One kiss had led to another and another, and that had eventually led to an invitation to stay, although very little happened other than a brief exploration of each other’s naked bodies due to a combination of Ren’s confessed exhaustion and Armitage’s unconfessed reluctance to demonstrate his inexperience. In the morning they lay nude in Armitage’s bed, carefully not touching, each aware that the other was awake and pretending, until Ren got up to use the ‘fresher.
“I still wonder what would have happened if I had just shot them both,” Armitage said when Ren slipped back between the sheets, rolling onto his side to face Ren. Ren’s hand came up to smooth Armitage’s copper hair back from his face and he laughed.
“You would have been executed for treason,” Ren replied. “Snoke would probably have made me do it out of irritation that I failed to stop you. It would have been a waste.”
“Damn,” Armitage sighed. “I suppose I still have some work to do,” he said a little sadly. “Make myself the only possible successor. There are still a few relics like Brendol and Brooks who would get in the way. If I moved now, I’d risk fragmenting the First Order.”
“Hmm, there can’t be many who’d oppose you,” Ren replied. “Not with me at your side. I will ask Snoke if he has a timescale in mind. If you want.”
“No.” Armitage smiled and Ren smiled back, both still a little dopey-eyed from sleep. “It makes me look desperate if I have to ask. I can be patient. The right moment will come and I will find a way.” Armitage sat up in bed, yawned and stretched. “Kriff! Some of those old imperial officers can’t tell the difference between experience and stagnation. I’m glad I kept my biggest plans secret.”
“Your biggest plans?” Ren said, sitting up too and kneeling in front of Armitage to face him. “Secret? Even from me?”
Armitage grinned. “Wait and see. Just you wait and see what I’m building.”
Ren pushed Armitage’s shoulders so that he fell over backwards, back onto his pillows. Ren bodily pinned him down. “I demand to know,” he said. “You can’t keep secrets from me. You know that, don’t you?”
Armitage giggled and fought back, trying to flip Ren onto his back. “Perhaps I will tell you. If I have a suitable incentive.”
Ren grabbed Armitage’s wrists and pushed them above his head, leaned down and kissed him, and Armitage forgot what he was struggling about.
“You’ll tell me,” Ren said, pulling back a little.
“Oh will I?” Armitage replied. “What makes you think— Hey! How did you...”
Ren laughed as Armitage tried to free his hands from the magna binders that secured his wrists around the rail that prevented the pillows from slipping down the back of Armitage’s bed. As a further demonstration, Ren closed his eyes, held out his hand and his lightsaber flew into it. Armitage watched, wide eyed, as Ren ignited it. With a crackle and a hiss, the red blade lit up the room.
“What do you plan on doing with that?” he asked, a wariness in his voice that he couldn’t hide.
“I could use it make you talk,” Ren said. “I’d start with the parts you wouldn’t miss much.” Ren waited just long enough for Armitage to start to squirm then he deactivated the blade and dropped the hilt, letting it clunk on the floor. “But I think you’d be the type to tell me whatever you thought I wanted to hear.” Ren straddled Armitage’s hips. “And I want to hear the truth. Whether you think I will approve or not. Or I could just—”
“No!” Armitage glared and Ren stilled his hand halfway to Armitage’s head. “I told you. Never do that to me again.”
Ren shrugged. “You leave me only one option, then.”
Ren grinned and shuffled down the bed. He placed one hand on each of Armitage’s slender thighs and massaged slowly upwards until his hands splayed across Armitage’s hipbones.
“I think you’ll respond better to rewards than to threats,” Ren said, leaning forwards and planting a kiss on the soft skin of Armitage’s belly. “So. Tell me. What are you up to?”
“Something big,” Armitage said. “Immense.”
“I’ll give you something big,” Ren said with a hint of a laugh.
Armitage sniggered. “Something that needs a lot of kyber. Maybe I’ll use your lightsaber.”
“Kyber!” Ren sat upright. “What in the galaxy does a force-blind creature like you want with kyber?”
“Not telling you,” Armitage said, wriggling a little.
“Hmm,” Ren gave him an appraising look. “I can be persuasive.”
Ren leaned forwards, kissed Armitage on the lips, then nuzzled into the side of his neck, kissing and licking the skin under Armitage’s ear until Armitage was breathless with laughter.
“Stop! Stop,” Armitage said. “All right. Kyber is the best substance I know of for storing energy.”
“So you are building a device that stores a lot of energy.” Ren gave a satisfied little nod. “How much energy?”
“More than you can imagine,” Armitage said with a smile. “I need enough kyber to pack the core of a large moon or a small planet.”
“Karking sith!” Ren said, eyes wide and jaw dropping. “What in the name of the dark emperor himself do you want with all of that?”
“I don’t think I should tell you,” Armitage said. “I have spent months... years! Tracking down kyber deposits and mining them without the imperials getting wind of it. I won’t have anyone else take credit for my work.”
“Your secret will be safe with me,” Ren said. He lay on top of Armitage, pinning him with his weight, and lavished attention on the pink nubs of Armitage’s nipples until Armitage was groaning and writhing helplessly under him, legs parted, cock hard against Ren’s chest. Ren wriggled further down Armitage’s body. “You can tell me everything,” he said, mouthing at Armitage’s balls. “Don’t you want to share your secret with someone you can trust?”
Armitage closed his eyes and swore quietly. Ren sucked at the base of Armitage’s cock and kissed his way up to the tip then lifted his head and waited.
“Oh, fuck you, Kylo Ren!” Armitage said. “All right. The kyber absorbs the energy from a small star and redirects it through hyperspace to whatever I chose as a target. It is a truly stunning feat of engineering.”
“So?” Ren said, sucking the head of Armitage’s cock then blowing across it gently while Armitage tried to thrust up.
“So? So!” Armitage raised his head to glare at Ren. “As soon as I find out where the enemy is based I could blast them out of existence!”
Armitage let out a deep groan of disappointment when Ren sat up.
“That’s obscene!” Ren said, aghast. “It’s—”
“Kriff, Ren, it never actually needs to be used in anger. One calculated demonstration on a recalcitrant system nobody cares much about and others will scramble to fall into line.”
Armitage sighed. Ren frowned at him for a few more seconds.
“You really believe that,” he said. “Like Alderaan. Like the Death Star.”
“Yes, I suppose,” Armitage replied softly. “I want to avoid wasting lives in pointless battles with planets who ought to welcome the order and stability we can enforce.”
“Whether they want it or not,” Ren added.
“Some systems are not fit to govern themselves,” Armitage said. “You must see that.”
Ren lay down on his side next to Armitage, cupped Armitage’s face with one hand and kissed him. “I do see that,” he said. “And I... I agree. We— You should take the idea to Snoke.”
Armitage laughed softly. “It’s much more than an idea, Kylo. I have full plans.”
“I bet you do,” Ren replied with a grin. “Now what would it take to persuade you to show me those?”
It took Ren ten more minutes of teasing with his lips and tongue, and a slick finger buried in Armitage’s tight hole, before Armitage promised to tell Ren whatever he wanted on condition he just not stop. Armitage came, babbling about how his weapon would surpass the Death Star, and how Kylo Ren would surpass Darth Vader. The instant Ren released Armitage from the magna binders, Armitage pushed him over and took as much of his cock in his mouth as would fit. Ren waited about a minute and a half before pulling Armitage off and handing him the lube.
“I want you to ride me,” Ren said. Armitage froze and Ren felt his uncertainty. “You’ve never done that?” Armitage looked away and shook his head. “Sith! Am I your first?”
“Shut up,” Armitage snapped, “or I will use you as target practice for my proof of concept model.”
Ren laughed. “I’m honoured. Surprised, but... Look, you don’t have to if it’s too much.”
Armitage clasped a lubed hand around Ren’s cock and shrugged. “Well then. It’s no longer a secret that I like things on a large scale.”
Later, cradled in Ren’s arms, dozing in the stolen minutes before he absolutely had to get up, get dressed and report for duty, Armitage sighed and yawned.
“Shuttle accident,” he announced.
“What?” Ren asked, barely awake.
“He’s got this stupid antique yacht from Naboo that he uses instead of a modern upsilon. All smooth curves and fancy mirror finish. Steers like a hungry happabore that’s scented the feed trough.”
Armitage scoffed. “Of course! He claims it belonged to Palpatine himself, so it’s an ancient relic every bit as obsolete as he is. Wouldn’t take much for it to have a critical failure near enough to some primitive rock to get caught in its gravitational field and pulled inevitably to a hard landing.”
“Mm,” Ren said, smiling. “A tragic accident.”
Armitage grinned against Ren’s shoulder. “Imagine those last few moments before the impact when atmospheric friction started breaking it up and he’d know he was going to die and there’d be nothing he could do to prevent it. I wonder if he’d panic? Scream, puke and soil himself, I’d bet.”
“Probably,” Ren said with a soft laugh that puffed and tickled across Armitage’s ear. “And there’d be no suspicion on you.”
“A technician, perhaps, to take the blame. Maybe someone whose superior officer was one of Brendol’s cronies. Then I could have them executed for incompetence too.”
“Hah!” Ren sighed deeply. “Don’t you have duties to attend to?” he said. “I have to go back to the Supremacy.”
Armitage turned, frowning. “Well, that is disappointing,” he said. “I rather hoped we could spend this evening together.”
“We still might,” Ren said with a smile. “On the Supremacy. I have a feeling that Snoke will want to hear about your plans.”