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People Will Stare

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“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”
–Harry Winston

Hux scrolled through his datapad in bed, reading the information that had been given to them about their upcoming assignment on Cricival for what felt like the hundredth time. He had various tabs open, some containing files on the so-far known Resistance sympathizers that would be attending the event, more holding pages of information on Cricival’s unusual culture and practices, and one or two in private tabs on basic dance steps and high etiquette. Those were hidden in another window, of course. No one needed to know exactly how much research Hux had been doing to prepare for he and Ren’s mission, lest they get the idea that he was somehow apprehensive about it.

Because he was absolutely not apprehensive about it.

“You’re not going to make it better by flooding yourself with information, you know.”

Hux looked down to level a pointed glare at Ren where he lay, curled around Hux’s side, one of his muscular arms stretched over Hux’s chest. He had once again disobeyed every convention of casual sex by making himself comfortable in Hux’s bed rather than leaving as any rational adult would do, so Hux had resigned himself to working while being clung to like a tree. “Make what better, exactly?”

Ren removed his arm to tap twice at his own temple. “The nerves. I can feel them radiating off you. It’s going to be fine, between you and Mitaka prepping for weeks for the mission and your absence I don’t think a single thing could go wrong that doesn’t have at least five backup plans”

Hux had a mind to argue that he was not, in fact, nervous, but in the months since he and Ren’s liaison began he had found that trying to debate with a mind-reader was just as tiring as it sounded in theory. Instead he settled on letting out an irritated huff before once again bringing his attention away from the shirtless man next to him and back to his work. It had simply been some time since Hux had to attend a function of this sort. Being an officer of his rank in a wartime meant the usual pleasantries of balls or formal events were passed over in favor of debriefings and strategy planning. The obligatory formality was something Hux had never missed, exactly, but he was becoming increasingly aware that the last time he had to engage in any kind of event akin to the one he and Ren were to attend in two days time was when he was a young Lieutenant, and he remembered little of it.

He simply needed refreshing, that was all. It never hurt to be prepared for what they were walking into, a fact that he had been trying to instill in Ren since they were assigned this particular task.

“There is no such thing as being too prepared,” Hux chided, his right hand leaving the datapad to absentmindedly tangle in Ren’s hair despite his annoyance. It’s usual softness was slightly damp, evidence of their earlier activities. Despite this the knight near-purred in response to the touch. “I assume you’ve done almost nothing on that front, as usual?”

Hux didn’t need to see Ren’s eyes to know he had rolled them. “Ive prepared plenty.”

“Really, now? Debrief me, then.”

“We’re going to a glorified party for Resistance sympathizers so we can sniff out who’s leading them.” Ren propped himself up on his elbow with the arm that had been underneath him, the other arm still lazily draped over Hux’s stomach. His eyes were mischievous in a way Hux had learned to dread. Ren shifted himself up, planting feather light kisses in a trail along Hux’s chest as he moved and spoke. “We’re going to learn everything we can, and then we’re going to dismantle them one by one.” He bit lightly at the skin around Hux’s nipple. “Then before we’re gone, we’re going to cut off the head and leave them to burn.”

Despite Ren’s overly dramatic rhetoric, Hux couldn’t help the shiver that ran down his spine when the knight reached his neck, replacing his kisses with bites and letting his warm breath ghost over the soft flesh at Hux’s nape. The arm that was previously draped over his torso moved to pluck the datapad out of Hux’s hand, setting it on the nightstand. Ren shifted his body so one of his legs was slotted between Hux’s own, applying a pressure that had him stirring in his briefs for the second time that night. His encompassing weight was a welcome reassurance that Hux found himself melting into, the hand not already tangled in his hair moving down to his waist to pull him closer as he once again began to grow hard.

Hux felt it as Ren chuckled in reaction, moving up to whisper huskily in his ear. “And when it’s all said and done, i’m going to bring you right back here, and we’ll have all night to revel in our victory.”

Any protest Hux had died on his lips, replaced instead with a breathy moan at the feeling of the unmistakable hardness against his thigh as Ren accentuated his statement with a rolling of his hips. When Ren pressed him back down onto the bed, he went easily.

Hux didn’t pick his datapad up again until the morning.

---

The shuttle ride to the remote point in Cricival where their contact was to meet them with a discreet speeder was relatively uneventful. Ren was quiet, unused to being outside of his (or Hux’s) quarters without his mask, and Hux’s nose was back to being buried in his datapad.

The intention behind sending them was clear - between Hux’s strategic prowess and Ren’s force abilities, they would be the pair most suited to infiltrate the gathering and determine who the pillars of Cricival’s Resistance sympathizers were. The event was to last three nights and serve as a closely guarded meeting of those who would like to see Cricival once again fall into New Republic hands.

The planet was long ravaged by conflict, dating back to the days of the Empire, and it had spent the better part of the last five years warring with itself on it’s new allegiance. The current power struggle was between those who wished to allow the Order reign of the planet’s valuable resources, and those who opposed the Order, plotting to alert the Resistance to the Order’s movements and trying to strike a deal with the New Republic. As luck would have it, actual Resistance members were still rare that far into the outer rim, and most of the experience with both parties were passed along second-hand or experienced off-world. It was this unfamiliarity that would allow Hux and Ren to blend in as supposed supporters, Ren’s face completely unknown and Hux assured there would be ample opportunity to disguise himself when they arrived.

He took the time they had left to brief himself more on the actual culture of Cricival, now confident of his preparedness on all other subjects of their objective. If they were going to convincingly play the roles of local sympathizers they would need to be able to interact with the people of the planet on their own level. Hux had pulled several holos and records on the planet, ranging from language to tradition to clothing. He found that that despite its near constant conflict, the people of Cricival lent themselves to free expression and a heavy emphasis on individuality. The Order kept their troopers and even their officers in strictly regimented uniforms and social boundaries in order to maintain control as a cohesive unit, so the fact that a planet of conflict had no such culture to keep it in line didn’t surprise him in the least.

Each photo on the articles he had pulled was filled with colors, the clothing all lending itself to extravagance, even in pictures of seemingly mundane events. Looking at the images of both men and women in flowing garb and various hair lengths made Hux suddenly both aware of his own drab civilian clothing, and grateful that they had sent their measurements to their on-planet contact ahead of time. They had been instructed to supply both he and Ren with whatever they would need to blend seamlessly with the rest of the event’s guests. Once they boarded the speeder that awaited them on land they would be brought directly to their lodging, ensuring no one saw them before they could change and prepare.

Sparing a glance to his right, Hux saw that Ren looked absolutely relaxed, and if Hux didn’t know any better he would have thought the knight asleep. Instead he took note of the positioning of his legs, slightly splayed, and his hands, resting lightly on his thighs, palms down. It was a position Hux had seen Ren take up for brief meditation in the past, although in those moments his face had almost always been obscured by his mask. Without it Hux could see how serene Ren’s face was, relaxed, but not slack as if in sleep. Part of him wanted to be irritated that the other man was so naturally assured of their mission while Hux fought off even the vague idea of nervousness, but the larger part of him knew that the irritation would only show his cards more.

He was halfway through re-reading a third article on formal customs when Ren stirred, his head lolling forward and rotating to stretch. Hux discreetly minimized the window he was on, instead pulling up a file on the background of one of their marks.

“Did your meditations enlighten you to anything I should know about?” Hux asked conversationally, not bothering to look up. Still, he could see Ren turn to him out of the corner of his eye.

“Nothing of note. It was difficult to meditate with you projecting through the entire shuttle. I’m surprised the pilot didn’t pick up on it.”

Hux shot him a look. “And would you care to divulge what exactly I was projecting so heavily a pilot with the force-sensitivity of a brick could hear?”

Ren didn’t answer, instead reaching over to Hux’s datapad and pulling up the window he had minimized, the images of the Cricivalian people once again appearing on his screen. Hux didn’t break eye contact with Ren, refusing to acknowledge what he had found. Ren pointed to the datapad, apparently for emphasis. “I told you flooding yourself with information wasn’t going to help.”

“And I told you that I’m not flooding, i’m researching.”

“Is research why you’ve been going over formal dance steps since we boarded?”

Hux fought off the heat that rose in his face and shut off his datapad entirely, stowing it in the brown satchel at his side. It matched the rest of his civilian clothes, brown pants with high boots similar to his regulation ones, a white shirt and plain brown jacket. They were some of the few items of non-regulation clothing he owned, leftover from holding a rank that actually afforded him shore leave. Ren was dressed similarly but in mostly black. When he had boarded Hux briefly entertained the question of if he owned clothes of any other colors.

“If we expect to win their favor, then I believe it’s important to know these things.”

Hux refused to shy away as Ren studied his face with scrutiny. Despite their sexual relationship, Hux still saw Ren masked more than not, and actually having to meet the knight’s penetrating eyes was an experience he was not quite yet accustomed to. Ren seemed to find what he was looking for however, because his expression quickly went from skepticism to amusement. “You think you wouldn’t win their favor on your own, then?”

Hux looked indignant. “I would be able to-“

That’s what you’ve been fretting about. It’s not the objective, you don’t think you can blend with them. I’m right, aren’t I?” The grin that spread over Ren’s face was utterly obnoxious, and Hux wanted nothing more than to open his mouth and refute what Ren was saying, except-

Except, well, he wasn’t wrong.

There were a long list of things General Hux was, the top of that list being a competent leader, a ruthless officer, a master strategist and a dedicated soldier. If one were to ask his skills, he could list off a long series of attributes and accolades that had earned him his rank almost a decade younger than anyone before him.

Being personable, however, was not something the General was known for. It simply wasn’t a necessity in his line of work. His crew respected him for his ability to lead and he treated them with fairness, but none of that required friendliness, or even warmth. He rarely frequented the lounges around the Finalizer, and when he found the time to take his meals he generally ate them at whatever desk he was working on at the time. Hux had never seen it as a problem and thus never sought to fix it, despite it becoming quickly evident on the rare occasion he needed to exchange pleasantries that he was lacking in what most would call ‘people skills’.

Well that’s obvious, Hux thought to himself, look at the kind of person you take to bed.

The grin still hadn’t left Ren’s face when Hux huffed and looked forward, refusing to acknowledge Ren’s statement with an actual answer. There was no point in the repetition if they both knew it to be true, so instead he turned his attention to their itinerary. “The speeder should be waiting for us at our landing site, after which we’ll need to prepare for the first night of the event. We’re set to arrive shortly before it starts. I trust you’ve at least done enough research not to make asses of us both, or worse, get us killed.”

Ren looked away as well, leaning back in his seat and closing his eyes again once again. “Don’t worry about a thing, General. I know how to handle myself.”

Hux scoffed in response.

The descent onto Cricival was not the worst Hux had ever experienced, and as planned a discreet black speeder was waiting for them to step onto almost immediately. While Ren wouldn’t draw attention on his own, they couldn’t risk someone seeing Hux before he donned whatever had been provided for him at their destination. It was a long-shot for being recognized of course, Starkiller was in the early enough stages that both it and it’s architect were still kept close to the Order’s chest, but extra precaution was something Hux had insisted upon.

It was only an hours travel between their landing site and their destination, a time in which both he and Ren spent in silence while Hux watched the landscape slowly shift. Where the area they landed in had been dense with trees and greenery, as they traveled the landscape made way for civilization. Estates came into view one after the other, each was as lavish as they were unique, much the same as the clothing Hux had seen in his research. The first to come into view was surrounded by acres of land and looked almost as big as Hux remembered the academy on Arkanis to be, and each estate they passed after was decorated in colors ranging from tasteful to downright absurd. The few similarities between them seemed to be the architecture, each having a series of large columns and accentuated entrances as well as similarities in general build.

Hux couldn’t help but wonder how grand the estate they were heading to was as they passed one with a door seemingly as tall as the Holochamber they had just finished building for Snoke on Starkiller. He had received coordinates and small bits of information, but nothing about what exactly the place looked like. It was apparently a jointly owned property held by a number of anonymous donors, maintained specifically for gatherings of such a nature as the one they were going to attend.

Hux’s question was soon answered as the speeder slowed and pulled through an ornate gate, beginning up a road lined with dense trees similar to where they had originally landed. It was another few minutes before the foliage began to clear, revealing an estate larger than any of the ones previous. The main building was wide and expansive, made up of three tall floors if the large windows were any indication. As the speeder slowly pulled around Hux could see that the main building was twice as long as it was wide, and was surrounded on the sides and back by smaller buildings, which he assumed to be guest lodgings. His assumption confirmed when the speeder rounded to the back of one and stopped a short distance from it’s door.

Looking out the other window Hux observed that even around the main buildings of the compound the tree line began what seemed to be a mere 50 feet away. It was perfect for keeping privacy, something much needed on a planet where two factions were vying for dominance, but also induced a secluded feeling that put him slightly on edge.

The driver hopped out of the speeder and walked to the small, one-story building, unlocking the back door before coming back around and opening the speeder door. Hux made a quick pace into the building, Ren following closely behind.

The house was small, but Hux found it to be not lacking in decadence. Having come through the backdoor found them standing in the middle of a sizable living room. There was a large, round, semi circular couch in the middle of the room, a round coffee table in front of it that held the standard decorative items expected in a space for guests. To the left was a small kitchen with a food preservation unit and a bar that appeared to be fully stocked, and to the right was a small hallway which Hux assumed led to the bedrooms and fresher. Across from him was what he assumed to be the front door.

Their driver entered behind Ren, closing and locking the door behind him. He immediately turned to Hux, back rigid and at-attention. “Sir, we’ve swept the area for any bugs of devices and cleared all the rooms. My contact has provided you both with suitable clothes, as requested. You can find them in the closets of your rooms. I will be waiting in this location in three days at 22:00 for extraction, but if you need anything sooner, you can contact me with this.”

The driver held out his hand, a small black emergency communicator sitting in his palm. Hux stepped forward and took it, turning it over to examine it while the man continued to talk. “If anything happens to the communicator or this point is compromised, there is a secondary extraction point set up about three clicks from here to the North.”

Hux put the communicator in his pocket. “Thank you. We’ll expect you in three days.”

The driver nodded once and promptly left. Once the sounds of the speeder had faded to the distance Hux noticed that the room was eerily quiet, and turned around to find Ren gone. Determining that he had mostly likely found his room Hux turned down the hallway. It was short and opened to another small common area with a chaise lounge in the middle and three doors on each wall. One was already open and he could hear the sounds of someone moving about inside.

Hux stood in the doorway while he watched Ren flip through the clothing that had been provided for him with seeming interest. From what Hux could see he could tell a few of the garment were floor-length, and it appeared they were all a variety of colors, golds, whites and reds interspersed with a few garments of solid black. “It seems you’ll have to add some color to your wardrobe for once, I trust that won’t be too traumatic for you.”

“I don’t think i’ll be the one having trouble with my wardrobe.”

The amusement Hux had been feeling a moment before evaporated. “And what exactly are you implying?”

Ren simply shrugged instead of turning around, still shuffling through the multiple hangers of clothing in his closet. “See for yourself. I went into your room first thinking it was mine, but my mistake was obvious as soon as I walked in.”

Hux immediately straightened and turned on his heel, marching across the middle space and pushing open the other door, which he now noticed to be slightly ajar. At first he couldn’t see what Ren was talking about. The room was a perfect mirror of Ren’s, a large bed in the middle with two side tables each holding a lamp, two mirrored closet doors, and a dresser with a large mirror hanging above it and-

Hux’s stomach dropped.

On the dresser was a faceless head, on top of which sat a long braided wig in his exact hair color.

It took a moment for Hux to regain movement of his feet, seemingly cemented in place by the sight of the hair piece. He slowly walked to the dresser, pausing before reaching out to gingerly pick up the false head. The braid that had been resting on the dresser fell, unsupported. Hux reached his other hand up and took a few of the fibers between his fingers. They were smooth, almost as if they were real hair, and he briefly wondered if it was despite his particular hair color being a rarity this side of the galaxy. Objectively he could tell that it was well made, the roots looking incredibly natural even on the false head. A few shorter strands of hair fell loosely around the face, but most was pulled back into a braid that was much longer than Hux had ever considered growing his own hair. It was even longer than he remembered his mother’s to be, her hair having fallen to just brush her shoulders while the wig looking like it could easily sit at the bottom of Hux’s shoulder blades.

He was still inspecting the quality of the piece when he recalled the images he had seen in his research, of men and women alike with hair lengths of all varieties. It shouldn’t shock him that he was provided something to blend in with them, but his stomach dropped when he remembered the other peculiar quality of those images.

Hux set the wig and head down, turning towards his closet. He walked over slowly, reaching forward to slide one of the mirrored doors out of the way. If the wig had been a surprise, the contents of his closet were an absolute shock. He swallowed thickly at the sight of the first garment, pushing it aside to see the rest, each one similar to the last through a common theme.

They were gowns. They were all different colors and cuts, true, but each item of clothing was absolutely, unmistakably floor length and flowing.

“I told you.”

Hux nearly jumped out of his skin, whirling around to see Ren standing in the doorway, leaning on the doorframe with his arms crossed in front of his chest.

Stars, Ren, learn to knock. You would think you were raised with animals.”

“I might as well have been.” Ren shrugged, stepping forward into the room and sitting on the edge of Hux’s bed. “I take it you have some opinions on your clothing selection?”

Hux scoffed, closing the closet before turning back to Ren. “It’s ridiculous. I’ll hardly be convincing, ive never dressed as a woman before.”

Ren peered up at him with mild amusement. “I don’t think anyone expected that. You did your research, you know the dressing customs are different here for men and women.”

“And the wig, then?”

“You’re the one who wanted the extra precaution. I doubt anyone would suspect one of the highest ranking officers in the First Order to have hair well past regulation.”

The indifference which Ren spoke was beginning to make Hux grow irritated, both because he was correct and because Hus was the one to have done all of the research, who was Ren to act like he knew better? “I’m assuming you’ve also found your closet full of dresses, then?”

“No, most of my garments include pants. There are a few as long as my robes however.”

“Good, i’ll wear your clothes then. We both seem to have more than we’ll need.”

Ren looked at Hux like he had gone a bit insane. “They won’t fit you. We sent our measurements, remember? Most of what’s in my closet would swallow you whole.”

Hux glared at him. “I’m not a child.”

Ren almost laughed. “No, but ive seen you without your greatcoat and uniform. It won’t work. You’ll just have to find something you can tolerate wearing, it’s not as if anyone will think you odd here. We requested clothes to make us blend, remember? You’ll draw less attention in a dress than you would trying to fit into anything I have.”

The fact that Ren was right only made Hux’s irritation grow. He swore he could feel a headache building behind his eyes, and pinched the bridge of his nose to try to regain himself. “I just don’t see why they gave me gowns of all things.”

Ren shrugged, standing from the bed and crossing the room to the door again.

“Perhaps they’ll suit you.”

Hux didn’t have time to analyze the implications of his statement before Ren was out the door and back to his own room.

The temptation to take a page from Ren’s book and meditate on how exactly his life had gotten to that point was overwhelming, but he instead turned his attention to the closet, opening it up slowly now that he was prepared for what he was going to find.

He had to admit that the selection was exquisite. Although they would only be there three nights, as he had seen in his brief glance at Ren’s closet, he had been provided no less than 10 pieces to choose from. Soft fabric caressed his hands as he moved each dress to the side to look at the next, sleeker gowns peppered in with large, detailed pieces. Even when he was young and had watched his mother prepare for an outing he never recalled her wearing anything close to a few of the dresses now within his reach. Each was unique in ways Hux was entirely unaccustomed to. His closet on the Finalizer was filled with copies of the same standard uniform, and for the first time in years Hux was suddenly faced with making an actual choice in his clothing.

He immediately passed any of the gowns that stuck out at the sides or had skirts with volume. Those were something he simply was not prepared to handle or deal with. Instead he located a few dresses with sleeker silhouettes, pulling them to the front of the closet and assessing them next to each other. The one that caught his eye immediately was a muted gold piece that appeared to be the least ornamented of any of the other items in the closet. As he plucked it to bring to his bed the light fabric flowed as if weightless, and he could see that despite being sleek, the dress was not truly lacking for volume of it’s skirts.

He closed his door before stripping himself of the civilian clothing he had arrived in, folding the items neatly and going to place them in one of the drawers of the small dresser the - his - wig sat upon. He opened the topmost drawer and almost immediately slammed it back closed, shutting his eyes tight and taking a few steadying breaths.

After a moment he opened his eyes and the drawer again slowly, nestling his clothing next to the small variety of stockings that resided inside. He decided that those were a venture for after he had tackled the dress.

He gingerly removed the dress from it’s hanger and located the small, hidden zipper on it’s side. It unzipped easily, but Hux had to puzzle for a moment on exactly how he was supposed to get into the thing. Finally he determined that the easiest way would be to pull it over his head, and he made quick work of moving aside the layers of the skirt. As he slipped into the dress he couldn’t help but relish how the fabric felt against his skin. It was made of a high-grade silk, the touches soft and feather-light, almost like a caress. It was such a stark contrast to his usual stiff uniform that he couldn’t help the small shiver that ran through him as he zipped the garment up, standing in front of the mirrored closet door.

The top was simple, the fabric scrunch pleated at the shoulders and coming down the front before meeting a thick waistband of the same fabric that spanned from the bottom of his ribs to his waist. The front plunged into a low V that accentuated his flat chest, which Hux found himself grateful for. The bottom half of the dress was also pleated in the front, but instead of falling free as it did on the top, the thicker pleats on the skirt were pulled back to the right. Their contact had truly done their job, the dress fit him perfectly, the fabric on his shoulders coming to a stop at the exact spot sleeves would have been attached had the dress had any, the body of the dress fitting him snugly. The back of the gown was cut in a similar V-shape, however from the tops of the shoulder fell extra fabric, which blended with the sheer layers of the skirt at the bottom of the dress to give the illusion of volume. The fabric shifted with even his slightest of movement, so light it seemed to positively flow around him, for what he assumed was ease of movement.

Although the probable intention was to showcase the slit that ran up front left side, showcasing his bare leg and ending at the top of his thigh.

Hux absently ran his hands along the smooth fabric of the skirt while he mused over his looks. It was hard to deny that the gown was exquisite, and even harder to deny that it fit him as if it had been purposefully made for him instead of purchased. Hux wondered if perhaps it was, until he noticed the fabric pooling awkwardly at his feet. It confused him for a moment as he remembered putting his height down on the measurement form they forwarded, until it dawned on him why it may be longer than it should.

Lifting the skirt up as not to trip, he moved forward and pushed aside the gowns in the closet to look down, confirming his suspicions. Below them were an equal number of shoes, each with a raised heel ranging a variety of heights. Hux located and pulled out the pair that appeared to match the dress he had chosen.

Mercifully the heel appeared to only be two inches in height, and with a thicker base than what he remembered most heels to have. Where the dress lacked ornamentation, it appeared the shoes were chosen as a supplement to that. They sparkled with beading that ran along the side and over the close-toed front. Gathering his willpower he moved to sit on the bed and gingerly slipped one on (a perfect fit, of course) before repeating the movement with the other. When he stood again the bottom of the dress just barely brushed the ground in front of him, and he walked to the mirror, this time without obstruction. The dress moved lightly and beautifully, ripples of sheer fabric flowing around and behind him in a way that gave him the same satisfaction as his his greatcoat did on a brisk walk to the bridge.

It was the lighter than air fabric that made him realize what the extra drawer of undergarments was for. The dress was less sheer at the hips, obscuring his crotch from view, but the uncomfortable feeling of nudity underneath the non-supportive layers was one he knew he couldn’t ignore if he was to focus on the reason they had come to Cricival in the first place. Knowing that his usual briefs were too long to possibly work underneath the dress Hux turned, staring at the drawer once again.

He steeled himself. He was already so far out of his comfort zone at this point he couldn’t imagine what those drawers held could be any worse.

He began to open them one at a time, starting with the top drawer he had already seen inside. He once again found the stockings, but as he plucked one from the drawer he realized that it was not actually one, but two long lengths of sheer skin tone fabric, each with a thick lace band at the top. He set them next to the wig before opening the second drawer and finding, mercifully, what he recognized as underwear, but unlike any he wore on a day to day basis. They were all the skin tone and v-shaped, just large enough to give him support but soft enough to fit snugly against his skin. In the place of elastic there was instead lace lining the top.

The third drawer held something Hux had only seen in pictures, but the lack of a crotch in the stockings he had found suddenly made more sense. He reached in and pulled out a garter belt that appeared to be of the same make as the rest of the undergarments, made entirely of the same lace as the top of the stockings and underwear. Four ribbons hung down from the bottom, each dangling a small clasp from the end.

Hux glanced at the clock that hung on the far wall. It was nearing the time that he and Ren would have to arrive for the festivities. He made quick work of taking off his shoes and hiked the bottom of the dress up, pulling the underwear on. He was immensely grateful to find that despite it’s unfamiliarity, it wasn’t entirely uncomfortable. He then pulled the stockings up as far as they would go on his legs and turned his attention to the garter belt. He pulled it up around his legs and found that it nestled evenly a few inches above the top of the underwear, laying flat against his skin, as perfectly sized as everything else had been.

He reached down to attach the clasps to the stockings, but was given pause. In the few holos he had seen that featured these kinds of things he assumed they had clasps that functioned like the suspenders he had worn before. These were entirely different however, made up of a small rubber nob and a hollow wire shape that went from large to small on top that he was unfamiliar with.

He stuck his leg out of the slit in the dress and bent over it slightly, growing quickly frustrated and cursing under his breath when he couldn’t get the fabric to stick or figure out exactly how the clasp was supposed to function. It was in that position, fighting his garter belt, that he heard what sounded like someone starting a sentence but cutting off before the first word could leave their lips. He looked up to see Ren standing in the doorway, his mouth slightly agape.

A silent moment passed between them. Ren seemed to have lost his voice while Hux did mental gymnastics to find the right combination of words that would retain the dignity he felt slowly slipping away every second Ren stared at him hunched over himself attempting to put on lingerie.

In the end, it was Ren that spoke first.

“Do you need…any help with that?”

Hux was taken aback by the offer, but frustrated enough to take him up on it. “Do you know how these clasps work?”

Ren slowly walked forward and into the room. Hux straightened up, allowing himself a good look at what Ren had plucked from his own closet. True to what he had said before, the outfit he had chosen did indeed include a pair of black pants, and knee-high boots to match. They were vaguely similar to the boots Ren wore normally, only these were neat and polished rather than scuffed, and lacked any buckles. The top of the ensemble appeared to consist of three layers, all black but accented with a light blue color. The first thing Hux noticed was a vest that alternated between thin stripes of black and blue and appeared to only close at the top, the bottom pulled open to the sides to reveal a simple shirt. On top of both was a long black robe that had been delicately embroidered, tight at the wrists and featuring an almost regal looking pattern. The ensemble would have almost looked too casual, were it not for the sash wrapped across his chest. It wasn’t large, one end hugged tight to his left shoulder, the other hung loosely over his right arm. It was the same pattern as the jacket but with it’s colors inverted, a solid blue fabric embroidered with black. In the center of his chest the sash was tied into a small knot, presumably to keep it from falling down or covering too much of the rest of the ensemble.

Hux’s observations were interrupted as Ren came to stand in front of him, one hand reaching down to delicately take the ribbon of the garter between his fingers.

“May I?” he asked, his voice soft and hushed, as if he was asking for something much more important than simply helping Hux with a piece of clothing. Hux nodded, unable to find his words, and Ren gestured for Hux to sit on the bed. He obeyed without a word and watched as Ren gracefully sank to one knee.

It was intimate in a way that Hux hadn’t expected. He felt as Ren’s hands gently pushed aside the fabric of the dress, the sensation of the silk on his skin now muted through the stockings, but still pleasurable. He felt Ren’s fingers pull the top of the stocking away from his leg and watched as he placed the rubber underneath it, using the large part of the metal front to slip around it before pulling upwards, forcing the rubber into the smaller section of the clasp and the fabric of the stocking to sandwich between the rubber and the tight metal now around it. When Ren let go, the clasp miraculously stayed in place.

“It’s a closure I used to have on one of my uniforms,” Ren explained, voice still soft, seeming to sense Hux’s confusion as to why the problem that vexed him was so easily solved by the other man. “And it’s a bit easier to do when you aren’t looking at it upside down.”

They continued in silence while Ren worked, clasping the ribbon at the back of Hux’s leg before moving to the other. The only sounds in the room were the soft swish of the fabric and each clasp clicking into place, but they were drowned out by Hux’s heart beating loud in his ears. Standing in front of Ren with his legs bared in heels and stockings had somehow laid him more bare than if he was nude, and he was grateful when Ren finished with the last clasp and let the fabric of the skirt once again fall in front of him.

Hux straightened up, smoothing the front of the gown with his hands before steeling his face to hide any remnants of hesitation. He reminded himself that this was a mission, that he was still a General of the First Order, and that he had a job to do. His ensemble was simply a part of that, and he pointedly did not want to acknowledge the moment that had passed between them. “Right then. Shall we head out?”

If Ren minded that Hux hadn’t thanked him for the help, he didn’t show it. Instead a look of slight amusement crossed his face. “Of course. But don’t you think you’re forgetting something, General?”

Hux’s eyes fell on the wig, still on the display head.

Right.

He walked over to it (thanking the stars once again that the heels were manageable) and pulled the pin from the top holding it in place. He lifted the wig and found that a small mesh cap had been stretched underneath it, presumably to go over Hux’s own hair. He appreciated the thinking behind providing him a wig in his same hair color, he didn’t have to worry about his own hair falling slightly lose and alerting anyone to his deception.

The cap was easy enough to put on, and the wig followed suit. Once it was in place Hux brushed the loose strands from his face and surveyed himself in the mirror, finally fully dressed.

It had all done it’s job. Gazing at his reflection he was struck with the notion that he looked completely different, and yet not entirely unlike himself. His face was the same, his body the exact one he had before he arrived on Cricival. The flat expanse of his chest and slight tone of his shoulders and arms gave no suspicions of his gender. He was very clearly himself.

And yet-

“Are you ready to go?”

Hux turned to see Ren standing in the same spot, now turned to the door with his arm crooked to his side. Hux took a breath and crossed to him, gripping the inside of his elbow.

“As i’ll ever be.”