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Look, they're paid to be assholes.

Kylo Ren's beautiful, gifted, could probably make sweet music with a rock and a spoon sure, but facts are facts, he only found fame when he began acting like an ass. Now, the more petulant he is on stage, the more press Kylo gets, the more press he gets, the more the hyperventilating boys and girls buy his songs, the more—well, just the more.

For Hux it's different. When the young lawyer is an ass no one wants to fuck him for it, no one begs him to sign his name on belly or breast. When Hux is a dick he's vilified, hated, and paid six figure sums. Because no one wants a kind lawyer, they want a good one. Armitage Hux isn't good: He's the god damn best there is.

So. The point. The point is that Kylo and Hux met because they're entitled assholes, needle sharp, and each will prick you to get what he wants.

What Hux wants right now is the last god damn hotel room. His room. His. The one booked in his name. The room this fluffy-haired fool in front of him is trying to take.

Now know this: Hux is disinclined to prick in public because a smart whore does not give it away. Hux rarely uses his keen mind or merciless mouth for anything less than the defense of corporate miscreants with deep pockets.

However.

How the fuck ever. It's ten past midnight, his flight out of Heathrow is at eight, the room's been booked in his name for months, this entire London visit had been shitty and, and, and he really hates his god damn client.

So Hux is a tired, annoyed ass and he's going to let this leather-clad mountain of a man bloody well know about it.

"—and so I'll say it again, you petulant little pretty boy and do please listen carefully this time and I promise to speak slowly. That room is booked in my name, I absolutely don't care what their asinine computer says. Continue to insist it belongs to you, darling dear, and I will happily sue your mascarad arse right back into the poor house."

It's a low blow, that last, but Hux knows who's standing in front of him. Everyone from the Financial Times to Forbes have had features on this "Tantrum-Throwing Troubadour," complete with bare-chested photo spreads in which the thick-thighed lummox likes to…spread. But that's not the point. The point is that Hux knows Ren's one of those American rags-to-riches wunderkind, a simple busker who'd lived rough for a couple years on New York streets before getting his first gig in a Brooklyn bar, and oh my Hux is so not above using this knowledge.

Yes it's unkind, unnecessary but do you know what? On top of the shit-storm of other niggly nothings annoying him to death right now, Hux has just realized his five hundred dollar shoes pinch and so he. just. does. not. care.

To show the absolute full fandango of his I don't give a fuck, Hux smiles his prickliest smile, the one that's chill as the adrenaline in your veins when you're about to fall.

Yet despite that frigid smile, the temperature between them does not drop, no, for what happened next was this:

The great dark-haired creature getting Hux's knickers in a twist smiled at the desk clerk. He smiled at the clerk beside the clerk. Then Kylo Ren turned that smile toward the red-haired man beside him, he dropped his chin to his chest, and he gazed through the lashes of kohl-rimmed eyes (mascara? as if). Slow-scraping his teeth over his bottom lip, Kylo then leaned close and murmured, soft breath against Hux's face, "There's two beds darlin'. We could share just for the night, then I'm out of your pretty hair tomorrow."

On a regular day, in a regular month, in a regular life, cute-coy did absolutely nothing for Hux, not one damn thing.

However.

On top of the shoes, the client, the flight, and a mosquito bite just left of his dick that he's already scratched bloody once today and which is suddenly itching again right now, on top of all that, Armitage Hux has been single for three years. Three. Years. Eventually he'll nickname this time the Austerity Period, but that's for the future, right now he is empty-gut lonely most nights, strung tight with unacknowledged longing, he is dry powder waiting for the touch of a match.

For the touch of…a man.

As if he knew this, Kylo Ren did then what Americans so often do. He made contact. He rested his big hand on the hotel counter, right on top of Hux's hand.

Hux inhaled deep. He turned. Looked. At their hands. One on top of the other. And the man who had something to say about everything, the man who was paid to find the words and marshal them to winning effect, said nothing. He did do something though.

Hux caught fire, like dry powder always will.

Blushing from collarbones to crown, his head flooded with images from that Forbes article he'd pretended not to read, the one where Kylo Ren stood staring at the camera, wearing nothing but tight jeans, a lop-sided smile, and a guitar over his back. And though Hux doesn't have time for TV or concert films or pop culture he'd somewhere sometime seen this man's hands on that guitar, seen those hands move with grace and gentility, seen-suspected-sensed that there was more below his bluster because…

…well because like recognizes like.

Yes, Kylo and Hux are paid to be assholes, but they are right now still standing in one another's personal space because who they're paid to be is not the only thing that they are. Like recognizes like, need sees need, and want wants. So Hux said softly, so that only Ren could hear. "Pretty hair, hu?"

Kylo grinned a big, dopey grin and he chewed one of those fine lips again, then together prick number one and prick number two turned to the desk clerks. They found that those clerks were a half dozen feet further along the counter giving the last room away to some tiny, famous movie director and everyone was pretending Kylo and Hux didn't exist.

Right. Well.

Kylo looked at Hux. Hux at Kylo. The seconds were long, or short, or whatever seconds are when they're the ones that are changing your life.

After enough of them had passed Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux turned and left the hotel and after four tries at other hotels ("Stop threatening to sue everyone Hux!" "After you stop eye fucking everyone if it looks like they'll give us a room!") they found themselves in a crappy King's Cross dive.

In hindsight it was perfect and they'd remember tonight for the rest of their lives. Because tonight would change the rest of their lives in ways both fine and flawed.

But first they were about to drink themselves into bed together. Fuck each other into infatuation. Then, despite themselves, begin to fall in love.

I love Jeusus' ever-evocative artwork and wanted to write a "how they met" for her glorious head canon when Bittersweet-ginger so plaintively asked. (P.S. Yes the famous director is JJ Abrams.) [x]