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a bad moon, a good omen

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 He tasted blood in his mouth. It wasn’t the first time he had been in a fight, but those were all in the schoolyard with boys who weren’t trained to make each blow as painful as possible. It was the first time he was being hit by brass knuckles, and it was a feeling he never forgot. 
__


The air tasted like dust and ash. Probably a remnant of the recent mine explosion which Kylo Ren actually had nothing to do with. He hadn’t been in town when the Order had done that, but if he had been he would’ve talked the Knights out of doing that. The mines were a source of revenue from the town, and you can’t exactly rob something when there’s no revenue in the first place. It’s starting to get chaotic, and Kylo guessed that he should have expected that that was going too happen at some time, but it didn’t stop him from feeling gross about it. 
 

There were children that worked in those minds. Feeling guilt isn’t going to change anything about it. Kylo squinted down at the summons he’d gotten to come back to Blackwater. Snoke’s handwriting was getting worse. It was already hard to read, being dyslexic and all. But from what he could discern, he got the message. ‘There’s a new peddler in town selling a brand of snake oil that’s particularly lethal. He’s encroaching on our business, kill him and bring the money.’ He didn’t say please. 


 He never said please, but still a bit of respect was usually in some of his messages. Kylo rolled his eyes and then stuffed the paper in his pocket as he continued towards town. It was usually an easy way to get shot if he came in on a horse, so this time he didn’t. He had taken a knife and three guns and some bullets, alone with a flask of water, and that was all that he had to him. 
 

It always was hell walking back like this, but that’s what he got from wearing all black. At least, he thought to himself, my skin isn’t blistering right now. That was the most he could say that he was happy about. What he really wanted right now was something to eat, and a reason to not be in Blackwater. 

 He didn’t have that though. He had twenty miles to go and someone to kill, and that was it. But he knew that Snoke would reward him handsomely once the job was done. So it was, within an hour of his arrival. He’d gruffly asked a civilian where he lived, knocked on the door of his lodging in the local saloon and shot him dead when he opened the door. 

 It didn’t take long to find five hundred dollars underneath the floorboard and then go to the Carved Bullet. This was another saloon; the only difference was that all of the criminals came here. The money was on Snoke’s lap and the old man grimaced. 
 

“You’re late,” 
 

“I walked. From Coruscant. Also doing a job that you wanted me to do,” 
 

“Did you leave immediately when you got the note?” 

 “No,” 

 “Then you’re late. You get one hundred and fifty.” There was no use in arguing. Kylo set his jaw. 

 “Fine.” Snoke put down one hundred and fifty dollars on the table in front of him and then a room key.
"Thanks."


He was about to take the key when Snoke held it out of reach. "Don't be a brat, boy."


"Thank you, sir." The money and key were in his hands after that. He didn't care about anything else Snoke said after that, he went to his room and slept through the rest of the day. He was pretty sure he would’ve slept through the next if the bartender from the saloon hadn’t come to wake him. 


Finn Trooper was about the only man in Blackwater that you could trust. Everyone, criminals and civilians alike, knew that he was a kind hearted God fearing man who was not be messed with. “Ren, Snoke wants to talk. I left a plate of bacon and beans downstairs for you, I’m heading home.”


“Thanks,” He shouted before the man left. If there were more men like him in the sects of the Order, Kylo might’ve not been so tired of everything.
Might’ve not been so tired of Snoke. 


Yet here he was, wondering just what the point of his existence was. He considering taking a cigar down with him to relief the stress, but he’d been recently seeing people’s lungs fall weak to the smoke and wondered to himself if the cigars had anything to do with it. If they did, he would quit at least one of his vices, because lung disease did not seem like a fun way to go.


Kylo found himself dreading every single step he took down those stairs, and he felt nauseous. Every time Snoke wanted to talk, it never went well for him, much to the bemusement of the older outlaw.
Talk meant verbal abuse, or torture, and sometimes new jobs.


That’s what talk meant. But the when he saw that old man’s face and he was already eating the food that Finn had laid out for him something in him just snapped. Maybe, it was the fact that he was exhausted or maybe the fact that he was hungry but he just said it. 

There was no reason to beat around the bush anymore. 

“I want out,” He didn’t even look surprised. It wasn’t the first time he had said that, though. “I don’t want to be part of the Knights anymore and I don’t want to keep being on the run.”

“Okay,”

“Okay?”

“Just like that?” It was never, just like that. Ben could tell when Snoke’s face split into a smile that made chills go down his back. 

“No, not just like that. I have one more job I need you to do, one that will take you a long time and require you pick up the side jobs I ask of you to bring in revenue. If you do the long job though, I’ll give you a good cut and you can leave.”

“I’m listening,”