux, so glad to finally make your acquaintance,” the man said. Hux gave a little curt bow of his head. Kylo watched the man’s eyes follow Hux’s head motions. He had subtle heterochromia in his eyes, one eye having a deep, dark brown and the other a much brighter, hazel like tone. Each eye was like looking at the rich earth in the lighting of the sun and the other like it was encased in the dusk of night.

“Prince Himero Dolos, thank you for welcoming us to your planet,” Hux supplied. Hux seemed a bit proud that the prince had addressed Hux by his title. Kylo couldn’t care to fathom why he was so flattered. The prince was a bit older than Kylo, closer to Hux’s age, but young looking nonetheless.

“The pleasure is all mine to see such a successful General. I’ve been wanting to talk to you,” Himero supplied charmingly. It was also clear that Himero believed that he was the master of flattery. Kylo was about to roll his eyes right out of his damn sockets. What made Ren more curious was the fact that Hux seemed enthralled by his compliments. Or was he just enthralled by the prince?

Kylo found it unbelievable either way. It amazed him he had the patience to deal with such jackassery. He would behave for now, not necessarily for Hux’s sake, but so he could learn more about the strange interactions with the force he had had. Kylo glanced to Manto, who seemed preoccupied with her datapad.

When Himero actually looked to Ren, his charming smile seemed to vanish. The prince didn’t appear threatened by the eyeless mask he wore.

“Ah, this must be Supreme Leader’s Snoke apprentice,” Himero said, tucking his hands into his front pockets and standing up straighter. Ren tilted his head slightly to show his curiosity towards the prince.

Hux glanced over his shoulder to look at Ren. He shot the knight a quick look that warned him to stay behaved before looking back to the prince. Even though the glance was quick, Ren couldn’t help but try to catch all the little details of Hux’s dolled up face. He swore he saw freckles hiding on the General’s face.

“Yes, don't mind Lord Ren though. He is here to observe,” Hux said.

“I’m his bodyguard,” Ren suddenly said. Hux’s shoulders tensed. Ren didn’t mean it literally, but he was amused at how displeased Hux became. So full of himself, Ren thought, for not wanting someone to be his bodyguard yet flaunting his stormtroopers.

“Oh, well we weren’t expecting you but the more the merrier!” Himero cheered but something about him smile seemed insincere. Ren skimmed his mind quickly with the Force. Himero’s mind, like Manto’s, had an odd registry in the force and seemed guarded tightly. He could sense the man’s base emotions but couldn’t find his intentions easily.

Himero was intrigued by what Kylo could gather, but the prince seemed more intrigued with Hux than with the dark knight himself. When Himero looked over Ren, he seemed smug and radiated crude amusement. Ren half expected a prince to be full of himself but didn’t think anyone would be amused at the prospect of a force user lurking around. Ren made another mental note on why Quirinal was a planet that required his special attention. Snoke must have sent him to Quirinal to snoop out the planet’s strange reactions to the Force.

Uncertainty.

Ren had been separated from his knights lately to make hunting Jedi, force artifacts, and discovering new force users more efficient. While Ren was primarily tasked with finding Skywalker (he ground his teeth at the thought of the man), he wished he was among his knights. He thought back to what Hux said about fear and respect. Surely this mission would garner him the respect he wanted from Hux if he played his cards right. Ren hated to admit it, but Hux was the only person he had left to be accompanied by without his knights. Granted, Hux’s company was something much different than what he had with the knights.  

“Well, allow me to escort you to your rooms. Then we will discuss having our little talk and dinner. I wish to give you a tour of what my humble planet has to offer,” Prince Himero said with a large smile on his face. His canine teeth seemed sharp to Hux, like they could cut into someone easily. It made Himero’s charmingness have an element of dominance.

“Ah yes, I’d appreciate a tour,” Hux replied. He glanced back to Ren, eyeing the man carefully. Don’t screw this up.

Ren just stayed silent. Himero snapped his fingers. Two purple aliens who were the same species as Manto rushed over. Himero spoke to them in a foreign language but Ren guessed they were ordered to carry their bags. Himero looked to Manto.

“Please begin dinner preparations for our guest. Make the meal bountiful! And escort General Hux’s troopers either back to their ship or to their own rooms,” Himero instructed. Manto bowed her head. Himero looked to Hux, almost asking for approval.

“Oh. I assume we won’t need them. I mean I have… my bodyguard,” Hux said. Himero smiled again at him.  

Ren could tell Hux was trying to be civil to Himero to gain his trust but he didn’t exactly understand why he had to do it in such a fashion that irritated him. Hux didn’t typically kiss up to get someone’s approval. He usually just persuaded them naturally. But there, Hux stood in his pretty makeup and polite form trying to act kindly to the smug prince. Ren really didn’t understand it.

Unless…

Prince Himero put a hand to his hip and had an empty space made with the bending of his elbow. He looked to Hux, waiting. Hux blinked and seemed to have a realization of what Himero wanted, then put his own arm through the hole Himero made and held the man’s arm.

Ren felt his eye twitch. He also suddenly felt the lightsaber on his belt seem heavier. He took a deep breath in.

Hux couldn’t be seriously letting this man flirt with him? More importantly, Hux couldn’t be flirting back? Ren stood there, seething in confusion and anger.

He didn’t realize Hux was looking back at him, frowning. “Come on Ren.”

Ren felt frozen in place for half a second. He didn’t even know why he was so irritated. Hux was allowed to do whatever he wanted and granted he probably was doing it for the First Order, but it didn’t stop Ren from wanting to throttle the stupid, handsome prince.

He followed behind Hux and Himero, quiet. Himero was talking Hux’s ear off and Hux just listened, occasionally adding with something insightful. Hux kept his face neutral.

They were led to a large set of double doors that were full of intricate designs with copper and gold. There was a symbol on the door that looked like an infinity with a slash through its middle. Ren didn’t recognize it but didn’t question it either knowing Hux would nag him for not reading the information that was given to them beforehand.

The two purple cat eared aliens that were holding their bags opened the door to reveal the beautiful room inside. Hux’s face lit up, his gaze fixed. Ren was impressed as well, but he’s also seen many impressive rooms in his lifetime. The room was decorated in all sorts of copper and gold and everything appeared to be meticulously placed. There were large windows with their curtains pulled back to let in natural sunlight and show a gorgeous view of the Quirinalian ocean, which itself was a lovely shade of blue-green. The aliens put their bags down in the room on the coffee table and swiftly left.

“I do apologize, if we knew Kylo Ren was arriving we would have gotten another room ready, or at least a bigger one.” Himero paused as if he was waiting for Hux to react. Hux didn’t say anything, seeming more amazed by the loveliness of the room. Himero gave a little chuckle at Hux’s amazement.

How cute, Kylo heard Himero think. Ren clenched his jaw. He didn’t… disagree but Hux would disprove of the thought.

“It’s fine,” Ren asserted. Himero cocked an eyebrow at Ren.

“Ah, that’s good,” Himero replied, but his tone suggested he was suspicious of Ren for some reason. “There is a rather large couch and if you want, I can unlock the side room that’s meant to keep the children. But obviously, I thought you would not need one General because you are without children,” Himero explained. Hux seemed to catch onto what Himero was trying to find out but kept his mouth shut on the subject.

“I think Lord Ren will manage,” Hux said. Himero huffed, giving a fake smile to Hux. Hux assumed Himero’s displeasure became clearer because he wouldn’t reveal the state of his relationship with Ren. For that, Ren was grateful but it only confirmed the snoopiness and brashness of the prince. Hux slipped his arm out of Himero, done with giving the prince the satisfaction of his attention. Hux didn’t do so to offend the prince, he merely was curious with the room.

Ren was surprised Hux didn’t get flustered at Himero’s mention of Hux being childless. He didn’t think the topic was taboo, but Hux was usually so reserved and defensive about anything in his personal life. That included Ren. Ren considered himself at least part of Hux’s personal life sexually but Hux never wanted to talk about it. To a point, it caused Ren unbridled frustration but to another point, he didn’t know how to talk about it either. He didn’t like Himero getting held by Hux though.

“Well, I will let you two settle. There’s a remote in the personal kitchen. If you need anything quickly, just press one of the labeled buttons. There’s one for food services, health, or if you want to request a call for me. We don’t use a public channel in the castle for safety purposes, and so things are attended to quickly. I will come back in about two hours if you haven’t left,” Himero told Hux, folding his hands behind his back.

“Thank you very much Prince Himero. This room is lovely and I look forward to our discussion,” Hux replied, giving a quick bow of the head.

Before Himero walked off, he gave Ren a side eye with a stupid little smirk on his face. It took Ren all his might not to throttle the man.

Ren walked into the suite and shut the door behind him, not needing any more of Himero’s presence. The doors made several clicking noises, suggesting that they had automatic locks to secure the doors shut. Ren took off his helmet, only then realizing how hot he had been. He shook his head, letting his dark hair free from its suffocated shape. His forehead felt wet from sweat. Ren rubbed his face with his sleeve, hoping to get rid of his shine.

Hux removed his cap and hung it on a golden rack. He proceeded to look around the room, glancing at every little detail of the shiny wallpaper and marble floors. Ren narrowed his eyes at Hux.

“Why are you acting like some princess?” Ren asked, throwing his helmet onto the couch. Hux didn’t look at him, now touching some green exotic plant.

“What? What does that mean?” Hux asked though he didn’t seem interested in talking.

“You, dressing up with makeup and then holding onto that disrespectful idiot’s arm! Clinging to him!”

“Clinging? Ren, I was just being polite. This planet feeds off of flattery basically. Himero is just friendly. I don’t care for it, but I obviously would like him to be open to an allyship,” Hux explained. Ren couldn’t believe Hux was acting like nothing was happening.

Ren didn’t understand why he was getting so angry.

“You- you don’t get to pretend to be so innocent!” Ren yelled, but again Hux seemed disinterested. Hux kept looking around the room. “Politeness doesn’t require cozying up to him.”

Hux suddenly looked up with a raised eyebrow. “Are you jealous or something Ren?”

Ren shut up suddenly. He felt the heat rise in his cheeks. Was he jealous?

“No,” Ren answered firmly. He began to tear off layers of his clothes. It was too hot on the damn planet. Hux went back to carefully looking around the room. He picked up a lid off a jar that contained some sort of wrapped candy. “What are you doing?”

“Looking around. It’s a gorgeous room. But I’m also looking for any sort of listening device.”

Ah, so Hux didn’t really trust Himero. It was reassuring for Ren.

Why is that so reassuring?

With a quick scan using the Force, Ren was able to answer Hux’s concerns. “There are none I can detect.”

Hux put the lid back on the candy jar, shaking his head to himself. He was refraining from trying a piece. He continued to investigate the room, heading to the kitchen. Ren followed quietly, seeing that Hux didn’t want to talk to him but having nothing better to do.

The kitchen was a decent size, only having what is needed for practical cooking. Hux was shocked by the amount of copper that decorated the palace, practically being thrown around. He found the remote Himero had told them about. Upon a quick inspection, Hux put it back down. Ren, bored of watching, began looking about the kitchen’s cupboards. He found various strange snacks and brands he didn’t immediately recognize. Ren just began to pull out what seemed interesting and put them on the counter.

“Can you not wait until dinner?” Hux asked.

“Unlike you, I’m not heading to some talk with a prince who will most likely pamper you in drinks and strange food platters. I’ll be stuck here, so I would like to eat something,” Ren said peevishly.

“Why don’t you just come to the meeting?”

Ren was quick to answer, “Absolutely not.”

Hux frowned his brows, snatching a box that Ren seemed intent on opening. It was one of the only brands Ren recognized, some sugary cereal. Usually, Ren wasn't so indulging, but since Quirinal was a vacation planet and they were being pampered, he might as well take the opportunity.

“Didn’t Snoke send you here for this? Honestly Ren, I don’t understand you. You want to show your master that you’re a good dog,” Hux gave a short pause, echoing Ren’s earlier comment on Mitaka. Ren glared and Hux continued, “yet you do nothing but avoid your task at hand. At least, you avoid the ones you view as below the Force or whatever.”

Ren mumbled something that Hux didn’t catch. Ren’s face was dark.

“What was that?” Hux asked, his voice raised.

“I said,” Ren boomed with a sneer, “that’s hypocritical given you always avoid everything you don’t understand or can’t figure out clearly.”

“What the kriff are you talking about?” The audacity of Ren always amazed him, how he dared to think he was special because he could move things with his mind like some cheap magician. “I work every day of my damn life while you sulk around and destroy my property! First Order property! At least I can say I am making progress for the galaxy, what in the hells are you doing?”

Fury rising, Ren didn’t even miss a beat.

“I’m sorry General, is your ass suddenly First Order property? I wasn’t aware you were some First Order consort, no wonder you cozy up so nicely to that degenerate Prince!” Ren almost regretted the statement knowing that he’d have to deal with it for the whole trip, but he was more surprised he said the word degenerate.

Hux’s face instantly turned red. Out of instinct and with nothing but it in his hand, Hux smacked Ren in the chest with the box of cereal. Ren just caught it against his chest but then threw it on the floor. He wanted to step on it but turned his full attention to Hux who was boiling red in embarrassment and anger.

“What the fuck is wrong with you? Why are you so intent in always trying to make me some whore! You fucking prick! The only one seeming to be desiring some sexual life if you! And why are you so jealous of the stupid prince?! It’s not like you have anything to do with my romantic life!” Hux yelled, a vein throbbing in his neck. Ren stiffened, shutting his mouth before the next rounds of his arguing could leave him.

Hux’s stance suddenly became more reserved and defensive. His mouth made a small ‘o’ but he refrained from saying anything. Ren could see Hux calculating. He could sense the little neurons in his mind going ping ping ping!

Hux had a point and Ren half considered it. Why was he wasting his time with the General? In the end, anything with Hux, any relationship or conversation, it wouldn’t matter because they were on two different planes of existence. They were far from compatible.

He wasn’t even supposed to have a sensual relationship with anyone. Snoke had warned him. Still, Ren couldn’t help but feel a heavy load of emotions. Disappointment, rage, contempt…

Turning sharply, Ren left Hux with a low tone, “I’m going to meditate. Don’t disrupt me.”

He stormed off before Hux could say anything, not that Hux had any more choice words. Before leaving, he decided to skim Hux’s head again.

Confusion.

Ren found the bedroom that was supposed to be for Hux and locked himself in it. He’d make sure he’d leave when the General would want to sleep because the General most likely expected his luxurious bed.

Ren sat down on the floor and faced the window. There was a beautiful view of the ocean as it tumbled in the distance. Ren wanted to smash the window and go run to the sea to swim, but even he knew that would be the worst possible thing right then. He highly considered choking Hux at that moment but then he’d ruin Hux’s precious pretty face that he had dolled up for Himero.

Unable to actually meditate, Ren was able to hear Hux when he left. For the meeting or just to wander, Ren wasn’t sure, but he didn’t care. Ren sat crossed legged and tried to calm his breathing. He didn’t want to waste his energy right now on Hux when there was a whole new planet with a strange reaction to the force.

He searched the planet with the Force and he still found the same strange force registry. It wasn’t necessarily of the dark or light side, it was just different. The force felt more lively and cautious at the same time, just like Manto’s mind. Perhaps Manto’s reaction was just an unintentional after effect of her being exposed to the Force, but he couldn’t help but think she was at least a little force sensitive. She wasn’t wholly, otherwise, Ren would know for certain. Ren kept recycling upon this idea.

The Force seemed to call to Ren, it wanted to tell him something. He let it in.

Pain burst in his head and he almost immediately pushed it away, but then a cooling mist spread across him. He couldn’t see anything but he still had his other senses. He heard something, someone. They sounded like they were crying but the sound was distant.

Was this a vision of the future? Ren wasn’t sure. The crying got louder- no they were sobbing. Hard. Pained. Hopeless. He never heard the crying before but he couldn’t help but feel like he knew it.

Hux? He asked, but he wasn’t sure if he asked it out loud or in his head.

Suddenly the image was revealed to him. Hux was in his uniform, sitting on the ground in a defeated form. Something seemed to be in his arms but the scene around Hux seemed blurred, like the Force itself was uncertain of what was happening. He was leaning over like he was holding something, protecting it, shielding it, embracing it like it would be the last thing he’d ever have within his hands. Hux was shaking, obviously crying, and his back was turned to Ren. Ren squinted his eyes, trying to see more. Hux’s neck had blue and black marks on it. He heard something cracking, creaking above him. Hux looked up. Wherever he was, the ceiling above was caving in on him. There was nothing there to protect him.

“Hux!” Ren yelled with blatant concern. He outstretched his hand, summoning the force.

He was still sitting in the bedroom, facing the ocean. The sun had moved in the sky, suggesting he had been sitting for at least an hour or so. There was nothing there.  

The door suddenly swung open and Ren jolted, getting up to his feet almost defensively. Hux appeared, a curious look on his face.

“Ren?” Hux asked, sounding confused. He must have returned past Ren’s notice. How long was he gone?

“What?” Ren asked back, panting slightly. He didn’t realize how worked up he became. He pulled his back to his side.

“You… you screamed for me?” Hux stuttered, his eyes wide. He looked shocked, clearly startled by Ren’s sudden shouting.

Ren felt at a loss for words. He didn’t want to tell Hux that he had a vision of him not only sobbing but also in danger. Even worse, Ren had felt worried for Hux after seeing the vision. But there Hux was, safe and sound and visibly confused.

You were in danger. I wanted to protect you. Ren wanted to say.

“It’s nothing,” Ren assured. Hux wasn’t convinced but he chose not to press. “Where did you go off to?”

“I just looked around. The palace is quite beautiful. I also wanted to see the ocean.”

“You traveled alone?” Ren questioned.

“No, Manto watched me. She is an observant little thing and particular as well. Wouldn’t answer many of my questions about much of anything.” Ren frowned at the mention of Manto. “You’re sweating a lot Ren.”

Ren looked down to his shirt. It was drenched in sweat. The heat was the main perpetrator, but Ren suspected his vision caused him to break out so aggressively. Ren threw off his shirt to reveal his well-toned body. Hux’s cheeks turned pink and he averted his eyes to look out the window. Ren could feel his lips quirking up into a smirk.

“And are you warm General?” Ren asked nonchalantly. “Maybe we should ask to crank the air conditioning.”

“Er… I’m alright. I have my meeting with Prince Himero shortly so I can’t change anyway,” Hux said, still not meeting Ren’s eyes.

Hux made it clear about his position in their relationship, but Ren couldn’t help but tease the poor General. The man was practically a prudish virgin (though his virginity was long gone to the ‘noble’ knight). Hux and Ren hadn’t had sex constantly like animals in heat, but there were enough encounters to be questionable in terms of their relationship. Something about Hux being more distant from him only made Ren more famished.

“Hux,” Ren demanded. Hux looked up as a natural response. Ren flexed his pecs with a stupid smirk on his face. This would allow him to forget his force vision. Nothing was out of the ordinary yet, he was still in the ordinary world and in that world, Hux was annoyed and easily embarrassed as always. Hux looked away immediately, gritting his teeth as his face only heated up more. Ren snickered.

Hux turned out of the room, unamused by Ren’s antics. It was bad timing to be playing with the General’s feelings, especially given how rocky their relationship was in the pool of uncertainty they had swum into, but it made Ren somehow feel normal when he could play with Hux. Not that Hux liked it.

Ren followed him out, still shirtless. The General went and grabbed his luggage which still sat on the table. He could see the General, grinding his teeth together. He could feel his everflowing radiation of irritable emotions. He hated how uptight Hux was, how he wouldn’t take a joke and how he had to be always the right one.

“Hux,” Ren demanded again, this time with different intent.

“Do you ever get tired of pestering me? I’m not your mother so stop acting like a huge kriffing child,” Hux hissed.

Ren quickly darkened. He never liked being talked down to. Hearing about his family was strictly forbidden. Familial talk never came up between him and Hux, but it was obvious enough to avoid.

Ren reaches out to Hux with the force, freezing him in place. Hux’s body twitched and he gave a little grunt, surprised by the sudden feeling. He couldn’t speak.

“Do you ever get tired of being so stuck up?” Ren bellowed. He walked over and grabbed Hux by the arm, meaning to force the General to look at him.

He heard it again, the crying. The sound was provided to him through the force, he knew it wasn’t real, but it still shook his core.

Ren retracted his hand and his influence with the force immediately. The sound vanished and Hux stumbled forward. He did end up looking at Ren. His brows frowned and his lips were slightly parted. He walked off to put his bag in his room.

“You sleep on the couch,” Hux called, avoiding the subject of Ren’s strange behavior. Ren could hear Hux throw his luggage on the bed. He walked out and headed to leave the suite. “I’m going to my meeting with Himero. You better clean up and stop your nonsense and head to the dinner with me afterward.”

Ren blinked. Seeing that Hux wouldn’t track back to any of the earlier occurrences, he replied sharply with, “Why should I go to any dinner?”

“Because you are expected to. You were complaining about being hungry so there’s your opportunity. You just have to sit there, you aren’t required to speak. Wear your mask or not, I don’t care and I don’t care how it works either.”

“Do not command me.”

Hux gave a fake, annoyed smile. “Yes Ren, I know! Apparently, you don’t listen to anyone! It was just a suggestion.”

Ren grumbled, not willing to feed the fire more. He usually would but he just didn’t feel the need to at the moment. Perhaps it was because he couldn’t help but think back to his visions. Of Hux crying, of the cosmos around them, of the danger lurking over Hux…

Hux headed to the door again, brushing her hair back with his hand and adjusted his clothes carefully. Ren watched the back of his neck. It was something Ren wanted to choke yet at the same time, Ren felt the need to protect every little hair on Hux’s head. He hated conflicting feelings. For the time being, he let the feelings go. There were more dire things that seemed to want his attention.

Chapter Text

“Not a moment too soon General Hux,” Prince Himero greeted with a smile. The man was sitting at the head of a conference table with a datapad in one hand. He set the datapad down onto the fine wooden table and made direct eye contact with Hux, giving his visitor his complete attention. Hux had never felt so unnerved by a man’s attempt at being welcoming.

Manto, who had appeared out of nowhere again after Hux had left his suite, had escorted him to the conference room where Himero was waiting readily. She was still standing in the door, her ears twitching. Hux didn’t smile back at him at Himero but politely bowed his head to recognize Himero’s greeting.

“Hope I didn’t keep you waiting,” Hux said, walking over to the table, though unsure where to sit. Himero got up and pulled out one of the seats closer to him on his right. Hux took the seat, putting his hands on his lap. Himero then pushed him in and got back into his seat.

How gentlemanly,  Hux thought, then bitterly thought to Ren. If the bastard wanted to be controlling and jealous, then let him overhear in his head he found Himero, well, princely.

“Nonsense! I just was settling in. If I wasn’t here when you came, that'd just be embarrassing,” Himero joked, managing to get Hux to crack a little smile. Himero snapped his fingers above his head and Manto left the doorway, letting the doors close behind her.

“Well then,” Hux said, leaning forward on the table and folding his hands together, staring at the prince intensely, “shall we begin?”

Himero leaned forward as well, propping his elbows off the table and setting the tips of his fingers together. “We shall, General.”

Himero practically purred at him, which caught Hux off guard. Sure, they had some weird foreplay in their negotiations and he assumed Himero was flirty by his entire demeanor, but it was quite intimidating when he was alone in a room with the man and their faces were so close. Hux sat back in his chair, deciding to back away from Himero’s game for a while. Himero stayed leaned forward.

“Your planet’s extensive medical resources are desired for the First Order. It’s quite impressive, how much you make and output, especially in terms of artificial bacta. We’d very much like to strike an exclusive deal with you,” Hux began. He knew that Himero wanted more flattery than facts, so he had to carefully dance Himero’s waltz if he wanted to get what the First Order needed without having to give too much in return.

“That is why you’re here, and the First Order is a perfect business for us! We are beginning to have problems with other planets looking to deplete our resources and the First Order’s troops being stationed here will help,” Himero sat back and kicked his feet up on the table. Hux found this gesture incredibly rude, but this was Himero’s home and not his. “Our neighbors, they are jealous of our wealth and would much like to take it. Of course, they don’t know a thing about making medicine, just taking it. And this planet is a family planet, there are many tourists who come here for our beaches and parents looking to use our numerous health and reproduction centers so you can understand we can’t have this become a war zone.”

“I understand entirely, Prince Himero. We can supply you with protection in exchange for your medical supplies. This planet is also in a useful spot for the First Order, so we’d be happy to strike a deal right now.”

“Ah, but General things can never be so easy,” Himero added. He pressed a button on the armrest of his seat. Soon a droid appeared with two glasses in its hand and a bottle. Himero put his hand out and took a glass. The droid placed the other glass near Hux. The droid poured a golden liquid into Himero’s glass. “A drink, General?”

“Oh, that’s alright. I don’t need anything.”

“It’s very low in alcohol percentage, don’t worry. It’s just something to drink. It’s made out of a very beautiful fruit of our planet. It is quite sweet though. Drink some,” Himero told him. Before Hux could even agree to try it, the droid was already pouring him a glass. The droid then left the bottle and scurried off to whatever corner it was in beforehand.

Hux picked up the glass and sniffed it. It did smell very sweet and was cold in his hand like the glass had been chilled as well as the liquid. He could see Himero waiting for him to sip it. He put the glass to his lips and tried the golden juice. It was sweet as he described it but extremely refreshing. Hux didn’t usually have sweet things, in fact, he didn’t remember the last time he tried anything sweet.

“It’s very good,” Hux complimented, taking another sip before putting the glass down.

“You know General, it is quite a risk to get involved with you. I hear Leia Organa has voiced some… concerns about your organization. Granted, it seems you have been left unbothered by the New Republic. I’m open to new alliances but there can be some risk for us both and we can’t calculate for our future like if siding with you will bring some unwanted attention.”

Himero was swirling his glass, watching the glittery golden liquid shine. He always seemed to be smirking. They both drank as they talked.

“Well, for us we can always take our business elsewhere if need be. But I am here because I know the relationship will be beneficial, and the First Order can supply all the protection you desire. No one will dare to try to even pick a hair from your head, Prince Himero.”

Somehow, Hux had managed to drink down his entire glass. He hadn’t even noticed he was drinking so much of the juice. Himero noticed the General’s empty glass and happily poured him another one.

“Well, you came here because you knew you’d get what you wanted, didn’t you? By the way, this drink is called Ambrosia here on Quirinal. At least, that’s the brand name.”

Himero had quite a sense of humor. Usually, Hux wouldn’t even bat an eye at any sort of joke, but he felt like he did, in fact, need to relax. Ren had been a thorn in his side and he was expecting Starkiller to be ready to fire in a standard year so Hux found himself in a world of stress. He hadn’t even acknowledged he was stressed until he had come down to Quirinal where the ocean breeze kissed his neck and he had a glass of golden, fruity sugar water in his hands.

“Well, here’s to getting what we want,” Hux said, holding up his glass for a toast. Himero let out a low chuckle from his throat and raised his glass.

“Here’s to getting what we want, indeed.” Himero gently hit his glass to Hux’s creating a small clinking sound. Hux took a large sip of the ambrosia afterward.

Himero brought the glass slowly to his lips and watched Hux swallow the golden liquid.

 

/////

 

Ren couldn’t meditate again, he felt unable to. He kept thinking back to how he hated the damn planet he was sitting on. He couldn’t focus. It was like the Force was pushing him out, like an angry ex.

Sleep on the couch, don’t touch me .

He growled, standing up and storming out of the bedroom. He was beginning to feel peckish and highly considered raiding the kitchen but knew Hux really wanted him to attend that damn dinner. He wasn’t sure if Hux would even come back to bother him or if he and that prince would just go on a dinner date by themselves. The sun was setting in the sky and Hux had been gone for a while anyhow, so Ren concluded Hux really wasn’t coming back for him.

No, he wouldn’t stand for that. He wasn’t about to lose in Hux’s game. Ren went into the kitchen and instead of raiding it found that remote Himero told them to use. Each button was labeled in basic. Ren found a fat green button labeled  Call for Assistance  and figured that was the closest thing he’d get to contacting anyone without stepping out.

He pressed the button and a little light at the top of the remote flashed green. Ren put down the remote and went to change, throwing on a black long sleeve and black pants (because, like the brooding darksider he was, only dark colors would be worn on his body). He ran his fingers through his messy black locks, quickly detangling it. He knew how irritated Hux would be if Ren made an attempt to show up and look presentable after their little argument. He’d probably be equally mad if Ren came in messy, but he more so wanted to prove a point.

There was a knock on the door. Ren stiffened. In his fit out pettiness, he forgot he called someone. He found some cologne on a dresser and just sprayed it on himself, not even bothering to smell it first. Luckily, it didn’t smell terrible and just had a typical ‘manly’ aroma.

Ren went to the door and pressed the comm button that was on the wall beside it.

“Yes?” He asked into the mic.

“Lord Ren? This is Manto. May I help you, sir?” She asked. She didn’t have a cheerful, sweet tone like what most people would expect when they called for room service, but he didn’t really care.

“Is General Hux and Prince Himero still in their meeting?”

“No sir, they’ve moved into the grand dining room for dinner. I asked if you would like to join but General Hux insisted on leaving you alone. Should I make preparations for you to join them?” She inquired.

“Is there already room for me there?” Ren asked. Manto didn’t reply as quickly as before, seeming confused.

“I mean, yes? There are already plenty of seats, plates, and food if that’s what you mean. I just would have to inform-”

“No, don’t tell them I’m coming,” Ren interrupted her. He could hear her sigh from the other end like she knew he was planning on antagonizing them.

“...very well Lord Ren. I’ll leave you to it. They just started dinner so you most likely wouldn’t be intruding… too much,” she answered then hung up on the other end. He could sense her leave. the Force wasn’t deterring him from that at least sensing people’s whereabouts.

Maybe it was petty but Ren was decided he was going to interrupt their dinner. Realistically, Hux was right in the fact he should be there with them. He just knew Hux would be pissed he’d come unexpectedly. Besides, Hux knew all about betting petty. The man could give him the cold shoulder all he wanted, Ren would always get what he wanted and tease whoever he pleased. The General should've felt so lucky that he got Ren’s special attention and wasn’t a dummy for his lightsaber skills to be trained upon.

Before exiting, Ren looked into a mirror to make sure he was moderately presentable. He shrugged at himself in the mirror. He reached out using the Force, trying to find the location of Hux and his special date.

It wasn’t difficult to locate the General, his aura in the Force was like a burning star. In a universe full of stars, some of them seemed to always glow more brightly than others. Maybe it was just because Ren knew the General’s presence well, but Hux’s connection with him had always been peculiar. Sometimes he’d be cut off from Hux completely, and other times he'd be calling Ren to him like a moth to a light.

Ren followed the glow of Hux’s soul. His intentions were more destructive than a moth’s despite how badly he wanted to capture that light.

The first sound Ren heard as he strode furiously to the grand dining room was Hux’s damned laugh. Hux never laughed. Ren hated Hux's fake laughter. Whatever Himero said couldn’t have been that amusing. Kissing ass didn’t befit the General.

Ren burst into the room. The chatter between the two of them ceased. Himero was at the head of the excessively long, wooden dining table. He had his elbows propped up onto the table. His chin had been resting on his hands before Ren entered and he promptly shot his head up, looking to their unexpected guest. Hux was gawking at Ren. His face twitched.

“Hope I’m not intruding,” Ren said plainly, though he was obviously unapologetic. Hux’s body shifted.

“Glad you could join us, Lord Ren.” Hux was seething in rage. He was trying to hide how infuriated he was with Ren but saw how Hux clenched his fist on the table.

Himero gave his typical smile but he seemed confused by Ren’s presence. Irritated almost.

“I thought you wouldn’t make it Lord Ren! There’s a seat across from General Hux if you’d like. We just started eating so help yourself,” Himero said, taking a sip of his cup. Himero didn’t seem to care that Ren was without his helmet.

Ren strode to the seat across from Hux. It seemed too awkward to sit next to Hux with no one across them, but Ren felt a bitter taste grow in his mouth having to sit next to the prince. But he had to be cordial, especially so he wouldn’t embarrass the poor General. Hux’s eyes followed Ren. His entire stature was riddled with disdain. Hux took a gulp of his golden juice. He just drank it so he’d hold his tongue in front of Ren.

Ren took his seat and the seat beneath him gave a dramatic creak. The table was covered in food, too much for the three of them to finish. Ren had actually never seen Hux eat before. He always suspected Hux was a poor eater given his small stature and obsession with work. Here though, Hux seemed to drink and eat with happy effort. Ren wasn’t sure if Hux was just making a scene for Himero or if he was genuinely taking advantage of the mission.

There were many strange platters in front of Ren that he didn’t know where to start. Most of the dishes appeared seafood based. Ren was more of a red meat sort of man, but he could eat just about anything with ease. He wasn’t picky. Lucky for him, a servant came over and served Ren so he wouldn’t have to pick. He figured that making Hux watch Ren indecisively choose his meal would drive him crazy anyhow.

The servant was another Fyus. Ren questioned the dynamic between the Fyus and the prince, knowing that the Fyus was native to Quirinal while humans were most likely their colonizers. It seemed odd that the royalty was human when the population was overwhelmingly mixed with the majority being Fyus. The Fyus servant didn’t look to Ren, he merely filled Ren’s plate with different fish and vegetables. He picked up a bottle that held the liquid Hux was drinking but Ren stopped him.

“I don’t want any alcohol,” Ren told the Fyus. The servant stopped, seeming confused on what to do.

“It’s low in alcohol Lord Ren, don’t worry!” Himero cheered, turning to Hux despite addressing Ren. He gave Hux a wink like they had some sort of inside joke.

“Just get me water,” he told the Fyus, more sternly than before. The Fyus thought it better to follow Ren’s request and picked up a clear, cold bottle filled with water and poured it into Ren’s glass. Hux shook his head and chugged down the rest of his drink before going back to taking small bites of his meal.

Ren was less graceful in his eating. He wasn’t messy but he did take rather large forkfuls of his meal and chowed down. Himero watched him with raised eyebrows, impressed by Ren’s appetite.

“You are quite the eater Lord Ren,” Himero commented. Hux ducked his head, displeased with the direction of the conversation. “Very good for a strong knight! Snoke knows how to choose his warriors!”

Hux scoffed at the commented. Ren looked to him, eyes narrowed. Hux didn’t seem to care about Ren’s attitude.

“Yes I suppose,” Ren said, almost apprehensive. “Have you met the Supreme Leader?”

Himero answered a little more slowly than Ren anticipated. The mere second of hesitation made Ren’s gut fill with suspicion. “We have communicated briefly over a holocall. Quite the… man. But General Hux has been extremely cordial and informative, I’m sure our relationship together will be long-standing and impactful.”

Hux gave a thin-lipped smile at the prince. “I’m sure it will.”

“I’ll give you a tour of the facilities tomorrow before we finalize our alliance and trade deal, that way you can sit on what we talk about.”

Hux took another small bite of his meal. Ren managed to swallow his entire plate down. He hadn’t realized he was so hungry and angry. He didn’t trust Himero, for personal reasons, but he couldn’t get a proper force reading on him to pass judgment. He wouldn’t have to pass fair judgment but he was sure Hux would try to kill him if he at least didn’t try to find a reason Hux would seem as valid.

“The General is hard to please, I take it that your meeting went well?” Ren added, a hint of bitterness in his tone. Himero’s eyes seemed to darken and he gave a chuckle before staring into Hux’s eyes with heartfelt intent.  

“Oh, I think we came to a fair agreement. And Lord Ren, not to pass judgment, but he is quite hard to please! You just need to know how to please and maneuver around the harsh outer edges,” Himero said, giving Hux a wink.

Then, the strangest thing happened. Hux giggled. Not a scoff or an awkward chuckle, a giggle. A real giggle.

In front of Ren, nonetheless.

Hux dipped his nose into his wrist that held his empty glass as if he was trying to conceal his laughter. Ren could tell he wasn’t faking it. Hux’s cheeks were slightly flushed and his eyes looked dreamy.

He was drunk. Ren was baffled he didn’t see it before. He had had glass after glass of that sweet, sugary nectar without realizing that all that alcohol would build up in his system. Combined with Hux’s terrible eating habits, the General was certainly was feeling the effects of having too much. Now Ren certainly didn’t trust this prince. He had been intoxicating Hux for some ungodly reason. Ren was more perplexed on how Hux didn’t notice.

Himero followed in Hux’s path, laughing. He leaned forward and touched the General’s shoulder, taking advantage of Hux’s delirious state.

Hux would never let anyone touch him like that. Hux’s face went blank as Himero’s finger twitched against his shoulder, threatening to move to Hux’s arm. He hardly let Ren touch him like that and Ren had touched and seen a lot of the General. Ren gulped down his water and cleared his throat.

“I think the General and I need some rest. We’ve had a long day.” Ren stood up abruptly and walked around the table. Himero looked like he was holding his tongue. He removed his hand from Hux’s shoulder as Ren came close.

“Ren!” Hux said disapprovingly. Ren promptly seized Hux by the arm and pulled him up. Hux stumbled to his feet, gawking at Ren.

You stupid idiot you always ruin everything-

Ren chose to filter Hux out. His mind was muddled anyway.

“Oh, well we haven’t had dessert,” Himero added plainly. Ren couldn’t tell how Himero was feeling by his tone, but he couldn’t have been happy.

Especially if he was being cockblocked.

“We’ll make it up tomorrow,” Ren said stubbornly, already dragging Hux away.

“I’m terribly sorry Prince Himero, it appears my companion and I will need to talk,” Hux said, pulling his arm away from Ren. He angrily whispered to Ren, “I can walk by myself, Ren!”

Himero sat quietly as Ren lead Hux out of the room, a hand on the General’s back. Hux was scolding Ren as they walked out. He was trying to keep his voice down but he kept raising it slowly. Ren looked back to Himero. His mouth was tucked behind his hands that were propped up on the table by his elbows.

Ren had scared all the palace workers away. They had passed Manto, who eyed them curiously but stayed put in her place. He was glad they were all avoiding the two of them because Ren figured another session of arguing was about to occur. Ren said to himself that he’d try not to break anything, for the sake of Hux’s precious alliance, but there was no knowing.

Hux stumbled into their room with a little forceful shove of Ren’s hand. He went over near the couch and grabbed the arm of it, swaying slightly. Ren entered and the door shut behind them. Ren put on the locks.

Hux looked over his shoulder, glaring at Ren. His nostrils flared with furious intent, but Ren doubted he could do too much damage.

“Why did you have to do that!” Hux shouted, still gripping the chair.

“Are you trying to make a fool of yourself?” Ren fumed, standing in front of Hux like a menace.

“No, but apparently you went and made so I did anyway.” Hux gave Ren a push on the chest. Ren didn’t budge. It only fueled his fire more.

“Me? You’re the drunk one! Couldn’t you see what he was doing?”

Hux rolled his eyes. “You call that drinking? Oh please.”

He’d get back to the topic of Hux’s apparent drinking habits later. “He was getting you drunk. Making you easy.”

“Everything we debated about in that meeting was mutual. We both had a common interest and worked out the best deal, he didn’t get me drunk for some goddamn alliance,” Hux retorted. He gave Ren another push on the chest.

“It’s not that alliance he was interested in. He was, again, trying to make you easy-” Hux shoved Ren harshly at that. Ren grabbed his wrist and leaned over him. Hux leaned back, but he had nowhere to go. “-easy to bend over.”

Hux stared at him blankly, unmoving. He snorted suddenly. Ren’s lip tightened. He wanted to strangle Hux. He could picture the fragile little white neck in between his fingers, gasping and pleading.

“Gods, Ren. You’re really obsessed with me,” Hux said, then hiccuped. He suddenly seemed to shake off his anger strangely. Ren, on the other hand, not so much.

“What?”

“We talked about this. You trying to make me some… I don’t know consort. It’s rather insulting considering that you are the one here begging for my attention.”

“I’m not!- Forget it. You’re useless,” Ren bellowed. He let go of Hux and watched him fall back into the couch. Hux hung his head.

Ren eyed him, cocking an eyebrow. Hux’s whole demeanor seemed to slump over. He couldn’t tell what Hux was looking at, but he could reach out with the Force.

Useless? Useless…  Hux played back in his head. Ren swallowed awkwardly, not meaning to hit a sensitive spot. He didn’t mean to upset the General this time, but he was just so frustrating. He reached a little deeper into Hux’s mind and saw images of Hux’s father yelling at him, judging him, as Hux hung his head. A small droplet of regret fell into Ren’s dark heart. Even Ren and all his cruelties didn’t wish those dark memories upon Hux. It wouldn’t do anyone any good if their General was too haunted by his past to make calculated, emotionless decisions to benefit the galaxy.

He groaned, hating himself for feeling bad but not wanting to make the drunk cry. He chose to carefully sit down next to Hux. He moved slowly as if Hux would jump to his feet. Hux didn’t react.

And they call me a drama queen , Ren thought, annoyed.

“I didn’t mean that,” Ren said begrudgingly. He cursed the drunk General for making him feel guilty. Hux never made Ren feel bad for him. Sure, Hux always tried to make Ren feel like an idiot but Hux never threw a pity party.

Hux rather die than be seen as weak. Ren could relate, but he liked to think he wasn’t as afraid of his vulnerabilities as Hux was. They weren’t pleasant, but he had to live with them and use them as a weapon.

Hux looked at him with stupid, sorrowful eyes. They looked genuinely heartbroken and bright, something the General lacked in his usual demeanor. He didn’t know it was physically possible to make Hux so upset over anything to the point he looked like a weeping widow. Hux didn’t hold any attachment to anything that made him weep. His Starkiller project was his baby, yet Hux wouldn’t cry over it.

Ren concluded to never let Hux drink again if he could help it. The man looked too youthful and vulnerable. Starkiller would have the capability to vaporize planets but Hux’s genuine emotions were far more dangerous in Ren’s humble opinion. He could turn the tides of war and sway hearts; more hearts than the average person could think.

Ren despised that Hux’s saddened eyes made him feel pitiful compassion: he never wanted to see Hux look so distraught and he never needed to see it again.

“Yes you did,” Hux said back. The alcohol really did make Hux much more vulnerable in feelings and looks.

“Well, I meant to say it. I didn’t mean to actually sadden you. I’m kind of surprised,” Ren told him. He carefully put a hand on Hux’s arm to try to persuade the upset General to forgive his petty attempt at biting back.

Hux looked at Ren’s hand, uncertainty, skeptical of what Ren would do to him. The doubt stung lightly in Ren’s heart. Ren’s monster paws seemed to envelop Hux’s skinny arms. A part of him was further upset by the fact he felt so small under Ren’s hand, but another part was attracted to the feeling. Like a peeping pervert, Ren could see all that went on in Hux’s cloudy head.

Jealousy didn’t begin to describe the feelings that sat in Ren’s heart like heavy metal. He didn’t want to make an attachment. Snoke would see right through that shit and Hux wouldn’t want to see that shit at all.

“It’s a touchy subject,” Hux slurred lazily. His head threatened to drop again. Ren caught him by the chin and forced him to look up. He could feel the red hot fire burning underneath Hux’s skin. The look in the ginger’s eyes changed, revealing a new intent.

Something warm touched the fabric of his pants. Like a serpent, Hux’s fingers moved up and down a small section of Ren’s thigh, trying to figure out what they wanted and where the wanted to be.

He was so screwed.

“You are drunk,” Ren said firmly. There was still some chivalry in his knighthood Ren liked to think.

“Not drunk enough to continue to willingly deal with you,” Hux retorted. Ren rubbed his thumb against Hux’s chin.

“How crude General.” The corner of Ren’s lips quirked upwards.

Hux was on him like an animal: gripping, panting, tearing, and biting, Hux went for Ren instead of listening to reason. He grabbed Ren’s face forcefully and smashed their lips together ungraciously, clearly just desiring the contact. Hux usually didn’t kiss Ren, and when he did it was always because Ren initiated it in a fit of passion. It was never truly romantic. But Ren craved the attention of it, the possessiveness was addictive. So he couldn’t help but kiss back. Ren felt completely bipolar around the General. They’d fight and argue then suddenly he’d be stripping to his socks with Hux underneath him. He figured it wasn’t exactly the healthiest of relationships, but it was the best he was going to get.

Ren tilted his head and held the back of Hux’s head, trying to get better control of him. Hux held his face, running his thumbs along the plains of Ren’s cheek. The sound of their locked lips and soft moans were the only sounds in the room.

Hux began to move into Ren’s lap. Ren helped it into it, pulling the General forcefully and holding his hips. Ren grabbed Hux by the ass to pull the General closer to him, demonstrating his desire.

Hux pulled his lips back for a moment, fixing himself in Ren’s lap.

“What was that about willingly dealing with me?” Ren tauntingly purred, his lips brushing over Hux’s neck. Hux tilted his chin up.

“You’re lucky you got some good attributes,” Hux murmured, blinking dreamily as he felt Ren’s breath on his neck. Ren kissed at Hux’s neck and hummed in acknowledgment.

“Really? What would that be?” Ren popped the first few bottoms of Hux’s collar to have better access to his neck. Hux inhaled softly, gripping Ren’s broad shoulders.

Hux narrowed his eyes at Ren, annoyed at the question and groaned to cover up the embarrassing noise he would have made, “You’re big,” Hux said, suddenly reaching down to cup Ren’s growing erection. Ren huffed and stopped kissing at Hux, surprised about how direct he was. “You’re big everywhere.”

“Size queen,” Ren muttered. Hux frowned and began to grind himself into Ren. Ren’s eye twitched. He wasn’t about to give Hux an easy reaction.

Ren refused to be the one to submit into a state of needy and ecstasy. Hux always tried to make him the needy one, but Hux didn’t realize that he was naturally submissive to his needs.

“If you don’t give me more I will actually run out of uses for you,” Hux threatened. He seemed to enjoy the grinding motion too much. Ren grinned and slowly ran a finger down Hux’s chest. He then ripped Hux’s uniform top off, earning an offended gasp from Hux. Hux's face was red from everything he was feeling. “You can’t rip that! You popped the buttons off!”

“Shut it,” Ren said and dipped his nose back into Hux’s neck, kissing and sucking at his pale skin. Hux seemed to instantly listen after feeling Ren’s tongue run all over him.

Hux closed his eyes, taking in all the sensations Ren gave him. Hux’s body trembled. Ren smirked against Hux’s neck. He dipped his tongue and lips into the divets of Hux’s porcelain skin. It was like exploring something untouchable, something rare, something forbidden.

Hux was so easy to bend at the will of Ren’s mouth. Ren suspected it was because of Hux’s touch depraved past that made him melt into Ren’s rough hands. So used to discipline, it must have been Hux’s sick fantasy to let someone else tear him apart. Worse, Hux must’ve found the thought of being taken care of to create a shiver in his soul and in his loins. The poor General was so without care. Ren knew he was harsh with Hux but here in the confines of their room, he could do what Hux would never admit to.

He could care for the General, make him feel good, or make him crave Ren more. That was Ren’s favorite form of power, having an emotional hold over Hux. Hux would never admit to his feelings if he even knew he had any.

Ren looked down to Hux’s chest which was now exposed to the cold air. Hux was practically hairless everywhere, Ren already knew that, but to see such a lovely clean chest was too much to bear. Ren leaned down to first press his head against Hux’s chest. Hux, knowing what Ren would do, held onto Ren’s hair and shivered in anticipation. He could feel the wetness of Hux’s crotch rub off onto his own clothed dick.

Ren would have dove right into Hux, sucking on his nipples to make Hux moan and whine insanely, but something stopped him. He could hear Hux’s rapid heartbeat in his chest and feel the pounding against his face. Obviously, Hux had to have a heart, he was human, but there was something too intimate and humane about it. He stayed still and try to solve what he was feeling and why he was so stuck on Hux’s heartbeat. Part of it was soothing, another part of it made Ren feel strange.

“Ren?” Hux asked, almost shyly. Hux squirmed and ran his fingers through Ren’s dark locks. Ren looked up at Hux’s blushing face and wide eyes.

It was strange to think Ren never thought of you Hux as human. The man was so cold and calculating he might as well be a droid. Hux pushed away emotions and repressed his feelings, at least that’s how Ren saw him. Yet here Hux was human and seductively so. His mind screamed with  want  and the need for Ren to not leave him. Hux could push Ren away all he wanted, but he could never hide his want for Ren.

Ren knew really was powerless to Hux because while Hux didn’t know or couldn’t comprehend what he wanted, Ren knew what he wanted.

He wanted Hux.

Hux should have been his.

Feeling out of place and back in the right mindset, Ren decided to stand up, scooping Hux up into his arms. Hux gasped and wrapped his arms around Ren’s neck.

“What are you doing!” Hux cried out, trying to balance himself

Ren didn’t reply. Instead, he walked into the bedroom and laid Hux down on the sheets. Hux seemed perplexed, wondering why Ren had a change in mood. Hux tried to sit up but Ren put a hand on his shoulder, gently giving Hux a push so he’d lie back down. Hux compiled but frowned his brow. Ren plopped down on the sheets next to him, turning on his side.

“We should rest,” Ren said. Hux stared Ren’s broad back, feeling anger rise up through him.

“Now?” Hux asked, baffled. His pants still felt uncomfortably tight. Ren wasn’t that cruel to leave him like this, was he?

“Yes. You’re slightly drunk.”

“Ren, come on,” Hux tried to coax. He disliked how needy he sounded. He got up again, this time without Ren pushing him down. He gave Ren’s shoulder a pull so the man would lay on his back.

Hux straddled Ren’s hips, promptly displaying his want. Hux’s dog tags hung from his neck, swaying in front of Ren’s face. He could see the ‘A. Hux’ engraved onto the little metal plates, but beyond that, he never knew what his dog tags said. Hux’s chest was still out of his shirt. Hux was still horny as hell, but Ren lost his drive to devour Hux. He also didn’t feel completely comfortable having Hux while he was out of his mind.

“I distinctly remember you getting mad at me for making fun of you for these kinds of actions,” Ren told him. Hux leaned down really close so their noses were almost touching.

“And I remember how you love to have that power over me, the power to make me feel things where others fail,” Hux purred, his eyes dark with intent. It was admittedly hot. But Ren was disciplined. Usually. Hux ran his hands down Ren’s chest and down to his waist, grabbing the waistband of his pants. “Take off your shirt.”

“And why would I do that?” Ren asked, propping his hands behind his head.

“So when I suck your cock I’m not looking at some black-clad idiot,” Hux told him, popping a button on Ren’s pants.

Ren raised an eyebrow at Hux. “Are you sure?”

“Yes!” Hux said quickly. He looked to the side, seeming to find his aggressively certain answer embarrassing. Ren blinked at him. “I mean. Just,” Hux looked into Ren’s eyes, “please?”

It went straight back to Ren’s dick. Hux saying ‘please’ like a treasure you could not give up. He really said it meaningfully. And the  want  still displayed on Hux’s face was all the more powerful in making the lump in Ren’s pants grow once again.

“Fine, fine,” Ren mumbled, trying to act casual. He sat up and removed his top, revealing his tank top underneath.

After stripping that away he looked up to see Hux had dropped his open shirt, exposing the entirety of his beautiful, milky white skin. Hux was so lanky and small compared to Ren’s broad chest and muscular form. It’s what he always liked about Hux, the comparison between them. He could see the spots form from where Ren had kissed and nipped at him. Hux’s nipples were still untouched, but Ren figured tonight wouldn’t be the night for that. A seed of doubt in his mind said he may never get a night with Hux again, but he kept his control over himself and opted not to ravage Hux.

It didn’t take long before Ren was seated at the edge of the bed with a handful of red hair between his fingers, his legs spread to let Hux’s skillful mouth suck and lick at what was apparently his right. Hux wasn’t as gracious as usual, compared to the few times he has choked on Ren’s obscenely huge penis. Hux liked to make a whole event out of it, trying Ren’s patience to make him lose control. Hux’s current state of mind wasn’t on teasing Ren though, it was on trying to get as close to Ren’s base as possible. He was doing a pretty good job, all things considered. Ren just let the waves of pleasure spread across his stomach, not bothering to push Hux further. He let Hux have control for now.

Hux made a whimpering noise as he struggled to put more of Ren’s dick down his throat. He had done it before by being careful and meticulous, but his desperation had gotten the best of him. Ren loved seeing the dear General come apart into a weak mess, trying so hard just to reach home base.

Ren was getting close. Sensing his climax, Ren gave Hux a little tug on the back of his head. Hux slid his mouth off with an obscene pop, looking up to Ren was hazy eyes. His lashes appeared translucent in the moonlight.

“Huh?” Hux whined as if he was coming out of a daze. Ren’s only response was spewing white strings across Hux’s face with a low grunt. Hux cringed and shut his eyes but his parted lips managed to catch some of Ren’s seed into his mouth.

Ren panted, trying to relax before responding, “Sorry.”

Hux seemed to consider Ren for a moment before sitting up. He leaned against Ren’s chest for a moment, letting his body rest there. Ren had no idea what Hux was doing but didn’t move. It was silent, almost awkwardly so. Ren didn’t know if he was supposed to embrace Hux or push the man off. Hux didn’t usually act so strange after sex. Ren wondered if it was the alcohol or even perhaps the odd force readings of the planet. He didn’t hate it though. The intimacy was warming. It was dangerous.

This would all end, of course, Hux’s neediness towards Ren and the strange warmth between them, but Ren just took it for now. He wanted it, he wanted to keep it, but he settled for what he had. He wondered if Hux felt how he felt when he allowed himself to feel the rapid heartbeat that was in Hux’s chest.

Hux pushed himself onto his feet. Ren suddenly felt cold. Hux didn’t look at him and ran his hand across his face, feeling the spunk Ren had left behind. Ren looked down to the large wet spot in Hux’s pants. The man must have come hard into his trousers.

“I’m going to use the refresher,” he said before walking out of the room somewhat awkwardly. The feeling of his moist underwear and thighs was uncomfortable.

Alone in the room once again, Ren looked out into the distance where the peaceful ocean caressed the sands of the shore. The moon looked large on Quirinal, yet it was still a considerable distance away. The stars were harder to see because of the brightness of the moon. Ren got up off the bed and pressed a button near the windows, drawing the automatic currents closed to make the bedroom dark. He left one of the windows at the end of the line open without a curtain to let some moonlight to peek through, just enough so Ren could see what he was doing. He summoned his tank top from off the floor and slipped it back on. Ren threw off his pants and underwear and dug a new pair out of his luggage.

He didn’t know if Hux would join him again. Hux wasn’t as hazy as he once was, his attention snapping back to reality, but they were both too tired to speak of their actions or do much more. Sleep was good for Hux. It was good for Ren too. While Ren had a more normal sleep schedule than the infamous General, he was also tortured by sleep. Sometimes his dreams would be a trial or image of the Force, or when Snoke had a hold on him he would go through training exercises.

Snoke had stayed out of Ren’s endeavors lately. Ren figured it was so he could put his attention on Quirinal.

Though Ren respected his Master, like a child with a helicopter parent he could appreciate the times where Snoke would leave him be. It was tiring to always have to be a dark knight with unridden energy (though Ren loved the power). Hux helped him escape from it. Hux gave him something else other than what he had with his powers.

Hux would never admit to it. Ren couldn’t acknowledge it. Snoke couldn’t know.

There was no relaxation in Ren’s gut, but there was sleep. Laying back onto the bed, Ren found himself comfortable in the sheets. He was still too sweaty to crawl under the sheets, not that he wanted to, and he knew if he was going to end up sharing a bed with Hux and Hux would have wanted to sleep under the sheets without another body touching him directly. At least he wouldn’t have to sleep on the couch. Hux was most likely too enervated to care.

Ren was somewhat offended, knowing Hux wouldn’t touch him in any intimate ways. Hux could swallow Ren’s dick, but apparently cuddling was unacceptable. Ren didn’t want Hux to tease him for wanting to be held either. It was a stupid idea realistically.

Hux did return, quiet like a mouse droid. He said nothing when he crawled back into the bed and laid underneath the sheets. Ren could feel the slight dip the bed made when Hux got on the bed. Ren fought the urge to inhale. Hux was so close to him, trying to sleep right beside him, yet he also felt so far away. It was like the sheet Hux slid under was a representative barrier of their relationship.

Ren wanted more. He wanted Hux’s body, but he wanted it close and calm. He wanted... he wanted…

Snap out of it , Ren thought. It was unprofessional (as if he knew about being professional) and unrealistic.

He sensed the moment Hux fell asleep. Hux’s mind flickered out of consciousness like a dying flame before resting. With Hux asleep, Ren felt brave enough to turn over. Ren could slaughter villages and go through the darkness temples where the Force rang with fury, yet nothing required his courage more than to face Hux’s sleeping form.

He looked so peaceful, so elegant, and once again so out of reach. Ren slowly reached over to touch Hux’s face. Ren’s mind was flooded with images of the galaxy Hux wanted to own. It was glorious. The night sky was filled with twinkling stars and blue and red cosmoses. Ren himself felt his mind grow tired. He drifted into sleep, too exhausted to analyze Hux’s dreams any longer.

Chapter Text

A droid brought them their breakfast. Hux had risen before Ren to retrieve the breakfast. Ren had risen when he felt Hux leave the room. 

Prince Himero had offered the men a tour of their facilities to better convince General Hux of their worth. Ren didn’t see the need to tour the planet since Hux appeared pretty set on their agreement, but Hux was adamant on doing so. Ren realized that he could observe Himero more closely if he attended their little tour, perhaps even find the source of the strange registration in the Force that was affecting the life on the planet. He didn’t mention any of this to Hux, not that the ginger weasel would understand anyway. 

Ren and Hux did not eat together. Hux left Ren’s plate on the kitchen counter as he changed in the bathroom. While Ren scoffed down his breakfast of native pork, fruits, and eggs he noticed Hux’s barely eaten breakfast that sat in the sink. He chose not to pry but took note of how Hux had mostly eaten the fruits off his plate. Ren didn’t like the fruits too much as they were too sweet for his tongue.

They left the suite together but did not speak. Ren’s helmet helped conceal how much he was staring at Hux. He hated the General, he hated how Hux always abandoned what happened between them. A man couldn’t just suck his co-commander’s dick and sleep with him and pretend nothing happened the next morning. If Hux could read his thoughts he was sure the General would eliminate him quickly and sneakily, then act lackadaisical about it. 

Manto Domus and Prince Himero were waiting for them in the great hall. Manto was staring down at her datapad, rapidly typing on it. Her ears flickered when the knight and the General entered the room, but she didn’t look up. Prince Himero gave them a warming smile as they entered the room, specifically looking to Hux. Ren figured the Prince was trying to piss him off for some illogical reason. 

Ren’s chest began to burn but he swallowed down his anger. He was sure this was one of those situations where Snoke would punish him for letting his emotions run a little too wild. 

“Good morning General Hux,” he bowed his head in acknowledgment. Himero then turned to Ren, smug and beaming with confidence. “Good morning Knight of Ren.” 

“Master of the Knights of Ren,” Ren corrected, feeling the muscles in his face twitch. Hux clenched his fist behind his back. 

“Ah, well my mistake.” Himero twirled a piece of his hair in between his fingers. “Shall we head out?” 

“Let’s,” Hux agreed. He side eyed Ren as they left as a warning. Ren grumbled to himself. 

They took Prince Himero’s eloquently designed barge into the main city. The inside of the barge was cool and looked more like a party bus than a casual land vehicle. It was extremely well kept. Ren and Hux sat on opposite ends of a cushioned bench as they waited to arrive the Quirinal’s advanced medical facilities. Hux rejected a glass of Ambrosia a droid offered him. Ren found a strange relief in Hux’s rejection of the sugary poison. 

The Quirinal Medical Research Facility was a large white building that was perfectly symmetrical. The white of the building looked shiny and completely smooth. The tops of the building were rounded and contained decorative copper strips. It was evident a lot of intense labor went into the beautiful building. There was a man-made pool of water that went out from the middle of the building near the grand entrance. Many aliens and humans walked to and from the facility. Some appeared to be tourist, others appeared to be customers, and the rest were staff dressed in white scrubs or white lab coats. 

The barge parked near the front of the building. The doors to the barge opened and they were greeted by stormtroopers and soldier Fyus, ready to protect their respective bosses. Hux expected his troopers to accompany them, he had the utmost confidence in them, yet he previously was irrationally worried the troopers would think this to be a vacation. 

A female Fyus met them at the entrance of the research facility. She bowed when seeing her prince arrive then gave a polite nod to Manto, the General, and Ren. The Fyus had short hair and glasses on her face. She wore a white lab coat and a black outfit underneath. 

“Ah, Doctor Minos, everything in the best shape possible?” Prince Himero asked cheerily. The Fyus seemingly was a very serious alien race in comparison to their prince’s incredulously joyous and smug attitude.

“Yes my Prince. Would you like me to escort you all?” Doctor Minos said. Ren found it odd that she had to ask to escort them. If she was the head doctor, it would make sense for her to show off their facilities. 

“That would be wonderful Doctor!” Himero cheered. He turned to Manto, who was absent from the people around her. “Manto, bring the barge around when we are finished.”

Her ears flickered, “Yes my Prince.” 

She turned on her heel, her eyes still stuck to her datapad. The Fyus soldiers followed after her. Ren observed Manto as she left. He swore he saw her side eye him, her eyes blank yet filled with disdain. When he blinked, Manto was looking at her datapad again as if she hadn’t been looking at Ren at all. 

“Follow me, gentleman,” Doctor Minos instructed. They all followed the doctor who showed her professionalism shown through her stride. Ren kept looking to Hux, wondering what he thought of the whole situation. 

The inside of the building was as clean and organized as expected. The entrance was grand and the main hall was bustling with all sorts of aliens and people. The front desk had four workers, two Fyus and two humans, who were busy talking to patients. Doctor Minos lead them down a hallway that had a sign labeled “Study and Research” next to it, followed by various directions to different labs and doctors.

“Here in Q.M.R.F, we are dedicated to medical research that will best help the entire galaxy and beyond. We work with everything from natural remedies to synthetics,” the Doctor explained. There were several rooms that they could peer into because of their glass walls. Ren figured it was purposeful so they could show off their researchers' work. 

The researchers didn’t acknowledge Prince Himero passing by, most likely used to his visits. A few guests smiled, gasped, or waved at him. He would smirk back at them but wouldn’t talk to them. The damn bastard still was staring at Hux, glancing at him when he wasn’t looking. Ren very much wanted to ask what the Prince’s deal was but knew he’d upset the poor General before he could even get a word out. 

The tour continued. The stormtroopers that followed behind the General and Ren radiated with curiosity, extremely impressed with the work in medicine. Ren didn’t mind them being interested since they weren’t being too distracted, but he wanted them to shut their minds up. 

“As you can see, we receive many guests here on Quirinal. Some just want to see our famed facilities, others want to try medical treatments, but the majority who come here want to see one thing only,” Doctor Minos continued. She swiped a card key into a slot near a large set of double doors. The double doors slid upon, revealing another section of the facilities. “Our options in fertility and parenting treatments.”

The hall they entered next was bustling more so than the rest of the building, but it also was filled with more people. The group stopped in front of a glass window that looked into a room with a strange pod in it. A nurse inside was looking on her datapad and would occasionally fiddle with the silver pod’s buttons and levers. There was a monitor beside the pod, showing off strange data that Hux and Ren really couldn’t read from afar. There was one certain piece of data pulsing on the monitor though: the pulsing line that represented a heartbeat. 

“Many aliens and people come to our facilities to have children,” Himero explained. Hux looked at Himero, raising an eyebrow. “We offer alternatives to people looking to become parents with a great success rate! We have the typical procedures, donating sperm and eggs, options for surrogacy, treating premature children and even gene influencing! But we are most proud of our developments in combining the genes of same-sex couples and various species to produce healthy kids!”

Himero was beaming explaining their achievements as they continued to walk along. Someone bumped into Ren and he scowled at the stranger, not that he could see his face. As useful and great the facility was, he knew Himero was just trying to flex his accomplishments at Hux. He just wanted Hux and Himero to sign their trade agreement so they could get off the stupid happy, humid planet. 

“You can combine genes to create children for those who can’t have babies naturally?” Hux asked. Ren wasn’t sure if Hux was making polite conversation or if he was actually interested. 

“Well yes, it is quite the development! We had a lot of inspiration from Kamino during the age of the Galactic Republic. Those clones were certainly an interesting aspect of medical history, but it is not complicated to replicate here on Quirinal. You see the native Fyus, like our dearest Doctor Minos, have an uneven ratio of male and female. There are more female Fyus than male so they became interested in research having to do with fertility and growing their population. The female Fyus wanted to have children with their romantic female partners, so creating methods of combining genes to create healthy babies of same-sex couples was of the most utmost importance!” Himero babbled as they walked. 

“You speak of the Fyus, but what about yourself? You are a human ruler,” Hux questioned. Himero was still smiling but his stature straightened. 

“Are you propositioning me, General?” Himero teased, stopping near another window where researchers were working with various flasks and graduated cylinders. Ren clenched his jaw. 

Hux huffed, “No. Quirinal is filled with Fyus but you are human. I’m sure colonization has something to do with it, but I am asking more about your research, in its effectiveness and the quickness of the development of these pod children.” 

“It sounds like you are interested in a clone army, General,” Ren jeered. Hux grit his teeth together, turning to squint his eyes at the troublesome knight. Hux also didn’t appreciate that Ren had said that in front of two of their stormtroopers.

“Unlike some people, Ren, I just appreciate others efforts to grow their families and expand their knowledge in their pursuit. Children are the base of an empire, and I honestly prefer if they had a personality rather than being carbon copies of each other.”

Ren found great irony in Hux’s speech. Maybe under their helmets, the stormtroopers looked different, but they were all the same loyal, brainless soldiers that came straight from Hux’s little stormtrooper project. 

“I didn’t take you for the sentimental type, General,” Prince Himero teased. Hux felt his cheeks flush. Himero knocked on the window, alerting one of the medical staff inside. 

“I’m just making an observation,” Hux stated. Himero hummed, his lips curled like a cat’s. 

Ren couldn’t imagine Hux being a parent. He pictured that baby being stoic, raised by droids and indifferent to human emotion. Then again, something about the idea of Hux holding a baby made Ren’s heart skip a beat. He pushed away from the thoughts of domesticity being apart of his life. It was unrealistic and distracting.

A doctor in a lab coat came out of the room they were peering into. He pushed a cart with various test tubes and medical objects. Himero reaches over and picked up a cylinder that was sealed off at the top. 

“This little batch of DNA could one day be a living, breathing baby! Though you are more interested in our medical supplies for your well-trained troopers, we couldn’t help but want to show you our other advancements.” 

Himero was a memorable salesman, that was certain. Hux appeared interested in what the man had to say. Though Ren irrationally wanted to think Hux had some soft spot for children, in reality, he figured Hux was interested in the complex engineering that went into combining the genes of various species and sexes. 

As Himero, Hux, and the Doctor spoke and the stormtroopers silently eyed around the hall, Ren felt a strange spike in the Force.

Danger, the Force warned. Ren stiffened and looked around the hall, trying to pick up on the apparent danger. There were many people actively moving about and they acted as a distraction. 

Ren looked up the hall, trying to see who was coming. One man stuck out like a sore thumb in the Force. His energy was plagued with bitterness and intent. He reached into behind him and-

Ren seized the General by the arm and pushed him away, sending Hux against the cart of bottles and cylinders. The cart fell over, sending bottles crashing to the floor loudly. Hux gasped loudly, clearly having been hurt by the impact. Ren cringed at the sound. He stuck his hand out nonetheless and used the Force to stop the stranger as he pointed a blaster into the space where Hux had been. The blaster bolt has hardly left the barrel when Ren stopped the man with the Force. 

Hux was panting as he sat against the cart, slowly realizing what had just occurred. Some bystanders screamed upon realizing what was happening, others stood still. Himero himself was still and his face was neutral, though his eyes were narrowed. The reaction of the Prince was somewhat underwhelming, although Ren wondered if he was just frozen with shock. He didn’t bother to dive into Himero’s mind when someone just had tried to kill Hux. Doctor Minos had her face behind a clipboard she was holding, her eyes squeezed shut.

The stormtroopers rushed over to the assailant and removed the blaster from his hand before kicking the man to the ground. The man groaned in pain. One trooper held him down with his hands behind his back while the other searched him. 

Ren stalked forward like a cat to a mouse he had trapped. 

“Step aside,” he commanded to Himero and the Doctor. They both followed Ren’s order wordlessly. Himero went over to Hux to check on him. Hux just watched as Ren asserted himself as the strongest man in the room.

With no one in the blaster’s shot line, Ren released the bolt and let it hit the wall behind him. A few people whimpered and hurried out of the hallway. The researchers behind the glass windows were still, watching Ren pass by their windows. 

Prince Himero offered Hux help up, putting out his hand. Hux rejected his help and moved to get up, cringing in pain. He looked at his wrist where he noticed a cut had opened and was bleeding. He must have been cut on one of the broken flasks. The researcher tried to clean up the destroyed and disorganized objects that were lying about caused by Ren flinging Hux into the cart. Hux couldn’t be bothered to snarl at Ren about why he had to throw him into a cart full of glass for fuck’s sake when trying to protect him.

Still, it was somehow charming watching Ren stride angrily towards the perpetrator. 

Himero offered to clean up Hux’s wrist, conjuring up a white rag. Hux just let the Prince think he was being amiable by cleaning up Hux’s bleeding wrist. 

Ren loomed over the assailant, glaring down at him. The mask made him appear more ominous and less upset than he actually was. The man looked young with wild eyes that burned at him. The man tried to move out of the grip of the stormtroopers, who warned him to not move and put a blaster towards his head.

“Rebel scum, I assume?” Ren quipped. The man let out exasperated sighs. 

“You don’t intimidate me. The First Order will be tyrants to the galaxy!” The man yelled, raising his head from the ground. 

“I don’t intimidate you? Then you’re extremely idiotic to not be afraid,” Ren said in a low tone, raising his hand near the man’s face. 

He began to dig into the man’s mind, searching for the truth. His focus was getting lost though as he kept thinking about the man was going to try to shoot Hux. It was a stupid, pathetic endeavor. Did the man really think he could just end the General’s life so easily? What would shooting someone in a public space where babies were developed do for the image of the Resistance or whatever organization the man aligned himself with?

Ren was so focused on his frustrations he barely noticed how he was crushing the man’s mind under the weight of his powers. The man was panting and began to turn pale, saliva dripping from his mouth like a savage dog. The stormtroopers didn’t know what to do but weren’t about to confront the Force user about his aggressive powers. Hux was growing alarmed, seeing it fit to stop Ren before he blew the man’s head clean off from the pressure of the Force. Hux noticed how intrigued Himero was, his eyes sparkling with interest. 

Hux cautiously walked over to Ren and put his hand on the man’s large bicep. He wanted to squeeze Ren’s arm. Hux swallowed.  Now is not the time to admire at how sculpted this idiot is, he thought. 

Ren flinched when feeling Hux delicately place his hand on him. He retracted himself from the assailant‘s mind. The man’s head hit the ground and he gasped hard. 

“Take him outside and hail a ship to pick him up and interrogate him,” Hux ordered, removing his hand from Ren’s arm. He wished Ren could control himself so he didn’t have to come and physically tell Ren to relax. He was worried people would find the act of him calmly touching Ren as a sign of some sort of relationship.

The stormtroopers bound the man’s hands behind this back and forcefully lifted him from the ground, ordering him to move. When he was out of sight, Prince Himero hurried over to General Hux. 

“I deeply apologize General! I will investigate into who let him slip in with a weapon! Is your wrist alright?” Himero said sincerely. Ren highly considered doing to Himero what he did to the bastard that tried to shoot Hux.

“I’m fine, it's just a cut. You already cleaned it, really Prince Himero you’ve been very cordial to me and… my co-commander.”

Himero took Hux’s wrist again nonetheless. Hux appeared uncertain and even uncomfortable but did not complain. He rather be diplomatic than give into his own emotions. Himero removed a small packet from his pocket and opened it, smearing a bacta gem across the General’s wrist. Hux gave the Prince an awkward smile, not wanting to reveal his discomfort. 

“Thank you, Prince Himero,” Hux said before slowly retracting his fist. Hux adjusted his sleeve to cover up his skin once again. 

“I hope this incident didn’t affect your choice in our agreement.”

“I think the original agreement is desirable, but for the sake of condolences let’s cut the prices on the first few of our shipments,” Hux said with a little grin. Ah, there he was, still getting what he wanted despite almost being assassinated. 

“Fine by me,” Prince Himero agreed. He put his hand out to shake. Hux shook the man’s hand firmly but then tucked his hands behind his back somewhat shyly. 

Himero turned and offered his hand to Ren to shake, still smiling stupidly. Ren really couldn’t believe the audacity of the Prince and how badly he read the room. Hux wasn’t looking at him, but Ren could already hear the stream of ‘you better shake his hand your kriffing brute ’ coming from Hux’s mind. 

Ren shook the Prince’s hand. A strange static moved through his hand, alarming the dark knight. Something shifted in the Force, he just didn’t know what it was. He stared at Himero whose face was devoid of deep thought. Even when skimming the Prince’s mind, there was an absence of any plotting. Ren pulled his hand away, somewhat aggressively. Hux sighed through his nose. 

“Though this day had an unfortunate event, I’m sure we will have a long-standing relationship! Long live the Supreme Leader and praise the First Order!” Himero’s tone somehow unnerved Ren but Hux seemed all the more pleased with it. “Now, I take it that you men are hungry?” 

Prince Himero led them out and away from the mess they left behind. Ren followed behind Hux and Himero, feeling the need to be the barrier between Hux and the world behind him. Something still rang in the Force, something odd and uncertain. All Ren could do was follow his General and hope they weren’t heading into the black unknowingly. 

Ren was a darksider, he controlled the powers that lesser men fell to their knees in fear over, yet even he knew that there were things that were too dangerous for him to handle so carelessly. Ren had an inkling that Himero, or even the planet they walked on, caused the Force to ripple in worry and cry out to Ren to control it. 

There was no point in forcing the information out of Himero if he didn’t know what he was looking for. It was safer to let the strange ripples in the Force to come to him with its intent.

The Force shifted in discomfort.

Chapter Text

Hux was anxiously awaiting for his shift to end on the bridge. He loved his job, but he was itching to continue with his Starkiller project in his personal office. The construction of the base was long and tedious, but it would be nothing less than perfection under Hux’s authority. Hux estimated it would take three standard years before it could be fired. He already had the perfect target in mind. 

The new trade agreement with Quirinal proved to be efficient for the First Order as it lifted off a source of stress from Hux. The finances had improved, allowing for Starkiller Base to be built with the more expensive equipment Hux wanted to use in the first place. Starkiller was like Hux’s baby. He was building it up from nothing and giving it glory. Well, maybe the weapon would bring him glory but it would have grandeur nonetheless.

Ren and Hux hadn’t spoken since Quirinal, which was around six standard weeks ago. Granted, Ren had been off doing Force knows what on his own missions in search of Luke Skywalker. Hux tended not to stick his nose in affairs dealing with the Force, but unfortunately, the Force often had a lot to do with the Resistance. Was it too much to ask that his military dealings not have anything to do with the feuds of some space wizards? 

Ren being on missions wasn’t the entire reason for the two of them to be out of contact with each other. He had a very confident guess about how Ren truly felt about him but Hux couldn’t be distracted by the emotionally unstable knight. It was difficult for Hux to even bring up a conversation with Ren about their relationship without getting furious at him. There was no interaction with Ren that didn't end in Hux wanting to kill Ren or be impaled on his cock (not that they had slept with each other for weeks). 

His thoughts were interrupted by Captain Phasma marching over to him, her shiny armor reflecting the artificial lights around her. He straightened his stance and leered at her. He trusted her more than others but he was not ignorant about her capabilities and how cruel she could be. Frankly, that’s what he liked about Phasma. 

“Captain,” he greeted passively. 

“Sir, you are receiving a call in meeting room D160. It appears important, from the Prince of Quirinal,” Phasma informed him. Hux’s eyebrow quirked upwards. That was certainly interesting. Prince Himero rarely contacted him, and he never contacted him by holochat.

“Very well,” he agreed, “Captain Peavey you have the bridge.”

Captain Peavey snapped into position but Hux knew the minute he passed the Captain that the man was already disrespecting him. The older man had never been happy with Hux’s rise to power, especially given his long-standing Empirical values. His values worked against him though as he was forced to respect the chain of command, and that meant listening to Hux’s orders.

Hux reveled in his power at times. Ren may have been able to bend objects with his mind, but Hux could control armies with a snap of his fingers. Soon, he’d be able to disintegrate planets quicker than any Death Star.

When Hux opened the door to the meeting room he felt his ears turn red. Ren was standing in the room, black-clad and helmeted as usual, like he hadn’t been gone for weeks. Hux lowered his brows at Ren. Ren was staring right him but with his mask on Hux couldn’t guess what Ren was feeling or thinking.

“Ren,” he greeted bitterly.

“General.” Ren turned away from the door. Hux strode up next to Ren, awaiting him to start the holocall. “It appears your mistress wants to call you.”

“If that’s your crude attempt at a joke, Ren, it wasn’t very funny,” Hux enunciated. He swore he heard Ren grumbling under his helmet. 

Ren pressed a button on the meeting table and the holoprojecter opened up, revealing Prince Himero standing in his regal uniform. For once, the Prince’s face didn’t radiate smug happiness. He seemed concerned. His eyes were shifting around and he kept his hands in his pocket. 

“Hello Prince Himero, you wanted to speak to,” Hux glanced at Ren, “...us.” 

“Hello General Hux, Kylo Ren. I am terribly sorry to disturb you but I’ve come across a situation I need to inform you of,” Prince Himero professed. 

“An issue the stormtroopers on the ground couldn’t handle?” Ren didn’t want anything to do with the Prince. Hux jolted at Ren's rudeness. He had a temptation to jab Ren in the side. 

Stormtroopers had been stationed on Quirinal as Prince Himero requested during their trade agreement. Hux was beginning to think his troopers were having too much time relaxing on Quirinal. There had been no real issues on the planet, but perhaps just the troops being there helped with the ease of the planet.

“It’s not that kind of issue I’m afraid, it may be more personal.” Ren hated Himero’s cryptic speak. He was either proposing to Hux or admitting he was an incompetent fool and Ren was hoping for the latter. 

Himero continued, clearing his throat, “Well, it seems there has been a mix up at our research facility. I theorize that afterward that terrorist tried to assassinate our dear General Hux there were a few… samples that were contaminated or confused. So our lab has something of yours.” 

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” Hux admitted, his face softening as he became more perplexed. Prince Himero chuckled awkwardly. 

“It seems one of our doctors had mixed up some DNA so- or I maybe it also was that Doctor you toppled did it purposefully for knocking over all his work- and there’s no other way to put this so I’m just going to go out with it, congratulations you are going to be parents!” 

The phrase hit the two men like a meteor. 

Ren swore the galaxy had never been so quiet. The only sound his ears could hear was the pounding of his heart. Hux couldn’t see the shock on his face, but Ren could see Hux’s face so clearly. His eyes were wide and his whole body was frozen in place. His skin was paler than the snow on Hoth. 

“I- I don’t…” Ren had never seen the General at such a loss for words. Hux’s mind began to run amok through thoughts of the future and memories from the past. Ren couldn’t cipher through them, but he did catch a peek of Hux and his father.

From the mere glance, Ren saw as Hux remembered his father turning away from him for some reason Ren didn’t know. Brendol Hux’s eyes were filled with disgust as he lifted his glass to his lips. 

“General Hux, I assure you we have the situation under control. The pod where the cells are developing are stable and young, only a few weeks old. We can terminate it if you two desire. It’s completely legal and humane on our planet to do so,” Himero explained calmly. Ren didn’t have anything to say to the Prince. Hux wanted to speak but was having trouble articulating himself. 

“How can you be sure it’s ours?” Hux asked, his tone suggesting his internal panicking. 

The Force pulled at Ren and he straightened. A cold chill beckoned him. Snoke wanted to see them. 

“My Master is summoning us. We will return to you later with an answer,” Ren told the hologram of the Prince. Himero continued to be agreeable, nodding his head. 

“Yes, of course, take your time. We will monitor the pod as we await your answer.” Ren hung up the call and promptly turned to face Hux. 

Hux was clawing his nails into the palm of his hand. He was holding his breath. 

“Hux.” Ren tried to snap Hux out of his trance. Hux didn’t move. Ren decided to replicate one of Hux’s coaxing moves he often used on him. He reached out gently and put a hand on Hux’s arm. For a man with so much influence, he was so small under Ren’s hand. 

Hux blinked rapidly. He looked up to Ren, his eyes appearing glossy. 

“Snoke is calling for us,” Ren told him. Hux just nodded his head and moved away from Ren. He adjusted his shirt collar. 

“Yes, we better head there swiftly.” Hux sounded cold and absent. Ren didn’t feel much quite yet, but he figured the information hadn’t settled in yet. 

The walk to the holochamber was quiet and the air felt heavy on their shoulders. The universe was mocking them by taking these two men, who couldn’t get along and refused to give each other a chance and giving them something to have in the future. Ren wasn’t sure if it was a blessing or a curse. He leaned towards it being a blessing but didn't want to be so ignorantly hopeful. 

Hux was sure he was being punished. He couldn’t be bound to such a powerful man. The imbalance would kill him one day. Even if this supposed developing fetus was never born, the mere fact it existed would hang heavy not only in Hux’s life but in Ren’s too as he was sure Ren would torture him over it for decades. It wasn’t his damn fault. Hux didn’t even know what he wanted, but he had the feeling he wasn’t going to have a choice.

It’s not that Hux hadn’t considered having children, in fact, the First Order needed children, but he wasn’t sure Ren was the one to have a child with. Hux needed stability. He needed someone whose ideals lined up with his. He needed someone who saw the same vision of the future with him in a controlled galaxy that would support his children. Ren only saw what was in front of him and what was behind him. Ren wanted blood but didn’t want to give it. At least, that’s what Hux gathered from him.

The holochamber was cooler than usual. The vacuum of space was always cold, but here the galaxy knew what was happening now and chose to reflect the men’s nerves in the air. 

Snoke’s imposing hologram was already waiting for them. He sat upright and stared down onto them like they were his subjects. He had his brawn and his brain standing right in front of him. They were uncertain, bitter, and somewhat furious, but absolutely willing to listen to his word. Ren kneeled to bow at his master. Hux saluted his Supreme Leader. He wrinkled his nose as he watched Ren move out of his bow. 

“Master, there’s been an issue-” Snoke raised his hand and Ren immediately shut up and lowered his head again. 

“I’m aware of the situation in Quirinal. The Force has already spoken to me about it and an associate from the planet had contacted me privately to give me details on the matter,” Snoke explained.

Hux didn’t like that one bit but kept tight-lipped. Someone went to Snoke before asking him and Ren about what they wanted. He would assume it was Prince Himero who went to the Supreme Leader about his inquiry, but Hux was unsure due to Snoke’s wording. 

“How should we move forward Master?” Ren asked. 

Snoke seemed to smile. It was more unnerving than his fury. He stroked his chin, observing the two of them. Hux swore Snoke was enjoying their confusion. 

Snoke spoke in a powerful voice as he addressed his plan. Hux and Ren could only listen to what was told and not offered to them. 

“The child will develop and be born. This is a gift of the Force, this was made to happen. A child, equal parts made with the brutish power of the Force from one side and intellect coming from the other. With this, the First Order will continue to succeed. If either of you were to meet an untimely end, then there would be someone you could depend on to be there in your place,” Snoke revealed, growing prouder with every word. Hux felt as though he was going to throw up his own heart. This felt like insanity, he had to have been having a nightmare.

They didn’t know what to say or even where to start. 

“How are we sure Prince Himero is truthful in saying we are the parents?” Hux asked, forcing down his worry. It was a legitimate concern. At least, Hux hoped it was. Snoke seemed intrigued with a child that was half of each of the commanders he ruled over. Luckily, Snoke took no offense in Hux’s questions.

“I wouldn’t concern myself if Kylo Ren wasn’t the father.” Hux shifted his jaw. Snoke both confirmed Hux’s paternity to the pod-child while also suggesting how disposable and unimportant he was. Wonderful. “You two will receive updates about the child’s development then raise it in its early stages of life. I am well aware of your importance, but this will also be a part of your top projects. Be warned, if you go against my orders, there will be consequences.”

Ren and Hux both had their own worries besides each other. Starkiller and Skywalker were each of their opposite concerns, and certainly, a child would distract them. Not to mention the mere realization that they would have to work together on keeping a creature happy, healthy, and functional as a human being.

Hux still couldn’t conclude how they managed to contaminate the samples. He thought back to the day where he was attacked. He was cut and bled, but he didn’t recall Ren leaving behind any evidence. Hux could only conclude that someone took Ren’s DNA from somewhere and purposefully made them parents. Snoke didn’t seem to care though and Hux knew voicing too many worries would end in a punishment. 

Hux pictured an imaginary leash held in Snoke’s fist. It was connected to two ends, one connecting to Ren and one to him. Ren’s leash was always short, Hux knew this, Snoke was holding Ren back from destroying the galaxy out of impulse. Hux’s leash was longer so he could control his soldiers while Snoke lounged on a ship far, far away. Now, Snoke was shorting Hux’s leash and elongating Ren’s.

The balance of power was shifting. Hux felt it, and it was all over a baby Snoke saw as some sort of future galactic sovereign. 

Hux knew he was no coward, but he felt like he had to flee from a bigger prey. He knew there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and he’d have to accept this issue no matter what. He’d have to be out of his mind to go against Snoke. Ren would certainly tear out Hux’s organs if he thought Hux was disloyal.

“You have concerns again General?” Snoke’s voice echoed threateningly. Hux swallowed hard. It felt like he was forcing glass down his throat just to speak to his leader. 

“I’m just thinking of this logistically, Supreme Leader. The dedication it takes to raise a child is extreme. We both have tasks at hand that must also see to our dedication.” Hux couldn’t get out his full concern. Though his voice was clear and neutral, he felt fear swim in his stomach and warn him to watch his tone. 

Snoke let out a low, empty chuckle. Hux held his chin up. He had nowhere to run and hide from this bigger predator, so he chose to stand up to it in the guise of being a lower ranking part of the pack. Hux knew that Snoke would not let a lesser man speak to him in such a questioning way so Hux had to conclude he was valuable to Snoke. Ren still had head bowed. Hux couldn’t believe him.

Ren was still putting all the pieces together. The main piece was next to him, voicing concerns, yet that piece was the one that was breaking apart the picture. 

“I think you are capable.” Hux knew there was no escaping Snoke’s idea. “You’re a young General, so I’m sure you can adapt to this change. It will be a change for Kylo Ren too. You will prepare to raise the child. After its fourth standard year of life, I will check upon the child myself and decide it’s fate. If I deem it is strong with the Force and ready for its next stage of life, then I will take the child off you and my apprentice’s hand.”

Hux and Ren didn’t bother to ask what would happen to the child if it didn’t meet his standards. They knew. They had no connections to this child, yet they felt a cold breath on their neck at the thought of Snoke personally killing the toddler with his own hands. 

Hux and Ren pretended they weren’t hypocrites. 

“Yes, Master.” Ren stood up straight finally. 

Snoke steepled his fingers together and gave them a tight-lipped smile. Hux hated his smile. 

“Very good. Contact that Prince Himero. And be prepared for further messages about this… development.” Snoke’s holocall finished and the hologram disappeared, leaving the room empty. 

Hux turned on his heel immediately and headed towards the door. His nose flared and his eyes were wide. Ren followed after him. He wasn’t going to let Hux escape so easily, not after the information that was just dropped on them like a magnetized bomb. 

“Hux,” he said through his mask. He gave Hux’s arm a vicious yank as the man tried to escape. Hux spun around, his teeth bared at Ren. 

“What, Ren!” He yelled, his accent thick with his anger. 

“We should talk about this.” 

“Really? Do you want to discuss something? Our feelings? I’m not your fucking therapist Ren. I got my orders, now follow yours!” 

Ren didn’t want to believe that this was some coincidence. He knew he had to accept it, but the circumstance was utterly infuriating. He couldn’t throw himself away to Hux and a baby that he didn’t know. He had a destiny and a part of that destiny would have him leave everything behind that couldn’t stand next to him. And he knew Hux would never stand with him. 

It would never work. Ren didn’t want any of his hopes up. 

“I know my orders!” Ren thundered, his fists clenched. He widened his stance as if to try to make himself larger in front of Hux. Hux’s mouth was twisted. “The real question is if you know yours, you were questioning the Supreme Leader a lot General. Afraid? Incapable?” 

Ren knew this wasn’t the direction he wanted to go in, but it was the road he always ended on. Hux’s eyes looked wild. He looked ravenous.

Ren removed his helmet, ready to let Hux see his full fury. His attitude was unacceptable. 

“Me? Incapable? Oh please, even if I asked to have some damn brat with you, you’d be the most incapable parent in the entire galaxy!” Hux argued, stabbing his finger at Ren.

“Oh please? I’m surprised General, you seemed actually concerned for this stupid child-”

“I’m not!-”

“-You have a weak, malleable heart for a General! Don’t ever question the Supreme Leader! What’s wrong, the baby isn’t what you wanted?”

“Stop making assumptions about me you senseless prick!-”

“Are you worried because it’s a bastard like you?” 

Hux smacked Ren across the face. Ren froze, feeling the stinging sensation bubble on his skin. Hux was also still, letting the realization of what he did settle in. Hux took a cautious step back but kept his chest puffed. His eyes were red-rimmed. 

Hux rubbed his wrist. Ren noticed how unsteady the General appeared. 

“This isn’t what I wanted. At all. I’m not ready for this Ren, especially with you involved, but I will accept the mission. For your sake, stay in your kriffing lane and let me go about my life like this never happened. Do you understand?” Hux informed him, letting in heavy breaths through his nose. He was waiting for Ren to try to kill him. The attack never came. 

Ren turned his head to stare at Hux with his dark, soulless eyes. 

“I understand, General,” Ren grumbled. 

“Good. I will call Prince Himero to tell him we are keeping this… thing.” Hux trailed off, his chest still heaving. He was still scratching his nails against his palms. “I have work to do.”

Ren didn’t feel like the conversation should stop. They were going to be parents and Hux just wanted to turn to leave. There was no stopping the General from leaving though. The man turned and left the room swiftly as if he was worried Ren would start again. The General’s greatcoat hung off his shoulders like a cape as he left. Ren touched his cheek again.

He was destined to be a parent. Logistically, he knew he’d have a child one day. He didn’t know when and hadn’t seriously considered a candidate for himself. It was this small pathetic dream of Ren’s. Somehow he knew Snoke would snatch up the child. It was for the best, Ren told himself, he didn’t have the time yet to coddle an infant.

Ren wanted to be stuck on the idea of a new familial relationship, something he still craved even as an adult. The idea of a family he could have besides the one he was born into brought him comfort. He couldn’t admire the gift given to him when Hux made it sound like a curse. The bastard couldn’t be grateful. 

Ren wished Snoke would have just chosen someone else to share his genes with given how ungrateful Hux was. Ren wasn’t entirely convinced this was a happy accident, but it still didn’t make sense to Ren why Hux out of all people. Ren was sure he already had other suitors that would make better options and focus their heart and soul on raising the baby.

It didn’t add up. Maybe it didn’t have to. Maybe it was the Force that wanted Ren and Hux to have a child. He couldn't know. 

So, he and Hux would have a child. 

He found himself in a training room, slashing battle droids wide open in a fit of fury. Ren suspected the entire area of the ship had cleared when they saw him striding into the training facility. Every trooper and officer knew what happened when Ren went to train with droids. 

The room smelled like smoke, burning plastic, and metal. He was heaving, not even remembering battling the droids. Ren had made a mess. He was sure Hux would scold him about it later. 

He was furious with Hux’s attitude. Realistically, he knew Hux wouldn’t be pleased and Ren wasn’t either, but this was their chance to do something together for the galaxy and Hux immediately decided it was reprehensible. He didn’t understand why Hux couldn’t just go along with it all, why he couldn’t agreeable, why he couldn’t just try to see eye to eye with Ren. Every time Ren thought he was reaching Hux, the damned ginger would always move back from whatever progress they made.

Ren threw his lightsaber to the ground, surrounded by the corpses of battle droids. He was breathing heavily through his mouth. His helmet was sitting on a pedestal behind a locked door outside the training room. His face was sweating and his black hair stuck to his face.

He didn’t know why, but Ren felt like crying. He put his palms to his eyes and pressed away his feelings. It always led back to Hux and he just wanted it to stop. He hated the damn man.

He hated Hux for making him so intoxicated with the fantasies in his head. There’d be no happy family that came out of this, Ren knew this. There was no point in hoping. He had to still be a parent with Hux though, so they had to find some way to work together. 

An image of Leia and Han Solo flashed in his mind. They were arguing. When Ben Solo entered the room, they stopped and tried to lead the boy back to bed. Leia was leaving again, she was the galaxy’s princess after all. Han Solo was feeling lonely without her but had a hard time admitting it. Ben Solo felt a dark voice whisper in his head.

Ren left the room and put the helmet back on his head. He used his comlink to inform some unfortunate soul to come and clean up his mess. 

He wanted to talk to Hux again but his blood was still boiling because of the man. 

He was going to be a parent. So was Hux. And it was nothing like he imagined.

Chapter Text

“Sir.” Phasma appeared in front of Hux suddenly. He almost jumped. She usually wasn’t so sneaky in her approach. 

Hux shifted his jaw. 

“Yes Captain, what is it?” Hux answered and turned around. He had been staring out into the galaxy, calculating how many little planets his Starkiller could destroy in three years time.

In three years time I’ll have a three-year-old toddler, Hux thought glumly. 

“Sir, Lord Ren’s ship is returning from his mission,” she informed him. He didn’t think Phasma knew of the situation between him and Ren, but Phasma was clearly aware that Hux was bothered by the dark knight. 

Their child on Quirinal had been developing for approximately four standard months. Doctor Minos had personally been sending him and Ren updates on their datapad in encrypted files. Nobody needed to know what they were assigned to do. Hux knew the second one person outside his tight circle knew he was having a baby made in machine his entire career would tumble down. A bastard with a bastard child, made in a lab and produced not even for him, but for Snoke’s desire for some perfect force sensitive child. 

Ren and Hux hadn’t spoken at all since Snoke revealed his magnificent ploy. Hux wouldn’t say he was actively avoiding Ren, but he certainly didn’t want to see the raging force user. Ren’s temper was erratic over the last few months. He was constantly going on and off the ship and when he was on the ship, his path of destruction didn’t cease. Hux had noticed that when Doctor Minos sent reports of the developing fetus, Ren would be calm for a few days and wouldn’t be seen if he was on the ship.

Hux was still trying to figure out where the hell he was going to hide a baby for four karking years. The Finalizer was a damn warship, the families of officers weren’t supposed to be on the ship at all. It wasn’t going to work. How could any of it work?

“Thank you for informing me, Captain.” Phasma still lingered. He raised an eyebrow at her. “Anything else, Captain Phasma?”

“Yes, sir. The officer’s shuttle to Canto Bight is leaving, yet there are rumors you haven’t agreed to attend the event.”

“And you indulge in gossip, Captain? I find that unprofessional.” 

“I mean no offense, General. The officers are meeting with arms dealers there and I would like to know if you will be attending. It seems like a good opportunity to get off the ship.” 

Phasma was somewhat of Hux’s friend, but he curled his nose at her addressing him too formally while he was on duty. He knew she was suspicious of his grim behavior lately. He’d been more snappy and critical of others. He had even snapped at Lieutenant Mitaka, who usually was Hux’s image of professionalism and perfect subordination. 

Hux had never taken a day off. He never took sick days or shore leave, and he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t working. Every planet he visited he had a diplomatic mission, not a vacation. He knew this wouldn’t be a day off on the records, it was more like some annoying ‘company get together’ to improve morale, but it irked him. 

Hux was still skeptical of Phasma’s intent. “I see.” 

“Permission to speak freely General?” Phasma asked. He huffed and waved his hand, giving her permission. “I think you need it. You may not get another time like this to enjoy yourself.”

Especially not if I’m raising the brat of Kylo Ren, Hux thought, shifting his jaw. 

It was looking like a better opportunity the more he considered it. Damn Phasma. 

“Alright, write it in that I will be attending. And secure me a suite in the hotel.”

“Yes sir. I will be on the ground as well, for security reasons.” 

Hux cocked an eyebrow. “Will you now? Can I expect you out of uniform?” 

“You’ll find out,” Phasma said. It was her crude attempt at teasing him. “I will get right on it sir.” 

Hux watched her march out. She was serious as always, but Hux knew she had a good sense of balancing her work with her personal life. He hadn’t had a break in a long time, he suspected not many of his officers did, so having a night on the gambling planet should theoretically improve the officers’ spirits.

Especially since Ren kept ruining the overall morale every time he returned to the ship. 

The thought of Ren coming back made Hux ill to his stomach. He would go to Canto Bight for at least the night. Ren couldn’t ruin that. He couldn’t take that away. And he certainly wouldn’t end up with a goddamn child after going to the planet for leisure. 

 

/////

 

Hux didn’t own any civvies. All his clothes were extremely formal, for work and for meetings on other planets. He only had uniforms of various varieties. Even his gym wear was First Order issued. Uniforms made everyone appear equal to each other. Any outfit he wore that wasn’t First Order issued he had borrowed or was gifted to him. Hux never spent his credits frivolously on clothing. What would be the point? He had no one but the First Order to present himself to. He felt somewhat embarrassed of himself that his closet was primarily black for the clothes he wore outside his chambers. 

He opted for a black suit with embroidered roses on it. The roses shifted from gold to a green tone under different lighting. It was gifted to him from Rae Sloane. It was one of the only non-issued outfits in his closet and he only kept it to respect Rae Sloane. That, and it was the only gift that ever mattered to him (not that he ever really received gifts). She had been upset with Hux’s bland looks and ordered him to stylize once in a while to impress others. Hux didn’t like people always gawking at him if they weren’t doing it to admire his status and accomplishments. The shirt he wore underneath was plain black, buttoned up to the collar. The sleeves of his suit jacket had similar floral designs on them. He wasn’t sure if he found the outfit appropriate. 

Hux wished the shoulders were padded more. The outfit still concealed some of his smallness but it wasn’t enough to bring Hux into full confidence. Hux patted the top of his red hair. It was slicked back, as usual, but didn’t know if it matched. 

Stop preening! It’s not that serious! Hux moved a hair back into place. He picked up his small bag packed for the night and headed off to the shuttle. He didn’t see Ren on his way out. 

He was stressed sitting on the shuttle. Hux felt like others were looking at his outfit choice too much and would judge him for the unprofessionalism. In reality, the others didn’t pay notice as they were in their own formal non-issued clothing. Hux was used to conversing with his officers, but he did feel awkward actually having to spend time with them off work. Most of them were genial, already laughing or discussing politics. Hux stayed out of it the best he could. He had never seen Captain Peavey so relaxed. He had seen Mitaka stressed before. The young lieutenant was clenching his fist to his pants, feeling out of place amongst the officers. The man looked like he had just shaven. 

They landed on Cantonica just as the sun on the planet was setting which made the officers giddy. The nightlife was what they came for. Troopers and the Canto Bight police personally escorted the officers to the resort they’d be at for the night, which already was pulsing with lifeforms. Hux enjoyed the beautiful architecture of the building but didn’t really know why he came in. He wanted nothing to do with this event.

I don’t have to see Ren here, he thought, then quickly shook his head. It was best not to think of the fearsome knight. He was supposed to be having some fun, or something like that. 

As he was checking in, someone grabbed his shoulder. He flinched and half thought to shove his hidden blaster in the face of whoever grabbed him. He turned to see a familiar tall, short-haired blonde looking at him. Her lips grinned and her eyes narrowed. Hux let out a sigh of relief. 

“Easy there, General,” she said. 

“Phasma! You startled me, I thought you were going to guard.” 

“I am. I deserve a break too though.” Hux raised an eyebrow. The statement seemed like a contradiction. “This is a disguise.” 

She did look fetching. Phasma was already quite the tall woman, so her black closed toed heels only made her tower over Hux more. He suspected with her heels, Phasma also was taller than Ren. She wore a sparkling dark green suit with a matching cape that hung off his shoulders powerfully. She looked elegant for a woman who had probably killed more people than the number of lifeforms currently staying in the hotel.

“Somehow I don’t understand how you are both working and partying,” Hux said, earning a chuckle from her. The receptionist gave Hux a key and a bellhop took his bag up to his room. Hux tucked the key into his breast pocket. “So, what will you be doing.”

“Mainly making sure you all don’t get assassinated. But also wooing all these rich pricks wives out of their boring relationship,” she winked at them. Hux’s eyebrows raised and he nodded his head. She was really breaking out of her shell. “And what will you do?”

“I don’t know Phasma. Talk about my project, discuss politics-”

“I mean for fun, sir.” 

He blinked. “Ah, well, yes. Probably drink. Maybe gamble?”

“You are on Canto Bight.” He didn’t need her being disappointed in his partying habits. He didn’t party and frankly, his associates shouldn’t be partying either. They were officers for Sith’s sake. “Perhaps you are just nervous.”

Hux’s eyes widened. “I am a decorated officer of the First Order, going to public events do not make me nervous.”

He shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants. Phasma jutted her head to the side. Hux followed her head motion, watching people filter in and out of a large archway into the hotel’s casino. Everyone was dressed in their finest attire with confident smiles on their faces. Hux very much wanted a lot of these rich fools to lose their money like it was nothing. 

He followed Phasma into the casino which was absolutely packed with aliens and people alike. He could see a few of his own officers already mingling about with expensive drinks in their hands. The various tables of gambling games were surrounded by people dressed in rare silks and the feathers of endangered birds. Hux knew how to gamble, he just didn’t partake in it much. 

The eccentric dress ware of the crowd was quite memorable. The different cultures of all the lifeforms gambling away at machines and at tables contrasted each other greatly. Though others had simple formal attire on like Hux, he felt underdressed as he watched aliens with dresses made entirely of gems or skin-tight latex with hats bigger than their bodies walkabout. Impracticality apparently made someone more fashionable. Various workers walked around with dishes of finger foods and fancy drinks in strange glasses. 

They wandered around for a bit, observing the crowd and occasionally pointing out important people or making snarky comments about others. Hux tried to enjoy what she was saying, but he kept feeling like something was tugging at the back of his mind. 

A waiter came over, offering him and Phasma some sort of red alcohol from a tray. They both took a glass and the waiter scurried off. Hux sniffed it. It smelled strong and well aged. He figured it was also expensive, but it wasn’t like he was paying.

He took a generous sip of the drink and withdrew quickly, letting out a sigh and scrunching his nose. Phasma chuckled at him. 

“What, too strong?” she teased.

“Just not what I was expecting is all, it’s not bad.” He cautiously took another sip. Phasma tried hers and near gagged.

“It’s karking awful. I don’t want this,” she groaned, looking around for a place to put it.

“I’ll just drink it after, just hold it.” She raised an eyebrow at him but didn’t complain. Looking around the room, she pointed Captain Peavey laughing amongst older gentleman while smoking fat cigars. “They really love looking like Imperial pricks, don’t they 'Tidge?”

Hux near choked on his drink. He swallowed it down hard and glared at her. She held her hands up, knowing she offended the general.

“Just because we are on some sort of leisure, doesn’t mean you treat me any less. Understand? And keep your eyes peeled.” He swallowed the rest of his drink and took Phasma’s. The glass was laughably small. He was surprised Phasma didn’t just drink it down just to look tough. 

“Yes sir.” She, again, wasn’t going to argue with the strangely volatile general. “Now is there anything you wish to talk about, freely?”

He didn’t like she was eyeing him, as if she was trying to break open his seams and find his secrets. Like hell he’d expose himself so easily to her. He glanced around the room, spotting Lieutenant Mitaka surrounded by the rich at some gambling table. They were jeering and cheering around it. He raised an eyebrow.

He swallowed down Phasma’s drink quickly. He put the empty glasses of liquor in Phasma’s hands and began to head off towards Mitaka. 

“Have fun cuckolding someone tonight Phasma, best of luck,” he told her. She rolled her eyes at him and headed in another direction, finding Hux hopeless at the moment.

Hux picked up another glass of… something… from another waiter walking by. This drink was more tasteful, seemingly mixed with some fruits. He wedged himself through the crowd to stand next to Mitaka. The man looked determined, despite his shaking hands. 

“Evening sir!” Mitaka said, perking up upon seeing his General. Hux raised his glass at Mitaka. The man was holding a hand of cards.

“What are you playing Lieutenant?” Hux asked, taking a sip of his glass. 

“Sabacc, sir.”

“Didn’t take you for a gambling man, Mitaka.”

“No sir, but I have played on and off for fun. Might as well try my luck.”

“And how are you doing?”

Mitaka blushed. He kept looking between his cards and Hux. Hux leaned in to listen to the lieutenant better.

“I was doing pretty well until that young lady came to the table. She’s been bleeding everyone near dry!” Mitaka said, exasperated. He appeared to be focused on his game by how close he was to sweating all over his cards.

Hux glanced around the table of rich men and aliens. Their faces were all plagued with disdain and frustrations, looking through their cards with snarls across their faces. The crowd around them were utterly entrenched in the game though, their mouths parted in anticipation. 

There was only one human girl at the table. She had warm ivory skin and brown eyes that were focused on her cards. Unlike everyone else at the table, she seemed calm. She wore a face full of beautiful makeup that blended into her face well. Unlike many of the ladies he had seen tonight, her makeup wasn’t eccentric or cultural. Her lips red and shiny like the band on her head covered in red jewels. Her dark brown hair sat on her shoulders. She wore a ruby red sequin dress that had long sleeves went up to her neck. Her dress, from where Hux could see, was short with an artistically patterned half to it going from her waist to the end of the skirt. Hux couldn’t see if she was cheating, she certainly didn’t appear to have any place to hide extra cards. 

She looked like royalty. She also looked too young to be gambling, as a teenager. 

There were six players at the table, including Mitaka. The dealer waited patiently. The girl suddenly drew a card and put into her hand. The table eyed her skeptically. She was to the left of the dealer. She looked up from her cards, seemingly stare right info’s Hux eyes. He was a bit unnerved by the strange girl.

“Mitaka, what do you have?” Hux whispered to his lieutenant. 

Mitaka tried to keep the most neutral face as possible so he wouldn’t give his cards away. He put his cards near his mouth to keep anyone from reading his lips. 

“Honestly sir, I have a good hand. The question is if anyone has a better hand than me,” he whispered back. Hux nodded and continued to watch, sipping his drink as they went along. 

The players took their turns either drawing a card or standing. Mitaka chose to stand, swallowing a lump in his throat. Hux understood the game, he just didn’t play. 

“Final hands?” The dealer called out. He flipped his cards. “19.”

Two of the players yelled “bomb out” since their cards added up higher than 23. The other alien showed his hand of 18, so that was an out. 

The girl stared at Mitaka, waiting for him to say what he had. He just stared back. The corner of Hux’s mouth twitched.

“Are you going to sit there or share what you have?” Hux asked, frowning at her. She huffed and gave him a little smile. 

“You’re General Hux, aren’t you?” She leaned forward. 

“What’s it to you?”

“Oh, nothing.” She flipped her cards over. “20.” 

A soft chatter went around through the crowd. They all were looking to Mitaka now. He flipped his hand over.

“21.” The crowd gasped and gave him a small round of applause. The dealer pushed a stack of credits towards Mitaka. The man was glowing.

“Good work Mitaka,” Hux beamed. He patted his lieutenant on the back and put his empty glass down. When another waiter came by with glasses of alcohol, he picked one right off the tray. He offered another one to Mitaka.

“No thank you, sir, got to stay focused!” He cheered.

“General Hux, care to join us? Your lieutenant has been such a joy to take credits from, I assume you will be much better,” the girl taunted. She spoke big for someone that just lost a round. She was leaning on her fingers as her elbows rested on the table. “Winner overall gets that big lovely pot over there.”

Near the dealer was a large bucket filled with credits and some jewelry. It was tempting, but Hux wasn’t a gambler.

“I rather not,” he said, putting his hand up. 

“Oh come on, have a bit of fun. Tell you what, if you win against me I’ll tell you a bit of information you’ll find very interesting.” She gave him a wide smile and even wider eyes.

Hux’s eyebrow quirked up. She was vague, but something told him she actually had some important bit of information. 

“And what kind of information would that be?” He asked. 

“Wouldn’t you like to know.” She smirked at him. He didn’t know if she was just jostling him to play or if she actually had something to say. 

The dealer began giving out everyone’s hand of cards. He grumbled to himself. He could just torture her for whatever bloody information she was hiding. But he chose to play instead. He got in an empty seat to the right of Mitaka and the dealer gave him two cards.

He knew how to play sabacc, but he knew he was playing amongst professionals. He was given chips from the dealer. He assumed he’d be charged for them later. 

Looking at his cards, Hux immediately felt a pang of displeasure. Not great, but he couldn’t afford to go over 23. He opted to trade his card when it was his turn. Mitaka drew. The ruby girl kept her hand. One of the older men at the table pushed his chips in.

“You’re really going in,” she commented offhand, organizing her cards. 

The man chuckled, puffing out a fat cloud from his cigar. “Well, maybe I’m a winner. Miss Kane, someone who is so confident, you don’t bet a lot.” 

Kane, Hux took note of her name.

The girl narrowed her eyes. She pushed a load of her credits in. People around the table chatted amongst themselves. Mitaka and Hux stayed with their regular amounts bet. The other two players pushed a load of their credits. 

The dealer flipped his cards. “25.” 

The two other players flipped, announcing their tying hands of 19. They grimaced. Kane flipped her cards, a little innocent smile across her lips. 

“22.” The crowd giggled and clapped. She tilted her head, staring at the old man with the cigar between his teeth. Hux swore he was about to bite the damn cigar in half. She gave him a mocking pout. “What’s wrong, not as good as you expected?”

“You have to be cheating,” he grumbled. He threw his cards on the table, revealing a 20. He got up and left and she just hummed happily. The other two aliens saw it fit to abandon their post while they were already in a hole of debt. She waved them off. Mitaka just put his cards down and sat still. 

“Bye bye idiots,” she beamed, leaning over the table to grab the chips. 

“Wait,” Hux said. He turned his hand over. “23.”

The crowd clapped and gasped, their eyes all focused on Hux now. He adjusted his coat and put his chin up high. She chuckled as the dealer pushed the chips over to Hux. It was a hell of a lot of chips for his first winning round. They probably could buy a spaceship. 

Mitaka was radiating, smiling at him. “Good job sir! Very lucky on the first hand!” 

“Thank you Mitaka, but you should focus on your own hand. Perhaps Miss Kane should be taken down a notch.” Mitaka nodded in agreement. Miss Kane watched them, a fire reflecting in her eyes. 

The three of them and the dealer went back and forth for a few rounds. Hux would win some, Mitaka would win some, but they would mostly lose to Miss Kane. Their confidence diminished, realizing that they shouldn’t be cocky over their few good wins. She knew how to play in the long run. Hux and Mitaka watched their stacks of chips diminish and go into Arla’s long fingers. Hux still had a bit of chips left considering how many rounds he went through. 

Over the course of the night, she seemed to grow more tense and upset, his lips stuck in a flat line even when she won. She kept shifting about. Hux thought she was getting bored even with the competition, but Hux began to feel hazy. He felt half ready to fall out of his seat, but for the sake of appearances he stayed up as best he could. 

He looked at his glass. He didn’t remember getting a drinking glass in the shape of a corkscrew. What did he just drink? He looked over, noticing a few empty glasses that had been left behind. He wondered when someone would come to clean them up. It took him a moment, but he realized waiters had been coming to clean up his glasses and bring him more and he had just grabbed whatever was close by. He was surprised nobody had said anything about it. 

“Last round boys,” she announced. Some of the crowd whined. “I’m growing tired.”

“Tired of draining us dry?” Mitaka asked. She let out a small laugh. 

“My apologies. Here, I’ll bet all my winnings to make it even. That and the bowl of course.” She seemed to notice how unfocused Hux was getting. She snapped her fingers. He clenched his jaw, surprised someone had the audacity to snap at him. “Still with us General?”

“Of course. Deal.” He tried to say it with much certainty and power as he could. He held in a hiccup. How many rounds had he played? 

The dealer sent out the last hand. Miss Kane put a card on the table. Mitaka followed the same. Hux stared at his cards. 

15, not great. He chose to put a 10 down. The dealer shouted “Sabacc shift!” and everyone changed the cards they were holding. Hux picked up his new card and the card he saved on the table. He almost smiled. A 20. Now that was pretty damn good, but not good enough. Mitaka and Miss Kane didn’t move.

Hux took a gamble and picked up another card. He sighed. 

The dealer put out his cards. “Bomb out.” 

Mitaka was next. “18.” 

Poor bastard. Hux was glowing like a star. 

“23.” He announced. The table clapped for him. He barely moved before Miss Kane giggled. He gritted his teeth at the prideful girl. 

“Ah, but General. Not every 23 wins.” She put down her cards. The onlookers gasped loudly. 

“An idiot's array!” The dealer announced. The unbeatable hand in the game. It was over. The dealer pushed the winnings toward Miss Kane. “Winner, Miss Kane!” 

Mitaka sighed sadly but went out to shake Hux’s hand. Hux didn’t look his way. He was holding his stare against Miss Kane’s. She gathered the winner’s pot as well, grinning from ear to ear. The crowd clapped for her politely. Some tried to talk to her but she was focused on collecting her winnings. 

“Sir? Are you alright?” Mitaka asked. Hux gripped the edge of the table. Miss Kane was becoming more unclear in his sightline by the minute. Her grin seemed to disappear from what Hux could make out. 

“Hmm?” Hux hummed, slowly turning to the lieutenant. Mitaka suddenly looked very pale. “What Mitaka?”

“Sir you just- well- seem a little,” Mitaka stammered, but Hux had already lost focus on what he was saying. 

Hux glanced around the room, wondering where Phasma had gone. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a black-clad figure move about the room, trying a little too hard to fit in. Too tall to blend in, dressed in too many shades of black, and with a nose that stuck our sorely on his face, Hux could only feel the hairs on the back of his head prick up as he realized who it was.

Ren? He wondered, sticking his neck up slightly. His hearing was somewhat muffled. He blinked, but nothing got better. He got a glimpse of the black cape swooping out the entryway. Hux finished his drink and put it on the table, getting up to go find out why the hell Ren was on Canto Bight. 

He didn’t even notice Mitaka was still talking. Mitaka immediately shut up once Hux had gotten up and power-walked away. Flustered, Mitaka could only watch as Hux disappeared into the crowd. Miss Kane was watching Hux leave. Mitaka caught her eye and they stared at each other. She looked away from him and sorted through her chips.

Hux pushed through the groups of people, muttering soft excuse me’s as he wiggled through the crowds. He swore he heard someone calling for him but he was too focused on finding Ren to let the voice beckon him. 

Hux pushed his way out of the casino back into the main lobby. He saw it again, the swish of a black cape turning a corner into another hallway. He followed it, his fist tightly clenched at his sides. He couldn’t believe the knight. Had Ren followed him to Canto Bight? 

He almost fell over himself when he turned the corner into the hallway. He leaned against a wall for a moment, his lashes fluttering. He smacked his cheeks, trying to get himself to stay awake. His cheeks were warm and he was flushed just about everywhere on his face. Hux kept pushing forward, only now noticing how out of it he was. He couldn’t walk straight and the walls seemed to move. 

His feet practically dragged against the marble floors as he walked. There was no one around that he could see. He stopped, panting. His stomach churned with discomfort. Hux half thought he was going to throw up if he didn’t pass out first. 

Hux slouched over, clenching his stomach. He coughed but nothing came up. 

Something held his shoulders before he could topple over. He honestly was too intoxicated to be wary of strangers. He turned his head and looked at the dark figure holding him upright. The person pulled Hux near his broad chest. The General didn’t struggle, which was concerning in its own right.

Hux squinted his eyes and slowly the picture became clearer. Ren was holding him, looking at him quizzically. 

“General,” Ren said in a flat tone. Hux narrowed his eyes at Ren. 

“What the bloody hell are you doing?” He asked, his words slurred together. He put his hand out at Ren, attempting to push him away but all efforts against the knight were futile. 

“Apparently I’m saving your ass again,” he ridiculed, pulling Hux up again. He forced Hux to put an arm around him. The General swallowed hard.

“I didn’t ask you to help me, Ren,” the General spat. His head began to lull and Ren snapped his fingers in his face. Hux’s head shot up. Another asshole had the nerve to snap at him. 

“Stay awake. And it doesn’t matter if you asked, you always seem to need my help.” Ren softened his voice, watching as Hux became more dreary with every moment. 

He looked attractive in a strange way, with his suit and his face all blushed and his eyelashes downcast over the soft look in his eyes. His hair had become disheveled with ginger strands covering parts of Hux’s face. Ren began to walk, forcing Hux along with him. He was annoyed, beyond irritated, but he wasn’t going to leave Hux to be picked off by the birds and humiliated. Ren had some morals, he liked to think.

After all, Hux was the father of his child. 

The thought made Ren grimace. Hux looked was in no condition to be a father. Then again, was Ren?

“My hero,” Hux sneered, accepting Ren’s support. He dug into his pocket and handed Ren the key his suite. “Here, take me to my room. But that’s not an invitation to stay.” 

Of course it wasn’t. Ren stayed quiet as he helped Hux to his suite, wondering what had been going on inside of Hux the last few months. Hux’s lips kept tight about how his stance changed on fatherhood but Ren figured that his opinion didn't change much. 

He was a bit frustrated that Snoke had kept sending him on missions while his baby was developing but he reminded himself there was nothing much he could do in the meantime. He had to work, he had to find Skywalker and destroy him. He and his knights were there to make the galaxy as it should have been for him and as it will be for his and Hux’s child. 

Don’t get attached already, there’s no knowing the outcome, Ren reminded himself. Snoke would take the child, or maybe it would never see the light of day anyway. 

He looked to Hux, who was still struggling to stay upright. 

Don’t get attached. There’s no knowing the outcome.

Chapter Text

Ren threw Hux onto the bed as soon as he got into the suite. Hux let out a whine as he was sprawled out on the bed, his eyes flickering as he stared at the ceiling. His head moved from side to side in slow, sluggish motions. The room was decent with a small living area and large bedroom. Ren suspected that there was going to be a gap in the budget after tonight if people went over their limits. There was a balcony overlooking the city. The lights of Canto Bight looked as though the stars in the sky walked amongst the people. 

Ren began to remove Hux’s boots from his feet. The General suddenly began to withdraw, letting out another whine as he scooted himself towards the headboard. Ren was still holding one of his feet when he looked up to Hux, noticing his straight mouth and bowed head. His cheeks were flushed a bright red. 

“It’s fine Hux, I’m just removing your boots. I’m not going to do anything,” Ren promised. Frustration crinkled in Ren’s eye but he did his best not to lash out at the drunk. 

He continued on when Hux relaxed his body, plopping himself back down onto the bed. He was helpless anyhow. He threw off Hux’s boots and then stood up, heading off to find Hux a cup of water and pain relievers. 

“Why are you here Ren?” Hux asked, putting an arm over his eyes. Ren stopped. 

“I was on a mission with one of my knights. There was a rumor that one of the men here has information on a force user that knew Skywalker.”

“Any luck?” Ren was somewhat concerned about why Hux was making civil conversation. 

“Found the man, and found the location of the force user. I’ll send my knight out to gather information and then end them.” 

There was a pregnant pause. Months without talking and he couldn’t believe this was his first interaction with Hux. Hux began coughing and sat up clutching his stomach. 

“Fuck, get me a bin,” he groaned, reaching his hand out and making grasping motions. Ren rolled his eyes and picked one off the ground and handed it to Hux. Hux coughed over it, but nothing came out. The man did look miserable.

“How much did you drink? Did you stick everything that they gave you in your mouth?” Ren miffed, standing next to the bed. 

“It’s good practice for you… for when we have a toddler. Hear they are slobbery.” Ren froze. 

Hux licked his lips, shyly looking to Ren as he considered what he said. The air felt denser. Hux slumped over, looking down into the empty bin. 

“Right.” Ren couldn’t think of anything to say. He was sure whatever he would say would cause the drunk to lash out at him. 

Hux coughed again over the bin, but nothing but globs of salvia came out. After a few minutes, Hux got up and shuffled to the refresher. Still drunk, he bumped into just about everything in his path. Ren followed him like a shadow, unsure what to say or do. 

Hux bent over the toilet and threw up. His stomach had nothing but liquids in it so he felt his stomach clench in pain as all it could throw up was water. He closed his eyes, a few tears dripping from his face from the harsh burn in his stomach and in his throat. 

When he was done, he slouched over against a traditional bathtub and put his palms to his eyes. He was a mess. Ren sighed. The General looked entirely pathetic. He wanted to taunt him, but he figured Hux was too drunk to even understand a taunt. Instead, Ren filled a cup with sink water and tried to offer it to Hux. 

“Drink,” Ren offered, jutting the cup out. 

Hux stared at it from in between his fingers. He suddenly began to chuckle, a strange smile appearing on his lips. Ren raised an eyebrow at him and asked, “What?” 

“It’s just funny. You’re treating me like I have morning sickness.” 

“No, you’re drunk. I know you don’t.” 

Hux snarled and snatched the cup. “I know Ren, it was a joke,” Hux chugged it down, “now please get out.” 

Hux’s mental stability was teetering. Ren could sense that his fuzzy mind was on the verge of a breakdown. On the other side of the clouds that blocked all his senses, Ren knew there was a sea of sorrows just waiting to be sailed across. He wanted to help Hux, he wanted to talk to him, but his pride told him to leave the General in his sea of drunken emotions and let him deal with it himself. 

It didn’t feel right for Ren to leave. After all the silence between them, he couldn’t abandon Hux yet. 

“Would it make you happier?” Ren asked. Hux tilted his head. He wiped the corner of his mouth with his sleeve.

“What?”

“Would it make you happier if I go?” 

Hux stilled, his eyes quickly looking down. He didn’t answer Ren, though Ren didn’t think Hux had an answer. Hux’s eyes reddened and he began to sniffle. Ren felt his face twitch. 

Hux stayed quiet, looking up at Ren through his eyelashes. Ren took that as an indication to leave. He didn’t know what else to do with himself. 

He had to return to the Finalizer and ready for his next mission. He didn’t visit Canto Bight to party with the other officers, he had actual work. Leave the bastard to his wallowing. 

He headed towards the door but something stopped him from leaving. The Force was calling him, telling him not to go. Hux needed someone to turn to.

Hux was scared.

He turned and stared at the doorway to the bathroom where Hux was still. Hux had moved to get up, leaning over the sink. He gargled some mouthwash and spat it into the sink. Hux stared at himself in the mirror, seeing his pale skin and tired, red-rimmed eyes. Hux hated the man in the mirror. His chest started to heave.

He was crying, Hux was crying. 

Hux felt a surge of frustration and punched the mirror, hearing a deafening crack. A few shards of glass shattered, but the mirror stayed intact for the most part. Hux dropped back down to the ground and began to cry, holding his hands against his face. 

Ren hurried to the doorway, seeing Hux amongst the small bits of glass. He didn’t know what to do with the General. Ren hated the ambivalence. 

“I can’t do this Ren, I’m not ready,” Hux cried, taking in a harsh breath. 

“Do what?”

Hux looked up at Ren. Those sorrowful eyes controlled Ren like the pull of the Force. 

“Be a parent. I’m not ready. I didn’t ask for this,” he admitted. He knew Hux wasn’t adamant about having a baby against his will, Ren wasn’t either, but he didn’t know Hux became so untangled because of it. 

Ren leaned down and scooped Hux up into his arms. Hux was too drunk and too upset to care. 

The crying haunted him. His mind was brought back to the vision of Hux crying while the ceiling collapsed over him while nobody there to protect him. Ren began to grow an irrational fear of Hux’s crying because he was worried that it was a signal of Hux’s end. 

He went back into the bedroom and laid Hux down. Hux took in a deep breath, his hands clinging tightly around Ren’s neck as the man put him down. They met each other’s eyes, seeing the uncertainty they both were hiding behind sneers. Ren began to sit up and Hux held him tight, still helpless. 

Don’t go don’t go, Hux’s mind begged. His walls were breaking down. Ren was sure the alcohol didn’t help. 

“I’m here,” Ren said, giving in and leaning into Hux’s embrace. It’s all Ren wanted, yet it wasn’t what he needed at all. He was sure when Hux woke up the next morning it would be back to cruel sneers and fighting. “Let me get my shoes off.”

Hux let go, growing sleepy. His eyes began to flutter. Ren threw off his shoes and shed a layer of his clothes. He guessed he was staying with Hux for the night. He hated how they always ended up like this. He got onto the bed, helping Hux out of his suit. Hux was as still as a doll. He got Hux to his undershirt but didn’t bother with Hux’s pants. He didn’t want Hux feeling too exposed, especially in his drunken state. 

They laid next to each other. Hux’s nose was still red and his eyes were still wet. Ren didn’t know how much longer he could stare at the General’s soft face. It felt unnatural. 

“What are we going to do Ren?” Hux whispered. 

“Raise a baby, I guess.” Hux snorted, rubbing his eyes.

“How can you be so sure? I don’t know how this will work, between my Starkiller project and you always going on and off the ship, and no offense you aren’t the most stable-”

“Hux.”

“-and the officers can’t know I’ll never hear the end of it. Where will I put a baby? I tried to figure out where in my room the baby can go but it seems wrong, a ship is no place for a child,” Hux babbled continuously. Ren had never seen Hux so anxious. Being anxious seemed like something a new parent would feel yet it didn’t feel right.

“How do you know that?” Hux snarled at Ren. 

“I grew up on ships Ren. It’s lonely. I don’t want our baby to live its life on ships.”

Our baby , the phrase made Ren’s heart swell. That was something to hold onto. 

His master had repeatedly told Ren to rid of his past attachments. This was the perfect way to. He had something to look forward to, which made it easier to leave everything else behind. 

“I’ll conquer the galaxy so they won’t have to,” Ren swore, a little too seriously for Hux to take sincerely. Hux let out a sad laugh.

“Alright then, whatever you say Kylo .”

“I won’t abandon you if that’s what you're worried about,” Ren said in a soft voice. 

Their noses were nearly touching. Ren could see everything, from how Hux’s eyes changed colors in different lighting to how he looked so vulnerable without the stern expressions he wore on the ship. Hux scratched his nails against his palms, avoiding eye contact with Ren. 

It was all far too intimate. In the morning, they’d bicker and fight all the same and there’d be nothing left to hold onto. 

“I can’t trust you on that,” Hux admitted. Ren frowned at him but pushed down any anger he could find. Hux was scared. “I don’t want to disappoint myself and get hurt.” 

Ren didn’t want to think of the General as precious. The man was teetering on being a homicidal maniac with his plans for Starkiller, yet he spoke like he had watched too many romance holos. Somehow, it still got to Ren and stuck in his mind and heart like a tar. 

He had to get rid of it, there could be no distractions. They were just on a mission was all.

But this is what I want.

Ren swallowed hard. He got closure to the General and hugged the man against his chest. Hux let out a small hum but didn’t fight out of it. His mind was too muggled to be stubborn, and Ren’s chest was too comforting for him to want to leave. Ren pet the back of Hux’s head, combing out the hair gel to find the soft locks underneath. 

“I’ll protect you, Armitage.” It was the will of the Force for Ren to defend his General, no matter how much they fought. 

Hux was already asleep.

 

/////

 

Ren could hear an incredulous beeping that was stirring him out of sleep. He felt a shifting beside him and let out a soft, sleepy moan. Hux was waking up. Ren reached his hand up in search of the beeping object so he could destroy it. It wasn’t going to ruin his moment with Hux. He didn’t know if he’d get another one. 

“I’ll get it, it’s my datapad,” Hux said, yawning. Ren opened his eyes, his lips curled in disdain. Of course the General’s cleared mind would go straight back to work. Ren shoved his face into his pillow. 

The room was dark but the lights from Canto Bight were still shining bright. It was still night, but Ren felt like he slept for hours. 

He felt the bed move as Hux crawled back on top with his datapad glowing in his hand. Hux gave Ren’s shoulder a push and he groaned.

“Wake up you dolt, it’s from Quirinal,” Hux told him.

“What did your princely boyfriend message you?” Ren murmured. 

“No you karking idiot, it’s from Doctor Minos. She’s sent something about the child.”

Ren got up quickly after that. He pretended to be nonchalant about his interest. Hux eyed Ren cautiously as the man moved next to him. Ren wondered how much he remembered. 

“What is it?” Ren asked, leaning his head on Hux’s shoulder. Hux flinched and leaned forward. Ren removed himself off Hux. Right, there were still boundaries. 

Hux pressed on the message. “It’s an image file.” 

Hux opened it. The image was strange, black and white and fuzzy and- 

“Oh. It’s the first ultrasound.” 

They both stared at it, wide-eyed and silent. The little picture of practically static would be their future. It was something they made together, meaning to or not, but it was there now for them to take. It wasn’t something they were ready for.

But they knew they wanted it. 

Ren knew there would be no happy ending for him and Hux. Snoke would take the child eventually, perhaps to never be seen again. Ren could still dream of the what if’s though. It was just a fuzzy image from a planet galaxies away, yet it was their entire universe sitting right in front of them.

“Wow.” It was the only sound Ren could let out. Hux's eyes were right on the holo but he seemed a million light-years away. 

“So. This is real,” Hux accepted. Ren nodded his head. The Force shifted around them as if the entire galaxy was focusing on them.

The stars quickly stopped looking at them once Ren held Hux from behind, squeezing the man’s arms. Hux glanced down to where Ren was gripping him then looked back to the holo.

“What have we gotten ourselves into, Ren?” Hux wearied, leaning back against Ren. Ren felt his cheeks warm. The General never accepting Ren’s embrace so easily and so casually. 

“Perhaps something good will come out of this,” Ren said, running his hands up and down Hux’s arms. He was savoring the intimate touches he was giving to the General. He never got to be so kind. 

“What could you possibly mean by that?” Hux lifted his datapad higher as if the round white blurb as their sun shining down upon them. 

“We don’t always get along. I admit that much. But this might be something we can be united on. To raise a child to be strong and prosperous,” he told Hux. 

“To bring glory to the First Order.” Hux glimmered. Ren drooped his head into the crook of Hux’s neck.

“Maybe even to bring glory to us,” Ren suggested softly. It sounded like treason. Hux’s heart skipped a beat and he swallowed hard.

Hux wormed away from Ren’s grip and put the datapad down, turning it off so they were illuminated only by the artificial lights of Canto Bight. Hux crawled back over to Ren. He sat on his heels, legs slightly parted. 

“I can’t believe this is happening to us still,” Hux said, scratching the side of his face while looking downwards. 

“Don’t be afraid. I’m here with you.” Hux’s eyes shot up at Ren.

“How can you not be afraid? This is quite the fragile… mission,” Hux stammered. 

“I have concerns, but we’ll work through them. We always do.” Hux shrugged his shoulders. “How are you not hungover?” 

“My body says it will deal with a hangover tomorrow. I feel fine right now, lucid even,” Hux told him. Ren eyed Hux from top to bottom, admiring the way his top fit around his slim body. Ren felt his gut stir. Something about the intimacy between them made Ren crave the General. 

“Fine enough to deal with the aftermath of a hangover and… extraneous activity?” Ren asked. Hux flared his nostrils at the brute. He tilted his head to one side, putting a hand against his face. 

“You think of me as being weak, Kylo Ren?” Hux baited, his eyes darkening. “You should see my kill count.”

Ren felt his Adam’s apple bob in his throat. He smirked at the General anyhow, “and you should see mine.”

Hux moved forward, touching Ren on the face. Hux’s palm was soft for someone who was a murderer. Hux felt the little moles on Ren’s face. The face in his hands would be a father to his child. It seemed so improbable that it was the truth that Hux almost laughed. Yet that was the truth, and Hux joked to himself that he hoped the baby wouldn’t have Ren’s dramatic nose. 

Ren was growing tired of Hux’s slow motions, as much as it made him shiver and throb. He leaned forward and kissed Hux. The General immediately responded, tilting his head to kiss Ren back. Their kiss was less vicious than usual. It was passionate and somewhat sweet. 

The sweetness was far more dangerous than the usual vicious spice they had when they tore into each other. The intimacy was far more dangerous than their casual fucks. Something was changing in the air, and it was deadly for both of them. Someone would get hurt when they were together.

Ren could only hope it wasn’t him who was going to get hurt. 

After wrestling with Hux to get the top position, Ren had managed to get Hux on his side, panting and gasping with Ren’s fingers hooked in his mouth. Hux slobbered on them uncontrollably as Ren moved in and out of Hux at a steady, hard rhythm. Ren had one hand on Hux’s leg to keep it up and outwards so he could get the best angle. He had to keep his own leg between Hux’s as he made the General moan and gasp under him. It was somewhat of an awkward position, but Hux looked absolutely delicious in his hands. 

He had stripped Hux to nothing but his socks. His undershirt was still on but now pushed up past his chest to reveal Hux’s perky nipples which Ren had sucked and bitten on determinedly. Ren had stripped down completely, revealing his large, toned figure. 

Ren focused on his thrust and the hot heat around him. He savored Hux. His moans were Ren’s music, his gasps his wine, and his body his treasure. It amazed Ren how he could make such a powerful man wither so easily. And Hux loved every second of it. His mind radiated with pleasure and begs for more, more, more. 

“You know what this means right?” Ren asked, letting out a groan as he pushed into Hux hard. He was without a condom, but it was too late for protection anyhow given their circumstance (Ren thought he was funny). 

“Wah?-” Hux gargled around Ren’s fingers. Ren slipped his fingers from Hux’s mouth so he could prop himself more comfortably. Hux turned his head to better look at Ren. His lips were wet from helplessly slobbering all over Ren.

“What this whole mission means for us?” Hux didn’t have an answer. Ren thrust into Hux practically hard, making Hux whine and near give out. Ren panted, meeting Hux’s hazy eyes. “It means your mine.”

Hux had no response but his eyes were wide. If Hux wasn’t red before, he was fully red now. Hux felt his entire body flooded with pleasure. 

Hux may have had no verbal response, but his body did. He came hard against his stomach, letting out a breathy sigh. Ren chased Hux, picking up his pace so the General could have no rest. He released hard into Hux. Hux clenched the pillow hard, gasping and clenching his toes. 

Ren tried to catch his breath, his nose pressed near Hux’s shoulder. He gave Hux lazy kisses on his skin, nipping softly. Ren wanted to make it a mission to claim every corner of Hux’s skin. Hux’s body relaxed against the sheets. He grunted when Ren popped out of him, feeling a hot slick drip of him. He didn’t like the mess, but he loved the feeling. Ren slid behind Hux and spooned him, allowing for his dick to press up against Hux’s backside. Hux grimaced.

“Don’t be nasty, you brute,” Hux told him, still catching his breath. Ren chuckled. 

“You worried about being clean, General?” Ren slid his fingers between Hux’s ass, feeling the work he did. Hux shiver and felt his legs spasm. “I feel like you call me a brute a lot.”

“Maybe that’s because it's true,” he muttered. “And I thought I told you not to stay the night, you arse.”

Ren flipped Hux onto his back and crawled over him, looking Hux straight in the eye. Hux looked bewildered, still breathing hard.

“You say whatever you please, I know the truth. You can’t hide it from me. You need me. You want me. And that’s why you’re mine.” 

Hux’s gaze was fixed on Ren and his jaw was slacked. Ren couldn’t read Hux, even when he dug into the man’s mind with the Force. Ren figured he was too shocked to even know what to feel. 

Hux reached up to touch Ren’s face, cupping his cheek. Ren loved the feeling, he suspected Hux knew he did. Like a cat, Ren pressed into Hux’s hand. He shut his eyes for a moment.

“I need someone to trust for this mission we will embark on.” Ren’s eyes shot open. His brow creased down at the flushed General, who was not afraid to meet Ren’s eye. “You won’t have anything, not until you deserve it Kylo.” 

What the hell is he talking about? Ren pressed his lips together. He didn’t understand Hux’s need to turn their passion into a discussion about trust and work. 

Frustration boiled in Ren’s chest as Hux’s hand left his face. Ren dissected the words in his head trying to find an answer, but all Ren could find was that Hux didn’t trust him still.

Ren had Hux’s tiny life in his hand, under his body, and the man didn’t trust him? Ren tried to be logical and consider Hux’s naturally distrustful nature and hostile work environment but he couldn’t help but feel personally offended. 

“Trust? Hux, I’m here right now with you and you don’t trust me?” Ren asked, baffled. Hux looked away, feeling vulnerable underneath Ren as he grew more frustrated. 

“It’s not- it’s complicated. I just don’t feel like this whole baby thing is going to end so beautifully.” 

“Yet you aren’t even going to try?”

Hux wrinkled his nose, “I am trying. Ren, you know what will happen at the end of this. It’s best not to think too much and just try to work together, that way we and the Order won’t crumble.” 

Ren wanted to yell at him to stop thinking about the Order for their personal matter.

But Hux was right. It wasn’t personal. It was Snoke’s. And Ren didn’t want to argue anymore when he had made Hux so calm under him. It was all he had for now.

“Go to sleep General,” Ren said, moving off Hux and laying next to him. Hux groaned indignantly. 

“I’m sweaty and disgusting Ren I should at least-”

“Stop talking,” Ren said a little more forcefully. Ren turned to his side. Hux didn’t speak and it unnerved Ren. 

He hadn’t realized he has played a force trick on Hux’s mind. Panicking that the General would realize and grow upset, Ren put his fingers to Hux’s temples and pulled the man into sleep. Hux went out easily without any more complaints.

Hux could say whatever he wanted, Ren would make the General’s heart his. Ren put his hands to his face, realizing his own depravity, anger, and desperation.

He couldn’t decide if he cared or not though. His heart was full of want, and he was growing impatient.

Chapter Text

Snoke hadn’t contacted them about the child in months. They weren’t sure if it was a good sign or not but Hux and Ren pressed onwards anyhow. While Hux worked on his Starkiller project and commanded the Finalizer, he also had begun to work out the logistics of having a baby on board the ship. 

Ren’s room was out of the question. Not only was Ren off-ship frequently, Hux knew his room was often trashed from his fits of rage. Hux didn’t particularly want a baby in his quarters, but it was the best option. He had to figure out how to get the baby formula, diapers, and other miscellaneous baby items on ship inconspicuously. He had also ordered a NAN-E droid to be brought on ship, though he felt uncomfortable with the idea of a robot caring for such a delicate piece of him. 

He needed an ally to watch the baby too. Choosing who to trust proved to be a difficult assignment. Mitaka and Phasma were obvious candidates, but Phasma couldn’t be bothered by children and he felt as though Mitaka may be too apprehensive to care for a child of Ren. Hux knew he’d feel guilty handing off his child to someone else. 

Hux took a sip of his brandy, looking over the logistics of it all again and again. They needed to have a pediatrician on-site. All the droids and doctors abroad the Finalizer didn’t specialize in children, why would they? There were only a few more months until the baby would be born (or whatever word would describe a pod-child coming to life. Born seemed disingenuous to Hux). Hux felt like he was racing against time. 

His comlink beeped and Hux fished it out of his pocket, still focused on the schematics of having this baby. He figured he could put the crib next to his bed, though the crying would probably make him near deaf. Looking at his datapad, he was trying to find a place to fish out a baby raising budget. Somehow he began looking into setting up a fund to send the damn kid to university when it got older.

As if he’d get to see the baby grow up.

Stay in your lane. Hux wasn’t known for being insubordinate and he wasn’t going to start, no matter if he was a parent or not. 

“General Hux here,” Hux answered. 

“General,” Ren’s vocoder manipulated voice answered. Hux snarled.

“I told you not to contact me on my com! We have an encrypted transmitter for a reason, Ren, and a holopad!” Hux scolded. Hux could practically hear Ren’s eyes roll on the other end. 

“Hello to you too. I’ve returned,” Ren addressed calmly.

“I figured. What do you want Ren?” The holonet had such cute baby toys. Too bad Hux had figure out to discreetly get them on the ship. Hux wanted to slap himself for letting himself get to indulged by baby products.

But the small socks were pretty adorable.

“Well, I was thinking of taking you-”

“No.”

“You didn’t let me finish.” 

“That was the point. I’m busy trying to plan for a baby which, by the way, you should have a vested interest in since you are the other father. While you’ve been doing Force knows what on Maker knows where I’ve been trying to figure out to do get monthly amounts of baby formula onto a karking warship!” Hux ranted, tempted to crush his comlink in his fist. He could feel the blood vessel in his neck tempting to pop like a child’s balloon. 

“If you let me finish the sentence you wouldn’t have such a stick in your ass!” Ren said with a raised voice. Hux took a large sip of his brandy, going through every expletive in his head. “I was going to ask you if you would like to join me on a trip to Quirinal.” 

Hux raised his eyebrow and leaned back into his seat. 

“You want to go back to Quirinal? Isn’t that home to your apparent romantic rival?” Hux snorted. “I can’t just leave my station.” 

“Unfortunately, it’s the place where our developing child is. I would like to see the baby, make sure everything checks out. Prince Himero is a seedy character-”

“More like your jealous, insecure character,” Hux murmured into his glass.

“-and I just want to check. Won’t it be a good thing to visit the baby anyway? We could figure out more of the logistics.”

“You mean I can figure out the logistics while you fuck off for weeks at a time like an absent father,” Hux snapped. Ren paused, seriously considering his answer.

Ren and Hux didn’t need to be reminded about their fathers. Hux solemnly looked into his drink, watching the cubes of ice float around in their glass cage.

“Hux, I’m trying to help right now. We should go see the baby before it is born to see how it’s doing. I know I haven’t been the most disposable for you and we have been on the rocks, but I want to be there for the baby and for… you.” Ren admitted, his voice surprisingly sincere despite his vocoder.

Hux was quiet for a moment, unsure how to respond to the dark knight’s heartfelt confession. Hux looked down to his datapad, seeing the little suggested advertisements for baby blankets. Hux sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Does… does Supreme Leader Snoke approve of this trip?” Hux asked, hating himself for stuttering. Damn Ren and his sorrowful self. Ren inhaled hard.

“My Master doesn’t disapprove. Besides, this is important,” Ren insisted. “So make an excuse for your subordinates.” 

“I’ll figure it out!” Hux hissed, standing up and swallowing down his brandy. He cleared his throat. “When should I be seeing you, Ren?” 

“We could go right now if you’re ready. I will fly my TIE fighter-”

“I’m not taking your TIE fighter, which is a military fighter that I designed may I add, to a passive planet where our child is being developed!” Hux criticized. “And I’m not ready, I’m in my bathrobe. It’s the gamma shift.”

Ren paused. “Is that all you’re wearing or?...” 

“I swear to the Maker I’ll kill you one day Kylo Ren,” Hux said through gritted teeth.

“So I’ll take that as a yes. We’ll leave first thing during the alpha shift. And to please your high-class needs, General, we’ll take a shuttle.”

“Be inconspicuous. We don’t need the damn staff thinking we are a couple.” 

“Yeah wouldn’t that suck if the father of my child was thought as being my lover too, terrible.” 

“Shut up. Hux out.” Hux hung up. He looked at himself in a mirror. No, he wasn’t wearing anything under his robe but he sure as hell wasn’t letting Ren grow an erection who knows where on his warship. 

 

/////

 

Hux worked being off-ship suddenly and, thankfully, his subordinates didn’t blink in concern. If they had any concerns, they shouldn’t dare to voice them if they knew what good for them. He appreciated that their servitude to the Order allowed him to go off ship easily enough, not that he liked leaving his ship. He did get a glare from Peavey, as expected, and a nervous glance from Mitaka (expected), and a suspicious nod from Phasma (concerning). 

Ren and Hux rode a shuttle silently to Quirinal. Hux chose to swipe through his datapad in search of viable baby products. He had already picked out a crib, unbeknownst to Ren. He’d need to assemble it himself. He didn’t want to crib coming in one piece in case someone opened the shipment. 

It was somehow embarrassing to Hux, sorting through baby catalogs. He was a high-class First Order officer, he had blood on his hands and was developing one of the deadliest weapons in the galaxy, yet he was shopping like a young mother. 

When the shuttle landed, Hux tucked his datapad away. The trip had to be quick. Hux began feeling separation anxiety from the Finalizer already. Leaving on such short notice was dangerous for him, even if everybody just nodded their heads and batted their eyelashes at him.

Manto was waiting for them as they landed, her ears pointed downward and her arms crossed. She glared at the two men.

“This is a sudden visit-” she began, but Ren put his hand up. 

“We don’t need to inform you of anything. This planet is open to commercial tourism so we can come and go as we please, and you have a vested interest of ours so why should we need to make an appointment?” Ren informed her. Her jaw shifted because she could do nothing but let the two men destroy her schedule.

Ren was correct that they were allowed to travel through Quirinal freely, but Hux was irritated that Ren hadn’t informed Manto that they were coming. Hux was so focused on preparing for their brat and making sure the ship would function without him that he had forgotten to check if Ren had actually made some sort of appointment. Typical. 

Manto had nothing to say to Ren and let them pass. She seemed irritated, which was understandable, but rudely so. Even if Ren was a blockhead, she didn’t have to make such a fuss about their trip. If anything, it was the business of their doctor. 

Upon reaching the research facility, Hux began to get a different feel from the planet. There was the usual bustle of tourists and patients, yet somehow the atmosphere appeared unpleasant and less welcoming. Hux figured it was because of Ren’s imposing figure but something bothered him about the way people glanced at them. Did they know them? Did they hate them? Hux adjusted his collar and recalled every place he had hidden a weapon on his body. He didn’t think he’d be threatened this time, but he was ready for unexpected attacks.

Doctor Minos was ready to greet them at the reception table. She seemed flustered and immediately snapped to attention once she saw Hux and Ren. 

“Hello General Hux and Lord Ren, this is a sudden visit! Next time you’re supposed to schedule an appointment,” Doctor Minos tried to explain politely. 

Ren, again, had no patience for anyone that confronted them. “You can take it up with Supreme Leader Snoke then. I’m sure we aren’t disrupting too much by seeing the state of our kid.” 

General Hux stood by idly, watching Ren as he lost his temper. He was trying to imagine how hard it would be to push on a pressure point on Ren’s body to make him shut up and stop embarrassing him. 

“I understand but there are rules and regulations, you can’t just come here whenever you please.” Doctor Minos was shrinking back against the reception desk. 

Ren reached his hand out near her face, stilling her with the Force. Her eyes widened and everyone in the area stopped and stared at them. Hux was really going to kill Ren for causing such a ruckus. 

“Listen Doctor, I did really rush this trip here but I’ve been traveling around for months without an inkling on where my supposed baby is and how they are doing, so you can understand that I'm a little,” Ren clenched his hand slightly and Doctor Minos let out a little choking noise, “ impatient . Now, you can just let me see the pod, or I can take from your mind and every nurse that came in contact with that pod every memory of interacting with it. Do you understand?”

Ren released his Force grip slightly so she could nod her head. He huffed and dropped his hold on her. The Doctor gripped the reception table. The receptionist was white as snow. The Doctor did her best to regain her composure.

Hux hadn’t thought about how Ren felt about the child. He didn’t realize Ren had been so anxious to see the truth and to let it hit him. He somehow felt guilty about hardly considering Ren’s emotions through their journey, especially since Ren was always so emotional. Hux considered giving Ren the benefit of the doubt, despite how much the man annoyed him.

Wordlessly, Ren strode off to go find the pod where their child was developing. Hux gave her an apology for Ren’s actions before following after the black-clad knight. Doctor Minos was still shaky, her sharp eyes still wide from the encounter. 

Hux folded his hands behind his back and caught up to Ren.

“Good job frightening our doctor Ren. How do you know where you’re going?” Hux flouted, watching as Ren’s ceaseless gaze stay on the path ahead of him.

“I can feel them now through the Force. I used to not be able to sense the child but now I can. It’s odd,” Ren explained. Hux could only hope their child didn’t inherit Ren’s crazed delusions that left Hux wanting to bash his head into a wall. Why did he have to speak so cryptically? 

They entered back into the fertility and family development section of the facility where the halls were bustling less than they last saw them. There were mainly doctors and nurses wandering about. They all tensed anytime Ren got too close to their proximity.

A human doctor saw it fit to stop the strange men from roaming around aimlessly. She had a little badge that said ‘Doctor Nikos’ on it. Bravely, she asked, “Can I help you, gentlemen?” 

Kylo waved her hand in front of her face. “You will take us to the pod where General Hux’s and Kylo Ren’s child is developing.”

The woman stiffened, her eyes become void of emotion. “I will take you to the pod where General Hux and Kylo Ren’s child is developing.” 

The woman turned around and walked forward. Ren and Hux followed. Hux’s lips quirked downward in distress. 

“What did you do?” Hux asked, watching the woman walk like a droid. 

“Just a little force trick. I also have dipped into her mind. It seems very few know about our child,” Ren explained. 

“Well, discrepancy doesn’t help since we arrived in this building so suddenly.”

“I’ll erase memories and those who I can’t erase I’ll use these head doctors to convince their subordinates that we are coming because of unsavory rumors that we had to personally investigate.”  Ren sounded sure of himself so Hux didn’t see fit to question him. There was no questioning a force user anyhow. 

The woman eventually led them to a hallway filled with various rooms of pods that held developing children. Some rooms had two pods, while others were sealed off from peering eyes. Hux figured it was a luxury to have more privacy from the public. He wondered if any malpractice were going on behind the doors he couldn’t see into. 

There was a door that led to a windowless room. The Force trembled as the two men approached it. The doctor put a code into the door. It was like the other private rooms, Hux assumed, and he was grateful for the privacy. He wondered if the so-called accidental creation of their child was done in this room or if they could transport the pods. 

When the door open, Ren felt his heartbeat silence his senses and burst in his body for a moment. Hux’s lips parted slightly.

The room was dimly lit, having not expected visitors that day. In the middle of the room was the pod. Around it was various monitors and even a timer estimating the child’s arrival. The name listed on the monitor attached to the pod was “HUX/REN 001.” Above the little nameplate was the rhythm strip being displayed of their baby’s heartbeat. 

Hux went in first, starstruck by the sight. It was just a pod, it wasn’t much yet, but he still felt his entire demeanor change. 

He wasn’t supposed to feel like this. 

Behind Ren’s mask, the man was slack-jawed. He was frozen at the doorway. 

“We need a moment,” he said, closing the door with the Force to keep the doctor out. She made a little gasp trying to get a word out to him but he already made the door lock behind him.

Hux's eyes were stuck on the pod. There was a small window looking into the strange liquid in the pod, but the window was blurred so not much could be seen. Ren approached Hux and cautiously put his hands on the General’s shoulders. Hux let out a little sigh but didn’t pull away.

The Force moved strangely through the room. Ren could feel the Force react to Hux’s presence somewhat carefully. The Force presence welcomed Ren, finding comfort in the Force user. It was their child, no doubt, figuring out how to reach out to its parents. Ren felt pride knowing the baby would be force sensitive. 

Dread somehow found its way into the back of Ren’s mind. His Master would appreciate that the baby wasn’t some force null like Hux. 

Hux put his hands on Ren’s hands. Ren felt a shiver go across his body. For Hux, it was a bit odd to be held by a masked figure tenderly but he knew there was an emotional turmoil behind the mask.

Ren released Hux from his grip and Hux slowly moved forward towards the pod. His movements were strange, almost like he was entranced. 

When Hux was close to the pod, he slowly hovered his hand over the device. He seemed indecisive over if he should touch it or not. Ren just watched the General, fascinated by him. The light coming from the pod made Hux’s hair looked like it was glowing. 

Hux read the little monitor. The sex was labeled as “SURPRISE,” which caused Hux’s mind to run a million different directions. 

Hux finally touched the small spherical window on the pod. 

The Force moved. It felt as though a strange wind swirled around them. Hux couldn’t feel it, but Ren could and he had never felt anything like it. Ren almost clenched his chest with his hand. It wasn’t painful, but it was like a flip was switched in the Force. 

Ren didn’t know what to make of the feeling but he knew Hux caused it by connecting with their child. The redhead was utterly mesmerizing. Even without a glorious speech Hux still knew how to be captivating.

Hux removed his hand and the Force calmed. Hux turned around slowly and looked at Ren, his eyes glimmering. Ren felt selfish because he knew that he wanted Hux all to himself at that moment. Ren wanted a million things from the galaxy but he knew Hux was something he needed. The pull of the General was irresistible. It didn’t make sense to Ren how such an infuriating man drew him in so much. He didn’t have a word for it. The General needed to be heard and seen and Ren could forever watch the General and his softened, delicate face realize how close he was to the new future. 

It felt odd just lingering in the dark room in front of a machine that hissed and breathed for their future child. Ren didn’t know if he was in love or just was hazy from the Force and the baby that he knew was now real. 

Ren walked forward to the pod and observed it carefully. Hux watched him but stayed quiet. He kept clenching and unclenching the hand that touched the pod. 

“So, here we are,” Hux finally said, his eyes moving away from Ren’s head.

“Yes. General, I must ask you something. It may not make you happy,” Ren said. He took his helmet off so Hux could see his face. He was trying to keep his face as neutral as possible but his emotions were going wild because of Hux and his close connection to his baby. 

“Nothing you say makes me happy,” Hux said softly, though his underlying tone was sarcastic. 

“Hux look at me.” Hux begrudgingly did, looking into Ren’s dark puppy eyes. “I’m asking you to trust me, at least to try. We have to do this together. If not for one another, then for the child and for the galaxy. Glory will only come if we work together.”

“Easy for you to say,” Hux wearied even more quietly. 

“Hux, I’m being serious.” Ren tried to hold Hux’s wrist but Hux pulled away as if Ren was trying to hurt him. Ren stopped immediately, putting his focus on Hux’s face. He seemed nervous and uncertain. 

Ren was trying his best to be patient. He was in an amazingly restrained mood, but he attributed that to the connection he had with the child. 

“I… you’ve been more calm and reasonable to me than usual, even if we do fight. I don’t know what to make of it,” Hux admitted, his face turning pink. 

“What, you like when we fight?”

“No!” Hux said defensively, then adjusted his tone. “I just don’t know how to deal with this new Ren that is trying to do more than be angry and selfish. I don’t know if it’s real.” Hux’s cheeks were hot. 

Ren ignored the implied insult since he knew Hux was genuinely unsure if some sort of healthy relationships actually developing between them. Ren didn’t know if Hux had ever had any good relationships in his life. He knew Hux and his father were snakes to each other and that little Armitage got the final strike, and he considered Hux to have some sort of friendship wit Captain Phasma but even he wasn’t that naive. He knew Hux didn’t talk to many people outside his work. 

“I’m sure I’m still myself, which means I don’t put myself out there to relationships. And I know you don’t really either. I know we must trust each other, or at least try. Don’t you want to bring glory to the First Order? To children? Then we must do this, together,” Ren insisted. Hux sighed, annoyed that he was impressed with Ren’s little speech.

Ren put his hand out with his palm up. Hux caved in. He slid his hand into Ren’s, leather on leather, pulse on pulse. Ren gently held Hux’s hand. 

“I’m already giving you a part of me by agreeing to raise this child. But… I assume I will have to learn to trust you. I don’t expect you to be perfect, but you must promise to hold up your end. I don’t understand these Force things admittedly so I need you here.”

He needs me, Ren’s head rang. It was like they were vowing themselves to each other. 

It was an agreement built on the blood of soldiers and the powers of mythical force users. They were to raise a child together and bring glory to themselves and the Order.  

Their hands separated and Ren put his helmet back on before the door slid back open. Doctor Minos and Prince Himero we’re standing there, quirking their eyebrows at the sight of the two powerful men standing in the dark, looking into each other’s eyes.

Ren pushed past the little crowd and left before they could question him. Hux was left alone in the dark with the pod of what he knew would be what was left of him when all ended.

Chapter Text

Time was running short and Hux was running on very little sleep. Not that he was a great sleeper anyway, but because of the expectancy of his and Ren’s baby he was running on pure willpower. 

The night after they visited the pod for the first time, Hux got the best sleep of his life. He attributed that to Ren fucking all the energy out of him in a passionate, crazed session of sex but Hux pretended he was better than that. Though Ren still had to leave the ship, he was keeping up his end of the promise. Ren had been more amiable and tolerable, though he continued to be edgy and brooding. 

Ren helped him put together a crib in his quarters from the smuggled in parts Hux ordered. There was something strangely enduring about watching Ren put together a crib piece by piece with little tools that made his large hands look comical. "No, I don't need to read the instructions," Ren had told Hux. He ended up reading them after having several leftover parts. Ren was oddly patient though through the task. The NAN-E droid also showed up inconspicuously. Hux had it upgraded to look less like a NAN-E droid but kept all its important maternal components. He already planned to hide it in his closet when he wasn’t using it. 

Hux would either have to send other droids to fetch packages for him then erase their memories or Ren would show up with items they needed. It was an efficient system for the time being. He wasn’t sure if it had to do with his relationship with Ren or if the baby, but Hux rather not let anyone find out anything. 

Hux was attempting again to figure out more logistics of keeping the baby in his room. His quarters were larger than most other officer’s quarters, so it gave him more space to fit all his needed baby supplies but he still felt strongly that it wasn’t sufficient. It would have to do, but it wasn’t enough. He figured eventually he’d have to turn his office into the child’s room, but he was lucky enough to have quarters with a private office so he tried not to be bitter about the prospect of having to move all his furniture out and back into the main living area. He knew it was better to have the baby in its own room in case someone broke in or, more realistically, that Hux wanted the baby’s cries to be somewhat muffled so he wouldn’t go half deaf from having a crib near his bed. 

Ren complained about wanting to have a share by perhaps keeping the child in his quarters, but Hux shut down that idea quickly. He didn’t want a squishy, fragile child in Ren’s room where he couldn’t always keep an eye on things or stop Ren from going on a destructive tantrum. At least in his quarters, he could stop Ren from entering, though he hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

Hux was putting a lot of trust into Ren, he didn’t want to admit it. He knew he’d suffer raising the child alone, especially with the Force involved. He would choose the child over Ren if it came down to it.

He had a mission. Ren was just a factor in it. 

His comlink beeped and Hux got up to fetch it. The effects of how exhausted he was hadn’t hit him truly until he stood up. His legs felt wobbly like a newborn calf’s from the hours of sitting in front of his datapad and sitting on the floor piecing together the baby’s crib (Ren still managed to forget a few pieces. Not wanting Ren to explode, Hux decided to finish the task when Ren left and not tell Ren he did it wrong again). 

Now that Hux thought about it, he wasn’t even sure if he had ever interacted with a baby. He had been reading article upon article on childcare for new parents but he hadn’t considered that he never interacted with an actual baby. He had seen babies, but he can’t remember the last time he held a baby, if at all. 

This really was his shittiest plan to date. To top it off, he was confident Ren had little experience in dealing with children and in having the patience for them. The man was emotional which meant he’d most likely grow attached to the child then abandon it after a few nights of it crying like a maniac (Hux didn’t really believe that. In fact, he was quite fond of Ren’s efforts to be active in his life). 

“General Hux here,” Hux answered the comlink, moving to plop down on his ice blue couch. 

“I’m coming back on board. I’ve brought some bags for you and the child. I’ll drop them off but then I have a meeting with my Master,” Ren answered. Hux sneered, disliking that Ren immediately had to see Snoke right after returning. 

“That’s fine. Don’t force your way in I’ll answer the door,” he instructed Ren. As much as he was now used to Ren just appearing in his room with the excuse that he was there to help get ready for the baby, Hux wanted to feel like he had some control over his own privacy. “Hux out.”

Their relationship was better if better was a word for it, but Hux still felt uncertain about the boundaries they had. Ren was more gentle with Hux, yet he was still a volatile man. Phasma had tried to ask him about Canto Bight while Ren was in the room and Ren immediately escorted Hux away. Hux was furious. If the man wanted to be subtle, that was no way to do it. He didn’t need Ren to be the gatekeeper to his life. The man had no common sense when it came to boundaries. Hux knew Phasma was suspicious of the nature of his relationship with Ren. She wouldn’t do much about it, but the fact that she knew made Hux uncomfortable. 

Ren came not long after Hux ended their call and he did for once ring the buzzer. Hux opened his door and saw the questionably large black duffle bags he was carrying. Ren noticed Hux’s black robe he had on and matching slippers. His outfit made Ren think back to cheesy holos of lonely wives wanting to woo the delivery boys. Hux’s face did not have the desire to woo though, he looked like he was four days without sleep. If Hux was any other man, the lack of sleep would have made him clinically insane. This was Hux though, who somehow was alive without sleeping much and eating very little. Admittedly, Ren found Hux less attractive when the man was tired but that could be said about most people. Hux was still alluring standing in front of Ren in his bathrobe.

“What did you bring?” Hux asked as Ren walked in. He threw the bags onto the coffee table in front of Hux’s ice blue couch. Ren rolled his neck from side to side and unzipped the two bags. He removed his helmet and placed it on the table.

“Come and see,” he said vaguely. Hux narrowed his eyes at Ren. He disliked riddles but he assumed this was Ren’s crude attempt at a surprise.

Hux disliked surprises. 

Hux sat beside Ren on the couch, leaving a space between them. Ren didn’t take the hint and moved closer to the General, unknowing of how it made Hux’s cheeks reveal a light rosy tone. Ren reached into the bag and pulled out a little baby onesie. Hux only felt his face get redder.

There was something unnatural about a monstrous murderer like Kylo Ren to be bringing Hux baby clothes. It was like a sick joke that he didn’t understand. Hux wanted to be happy, and he was letting himself grow more accustomed to the reality of the situation, but it still just felt all wrong. Still, Ren was trying to be genial and Hux didn’t want to stop him.

“You bought… baby clothes,” Hux managed to say, his eyes widening from the sight. Ren continued to pull out items from his bags. 

Ren showed off baby bottles, bibs, little hats that somehow had the First Order logo on them, swaddles, and even a baby carrier that a person would strap around their body. Hux was at a loss for words as Ren revealed his finds. 

“I’m not sure it’s enough but it’s something,” Ren said, his face void of emotion. He looked as though he was just the delivery man with no excitement or worry across his face. Hux began to feel self-conscious about how obviously emotional he was over these damned small items. 

“Well, it’s… thoughtful Ren, thank you,” Hux said to him shyly. He still didn’t know how to react to Ren’s interest in being a father. Ren had no choice in the matter but the clear effort he had in finding things for their child and bringing them onboard was overwhelming for Hux. 

He tried to stay as serious as possible in the manner but it was hard to keep his usual cold stares when he was faced with such delicate items. Hux was still suspicious that Ren was looking for his weaknesses. For the sake of appearances, Hux chose to appreciate Ren’s efforts instead of pushing them away. He needed Ren, as much as Hux hated to admit it, and Ren had to be with him during their escapade into parenthood. 

Ren kept rifling through the bag and pulled out a model Imperial Star Destroyer, a toy made for children. 

Hux recalled a similar model ship that his father had when he was on their estate in Arkanis when the planet was still theirs. 

He remembered it being the only thing on the estate to resemble a toy, something the other kids seemed to always have on them while he never did. Brendol wouldn’t allow his boy to be bothered by such superfluous objects. Still, Armitage couldn’t help but admire the model ships his father kept on his shelves. 

Like most adults, many of the memories of his childhood tended to be fuzz. Unless, of course, they wounded him. Hux didn’t remember how but he had gotten ahold of one of the Star Destroyers and pretended he was the one flying it through the galaxy. He sat on the floor, using his little arms to move the ship above his head and made little humming noises to mimic what he thought the ship would sound like. He even thought he’d own a few ships like the Destroyer one day.

Brendol had barged into Armitage’s room, easily having noticed one of his models disappearing from its shelf. Armitage couldn’t hide the ship before his father barged in. He saw the shadow cast over his father’s ceaseless glare and the sneer of disgust that frightened Armitage terribly. Brendol snatched the model Star Destroyer back and loomed over the child.

“Pathetic boy,” Brendol spat. Armitage tried so desperately to keep looking into his father’s eyes without flinching or looking away. Brendol would scold him more if he did for being cowardly. “This is not a toy, nor should you waste your time with such useless, childish endeavors. If you waste your life on pleasures then you’ll never have your name to amount to anything and you’ll always be disappointed. And I will not have a bastard who has my name be utterly worthless. The galaxy needs ruthless men, not boys like you.” 

Armitage could only answer with “yes sir” because it was the only way he knew how to respond, especially as a four-year-old. Looking back, he knew Brendol was being exuberantly annoying and harsh. Not only that, but Brendol lived off basic pleasures. He was vain and prideful. He was an adulterer with evidence of him not following his own moral principles.

Hux wouldn’t let his child be so depraved. He’d keep his child on the right path and let them grow into a strong, intelligent individual but wouldn’t force them to live life in a box like some pet he just wanted to teach tricks. 

Still, something about the toy Star Destroyer made Hux ill. He didn’t want his child to have unrealistic desires or desires that wasn't theirs. Hux was a General, but he didn’t own the galaxy like he thought he would when he had that one moment of childish bliss alone. Hux was a General, and he thought he was worth much more than that, but even Snoke thought to keep his level to the ground where he belonged. His direct connection to Snoke should’ve made him more than a General, yet Snoke never bothered to let him earn more. Just like Brendol, Snoke would rip away Hux’s desires and keep him on the path he saw fit. He may have more freedom with Snoke, but he was still under the same type of rule. 

“Hux?” Ren asked. The toy was sitting on the coffee table. Hux hadn’t even noticed it moved. He blinked rapidly and reached over to put the toy back into the bag.

“A baby can’t play with this, it’s not made for someone so small and fragile. Maybe when they are older,” he told Ren. Ren observed Hux’s strange, stiff movements. The man suddenly seemed a world away and his previous flustered expression was gone and replaced with something more solemn. He wanted to dig into Hux’s mind to see what changed but knew he’d anger the General. Their relationship was fragile. He didn’t want to destroy the strange peace between them so close to the birth of their child. Ren also liked the strange peace they had. It made him feel like he had something to return to.

“You look tired.” 

“I’m always tired, but I’m also always needed.” Hux began to place all the baby items back into their bags, carefully folding up the little onesies as he did. It was a peculiar sight watching such a ruthless man fold up little clothes. Ren wondered if Hux had an idiosyncratic trait that gave him a natural knack for being a parent. It wouldn’t make sense, given that Ren knew who raised Hux. 

Hux never spoke about Brendol willingly. Ren knew it was because of the dastardly things Brendol had done to Hux. He knew there was some physical abuse involved. He found a few old scars hidden on Hux’s body when they were intimate. He never asked Hux about them. 

“You micromanage too much. Your focus should be on this right now. I’m sure the ship won’t be destroyed because you take time to sleep and organize for our baby,” Ren told him already knowing his wording would irritate the General. Hux frowned at him. 

“I don’t micromanage. I do my job, Ren. If you haven’t noticed I basically have three enormous tasks at hand. I have to run this ship, make sure Starkiller base’s development is on schedule, and ready for the baby. If you would like to add a fourth item on my list, it is having to deal with you.” Ren didn’t know why Hux had to be so defensive. 

Hux’s hair was loose and hide part of his forehead. Even when tired, his loose hair was always a beautiful sight. It was a symbol of domestic bliss to Ren like there could peace between them and a future where they weren’t rivals. He knew that even here next to him Hux was still distant. He hid secrets from Ren, things that wounded him. Ren wanted to listen to Hux’s woes so Ren could share his too. 

Hux noticed Ren staring at him. He pushed a piece of his hair back behind his hair and cleared his throat. In one of Hux’s hands was a baby bottle he hadn't put away yet. Ren didn’t realize he was gawking at Hux.

“You worry too much,” Ren critiqued, a little grin threatening to appear on his lips. 

“Someone has to worry. If we are too relaxed then something will sneak up on us and break us apart.”

Us?  Ren wondered. No, Hux was just referring to the First Order. The ginger was oblivious to Ren’s advances even now. 

“I wouldn’t let anyone destroy the work we put in. The work you put in. But you still have to rest sometimes. I’m sure you’ll appreciate sleep once there’s a screaming brat here.” Hux let out a snort then quickly covered his mouth and nose with his hand as if he was caught doing something repulsive. 

“Don’t you have a meeting with Snoke?” Hux asked from behind his hand. 

He did, but he didn’t want to leave. 

“I’m going. Should I return? Perhaps for dinner?” Ren asked boldly. Hux sat up straighter. Hux’s eyes were peering to the side, unable to meet Ren’s eye. 

“I don’t know I’m not entirely hungry.”

“Not even for some tea and digestive biscuits?” Ren mocked, trying to mimic Hux’s accent. Hux raised an eyebrow at him. 

Hux turned his head and rolled his eyes. “Your sense of humor doesn’t make sense to me.” 

“Force help us if our child is as strait-laced as you.”

“Force help us if our child is as abrasive and violent as you. I won’t have another little Ren running amok,” Hux snapped right back. Ren huffed through his nose.

“I can’t imagine another little Hux running around. I picture some bratty toddler going around trying to give orders. Picture Peavey’s face at that when some baby has more authority than him,” Ren joked, feeling the stress of their situation lift from his shoulders.

Hux laughed at that, his eyes shining brighter with his smile. Hux had such a lovely smile. When he smiled you could forget he was building a mass weapon of destruction. Hux’s softened after his laugh and his eyes cast downwards. 

“What’s wrong?” Ren asked, studying Hux’s face as he grew concerned. Hux put a finger near his lips.

“We haven’t picked a name for the child. I just realized. We also haven’t decided on a surname.” 

“It will come to us.” Ren wasn’t extremely concerned with that for the moment. “The surname Ren-Hux should be sufficient.” 

“Hux-Ren,” the redhead miffed back. Ren smiled a little. “And the first name will absolutely under no circumstance be Vader or anything related to your family.” 

“Perhaps we should discuss this over dinner,” Ren insisted.

“Go to your meeting before the Supreme Leader smites us or something.” Hux wouldn’t budge. Ren gave in. He’d probably force his way into Hux’s room anyhow. It’s not like they could be private anymore. Hux had his hidden secrets and Ren wouldn’t pry him open for them, but he had to have access to Hux in ways others didn’t. He didn’t just consider their sexual interactions in that access. 

Ren removed his helmet from the coffee table and placed it back over his head. The helmet immediately turned Ren into a different man, one that made Hux’s face visibly harden at. Ren knew he hated the mask, but he had to wear it to conceal himself from others.

Hux was the only one on the Finalizer to know the fine edges of his face and the steepness of his nose. Hux knew the comical largeness of Ren’s ears and the broadness of his chest. There was an intimacy about the familiarity and not just a romantic one. 

It was somehow nice to feel like someone knew him. 

Ren headed off before his head went to his weak heart for answers (Snoke disproved of Ren thinking too much with his heart. He liked Ren’s passion, but only when it suited important tasks like defeating Skywalker). Hux was left to organize and decide where to put his new bags of baby paraphernalia. The toy Star Destroyer would remain unseen. 

Hux had more memories of Arkanis other than his destroyed natural want to interact with objects in creative ways. If his mind couldn’t create new worlds, then he’d read about them. There was very little Hux had left from his true mother. She was a kitchen woman, a “whore” or a “temptress” as Brendol and Maratelle used as if it were interchangeable with Hux’s use of “mother.”

The estate on Arkanis had books, physical paper books with leather bindings and covers with titles. Hux kept the books even though they were Maratelle’s. The woman never touched them and Hux figured she hadn’t even remembered she had certain ones in her collection. They must’ve had worth for the Hux family to keep the paper books. 

There was a fictional one Hux particularly liked. He couldn’t recall every moment in the story, but he remembered it being about an antihero of sorts who wanted to do the right thing but often found himself in difficult situations. He was a dark man, burdened by impulses, but had a good spot in his heart (Hux tried his best to not let the man remind him of Ren.) His beautiful wife wouldn’t love him and the wars he fought were bloody and brutal. Yet the antihero persisted. He let his wife live her own life so he wouldn’t be hurt by having ties with her, and he continued to fight despite the casualties and mayhem. 

Hux’s birth mother found that book for him when he was a toddler. He only remembered she touched it because she left a little drawing on one of the pages of a flower. She made the story sound like an adventure, not a massacre. Children always assumed the best of things because they didn't fully understand war. 

The man in the story stood up against the crowd. He said things that needed to be said even if they didn’t want to be heard. Young Armitage learned much about adventure and war right from an ancient piece of literature. He knew not to take the book seriously, but it was one of the only sources of excitement he had. 

The protagonist's name was on the tip of Hux’s tongue. He was agitated that he couldn’t remember it. He was irritated he couldn't remember much about the book in general. He was sure he had the book somewhere. It was one of his only keepsakes from Arkanis. He didn’t even remember how he managed to smuggle it all these years. It felt healthy, somehow, to know he had something sentimental from his childhood despite his childhood being so dreary. 

He got up and brought the bags of baby items to his bed. He had specially crafted drawers underneath the baby’s crib just for all their clothes. Perhaps he’d even look for the only paper book he remembered reading. Maybe he’d even read it to the baby one day.

Feasibly, even Ren could read it to their baby, sitting amongst leftover toys and small blankets and used baby bottles.

Hux shook his head. He hated to be so dreamy and pathetic. There was still work that had to be done.

Chapter Text

Ren had a lightened feeling in his heart. The baby would be born soon and though its fate lied in the hands of his Master, Ren still had a sense of renewal and accomplishment. He had Hux’s faith and desire. He felt needed by someone who didn’t necessarily just want his power. 

Ben Solo never would have had such aspirations. He was weak and small-minded, attached to a family who only wanted him when he wasn’t there. 

Hux needed him. His baby would need him. Kylo Ren was his own person with his own family. There was nothing left in the past for him. His knights would be reunited with him eventually as well. 

For once, Kylo Ren didn’t feel so lonely. 

When Ren entered the holochamber the atmosphere immediately changed. Ren’s mood shifted from hopeful to distressed once he felt the air around him freeze. Even the Force seemed apprehensive. Snoke’s holochamber was never a place of warmth or joy, but Ren knew there was something wrong. 

The projection of Snoke appeared. The man was rubbing his chin and his eyes were riddled with displeasure. He had clearly been thinking deeply upon something. 

“You have recently found and disposed of an old student from Skywalker’s temple. You have been advancing well in your expeditions, despite the knowledge that you will have added responsibilities soon,” Snoke began. His voice echoed around the room as he spoke. 

“Yes, thank you, Master-”

“I was not finished Kylo Ren.” Ren immediately snapped up straighter to be as stiff as a board. Snoke’s eyes were gazing into him. Even from another ship, Snoke was slithering his way through Ren’s mind. Ren had always respected his Master’s influence on him, even if he was uncomfortable and unwilling.

The only secret he truly kept from Snoke was about Hux. 

Snoke plucked something from Ren’s mind like it was a low hanging fruit. 

“You’ve been distracted. Perhaps I wasn’t clear about what I want from you, my apprentice.” Ren couldn’t move. The Force was binding him in place. The air began to feel denser. “I’m aware of your… passions for General Hux. The temptations he brings you.”

Ren’s face paled and his eyes widened behind the mask. His mind raced with a million questions. Did Snoke always know? Did he think it was because of the baby? Did Hux somehow give it away?

Snoke sat back and steepled his fingers on his armrest. His wrinkled, broken face was plagued with disgust. Ren didn’t know if Snoke came from a culture of celibacy, but Snoke never explicitly discouraged Ren from bodily pleasures in his older age, just attachments.

Hux was an attachment, Ren realized. It meant he was a danger.

“Do not let your mind be weakened by some useless urge. Your place in the galaxy is on the dark side. Passion may be important, but your attachments will only destroy you. General Hux is a rabid cur. He is my General for a reason. He is ruthless, calculating, and I know he finds displeasure in you. ” Ren’s heart ached but he pretended to feel nothing. “Your attachment to him will not only slow the progress of the First Order and your journey in defeating Skywalker, but it will also destroy you. You’ll be just like Ben Solo.”

Ren’s face heated up. His heartache vanished into fury as he heard those cursed names that he had banished from his subconscious.

“Ben Solo is dead. He was a soft, weak fool who had no aspirations or strengths,” Ren interjected angrily, his head suddenly feeling free enough to raise his chin higher. 

“Maybe so. You’ll have to prove it. You will end this relationship with the General. If you don’t, then there will be dire consequences,” Snoke said darkly. Ren leveled his head back down. Snoke hummed as he watched his apprentice droop his shoulders. “I am doing what’s in your best interest. The Force has shown me the aftermath of you desiring too much attention. I am not saying to abandon the child when it comes, but you will not make attachments. The child should be raised to be strong and intelligent, but it should not be your priority.” 

Attachment seemed to be the keyword for the day. To not prioritize a child sounded familiar to Kylo Ren. 

The seed of doubt was already planted in his mind and even without Snoke’s influencing words, Ren began to wonder what Hux was scheming and what he wanted to get out of him. 

Ren had no response. He was furious, heartbroken, confused, and stricken. It was too much. He worked hard, Hux didn’t realize this, but he did. He worked in seeking out those who could stop the First Order’s conquest and disposing of them, he worked in being stronger to destroy his enemies faster, and he had worked tirelessly in trying to woo Hux even if that meant throwing away his basic impulses. 

Ren figured it made sense. Hux never reciprocated his attempts at being romantic. Hux wanted his powers. Hux wanted his body. Hux just wanted to be satisfied but never give anything back. 

Ren clenched his fist tightly. 

“Yes Master,” Ren agreed. 

“Good.” Snoke paused. “I know your fury Kylo Ren. Though I tell you to be aware of the General, do not stop him from running his ship. You both can function separately as you should. I suggest now you rest and meditate upon what I have told you.”

Snoke’s holoprojection disappeared. Ren felt colder. He felt like a husk of a man. He knew hope was for imbeciles yet he let his desires get the best of him. 

He had nothing left to do than to follow his Master’s orders. He headed back to his quarters, prowling through the halls of the Finalizer as if he would strike the first living creature to come in his way.

The troopers all knew better than to be anywhere near Ren’s quarters. Once he entered his quarters, he threw his helmet down onto its pedestals and stalked off to his room. He removed his clothes until he was to his undershirt and trousers. He took a deep breath and sat crossed-legged on his bed. He had to remove Hux from his head. He had to remove it all .

He would get hurt or, alternatively, Snoke would hurt him.

He steadied his breathing as he sat on his bed, letting his mind drift to a different place. The bed creaked under his weight.

He saw nothing at first. The world around him was black as if the Force was turning its back from him. He was standing upright in the darkness, clothed in black. A light blue light like starlight twinkled around him. The little cloudy blue lights moved passed Ren, floating like a stream. The blue dust collected a few feet away from Ren and built upwards in a spiral. 

The blue sparkling light formed into a cloud. It then dropped onto the floor like a pile of useless glitter. Someone had their back to Ren. His red hair stood out against his black uniform. 

Hux, it was always Hux. 

Hux was rocking his body back and forth as he stood. 

The noise came as a high pitch static at first. Ren cringed, feeling his spine shiver. The noise turned into a muffle then became clear in Ren’s ears. It was a baby’s cries. Hux was rocking a baby, shushing it back to sleep. 

Ren watched silently. Hux turned around slowly, looking down to a bundle in his arms. His eyebrows frowned and he looked distressed but he continued rocking the baby. There was a muffled voice in the background that Ren couldn’t make out. It sounded like he was underwater. The bundle in Hux’s arm had a strange blue glow around it as if the baby was attracting blue cosmoses around it. 

Hux was arguing with someone as he rocked the baby, cursing and yelling but his words could not be made out by Ren. All he could hear was the crying of the baby. 

Whatever Hux was arguing about he was red-faced about it as if he was close to sobbing. He kept looking to his baby and then taking a step back. 

The surroundings around him began to appear, but only in the vaguest images. It seemed that Hux was standing on the edge of some sort of cliff. He kept backing up, getting to close to the edge. 

“Hux,” Ren tried to call out. His voice echoed, but there was no response. Hux didn’t see him. 

Hux took another step back. The edge was only another step back. Hux held the bundle close to his chest. The blue cosmoses surrounded him and the baby like an aura. Hux looked over the edge the back down at the baby. 

Ren began walking towards Hux. As he walked, the dark void under him rippled like he was a skipping stone on water. Ren’s arm slowly raised up, his fingers splayed. “Hux, wait.” 

Hux wasn’t suicidal. No, that wasn’t Hux at all. He was a fighter, he fought for everything he had. He’d let the galaxy burn before he faced humiliation. 

But he would jump to protect his honor. He would jump even for his child. 

“Hux!” Ren yelled and got as close as he could before Hux fell backward over the edge. The way Hux fell back made it seem like he was shot.

Ren reached out his hand to grab Hux. He almost got a hold of his collar but he slipped right through his fingers.

He almost got to see the face of his baby. 

Hux didn’t meet his eyes, yet Ren could see his. They were glowing like starlight. They were so sorrowful, so distant, yet they drew Ren right in. 

Ren wanted to jump over the edge after them. 

He didn’t.

There was something absolutely wretched about it all.

Starlight. The word rang in his head. He held onto that word as he watched Hux slowly plunder downwards. Hux reached upwards then disappeared into a pile of stardust. 

Ren’s chest rose and fell unsteadily, unsure what to make of the vision. Was it the future? A metaphor? A warning? Was Snoke testing to see how far his attachment went? He didn’t know. He sat down on the black plain, figuring that if he could walk on it he could sit on it too. 

He remembered his vision he had on Quirinal of the roof collapsing onto Hux. Both visions appeared to be warnings of Hux’s doom, but they both seemed like they should have ended in Hux’s death. Having two visions of death suggested that one may be false, one could be preventable, or they both could be prevented. Ren grew worrisome. He realized visions had to do with the arrival of their child. 

A blue light appeared in Ren’s sightline. He looked up to see a ball of glimmering blue cosmoses floating in front of him again. The cosmoses piled vertically mostly as they shimmered and twisted to the pull of gravity. 

“What are you?” Ren asked. The cosmoses didn’t respond. He carefully put his hand out to touch the blue dust. 

He reached into it, realizing that there was something solid inside. He didn’t know exactly what he was feeling, it felt like nothing and everything at the same time. Suddenly, he felt something beat against his hand and he quickly pulled away. 

Ren’s eyes flew open. He could hear his comlink ringing for his attention. Ren snarled and got up, snatching the comlink off his nightstand. 

“What?” Ren thundered.

“It’s Hux,” the ginger answered. He sounded hurried. Ren realized he had asked Hux for dinner and never followed up. He didn’t want to see the General again anyway. “Ren. It’s time.”

Ren narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean?” 

“It’s… the baby is coming. We have to go to Quirinal,” Hux stammered. 

Ren froze.

The baby wasn’t supposed to come yet. There was an estimation of the baby’s arrival on Quirinal. The baby was early.

Ren reasoned that it was a temptation of the Force. He was supposed to dispose of Hux from his heart and the Force was giving them the thing that could keep them together. He and Hux were on a playing field they were unfamiliar with. It was a game where someone had to lose. The child would ultimately be the prize, Ren knew this, because only one of its parents was suited to have it. Snoke would not have them be distracted, at least not both of them. The Force was telling him Hux was in danger, yet he began to wonder if it wasn’t a warning but a way to show Ren he could be free of his feelings. 

He just had to let Hux fall. He just had to let the ceiling cave him above him. Ren just had to get the child. 

Hux had been worried about logistics. Ren didn’t worry about logistics. He just had to get what he needed then let the Force lead him afterward. 

It was best he cut Hux off than let the ruthless General get to him first with a knife. 

Ren swallowed hard as he answered Hux once more. He was following his orders, yet he felt like he was a traitor. He wouldn’t be hurt again by something familial. 

“The shuttle. Meet me on it. You know which one.” Ren hung up immediately. 

Trust was no new game. It was old as the Force itself. Despite this fact, he was conflicted on what to impulse follow. His instincts beckoned him to Hux, but his Master warned him of Hux’s enticing lies.

For now, he had to deliver a baby. He couldn’t consider what he wanted at the moment because he had only one choice and it was to fetch the child. 

He looked in a mirror before heading off. He put his helmet back on his head before he sulked his way to the shuttle. 

 

/////

 

General Hux was the opposite of calm. He tried to keep his face as straight as possible but his stature gave him away. He was uncharacteristically clumsy as he redressed. He wasn’t sure what to bring to the planet, but he packed extra clothes and a few of the baby items Ren gave to him. 

He looked in the mirror. He looked like a mess. He didn’t have time to slick back his hair and it made him feel strangely vulnerable. The best Hux could do is run a come through it. 

He was so tired but couldn’t bring himself to sleep. There was no time to sleep anyhow. Something was waiting for him.

He hadn’t told Ren previously, but Hux was having nightmares he couldn’t explain. He didn’t know what provoked them but they haunted him to his core. 

Some of his nightmares came from his past. Brendol would make his threats, other men would push him around when he was a cadet, but most vividly he was having nightmares about Kylo Ren. 

In his nightmares, Ren was a beast with dark eyes who hunted him like a bird in a coop. In some dreams, Hux was hiding the baby from Ren. In other dreams, Ren was violent against Hux and threatening to send him to Snoke for punishment. In other nightmares, Starkiller failed and Ren threw Hux aside to be punished and disposed of as others laughed, including Phasma and Mitaka. Hux never knew what he did to provoke Ren in these dreams. All he knew was that Ren wanted to kill him or see him suffer and fail. When he awoke, he tried his best to remember these were just nightmares and that Ren was trying to help him in the real world. 

Still, Hux could only wonder if Ren was being true to him and not playing him for a fool. 

There was one word he remembered from his nightmares. He didn’t know where the word came from, but it made him feel empty inside.

Starlight. 

Hux didn’t have time to consider his nightmares when something called for him so urgently. He grabbed his bags and rushed out of his quarters. He walked quickly through the corridors. As he turned a corner he almost bumped into a shiny set of chrome armor. 

Hux halted and glared at Phasma. She tilted her head at him, clearly suspicious of him.

“Excuse me, Captain,” Hux said, trying to move around her. She purposefully stepped into his path. Hux jutted his head at her, baffled by her actions. “Captain!” 

“It’s a bit late, General. Going somewhere?” She asked. 

“I have a sudden matter I have to attend to. I’ve already sent a memo on it. Now excuse me, I must be going.” She wouldn’t budge. “Captain you are acting out of line.”

“Something’s up with you ‘Tidge. You should disclose it with me.” He gritted his teeth at the use of the nickname she gave him. They were supposed to be working together- no- he was a higher rank than her and she wasn’t listening to him. 

“I do not have to disclose anything to you, Phasma. I am your superior. I will not stand for insubordination, something you push against so actively may I remind you. If you wish to know my business, take it up with the Supreme Leader,” he retorted, glaring at her mask. She stayed quiet for a moment.

He used that as an opportunity to leave. He pushed passed her and continued on his hurried journey. She turned around and watched him leave.

“Sir, if you are in trouble, perhaps I can-”

“I don’t need your assistance!” He yelled back at her, not bothering to face her again.

She was a good ally, she truly was, but she couldn’t know nor did he have the time to explain it to her. What would she think of her fearless General when he came back with a soft, squishy baby he’d have to coo over? 

He made it to the shuttle with no more distractions. Ren was already there when he arrived, sitting in the pilot seat with his helmet on. The shuttle doors closed. Hux put his bag down and looked around the shuttle.

“Where’s the pilot?” He asked.

“I’m not bringing any outsiders on such a delicate mission. I’m flying,” Ren told him, pressing buttons and pulling levers on the control panel. Ren looked back at him, the ceaseless gaze of his mask irritating the General. 

“You’re flying?” Hux wrinkled his nose. 

“Yes. Why don't you trust me, General?” Ren’s tone through his vocoder was eerie. It made Hux feel like Ren was threatening him. “Come. Sit in the co-pilot seat.” 

“Like I’d ever be your co-pilot,” Hux derided. He sat down in the co-pilot seat anyhow and buckled in. 

“No. But you are my so-called co-commander so let’s hope we may work together on this,” Ren said in a mocking tone. Hux raised an eyebrow at him. He wondered why Ren was suddenly being so snappy at him despite a few hours ago giving him baby gifts and asking him to dinner. 

He ignored Ren for now. There were much more pressing manners. Hux supposed even dark knights got nervous.

Together they flew off, leaving the Finalizer and their last moments of singularity behind them. They would no longer be alone in the galaxy. They were going to be parents, bound to a child who would need them. The question was if the child would receive the care of both parents together, or if Hux and Ren would cling to their singularity and detach themselves from one another. 

Hux looked for a distraction.

There were too many buttons on the control panel. Too many flashing lights for Hux’s eyes. He knew how to design ships and weapons yet he found himself to be irritated by the amount of flashing lights on the control panel. It seemed like an archaic way of flying to have so many lights on a small ship. TIE fighters and even X-Wings were more straightforward to command, though flying them proved to be difficult. But a shuttle should be easy to look at. Hux knew how to fly a ship, probably not in the way Ren knew, but he couldn’t stand the lights.

Starlight.

They went into lightspeed and Hux held his breath. He wanted to take apart the ship and put it back together to make it more seamless, more efficient so there weren’t so many flashing lights and confusing options. 

It was what he wanted to do to Ren too. He wanted to take the dark knight apart and find out his components. What in his data made him tick, how could he be used more efficiently? Hux sometimes thought Ren’s powers weren’t being used properly but he did not understand the ways of the Force.

If he and Ren were to have a child, Hux wanted to know what made up Kylo Ren. Ren may have been trying to be ‘better,’ as loosely as one could define the word, but there was too much chaos riddled inside the man’s bones. The surprise factor of Kylo Ren was that he was dangerous. He could hurt anyone, including the baby and Hux, and Hux wanted to know how to keep Ren on a path he’d feel at ease about.

Ren was not a machine though, he was human. Machines were programmed to do one task and one task only. They could be reprogrammed, but their minds would still be bound to simplicity. Humans could be changed and steered to new paths. 

Hux didn’t know which was more frightening. 

Hux figured a true testament to someone’s humanity was how they reacted to children. 

Quirinal showed up as they exited lightspeed. The planet was beautiful blue and green, a clear showing of its vibrancy of current and new life. Hux could easily make out all the cities and villages as the planet was quite fond of white buildings or any stone close to whiteness. 

They landed as close as they could to the research facility. Doctor Minos was waiting there for them, along with that doctor Ren had forced to show them the room with the pod. 

There were little in the ways of formalities. Doctor Minos led them through the white halls and to a door that the couple was unfamiliar with. 

“This isn’t where the pod is,” Ren said firmly. 

“We deliver the baby out of the pod and bring it to you,” Doctor Minos instructed them. 

“I would rather see the baby be born.” 

It’s not exactly a birth Ren heard Doctor Minos think. For a woman who dealt which children, she had an odd empathy when it came to them. 

“There will be many doctors in the room. If you would like, you could stand outside the room instead. There is a little window in the door, but you can’t come in. Pod babies have to be cleaned right away and checked before handed off. The exposure to new germs can be trying but the percentage of the baby becoming ill or hurt is very low,” she explained. Ren grumbled beneath his helmet and finally agreed with waiting outside. Hux didn’t have much to say in the matter. His chest felt strange. 

They sat together awkwardly in two seats outside the door where the pod was. The chairs were too small for Ren’s humongous body and it was comical watching him try to get comfortable in it. Hux’s lean frame let him sit in the chair correctly, but his nerves made him squirm.

It all still felt unreal. Although the door did have a small window when Hux and Ren took their turns peeping in, it was hard to make out anything. Doctors and nurses were moving about the room and they couldn’t spot a baby. 

Hux eventually fell asleep. More specifically, Hux fell asleep on Ren’s shoulder as they awaited the delivery of their child. Ren allowed for the General to sleep on his shoulder because he didn’t know what else to do and rather not have a half-lucid workaholic carrying around a precious bundle of their DNA. 

Ren questioned if this was too close to fraternization for his Master. Surely, just letting the General sleep wasn’t betraying his Master’s word? He had slept with others in nonsexual manners before, namely his knights, and his knights were also associates of Snoke’s. 

Hux began muttering in his sleep. It unnerved Ren, especially as Hux began to twitch and say strange things he couldn’t make out. Ren pushed Hux’s mind to dream of better things. 

Eventually, Ren fell asleep as well while sitting upright in an uncomfortable position. He had his arms crossed and Hux’s cheek was still smushed up against his shoulder. 

Ren woke up again with a jolt, stirring the General out of his sleep. He sensed it, the change in the Force, the new light that glimmered in the galaxy. Hux groaned and sat up slowly. He rubbed his face. 

Doctor Minos exited into the hallway. She removed her face mask and smiled kindly at the men who were still waking up. Nobody could tell Ren had fallen asleep under his mask. 

“Congratulations General Hux and Lord Ren,” Doctor Minos announced with a clap of her hands, “it’s a boy!”

Ren swallowed hard and looked to his General. 

Hux’s eyes sparkled at the announcement. Hux was happy. Hux was never happy. Ren’s mouth was twisted. 

It was going to burn Ren to leave him behind.