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Acceptable Losses

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It would never cease to amaze General Hux how Kylo Ren could get under his skin. The man wasn’t even doing anything offensive. For the time being, his mind amended.
It was in the way he stood, the way he held himself. Ren moved through the world as if he expected everyone and everything to automatically make way for him. Hux hated that it did. It made his skin crawl. Ren was a deviant, which made him just about the worst thing behind being a rebel. Not to mention the issue of his parentage. Oh, the Knight tried to hide it, but such things were easily rooted out by quick eyes and quicker fingers. His mother was a General of the filthy resistance; his late father had been a symbol of uncontrollable self-indulgence. Ren was practically bred to be a thorn in Hux’s side.

At the moment the General was annoyed by how sweat was making Kylo’s cropped undershirt stick to his upper body. And at how the bottom mesh of the covering was just sheer enough to reveal the contraction of the muscles in Kylo’s abdomen. Specifically he was annoyed by how unannoyed the rest of him was by the sight. He wished for a moment that he could see Ren’s face and ground the thought into the dust of his mind.

Ren and his Knights were training. Perched above on a catwalk, Hux watched the activity from behind a reinforced, specially treated plane of glass—the same kind used for the viewing panels on the bridge. After the loss of Starkiller and Ren’s defeat at the hands of an untrained wild girl everyone had been on edge. Supreme Leader had mentioned completing Ren’s training. Hux wondered if the man was passing that training on to his group.

If he was, it was turning out to be a slow process. Hux watched as Kylo flung out an arm and seemed to select a Knight at random, plucking her from the ground and tossing her bodily across the room. With a painful twist the Knight managed to resist just enough to position her body so that her feet hit the wall first. Kylo released the force hold on her suddenly and she fell on her face onto the ground. The Knight let out a yelp of pain but remained still. The other Knights watched impassively, one or two of them moving a step or so to assist their comrade.

After a silent beat one of the Knights lifted a blaster and fired three shots in quick succession at their master. Without so much as a twitch Kylo caught the blasts, held them in the air and then returned the fire from whence it came. The Knights scattered; one was too slow and caught a shot on his lower leg. He took the wound silently, face disguised by his helmet.

Hux followed Kylo’s movements as the force user straightened himself and surveyed his group. They’d been training for hours, Hux knew. He’d only been present for the past three minutes but could see the exhaustion in the lines of their bodies. One of the Knights at the back was struggling to hold their weapon aloft. The female that Kylo had thrown was on her knees, blood dripping from under her mask onto the floor of the training arena. She rose shakily to her feet and took a defensive stance.

Then Kylo nodded wordlessly and the release of tension in the room was palpable. One Knight went to help the woman who’d been tossed; another had knelt down to check the wounded leg of their compatriot. Against his own will Hux’s eyes followed Kylo as he glided from the room, leaving his Knights milling about. As he reached the exit the helmet turned and Hux was suddenly aware that Kylo knew of his presence. The General crossed his arms behind his back and returned the supposed stare. This was his ship; he had nothing to hide. He could go where he pleased. Then Kylo deactivated his light sabre. Hux hadn’t even noticed that it had been humming until the sound ceased.
Ren left and Hux released a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.

Hux strode from the catwalk and down the metal grated stairs into the hallway. It was an hour until the standard sleep cycle was meant to start and sporadic groups of troopers were moving in fours and sixes around him. Some moved for the canteen, others headed to take up posts for night duty. The one or two troop leaders he saw saluted respectfully as they moved into his space. Hux ignored them. He needed a drink after that.

Steadying himself around Ren was becoming more and more difficult. At the start it had been laughably simple. He hadn’t given a passing thought to what Kylo meant to him beyond a hurdle to overcome. Finding the other man broken in the snow had only served to further diminish Hux’s view of the force-user. What he once found freakish he then found freakish and useless. But in their collective shame and degradation something unspoken had passed through Hux’s consciousness about Kylo. It had been easy once to hate the other man. And then suddenly he hadn’t been so sure of it.

It was like growing up knowing water was wet only to find, somewhere into your thirties, that water was dry and cottony.

The officer’s lounge was all but deserted. It was a long, narrower room with low lighting and floor to ceiling windows. It was that perfect time between being too early for heavy drinking and too late for light conversation. Hux did not meet the eyes of the others in the room and headed straight for a chair in the corner. Most of them would be leaving soon if they knew what was good for them. Word had traveled fast among the officers. Most of the rank and file had no real clue. Hux didn’t bother to think on whether or not Kylo had said anything to his Knights. He felt that Kylo’s discretion was none of his business. He sat on the low chair, elbows on his knees and stared at the table.

In the fifteen minutes it took for Kylo to arrive the lounge had emptied and Hux had found himself in possession of a bottle filled with dark amber liquid. Two glasses sat on the table, one filled, the other empty. Without speaking Kylo sat in the opposite chair. He crossed his legs. And took up the empty glass, peering at it through the visor of his helmet.
They sat in silence, Hux occasionally taking a sip of the strong drink and Kylo staring impassively out the window, fingers tracing the rim of his own glass. Kylo didn’t like to drink, but Hux didn’t like to drink alone more. In that respect, at least, Kylo was surprisingly obliging. The Knight held onto the receptacle for the look of the thing; for something to do with his hands. By the time Hux had drained his glass Kylo had taken up at least staring in his direction. He replaced his own empty glass on the table after Hux did.

“Does it help, General?”

Hux narrowed his eyes in distaste at the question. Then, “No,” he admitted. If he didn’t focus it often made it worse. Hux did not drink often, born half from his knowledge that he was wont to over drink given the opportunity. The other half was founded solidly in the fact that strong drink had a tendency to re-awaken long dead paranoid delusions. One did not rise through the ranks as he did without earning dangerous rivals. The black helmet nodded once and then shifted his position in the chair so that he mirrored Hux, leaning over with the weight of his upper body supported by his elbows on his knees. The shifting of the fabric echoed in the empty space. It brought the two men’s heads closer together so that to an outsider if may have appeared as if they were leaning together to whisper something.

They were not.

Hux watched his reflection in the visor for a moment. It was still somewhat odd to think of Kylo’s eyes behind it, watching him back. He wondered briefly if the Knight’s eyes had ever dragged over his body the way Hux’s eyes did to him.

“May I pour you a drink?” Hux said steadily. He could see the way Kylo’s breathing changed; a sigh. Then he slipped his thumbs under the edges of the helmet and pulled. Hux forced back the tremor in his chest when Kylo revealed his face. It didn’t seem right that he looked so young—so fragile. Twisting across his cheek and over was the scar. Hux had kissed it once and remembered the way Kylo had flinched both away and into the touch. The Knight turned his wide, dark eyes to the other man, placing the mask upon the table between them.

“Yes,” Kylo replied after a moment, the bass of his voice always catching Hux slightly off guard. He knew the helmet modulated Kylo’s voice but he always expected something more. Or less. Or. He focused on pouring the drink, less than he would have given himself. Kylo watched him passively, eyes following his fingers as they replaced the cap and then slid the glass over. Their gloved fingers brushed as Kylo took up the drink. A quick meeting of the eyes. A quickened something in Hux’s chest. They were close enough to. Kylo ghosted his forehead against Hux’s and then leaned back and away.

Hux allowed himself a small chuckle when Kylo sipped it and winced.

In another world Hux would have continued to drink and Kylo would have tried to match him and the sleep cycle would have ended with them in a pile of drunken uncoordinated limbs. As it stood Hux did not pour himself another drink—Kylo drank his own slowly. If he were another man Hux would have risen and luxuriated in the sting of the liquor on Kylo’s tongue flooding his own mouth. He would have nipped at those lips to see if he could mix just the tiniest bit of blood and saliva and brandy. Instead he turned his attention out the window.

By the time he looked back Kylo was leaning to place his drink, he’d consumed less than half of it, back onto the table. Hux’s fingers twitched but he resisted the urge to take up the glass. He knew Kylo wouldn’t it finish it—it was waste of. No. It didn’t matter.

“Did it help, Ren?” Hux asked lowly. He knew he was being petty and found he didn’t care.

“No,” Kylo replied just as tastelessly. Their eyes met for a long moment and Hux was the one to fold and glance away. He never liked what he saw in Kylo’s eyes, even when they held things he wanted to see. Tonight the brown eyes were blank. A dangerous thing. Hux’s mind could paint whatever it desired onto a blank canvas. And it desired a great deal that it shouldn’t have.

Kylo was pushing the table slightly out of the way so that he could rise to his feet. Hux couldn’t stop himself from watching the movement as Kylo moved to stand before the window. He cut a sharp silhouette against the blackness of space. As Hux’s eyes dragged themselves over the tall man’s form he found that the object of his attention was not entirely steady on his feet. Hux told himself it was the drink and turned his gaze away.

The failures of months ago still weighed thick and heavy on both of them. Hux’s ego had taken a blow, but his resolve was firm. Order would be returned to the galaxy and he and his troopers would be the agents of its realization. Ren’s wounds however. Kylo had always been stuttering on the brink of something, but after the events of Starkiller something within the force user had shattered. It had been clear in the time since then that Kylo was cutting himself on the edges of it.

“General,” try as he may Hux couldn’t read the tone of voice for a clue.

“Ren,” he responded carefully. Kylo brought his arms around his back and held his own forearms fast. Hux heard more than saw him take in a deep steadying breath.

“Did you love your father?”

Hux nearly straightened himself out of his chair. What? They’d never discussed their familial lives before.

“I,” he faltered, unsure of how to respond. He knew that during the destruction of the base Kylo had slain Han Solo. Beyond that, Hux had felt very little motivation to dig deeper into the subject; it involved neither himself nor the First Order. And it had never seemed wise to broach the topic with the other man. “I admired him,” he managed. “He was a good man,” Then, without his consent, his voice shifted to a whisper. “He made me the man I am today,” it sounded disastrously like he was trying to convince himself. There was a beat of silence and in it he saw Kylo’s shoulders tense. His face in the reflection of the window was unreadable.

Kylo made a noise in his throat and pivoted from the window. Without further warning he stalked over to the table and snatched up his drink, dumping the entirety of its contents into his mouth and then he made a perfect arc with his arm and released. The glass shattered violently against the wall. He swallowed and then gasped raggedly against the burn in his throat. And then he roared. Calling it a yell would’ve been a severe disservice to the rich, primordial soul of the sound. Hux did his best impression of what he imagined his future statues would look like.

Ren was volatile at the best of times, but this was shaping up to be an entirely different animal. Hux really didn’t want to get into a discussion about father-son relationships with a man who’d committed patricide. He imagined that Kylo’s opinion would end up being rather skewed.

The other man was quiet, still seething, his chest heaving and face twisted. Then a bark left his throat, a laugh only in name. It sent a jolt of fear from Hux’s stomach into his throat.

“I feel the same way about mine,” a solar flare of rage tickled at the exposed skin of Hux’s face. Before he could rise from his seat Kylo had rounded on him. His features were twitching; he avoided Hux’s eyes. “Good evening General,” he said softly and Hux chose to ignore the tremor in the Knight’s voice. “Thank you for the drink,” on that oddly polite note, Kylo replaced his helmet and stalked from the lounge, taking the bottle with him. If he felt Hux’s eyes on his back as he left, he didn’t react to them.

Right. Great date night. Hux stared at the wall. They’d have to do it again sometime.

A theory dawned on Hux halfway to his quarters why Kylo would be thinking of his father. Damn it. Half his mind told him to ignore it. The other half won out; Hux blamed his damnable caring nature. His feet were already turning towards where Kylo bedded down, if indeed the man ever slept.

It was stupid and sentimental. Hux’s heart, divided from his mind, throbbed in sympathy. Although he would never admit to it, Hux still sent a short missive to his mother on the anniversary of his father’s birth. He never brought up the topic of it but there was a part of him that still felt it was necessary. For her part, his mother kindly never brought up that her son only seemed to be interested in ‘checking in’ on his father’s birthday. Now, the anniversary of Han Solo’s death—that would be an understandable reason for Kylo to get himself in a twist. But his birthday? Perhaps Hux was wrong about the date? Maybe there was some other significance to it. It was fairly likely that the answer was somewhere in Hux’s brain, lazing around and getting drunk and not coming when it was called for and.

The door to Kylo’s quarters was open. A yawning darkness met Hux’s gaze.

It was not the fear of fangs or claws that started to bloom at the base of Hux’s skull. This was something much deeper, much more primal. The fear of shadows where there shouldn’t have been any. The fear of what lurked in them. Unknown. Hux despised the unknown. He steadied himself. Icy adrenaline pumped under his skin. Monsters in the dark, his thoughts whispered. Waiting for you.

He isn’t here, Hux assured himself, just turn around and leave. Oh stars, what if he’s behind me? Hux tried to reason with himself that such a thing wouldn’t make sense but his heart was having none of it. It pounded against his ribcage screaming run. Hux stood his ground.

“Ren?” at least his voice sounded even. It was keeping up appearances, but it had to be done. He would linger for a few moments longer and then he would be free to (casually) speed walk from the area. No one would be able to fault him for not trying.

“General Hux,” Kylo’s voice echoed from the blackness. Which was absurd, there wasn’t enough space for there to have been an ech—“Come in,” something was wrong with the voice. Very wrong. Hux’s feet wanted to defy the order. Hux’s legs did as well. In fact, in a quick survey, every part of Hux wanted to run. Well, except for the part of the brain which handled curiosity, but it had gotten this whole mess with Ren started in the first place, so its opinion no longer counted.

He took a cautious step forward and the nature of the dark changed. The door had slid shut behind him with a hiss; it took Hux’s eyes a few moments to adjust. And for his heart to climb out of his throat. Had Kylo been waiting with his door open? That didn’t seem. Well. None of this seemed right.

Kylo was sprawled back on the edge of his bed, feet still flat on the floor, one arm dangling over the edge clutching a now empty bottle. That didn’t bode well. Perhaps if he was subtle about it he could back out of the room before Kylo noticed.

“I’d offeryou a drink,” the bottle made a bright clink as it hit the ground and toppled over. It rolled, unhindered, under Kylo’s bed. “But, aha,” Kylo’s chest was convulsing in rhythmic little shots. He was either laughing or crying. As abruptly as it started the motion stopped. “Have a…aseat,” he spoke slowly and, if he really had finished the entire bottle, it was most likely to hide the slurring. He wasn’t succeeding.

Hux glanced warily around the room. It was barren for the most part. There was a bed and a table and a trunk. This was a room to be slept in. There were no additions, like chairs, for mere creature comforts. After a moment of hesitation Hux crossed to Kylo’s bed and lowered himself onto it. He sat, back ramrod straight, and stared at the wall ahead of him. Insofar as he could tell, Kylo’s gaze was firmly on the ceiling as if through sheer force of will he could see beyond it to the stars. Perhaps he could. Hux’s knowledge of the force had never moved much beyond ‘deviant and powerful and wrong’.

“Why…didyoucome here?” Kylo asked the ceiling. His words came out too many at a time, as if they were stepping on each other’s toes to get out of his mouth. Hux considered his reply and found he didn’t like the answer. He’d been concerned that Ren would do something rash, which wasn’t something he was about to admit to. In all fairness Kylo had been being rash; tipping back a nearly half full bottle of brandy was going to have consequences even for the “hero” of the first order. Especially for the hero of the first order. In the brief time Hux had been…ahem…personal with Kylo he’d known the Knight to be a one lum type of drinker. Kylo was waiting for Hux to reply. At some point the Knight had brought his arms to cross over his chest and? Ah. He was trying to pull his cowl over his head and failing.

Hux wasn’t ready to start helping the other man undress quite yet. Dealing with a sober Ren was trying enough, he didn’t want to start fielding sexual advances from a smashed one.

“No reason,” Hux managed to mutter. Kylo was still struggling as either his limbs were not functioning properly or the cloth his cowl was made out of was more sinister than Hux gave it credit for. As he gave his answer Kylo managed to jerk himself free, sighing, arms falling heavily to either side. One of them ended up smacking Hux in the side, all drunken dead weight and heat. Or lack thereof. The hand that had landed on him was freezing. Without a thought to accompany the movement Hux took the hand into his own, feeling the icy fingertips begin to slowly warm. He realized what he’d done a moment too late as Kylo was already wriggling his fingers into the body heat.

“I’s never what…what he wanted ina inason,” Kylo said suddenly and the adrenaline was back in Hux’s bloodstream. Get out now. Leave. There is no way this ends well. The grip on his hand tightened fiercely, all but grinding his knuckles together. He winced and tried to remain calm. Ren was still staring blankly above him. “He found it…he found the force just as…justas repulvise…rep…hated it as muchas you do,” an impressive feat, Hux thought. If it were true. “He was…always ‘fraid ‘f me…justalittle…even b’fore I,” he trailed away into a painful hush.

Kylo’s mind on the best of days existed in an odd, cloudy state. It made his narrative of the events of his past less than credible. Hux didn’t doubt that Kylo felt like his father was disappointed in who he’d been born as; he doubted the father had actually felt that way. The grip on his hand lessened. “The ceiling’s…it’s spinnin’,” Kylo continued, as if it were a thing to talk about. He’s going to be sick soon, Hux’s mind offered unhelpfully. Kylo made a noise of distress in the back of his throat.

“Close your eyes,” Hux advised. “It’ll help with the dizziness,” it was a good thing Kylo was already flat on the bed—he wouldn’t have to worry about negotiating the larger body off of the floor. He glanced over to see that his words were heeded.

“I killed ‘im,” Ren whispered out a moan, eyes slipping shut. Well shit. What could he say to that? Yes, yes you did? Good going on noticing that? Acceptance is the first step? Before he had time to construct a response Kylo had apparently circled back around to the physical aspect of his angst. “’m sick,” Hux’s hand flew away from Kylo’s.

“Roll onto your side, then,” he barked, a little more forcefully than he intended. There was a tremor of fury so strong that Hux could almost hear it vibrating in the still air.

“No…not…not like that,” Kylo hissed. Hux felt a pressure start bringing his shoulder blades together and arms in and forcing his breath out and. It was like being squeezed by a great, awful fist. It was gone before it could do any damage beyond terrifying him. Kylo flew upright, bending at the waist. He was trembling, staring down at his palms. “Sick…sicksicksick since the day I’s born,” the slurring was especially apparent on the ‘s’ of sick. His face was twisted in agony.

Never should have come. Hux pushed the thought away. While it was technically correct, it wasn’t helping. Should have let him have his damn crisis in privacy, the thought said louder, offended at being called unhelpful.

Slowly Hux reached out and placed a hand on Kylo’s back. Ren flinched but didn’t move away. And that was when Hux realized his mistake. Today was not Han Solo’s birthday. It was Kylo Ren’s. This was just getting worse and worse by the second, wasn’t it? Kylo Ren, upper half bent over the edge of his bed, began dry heaving and Hux couldn’t tell if he was going to be sick or start sobbing.

For the first time in his life Hux prayed for vomit.

“Sick n’weak,” Kylo was muttering. “’m sorry,” tremors ran through the muscles in his back and into Hux’s hand. Shit. Hesitantly, like patting a dog that might turn and bite at any moment, Hux rubbed between Kylo’s shoulder blades. “—was a goodman,” Kylo said, as if arguing with himself. Hux sighed heavily.

“You’re just drunk, Ren,” he didn’t even sound convincing to himself. “This,” whatever the hell this is, Hux’s mind interjected. “This will pass,” Kylo made a small noise and rocked slightly. The muscle spasms—Hux would not acknowledge them for what they were—began to lessen until they were barely noticeable.

“ahjushwillyastayhere?” a muttered, dead tongued noise left the Knight.

“What?” Hux paused and hoped he’d heard wrong. Kylo leaned even further over the side of the bed, burying his face in his hands.

“Will youstay here?” Kylo sounded weak as he spoke very, very carefully. Hux felt at a loss, hand still resting on Kylo’s back, still half tempted to run from the room.

“I.” he said and ignored the shouting from his mind. “Yes,” he’d just stay for an hour, make sure Ren didn’t pass out and drown in a pool of his own sick, do his best to avoid discussing any topic Kylo seemed to come up with. He could do this. Kylo was leaning back to the safety of the bed again.

Kylo passed out after twenty minutes. He’d drunkenly slurred a few more self-pitying phrases before rolling over onto his stomach and burying his face into a pillow. Then he’d had a one-sided conversation with a burnt out mask he’d placed with clear reverence on a pedestal. Every once and while, in between outbursts, Kylo’s hand would find Hux’s and he’d squeeze. Tight and desperate and frantic. Hux was fairly certain he’d have bruises on his hand in the morning.

He waited to see if the slumber would last. One minute, two. Five. Ten. Kylo’s breathing began to even out. As gingerly as was humanly possible Hux managed to steal back his hand.

Chapter Text

Kylo sat in a chair during the morning meeting. In any other situation it would have garnered little attention from Hux. Sure, Kylo usually stood in a corner, but a man was allowed to sit every now and again. After last night Hux found himself casting wary glances in the man’s direction during lulls in the briefing. No one was very agreeable the morning after a bender; it was very disconcerting to think of what Kylo Ren with a hangover was capable of. Hux spent a distressingly large amount of the meeting trying to surreptitiously decide whether or not Ren had fallen asleep in his chair. He was awake by the end of the meeting, regardless.

A wave of dread rolled over Hux as the other officers left to go about their business.

Hux resisted the urge to try and vacate the premises before the room emptied; he steadied himself and within a minute or two found that he was alone with the Knight. He watched from the corner of his eyes as Kylo rose from his place at the long meeting table. An awkward blanketing hush fell over them and muffled their senses.

“I would like a word with you, General. This evening?” the tone wasn’t entirely a question, but it was still hesitant. Hux wondered how much of last night Ren remembered. From his passive body language Hux judged: very little. Or all of it. It was hard to tell with him. The strong form was slightly curved in on itself, as it was wont to do when Ren was uncomfortable.

“Certainly, Ren,” Hux said professionally, keeping his breathing shallow and steady. It was an odd sort of relief. He didn’t want to have that discussion this early in the morning. To be fair, he never wanted to have the conversation but he could acknowledge that it would have to be dealt with. Sooner or later. Kylo did an odd sort of two step, as if he were trying to leave the room without stepping back and away. Hux was suddenly aware of the fact that Kylo had been staring at him from behind his mask. Then the Knight pivoted abruptly on his heel and was gone. That habit of his was becoming increasingly annoying. It had a tendency of making Hux want to follow him. Hux shook his head and redirected his focus onto the morning’s reports.

 

They were uprooting pockets of resistance fighters on the planet’s surface. This week alone had seen a shipment containing medical supplies intercepted, two packages containing blasters and physical munitions had been shot down and seized and the communications department were making headway cracking through the scrambled jumble of code and nonsense that comprised the resistance’s link with their commanders. Captain Phasma’s security division had found two of the more enterprising members of the resistance on a stake-out, trying to establish the schedule of comings and goings of ships and people on board the Finalizer. And, as always, there were whispered rumors of a spy onboard the ship itself.

The rumors had made Hux’s stomach turn. They could not afford to let a spy relay any information to the enemy, regardless of its importance. Hux also refused to allow a witch hunt to occur under his command. It was a thin line to walk, he thought, staring down at his datapad. One wrong move and it would be more than just himself falling from grace. The destruction of Starkiller had crippled the First Order more than Hux was willing to allow to be made public. He’d had to put a strangle hold on the flow of information leaving the Finalizer. It had raised the value of said information enormously.

Their monetary backers were asking questions, a development which never ended well for military endeavors. Their myopic view of what the Galaxy should be disappointed Hux, but he bit back his distaste. In any case it was just as likely that the people holding the purse strings were sending in as many spies as the resistance.

So then.

How could one find a spy without acting like they were searching for a spy?

Hux had been born a bosom-mate of paranoia. The last time he’d allowed himself to trust in anything he’d been rewarded with Kylo practically allowing the destruction of Starkiller Base and one of his best Captains ending up in a trash compactor. He was accustomed to questioning the motives and machinations of every living creature around him—his knew his subordinates would doubtlessly find it trying.

During his ascent to General, Hux had called in quite a few favors that respect for his surname had earned him. He wondered if he had any left with the empire’s former intelligence agency. Not many of the Ciphers had been able to pass on their skills when the Empire fell and so those few who were known to the First Order were in high demand. Hux bit the inside of his cheek and brought out his datapad. He wouldn’t have a problem requisitioning an agent from the First Order’s ranks; it was a matter of pulling strings to make sure it was someone beyond competent.

A message flickered to his attention across the top of his datapad. Ah. The resistance fighters were talking. It was anyone’s guess if they were saying anything worthwhile. If the questioning was being done right then they were most likely only giving away what would be common knowledge. If it was being done wrong then they were saying whatever it was they thought would make the ‘questioning’ stop. Hux debated attending the interrogation for roughly five seconds. Ren would be there, if not actively interrogating then at least observing the torture. Hux’s mind stuttered for a moment trying to decide if that was a good or bad thing. He decided against it; his next meeting would be starting soon in any case.

Roughly ten days ago Snoke had sent Kylo somewhere. Hux hadn’t even been made aware of when the Knight was meant to return—he hadn’t chanced questioning Supreme Leader about it. Hux had staunchly refused to admit that he’d felt a flicker of deepening concern each night that Kylo had been away without a sign. And then Ren had returned with a small datachip. Some ancient looking thing that radiated evil in a way that had made the marrow of Hux’s bones vibrate in primal fear. It was an artefact of the ancient Sith. When Kylo Ren had produced it Snoke had sent the Knight away from the chamber, leaving Hux alone in his flickering presence.

Contained within the chip, embedded and coded and protected by layers upon layers of encryption were schematics for something. It was nowhere near as large as Starkiller; whatever the plans detailed seemed to be no bigger than the Finalizer itself. And yet if preliminary studies were to be believed, somewhere in the vicinity of being ninety times as powerful as Starkiller. Snoke informed him that activating it would be powerful enough to collapse matter into a black hole.

Snoke bid Hux ‘build it’ and the General would obey. His palms had itched at the thought of the power under his fingertips. He would never need to use it; the threat alone would be enough to bring the corrupt and loathed “Republic” to cow-tow.

Hux was torn from his thoughts by an officer entering the room and saluting him smartly. She waited passively for him to acknowledge her, which he did with a curt nod, and then she relaxed her stance. Chief Engineer Hale was one of three people on board who had unrestricted access to the weapon schematics. During the construction of Starkiller she had proven herself to be a woman of numbers, hard facts and an unrelenting belief that if something could not be built it was because the builder simply wasn’t trying hard enough. The thought of this new project had excited her at first. It was easy to see that now it weighed heavy on her mind; there was more grey in her hair, more lines around her eyes.
Hux did not envy her; he would suffer is she failed, but the brunt of this project was on her shoulders. If the weapon failed in any way, shape or form, Chief Engineer Hale would lose more than respect or her job. She stared at the just wall beyond his head.

“General Hux, sir,” her voice was steady.

“Sit,” Hux motioned to a chair on the opposite side of the table from himself. “I understand that you’ve been studying the plans?”

“Yessir,” Engineer Hale was at least a decade older than himself and yet the woman was clearly uneasy in his presence. She was a shorter woman and was nearly as broad across the shoulders as she was tall. It had the effect of making her look like a middle-aged cube. Hux acknowledged and then ignored his approval of her discomfort and set the datapad down on the table.

“And?” the General leaned forward, elbows on the table, fingers lacing together in front of his chest. “Can it be done?” Hale leveled her gaze to meet his. It wasn’t quite fear in her eyes. It shone more of anxious resignation—well. That didn’t bode well. People like Hale did not become anxious easily; numbers and metal did what they were told to do and everything else in life was superfluous detail.

“Not with the resources we have now, sir,” she replied evenly. Hux held her gaze, waiting for the other shoe to drop. It never came. Hale stared back at him, face etched in wary regret. In any other situation it was clear she would have someone else to deliver the bad news—but there was no one else to send. There was no one else on the Finalizer beyond herself, the chief architect and Hux who had full, working knowledge of this plan. Hux exhaled slowly through his nose. He’d been expecting that.
“In what areas are we lacking?” he began, keeping her pinned with his gaze.

Hale shifted. “All of them?” she chanced and cringed as she said it. “Sir,” Hale added as an afterthought. Or a forethought, as she continued. “We need materials—and nothing so simple as steel and cable; we need laborers and supplies for those laborers. We need large amounts of space; and not just in terms of ground coverage. We’ll need medical supplies and practitioners for the inevitable accidents. And none of that is considering the actual building materials. I only got halfway through calculating how much magnesium we’ll need before I had to have a lie-down, not to mention the lumber and sand,”

“Lumber and sand?” Hux repeated. He arched an eyebrow.

“Yessir?” Hale’s eyebrows furrowed slightly and Hux sent her a look that indicated the he’d spent his time constructing a legacy, not corridors. “Yessir, lumber and…,” she paused. “Large amounts of rhodium and what I think to be…uh…iron oxide,” the rhodium would be difficult, even Hux knew that. It was one of the most expensive elements in the galaxy. His brain was distressingly good at remembering which things would have him crawling back to the First Order’s funders. The rest of what Hale had said managed to make itself known.

“What you think to be iron oxide?” Hux had a tendency to repeat things when he wanted a further explanation, but didn’t want to seem like he needed to ask a question. It didn’t fool anyone, but he did it anyway out of habit.

“Yessir,” she said miserably. Hux’s mind managed to slot the words into a more recognizable space.

“You think ‘rust’ will be required? In large amounts?”

“Yessir,” Hale looked like she was physical pain. “At least that’s what the schematics seem to indicate,” a headache behind Hux’s eyes began to throb in sympathy. He’d taken a glance or two at the first translations off of the datachip and had earned himself a migraine for his trouble.

Hux leaned back in his chair and sighed. “Can you do anything with what is available now?” Hale was back to politely staring at the wall over his shoulder. It was an even older trick than repeating someone else’s words. Subordinates used it, officers used it; Hux had used it on occasion when speaking with the Supreme Leader. Keep the gaze close enough to the face to be respectful, avoid eye contact to keep the other person from seeing in. Her mouth moved soundlessly for a moment before she replied.

“I could build you a rather nice raised sound-stage, sir,” Hux glared at her but failed to find any sign of a joke in Hale’s face. Her gaze on the wall didn’t flicker for an instant.

“If we can manage to get the resources we need—can it be built?” Spies and sand. Just how many favors did he really have left? The time to find out was at hand.

“Our people can build anything, sir,” Hale replied, for the first time during the meeting, with confidence. Hux appreciated it. He found he had something of a cousin of faith in Hale’s abilities; it was reassuring to see that she apparently returned it in spades towards her workers.

“Then I’ll need an itemized list of everything you think necessary,” Hux was asking her to walk a fine line without really asking it. She’d have to hedge for every contingency without being overly zealous AND without cutting corners. “Consult with Chief Architect Dershev before you submit it to me,” he began and then added, “If you’re able,” the professional respect he felt for Chief Engineer Hale was more than overshadowed by his personal distaste for Chief Architect Dershev.

Whereas Hale prided herself on economy of everything, Dershev had troubling ideas about form dictating function and not the other way around. Dershev was the sort of person who drew curly spirals and fern designs around the borders of floor plans and spoke of the need for color coordination and debated loudly with himself about the merits of certain column styles. Hux preferred to deal with Dershev at arms’ length at all times because Dershev was also the sort of person who argued against the use of hand railings along elevated walkways because they ‘ruined the aesthetic’. From Hale’s expression it was clear that she shared Hux’s unspoken opinion of the architect i.e. that his input on this project was less than necessary. But appearances did matter, at least when it came to backers and the public, so an architect’s eye was occasionally required.

On the table Hux’s datapad lit up once more. Hux cast a brief glance at it and kept his face as motionless as possible.

“You are dismissed,” he said and tried to keep his eyes and voice from betraying him.

“Yessir,” Hale rose in one fluid motion filled with relief at the thought being able to end this meeting. She saluted smartly and strode from the room with the knowledge that although her future held a great deal more of Dershev than she would’ve liked it also held the prospect of being able to get her work done.

Hux held his statuesque position until Hale was clear from the room before he grabbed the datapad and pulled up the message. It was from Ren, a rare sight in and of itself; the message sent bile rising in Hux’s throat.

Urgent. Interr—room 2. Trouble.

Shit. The only trouble Kylo would bother telling him about would have to do with the information the questioning had revealed. And even then…Hux cursed under his breath.

Hux was surprised to see one of the Knights of Ren waiting outside of interrogation room 2. Her arms were crossed firmly over her chest in a stance that was half threatening and half dismissive. She’d been told to guard the door and because she was a fighter and not a guard had promptly gotten bored. Security detail required the sort of mind and body that could be occupied with staring at the opposite wall for hours at a time. He watched her as he made his way down the hall. Even with her face covered by the mask and her form concealed under heavy robes it was clear that she didn’t want to be there. Every syllable of her body language said that she’d rather be out shooting something.

She straightened when she saw Hux approaching but not to her full height. The Knights of Ren were not under Hux’s jurisdiction and she did not salute. If Hux hadn’t been preoccupied by wondering what was going on in the room behind her he would have wondered if she was the same Knight who’d been thrown against the wall. She rapped her knuckles against the door and moved with it as it slid open.

The first thing to hit Hux was the smell. It stank of fear and sweat and industrial strength cleansing fluid. This was a room that was disinfected and scrubbed on an hourly basis when it was in use. Hints of fresh blood played into the mix.

It took a moment for Hux’s eyes to adjust to the low lighting but when they did he focused on the young man who was strapped to a raised table. He was covered in sweat and grime and spots of blood were beginning to edge through parts of his fabric clothing. The blood would have been from the initial interrogation.

The face, twisted in residual agony, couldn’t have been more than twenty. The resistance was using children? Teenagers at the very least. Panting heavily, tears streaming down his cheeks and saliva dripping down his chin, Hux determined that Kylo had been assisting during the questioning. Presumably when the drawing of blood had proven to be ineffective. Hux made a half turn and saw the Commander in question, cloaked and helmed, just halfway in the shadowy corner. A hungover Ren with license and motivation to torture something nearly made Hux’s stomach turn. His mind took the sensation and instantly relabeled it as a valuable, if temporary, asset.

The actual interrogator, a lieutenant with bad skin, was next to him with panic clear in his eyes. He caught Hux’s gaze, saluted shakily and then abruptly turned to ensure the door was secured. The locking mechanisms clicked and the pressurizer hissed, sealing the entrance shut. Whatever was about to be revealed would only leave in the minds of those present. That was not a reassuring thought.

The wheezing of the prisoner on the table kept the silence from being oppressive.

After a moment of waiting in the tense air Hux could take it no longer and finally snapped.

“Well?” At the sudden noise Lieutenant Skin Condition hopped away from the door. He looked sheepishly at the wall. Hux followed his gaze and saw that the wall in question had a slight recess into which several rather archaic items rested in personal grooves. They were the sort of things only that only a very clear thinking, sane and completely depraved mind could come up with. The General didn’t allow his gaze to linger there. They were necessary evils. His mind would not apologize for them, but that did not mean he had to focus on the streak of vermillion on one of the sharper, curved tools. Or the way it caught the light. Or how it.

Kylo Ren stepped forward and extended a hand towards the restrained man on the table. The General’s attention was on him in an instant. Then Hux had to tear his eyes away from the motion; had to convince his mind to not imagine the flexing of the muscles hidden beneath the black fabric. Now was very much not the time for that. The captive made a noise not unlike that of a severely wounded animal, high and desperate and keening. His young face contorted in unrestricted pain as if every nerve fiber in his body was being drowned in pain. Perhaps they were. It was a wrenching sound to hear come from a human being. Kylo then brought his hand down to hang apathetically at his side, clearly satisfied with the information he’d pulled from the boy.

“It appears,” he met Hux’s gaze with a cold voice, “that there is a spy in our midst, General,”

Chapter Text

Behind them the interrogator made a low noise of distress. Hux’s soul echoed the sentiment but he kept silent. He resisted the urge to ask if Kylo was certain—given the state the prisoner was in, Hux wouldn’t have doubted it if Kylo accused Snoke of being a spy. The melodrama of the reveal left a sour taste in Hux’s mouth however, and he wished this could have been an even more private affair than it was turning out to be. Of course there would be a spy, he scolded himself, and for some reason the thought did provide some comfort. Spies were unavoidable but they’d been dealt with in the past. They could be dealt with again.

“He doesn’t know what the spy looks like, but we do have a name,” Kylo continued in his modulator warped monotone. He brought his hand back up and Hux winced in primal sympathy as the man on the table whimpered again. The rest of him strangled it down and put it in the corner to think about what it was doing. This was a resistance soldier; they would do the same, if not worse, if any of the First Order’s people were captured. He kept that thought prominent until it occurred to him that Kylo had clearly already obtained the information from the prisoner. This torture was either for show or personal pleasure. Something twisted in Hux murmured its approval of…; it too was sent to a corner. “Helrin Kato,” again, he withdrew the force and the man was back to heaving terribly and tears were running down his cheeks. Hux seared the name to the forefront of his brain. Then.
“Is that all he knows?” Hux asked. The fact that he knew the name of the spy was a fluke, Hux knew, but it never hurt to check. If there was anything at all hidden in the man’s mind that could be of use to them…

“Everything he knows that’s worth anything,” Kylo replied dismissively. “Apparently he overheard it one evening while General Organa,” Kylo’s voice didn’t so much as vibrate on the name but Hux still felt a spike of concern in his own chest. “Was discussing espionage a little too loudly,” the position of Kylo’s shoulders changed. It was barely perceptible but Hux, to his own uncomfortable realization, had been watching the other man very closely.

“What about the other one,” Hux turned to who his mind was treacherously referring to as ‘Lieutenant Skin Condition’, “the other prisoner?”

The interrogator shook his head. His eyes were still wide in fear. No. Not fear, the General realized, it was awe. Edging on reverence. Hux wondered idly if the man had ever seen the Force used in an interrogation setting. It was not a sight that was easy to forget. The prisoner let out a sob. The three other men in the room ignored the sound with practiced ease.

“Less than nothing,” Kylo elaborated, unhelpfully. “And the access codes they have will be out of date by the time we’d be able to do anything with them,” Hux swore in the back of his mind and rubbed a hand along his chin.

Although Kylo’s methods were certainly effective, there was still the off chance that the information had been planted. It would be elaborate, if that were the case, but not beyond imagining. General Organa ‘accidently’ lets out the name of a spy on the Finalizer, these two are ‘accidently’ caught during a routine patrol, and ha! Turns out the only useful information they have is the name, but not the face, of the spy. Although certainly inconvenient for the two who had been captured, it would be very convenient for the resistance if the First Order was spending precious time and resources chasing a spy that didn’t exist. It relied a great deal on chance, and would needlessly sacrifice the two who were captured, but what in the Republic didn’t?

“I expect a full report of this to be formally submitted to me, is that understood?” Hux glanced side-long at the man his mind had treacherously dubbed Lieutenant Skin Condition. The interrogator nodded. “And I expect your full discretion in this matter,” the man saluted shakily.

“Yessir, General Hux, sir,”

Hux nodded once to Ren, who didn’t nod back, and turned from the room.

 

The Knight on the other side of the room had to move sharply back from where she had been pressing her ear to the door. Hux glared at her but the Knight ignored it; the General had about as much influence over her as what was being served in the cafeteria that day. He decided to let Kylo deal with it. He also decided that although he wanted to run back to his office it would be a better idea to not display the panic and fury rushing through his veins.

Hux walked with a severe clip in his pace. This was the last thing he needed. He felt pain in his jaw and realized that he was grinding his teeth. By the time Hux reached his office he was certain that his ears were leaking steam. Rumors of spies were one thing; a confirmation of one was a different beast entirely. Chief Engineer Hale’s laundry list of materials would have to wait.

The next three hours of Hux’s life were filled by one call after another. He was stuck in a negative feedback loop that somehow always managed to deposit him back on hold with the First Order’s nascent intelligence agency. Either no one there knew what they were doing, an awful, gut wrenching notion, or they were jerking him around in which case there would be hell to pay. Intelligence and the First Order Navy had never seen precisely eye to eye, but Hux always felt that he had kept a respectful tone towards the infiltrators and agents. They were necessary and useful, two things that were quick to earn Hux’s approval in any situation but he understood that many of his predecessors had felt differently on the matter.

A fourth hour passed, marked with apologies and transfers and nervous ‘can I put you on hold?’s. Hux paced while he waited, arms folded stiffly behind his back. He should have been working on any of the multitude of problems he had waiting for him, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. The hold music that had been blasting skipped and then looped on itself and Hux was tempted to end the call before he broke something. Then a figure, hazy and blue, stuttered to life. Hux froze. The figure saluted.

The following conversation did little to alleviate Hux’s concerns. The man he spoke was blonde, slim, and elderly with scars down the front of his face and an attitude that made Hux feel like he needed a shower. They discussed things quietly. Hux felt that there should have been more discretion in their conversation. Code names for things. Pass phrases made up of nonsense like ‘the rathtar howls at midnight’. He felt it somewhere instinctual that that was how espionage was meant to be handled.

The former field operative, rather frustratingly, continued to refer to things plainly.

“Infiltration is less complicated than most people would have you believe,” he was now saying. “The most important thing isn’t the outfit or the jargon, it’s the confidence. It’s walking like you belong there,” Hux watched the flickering blue figure intently. “The second most important thing is to know who doesn’t get questioned,” the former spy held up two fingers, “they can be organized into two groups: Officers like yourself, who are above being questioned,” he lowered a finger, leaving just his middle one raised. Hux fought back his sneer. This call was costing him one of his precious few favors. “And the other group: people too unimportant to be questioned. Or noticed. Cafeteria staff, janitors, the people who collect laundry. After all, who really pays attention to the face of the guy who clears away your table in the officer’s lounge?”

Hux felt something was required of him because the man paused. He nodded in what he hoped was an understanding sort of way. All of this was somewhat interesting but what he needed to know was how to flush the spy out. He asked. He didn’t like the answer.

“You don’t. Not unless you want everyone at each other’s throats. People panic, as I’m sure you’re aware General. And they get jumpy when they start thinking that they can’t trust the people around them. They’ll know that they’re under suspicion, too, which will cause more problems than it will solve. You’ll have bunkmates turning each other in because one snores too loudly, but they’ll manage to find more serious things to blame each other for given time. A dropped wrench will become evidence enough of treason and a misplaced blaster becomes evidence for a hanging,”

So then. Nothing that Hux didn’t already know about. Great.

“So what can be done?” he rubbed at his temples. Hux was asking an awful lot of questions today and none of the answers he’d received were making his life any easier. The blue figure shrugged.

“Keep on your toes? Trust no one? There’s a lot of smoke I could blow up your ass, but none of it would really help,” he relaxed his position and sighed. “Keep what people you think you can trust on high alert—the counter-intelligence agent I told you about? They’ll report directly to you, but I would recommend letting them do their job without interfering,”

“They?” Hux frowned. He was more than tired of people dancing around the answers he sought. “I don’t get any more information than ‘they’?” he knew it was a petty way to ask it. Even through the blue flicker Hux could see the distaste in the other man’s eyes.

“Well, they’re already on your ship for starters,” he answered cattily. Hux was out of his chair so quickly that he sent it clattering across the floor.

“What?” the General’s voice trembled with fury. “You son of a—you would presume to--,” his volume rose with every word.

“Just keeping an eye out, General,” the man hissed back. “I’m sure you understand. You represent quite a large investment on behalf of those who would see the Empire re-established. It’s an investment few would be willing to allow to go…unmonitored.” Hux’s mind almost spun in a dizzying circle and threatened to trip over the edge. He clamped down on the edge of reason and held there fast. He knew there would be spies. He knew that. It still stung to find that more than one had been lying in wait, at least one under the control of a man whom he’d considered to be on his side, but it was a blow only to his pride and it could be repaired. It explained why the call had taken so long to get underway.
The people at Intelligence must have been frantic, thinking that their own agent had been discovered. And then trying to figure out how they could best reveal said agent without pissing off their third party employer and without fully tipping their hand to the General. Politics, Hux thought, not entirely without relish. “There’s a man behind you,” the blue figure said blandly. A sharp peal of adrenaline flooded his gut. Hux rounded, preparing to rail against the intruder, only to be confronted with the wall of solid black that was. Oh. Kylo. Right.

The mask stared impassively back. Was it evening already? It couldn't be evening already. Hux turned back to the call but the line had already disconnected. That bastard. Although he didn’t allow himself the pleasure of a scream, Hux felt the noise rising up from his gut. Hux snatched up the comm unit and threw it hard. It bounced sadly against the wall with a hollow ‘thock’ and fell anti-climactically to the ground. Four fucking hours. Four fucking hours only to find out things he already knew.

How long had Kylo been standing there?

The thought screeched into Hux’s mind like an errant meteor. It burned on entry. Hux found he didn’t really care. It bothered him beyond measure that Kylo was rapidly becoming one of the few people Hux was willing to trust with information, but the change was still occurring.

“Is everyone on this ship secretly working for the resistance?” Kylo’s modulated voice broke Hux from his thoughts. Hux couldn’t stop himself. He spun on his heel, led by the curl of his fist. Kylo caught it easily and the grip on his wrist, firm and casual, helped to bring Hux back into his own mind. “You’d only bruise your knuckles,” Ren said snidely from behind his mask. He was right, which made it worse.

“Go fuck yourself,” the General muttered, but there was no real venom in his voice. Hux’s anger pooled into the bottom of his stomach where he could save it for later when it could be put to better use. As he calmed himself Kylo softened his hold on Hux’s forearm.

“You’re not acting like yourself, General,” Kylo continued, placing his entry in the race for “Galaxy’s Most Obvious Statement”.

“It’s nothing,” he said dismissively. It wasn’t nothing. It was a culmination of stress and paranoia and now that Kylo was in the vicinity, quiet electrical concern. Hux took his hand back and looked away from the Knight, unwilling to look up into the reflective mask. He didn’t think he could handle what he might see in his own eyes at the moment. It was a gross display to have lashed out like that. It was something that Kylo would have done. Hux was better than that, he reminded himself. He had to be.

Kylo nodded slowly, as if he didn’t believe Hux’s answer, and removed his mask. Hux’s eyes were drawn back by a magnetic pull and followed the movement and hoped Kylo wasn’t watching him back. He still couldn’t get used to the dichotomy inherent in Kylo Ren. Last night Kylo was a disaster—now he was pulling off being a pillar of calm, collected reason. In one moment the man was a clear desert sky and in the next he was a lightning storm wreaking havoc over the dunes. There were times when Hux imagined he could feel the electrical energy Kylo put off playing over his flesh. Times when the feeling of Kylo zinged along his nerves in terrible, wonderful arcs. Good times when. Hux managed to keep his gaze on the Knight despite the rising heat under his collar.

Kylo was waiting expectantly for the General to offer an explanation but Hux was not yet in a position to unload his woes on a man he couldn’t even bring himself to admit was a. Well. “You had something you wished to discuss with me?”

“Last night,” Kylo began. He placed his mask onto Hux’s desk. Again, like the face of the prisoner on the rack, the face that looked at Hux seemed too young. There was fragility in the other man and it showed on his face, in his eyes. His eyes. By the stars, his eyes. What had been blank canvases the previous evening now held the full spectrum of visible light. Hux shook himself mentally. He was exhausted and hungry, he reminded himself, and angry and anxious and. Hux reflected that if he were a different man he would flat out ask what all Kylo remembered. He would ask him if he were alright. He would grab that face and run his lips over it until those eyelids slid closed and those lips parted and the anxious twitching eased and. “I don’t remember everything that happened,” Kylo admitted, the words sounding like they were being pulled from his mouth. Still, he was composed. He didn’t seem nervous or uneasy which only served to highlight the General’s own discomfort at the situation.

“Consider it forgotten,” Hux offered, more hastily than perhaps was polite. Stars knew that Hux wanted to forget about it. That had been just about the worst Hux had ever seen the other man, at least in person. His mind unhelpfully brought up the visual of Kylo, sobbing drunkenly into his hands on the edge of his bed. There was no reaction from the other man, which assuaged some of Hux’s fears that Kylo was poking around inside his head. Such a thought certainly would have raised some ire in the Knight. Instead, Kylo took a step forward, eyes narrowing and pinned firmly on Hux’s face. There was no malice in the expression, which threw Hux slightly.

“I remember that you held my hand?” it wasn’t meant to be a question, but he said it like one. As if he doubted his own memory. It would be fair if he did, come to think of it.
Absurdly, Hux found heat rising in his chest and neck. Kylo should have been the one to flush in embarrassment, not him. And yet.

“Yes, well,” the two men let the words hang in the air like a dead man’s feet. Hux cleared his throat. “I didn’t get a chance to wish you a happy birthday,” Hux said politely, changing the subject as best he could away from the underlying connotations of two people holding hands while one cried themselves asleep. He also did his best to keep from thinking about how he’d forgotten about the date until it had already been too late.

“Oh,” Kylo looked genuinely surprised for a moment; then his face seemed to fold in on itself. They should have been beyond this fumbling awkwardness, but it seemed that neither men could bring themselves to not look sheepishly at opposite walls. Kylo even rubbed at the back of his neck. Hux, who was watching the movement carefully, found a way to perhaps wriggle out from under the thick layer of anxious silence in the room.

“It would be remiss of me to not give you a gift, despite the tardiness of it,” Hux continued formally. Suspicion flooded Kylo’s eyes for a fraction of a second then seeped out with equal speed. His face softened slightly as Hux took a bold step towards the other man and into his personal space. From the way the tight line of his body relaxed it seemed that he wasn’t opposed to the suggestion. They were close enough now for Hux to follow the small twitches in Kylo’s eyes as the Knight took him in. Close enough to.

“How kind of you General,” Kylo’s baritone was bizarrely soft in the air between them. They stared at one another. Close enough for their breathing to mingle. The part of Hux’s mind that was in charge of linear thought, the part that was always aware of his role and his responsibilities and all of his stressors, politely nudged the rest of his brain. It said that someone, inevitably, would knock on the door and end this. It reminded him that he was too busy for this. There was a spy on board the Finalizer. He needed to begin planning requisition requests and placing supply orders and. It said ‘if he were a different man, then’. They waited for another moment, although Hux couldn’t fathom what it was Kylo was pausing for.

There was no knock on the door.

Hux twisted a hand into Kylo’s cowl and lifted his mouth to meet the already parting lips.

Chapter Text

If asked to provide a positive recommendation towards Kylo’s bedroom acumen, Hux would not have given an answer. If pressed, he would have become angry at the questioner and he still wouldn’t have given an answer. If someone had dug into the private, hidden corners of his mind where even Hux’s consciousness didn’t like to go, Hux would have grudgingly admitted that Kylo was very skilled at knowing what to do at the exact right time in exactly the right way to send Hux over the edge of reason.

Kylo’s tongue slid over his own lazily and Hux melted. Hux’s hands were running themselves over Kylo’s form, pulling and jerking at the cloth to remove it as quickly as possible. The Knight in question moved leisurely and the press of his palms against Hux’s lower back brought the two men’s lower halves into contact. Kylo’s mouth left and kissed a trail up over the crest of Hux’s cheekbone until he reached his ear. Hux twitched slightly at the sudden, wet heat against the shell of his ear and the part of his mind that kept track of his anxiety was gently shushed into a closet somewhere.

Before it was soundly banished, his mind managed to bring up a terrible topic of thought. Hux wanted to ask if Kylo was okay. He wanted to know that the other man wasn’t still...
No.

It was none of his business. If Kylo wanted someone to fawn and fuss over him he wouldn’t choose to keep coming back to Hux. The General told himself that he’d never done anything that would lead Kylo to believe that this was anything more than an arrangement of mutual convenience. It was a difficult lie for him to choke down, but he very nearly managed it. It caught in his throat.

“You’re tenser than usual, General,” Kylo’s lips moved against Hux’s earlobe and then bit it gently, teasingly.

“There are spies on my ship, Ren,” and I’m about to have sex with a man who is frequently incapable of handling any of his affairs like an adult. Who broke down last night because he killed his own father in a bid to burn off the last human vestiges of his soul. A man who I. Hux pulled away slightly. A cluster headache was beginning to form behind his eye sockets and he was going to have to focus to keep it from growing. Hux’s hands tugged on the belt around Kylo’s waist. Kylo’s hands kneaded into Hux’s backside and Hux sighed at the feeling.

“True,” Kylo conceded. “But not for long,” it was halfway between a threat and a promise and it settled warmly in Hux’s throat.

Something in Hux’s chest railed back and said that it needed to know if Kylo was alright. Kylo had been so. So. Well. Hux stopped himself. There was a chance, small though it was, that Kylo was peering into his mind. As they parted slightly to allow Kylo’s belt to be removed Hux’s eyes stubbornly landed on the Knight’s face.

Kylo was looking back at him, eyelids looking slightly heavy, his expression otherwise calm while in the same instance intent. Hux only realized what he was doing when Kylo’s eyes lost their hazy peace. His hand had come up without his permission and was holding the scarred side of Kylo’s face. His gloved thumb rested into the groove where the flesh had knitted together. It was a much more tender gesture than either man was entirely comfortable with. And for that brief moment, Hux allowed himself to be a different man. He leaned in and ghosted his lips over the widest part of the scar. Tension, surprise, in the cheek muscle and then. Kylo exhaled softly; pleasant surprise. Kisses trailed up, Kylo ducking his chin to allow Hux to continue, and the gentle journey ended on the crest of the bridge of his nose. Just between his eyes. The General felt the muscles beneath his mouth relax gradually. Moving gently, his hand returned to cradle Kylo’s scarred cheek. Hux hated that in times like these his mouth would do its best to ruin things.

“You spoke about,” Hux slammed the brakes, crashing that train of thought over a cliff. The General forced himself to think about anything else. Anything else. He could feel Kylo stiffening. “You were upset,” he recovered poorly. If Kylo noticed that Hux was practically vibrating with disappointment in himself, he didn’t show it. The man was relaxing and leaning in slightly to the touch on his face and Hux felt the hands palming his ass press in harder. Holding him closer and tighter and Kylo’s body was a firm, warm wall of desire.

“And you held my hand,” Kylo replied, as if that were enough of an answer. It occurred to Hux, as Kylo turned his face and began nipping at the leather covering Hux’s hand, that something barely perceptible had changed. Kylo clearly wanted the subject to be dropped. He couldn’t bring himself to dwell on it because it was making something in his chest flutter dangerously and he felt somewhat lightheaded. He slipped his hand around to cradle Kylo’s head, their foreheads meeting, and managed to unhook Kylo’s belt with his other fingers. Kylo was staring into his eyes and it made Hux’s throat tighten in anticipation. The General pressed his burgeoning hardness against Kylo’s and rolled his hips. They kissed—too hard, this time. Someone’s teeth caught, impossible to tell whose, and Hux’s lower lip split just slightly.

The sting was lost because Kylo had pulled back at the taste of copper and his lips had a smudge of bright red and it was like a beacon against an unadulterated sky and Hux crashed his mouth against Kylo’s again. It was a glimmer of pain in the back of his head but he pressed in harder against it in lusty rebellion. The Knight made a noise of surprise at the return of the contact but responded to it just as quickly.

A pair of hands were suddenly clutching Hux’s skull and pinning him into the kiss with bruising strength. Desperate and raw with desire and fuck, that felt so good. The hand that wasn’t tangled in Kylo’s hair was trapped between their stomachs and Hux pushed it down the other man’s body until it could slip through the split in the tunic. It traveled back up until he found the hem of Kylo’s pants and then fumbled along until it located the first clip of his suspenders. Hux tried to pull back from the kiss, failed because of Kylo’s hands, and settled for jerking at the metal clasp to make his point.

Kylo’s outfit was designed to satisfy a great deal of needs but quickies were clearly not on the list. Finally Kylo’s mouth and hands lessened to the point where Hux could begin sinking down the length of the other man’s abdomen. He allowed himself a moment of internal debate before deciding that he was already on his knees, face inches away from the Knight’s crotch and that now was not the time for modest decorum if he wanted the night to continue in his desired direction. Hux bit the bullet and ducked his head slightly under Kylo’s tunic. The absurdity of the motion made Kylo shift back slightly onto his heels before he rebalanced himself.

“So eager,” came the amused voice from above him.

“Really?” Hux hissed back, running a quick palm over Kylo’s covered erection and earning a slight buck from Kylo’s pelvis. “As if you’re one to talk,” Hux swallowed the grin that threatened to spread over his face, despite the fact that the other man couldn’t see his face. His knees hadn’t begun to sting yet but they were tingling with the promise of painful bitching later on.

The clasps were dealt with at the same time as Kylo’s hands began to pull the tunic off of himself. Hux tracked the tunic’s ascent up off of Kylo’s form, unable to stop a hand from running up and under the mesh; admiring the muscles in the other man’s abdomen as they flexed and relaxed under his fingertips. Kylo let the tunic drop into a pile on the floor and looked down long enough to catch Hux’s gaze.

“Ren,” it was probably bad form to whisper Kylo’s name like that just from seeing his expression but Hux did it anyway. The other man’s lips were parted, shining with saliva and just the barest hint of red and his cheeks were slightly flushed and his hair was a mess and his eyes. Those damn eyes. They flickered as their owner heard his name fall from the General’s mouth.

“Yes, Hux?” one of Kylo’s eyebrows arched slightly. It wasn’t really a question, just something to say back to keep Hux’s eyes on him. As if he could look anywhere else. Kylo ran a hand through his own hair so that the locks fell haphazardly over his forehead and Hux’s skin erupted into goose flesh. He held the gaze and let his hands begin working Kylo’s trousers and underclothes down past his hip bones.

Kylo brought a hand to his mouth and used his teeth to pull off his own glove. Hux revealed the other man’s erection to the cool office air just as Kylo’s bare hand left his head and stroked itself into Hux’s hair. Hux felt his fingernails raking along his scalp and pulled his own gloves off in response, not bothering to add the seductive effort of using his mouth. The points of pressure moving in firm lines through his hair were making Hux loose and easy and hard. He let his hands rest on the swell of Kylo’s thighs, thumbs just near enough to his inner thighs to press in and force an inhale into the other man.

Hux licked a long line from the base of Kylo’s cock to the tip, one hand coming to gently slip back the foreskin so his tongue could swirl around the head of the organ. The hand that was ruining his hair tightened slowly in response, tugging just slightly at the roots and making Hux’s palms itch at the sensation. Neither man’s gaze wavered. While his right hand began stroking the length of Kylo’s dick Hux’s left hand curved around to grope at Kylo’s exposed ass. After a quick squeeze to the firm muscle Hux took Kylo fully into his mouth and began bobbing his head, ignoring the sting in his lower lip. Kylo’s eyes slipped closed then and Hux turned his gaze to the task before him.

Kylo’s other hand, now bare as well, ran to cup Hux’s head just behind his ear. The touch was firm and unyielding and followed more than guided Hux’s movements. There was a possessiveness in the action that part of Hux objected to. Most of him vibrated in electric pleasure at the sensation and told the objecting part of his mind to fuck off and let him enjoy this. And he was enjoying this, he noticed as a particularly hard suck had Kylo exhaling heavily and he felt his own dick straining painfully against his uniform.
Hux probably found as much pleasure preforming this act as the other man did in receiving it. It was a thought that sat oddly in the forefront of Hux’s mind and he wasn’t sure what to do with it. It was like some tacky trinket cluttering a table that added no real value to the room. Hux was a man of economy and his mind had no room for feeling guilty about enjoying Kylo’s flesh shivering under his mouth’s attention. He discarded the thought easily and ran the flat over his tongue along the thick vein on the underside of Kylo’s cock. He had plenty of other things to feel guilty about, after all. The way he could make Kylo’s mouth hiss his name and make his face twist beautifully in ugly pleasure would not be one of them.

The hands on his head increased their pressure, holding him still now. Kylo’s hips rocked forward ever so slightly, as if asking permission. The cut on Hux’s lip protested quietly but he relaxed his jaw anyway. The discomfort in his knees was beginning to make itself known. It was joined by a more, much more, pressing need in his crotch. Almost tenderly, he ran the hand that was groping Kylo over his hamstring and down and then Hux began doing his best to fidget his fingers into his own pants. Skin on skin contact was made between his palm and the head of his dick just as Kylo began to thrust shallowly into his mouth. Never too harsh or deep. Hux hollowed out his cheeks around the organ and Kylo hummed his approval. The hand that had been steadying itself on the Knight’s shaft curved and started pressing and cupping his sack.

The reticent, meek slide of Kylo’s cock lasted all of about one minute at which point Hux moved his head forward to meet the next thrust and took Kylo deep into his throat without ceremony. He was rewarded with a noise halfway between a yelp and groan that came from deep in Kylo’s chest. Kylo nearly jerked away, the pull-back allowing Hux to raggedly take in a breath of air and then immediately repeat the action. Gradually Kylo began to catch up, moving his hips to meet Hux’s mouth.

“Hux,” Kylo’s voice was heavy with need and pleasure and.

The General’s gag reflex was having a fit but Hux fought back, forcing it to relax and allow the blunt intrusion. The thrusts began coming faster and with a steadier rhythm. A low stream of half-words was leaving Kylo’s mouth which Hux ignored; he focused instead on timing his breathing through his nose and keeping up with the snapping of Kylo’s hips. Bubbles of cool saliva collected on his lips and began to slip down his chin. The hand that had been rubbing along Kylo’s sack pressed itself flat around the base of his dick and Hux’s lips met the back of his hand with each thrust and left hanging strands of spit with each contact. Hux’s other hand was working as quickly as it possibly could within the confines of the fabric of his uniform. His mind did an admirable job of tuning out the harsh, wet, gagging noises coming from his own throat until.

“Oh fuck, yes,” Kylo’s baritone vibrated in Hux’s head. Fuck yes indeed, Hux’s mind agreed loudly. An awful sound left Hux’s throat as Kylo thrust deep and then held his position, locking himself in a neat curve over the General’s head. Hux’s jaw creaked and his lower lip was bleeding again, he could feel it, and he couldn’t breathe which was more than alright because Kylo. Kylo fucking Ren, whose existence still made Hux feel cheated and whose power made his skin crawl, was making light, soft noises that sounded like “Hux” and was weak under Hux’s hands and his mouth and. And he still couldn’t breathe, his brain pointed out. His throat began constricting despite himself. Can’t breathe. It repeated, with more of a panicked tone. Can’t fucking breathe. Hux held himself still, letting water slip out of his eyes and out of his mouth and then Kylo retreated fully, gasping.

The sensation of Kylo running his hands through his hair, half in apology, half in gratitude, was making Hux’s head feel heavy. Or maybe that was the lack of oxygen catching up to him. Ren allowed him to gulp in a shaky breath, then two, Hux’s mouth still pressing wetly against the flesh beside the base of his cock. The General began lathering the area with his tongue in between his half-coughing, racking inhales while his hand worked deftly to pull Kylo over the edge.

At some point Kylo’s eyes had reopened and he was staring down at Hux. At least, Hux assumed Kylo was staring at him; the other man’s eyes seemed a little out of focus. A tender stroking sensation appeared on the cheek that Hux wasn’t pressing into Kylo’s crotch. That was new. Hux’s attention was drawn away from the gentle touch by Kylo twitching heavily in his palm. Oh. Oh shit he’d been so caught up he hadn’t thought about the fact that they were still in his office. He couldn’t let Kylo make a mess of the floor in here. He certainly couldn’t let Kylo make a mess on his uniform because he still had to make it back to his quarters and. Fuck.

Hux brought his mouth back down around the head of Kylo’s cock and sucked hard and Kylo gasped out his name, desperation hanging on every letter. Although Hux’s instincts told him to jerk away he forced himself into stillness as Kylo spilled into his mouth. Aside from the slight salty tang, Kylo had no real flavor to him, good or bad. There was, however, to Hux’s dismay, a great deal of it. And Hux’s fingers were automatically stroking along the shaft, pulling more out of the other man. Hux felt the warm liquid prickle at the corners of his mouth as Kylo slipped from between his lips and back into his palm. Swallow or. He didn’t exactly have another option, did he? Spit where? His hand? Or the floor or onto Kylo’s boots or. He swallowed.

“Goodness, General,” the parts of Kylo’s voice that weren’t breathless and heavy with post-release satisfaction were dripping in mockery. Hux decided to be angry with him later; at some point he’d stopped seeking his own orgasm to focus on Kylo’s and his dick was none too happy about it. His pulls were shorter and drier and more fumbling than he would’ve liked—it wasn’t enough to really be pleasurable but he was too far in to just stop. What should have been little excited exhales were instead grunts of tight, pained frustration. “General,” fuck off Ren, can’t you see I’m busy here? A stinging in his lip let him know that he was biting down hard on his own lower lip out of focus. Without realizing it Hux had begun thrusting his hips forward as much as could despite the clothing restricting his movements. “Hux.” Kylo’s voice, combined with the hand in Hux’s hair giving a sharp tug, finally caught the General’s attention.

“What?” he barked. Undeterred by Kylo’s distraction, his hand continued its flurry of uncoordinated movement. Another sharp grunt escaped his chest. His hair was pulled again, so bluntly and severely that the shock of it made Hux cry out. Hux’s mouth was teetering on the edge of profanity when Kylo jerked his hair again.

“Get up,” Kylo ordered. Hux resisted for half a second before he felt the hand twisting again and his scalp sent a direct alarm to his legs that they had better start moving unless they wanted Hux to have a bald spot. Hux managed to rise, unsteadily and unbalanced, muttering harsh insults towards the world at large. His knees were shrieking at the treatment they’d received on the floor. Before he could fully articulate his frustration Kylo had jerked the waist of Hux’s pants down just far enough to expose his straining dick and forced his hand away. The hand, dethroned for the moment, clamped down on Kylo’s wrist.

A small, tight noise escaped Hux’s throat because Kylo’s hand was deftly dragging Hux over the edge. The Knight’s hand was twisting and just slick enough and Kylo’s pulls were long and smooth and Hux gasped out. Tangled in his hair, the other hand began pulling him closer so that their foreheads were ghosting over one another again. Kylo sped up the glide of his hand and Hux felt the change in his blood and the muscles in his abdomen were twitching with the effort and his hips were.

“Fuck,” he managed, weakly, his orgasm coming more as relief than pleasure. Although appreciated, the continued slide of Kylo’s palm against him did little to make it better. Kylo’s tongue, however, slipping between Hux’s lips did help bring the disappointment down slightly. It was a fitting end for the day Hux had been having. Hard work and painful knees and not a lot of payoff and at the end, Kylo’s mouth against his own. Kylo pulled away from the kiss and glanced down at his soiled hand, sneering at it. Hux recovered relatively quickly from his lackluster orgasm and began tucking himself back in and straightening his uniform.

“Nice gift,” the other man grumbled and began glancing around to find something to wipe his hand off on. There really weren’t a lot of options available in Hux’s office. Hux exhaled sharply through his nose, an odd bastard of a half-laugh.

“You have low expectations if you think that was your gift,” Hux replied off-handedly. Honestly. Hux had no idea what adjectives to use to describe their relationship, but he still felt that a hasty, half-dressed blowjob wasn’t an appropriate gift for whatever Kylo was to him. The Knight in question had turned to look at him when he said that. His expression made Hux feel the need to take in a slow breath.

“In that case, I didn’t realize you had such a casual fondness for taking to your knees, General,” Hux frowned and narrowed his eyes. He didn’t have a response for that, although he was sure that the next morning he’d have thought of something snide to hiss back. His knees, soreness only growing with every second, encouraged Hux to take a jab. Maybe leave a bottle of brandy outside of Kylo’s door tomorrow. The subtle haze that had been allowed to occur was seeping away at the edges. Anxiety and responsibilities were crawling their way back up Hux’s spine, burrowing between each of his vertebrae. The hand that had been left in his hair, he’d forgotten about it, was smoothing the mess back into place gently. “I’ll take it then that this was a favor,” Kylo pressed his lips to Hux’s ear and his voice was low and husky. “I’ll have to repay it, soon,” it was a casual promise. It stymied the rise of Hux’s headache just enough to leave him in a better mood than he thought was possible for the evening.

Until he realized that Kylo’s other palm was pressing wetly against his waist. Hux pushed him away frantically to inspect the damage. In front of him Kylo was snickering as Hux twisted and glared down at the cum staining his uniform.

“You son of a bitch,” he snarled. Kylo’s mouth half dropped open in a smug sneer when the knocking Hux had predicted earlier in the evening echoed into the room.

Both men froze. And then Kylo erupted into a flurry of activity, pulling up his pants, reclasping his suspenders and he was halfway towards jerking his tunic over his head when Hux, keeping his filth-laden side turned away from the door, allowed the entrance to slide open. Hux noted with no small amount of satisfaction the sound of Kylo ducking out of view from the doorway.

Chapter Text

“General Hux, sir,” Lieutenant Mitaka pulled off a perfect salute and practically clicked his heels together when he laid eyes on the General. Hux’s mind took a moment to shift gears but the engine of command was perpetually thrumming in him and he was quickly back at cruising speed. Any thoughts of the Knight frantically dressing himself as quietly as possible behind him were banished.

“Lieutenant Mitaka,” Hux replied, aware that he looked like an idiot with half of his body turned into the confines of his office. The posture was many things but subtle was not one of them. Mitaka’s face was an artist’s study in innocence. “Is something urgent?” Hux continued, managing to indicate that if nothing was urgent Mitaka had better find something urgent, preferably somewhere else. Mitaka had proven to be a flawless asset on the command deck and Hux rather liked the man, mousey though he was. He’d rather spare the young officer the brunt of his annoyance. The Lieutenant’s face flickered for a moment. His eyes blinked a few times and then his brow shifted downwards ever so slightly.

“Your lip is bleeding, General Hux, are you alright?” his voice was open and plain with startled concern.

Shitfuck. Hux’s hand made it halfway to his mouth before he forced it back into place at his side. Losing his composure around Ren was one thing; acting up in front of a subordinate was another matter entirely. That stuck in his mind for a moment because why was it okay around Kylo? Both of his lips were doubtlessly swollen and his lower lip had just started to scab over the split and his hair was a disaster and of course there was the damn damp handprint of semen on his waist and.

“It’s fine, Lieutenant,” Hux replied but Mitaka looked unconvinced. The smaller man shifted his weight to the balls of his feet before settling back on his heels. It was an overly casual gesture, but Hux was distracted by the sound of Kylo moving around somewhere in his office and being none too quiet about it. Mitaka waited politely until the General’s eyes were back on him.

“I tried to contact you on your comlink, sir, but I think there’s something wrong with the connection,” the Lieutenant looked up at the tall man with clear eyes. “I took the liberty of filing a report, sir,” Hux nodded absently, hoping Mitaka would get to the point and get there quickly. A voice in the back of Hux’s mind pointed out, completely uselessly, that communications would have a hell of a time trying to fix a comlink that wasn’t actually broken but it was silenced by what Mitaka said next. “I was actually hoping to speak to you in a more…er…private setting, sir,” Hux recognized the errant expression on Mitaka’s face as anxiety; more than the other man was usually prone to. He stared at the Lieutenant, who wilted under the gaze. “Perhaps private wasn’t the right word, sir? Um. Somewhere secluded? Where we can be alon-,”

“Are you propositioning me?” Hux kept his voice blank. He was somewhere around sixty percent sure he had heard a harsh, whispered profanity from somewhere behind him.
Mitaka’s eyes widened and for a brief moment Hux was terrified that he had heard Kylo’s outburst. His terror passed. The involvement of the General and Knight was somewhat of an open secret on the ship. Certainly among the officers, who gossiped like school children. However, that did not warrant Kylo shouting it out to the world at large. If he wasn’t quiet soon Hux was going to have to. Do what? Step of the room? Mitaka shifted slightly. His expression had calmed quickly, to his credit, and he took on an air of complete professionalism.

“Nossir,” the lieutenant’s eyes flicked to the corners and took in the surrounding hallway. “Not that I think—I mean you’re,” He was flushing red but was otherwise composed. No, Hux’s mind interrupted with a small glimmer of pride, not flushing. “Um,”

“Very well. Lieutenant Mitaka.” It sounded more like a cough than actual words. Hux wasn’t sure where that question had come from and he was in no mood to investigate that portion of himself. Of course the Lieutenant hadn’t been suggesting anything untoward. Too much time around Ren was beginning to addle his brain, Hux was sure of it.

“The matter is urgent, sir,” Mitaka’s eyes met Hux’s again and the General saw the sincerity in them. “And I don’t believe it would be prudent to discuss them openly,” he finished quietly. “Sir,” Mitaka added onto the end. Hux hesitated; they clearly couldn’t use his office. Not with the Knight skulking rather loudly within and certainly not with Hux’s appearance in the state it was in.

“We’ll rendezvous in the officer’s lounge in ten minutes,” Hux’s voice slipped seamlessly into a tone that would brook no questions. “You are dismissed, Lieutenant,”

“Yessir,” Mitaka was at the end of the hallway before Hux could even step back into his office.

 

The General’s back met Kylo Ren’s chest.

“Do you really have no self-control whatsoever?” Anything warm and relaxed that Hux had been feeling earlier in the room was gone entirely. He rounded on the other man expecting a sneer or grimace only to find that the helmet had been replaced. A wall of impassive black met his eyes and the line of Kylo’s form was. Intimidating was not the proper word. Strong arms were wrapping themselves back around Hux’s body.

He stopped himself before his body could even begin to think about betraying him. He’d allowed himself to be a different man for long enough this evening.

“Let the Lieutenant wait,” Kylo rumbled, voice made all the more deep and gravelly by his helmet. But even through the modulator Hux could hear that Kylo was not being seductive; he was issuing an order. There was something sadly familiar behind those words. Something that had changed in the Knight in the brief interval when Hux had not been near him. Kylo wanted him to stay. Hux briefly wondered if it was because Kylo’s thoughts had returned to the previous evening. If the tone was because Kylo didn’t want to be left alone again. Hux strangled that thought into silence.

“Absolutely not,” offense shining brilliantly in Hux’s tone. He broke free from Kylo’s hold and was desperately aware that he was only able to pull away because Kylo had allowed it. The helmet stared back at him. Kylo was doing that thing again. The one where he seemed to fold in on himself, shoulders lowering, head dipping just far enough down. Recognizable to Hux as an unconscious attempt to make himself smaller, less intimidating. It caught Hux’s attention; it wasn’t often that Kylo so quickly waned in his aggression.

“Then let me go with you,”

Hux’s mind blanked somewhere between ‘fuck off’ and ‘why the hell would you want to come with me’. There was a brief moment when Hux wondered if Kylo was trying to poke his way to an acceptable answer in his mind. An answer that involved Hux not leaving his presence. There was no sensation of another consciousness invading his own, however. The General repressed a shiver at the fact that he was approaching a point where he could nearly identify when Kylo was within him. Inside his mind, at least. It really wasn’t difficult to determine when Kylo was actually inside him.

“This is a private meeting,” Hux replied evenly. Which was a lie. If Hux wanted to show up with a full envoy of troopers he could. It would only be private because Lieutenant Mitaka seemed to believe it warranted secre-. Secrecy. His skin tingled into gooseflesh. That was absurd, said one half of his brain. Trust no one, said the other. He collected himself. “I will not have baseless accusations running rampant on my ship, Ren, is that clear?” he meant to say it firmly, but his voice was softer than he would usually allow. For all he touted his paranoia, Hux was finding he had placed a great deal of trust in the officers around him over the years.

While Hux was distracted with the issue that he was far more trusting than he had ever intended to be Kylo brushed his shoulder on his way out of the room. The brusque dismissal of Kylo would have consequences, a small voice in the back of his mind chided. Something would be destroyed before the end of the sleep cycle, Hux was sure of it, and it was going to be because Kylo was a damn child.

So, now Lieutenant Mitaka was on his list of possible spies? Why not add Captain Phasma to it? His thoughts on who he could and couldn’t trust, he was making a sort of mental checklist, did not include Kylo. Anywhere. And because he wasn’t thinking about whether or not he trusted the Knight, Hux wasn’t even able to consider why the Knight’s name didn’t occur to him at all.

 

Lieutenant Mitaka sat with his spine ramrod straight on the edge of his seat. The officer’s lounge was less than deserted and it was clear that the Lieutenant was not alright with that. Hux had briefly considered changing the meeting place and decided against it. If it turned out that he was wrong to have placed his trust in the Lieutenant, he wanted to be sure that the situation wouldn’t escalate. A room with at least one or two other armed officers should suffice.

The officer was staring straight ahead of himself, hands pressing palm flat against his legs. His head turned sharply when Hux entered the lounge and then snapped just as quickly to staring ahead at the wall. Hux had changed into another shirt and had reorganized his hair into its tight slick. There was nothing he could do about the thin scab on his lower lip besides try to remember not to worry at it. A drink sat before the Lieutenant, condensation collecting on its outside and dripping onto the carefully placed coaster beneath it.

Careful, Hux thought as he took up a seat across from the other man. Careful was a good word to describe the Lieutenant.

“Sir,” Mitaka began, carefully. “There is a problem you should be aware of,” he spoke softly and it was apparent to the General that he was attempting to sound casual. He was failing.

“You said it was urgent?” Hux pressed. He hoped Kylo was simply being an ass earlier; pouting because Hux had told him ‘no’.

“Yessir,” the glass shook gently as Mitaka took a sip to steady himself. Then he took a deep breath and looked Hux straight in the eye. “There have been rumors of a spy being aboard the Finalizer,”

“Have there been?” Hux kept his face blank, voice unimpressed. There were always rumors. Always rumors. It didn’t mean anything that Mitaka had caught wind of them; in fact, he should have caught wind of them sooner. Did Mitaka have people he regularly associated with? Hux had never paid much attention. Comradery was expected when forming a cohesive unit but friendship was not a requirement.

“Yessir,” and Mitaka glanced over at a pair of officers who were chatting idly across the room. Hux was tempted to follow the gaze but didn’t want Mitaka to think that he put any credence in the rumors. No one needed to know that the rumors were true. He would not have a witch hunt aboard his ship. He would not allow it. He would handle this with grace and decorum and. “They’ve gotten a hold of the schematics for the weapon you’re building,” the officer’s voice broke through Hux’s thoughts like a rock through a glass window.

Hux’s blood ran cold. “What schematics?” he managed. But he knew at this point any further denial on his part would be nothing more than a poorly acted charade. The expression on Mitaka’s face solidified his fear. “Why do you think that, Lieutenant Mitaka?” Hux asked, bitter fury barely catching in his throat. Perhaps they should have had his conversation privately. Perhaps he should have let Kylo come, his mind chimed in. Not many people would look twice if Kylo Ren decided to choke a Lieutenant to death. Mitaka took another deep, steadying breath. His next words were still shaking.

“Because the plans fell out of her pocket when I shot her, sir,”

Chapter Text

Hux allowed Mitaka to nurse his drink slowly. And then watched him as he trembled his way through another half glass, this time of stronger liquor. Hux had provided the second glass and Mitaka treated it like a medal of honor. Lieutenant Mitaka had never shot another human being before; neither had Hux. He wondered if he would react this badly. Simulations were one thing but. No. He would not be this pathetic.

“Go over it again, Lieutenant,” Hux said with as much patience as he could muster. Every fiber of Hux’s being was screaming at him to run to the morgue. He needed to see the body before it could be examined by the medical droids or, forbid, by the medical staff themselves. But he also needed to make sure that he understood exactly what had happened and he couldn’t afford to wait for an incident report to be filtered through the layers of security to reach him. Mitaka nodded slowly and then.

“Yessir. I had just finished submitting my final reports for the day and was making my way to my quarters when I heard a noise from conference room 3B. I didn’t think much of it until it repeated itself,” the lieutenant shifted uneasily, sending a cursory glance around the room. He froze suddenly, pupils widening. Hux followed his gaze and was halfway towards thinking a profanity until he realized that Kylo’s presence was more comforting than he wanted to admit.

“Continue Lieutenant,” Hux leaned forward, resting his elbows onto his knees. A relaxed position. See? Everything is alright. Ignore the black clad monolith of a man striding towards this table. He’s coming for me, not you, his mind added more than a little treacherously. The General’s order was not heeded immediately as the Lieutenant continued eyeing the approaching Knight nervously. Then he looked back to his drink; Kylo had stopped halfway to their table and had sat down abruptly.

“The noise sounded like,” he paused, frowning down at his drink, “Sounded like metal hitting something soft and then a blaster shot. Someone yelled. Then the door slide open and the woman left. She,” Hux noticed that the other man’s hands were unsteady. So then. A quick fight and then a blaster shot in a closed conference room.

“She must not have expecting anyone to be outside. There was blood on her and when she saw me she looked,” out of the corner of his eye Hux saw Kylo’s shoulders stiffen. A movement that would have been imperceptible to anyone not actively watching for it. A sneaking suspicion began to grow in the General that perhaps the Knight was taking liberties and peering into the Lieutenant’s mind. His gaze lingered longer on Kylo than it should have. Hux barely remembered to look back at the officer. “Scared. Terrified,” his eyes flickered up back to the face of his General. They shone with guilt and fear. A woman emerges from a room with blood on her and plans in her pocket. The plans could have only come from two sources: either Hale or Dershev.

“I thought she needed help, I thought she’d been shot,” Mitaka said very, very quietly, as though it were a precious thing to him. “I asked if she was okay and I went to go to her and she. She had a blaster in her other hand and she shot at me, sir,” the Lieutenant was barely whispering now, eyes narrowing in the effort of remembering a very quick event. “I dodged low, to the left, just like they teach you to do in the simulations. She missed her shot,” Hux found himself nodding—he knew exactly the simulations Mitaka was referring to. Then the Lieutenant’s voice went flat. “I didn’t,”

“Where did you hit her, Lieutenant?”

“The abdomen, sir,” the Lieutenant straightened himself slightly and pointed to his lower left side. Little half remembered slices of trivia began to float through Hux’s mind. No major internal organs there. Large intestine, certainly. But the liver was higher, wasn’t it? A painful injury, but not necessarily a fatal one. Unbidden, Hux’s eyes returned to where the Knight was sitting. One of Kylo’s nastier wounds had been in relatively the same position and he’d survived.

“Did you shoot her again?” he asked. Every simulation he’d ever participated in made a point of forcing the student to choose between the security of taking a second shot to ensure the target’s elimination and the practicality of taking a good shot the first time.

Mitaka looked like he was going to be sick. “No sir,” he replied, horrified. “She fell over, sir. I kicked the blaster away from her hand and when I did I saw that her uniform was torn from the shot. That’s where I found the plans, sir,”

“Next to her body?”

“Yessir,”

“And then you called security,”

“Of course, sir,” there were notes of relief beginning to enter the Lieutenant’s voice. He’d shot a person, which was not really something he was comfortable with and then he’d followed protocol, which was something he was not only comfortable with but also wouldn’t mind growing old with.

“And you turned in the plans as evidence?”

“Yessir,”

Shit. “But not before you’d taken a look at them,” Hux said lowly. Confusion flickered over Mitaka’s face only briefly.

“The plans weren’t on a datapad, sir,” he blinked rapidly as the General suddenly straightened. “It was a physical copy, sir,” Out of the three people with access to the plans only one would be so unfathomably dim as to make a physical copy of schematics that were arguably more valuable than their lives. Fucking Dershev. “There were scribbles all over it, like someone was taking notes. It’s in evidence, sir, as you said,” Hux fought the profanity back down his throat. Mitaka’s earlier suspicion had been right; there was a high chance that the spy had been making a copy of Dershev’s notes. Hux could only hope that the eccentric architect’s designs were too abstract to be worth anything.

“Very good, Lieutenant Mitaka,” the officer’s eyes seemed to flicker around as if waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Your service is noted,” and from the way Lieutenant Mitaka seemed to swell with pride Hux may as well have told him he’d single-handedly saved the Order. “Have a formal report of this incident filed by tomorrow evening, Lieutenant,”
“Yessir, General Hux,” Mitaka saluted and very nearly knocked his glass over in his excitement. Hux ignored the Lieutenant’s frantic grabbing at the glass to keep it from tipping over and turned his attention to Ren.

The cloaked figure rose at the same time as the General and if that wasn’t a dead giveaway to Mitaka that they were there together Hux couldn’t imagine what was. Hux rolled his eyes tiredly in a way that only the Knight could see. Kylo was exactly as subtle as a drunken Bantha. He probably thought he was being mysterious. Well, Hux’s mind interjected, he’s certainly intimidating the fuck out of the Lieutenant.

 

“He’s proud of himself,” was the first thing out of Ren’s mask as he and the General stepped from the lounge. “He regretted killing her at first, but now he’s proud of it,” Hux couldn’t even begin to identify the tone in Kylo’s voice and so he chose to ignore it. A small, prodding voice in his head wanted him to think about the fact that he had, briefly, only for a moment, believed that Mitaka may have been the spy. That voice was fine. Riding on that voice’s coattails was the much more insidious thought that Hux had felt safer the instant Kylo had entered the lounge.

“As well he should be,” Hux countered, distractedly. It was beyond lucky that Mitaka had shot the spy; Hux was next to desperate in his hope that his luck hadn’t run out. Dershev’s fucking physical schematics would still be in evidence and the body of the spy would still be in the morgue and hadn’t been diced apart or destroyed yet. And maybe the resistance spy would surrender and give themselves up and reveal all the resistance’s secrets.

“He’s wrong,” Kylo continued conversationally, stopping Hux in his tracks. Hux stared after him.

What?” he asked harshly.

“He didn’t kill her,” Kylo stopped and half turned to the General. “The woman he saw was already dying; he shot her a second time, but she would have died even if he hadn’t,”

“How do you--,”

“I saw,” Kylo replied easily and Hux felt a bizarre and unwelcome emotion flood through his stomach. The back of his mind began shrieking at the grim realization that he was jealous that Kylo had been in another man’s mind. He shook himself. “She’d already been shot by the time Mitaka fired at her. In her upper chest,” Kylo elaborated. “He could see it from his angle but didn’t notice it in the moment,”

And you saw it in his memory. Like you were watching a damn holovid. The power of the Force occasionally made Hux’s stomach turn. It also did something more distressing to another part of his anatomy that he was careful to store away for later.

It occurred to Hux that Kylo was waiting for something. Right. “So then who was the first one to shoot her?” Kylo didn’t reply. The line of his body began to curve away and the two most powerful men aboard the Finalizer fell in step on their way to the morgue.

 

“Oh.” It was all he could say. Hux had had several trains of thoughts going at once on the way to morgue on what to expect when he saw the body of the dead spy. He’d been cycling through faces and names and ranks and titles. Who had clearance to work with Dershev and Hale? Who may have overheard something? Who wouldn’t draw attention by showing up in a conference room this late at night?

The two men had managed to arrive at the morgue before the body was scheduled for its autopsy. The medical officer on duty put up no resistance to the General but his eyes had shuttered slightly at the sight of Ren. Hux imagined that there was a great deal of delicate and expensive medical equipment that warranted the concern that Kylo’s presence inspired. The morgue managed what Hux previously thought was impossible and was even colder than the personnel quarters. The medical officer punched in a code to a horizontal locker, handed Hux the key to the evidence locker, saluted the General and Ren and then loudly excused himself and his assistants to officially ‘go be somewhere else’.

The cabinet slid open and revealed the. “Oh.” Hux had said. “That’s not the spy,” he continued with complete, dreadful confidence.

“It’s the same woman the Lieutenant shot,” Kylo replied.

“I’m sure it is,” Hux was having some trouble looking at her. “But she’s not our spy,”

An ugly blaster wound had indeed ripped its way through the upper right hand side of Chief Engineer Hale’s chest. An equally unsavory gash from Mitaka’s blaster graced her lower abdomen. In the bright lights of the morgue Hux can see the purple-grey of her intestine. Hux hesitated for half a moment before pressing a finger to the locker’s control panel. It slid shut with a pneumatic hiss. The ugly, spur of the moment, thought of ‘why couldn’t it have been Dershev?’ entered Hux’s mind. It settled in nicely and began taking off its shoes to make itself at home. Hux had liked Hale. She had been competent and followed orders and hadn’t made trouble and. The built in authority in Hux took over. She had been a valuable asset to the First Order and her work would be remembered as admirable. Hale, J. Chief of Engineering.

Hux made a note to find out if she’d had family.

“Let’s take a look at the plans,” Hux said vaguely, more to the air than the other man. He’d spoken to her just this morning. She was going to make him a list of supplies and then she was going to get to work and she was going to do it well and with pride and. It seemed like ages ago. Something about rust flitted into his head and was forgotten just as quickly.

It dawned on him that Kylo was watching him. He wondered what he was looking for before turning his attention back to the evidence locker. Hale had not been carrying any extraneous personal effects at the time of her death. There had been her security clearance card, her name tag that had fallen off her uniform, her regulation blaster, the standard issue officer’s hat, her comlink, a cracked miniature datapad. And a neatly folded packet of white paper that had been creased so tightly that the edges were razor thin. Hale’s distaste at having to carry around a physical copy of the plans shone through.

So. Hale goes to meet someone in a rather deserted part of the ship with a paper copy of Dershev’s scribbles. There’s an argument. An altercation. Hale gets shot in the chest. She staggers out and sees Lieutenant Mitaka and thinks. Thinks what? That Mitaka was associated with whomever had shot her. She fires and misses. Mitaka fires and doesn’t.

Hux removed the packet from the locker and carefully replaced the other items.

“What exactly are these plans for, General?”

Oh fuck. Fuck. He’d never briefed Kylo. But, surely Snoke had informed his precious apprentice what it was that the heinous datachip had contained? But then again surely not. Hux cast a wary glance at where he knew there were security cameras and Kylo, for once in his existence, caught his meaning and did not press the issue. Small blessings. They couldn’t talk about it here. Not when Hux still had no idea about the identity of either spy. But then something not sharp entered his mind. The equivalent of getting a pip stuck in between the molars at the back of the mouth. It wasn’t prodding or pushing, just sitting. The not actually sharpness of it dulled even more. It was Kylo, the General realized, letting him know that he was pressing into his mind.

Asking permission came the correction. It wasn’t his thought, but it felt like one. It walked and talked like one of his own, but. But something was just off enough. Kylo’s mask held his gaze. Alright. How did one relax one’s brain? Was he just meant to think about the plans? What they were for? How was he meant to go about letting Kylo in? The dull feeling sat in the forefront of his brain, waiting. He focused on it briefly and saw Kylo straighten slightly. Saw the way his breathing changed in the smallest of ways. It felt warm and unthreatening and it almost thrummed and.

Hux couldn’t stop himself from panicking; imagining all the things private and personal and too strong that he would never want Kylo to know about. More than one of the thoughts involved feelings for the other man that even Hux wasn’t consciously aware of. The shrieking started at the base of Hux’s spine and traveled upwards at hyper speed. It wasn’t chanting much beyond a primal, shaking, ‘no’, but it was doing it loudly and with feeling. The dulled sensation retreated immediately. Kylo seemed to sink into himself and the helmet turned to the ground and away and oh. No. Hux had fucked up, hadn’t he?

“Now isn’t the time,” his voice strangled in his own throat, dry and awful sounding in the otherwise quiet morgue, trying to amend what he could. Hux could see his own hands and knew he wasn’t shaking, which did little to reassure him about the fact that every fiber of being felt like it had been thrown out of an air lock. On multiple occasions he’d suspected that Kylo was peering through the keyhole into his thoughts but the Knight had never knocked on the door. It had thrown the General. It had, he refused to admit even to himself, scared him. Of what, he wasn’t sure.

“I’ll leave you to your work then General,” Kylo spoked in clipped, low words. Even without the Force Hux could taste the humiliation in Kylo’s voice.

Too much of Hux wanted to stop him from leaving. The rest of him felt how heavy the schematics were in his palm and he knew he needed to get the security footage of conference room 3B. He watched Kylo leave the morgue with that rapid awkward gait and felt something ugly about himself settle into the pit of his stomach.

 

Hux passed and studiously ignored the smoking remnants of a console just beyond the doors of the medbay. He’d receive a report about that, sometime soon. His mind did its best to bury his moment of panic and failure and it did so by listing the things he could expect to occur in the next few hours. He would have to remember to obtain a new comlink after his visit to security. An incident report from Lieutenant Mitaka. An autopsy report from the morgue, although he suspected that report would be short affair. An incident report from the interrogator. Not a list of necessary supplies from Hale—possibly a list from Dershev, assuming Hale hadn’t been killed before their meeting. And possibly a meeting with the spy the First Order’s funders had sent in, in order to discuss finding and apprehending the spy the resistance had sent in. A meeting with Captain Phasma to brief her and the security team properly on the situation; subtlety was no longer the among Hux’s primary concerns. And he’d have to inform Supreme Leader Snoke of the most recent setbacks involving the construction of the superweapon.

And of course Kylo. Always Kylo. Except this time Hux was distressingly aware that it very well may have, perhaps, slightly, in the loosest of senses, been his fault. He truthfully hadn’t meant to reject the Knight, but it had been unexpected and slightly overwhelming and. Something in his chest said it wouldn’t mind if Kylo took a step inside, so long as he kept his voice down and wiped his feet and didn’t turn on the lights in the rooms Hux would rather leave dark. His sense of. Well. He wasn’t sure what it was a sense of, rallied and cried ‘no’ again. It was a small, shaking thing in the dark but its voice was deep and deafening.

Fortune continued to show Hux her off brand discount version of favor—security was competent and was more than obliging in routing the security footage to Hux’s quarters.

The walk back to his rooms was lonelier than Hux wanted to think on.

Chapter Text

Hux rubbed the bridge of his nose and rose from his private desk to begin pacing the floor. About an hour into watching the same eight minutes of vid play in a loop on the screen Hux considered letting the witch hunt occur. Whoever had shot Hale was probably male, based loosely on the voice in the vid and square of the shoulders. Which was about as much as Hux could discern. Cutting edge, top of the line technology and Hux couldn’t see the fucking spy’s fucking face because he kept his back to the damn camera. He could see Hale’s though. She had seemed confused at first. Whoever had been waiting for her in the conference room was clearly not who she had been expecting. Then angry. Hux heard her ask ‘what’s wrong with you?’ He heard the voice of her attacker say ‘absolutely nothing’.

He didn’t hear Kylo enter because the vid had reached the section where Hale was shot and screamed. But the Knight was not a presence that could be ignored for long. Hux turned to find the mask staring at him, only a few steps in beyond the door.

“Ren?” he sounded exactly as exhausted as he felt. Exhausted and hungry and mad and, now that Kylo had insisted on showing back up, vaguely sick with himself. And anxious to see what the more volatile man would do. Fuck it, then. May as well get it over with. It wasn’t as if this night was going to get any better—why hinder it in getting any worse? Maybe Kylo would do him a favor and run him through with his saber and he could finally get some sleep. Neither made a move to speak for a few moments and so Hux sighed heavily.

“I owe you an apology,”

“I thought you’d go back to your office,” his voice was seething. They spoke at the same time and Hux’s apology clearly surprised Kylo. Hux could see the faltering in his stance, the way the squared shoulders bowed slightly. Silence and then they both tried to speak, again, simultaneously.

“Why were you waiting in my office?”

“What do you have to apologize for?” Kylo’s voice this time was significantly softer than Hux had been expecting and it was his turn to be caught off guard. Hux cleared his throat, behind him the vid looped and Hale could be heard entering the conference room. The General saw the helmet raise slightly to take in the screen. After a moment Hux’s hand drifted over and paused the feed. He rapped his knuckles against the desk once, twice.

“The plans are schematics for a weapon, found encrypted in the datachip that Supreme Leader Snoke sent you to receive,” which wasn’t an answer to Kylo’s question. “Hale was the Chief Engineer of the project,” which still wasn’t an answer to Kylo’s question.

“Why tell me now?” Kylo asked suddenly and Hux felt a small flare of anger well up in him.

“Because you asked earlier,” he snapped back. The Knight seemed to consider this for a moment. The helmet was removed slowly and Hux found that Kylo was not looking at him. The dark eyes were trained on the ground, mouth twitching slightly as though it were trying to start a word and then changing its mind. His fingers relaxed and allowed the helmet to drop loudly to the ground. A dangerous tension was filling the room.

“Do you trust me, General?” and his words held an accusation and pain and almost desperation and a great deal of other things that made Hux’s skin crawl and his heart tighten. Trust him how? Trust Kylo with the plans to a superweapon? Trust Kylo not to kill him in a particularly bad fit of pique? Trust him with the fragile whispered thoughts that bled into Hux in the quiet spaces between them?

No. Cried Hux’s darker corners.

Yes. Maybe? Cast your votes now, polling ends soon.

“I want to,” Hux managed, though he couldn’t bring his voice above a whisper and he found that the words hurt to say. It was the truth, and like most truths it tasted ashen in his mouth. Hux’s life would be so much easier if he could bring himself to have faith in the Knight. But Hux’s distrust was constructed of equal parts his own paranoia and Kylo’s penchant for being unhinged. Kylo was still staring at the ground but Hux wanted him to look. Apparently that was enough of an answer. Without moving his head, the eyes flicked up and bore into Hux’s skull. Blood pressure rising, heart beginning to beat faster, head starting to go just a little foggy in anticipation for whatever it was Kylo was planning to say and.

“You look like shit,” Ren said without venom. A wave of relief crashed over the General. It was tinged slightly with annoyance. He’d been up for over a full cycle now and his immediate future contained a large amount of bureaucracy and a very small amount of sleep (if any at all) and so he knew Kylo was right. His face felt greasy and his head was teetering on the edge of a migraine and his palms felt twitchy. “Do you know who your spy is?”

“No,” Hux said wearily. He turned back to the frozen image on the comscreen, hearing more than feeling Kylo drawing in closer behind him.

“You’re only watching the feed from the conference room,” it wasn’t a question. “Have you looked in the hallways before and after?”

“Yes,” Hux dragged the tip of a finger along the screen and pulled up two alternate feeds, one from either of the flanking hallways. “Up to two hours before hand. No one goes in or out,” Fingertips appeared on his hipbones from behind. Kylo’s chest began to press against Hux’s back.

How?

How the actual fuck could Kylo do that? Was there some sort of internal switch that made him go from serious discussion to horny with no stop in between? The fingertips were dragging their way into the pockets of Hux’s greatcoat from behind.

“Ren,” Hux made sure to put a touch of warning into his voice.

“You’re working yourself to death, General,” the words were drenched in faux concern as Kylo’s hands slipped deeper, ignoring the tone of Hux’s voice. “You haven’t even taken your coat off,”
“I’m waiting for a call from the spy our backers have sent in,” Hux replied bitterly. And wearing the greatcoat made him feel just that much more untouchable. He buried the thought, ashamed of it. Kylo’s fingers drug themselves deeper still. Hux felt Kylo’s confusion in the way those fingers plodded along and then paused.

“These aren’t pockets?” The Knight wriggled his fingers in the open space between the fabric of the greatcoat and Hux’s uniform. Then he recovered from the momentary shock and points of pressure returned and spread along the seam of Hux’s outer shirt until they found the edge of Hux’s uniform pants.

“They’re meant to allow easy access to weapons,” the General said pointedly. Kylo’s hands somehow managed to bypass the barricade of Hux’s pants from behind, “during combat,” and were making a run for the top band of his underclothes. Hux’s exhaustion was fighting itself. He was too damn tired to put up with this; he was also too damn tired to stop it. There was a dark temptation to relax back into the Knight. A spot in the back of Hux’s mind wondered if Kylo could hold him upright if he decided to really give up. It was glossed over by the sensation of Kylo’s chin coming to rest in the crook his neck from behind.

“You’ve never seen real combat, General,” Kylo’s breath played with the small hairs on the side of Hux’s neck. A gloved hand had managed to sidle under the last layer of fabric keeping Hux’s skin covered. “Nor will you ever,” the place where Kylo whispered it against Hux’s neck felt like a promise. Kylo’s body behind him was solid and unyielding and Hux wished desperately for a moment that he could feel the other man’s body heat. Too many layers separated them.

The leather of Kylo’s glove had barely made contact with Hux’s skin before the Knight brought his hand back up, a sharp quick motion. It seemed Kylo agreed that there was too much fabric between their bodies; Hux was treated to an interesting visual as Kylo pulled his gloves off in front of him while his wrists were still caught in the flaps of the greatcoat. Whatever snide comment was forming itself on the back of Hux’s tongue was swallowed as Kylo maneuvered his right palm slightly upwards. It took a little time on his part as the greatcoat was folding in on itself uncooperatively.

“Spit,” he demanded. Hux flushed and debated saying no but Kylo’s left palm had begun gliding firmly over him through the underclothes and Hux was beginning to harden and Hux spit. Kylo thrust his tongue into Hux’s ear at the same time as his spit-slicked hand dove into Hux’s pants. It was difficult for Hux to say which sensation drew the shallow gasp from him but he twitched away from the wet heat at his ear.

Kylo’s unoccupied hand slipped Hux’s trousers and underclothes down far enough to allow his hand to make full strokes. The Knight’s hand began at a languid pace, keeping his touch loose and light and terribly wonderful. His thumb drew patterns as it ran the length of his cock, sometimes following a vein mostly running unhindered where it pleased. Hux did not enjoy how easily Kylo’s touch could melt him—his gaze drew back up to the screen. One of his best people was dead and there was a spy with the plans to their greatest hope at destroying the resistance and. Kylo was suckling at the hollow between his jaw and ear. His other hand rested firmly over Hux’s belly, pressing him back against Kylo’s chest.

After a long moment Hux decided that standing still with his arms hanging uselessly at his side was rather rude and moved to reciprocate as best he could from the odd angle. He ran a hand up to twist into Kylo’s hair, pressing his head firmer against his neck. Hux felt Kylo’s lips twitch into something like a smirk. His other palm slid as much as he could manage up Kylo’s leg and pressed into the cleft of his thigh and ass.

“I suppose,” Hux muttered, “this is you ‘repaying the favor’?” He turned his head and Kylo’s mouth strayed tantalizingly close to Hux’s lips without touching them together. Light played in the dark eyes and the hand on him slid so perfectly and warmly and Hux bucked into the sensation. He could see the smirk on Kylo now. Hux realized dimly that it was a handsome look and bit his lower lip without thinking and reopened the split on his lip. Abruptly the smirk fell from Kylo’s face and his hand began to stroke Hux’s cock in earnest. It drew a low exhale which then began to hitch. Out of the corner of his eye Hux had caught the visual of his coat being thrown up and about by Kylo’s arm and the absurdity of the sight threatened to make him laugh. The sound of the thick fabric smacking against Kylo’s pulls was not helping. Nor was the fact that Kylo seemed oblivious to how stupid it looked that his arm was stuck through the hole in Hux’s coat while it was jerking him off.

Kylo’s fingertips did something marvelous at the tip of Hux’s dick and suddenly there wasn’t much funny going on. Jolts of prickling, electrical pleasure were running up and down his spine and the muscles in his abdomen were beginning to rock his pelvis forward into the touch.

“You said you were sorry,” Kylo whispered into the shell of Hux’s ear; his hand was slowing again and making little, gentle twists as it ran up and down the length. Hux didn’t want to talk about that. “Is it because you can only trust me for the time it takes to get you off?” Ouch. The bitterness in Kylo’s voice made something secret in Hux’s chest whimper and Hux still didn’t want to talk about it.

“No,” Hux managed; the sensations in his lower body were beginning to build and it was hindering his mouth’s ability to function properly. “I,” Kylo’s fingers tightened suddenly in a way that was in no way, shape or form fair. “Fuck, Kylo,” he barely kept himself from thrusting forward sharply. “I didn’t mean to kick you out,” he barked sharply, half to ensure his mouth actually said what he wanted it to, half because Kylo’s pace increased without warning and the drag was wonderful. The hand Hux had placed on the back of Kylo’s leg had turned into a claw and was clutching at the muscle for dear life. The greatcoat was back to being jostled into the air and the tingling pleasure was back in his spine and.

“Of your office?” Kylo’s strokes didn’t falter in the least and Hux’s chest was starting to tighten with the effort of keeping his breath. His head was having a hard time staying up; it wanted desperately to tilt back and rest on Kylo’s shoulder.

“Of my head, you ass. Oh,” control of Hux’s mouth was wrangled momentarily away from his brain. “Fuck, don’t stop,” please don’t stop. A large part of Hux was suddenly dedicated strictly to his physical need. Even Hux’s mind couldn’t rewrite the sudden change from insulting the other man as anything other than begging. Eyes clamped shut and he exhaled heavily through his nose to keep from hissing out a moan.

“You didn’t?’ he sounded almost as out of breath as Hux felt, but Kylo obliged the General’s plea and continued his pace, thumb coming to swipe over the head of Hux’s cock and it was so. So fucking good. And Hux was openly thrusting against the hand and was twisting a hand into Kylo’s hair and he was getting so close.

“IwasalittlestressedKylofuck,” his voice was much higher than he meant it to be. Kylo mercifully put his interrogation on hold and bit down gently on Hux’s earlobe as he worked Hux towards his end. Hux’s orgasm hit him suddenly and he moaned low and long, spilling over Kylo’s fingers and hitting the floor wetly. Kylo let out a small noise as Hux came and the hand buried in his hair jerked. Hux was distantly aware that his hips were bucking wantonly against Kylo’s palm and his eyes were still closed and his head was finally allowed to fall back onto Kylo’s shoulder as he tried to catch his breath. A reedy noise was torn from Hux’s throat as Kylo’s fingers continued to drag over the twitching flesh, pulling everything he could out of Hux’s anatomy. The prolonged attention was making the muscles in his lower body spasm with aftershocks of discomfort and pleasure. The hand that had been buried in Kylo’s hair flew down to clutch at Kylo’s wrist. He had no clue as to whether or not it was to help or hinder the movement of the other man’s hand. Finally, mercifully, the hand stopped and flattened itself on the crest of Hux’s thigh.

The palm on Hux’s stomach continued to hold Hux more or less upright as the thin man recovered from his orgasm, which was taking longer than usual. The hand rose and fell as Hux’s breathing evened out and the other man slowly came into himself. Hux allowed himself a moment of gaining his composure before he rotated his body as much as he could while being pinned by Kylo’s hands and captured Kylo’s mouth. As soon as the kiss ended, Hux knew, Kylo would be back to talking. There was no vision of the future wherein Kylo let the subject drop and Hux was permitted to either get back to work or get to start working on Kylo.

Hux did his best to draw the kiss out as long as possible, letting his tongue run as much around Kylo’s as the other man would allow. He pulled back and dragged his teeth over Kylo’s lower lip and then pressed his mouth back into another kiss. The hands that had been pressing him into stillness lessened their hold and Hux turned to face Kylo properly. He could feel Kylo’s erection pressing into his thigh. Before he could bring his hands up to cup Kylo’s face the other man began speaking. Damn him.

“You didn’t?” Kylo’s voice was dangerously quiet. Hux was immediately aware that he was rapidly approaching a precipice from which there would be no turning back from. It was either fall off the edge like a stone or. Vaguely drift downwards, he supposed.

“I was just…unprepared,” Hux offered and knew it was a shit explanation. Kylo’s hands were moving again, spreading around his back until it occurred to Hux that Kylo was embracing him. Holding him in his arms. Hux responded by bringing his own arms around Kylo’s core, holding him back. Kylo’s face looked bright with an unidentifiable emotion. For a beautiful flash of time Hux felt perfectly secure in the hold before his mind began protesting. Mostly because it felt the small dull sensation from earlier press into his thoughts.

Hux met Kylo’s eyes for a terrible second and then pulled them away to look at anything, look anywhere other than into those damn eyes. Kylo shifted but Hux held him fast. He focused on the spot of his mind where he felt the pressure and Kylo stilled himself. Again, something in him rose up in abject fear and paranoia and Kylo was pulling away and Hux dug his fingers in. This was important. Hux felt that in a part of himself far deeper and more instinctual than he ever let himself deal with. Far more important than his discomfort at being open and exposed and his fear of Kylo seeing. Seeing. Seeing anything that hadn’t been carefully filtered and trimmed and composed and fit for consumption.

“Hux,”

“Stay,” stay I can do this. Stay I want this. A shudder ran through Hux’s mind and Kylo’s face softened into something that Hux couldn’t identify and didn’t bother trying to. He wanted this. He did want this. The spot was spreading out, practically dissolving until it felt like a pleasant haze hanging over his thoughts. Like he’d drunk too much expensive brandy, but not so much that it would give him a hangover in the morning. Kylo wasn’t quite smiling at him; it was the ghost of a grin that played over his face. This mist in Hux’s mind was warm and soft feeling and not what Hux had been expecting.

“Did you think it would hurt?” Kylo sounded somewhat put off, but the sensation in Hux’s mind stayed light. Well. The only situation he’d ever seen such a thing being put to use it certainly hadn’t seemed nice and Hux was suddenly flooded with a feeling of safety and physical arms were holding him close and he wasn’t sure that Kylo hadn’t touched on something in his mind. A light flickered somewhere behind Hux’s head and he was suddenly reminded of the looping video feed. Kylo spoke before Hux could even begin. “We’ll find him,” and now he could feel that it was a promise. The pressure in his mind retreated and it wasn’t a dissimilar sensation to the feeling of Kylo pulling out.

Exhaustion was beginning to resettle itself onto Hux’s shoulders until. Kylo was burying his fingers into the flesh of Hux’s ass and his eyes were flicking pointedly towards Hux’s bed. “Why don’t we get some rest, General?”

Chapter Text

Hux’s mind was sluggishly conjuring all of the pleasant activities that awaited the two of them between his sheets. It continued to imagine them right up until the point when his back fully touched the bed and he was consumed by darkness.

A cold, slick sensation on his cheek gently nudged Hux back to the waking world. Without opening his eyes, Hux brought his hand up to inspect the feeling and found to his delayed horror that it was coming from his mouth. At some point in his sleep he’d begun drooling and it had pooled between his cheek and the pillow in a sick puddle. He wiped the thick liquid as best he could from his face with the back of his hand and smacked his mouth in distaste. Blearily Hux lifted himself onto an elbow and cracked his eyes open.
The lights in his quarters were dim and. He was alone in the bed.

Oh.

He’d fallen asleep. Well. Passed out was more accurate. Kylo had left hadn’t he?

Hux cast a cursory glance around the room to find that Kylo was, in fact, seated at his private desk, flicking between security feeds. The General made to roll himself over and found that his limbs were still heavy from sleep. His shifting drew Kylo to turn his head and peer at him. Hux caught his glance and held it. Reflections from the screen danced in Kylo’s eyes distantly and made them flash brilliant and bright. It made Hux’s mouth go dry.

“Do you ever sleep?” the rumble of Ren’s baritone filled the room. Lilting notes of mockery played into it and Hux was treated to a flash of memory of a past partner informing him that he snored like a wookie. The remnants of his drool were cooling on his mouth and the back of his hand. Hux did a quick inventory of himself. He was on top of his bed covers, still completely clothed, morning (or whatever time it was) wood hanging out of his pants.

“Do you?” Hux shot back, without any emotion behind it. Ren had only received a few more hours of sleep than the General and what he had managed to steal had been in a drunken stupor.

“Earlier today,” Kylo began, “You informed me that the use of your mouth was not my gift. You have yet to deliver, General,” Hux felt his upper lip curl in sneer at the blunt nature of the Knight’s comment. He forced it down. Kylo wanted his gift now, did he?

Very well. Hux could improvise.

“Come here,” he requested blankly. His mind felt chilled and empty now that he was awake. But it also felt sharp and thin; sleep, however brief, worked wonders for Hux.
There was a moment as Kylo seemed to mull the order over in his mind but he rose casually and he swayed over to the bed. The broad man had already removed much of his outer clothing; the heavy tabard and undershirt were gone, as were the thick boots and gloves. Hux shifted so that he was sitting upright as Kylo approached the edge of the bed. He moved to slip off his boots and found Kylo’s hands joining his to guide them onto the floor. Hux managed to stymy his urge to pull Kylo onto the bed long enough to shimmy out of the greatcoat and then he curled his knees under himself and lifted himself upwards and was running his hands around to the small of Kylo’s back to pull him close. “Come here,” he repeated, quietly, softly, having nothing else to say yet feeling an acute need to say something.

Hux felt cloaked in his own skin, as if allowing Kylo in had exposed him and now that he was outside of his mind Hux had been rewrapped. The thought was leeched out of him by Kylo’s tongue running the gamut of Hux’s mouth, pressing and sliding wonderfully slowly. They parted enough for Hux to properly remove his uniform while Kylo stripped his remaining clothing off. He kicked his pants off gracelessly, but to be fair Hux’s own uniform pants were cast from the bed just as cavalierly. As his hands went to grip Kylo closer Hux’s mouth contradicted the motion. “Bottom drawer,” he breathed out.

“I know where it’s at,” Kylo muttered back, not quite petulantly, pressing his mouth softly and sloppily against Hux’s one last time before stepping away. Hux watched his movement and fought back against the question jumping to leave his mouth. Not yet. Perhaps later, but it was too soon now. Allowing the other man into his mind had been bizarrely exhilarating and nerve wracking. The searing curiosity to know what it would feel like to have Kylo in him, while also inside him in ways that shouldn’t have even been possible, was carefully placed in a small chest and left unlocked. Just in case. Not yet, the rest of him insisted.

All good things to those who wait.

Ren had paused and was staring at him, eyes twitching as though he couldn’t decide whether or not to narrow them. His mouth moved as if the word he sought kept sticking to the tip of his tongue and he was trying to dislodge it.

Then, “Later,” he agreed. An alarm very nearly went off in Hux’s mind but the pressure that had up until now indicated the presence of the force wasn’t there and. “You’re very loud, Hux,” he offered softly and at least Kylo had the decency to look vaguely embarrassed, “and it’s…easier once a connection has been…,” he trailed.

“Am I always loud?” Hux heard himself ask. His mouth was bypassing his inner censors again and Hux’s brain was having an absolute fit about it. Why ask that? What answer could Kylo give that would possibly satisfy him?

Kylo stalked his way back to the bed with that awkward grace of his, lubricant in hand, and was hefting himself onto the side opposite of the bed from Hux.

“Only when you think of me,” Kylo mocked, but Hux felt a deep suspicion that it wasn’t a lie. Still, it wasn’t the worst answer he could have given. Hux shifted enough to catch Ren’s lips as he crawled forward. The kiss was uncoordinated and their tongues spent as much time running over each other’s lips as they did inside mouths and Hux was certain that he tasted of old sleep but Kylo returned the contact easily and eagerly. The Knight was arranging himself so that he was laid out next to Hux and the General took the advantage, curving himself over the other man.

Hux broke the kiss and very nearly found himself nuzzling into Kylo’s neck. He smacked himself internally—perhaps Kylo’s brief entrance into Hux’s thoughts had had a greater effect than the General realized. So this was it, wasn’t it? He was going to start thinking of Kylo as a ‘lover’ all because he’d let Kylo drift into his mind once? The idea that his thoughts were loud was suddenly back at the forefront of his brain and Hux began licking a line along Kylo’s jaw to distract himself. He didn’t want to think about that sort thing just yet—especially when he had Kylo’s physicality to focus on. After running the tip of his tongue along the inner curve of Kylo’s ear, he pressed the full of his lips against it and whispered.

“While I was asleep, did you handle your--,”

“No,” Kylo cut him off and Hux felt a rush of. Something. Adrenaline, his brain offered and it tasted about right. Victory, whispered a hidden part in his hindbrain. Over what, it didn’t bother to explain. Recognition of it, however, sent Hux to hardening. He rolled himself so that he was properly flush against the other man and lazily bucked his hips forward.

Right. So. He’d had a very nice orgasm curtesy of the man he was currently on top of, then allowed said man intimate access to his thoughts and feelings, and then promptly passed out, leaving that man hard. And then that man hadn’t gotten himself off. Hux dug into his mind, attempting to drag out each and every thing he knew Kylo enjoyed and even then some things the Knight had only ever hinted at.

Hux let his mouth wander around the skin below Kylo’s ear and down his neck, lazily tonguing abstract designs onto the warm skin. The salt of old sweat and the baseline of human skin and Hux let his incisors press a little harder than he was usually wont to into the flesh. Only a fraction of tension and then the muscle relaxed under his mouth; he closed his lower jaw gently, catching just a thin roll of skin between his teeth and lathing his tongue over it. Kylo made a noise like a tired sigh and rolled his shoulder into the touch. Hux released his hold and kissed the area lazily. He trailed similarly soft love bites down Kylo’s neck and over each of his clavicles.

He continued the unhurried roll of his pelvis against Kylo’s crotch, quite enjoying the feeling of the Knight swelling under him. There was a slight shifting under him and Hux realized that it was the muscles in Kylo’s abdomen resisting the urge to thrust up against the General’s ministrations. Apparently Hux wasn’t the only one who wanted to draw this encounter out. His attention lingered on the movement for a bit too long and a thought came to him. One new thing for every old one then? Well. Perhaps not such an even ratio, but.

“Do you know why I hate seeing you on the bridge?” he whispered in the narrow juncture between Kylo’s collarbones. Below him Kylo arched an eyebrow.

“Enlighten me, General,” there was no humor in Ren’s voice and Hux hesitated for a moment before pressing onwards. Always seeking approval, Hux’s mind reassured him, he’ll want to know. Hux straightened and raised himself slightly so that he could properly look down on the body beneath him. The movement of his hands, slow and barely touching the skin, was random and explorative. As though through his palms and fingertips Hux might gain an insight as to how the form below him was crafted.

“Because as soon as I see you I can focus on nothing else,” the backs of his fingernails brushed over Kylo’s nipples and drew a soft inhale into Ren. “Because this morning you tortured a boy and it took everything in me to ignore the perfect edge of your body,” he leaned in low and ghosted his lips over Kylo’s. “Because your shoulders and your stride and your voice ruin me,” Hux punctuated himself with a particularly hard rut against Kylo’s pelvis. The expression on Kylo’s face almost threw him; he looked shell shocked.

“What are you doing?” Kylo sounded soft and confused. Hux’s mind scrambled to find a suitable way to explain while his mouth took up the slack and offered simply:

“Um?” Way to fuck it up, mouth. “You…overwhelm me,” Hux’s brain regained control and corrected. “At times,” he caught Kylo’s look and swore under his breath. It had sounded better in his mind. He shook his head to clear it and then sighed heavily. “Dammit Ren, what do want me to say?” and Kylo stared blankly up at him. It was rhetorical, but Kylo’s mouth dropped open in a response anyway.

“You say it like it’s a good thing,”

“It is,” and Hux couldn’t stop the shudder of relief in his voice, bringing his mouth down onto Kylo’s. No, whispered part of him and that part of him was soundly smacked across the face. As much as he might like to bitch about it to himself, Ren’s presence in his daily life was rapidly growing to be a pleasant thing. It interfered with his work and his thought processes and. And the last thing Hux wanted was for it to go back to how it was before. The Knight ended the kiss early but Hux was prepared. “Your fucking existence, Ren,” he kissed the mouth, “is driving me,” the scar, “to madness,” and his hands drew up to hold Kylo’s skull so he could look in his eyes. “And if I wished it to be otherwise I wouldn’t be here now,”

It was a rare sight to see Kylo melt and it occurred for only the most fleeting of moments; Hux’s mind recorded it and stored it away in a hidden place far more secretive than his heart. Somewhere behind his pancreas but in front of where his soul whispered soft things about love. A sharp kick from Hux’s mind sent him back into the moment. Right. Back to work.

Hux shifted his body down and began mouthing the scars along Kylo’s right shoulder and arm. The newly knitted skin stretched and the muscles beneath it twitched and Hux made sure to keep the bites there barely nibbles. The wounds had been deep and the last thing Hux wanted to do was dredge up memories of their pain. His right hand took up the task of gently stroking the bowcaster scar on Kylo’s other side. It was around the time his mouth had made its way to suck one of Kylo’s nipples into a point when the Knight’s broad hands began weaving their fingers into his hair. His hair was pulled just enough to get his attention.

“Fuck me,” and the vibrations of the words could be felt in the muscles under Hux’s mouth. It was not a question. And it hardened Hux to an almost painful degree. Without wanting to tear his eyes away from Kylo, Hux’s palm began groping blindly for the lubricant. His fingers closed around the cool, slender cylinder just as Kylo released the hold he’d taken on Hux’s locks. It allowed Hux to draw himself down, shoulders practically even with Ren’s hips. Kylo’s legs bent themselves at the knees and Hux took a moment to admire the view.

“I refuse to believe you don’t know that I stare,” he whispered, dragging his eyes over every inch of exposed skin. Pale and perfect and dotted with moles and freckles and ragged craterous scars like some distant celestial body. He belongs in the stars, Hux thought; it was absurdly poetic. He burrowed it away anyway. The lube made an obscenely wet noise as Hux coated his fingers and out of the corner of his eyes he saw Kylo’s twisted face dip into a phantom smirk. Before he could stop himself he found his own mouth mirroring the expression.

Hux took half a second to consider warming the lubricant in his hands and then, with an indulgent little brush of sadism, decided against it. The pad of his pointer finger traced the edges of Kylo’s entrance and the Knight jolted slightly at the cold. Still in a teasing mood, Hux allowed the backs of his fingertips to graze along the shaft of Kylo’s erection. Kylo’s face tightened and then relaxed; he exhaled heavily and Hux took the opportunity to press the digit in.

Keeping the pace slow, Hux began to draw back out of Kylo’s body, relishing the way the other man clenched and released. The hand that was otherwise unoccupied wandered aimlessly over Kylo’s chest and abdomen, occasionally pausing to circle and pinch gently at a nipple. It took less pressure than Hux was expecting to wriggle his middle finger through the tight ring of muscle and already Kylo was shifting his hips onto the intrusion.

Kylo’s hand had moved down his body to stroke himself but was stopped. “You want this as a gift, don’t you?” Hux quickened the pace of fingers only slightly. “Let it be a gift, then,” he curled and found Kylo’s prostate and the Knight’s hand fell away. The thrusting motion of his fingers lessoned, instead letting his fingertips tap and glide over the small organ. Kylo exhaled heavily through his nose; the noise ground low at the end and dragged out in a shudder. Hux felt himself go heady and light at the sound. Kylo was making small, deep noises in his chest and Hux was tempted to find a way to keep those sounds. Record them and have them play into his ears on those nights when Kylo was far from him, whether by Snoke or circumstance.

The fair skin under his ministrations was flushing a beautiful red, the color spreading from Ren’s chest and up his neck to the arch of his cheekbones. Like watching a sunset, Hux thought. If Kylo hadn’t gasped out his name with the next press of his fingers, Hux would have noted with no small amount of annoyance how overly sentimental he was becoming. He would’ve blamed Kylo’s influence.

He would’ve been right.

Kylo inhaled sharply as Hux flicked his fingers again and then those long fingers were twining into Hux’s hair again. They drug themselves over his scalp and it sent shivers over Hux’s skin. Hux shifted his body, keeping the angle of his fingers as best he could and began sucking dark hickies along Kylo’s ribs. His other hand left Kylo’s chest and began drifting lightly over Kylo’s dick. It twitched against the touch but Hux kept the contact limited to his fingertips. He could feel the conflict in Kylo’s muscles. The Knight wanted to thrust down onto his fingers but also needed to buck upwards against Hux’s palm. Kylo chose up. Wrong choice, Hux thought smugly. He allowed his hand to drift ever so slightly upwards and away from Kylo’s anatomy, earning a hiss from the other man.

Ignored, and none too happy about it, his own hips began lazily rubbing his erection against the sheets between Kylo’s legs. Hux stopped the motion with a shudder and a shout from his brain. Kylo had begun whispering things.

“Fucking tease,” and Hux grinned before he could stop himself and Kylo must’ve seen it because there was a sharp tug on his hair; too jerky to be playful. Hux relented, slightly, and as he pressed a third finger into Kylo’s beautiful heat, laid his palm flat along the underside of Kylo’s cock. It pinned the leaking head firmly against the muscles of his lower body and Kylo swore softly. There was no anger in the profanity.

Right. Enough messing around, Hux lied to absolutely no one specific but rather the world at large.

He focused his attentions on striking Kylo’s prostate and leaned into the tearing sensation at his scalp when Kylo fisted his hair in response. Hux’s free hand left Ren’s dick and found the Knight’s other hand twisting into the fabric of his sheets. After a little prodding he convinced Kylo to release the bed linen and grip his hand instead.

The bruises from the night before, and there were indeed bruises on his knuckles, ached and burned in their protests and were ignored. Kylo was leaking heavily onto his own abdomen, untouched cock bouncing with the effort of Kylo’s hips rutting down onto Hux’s hand. At some point Hux had begun panting; the only indicator he received of the change was the dryness in his throat and the way his lungs felt ragged and. Stars, Kylo was glorious like that. Splayed out beneath him and writhing and hissing and practically crushing his hand and ripping his hair out.

The hard and fast pace was making the muscle in Hux’s forearm start to grumble and complain. In addition to the grinding of his fingers, nails were now digging into the back of his hand. Hux muted the constant stream of complaints from his arm and his hand and continued the assault on Kylo’s prostate. Kylo was groaning openly now, liquid forming small pools on his stomach in response to the onslaught. The muscles in Kylo’s thighs were twitching around Hux’s hand. Hux’s eyes were pinned to Kylo’s face, which had been left unattended and was allowed to crease and crumple, eyes screwed shut, jaw dropped and upper lip curled in a sneer. He was so intoxicated by the sight that he didn’t realize that Kylo had begun cumming, untouched, until the shuddering, low gasps tore out of Kylo’s throat. Hux continued drumming his fingers along Kylo’s prostate despite the fluttering and spasming.

The noises took on a high pitch when Hux didn’t stop and a grip like iron descended on his wrist and it would be an understatement to say that it stilled his movements. Either he stopped or Kylo would break his arm. Fingers sliding out, Hux rose up, rubbing the thumb of his other hand along the grip of Kylo’s hand. He pressed a kiss onto the corner of Kylo’s mouth, waiting for the man to turn his head into the kiss. Kylo’s tongue slipped out to wet his lips and Hux found his patience had died; Hux drove his tongue into Ren’s mouth, reveling in the way Kylo still had to breathe desperately through his nose around the kiss.

“More?” he muttered against Kylo’s lower lip and rolled his hips hard against Kylo’s anatomy. Kylo made a noise. “Yes?”

“Yes,” he croaked, heavy and greedy and gravelly and practically bleeding anticipation. Hux grinned wickedly.

Good,” and his hand managed to relocate the lube and he slicked himself in one fluid movement. There was little resistance to his entrance, although Kylo gave the hand still in his a squeeze for good measure, and then Hux was enveloped in an overwhelming, pulsing heat. His free hand reached back and hooked under Kylo’s knee, only holding it for the moment. Ready to lift and press back to deepen the slide as soon as he felt Kylo could handle it. He met the other man’s eyes and found them clouded and unfocused and blinking rapidly as Hux seated himself fully and then began the arduous journey back.

The dreadful pull of Kylo clenching around him drew a soft noise from Hux’s chest. Hux chose a pace about two degrees above languid and set his cruise control. He knew he would be equally as red as Kylo, equally as disheveled and slovenly looking and unfocused and frantic sounding and Kylo was. Oh. Kylo’s free hand was wrapping around the back of his head and pulling it close so that their foreheads rested on one another’s, so their eyes could only see each other. It was almost as distressingly intimate as having him inside his head, Hux realized. He forced himself to keep the contact; to not look away. After a moment he increased his pace and Kylo’s glorious eyes mercifully slid closed.

Kylo rocked with the motions of Hux’s thrusts, small throaty grunts leaving him and playing melody to the beat of the slap of skin hitting skin. Hux tried to remain in himself as much as he could; he really did try.

Trying, in this situation, really wasn’t enough. Without thinking he began driving his hips against Kylo’s with abandon; Kylo yelped but made no move to stop the other man. The fingers that had twined with his own were digging in deep and Ren’s eyes opened again. They shifted nearly in unison, Kylo leading, to bring their clasped hands up and press into the bed beside Kylo’s head. Hux’s other hand, still planted firmly beneath Kylo’s knee began hitching it up. He could feel the stretch in the terribly strong muscle under his palm and it sent a bolt through him. Kylo spasmed, not quite flexible enough to fully hook his knee over Hux’s shoulder, but determined to wrap it as high up the General’s bicep as he possibly could.

Hux made a guttural noise, sliding in deeper and losing even more of himself to the sensation. Kylo responded with his own, fingers carding through Hux’s hair and then.
Hux downshifted and knew he’d hit against Kylo’s overstimulated prostate from the way the Knight bucked violently and began clawing at him, desperate and delirious. Hux could see it was close to being too much. He continued regardless. Kylo was crumbling beneath him and Hux felt like the galaxy had been spread out for his taking. Felt like the Emperor he was destined to become.

Each subsequent stab in that same spot, Hux had to focus most if not all of himself on maintaining contact with it while Kylo squirmed, drew more jolts and twists from those deep, smooth muscles. Despite the thick leg hindering its movement Hux managed to manipulate himself into a position where he could begin sliding along Kylo’s now limp cock. Kylo whimpered. Actually whimpered and Hux swore at the perfect sound of it. His thrusts were coming recklessly now, the bedframe screeching and Kylo frantically bucking with back arched up into Hux and the friction was bone-searing and absolute and. Gulping noises beneath him and Hux felt the abused flesh hardening and Kylo was seething and spewing forward a litany of curses sprinkled occasionally with his name.

Fuck he was close. Fuck he was so close but he could do it he could hold out for just a little. Water was slipping from the edges of Kylo’s eyes, his mouth; his expression was a Molotov cocktail of. Well. A great deal of things and Hux could only hope that the dominant among them was pleasure. He kept his hand moving along Kylo’s dick and the arch of the back fell and seemed to collapse in on itself as the Knight’s body reflexively did what it could to stop the sensation. All the while Kylo’s fingernails on the back of his hand and dragging along his scalp were tearing up skin. Hux could see the small crescents of blood beginning on his hand—he could only imagine what it looked like under the shield of his hair.

“Hux,” and it was raw and terrible noise. “I,”

“You can,” Hux replied to an unspoken plea. “One more, you can,” And Kylo seemed to swallow something that strangled him and the pressure holding their foreheads together only increased. In Hux’s experience Kylo had never necessarily been overly loud in bed.

Well. Life was all about new experiences. Kylo was three marks below screaming, somewhere near a bellow when he came for a second time in too short a period. It was no high pitched, keening thing. This was the sound a great beast, low and raw and primal, made in the paroxysms of death. It echoed in his eardrums. A roar, Hux’s swimming mind offered. It fit perfectly. Hux’s hand didn’t falter, feeling significantly less fluid, hardly any at all, spurt out onto Kylo’s flesh. The continued drag and thrusting of Hux into his body made Kylo’s eyes roll back ever so slightly and that was all it took.

Hux slammed himself in hard and spilled long and deep into the twitching form. His own gasping was shallow and reedy sounding after Kylo’s display. Kylo was practically trembling beneath him, but he was recovering quickly. The hand that had been actively seeking to destroy the Knight left his anatomy and did its best to smear the cum off itself. Satisfied that it was somewhat clean, Hux brought it up to cradle Kylo’s jaw. Hux imagined that for a moment he could feel Kylo’s heartbeat moving through him. Rapid and strong and steady.

Kylo’s leg had gone to dead weight and Hux lowered it as gently as he could back to the bed; the nails that had been dug into his hand retreated and a glance confirmed four neat little cuts. He was softening inside the other’s body but hadn’t yet regained the willpower to pull out of the shimmering heat.

“You’re,” Hux gathered himself. “Fuck Kylo, you’re so,” he met Kylo’s eyes, heavy lidded and hazy and even still there seemed to be an awful loneliness in them. Perhaps it was imagined; it didn’t matter. He kissed him deeply, ignoring his lungs’ plea for oxygen. As the kiss ended Hux slid out of Kylo and Kylo mumbled Hux’s name and.

“Nice gift,” Kylo was going limp and looked stoned and giddy and there was nothing ghostly about it. His smile riddled Hux’s mind with electrical currents and Hux knew. Felt it more than commanded it. He was smiling back and sighed long and low. The General managed enough strength to lift his head off of Kylo’s and was met with a low red mark across Kylo’s forehead from where they’d been pressed together.

The back of Hux’s mind threw a brick. “You were watching the security tapes?” Kylo’s expression managed to convey that this was the wrong question to ask after having fucked him into a pile on the bed. But it was too late to take it back. After a moment of glaring at him Kylo must have realized that the time for holding each other and whispering softly was not forthcoming and cleared his throat.

“You weren’t looking far enough back, General,” Kylo motioned with his chin to the screen. “Four hours before hand, nearly an hour after we learned the name of our spy,”

“Is that pertinent?” Hux asked and Kylo’s eyes glittered.

“More than you’ll be happy to hear,”

Chapter Text

Hux was absolutely livid. The lieutenant. The fucking lieutenant that had seemed so in awe of Kylo’s use of the force. Hux’s first impression had been right; it was fear not awe on that mottled face. The damn spy had been in the room when his cohort had outed him and was then treated to a taste of what awaited if and when his enemies discovered him. It had clearly motivated him to act far quicker than he may have wanted to. Far sloppier than he had wanted to. An ugly thought reared its head. If Hux hadn’t come when he’d received that message from Kylo—if he’d allowed the interrogation to go on without his presence—would the spy have panicked like that? Would Hale still.

There was no place for that, Hux corrected himself.

Need to find out if she had family, the rest of him murmured a reminder.

Hux was sure Kylo was getting some sort of perverse enjoyment from watching him pace and shout profanity in front of the screen. Some passive sort of revenge for not being allowed to bask in his afterglow.

“Why didn’t you wake me as soon as you knew?” he rounded on the Knight, who regarded him with a bored, almost sleepy expression.

“Because he doesn’t know that we know; he’s not going anywhere,” Kylo stretched back on the bed and exactly half of Hux followed the slide of the muscles; the other half was debating throwing a boot at his face.

“He could, probably does, have a copy of our last hope of eradicating the last vestiges of the republic; he killed an officer and has access to the prisoners and could very well be absconding with all three as we speak,” Hux was immediately aware that in his anger he had sputtered slightly, he felt the little specks of saliva leave his mouth. If he did see it, the dark haired man said nothing.

“He doesn’t know that we know.” Kylo said adamantly. His tone brought up an emotional memory that Hux wasn’t comfortable with. It was the same feeling he had when he realized that Kylo had been reading Lieutenant Mitaka’s mind. Could other people feel when the force-user was in their heads? Did it feel as good as it had for him? Or had Kylo been giving Hux a privilege that he denied to others? “I have a Knight watching him,” the Commander continued and began shifting on the bed again, sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of the bed.

“Oh, yes, I imagine that must be very subtle,” Hux’s mind did its best to squash out his jealousy and conjured up an image of one of those ridiculous black-clad cultists trying to sneak through a hallway behind an actual spy.

“Like you’re being?”

“What?” Oh. I’m loud, he reminded himself and the jealousy that he’d tried to eliminate snickered smugly. Hux shot the other man a glare who ignored it in favor of scooping his own pants off the ground. Despite himself Hux found it hard to look away as Kylo dressed himself. After a moment Hux joined him in the awkward, silent task of throwing on whichever of their clothing was closest. The General ended up in his underclothes and over shirt, trousers having been thrown somewhere. As Kylo finished pulling his undershirt on he rose to his feet and his presence in the room seemed to expand. Hux followed Kylo’s gaze to the helmet that had been placed on his desk. Hesitantly, anger being placed on a display shelf for later, Hux picked up the helmet, eyes still on Kylo to gauge his reaction. The warrior took a step forward and then paused.

Hux inspected the mask in his hands. Deep indents and cuts marred the surface and Hux was reminded almost immediately and overwhelmingly of how reckless the other man was with his own safety. He couldn’t repress the shudder that ran through his body but.

No. Not now. Preferably not ever.

Stiff armed and avoiding eye contact Hux held the helmet out at arms’ length for the other man to take.

“Do you know where he’s at right now?”

“No,” Kylo answered simply and didn’t expand. One long stride crossed the distance to Hux’s hand and Kylo reclaimed his property, turning it over but not putting it on. “But,” and then Kylo went very still in a way that was almost frightening. Hux waited until it became clear that the Knight wasn’t going to volunteer any further information.

What?” Kylo half turned away, frowning before he answered.

“My Knight says there’s a problem,” he began slowly, clearly not wanting to admit that Hux had immediately had his fears confirmed. “Who…who’s Dershev?”

Hux was halfway through the act of jerking a new pair of uniform pants on before his mouth caught up and began cursing.

“He’s a fucking architect. Three fucking people had access to the plans,” he spat out harshly, trying to coordinate his boots onto his legs. “Myself, Hale and fucking Dershev. With Hale dead, there’s only the two of us,” Hux’s paused in his fumbling and clamped down on the spear of dread shooting through his chest. “Should I say there used to be the two of us?” Kylo shook his head dismissively.

“He’s still alive. But apparently he’s chatty, my Knight’s lost track because of him,”

“He’s chatting with one of your Knights? And they’re talking back?” Hux surprised himself by actually growling. He supposed it was a good thing that Dershev was still alive but. A sigh forced its way out of his body. But nothing; Dershev was annoying but didn’t deserve a target on his back. The Knight currently standing in his bedroom shrugged as if to say he didn’t know if it were strange or not for his Knights to be conversational. “Finish getting dressed, we have to find him soon,” Hux turned his attention back to the screen where the feed had been rewound. The face of a youngish man was glancing up and down the hallway in a manner far too casual to actually be casual. It was pitted and dotted with bumps and had a slight sheen. Lieutenant Skin Condition. The spy. Helrin Kato. If that information was to be believed. Whoever he really was ducked into the conference room. He wouldn’t leave for several hours and when he did, Hale would be dead. Kylo was shifting and not obeying Hux’s earlier order to redress. In fact, he’d begun peeling off his clothing again.

“No,” and before Hux could even begin to yell, “We reek of sex, General,”

Shit. He wasn’t wrong. But. “We cannot afford to lose track of that bastard,” and it was painfully close to a whine from Hux’s throat. Mostly because he knew that after having his stench pointed out it would impossible for him not to do something about it.

“I could have my Knight handle him,”

“No. We need to see how much he knows, how much he’s relayed to the resistance. And I’d rather do it without causing a scene,” because causing a scene would mean that he’d lost in this moronic game of cat and mouse and that was unacceptable. Hux damned his own pride more than a little.

And then he grudgingly began stripping himself of the clothing he’d just frantically pulled on. It stung more than he would ever admit that Kylo was being the sane and rational one. Perhaps it was his outsiders’ perspective. Kylo had no dog in this fight other than to see the spy caught and plans returned and even THAT was only so that Snoke wouldn’t be cross with him. Shit. Supreme Leader Snoke. “Can you give her orders from here?” Hux asked under his breath, now fully nude again and huffing his way over to the refresher. He still had to fight down the rising tide of ‘he should only be in my head’. It was one time that he’d been in there, Hux sneered at himself. That’s nowhere near enough to begin being jealous about it.

“Yes,” Kylo replied lowly. Clearly Hux was still being very loud in that regard. Now fighting back jealousy and embarrassment Hux cleared his throat.

“Tell her to tell Dershev to fuck off and see if she can relocate Kato without being obvious,” and then he remembered himself and added: “If you would be so kind Commander,” and Kylo smirked at the falsely polite addition and the thing that had threatened to take seed in Hux’s jealousy and demands was uprooted and forgotten.

 

Kylo joined him in the ‘fresher. A quick, business-like affair. They touched one another only briefly; only stole glances rather than indulged in them. Somewhere in the steam Hux muttered softly: “We’ll have to do this again when we have more time,” the Knight’s flesh shone in the water-filled air.

“We never have time,” Kylo pointed out, equally quietly. Both men wished for more and neither man acted on it. This time they truly dressed in silence.

 

The General walked with his eyes glued to his datapad, not even trying to disguise the fact that he was following Kylo Ren’s lead as they zeroed in on the Knight’s, and hopefully the spy’s, location. Officers and subordinates alike scuttled out of their path, casting wary glances at their backs. The part of Hux’s mind that wasn’t boiling over in frantic anticipation at finally being able to eliminate the spy noted that Kylo served as a rather effective means of parting a crowd.

He sent a message first to Captain Phasma, instructing her to be prepared at a moment’s notice with her security team. He didn’t expand on why they were needed or even where they needed (as Hux himself didn’t know yet) but he wanted them ready. This Helrin Kato had killed once; Hux had few doubts he’d kill again if he needed to. An update flickered across the top of his datapad—the autopsy report. Hux carefully swiped it away for later. His second message was to Dershev, informing the architect in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t want to be jettisoned into the void he would be waiting to meet with the General in no less than one hour.

Hux had no reason for giving that time frame other than to hope that his other affairs would take him longer and Dershev would be kept anxious and waiting. It was a petty thing to do. Hux didn’t care.

Abruptly Kylo took a hard right down a corridor and Hux swerved to match the movement. They were heading for the elevators, he realized. Oh shit. Not down. Please not down. Downwards were the hangars and the exits and freedom and. Kylo punched the down key.

Shit.

“He hasn’t left,” Kylo said suddenly and Hux forcibly steadied himself as the elevator descended. They exited on the hangar level and Hux’s glove creaked under the pressure of his hand turning to a fist. He disguised it as best he could, ignoring the salutes from passing squad leaders and the occasional pilot. Rows of tie-fighters gleamed in the artificial light. Too many spaces were empty, Hux noted bitterly. And there wasn’t enough security the rest of him shouted. No wonder it was easy for FN 2187 to escape. Hux could see one guard at the very back of the hangar and from what he could tell the guard was asleep. Before he could fully manage to be furious Kylo took another right turn, leading away from the hangar bay.

The hallways in this part of the Finalizer were much narrower than anywhere else on the ship, needing less space for movement and more room for electrical wiring and cables. Hux pocketed the datapad in favor of watching where he was actually going. The action also meant that the ambient glow of the area lowered. The hallway was much darker than Hux had been expecting; it took his eyes a moment to adjust. If Kylo was affected by the change, he didn’t show it. Perhaps his helmet helped.

“Where the hell are they?” he muttered. In front of him Kylo remained silent but Hux followed the change in his shoulders. The spine was curving slightly, shoulders dropping ever so slightly, head coming a fraction lower. Even his knees seemed to bend just enough to. Lower his center of gravity, Hux realized. Apparently the General wasn’t the only one expecting the spy to put up a fight. “He’s leading your Knight somewhere,” Hux hissed.

“Clearly,” Kylo shot back. “And they’re not alone,” his tone was low but he kept moving forward at a steady pace. His hand had yet to reach for his lightsaber although Hux wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

“You mean us?” Hux narrowed his eyes at the thought.

“No,” Kylo replied and now he was reaching for his saber. Well. Shit. Hux palmed his blaster into his hand suddenly painfully aware that the simulations he and lieutenant Mitaka were familiar with had only ever accounted for so much. A blaster, or stars forbid, a saber fight in a hallway that was barely broad enough for Kylo’s shoulders hadn’t exactly been covered in the Academy. Suddenly a wide palm was on the center of his chest; Kylo wasn’t even looking back at him as he pressed Hux back. It was an absurdly protective gesture. A voice could be heard up ahead, somewhere around a T corner.

A sharp crack and smoke and burning electrical equipment and. Hux’s hand had half raised with his blaster by the time Kylo darted around the corner, saber igniting.

Chapter Text

The Commander’s lightsaber had cut through the wall of electrical wiring and snapping sizzling charges hissed furiously beside Hux’s head. The smoke it caused all but blinded the General but his arm and aim was steady. Not that he could fire in the narrow space—Kylo’s broad back was immediately before him. There was a cry, high pitched and impossible to discern. The Knight darted forward, clearly wanting to gain space in order to achieve a proper swing with his lightsaber. Ahead of the two of them Hux could hear more blaster fire echoing in the tight space. The hand that pressed on his chest shot forward and Hux heard a metallic tearing noise and a cry.

Hux side stepped as best he could and then Kylo was moving forward and then the General was able to duck beyond the intersection. The space before him was more open, clearly an area where workers and engineers could access control panels without being dangerously cramped like in the hallways. It was a dead end, however. The hallway they had come from was the only entrance and the only exit.

There was just enough space for Hux to be able to duck as Kylo swung his weapon in a fierce arc yet still he had time to think: Posturing? Idiot. As he ducked Hux caught sight of the female Knight about eight feet away, directly across from him in the room. Like her master she had stilled while in a fighting stance. There was an obscenely altered blaster in the female Knight’s hand. Kylo’s arm remained extended and it occurred to Hux that he was using the force to stop something from occurring. Hux followed their gazes through the haze of sparking electronics and landed on the. Lieutenant.

Spy. His mind corrected. The spy. And the lieutenant. What? Why was? Hux was speaking before he could even think to stop himself.

“Lieutenant Mitaka?” and the spy flinched which made Lieutenant Mitaka flinch which made two of his three would-be rescuers flinch. Kylo remained undisturbed.
Helrin Kato, if that was in fact his name, had been clipped in the leg by a blaster shot and was clearly using Lieutenant Mitaka as much as a crutch as he was a human shield. He was also holding a blaster to the lieutenant’s head. To his credit, the lieutenant appeared to be remarkably calm. His eyes were steady, although they were staring directly above himself at the ceiling. Hux’s eyes were drawn up and he saw what Kylo was doing. A large metal panel had been struck by an errant blaster shot and was dangling directly above both Lieutenant Mitaka and the spy. The General wasn’t sure if it was heavy enough to kill, but it would be heavy enough to hurt. It was wavering slightly and it seemed as if Kylo was looking for somewhere it could be set down that didn’t involve dropping it on his own knight, lieutenant Mitaka or themselves. His lightsaber crackled loudly in his opposite hand.

Hux was able to stave off being impressed by the one handed use of the force for the moment. If he’d been able to think about it, he would have first been proud of himself for resisting said urge and then would have been disappointed in the fact that he would have been proud of himself.

“General Hux,” Helrin Kato had. Well he had a voice. That was really all the more that could be said about it—completely nondescript. The sort of voice no one would notice or remember. Neither high nor low. It was beginning to occur to Hux that the mottled and splotchy face was nowhere near as repulsive as he had originally thought. Because it was missing a few key features. The skin was clearer, the divots and smears of discoloration all but gone. Fake patches. Make up. A slipshod disguise that was nearly laughably bad.
Hux swallowed how much an absolute tit he felt like for not noticing sooner and turned his attention to the spy.

Kato smiled. It showed two rows of straight and uniformly boring teeth, his eyes held no madness or joy. Just eyes, plain brown eyes. He still wore his First Order uniform, pressed and clean save for the singed and bloody wound on his leg. On the whole there was absolutely nothing remarkable about him. Hux’s skin crawled. “I thought the little warts and such were a nice touch, in the long run,” Kato began without warning. “You see it gives people something to focus on and soon it becomes all they remember about you,” Hux felt a shiver of disappointment in himself run through his core and stamped down on it hard. Now was not the time. When it became clear that no one was going to rise to his bait, Helrin changed tactics. “It was such a shame that Hale had to die don’t you think? I rather liked her, although clearly your lieutenant here didn’t. Shot her dead, didn’t you, hero?”

Lieutenant Mitaka made a face that was halfway between dread and awful guilt. He looked like he was going to be sick.

“Are you really going to monologue?” Kylo droned from behind his helmet. Stop that, Hux shot back within the confines of his own head. He wanted Kato to talk. Granted most of it would be time-wasting; Helrin trying to gain as much time as possible to try and figure out an escape plan. Hux raised his blaster again and focused on training it on Kato’s head. It wasn’t the easiest thing he’d ever done. Kato was nearly the same height as Lieutenant Mitaka and kept shifting his weight from the balls to the heels of his feet. Every half second put the blaster aimed at Mitaka’s head.

“But that’s not so much your fault, Lieutenant, as it is the dear General’s,”

All thoughts of preserving the spy for interrogation had evaporated from Hux’s mind. Whether it was out of revenge for Hale’s death or his fondness for the lieutenant or the sheer bloody principle of the thing Hux’s finger was itching to curl in. It was itching to fire. The spy made a tutting noise and pressed the blaster even harder against Lieutenant Mitaka’s temple.

Helrin Kato held the General’s gaze steadily. If he was bothered by staring down Hux’s blaster it didn’t show on his face. His mouth curled into something like a grim smile. He knows he’s not getting out of here; Hux’s stomach dropped.

“I’m going to offer you a proposition, General,” is what Hux assumed Kato was going to say. The spy made it as far as ‘offer’ before Lieutenant Mitaka twisted just barely enough out of Kato’s hold to ram his elbow into the spy’s stomach. Kato gasped in surprise, bent slightly over at the waist, and as he did Hux watched as Mitaka’s fist caught him in the lower jaw. The spy staggered back and as he recaptured his footing Hux shot. The noise cut through the room and then everything was happening too quickly. The blaster shot hit Kato in the ear. Kato yelped. There was blood. Red poured down the side of his face. Soaked into his uniform. Splatted on the ground.

With a surprising amount of strength, Kato thrust Mitaka forward and away from himself. The Lieutenant staggered almost fully into Kylo and then reacted with truly impressive speed. Mitaka curled himself downwards as Kylo’s lightsaber cut a clean horizontal arc. Kato did his best to jerk back away from the crackling weapon but his wounded leg crumpled under him. He succeeded in jerking backwards into blaster fire from the Knight. Four shots in rapid succession. Kato collapsed rather suddenly, legs folding under him, creasing over at the waist. His head made a rather satisfying ‘thock’ as it connected with the flooring.

To add insult to injury Kylo had clearly deemed it no longer necessary to hold up the metal panel. It fell with a loud clang onto the wounded man. Not even giving a chance for a pause to settle into the room Kylo force-dragged the man out from the under the panel; the action left a bright smear of vermillion on the black flooring. As Kato was pulled along by the force, seemingly head first, there was a sharp movement and Kato’s blaster had swung up as much as he could manage and he was firing up at Kylo and Hux was moving without realizing it. Not in between Kato and Ren, which would be reckless, stupid. No. Forward and firm.

The last thing Helrin Kato saw in his waking life was the butt of Hux’s blaster, descending like the wrath of gods.

 

Well.

Now what? Hux’s brain asked snidely. It then offered up a tried and true safety net. Hux rounded on Mitaka who was sitting on the ground wide eyed and like he was coming down from a high.

“What are you doing down here Lieutenant?” Hux hadn’t meant to yell it. Adrenaline, hot and choking, was still pumping through his body. Everything felt too sharp and jagged.
At the moment what the Lieutenant was doing was staring blankly at the body of the spy. He didn’t answer the General and instead his attention turned up to the Commander. For the most part the blaster shots had missed, save for one that clipped his left shoulder. It had torn through his uniform but there didn’t seem to be much blood. Kylo had deactivated his lightsaber and had stuck a gloved finger through the tear, inspecting it. Mitaka’s head turned and he then looked over at the female Knight. She was toeing at Kato’s body silently. Helrin Kato’s back and lower abdomen had been struck with several blaster rounds. The blow Hux delivered to the spy’s temple had shattered the orbital rim; the blood that had been pouring from Kato’s ruined eye socket had stopped flowing. Either Kato was on death’s doorstep or the bleeding in his brain would deliver him there soon enough. “Lieutenant,” Hux repeated.

Finally Mitaka turned his gaze to the General’s face. “I saw him on the security feed,” he said numbly.

“What?”

The lieutenant blinked and then cleared his throat. “I…Earlier I was writing my report of the incident with…Hale,” his voice grew very quiet and it looked for a moment as though he were going to be sick. “I wanted to be sure that I hadn’t forgotten to mention anything so I was reviewing the security feed. I have the clearance, sir,” he added on frantically. “I have the security clearance, sir. And I saw him go into conference room earlier in the day and then I saw Hale go in and so I decided to go find him and seeif he knew anythingabouther,” Mitaka’s words were beginning to blur together, his mouth unable to keep up with what his mind wanted desperately to communicate. “And I was justtryingtotalk with him and I followedhim in here, and,”

“Breathe, Lieutenant,” Hux did not heed his own advice, although it occurred to him that he wasn’t really faring much better than Mitaka on the ‘calm, cool and collected’ scale. That bastard. That utter bastard had shot at Kylo. He’d kill hi—oh. He had killed him, Hux’s brain helpfully reminded. He’d done that. Because Kato had been shooting at Kylo and. Right. Hux couldn’t remember if he’d ever done something so monumentally. Kylo could take care of himself, Hux chided himself.

It had felt good. It was sickening. It had felt good, something in him insisted.

Mitaka was talking again.

“Yessir,…I followed him in through the service hallway. I thought maybe he was…I don’t know what I thought, sir,” the lieutenant was being very careful to speak slowly now. “I called out to him and… when he turned around he saw,” Mitaka trailed off longer than usual and pointedly did not look at the female Knight. For her part, the Knight had taken to casually avoiding eye contact. Her shoulders suddenly tensed and Hus realized that Kylo was also watching her.

“A word,” the Commander sounded even blunter than Hux was used to. Granted he had nearly been shot. The Knight shuffled in hesitation and then took a hopping step over the corpse, hunched up between Hux and the lieutenant and moved to where her master had beckoned, back in the hallway. The two men left in the open area held their breaths without meaning to. No noise came from the hallway, words or otherwise.

“Lieutenant,” Hux pushed, although his eyes remained warily on the hallway, waiting.

“He turned and saw…us. And then he started firing. I went to shoot back but she,” he glanced over his shoulder, “was already firing. She hit him in the leg and I wasn’t expecting her to shoot and I,” his gaze hit the metal ceiling panel that was making a home for itself in a puddle of blood on the floor. “When it didn’t fall right away he grabbed me. And. You saw the rest, sir,” Hux sighed.

“You were writing your report?” he was grasping for something to help ground him.

“Yessir,” and now Mitaka seemed relieved. He was back on stable footing now; Hux’s mundane question had grounded them both. “I wanted to make sure I hadn’t forgotten to include anything in it, sir,”

“That’s very,” Hux controlled himself, “Very conscientious of you, Lieutenant,” that didn’t sound right, his brain interrupted. “Very commendable,” closer, it congratulated. There was still no sound from the hallway. And Hux wondered for a brief moment about the fate of the Knight. The Knights of Ren were uncomfortably soundly outside of his jurisdiction; he had no clue what sort of reprimand she might receive. If it could even be called a reprimand. Punishment, perhaps?

“Sir?” Hux looked down at Mitaka fully now. Oh. He was still on the ground. And looking as if he was very much aware that he was still on the ground, seated next to a dead body. The General shifted slightly back to give Mitaka more room to straighten himself onto his feet. “What was wrong with him? What did he mean when he called me a hero? Did he know about the spy?” Mitaka was rubbing his upper arms in a gesture of self comfort. There was a slight burn on his temple from where the blaster muzzle had been jammed against his skin.

Hux allowed himself to take a moment to compose a response. During that time he forgot to control his face and it ended up staring at Mitaka like he was some strange and fascinating new breed of idiot. The Lieutenant continued to look like he was going to be sick at any moment.

“Yes, Lieutenant. You could say he was working with the spy,” Hux kept his response measured. Surely the Lieutenant had figured it out? He’d watched the tapes hadn’t he? He’d admitted to watching the tapes.

“Ah, that’s why he shot at me wasn’t it, sir? Because I killed his companion, Hale?” So then. Either have it be known that there had been a spy and Mitaka had killed an officer due to Hux’s own negligence or. Or have it be thought that Hale really had been working with the resistance. Hux’s stomach dropped even further at that. It wasn’t right to smear Hale’s name like this. But. It was only Mitaka. And Hux was fairly certain Mitaka could be trusted not to gossip. And the man already looked like he was being consumed by guilt. There was a noise from the hallway; it sounded like whispering but that may have been an effect of the distance and space around them.

“Exactly, Lieutenant,” and Hux hated himself even as he said it. The Lieutenant nodded knowingly.

“I think he was trying to contact his handler,” Mitaka held out his hand. Clutched in it, and it really was being clutched, was a small communicator. It looked so shoddy and weathered that Hux doubted it was anywhere near capable of deep space contact. If the spy was using it to relay information, he was relaying it to somewhere very close. And now with Kato dead, Hux had no way of knowing just what it was the resistance knew about the weapon.

Quick work of the Lieutenant to manage to grab the device like that, a voice in Hux’s head pointed out. Very quick thinking and even quicker fingers. It was nudging the rest of Hux’s brain in a particular direction but the General didn’t have the eyesight to see that far ahead. His thoughts were disjointed as it was without having to think towards the future.

Speaking of communications. Good old communications that were reliable and wouldn’t betray him and were straightforward. Hux retrieved his datapad, ignored the shaking in his hands, and tapped out his location to the security team. Captain Phasma at least could be counted on to not ask any more questions than were necessary. Clearly words were being exchanged in the hallway. Loudly.

“Report to medical, Lieutenant Mitaka,” Hux ordered quietly, staring down at the cooling body on the floor as he then issued an order to the sanitation crew. He’d need to get engineering to take a look at the damages caused by the blaster shots. And the lightsaber. Hopefully no major systems had been damaged.

“Yessir,” Mitaka hesitated. “Sir? Would you like a report on this,” the little spike of self hatred Hux had felt earlier was sharpening itself. He was so distracted by it that he didn’t catch the tone of Lieutenant Mitaka’s comment. Dershev was probably waiting in Hux’s office. Good. He could let him wait. There was blood on the cuff of Hux’s uniform.
It had felt good, the dark thought surfaced.

“Yes, Lieutenant,” because it made him feel like himself again. Because it helped to keep that thought from fulling realizing itself. He just wouldn’t be himself if he responded otherwise. The thought that there would never be a formal report submitted to him of the interrogation earlier was already wriggling around at the back of his mind and that was the sound of a saber a lightsaber a fucking lightsaber and what was Kylo doing out in the hallway?

As quickly as the horrid buzz of the saber started it was gone. Hux rounded the corner to find Kylo standing alone in the hallway. No sight of the Knight, presumably she’d been sent away. Or ran off. Or. The Commander was breathing heavily. Several new slashes had been added to the already destroyed wall of electronics. Their edges smoked and glowed orange.

“Master Snoke has requested our presence. Both of us,” Kylo breathed raggedly from under his helmet. “And he’s angry,”

Fan-fucking-tastic.

Chapter Text

“General. Would you care to explain how the plans for the device made their way into the resistance’s hands?”

General Hux shifted his weight from right to left. No pretenses then. The Supreme Leader wasted no time; the towering apparition glowered down at Hux from on high and the General felt his skin trying to crawl away from the gaze. There wasn’t anger in Snoke’s voice just yet but even without the Force Hux could sense its presence lurking just beneath the surface.

“Supreme Leader I take full responsibility for the loss of the plans; I acted too slowly and my hesitation lost us precious time in stopping the resistance’s agents,” he should have come to Snoke as soon as he knew there was a spy on the base, but hindsight was twenty-twenty and there was nothing he could do about it now, save regret his choices.
Although Kylo stood next to him, staring straight ahead at Snoke, Hux had the itching feeling that the Commander was watching him from under the helmet. The thought that such knowledge provided absolutely no comfort wriggled around at the back of his head. Part of him was terrified that the rest of him wanted Kylo back in his head; wanted that misty, warm calm. Hux felt very alone.

Now was not the time. The commander remained silent and unmoving. “Rest assured that I am more than prepared to trace the agent’s information back to the resistance and crush them for what they’ve done,” posturing, a voice from the back of his mind snickered with no small amount of acid. Ren does it with his lightsaber and you do it with your words. Which works better?

There was a beat of silence.

“What precisely do you believe they have done, General? Have you any idea?” Snoke spoke slowly and Hux felt icy disgust creep up his spine. Disgust in what had yet to make itself known. “Proven your incompetence? Stolen the plans to a decoy weapon? One of these things they already knew of, the other will do them little good,” a sudden rise of nauseating humiliation filled Hux’s throat. A decoy weapon. A decoy weapon? It threw his mind so hard off track that he scarcely noticed the slight to his character. The part of Hux’s mind that thought in corkscrews voiced its approval. He had believed that they were real plans, everyone who had any knowledge of the plans had thought they were real; the resistance’s spy had clearly believed that they were real. But Snoke had lied to him. Blatantly and, in Hux’s opinion, without reason. Did the Supreme Leader have so little faith in him that he felt the need to hide such things?

His embarrassment and disgust was rapidly becoming anger. “You expected them to succeed?” it emerged from his throat far too much like a bitter hiss for his liking. He needed to remain calm. Tantrums were not his forte. The Supreme Leader had chosen him for his ability to be rational and for his devotion to the cause, not for being reactionary.

“I expected you to fail,” and the declaration echoed. Hux was gutted. The sting of the Supreme Leader’s honesty dug into his marrow in ways he’d never imagined possible. In his life a great deal of things had been expected of the young General—failure had never been among them. Beside him he thought he caught a change in Kylo’s stance but he dismissed it as his imagination.

“Why give it to them?” the question tore its way out of his throat before he could stop it, but rather than the angry dismissal he’d been expecting, the Supreme Leader regarded him for a moment.

“They believe those plans held the secret of our victory over them—that they are the schematics for a weapon the likes of which no living eyes has ever seen. Do you believe they will be able to resist constructing it? After the blow we dealt to them their desire to strike back will be overwhelming,” Snoke reclined back on his. Chair. Throne? The motion partially obscured his mutilated face. When he spoke again, the pleasure he felt was plain in his voice. No anger, however. Snoke had expected Hux to fail and the General had played his part spectacularly well. “They’ll pour their resources and their hopes into a weapon that is truly just so much rust,”

Ah yes. Rust. Hale had pointed that out. She had already begun noticing discrepancies in the plans and she’d only had access to the full plans for less than a week. The best the First Order had to offer and it took her under a week. It didn’t mean that the resistance couldn’t do it in a month.

The sudden appearance of Kylo’s voice made Hux take a step to the side in alarm and broke him from his thoughts. “They won’t build it if they believe it is a weapon of Sith origin. General Organa,” Hux again waited to see if there was a hesitation on the Knight’s part, but the slope of the shoulder’s remained firm. “Would never allow it,”

“You have much to learn about the nature of desperation,” Snoke replied dismissively but his words held a dark threat. And something silent passed between the force users that set Hux’s teeth to grinding despite himself. Whatever it was had clearly unsettled Kylo by the way his head dipped suddenly down and away from the Supreme Leader’s stare. The thought of how quickly Hale had begun to notice the oddities in the schematics refused to die. How she may have been able to discover that the plans were fake if only.

“They killed one of my best people and nearly shot another,” he took a step forward. It was only a hologram, he knew that. But part of him railed against the motion. It informed him that he was growing dangerously bold. For a split second Hux had a sinking feeling that it hadn’t been his own thought dragging him back into his place but he pressed forward despite it. “If there are no plans, there is no weapon and we are back to having no way of exacting our vengeance against the destructive vestiges of the republic,” Hux planted his heels and held the line of his frame taught. “And then all of my people will have died in vain,” without thinking he tacked that final statement onto the end and he tried to keep any emotion from leaking into his voice. But he meant it. The blow dealt to the First Order with the destruction of Starkiller had devastated him and not only because of the loss of investment. General Hux had never made nor kept friends easily. But he had people he’d favored. Approved of. Like Hale. Captain Phasma. Lieutenant Mitaka.
Too many of them had died when the planet had collapsed.

And Snoke was apparently expecting him to sit idly by while his people were murdered for shit reasons right under his nose.

“Your petty preoccupation with revenge does you a disservice, General,” Snoke’s voice echoed in the cavernous room that his physical body occupied. It transferred distressingly well even through the projection. “You should know by now that no matter how tragically your people are sacrificed, they are still but sacrifices. They should be regarded as acceptable losses,” And the peal of fury that erupted from Hux’s heart was stifled only barely by his own survival instincts.

How dare this.

This.

Thing.

No. Somewhere in the depths of Hux’s mind he wrangled the beast of his anger and chained it. Save it for when it’s useful, he chided himself. Save it for when it could be made to count. Supreme Leader Snoke still held far too much power for Hux to even begin to let himself think of outright insubordination. So Hux said nothing, forced the sneer threatening to take over his face into submission, and turned his gaze back up to the alien’s face. The Supreme Leader had turned his attention back to Kylo.

“You, on the other hand, performed well, Master of the Knights of Ren,” Kylo’s more or less full title. High praise.

Performed well.

A very high pitched, single noted alarm began piercing through behind Hux’s eye sockets. Hux silenced it because if he didn’t he would have punched Kylo square in the throat. He could deal with that later, too. “General, the schematics for our actual focus will be sent to you shortly. I expect construction to begin shortly,” although he didn’t say it aloud, the ‘you’re dismissed’ was heavily implied.

 

It took every ounce of Hux’s self-control not to storm from the room like a scorned son. Kylo remained behind for only a few seconds more before following the General. Hux could feel the other man approaching behind him as he maintained an even and calm stride back towards his office.

“Was that entire affair simply meant to humiliate me?” he spat under his breath. The Knight did not respond and Hux drew to a standstill. “Do you intend to explain what Snoke meant by your ‘performance’?” Hux did not allow it sting. If he had it may very well have broken him. Instead he kept his tone smooth and low. The part of his mind that provided logical reasoning stated that the Supreme Leader may have simply been referring to how well Kylo had been played. As much of a pawn as Hux had been in Snoke’s efforts to seed false information in the resistance. Hux felt physically ill with the thought that it referred to something else. Some other, far more disastrous, performance involving himself. After a moment it became clear that Kylo was not about to respond. He shouldn’t have said it. Everything in him knew he shouldn’t have reacted the way that he did, but Hux couldn’t stop the words: “If you have nothing to say for yourself then get away from me,”

It took a fraction of a second for the General to realize that he couldn’t have worded that worse if he’d actually tried. Kylo seemed frozen in place, unreadable in his dark mask and cloak. Before he could say anything further Hux turned and removed himself from the situation. His fingertips tingled with an adrenaline brought on by acute regret and self-doubt and humiliation.

As he walked Hux tugged out his datapad and saw a string of messages waiting for him. Captain Phasma had secured the area where Helrin Kato had made his ‘last stand’. The morgue had received Kato’s body and pronounced him dead, autopsy pending. Lieutenant Mitaka had submitted his first report of the conflict with Hale and apologized for his tardiness in filing his secondary report of incident with Kato. The Lieutenant’s orderly missives served as a slight balm to Hux’s wounded emotional state. Forgotten about until that point Hux felt a sudden, sharp discomfort in his stomach. It rolled loudly as he moved.

He hadn’t eaten in the past, what, 30 some odd hours? If not more. He’d skipped breakfast yesterday morning and hadn’t had time to eat during the rest of the day. He certainly hadn’t had time to shove something down his gullet since he woke up. The last thing to enter his stomach had been the brandy he’d sipped at before Kylo’s breakdown. His abdomen voiced its disapproval loudly. Hux had reached his office door and remembered that waiting within it was fucking Dershev. And there was still the other spy to be dealt with. Food would have to wait.

 

“Finally,” Dershev’s voice was somewhere between a nasal whine and the sound of a chair screeching over a tile floor. In direct contrast to his voice, Dershev was a broad man; delicate hands, however. All thin fingers and wide palms. He was currently gripping a stylus of sorts between two fingers in either hand. “Is it your practice to keep people waiting for hours without explanation or I am just lucky?” But as he spoke Hux realized that there was a tiny glimmer of reprieve shining in the distance. The plans Dershev had been working with were false. Useless. And now so was he, at least until Hux had the actual schematics he was meant to work with.

“Feel free to leave,” Hux said sharply and brushed beyond Dershev. The architect gaped at him for a moment.

“Excuse me?”

“Gladly. You’re excused,”

“I have been waiting all morning! I could have been getting my work done, but no. General Hux requested my presence and I decided to humor him,” Dershev rose sharply from his seat, clearly hoping to loom over Hux only to find that the General out-towered him by at least three inches. “You ordered me here,” Dershev all but shouted. “And it’s a good thing that you did,” he pointed with a slender finger at Hux’s chest. “Hale’s an idiot. She refuses to allow any allotments for my alterations. I cannot work with her,” his finger jabbed into Hux’s front. “She has no vision; there is more to building a structure than just beams. There is an inherent beauty to these plans that she cannot seem to respect,” Hux’s fury had boiled over into a sort of poisonous vapor that was clouding around in his skull. The General caught the finger pressing into his chest in a vice grip and Dershev made a noise of surprise in the back of his throat. “What do you think you’re--,”

“Hale is dead,” Hux said without ceremony, the dead tone of his voice startling even himself. “Killed by the resistance in order to make a copy of the physical plans you insist on using,” some part of Hux was aware that he was practically shouting at the other man, practically twisting the finger in his palm back against itself. He was also aware that he didn’t care. Physical plans. What the actual fuck was wrong with him? “If it weren’t for you,” No. Hux stopped himself yet again. Dershev, of all people, didn’t need to know. “We are halting construction on that plan,” and Dershev’s expression was a mix of pain and fear. Good, Hux thought. “If your services are required,” Hux couldn’t even begin to communicate how much he wished they wouldn’t be, “You will be called upon. Is that understood?”

Dershev shook his head, face crumpling into a scowl. “You can’t just halt the whole project because one woman died. She can be replaced. Quite literally anyone who can use a calculator can do her job. I’ve spent the past week figuring out whether or not the external edges should be sharp or curved and how gradual the angles need to be to create a proper sense of importance and I will not have that work thrown out the window on account of some fool woman,” the General’s face darkened as Dershev ranted. “Perhaps now you can find someone in your ranks with some skill. Someone possessed of a vision beyond rebar and carbon who can appreciate the beauty of--,”

“Get out,” he released Dershev’s finger.

“No. I am not one of your troopers. You cannot just order me around like some common--,”

And Hux caught Dershev by the collar of his shirt and drew him in close, his voice tremulous with impotent fury. “Get. Out.” Dershev blinked at him and then took a step back and away. Hux had absolutely no interest in trying to decipher the architect’s expression as he left his office.

 

The General had barely managed to bring himself down long enough to sit when there was knock on the door. Again a surge of anger, it was starting to make his head hurt, rushed up from his core. The door opened sharply and Hux was halfway through a shout, expecting Dershev when he stopped.

“Lieutenant Mitaka,” he composed himself as best he could. The look on the lieutenant’s face told him that he was not succeeding. “Something to add to your report?” his mind sought a reason for the lieutenant’s presence and he was drawing a blank.

“In a manner of speaking, sir, yessir,” he was holding his regulation hat in his hands, before his chest like a shield. “May I come in, sir?” without thinking, Hux stepped to one side to allow his subordinate entrance to his office.

“What is this about Lieutenant?” and Hux watched as Mitaka took a steadying breath.

“It’s about the spy. Er. Spies, rather,” he shifted nervously as Hux motioned for him to have a seat. Hux waited. His anger had been soundly put back in its cage and was settling down for a rest. Mitaka did not sit down, which Hux noticed blankly. Clearly the lieutenant didn’t plan on having a long conversation then. Good. Hux desperately wanted a moment to himself to collect his thoughts and deal with what had gone on. Mitaka straightened himself, although his nerves were still apparent in his expression, and brought his arms around behind his back. “I understand that at some point you were planning on meeting with a spy sent in by the Order’s financial backers. Sir.”

Hux’s brain had been through a lot in the past day and a half and so Hux could forgive it the few seconds it took to piece it together. It was awfully convenient, his mind said. Everything about the lieutenant had been proving to be awfully convenient. Mitaka had been there just seconds after an altercation with the resistance’s spy. It probably really had been an act of self-defense to shoot Hale. But he’d taken and read the schematics and hadn’t had a second of hesitation about recognizing what they were. Then he’d been reviewing security tapes. He’d followed a man who was clearly being followed by one of Ren’s Knights into a dark and narrow corridor and hadn’t been shot or otherwise damaged and had managed to get a hold of the spy’s communicator and. His guesses had been just far enough on the side of logical absurdity to not arouse suspicion.

What was it the old agent had said? A spy was most likely to be a face you never thought twice about—Lieutenant Skin Condition—or an officer. Like yourself, he’d said. Beyond questioning.

“Lieutenant.” And his voice was full of venom.

“Yessir,” and Mitaka did not meet his superior’s gaze. Then he cleared his throat, seeming to be set on digging an even deeper hole for Hux to throw him into later. “I know,” and he seemed to stumble, needing to clear his throat again. “I know where my loyalties lie, sir,” and now he did meet the General’s gaze. “Why do you think their purse strings didn’t tighten much after the destruction of Starkiller? Or why no one seems to be talking about how one of our own aided a resistance pilot in escaping?” Mitaka steadied himself. “I feed them what they think they need to know, sir,” his hands were gripping the hat so tightly it resembled a wad of tissue, “But I don’t tell them everything,”

“And what exactly do they think they need to know, Lieutenant Mitaka?” and his voice was shuddering nearly as much as his insides were.

“They’ll know that you successfully captured and killed resistance spies. They’ll know that you did so quietly and quickly and without causing a disturbance amongst your people. They’ll be informed that you successfully fed false information to the resistance that could spell out our victory. They…,” he trailed for a moment, “They won’t need to know that the plans themselves were false. Or that we had any plans of using those schematics at all,” his hands came around from behind his back and Hux could see that Mitaka’s grip was shaking. “Sir, I am a spy, yes. But I was ordered by my handler to expose myself and so there is no reason for any further subterfuge. I’ve always altered my reports, sir, to exclude any information that may be damaging to the Order. I will continue to do so, sir. However. Now that you’re aware of my existence, I feel it would only be respectful to allow your input on my reports,”

“You mean you’ll let me monitor what information you leak?” all of the other emotions in Hux’s mind came to a firm halt. He was beginning to grow too tired to deal with much else on that front. But the idea that he could use Mitaka as a double agent was tempting. Extraordinarily tempting.

“Yessir. Sir, as I said, I know where my loyalties lie,”

“Do you?” Hux’s face contorted into a painful grimace. “I’m not sure I can make that claim any longer,” Mitaka seemed to consider that statement for a while.

“I’m not asking you trust me, sir. Frankly, I don’t need for you trust me in order to do my job. But know that if you get rid of me, they’ll simply send in another spy and I highly doubt that whomever they send will be willing to make you this offer. Sir,”

It was a shit deal. But it was the only one on the table and Mitaka wasn’t wrong. “What’s to stop you from playing both sides, Lieutenant?”

“Nothing,” Lieutenant Mitaka answered with stark honesty. “Save for the fact that technically the First Order and its monetary backers are on the same side,” he sighed and allowed his arms to fall to his sides. “I’ve toed the party line thus far sir. Had my handler not ordered me to reveal myself, I would have continued to do so,”

“Very well, Lieutenant,” Hux’s stomach was rolling with more than hunger. It felt like he was going to be sick at any second. The words caught in his teeth and he had to force himself to say them. “Return to your duties,”

“Yessir,” and Lieutenant Mitaka saluted smartly. As if to add insult to injury. “I’ll have the report of the incident with Kato sent to you post haste, sir. And I’ll send you my…ah, fiscal report soon after, for you to review,” he turned to leave and every single cell in Hux’s body fought the urge to release a shuddering, defeated sigh. Mitaka hesitated at the door. “Sir? I overhear…things,” he paused awkwardly, seeming to fight himself before continuing. “Ren had no idea about the schematics or the spies. Snoke ordered him to go to the interrogation room that morning; he hasn’t lied to you,”

“Get out of my office Dopheld,” and Hux sounded like a wounded animal that had just been kicked one last time for good measure.

“Yessir,”

Chapter Text

Something in him snidely made a chalk mark in his mental ‘win’ column when Hux managed to not choke on the dry ration bar he dredged up from the depths of his desk drawer. It tasted what Hux imagined sawdust mixed with failure would taste like. But he swallowed it down despite the dryness of it. It was his only tick mark on that side of the board for the past two and half days. There was distressingly high number in the other half. Another one was slowly appearing in the 'loss' half as thoughts of the other man began to drift back into Hux’s head.

Shit.

Shit shit shit.

Hux ran a hand over the lower half of his face and winced; he needed to shave. He needed real food. He needed real sleep. He needed to fix whatever he had fucked up with Kylo. But Hux had a sinking feeling that while his sudden apology had worked earlier it only had been successful because it caught Kylo off guard. Sighing and wishing he could think of a better solution, the General rose from his desk. He was resolved to find the Knight; he was also determined to do so in a way that would prevent as much collateral damage as possible.

The Knight was not in his quarters. Another tally in the loss column. Hux had been hoping to keep this as private as possible. He also wanted it dealt with as soon as possible. So wait for Kylo to show up or. No. He had to find him. The idea that a spurned Kylo had been given free roam of his ship slapped Hux in the back of the head and told him to get off his ass and find the Knight.

He hoped that he would find the Force user somewhere like the canteen or with his Knights or. Hux’s stride faltered half a step as it brought him alongside a row of destroyed consoles. The increasingly familiar smell of searing electronics filled his nose. Dammit.

General Hux found him in the training facilities and it was clear from Kylo’s physical appearance that he’d been there for quite a while. Possibly since Hux had barked at him. There were several destroyed dummies littering the floor. The floor which was now the unfortunate owner of several deep, deep gashes. They smoked ominously. By the time the General had arrived Kylo had deactivated his saber in favor of using the Force to slam a training droid back and forth between walls. The basic automaton made a wrenching electronic whir; its version of a scream, Hux imagined. Sparks flew and the sound of bending, crunching metal filled the room. Frantic beepings echoed and it was bizarrely more distressing than the cries of the captured resistance fighter. The droid didn’t deserve.

Hux quashed those thoughts.

Kylo’s other hand joined his first outstretched one and the droid was held in suspension. It dangled in the air for a half a moment, pinned by the Force, and then the Knight made a low, furious bellow. His arms jerked fiercely to either side and the droid was destroyed. Torn apart. Shredding in an awful collection of beeps and shrieking whirs. Its remains buzzed and flashed pathetically, dropping to the floor on either side of the room with a noise like hail. The Knight panted raggedly and made no move to straighten himself. Even through the thick fabric Hux could see the bunch and strain of corded muscles.

It was.

Well. It was quite the display.

Hux remembered that breathing was important and sucked in a breath as quietly as he could manage. Clearly not quietly enough.

“Come to apologize, again, General?” Kylo’s voice, through the aid of the helmet modulator, came out steady and firm. He didn’t move to look at the other man, keeping his side to the General. Hux tried to find any emotion in the words. The fact that he could find none made his throat constrict slightly with fear. Not fear for what the other man might do. Fear of what he might say; might think. It bothered Hux immensely that he wasn’t bothered by how much he needed to Kylo to think well of him.

“Earlier, after our meeting with the Supreme Leader, I was being an ass,” he began slowly. Honesty seemed like a fair choice in this situation.

“Yes, you were,” Kylo interrupted sharply and Hux bit back a wince.

“And I am sorry about that,” he forced himself to continue. “And I thought,” He paused, not really knowing what to say. What could he say? Hux let out a sigh, “I thought that,” and ran a hand through his own hair. Kylo had turned to face him now. The blank mask snapped Hux out of his stupor. “Fuck, I don’t know, Kylo. It scared me, is that what you want to hear?” Hux didn’t wait for a response. The admission startled even himself and it sent a rush of adrenaline to his brain. Bad idea. Abort. Abandon ship. Hux snapped more at himself than at the other man. “Fine then. It scared the shit out of me to think you had been lying to me because Snoke ordered you to,” Hux felt himself choke on the words. He had no way of measuring exactly how loyal Kylo was to his alien master. Yet it needed to be said. Hux just wished that he wasn’t the one who had to say it.
“Why would you think Snoke--,” and now it was Hux’s turn to interrupt.

“I don’t know,” and he was nearly shouting and he hated himself for not having a better excuse. “Because he can? The same reason he would lie to me about the plans,” A bitter laugh managed to force itself out of his throat. This was falling apart rapidly and Hux felt helpless to stop it. “Fuck. I don’t know anything anymore,” he ran a gloved hand up over his face and drug off his hat from the top of his head. Unable to bring himself to look back up into the dark mask Hux stared down at the hat in his hand. “A week ago--, hell, three days ago,” he trailed, not happy with where he saw that train of thought heading. After a moment more of silence without Kylo saying anything Hux placed his hat back on his head. “Lieutenant Mitaka was the other spy,” If he’d been looking Hux would have seen the way Kylo’s shoulders shifted. Backwards and up. “He actually told me that you had no idea what was going on,” and now it wasn’t just a single laugh that managed to break out of his throat.

Sour, choked laughs were ripping their way out from between his lips. “Mitaka knows more about the private affairs of the First Order than I do,” he intoned coldly, laughter ceasing suddenly, as if saying the words out loud had a freezing effect on his mind. “Shit Kylo,” the General sighed long and heavy. “Can we,” he finally managed to look up into the black helmet. “Can we move this discussion to somewhere private? My office at least,”

The imposing figure regarded him silently for a moment, possibly taking in what all he had just said, possibly considering throwing him into a wall. Then the mask nodded.
“My room,” and at least Kylo sounded slightly out of breath, Hux thought gratefully. He turned and forced himself to keep a steady pace towards the Knight’s room, not bothering to check if Kylo was following.

 

Less than a week ago. Less than a week ago things had been going so well. He’d believed they had a weapon that could cripple the resistance. He’d believed that they were well under way to building it. And, his thoughts suddenly took a hard right, less than a week ago he hadn’t felt it necessary to examine whatever it was that went on between himself and Kylo.

He’d arrived outside of Kylo’s door before the man himself did, but the Commander was close behind. The door slid open with a soft hiss and Hux stood aside to let the broader man enter first, following in his steps almost immediately.

Where to begin? Hux hadn’t exactly left off in a place he wanted to continue from. Kylo had turned to face him, standing just at the foot of his bed. He removed his helmet slowly and placed it gently on the sheets. Hux allowed himself a moment longer than he should have to look at the other man. Sweat clung to his face and matted down his hair, his pupils were slightly more dilated than they should have been, face just a little flushed from physical exertion.

“Your apology isn’t accepted,” Kylo began slowly. Something was strange about his voice. “Nor will it be until you decide whether or not you actually trust me,”

Shit. That was one hell of an ultimatum. Hux shushed that sarcastic thought. “Kylo,” the General did his best to keep his tone even and his words steady. “This has probably been the worst week of my life since the resistance destroyed my life’s work. Does that help to put some things into perspective for you? It was wrong of me to assume that you would lie to me, you’re right. But I can’t keep this pace up; I was exhausted and reacted without thinking,”

“What the actual fuck are you talking about?” Before Hux could even begin to compose a response Kylo was talking again. “You think you can’t keep this up?” and the notes of anger in Kylo’s voice made it nearly melodic. The scarred cheek muscle began to flutter unexpectedly. “You have done nothing but jerk me around for the past three days, Hux,” the warrior took a step forward and Hux could feel the heat radiating off of him. “If you don’t want to trust me then fine, but you can’t go from making love to me to smashing a man’s head in because he shot at me to telling me to fuck off in the course of a day. One of us has to have his shit together and I’m pretty sure that distinction has to go to you,” Kylo was shaking slightly and oh. Oh that hadn’t been sweat shining on his cheeks. When he spoke again his voice was barely below a shout. “Do have any idea what it’s like? Having to watch every single thing you say or do so that you don’t fuck it up and knowing that you will anyway? I know I haven’t done anything to earn your trust but can you even imagine what it felt like when I thought I’d lost it? I’ve spent the last two hours losing my mind trying to figure out how I fucked it up and you come in and tell me that it’s your fault? Because you thought Snoke was fucking with you? You,”

Kylo’s ranting was punctuated by him turning and swatting his helmet off the bed. It cracked loudly against the wall. “You can’t do that. You’re supposed to be better than that. Because I can’t be,” his voice was ragged. He turned back to meet Hux’s gaze and it was clearer now than ever that he’d been crying. Something very sharp and very unexpected and very, very strong in Hux needed that to stop. "I,"

Shit.

“Alright,” Hux said, because he couldn’t think of anything else to say to that. “Alright,” he closed the distance to Kylo and while he thought he couldn’t bring his hand up to stop the twitching muscle in the other man’s cheek Hux realized he’d already done it. Kylo allowed the touch without so much as flinching. Part of Hux knew that it wasn’t fair, the actual word choice had been ‘bullshit’, of Kylo to say such a thing. The rest of Hux ignored it. A very, very quiet voice in the back of his mind piped up and muttered, in a polite, don’t mind me tone, that Kylo had a point. If it had been anyone else Hux would have found it easy to dismiss their concerns. But Kylo was unstable at the best of times and, although it wasn’t the nicest thing to admit, Hux knew that his own stability was part of what had drawn Kylo to his bed in the first place. Drawn to him in the first place.

So. Sorry wasn’t going to cut it. “I,” Kylo met his eyes and Hux had to abruptly look away. “I don’t know if I can be better about it. Better about trusting you,” the Knight made to draw away but Hux followed his movement. A gloved hand caught Hux’s wrist and tried to pull it away from his face. Hux resisted for half of a second and Kylo glared at him. “But, shit Kylo, that’s not because of you. I,” Kylo tried again to move away. “Just,” the Knight managed to pull his hand away from his face. If he hadn’t been caught in the middle of it, it would have occurred to Hux that they looked like children swatting at each other. “Just listen to me dammit,”

“I am listening to you,” Kylo shot back.

“No. You aren’t,” and Hux took back his hand and brought both palms up to frame Kylo’s face. He knew he must have been shaking and didn’t think to try to stop it because he was desperately trying to not look away from Kylo’s eyes. “Listen. To. Me.” Kylo’s eyes burned.

“Fine,” he hissed.

 

General Hux had managed to live his life without ever being stabbed.

He imagined that it would be similar to the feeling of Kylo abruptly breaking his way into his mind. Sharp and white hot and Hux made a tense noise in the depths of his chest and something was holding him up but it certainly wasn’t his legs at that point and. The pain dissolved almost immediately. It passed through the warm and mellow stage Hux had experienced before for only a moment before retreating entirely.

It was Kylo’s arms, hooked under his forearms, keeping him more or less upright. Kylo looked mortified with himself. “Hux I,” the pain had been so blinding and yet so quick that the majority of Hux’s mind had yet to catch up with what had occurred. He was still largely operating on ‘make it better’ logic. The General waved a hand as dismissively as he could, which wasn’t very much considering it felt like a lead weight had been tied to each of his fingers.

“Consider us even and never do that again,” he sounded nowhere near as breathless as he felt. Small victories, his mental ‘win’ column snickered evilly. His legs were finding their own strength again and he took some of his weight away from the Knight. “Now,” he met Kylo’s eyes and nodded without finishing his comment. It took a moment of silent stillness, Kylo’s breathing quickening and his mouth twisting around his face before.

“No,” Kylo said adamantly.

“You want me to start showing that I trust you, don’t you?” and it was significantly more curt than Hux had intended it to be. Kylo glared at him and Hux glared back. Then the corners of Kylo’s eyes softened ever so slightly and.

Compared to the jolting agony of a few seconds ago, now it felt like a heated balm was being spread throughout his mind. A second longer and his blood was suddenly effervescent in his veins, bubbling through his body. Light and airy and warm. Again, just on the other side of pleasantly tipsy. Could he live here? Stay feeling like this forever? Light headed and dreamy and, oh, those were Kylo’s arms around him weren’t they?

“Hux,” Kylo’s voice didn’t cut through the mist at all, but rather seemed to slide in with it. The smooth drawl of it seemed to fit in a low murky way, Hux found himself thinking. A great deal of things happened at once. Hux tried to censor that thought and there was a vague sensation of the mist seeping away at the edges and Hux realized that he’d tried to stop his thoughts and he tightened a grip on Kylo’s shoulders that he couldn’t remember taking.

A beat of nothingness happened. Then Hux thought it very strongly. He loved Kylo’s voice. Always had. Smooth and deep and powerful and. He cleared his throat as his mind stumbled over the ‘love’ thing and a small twinge of a smile appeared on Kylo’s face.

“Yes?”

“What did you want me to listen to?” Kylo sounded uneasy. He looked uneasy, dark eyes shifting slightly. The General brought his body closer so that their chests were touching. Hux had hoped that as more time passed he would find it easier to maintain eye contact. That was not the case. But. Right. Kylo’s question.

Everything. Listen to everything.

Hux distracted himself by watching a myriad of emotions flicker over Kylo’s face as he let his mind wander as it was wont to. He did his best to resist the urge to lock any of his thoughts away and it was taking a significant amount of effort. There were things in his mind that Kylo wouldn’t like.

It was deeply unsettling to have another person perusing his thoughts. He didn’t trust anyone with that kind of power. He wanted to trust Kylo with it. This was a bad idea. This would end terribly. He didn’t trust anyone. He wanted to trust Kylo. Wanted it with a depth and fervency that scared him because he’d never been in. That thought died before even Kylo could pick it up on its existence. Kylo’s eyebrows did dip a bit, though and it was a strangely good look for him.

But Kylo did fuck things up. Kylo fucked up so predictably that Hux could practically set a clock by it but any annoyance Hux felt about it was quickly set to the wayside. Consoles could be repaired but it took money and resources and damn him, babysitting wasn’t in a General’s job description which didn’t matter because if he was dealing with Ren’s messes at least he was dealing with Ren. Dealing with Ren was preferable to dealing with just about everyone else.

Because Kylo was there with him and in his head and Kylo felt warm and welcome. And he was welcome, Hux focused on that. Followed it up with a frantic and regret and embarrassment filled ‘please don’t leave stay this is what I want it’s so good don’t go’.

But Kylo was also unpredictable and dangerous and altogether too strong for his own good but it was such an alluring power, wasn’t it? Such an easy, enviable strength and it was so much more than just the Force or the way that the muscles under his skin bunched and tensed or. That train of thought took a hard right as Kylo’s face grew slightly red. Hux urged it on and thought that Kylo looked handsome, gorgeous, fucking perfect like that and Kylo’s face grew redder and Hux found that small secret chest from earlier in the corner of his mind and Kylo’s mouth was on his.

Hot and wet and perfect and Hux slid his hands around to pin Kylo’s skull to him. Hux had never been a spiritual man, but he had long worshipped Kylo’s body and those thoughts were streamed direct and uncut into Kylo’s mind. Treated to the sight of himself through the eyes of another man who saw the hard cut of his shoulders and the firmness of his back and stomach and legs. And the perfect way his hair framed his face and how flawless he looked in the small quiet moments when he thought Hux wasn’t looking. But Hux was almost always looking because how could he not? Ren made a low, long noise in his throat and Hux drug his hands up and mussed them into Kylo’s hair. Dark, soft, smooth hair, cool between his fingers and contrasting starkly with his own pale skin.

He really had no way of knowing just what all Kylo could read from him but a dark, desperate, clawing part began screaming and it took every ounce of Hux’s inner strength not to panic. To remain calm and let it happen. Let him know the things Hux was too weak to say out loud but he was told that his thoughts were loud so he could do this. He could do this, at least. Let him. He put up with him. He dealt with his destructive tendencies and violent mood swings and reactionary bullshit and dark glances and bizarre force use because he loved him. Exactly half of Hux’s mind began shrieking madly in terror and the other half focused itself on keeping Kylo from leaving his mind because. Stay. I love you.

Kylo broke the kiss, breathing heavy and hot against Hux’s lips and the grip around Hux tightened and Kylo was very nearly shaking and. Hux’s eyes flicked open and met Kylo’s and. Yes. Oh, yes. He’d heard that.

Chapter Text

“Hux,” and then he didn’t continue. The General waited as long as he could force himself to. His mind felt distressingly blank, as if Kylo were coating it white and grey and bleary. He settled for rubbing his thumbs in small circles just behind Kylo’s ears. The motion caused little loops in the loose strands of hair there.

“I mean it,” he said it as firmly as he could, but as the words made their way up his throat the inky tendrils of doubt and terror leeched the strength from them. A soft whisper was all he managed. It was all that was necessary. Kylo’s mouth hit his so hard it hurt; his damn lip was bleeding again, he was sure of it. The arms around him were crushing him, which would have bothered him, if not for the fact that Kylo’s tongue was softly running over the split in his lip and the broad gloved hands were sliding over his sides and. Tilting his head backwards to keep their mouths in contact, Hux was also forced to take a step backwards as Kylo seemed to swarm in. Every piece of exposed skin seemed to be open season for Kylo’s lips and tongue and teeth. A slick line of hot saliva was drawn from his lips and over Hux’s jawline and Kylo was exhaling harshly through his nose in a desperate, ragged way. Fingertips drug along the seams of Hux’s uniform.

Hux was aware, in a hazy passion-drunk way, that Kylo had yet to leave his mind. He was reminded of the fact as his thoughts began to drift towards the task of undressing themselves and then as a part of his anatomy voiced its opinion that while the rest of the week had been a shit-show, the increase in attention it had been getting was more than alright. And as these thoughts passed by neatly, Hux felt Kylo chuckle against his skin.

It felt indulgent, decadent almost, to not work to censor his thoughts. The carefully constructed gates that Hux had built in his mind whispered cruelly that they would never be gone. This man, this bizarre, predacious man, may have been allowed to slip through the bars once but the walls would always be there in the end. Their whispers were masked by the majority of Hux focusing on the deep, lovely noises Kylo was making as they kissed again and Hux bit gently on Kylo’s lower lip and Hux was suddenly aware that he was being moved backwards.

His mind worked to recall if there was anything he might trip over and it unhelpfully suggested that unless Kylo had done some intensive cleaning he probably hadn’t found the empty brandy bottle rolling around under his bed yet. Rather than a chuckle that thought earned a full pause.

“I drank the whole bottle?” Kylo asked quietly when they parted.

“It.” Hux hesitated and realized the enormous futility in trying to pick his words. “It wasn’t your best moment,” he settled for and there was a small concern that the night might somehow get derailed by thoughts of that evening and so Hux began peppering kisses over Kylo’s face. His skin tasted of salt, from sweat and tears, and Hux let his tongue savor it and let his hands savor the way Kylo’s chest was shaking subtly with each inhale. His mouth found Kylo’s ear and as he began to nip at the lobe the grip around his abdomen loosened and began to tug on his clothing.

“You stayed?” clearly Kylo was peeking at his memories of that night.

“Until you fell asleep,” Hux said dismissively and felt an acute stab of embarrassment and had no way of knowing if it came from himself or from the other man. Hands had left his sides and while Kylo began stripping himself, Hux managed to tug his boots off. Much of the urgency between them had evaporated but it was replaced by a more welcome calm of knowing what was to come. The tabard crumpled in a heap by the Knight’s feet and was quickly joined by Hux’s over shirt. Kylo huffed out a brief noise as he peeled his undershirt off of his back. Hux watched the cloth’s progress as it was lifted and revealed firm. And Kylo was smirking lowly at him.

“Held my hand till I fell asleep,” he muttered, giving a brief shake of his head as if he didn’t believe it. Still smirking. Was Kylo baiting him?

“I told you I meant it,” Hux said grudgingly and watched as the smirk fell from Kylo’s face. The General found his hands slowing by themselves and he was left standing with his thumbs halfway slipping his trousers down. Waiting for Kylo to say something in return because at that moment he was simply staring, mouth twitching in that familiar pattern it always took on when Kylo was trying to choose his words.

“How long?” he asked, suddenly pressing his lips firmly together, as though self-conscious. Oh, right. He could tell what Hux was thinking about his mouth.

“Who knows,” he said quietly. Hux certainly didn’t. He finished stripping off his uniform and was left in his underclothes and then turned his gaze expectantly to Kylo. While, on the list of things he didn’t want to right then, this conversation wasn’t at the top of it, Hux did hope that they could postpone it at least until the afterglow had set in. Kylo seemed to agree. As Hux stripped off his remaining clothing Kylo gave the General a light push on the center of his chest and Hux felt the bed meet the back of his legs. In a swift single motion Kylo discarded his trousers and underclothes and Hux allowed himself to be knocked backwards onto the bed. Kylo fell on him like a starving man at a feast.
Burning lines trailed after Kylo’s palms as they ran rampant over Hux’s shoulders, his chest, stomach, moving downwards. Hux kept the Knight’s head still between his hands, bringing their lips together in a lazy, open mouthed parody of a kiss. Breathing each other’s air and ghosting contact and his eyes were beginning to drift slightly closed. Hux’s mind was spinning, unable to focus on something for more than a few moments because it felt like Kylo was prodding at parts of his mind that made his fingertips tingle and lungs thrum in his chest. Kylo’s knees began nudging at him and Hux obligingly wrapped his legs around Kylo’s waist and drew him in close. Hot and firm and perfect feeling against the thin skin of his inner thighs. Kylo rolled his hips and Hux bit softly at Kylo’s tongue in response.

Hux drew one of his hands down Kylo’s chest, fingertips collecting the sweat that Kylo’s earlier tantrum had given rise to. It made the drag of his skin slicker than it usually was and quickened Hux’s journey towards Kylo’s cock. Kylo sighed into Hux’s mouth when the General’s hand began to pull him to attention. Warm, pleasant images of Kylo fucking him into the bed until he broke began to flit into his mind and Kylo made a very, very interesting noise as they did.

The Knight’s fingers began to dance around the base of Hux’s dick and as they did Hux broke himself slightly free from his stupor. Love was capable of doing a great many things to a man but.

“I have some,” Kylo laid a half-hearted, open palmed smack on the outside of Hux’s thigh and Hux uncurled his legs from the warrior’s waist. The cold air was unwelcome but Hux’s eyes were now allowed to follow the sway of Kylo’s body, doing nothing more than his best to radiate lust in Kylo’s direction. Kylo’s shoulders began to curl up and his breathing was changing. Hux felt himself begin to smile. He made a point of focusing on past liaisons. The way Kylo’s body had felt; the tugging slide of pleasure that had run up Hux’s spine when he was fucking him. Kylo cleared his throat loudly and tossed a bottle of lube onto the bed. This was fun. He thought very graphically about the occasion when Kylo had held his hands down with a strong grip and had. Kylo practically jumped back onto the bed over top of him, dangerously hot mouth latching onto his throat as he landed.
Hux’s hands buried themselves in Kylo’s hair. Broad palms had made their way under his thighs and lifted. Hux went to plant his feet onto the bed only to have the hands slide under his knees and lift higher.

“What are you,” Hux was cut off by Kylo bringing his legs in and letting his arms slip under and then Hux’s legs were hooked around his arms, the underside of his knees resting nearly perfectly in the crooks of Kylo’s arms just below his biceps. Kylo shifted then so that he was sat with his legs folded under and Hux’s lower half was all but laying on the warrior’s knees.

The stretch in his upper thighs was tight but not unmanageable; his lower back had other opinions on the current position. It began writing a strongly worded letter to the management when Kylo leaned it and pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. Kylo obligingly pulled back. And. Fuck that wasn’t fair. He was smiling smugly and softly and his hair was a mess and his lips were parted and wet and. Fuck. He was gorgeous like that. The smile faded but Kylo’s eyes took on a dangerous shine. The thoughts from earlier—the ones about being fucked so hard he wouldn’t be able to walk straight—politely knocked on the door and Kylo’s dangerous eyes stared down at him with blown pupils.

Hux was dimly aware of Kylo not shifting yet somehow managing to pull the lube towards him because he was coating his fingers and then one hand came and slicked Hux’s cock and.

Kylo’s hands would be the death of him, he was sure.

The drag started slow and loose and Kylo wriggled his fingers gently along the length of his dick. It was a terribly lazy pull and sent little thrums of pleasure up Hux’s spine. He kept up the languid pace, occasionally pausing at the tip or base to swirl his thumb along the sensitive flesh. Hux was just about to demand he move faster when Kylo’s fingertips did something bone searing under the head of his cock and sent a sharp, shaky inhale into his chest. Kylo’s other hand, equally slick with lube, was rubbing its knuckles firmly along the space underneath his sack. That feeling sent the muscles in Hux’s thighs to tightening in anticipation. A fingertip was gently pressing just around the rim of his entrance teasingly.

Hux didn’t know what to do with hands. He let one fall onto the wrist of the hand jacking him off but couldn’t think of what to do with it beyond that. The glide of Kylo’s skin over his own was unhindered and then the hand tightened and finally began to stroke with more vigor and oh. Oh. That was perfect, don’t stop, don’t change anything. Without thinking he dug his fingers into Kylo’s wrist, desperate for the other man to continue. The General moaned and his upper back arched into the bed. Hux’s pelvis began rocking up against the sensation as much as it could in the awkward position. Kylo mercifully kept the pace steady and began to slip one, then two of his fingers inside.

Hux gasped long and low and his free hand twisted into the bedsheets at his side. Kylo shifted one of Hux’s legs down to free up his hand and the change in position allowed Kylo’s fingers to find and. Hux drew in a sharp, jagged breath as Kylo’s fingers kept up the attack Hux’s prostate. Hux’s eyes slammed shut and everything in him was focused with pinpoint accuracy on the feeling of Kylo’s hands taking him apart. He was panting loudly, he knew.

“Shit,” one of Kylo’s fingers had curled and was pressing in so terribly hard on Hux’s prostate and it was so good and “Shit, Kylo,” the hand stroking him had yet to stop and every muscle in Hux’s lower body was divided between rutting up against the palm or impaling forward onto the fingers of the warrior. Who, for his part, was watching Hux struggle with the focused gaze of an astronomer mapping the stars. If Hux’s mind hadn’t been effectively scattered to the corners of the galaxy, he would have flushed under the intense attention. Instead, Hux was flushing because he couldn’t get enough air and then Kylo’s hands were slowing, lessening their firm grip and steady press and Hux made a small noise in the back of his throat and no, wait, don’t. “Don’t stop,” he managed. “Ren,” his eyes flew open to meet Kylo’s. No mercy in Kylo’s eyes.

Kylo tilted his head to the side. He drug a fingernail along the underside of Hux’s maddeningly hard cock and it twitched and Hux swore loudly. And Kylo’s mouth was moving. Hux fought through layers of anger, pleasure and the feeling of the force molesting his thoughts to hear:

“You think it’s fun to tease people?”

Shit. That didn’t bode well. But his rich voice felt like cotton in Hux’s mind. Kylo’s index finger was tracing the vein on the underside of his cock. It registered somewhere in Hux’s head that he was being asked a question. After registration the thought never bothered to show up again. Kylo was grinning and the touches falling on Hux were too light and too gentle and. It was torturous and wonderful and it made his hands twitch and then the fingers inside him were suddenly slamming against his prostate. Hux’s yelp only made it halfway out of his throat before it was changed to a high, shuddering groan.

“Fuck you, Kylo,” Hux managed; which he was rather proud of considering each hit to the small organ was sending shots straight up his spine and the building tension in his abdomen nearly hurt and. He was so close. He was so close, just a little more, just.

Kylo stilled his fingers and Hux barked out a harsh desperate profanity, chest heaving.

“I think I might agree with you,” Kylo withdrew his fingers and rehooked Hux’s leg over his arm. And then the tendons in Hux’s legs began shrieking because Kylo was pressing them even further towards Hux’s chest and Hux was a second away from trying to kick Kylo in the jaw when he felt Kylo pressing the tip of his cock in. And then didn’t move. Some of the built up tension was seeping away, replaced by Hux’s almost ever-present indignation.

Fine. He wanted to be a little shit, fine. He thought Hux couldn’t fire back just because Kylo was nearly nestled inside of him? Kylo chuckled, clearly keeping up with Hux’s thoughts. His snide laughter stopped when Hux carefully began to examine his face.

He loved it when Kylo smiled. He shouldn’t have, the expression sat oddly on his face and didn’t look quite right; it reminded Hux of a child’s drawing where the mouth was too big and at too odd an angle but he loved it still. The way it made the dark eyes wrinkle in and. It made his chest feel warm and made something disastrous in him tighten because Kylo so very rarely looked happy. Now that Kylo was trying to snap him in half Hux’s was able to reach up and thread his fingers through Kylo’s locks and brush them away from his face. And there was a dark, previously deeply hidden, part of him that wanted Kylo to be happy with him. Happy to be with him.

“Kylo,” Hux said softly.

Kylo had frozen in the face of this new assault. Then he shifted, letting Hux unfold his abdomen and relax his core. His legs drifted down to Kylo’s sides where the General wrapped them around his hips, and kissed Hux slowly and deeply. It was a soft mouthed affair, wet and uncoordinated and Hux somehow managed to forgive the lube-slicked hand cradling his jaw because yes. Thank you. Yes, Kylo was finally sliding into him and hilted and. Hux gasped lightly against Kylo’s mouth. Strong arms slid around and under him, nearly cradling him as Kylo began thrusting; Hux rocked back as best he could while still trapped at the odd angle but the mood of the room had changed again from earlier and now the steady, even paced hits served as the perfect complement to the soft kisses still being exchanged.

Hux curled his own arms up and around Kylo’s shoulders, dragging his fingers in along the edges of the tight muscles. They shifted under his palms. He trailed his mouth over Kylo’s scarred cheek, lingering there. Kylo rearranged his legs slightly, changing the angle and. The slow thrusts now brought Kylo brushing against his prostate and all the tension in Hux’s lower body that had been released came flooding back steadily. With a little effort Hux brought his mouth firmly to Kylo’s ear and began whispering his name. Whispering how good it all felt. How good he felt. In response the arms holding him tightened, the power behind the thrusts increased sharply. Their chests were pinned together by Kylo’s weight now and Hux’s hands were allowed free reign over every inch of Kylo’s skin they could reach. One of Hux’s palms drifted the length of the saber scar, running down until it came to clutch at Kylo’s bicep. His mouth had gone back to dripping feather light kisses to the scar on the Knight’s cheek.

“You're wonderful, Hux,” and Kylo turned to nuzzle his nose against the General’s neck.

Then something changed in the mist of Kylo’s presence in his mind.

At first Hux felt over oxygenated, head light and limbs heavy and heartbeat thudding deafeningly loud in his ears each thrust. And then every sensation was suddenly heightened. The long slide of Kylo’s drawback made his legs shake and then the thrust back in had him gasping and then there was a hit to his prostate and Hux’s body reacted automatically. His fingers dug into Kylo’s flesh, back arching into the thrusts, hips rutting desperately. Kylo increased his pace by half a degree and even that was more than enough to drive Hux mad. He tried to match his gyrations to Kylo’s thrusts and failed spectacularly.

Hux’s eyes were starting to cross slightly and were threatening to roll back in his head. Hux made a valiant effort to control the stream of desperate noises leaving his throat but everything was so. It was so. That terribly perfect body heat left as the other man leaned back and slightly away and there was a hand that hand that fucking hand was back to stroking him. And Hux’s world pitched and swam as searing, electrical heat fired off what felt like every cell in his lower body but Kylo was still moving so crushingly perfectly.

The sound that made it to his ears from his throat was a sharp, keening one and seemed to be endless. There were deep vibrations coming from somewhere above him which may have been Kylo speaking, but Hux really wasn’t in a place to hear him properly. The legs he had wrapped around the Knight’s waist earlier were tightening to the point where they felt like they may cramp but oh. He was so close again and Kylo’s thrusts remained even and measured and in perfect, awful tempo with the hand gliding over him. Most of Hux’s thoughts were drowning in the onslaught of chemicals that were being released to deal with the situation but the ones that surfaced were screaming for it to never stop. Hux no longer had conscious control of most of his body, having given over to the deep primal instincts that lived in his hind brain.

And then the mist in his mind rolled back in on itself. While a part of him recognized that what had happened was that Kylo had slid his free arm around his upper back, using his hand to cradle the back of Hux’s neck, the rest of Hux insisted his was floating. The blazing heat of it all had turned mellow and smooth. The difference between fire and warm water running over his skin. It stopped being overwhelming. The languid roll of Kylo’s pelvis was no longer world shattering and the hand was manageable and. Hux managed to open his eyes and realized Kylo was muttering something against his skin.

“Like it?” Like it didn’t even begin to describe. He felt Kylo grinning.

Kylo’s face was still buried in his neck. As the ability to think cognitively began to return to the General he did his utmost to ignore the shrieking in his lower back and grind down onto Kylo’s lap, moaning as he did so. He slid the hand on Kylo’s arm, his eyes noting the deep redness of the flesh that was likely to bruise, up and ran his fingernails across Kylo’s scalp. His reward was a deep, soft groan. The electricity that had been dancing along his nerve endings seconds ago now made his extremities tingle. It was enormously difficult to focus on anything besides the floating feeling and Kylo.

How long could?

A voice in his head. Maybe outside of it? Impossible to tell. Deep and tender and.

“Hours, Hux. I could keep you like this for hours,” Hux felt like he was trembling but the arms around him held him steady. Mouth, hot and heavy and wet, on his and then: “but we’ll save that for another time,” and then Kylo’s arms unwound themselves and his hands clutched at Hux’s hips and he began driving himself in, hard and fast and Hux was shuddering out profanities like they were his native tongue. He heard his name when Kylo finally thrust in with brutal force and held himself there, fingers bruising into his skin.
The cottony mist encroached just enough. Just enough to let Hux teeter on the edge; just enough to keep the fall from ruining him. The feeling of Kylo filling him was the last push. Hux came in twitching bursts, the muscles in his lower body spasming wildly and it was barely a hair’s width from being too much to bear. Kylo’s arms remained close and steady to support his back and held him while he rode out his orgasm. The burning liquid spilled onto his own stomach. He wheezed, suddenly self-conscious, and knew he both looked and sounded absurd but it felt like he truly was falling. Blood rushing in his ears and his head was too light and it was difficult to breathe.

Hux’s head had thrown itself back and Kylo’s tongue was running down his carotid artery and his hand was still skimming lightly over the flesh of Hux’s spent cock. His hips tried to jerk away from Kylo’s hand but the position made it impossible and he gasped in again and. Kylo stopped his movements abruptly and began kissing Hux’s face. His cheeks.

Oh.

When had he? His cheeks were wet and Kylo was kissing him with salt on his tongue. And he felt full and weighted down and exhausted. He was panting and as he brought his hands away from Kylo’s back he saw that his fingers were trembling. A sudden, jarring emptiness let him know that Kylo had slid out of his body and gentle hands were working to convince his legs to uncoil themselves. No longer having any energy left to be embarrassed, Hux let his legs fall open; Kylo was moving stiffly above him. Hux could hear one of the other man’s knees pop, a snapping retaliation at having had to kneel like that for so long.

The fluffed feeling in his mind was now spreading around the rest of his body. The haze settled in nicely to the forefront of his head as Kylo stretched out beside him. Hux tried to turn to face him but every muscle in his core felt like it been given its own private beating. Instead he settled for groping weakly after him; if he could touch Kylo then maybe that floating, free falling giddiness would return. Hot skin met his and Hux realized he was being manipulated to lay on his side, facing the other man. Without further prompting Hux wrapped his arms around Kylo’s and brought their faces close together, noses brushing.

They stayed like that, thrumming and easy. Hux met Kylo’s eyes and had to force himself to maintain the gaze. The pupils were still blown wide and he was blinking slowly but Hux allowed himself to believe that some of that awful loneliness in them had gone away.

“Well,” Hux had to clear his throat in order to get the words out. “That was nice,” and the vastness of the understatement drew a smirk from Kylo’s lips.

“Glad you approved,” Kylo said, voice thick and tired. After a moment of staring and smiling gently at one another Hux began layering thin lipped kisses along the length of Kylo’s nose, his forehead, cheek until finally he reached the corner of his lips. Hux let his mouth linger there for a moment before:

“I love you,” his voice was softer than he would have liked. Beneath his hands and his mouth Kylo shuddered. Then everything in him was safe and warm and Hux felt secure and wanted and stars that was a beautiful feeling, wasn’t it? Did Kylo feel like this? Fuck, he hoped he did.

As time passed more and more of reality began to assert itself. His whole body ached with exhaustion, his mouth tasted terrible. He was still hungry. Kylo had fully retreated from his mind and the light misty haze was replaced with an acute stabbing headache. Beside him Kylo was rubbing his knees and hiding a grimace. Somewhere in his pile of clothing a light illuminated and Hux swore lightly under his breath. No rest for the wicked, then. The General went to straighten himself only for a broad hand to pin him back to the bed.
“Stay,” Kylo demanded. “Just for tonight,” his mouth said; even without the force Hux was able to read ‘forever’ in his eyes. Although it took a moment, Hux nodded his agreement to the request and wriggled so that he could properly cage Kylo in his arms and relaxed. Just until he falls asleep, Hux promised himself. He still had work that needed doing. Eventually Hux would wake up, heavy and sated, curled around Kylo’s slightly larger form and he wouldn’t remember that promise in the slightest.

 

A long pause punctuated the air.

“General Hux performed his duties admirably, sir. He apprehended the resistance spies remarkably quickly,”

“Yes. “Apprehended”. That was the word you used in your report, Agent. Correct me if I’ve read this wrong but you claim you shot the other spy?”

“Yessir,”

“Why?”

“She was trying to shoot me, sir,” Mitaka replied simply. “I also had reason to believe that she had given copies of the plans to her compatriot, Helrin Kato,”

“Copies of the plans to a weapon that doesn’t work?”

“Stroke of genius on the General’s part, sir,” Mitaka kept his gaze steady and firm in front of him. “They never suspected a thing and the information they relayed back should set the resistance back months,” Another pause.

“Your report also mentions the involvement of Commander Kylo Ren,”

“Yessir,”

“Why?”

“Sir?”

“Why now, Agent? The Commander has rarely before shown such an interest in aiding the General,” Mitaka floundered for only half a second.

“It’s my understanding that they have reached a,” he shifted his weight, “mutually beneficially arrangement,” Mitaka did not smirk at that, but it took a fair amount of effort not to.

“Ah. It’s good to hear that they’ve managed to put aside at least some of their differences. It will please our employers to know those two men are pulling together,”

“Yessir,”

“Are you laughing, Agent?”

“Nosir,” Mitaka forced his face into stillness. His handler stared, then shugged.

“You may return to your duties, Agent. Your standing orders remain: observe and report. And Agent? Try not to kill anyone else,”

“Yessir,”