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Creating Distractions

Chapter Text

Kylo Ren was an absolute disaster of a human being. The man was short tempered, indifferent to a fault, and capable of random acts of violence that destroyed expensive equipment and frightened the crew. Often, he wasn’t worth the space he took up on the Finalizer.

He was also obscenely powerful, a competent leader, a terrifying warrior, and the best interrogator Hux had ever worked with.

It was the list of beneficial traits that Hux ran through his head in a mantra as he stomped away from yet another destroyed panel in the heart of his ship. Hux muttered under his breath, doing his best impression of the wayward knight: “Next time I’ll attack the technician.”

It was a lie, of course. Even Ren was capable of keeping his sword from the crew when he lost his temper. The man had never turned his hand against his own, and that was something Hux oddly respected about him. His tantrums were regrettable, but in all honesty, he was glad that Ren went for the control panel every time.

You could fix controls, but competent staff were far harder to replace.

It wasn’t like his officers were storm troopers.

It still didn’t stop him from being furious at the man. Ren’s indifference to the damage he caused, as well as Hux’s frustration, and his ability to make light of his actions never failed to unnerve Hux. It was as if he didn’t care what happened to the First Order at times, and perhaps he didn’t. The man was first and foremost an apprentice to the Supreme Leader and his status as a member of the First Order was mostly in name, but that wasn’t the point.

Hux returned to the bridge, counting in his head to calm down. The situation had been handled, and Lord Ren had disappeared to do whatever it was he did on his off hours. It had been a full year since the Knight had assumed co-command next to Hux, and he still wasn’t sure when Lord Ren did his work—he only knew that it got done.

It was annoying and efficient.

Hux tried not to admit that he admired Lord Ren’s ability to be so flexible.

In addition to his work-related redeemable qualities, Hux had found that Lord Ren was a surprisingly pleasant conversation partner.

Or rather, Hux found it was nice to have someone to talk to who mostly listened. Of course, Ren got in his snide remarks and insults when he could, but Hux found he didn’t mind so much. Very rarely did Ren say something truly hurtful, and at those moments, Hux likely said something equally vindictive first. The rest of the time, though, Lord Ren was content to listen while Hux talked.

As a man fond of oration, it was always welcome to have a captive audience.

It was not often though, that Hux managed to find the man alone and brooding. Typically their conversations happened in hallways when walking from one point to another, during an inspection or a ship or base, or even while waiting for a shuttle to land. Finding him alone in front of the observation window, on the other hand, had been a rare sight.

The man had been in a strangely good humor, and it had been infectious. So much so, that for possibly the first time since the Knight had come aboard the Finalizer, Hux found himself almost fond of the man’s company.

“I never suspected Lord Ren to be a romantic,” Hux said to himself in his quarters. He stripped of his uniform, folding it neatly over the chair. The man’s silhouette against the stars had been a fitting scene for his stoicism. Almost dramatic. Hux chuckled to himself. Was there a better description for the Knight? Hux clicked his teeth as he pushed his hair back. “How like him, though.”

Hux tugged out his pajamas and dressed for the night. He kept his lips pressed together as he thought of the man’s profile. There was something powerful about him always, even when he set out to annoy Hux. But when Lord Ren stood there, doing nothing more than thinking to himself as he stared out over their soon to be Starkiller base, he was rather handsome.

The mask may of hid his face, but it could not hide his body language.

There was something soothing about being around Lord Ren when he was at peace. And when one was looking down at a “lovely planet”, how much more at peace could one be?

“Now if only he could be like that all the time,” Hux said to himself, putting away his datapad. He tugged his covers back and slipped into bed for the night, thinking of everything that could get done if the Knight managed to keep that level of control more often.

Four years as service as the Co-Commander, and Lord Ren had not been aware there was a gym on the Finalizer. It was as endearing as it was absurd. A man who had that much power on the ship barely knew her.

It made Hux wonder what other parts of the ship Ren had never seen.

Hux committed the shocked drop of Ren’s shoulders the second the door to the gym opened to memory. If he had any doubt that Ren was teasing him by claiming not to know where it was, it was thrown out the door seeing the surprise that was clear as day even without seeing his face. Hux would have bet good money the man’s jaw had dropped behind that mask.

“Welcome to the Officer’s Private Gym, Lord Ren,” Hux said, closing the door behind them. He waved his hand around the room, stepping forward. Ren’s masked face looked around the room, shoulders tensing as he remembered Hux was there to see his embarrassment. Hux grinned. “To your left, you will find the weight equipment, and we have a selection of personal training machines to the right. You’ll also find a few punching bags in the closet, should that be your fancy. The showers and changing rooms are just through that door, and there are a few service droids available for anything you might need from water to a protein bar.”

“I am aware of what a gym is,” Lord Ren said, the vocoder heavy with frustration.

Hux might have been laying it on a little thick with his chipper voice.

“But not where one was.” Hux couldn’t help himself. It was so rare that he got one up on the mind reader that he needed to cherish this moment as long as he could. “But now that you do, I hope the next time you feel the need to break something you punch the bag intended for such an occasion instead.”

“I’ll endeavor to keep that in mind,” Lord Ren said. He ran his fingers over a weight bench, and tilted his head. “Should I feel like it.”

Hux nearly commented on the petty jab, but Lord Ren had lifted the weight bar at the end of the bench with both arms. It had been pre-loaded for the next inhabitant who had scheduled the room next, and had to have weighed at least two hundred pounds, and the Knight held it like it was nothing.

He wondered if Ren were cheating and using that—

“It’s not the Force,” Ren said, the smirk obvious through his vocoder. Just to tease, he did one more lift and this time, Hux paid attention to the flex of his muscle through the sleeve. It wasn’t fair that a man with that mental fortitude and psychic ability also had the physical ability to match. Lord Ren set the weight back down and stretched his fingers out in the air. “How do I reserve the room, General?”

Hux cleared his through and his mind, before heading to the front of the room. He opened the side panel and pulled out the touch screen. “You can reserve the room from your quarters, but since you never seem to use your datapad I’ll show you how to do it here.”

“And I can lock the door?” Lord Ren asked.

“Yes, your privacy will be preserved,” Hux said. Aside from Hux’s personal override as commander of the ship, but he was sure Ren would figure that out in due time. Hux tapped open the lock screen and allowed Ren control of the panel.

“You may leave,” Ren said, tapping the schedule and searching for open blocks. His dismissal of Hux was clear. “Your assistance is appreciated, but you don’t need to hover.”

“Suit yourself,” Hux said.

He left Lord Ren to his own devices in the gym, hoping now the ship would be spared some damage if he had another outlet to release a bit of that stress. Though his desire for privacy lingered on the edge of Hux’s mind.

What could be under that mask that Ren wanted so desperately to hide?

The Resistance scum refused to talk.

Hux stood at the front of the interrogation room as the torture drone did its work. The man had been under the knife, so to speak, for at least an hour now and was keeping his tongue. The droid gave him one last jolt before the supervising officer turned to Hux and shook his head.

He attempted to contain his glee.

There had been an agreement made upon learning that Lord Ren was particularly gifted when it came to matters of the mind and the art of interrogation. The ability to rip thoughts straight from a man’s head, in an often painful manner, made for a perfect interrogator. However, his time and abilities were “Not toys to be used at a whim” as Lord Ren had put it, and therefore he was only to be called upon when the subject would not break under any other means.

It had been far too long since Hux had brought someone with this much will into his ship, and Hux could not wait for Lord Ren to break the Resistance soldier into little pieces.

Thoughts of interrogation filled Hux’s mind all the way up until he keyed in his override code to retrieve the good Lord Ren from the workout room.

It took every ounce of training Hux had to maintain a straight face when he opened the door and laid eyes on Lord Ren without his mask: Wavy dark hair, matching dark eyes, long features, and muscles covered every inch of his shirtless chest and arms.

He looked like a prince.

Hux caught himself staring in time to deliver the news of the interrogation, of course, and tried not to concentrate on how Lord Ren shied away from Hux’s attentions. The man had immediately gone for a towel during the conversation, as if to cover his semi-naked state as quickly as possible. It was borderline adorable that a man who could break someone with his mind alone, reducing them to a shivering wreck, could have a shy side. All the same, the towel did very little to hide Lord Ren and skin still showed.

Hux found himself running on autopilot as he took in the shape of muscle as much as possible before it was sealed away in black fabric.

“I’ll be at the interrogation room at the end of the hour,” Lord Ren said, brining Hux back into the present. They had a job to do, and Hux collected himself accordingly. Dark eyes stared at Hux, angry, but it was softened by the hint of blush on his cheeks. Lord Ren’s voice was smooth and deep without the vocoder; soothing. “Is that all?”

“I’ll meet you there,” Hux said. He stole one last look over Lord Ren’s form while he could, before excusing himself quickly.

Everything about that man was unfair: obscenely powerful, physically fit, and he was easy on the eyes.

On top of all that, he knew how to get a job done.

An hour later, Lord Ren appeared in the interrogation suite as intimidating as ever in his dark robes and mask. The torture droid buzzed about, probing the subject to make sure he stayed awake. Ren nodded at Hux in acknowledgement, before taking his place in the center of the room, shoving the interrogation droid out of the way with the Force. The man in the restraints flinched, cowering before Lord Ren with a glance.

Hux held in his own shiver.

There was always something electric about watching Lord Ren work. He radiated power, and took whatever he wanted with a word and a wave of his hand. Hux envied and hated it as much as he admired it.

But now he also knew what was under that mask. He wondered what that face looked like when it bent reality and tore into a person like he was ripping apart paper. Did it contort? Did it stay straight? What ruled? Passion or indifference. Hux had always wanted to know whether interrogation was an emotional thing for Ren, or just another form of work he didn’t care for one way or another. With the mask hiding the expressions away, there was no real way for Hux to tell.

Either way, Hux got a show out of the deal, and now he had a new face to imagine while it happened. The Resistance soldier, to Hux’s delight, fought Lord Ren every step of the way. The Knights’ fingers caressed the screaming man’s face as he sobbed and screamed, a stark contrast to Lord Ren’s gentle voice continuing to ask questions.

Hux wondered if Lord Ren applied this level of intensity and efficiency to other areas of his life. He could picture those long fingers making contact with skin, instead of just lightly hovering near them. Hux shifted where he stood, licking the inside of his teeth. To be at the whim of all that power was as seductive as it was frightening, and it was far too easy to picture being flat on one’s back instead of strapped to a table.

It ended all too soon, however, after only fifteen minutes.

“The rest of the Resistance fleet is hiding on the moon,” Lord Ren said, stopping at Hux’s side. He flexed his fingers, looking away from the back room. “Though I doubt they’ll still be there by the time you check.”

“Very good,” Hux said. He nodded, not quite trusting his voice at the moment with his own heart still beating far too quickly. “I’ll take it from here.”

Lord Ren glanced at Hux for a second too long before escaping the room.

Hux bit the edge of his lip and almost smiled. Perhaps he’d been thinking a little too loudly during the interrogation.

The thoughts from the interrogation had persisted into Hux’s off hours. Worse yet, the possibility that they could become a reality even more so.

Lord Ren had become a familiar figure in Hux’s life, so there was no reason the man couldn’t become a familiar figure in Hux’s bed.

He’d played with the idea once or twice over the years, if only because Lord Ren was one of the few options Hux had at his disposal when you took into consideration his rank and level of authority. If you were going to fantasize about someone, at least make sure it’s a safe target lest you give into temptation. However, the man was so private, the thought of catching him without his mask seemed impossible, let alone the chance of divesting him of his clothes.

And despite rumors of his Academy days, Hux wasn’t the sort for quick trysts in hallways. If they were going to have sex, they were going to do it right with a good chunk of the night set aside and clothes on the floor. Which meant a man unwilling to lose his clothing for the sake of privacy wasn’t worth Hux’s time.

But then he’d seen the man without his mask in the gym, and Lord Ren hadn’t acted as if anything was unusual.

He’d been embarrassed by Hux’s staring to be sure, but to be caught in his mask-less state by itself did not seem to be the issue.

After his lust had calmed (many hours later) and he was alone in his quarters, Hux put that to thought. Kylo Ren hid his face with such intensity that most rumored he didn’t even have one. That he had acted so casual when Hux stumbled upon him without his mask was almost odd. Surely he would have put up more of a fuss after one of his biggest secrets was exposed on accident. Hux supposed the Supreme Leader had seen the man without his mask, but Hux had not heard of anyone else who’d had that privilege.

When it occurred to Hux that maybe perhaps Ren did not mind because it was Hux who had seen, that was around when his little nighttime fantasies turned more serious.

Truth be, if Ren was one of the only options Hux had for personal pleasures, it stood to reason that it might also go the other way around. The master of the Knights of Ren likely didn’t want to be caught with his pants down with a storm trooper any more than Hux did.

Or maybe he just wasn’t interested in sex.

Hux snorted, tugging his shirt over his head. He tossed it in the laundry hamper, rolling his shoulder as he stretched. With a man like Lord Ren, it was hard to tell. He didn’t think that any group other than Jedi practiced celibacy, but again, who knew what standards they held themselves to.

“But it never hurts to ask,” Hux said to himself.

He checked his messages on his datapad one last time before he tucked himself into bed. Even if Ren said “No”, the idea would at least be in his head.

And getting Lord Ren to think about it at all was step one. Besides, his reaction to Hux even asking was sure to be worth it no matter what he said in response.

Hux walked down the halls of the Finalizer a slight skip in his step. It was unnoticeable to anyone who wasn’t looking for it, but Mitaka and Phasma had both given him an odd look as he passed by. Hux nodded his head and kept going, appreciative as always of their wonderful service.

Lord Ren had turned down his proposal, but it was definitely on his mind.

It was quite a treat being in the unique position of making the terrifying leader of the Jedi Killers squirm. Hux didn’t even have to think about anything particularly exciting when merely an appreciative glance in the man’s direction would do. Lord Ren may not claim to be a virgin, but he was certainly out of the game if that alone was enough to make him sweat.

It wasn’t right to think of Lord Ren as adorable, but Hux couldn’t help it.

The way he’d occasionally look at Hux , that mask tilted in his direction behind that hood of his, said it all. He was interested; he just couldn’t say “yes” for some reason.

Hux had a couple theories on that front. First and foremost was pride. Despite their ever increasing amicable relationship, the fact of the matter was, that they did spend around four years at each other’s throats as rivals. Perhaps Ren thought he’d be losing some contest if he gave in, since Hux was the one who initiated. Second could just be embarrassment; who knew how much experience Lord Ren actually had.

Not that Hux particularly cared (he wasn’t exactly drowning in partners himself, lately).

Whatever the case, it made bothering Ren while he was in the gym one of Hux’s favorite parts of the day.

“I could have sworn reserving a room for privacy meant it would be private,” Ren said between reps, grunting under the heavy weight bar.

Hux helped himself to to the treadmill and set it to a light jog. “To protect your face, if I recall correctly. Something of which I have already seen, I might point out.”

Ren shifted his leg as he laid back on the bench. He was wearing a shirt today, Hux noticed. “There’s also the simple matter of being alone.”

“You’re alone most of the day,” Hux replied. Lord Ren continued to glare at him from the weight bench, still doing reps. The sweat clung to his muscles and Hux found himself with a few impure thoughts that involved running his hands across them—and Hux supposed he could understand why Ren was annoyed when his eyes narrowed in time with said thoughts. Hux chuckled, “Am I bothering you that much?”

Ren sighed heavily, dropping the weights back on the bar. He covered his face with a towel, wiping away the sweat. “No.”

Hux smiled in victory, but let Ren have his peace. If he said much more, he had a feeling Lord Ren really would kick Hux out. He had the power to do so, and for once, it wouldn’t be impeding on Hux’s authority. As such, Hux was content to finish his workout in private, allowing Lord Ren to do the same. If he stole a glance here or there, memorizing the lines of Ren’s body, well that was his own business. When Hux was finished, however, he might as well say what was on his mind since he was going to leave soon anyway.

Ren couldn’t kick him out if he had already left on his own.

“Have you rethought my offer at all?” Hux asked, drying off his hair from the shower, a towel around his waist for modesty as he stood in the doorway between the changing rooms and the workout room. Ren was the one staring for a change, and it was rather nice to have his eyes at least looking at what Hux had. “As I have said before, it remains open.”

“And the answer is still no,” Lord Ren said, tugging on his robes. His sweat soaked hair clung to the side of his face. He stepped off the treadmill and snorted. “I would suggest you not waste your time continuing to bring it up.”

“Don’t be absurd,” Hux said. He went back into the changing room, lifting his voice so Ren could hear as he started to put his clothes on. “People change their minds all the time. How will I ever know when yours does if I don’t ask?”

“You can ask as many times as you want, but the answer is going to stay what it is,” Ren said. He stopped in the doorway, one arm on the side, half leaning over Hux as he stood near a bench. “You value efficiency, don’t you General? I’m saving you some trouble.”

“Let me put it this way,” Hux said. He took a step closer and looked up into Ren’s eyes, lovely things that they were. “I’m only going to ask when I think you might be considering otherwise, and about one minute ago your eyes said they liked what they saw. That seems like good enough reason to ask, don’t you think?”

“Do what you want,” Ren said. He leaned forward an inch from Hux’s mouth like a tease. “But the answer will remain the same.”

“Suit yourself,” Hux said.

Ren past him and disappeared into the showers. Hux was pleased to notice there was no steam coming from the back room.

Hux was going to relish the destruction of the New Republic.

When his Starkiller base was finished, he would make sure he was standing on planet, just so he could see that glorious laser fire in person. Nothing would bring him more joy, than eradicating the wretched organization that the Resistance loved so much.

An entire battle cruiser out of commission because of one attack.

Hux growled in his quarters alone, his hands in his hair. He wanted to throw something and scream. But he would not. Instead, Hux went for a drink. He yanked open his cabinet and pulled down a bottle and a cup. He poured himself a shot and drank it, letting the warm liquid calm him.

The entire ordeal had been an embarrassment. Not only had a Resistance ship gotten the drop on the lower class cruiser, but they had somehow known exactly where to strike to do the most damage. That the attack happened to be timed for when the General and the Master of the Knights of Ren were doing an inspection was even more suspicious. How they’d gotten that information, Hux had no clue. He took another swig of his drink. But there would be an investigation, and they would be making upgrades to every other ship in the fleet to prevent this from happening again.

He sat at his desk, and placed the cold glass against his forehead.

Hux did not want to imagine how much worse it would have been had Lord Ren not been there to help get the situation under control. He shivered, putting his glass down and covering the lower half of his mouth.

Lord Ren.

The Lord Ren had been unconscious on the floor, knocked out by the nearby blast for near two full minutes. Hux had seen it from the rafters, but did not believe it until he was on the ground next to the fallen man. Lord Ren was a near indestructible beast that tore through the enemy like they were paper. He didn’t. He didn’t get injured. He didn’t pass out. He was never meant to look so wretchedly lifeless.

For at least one minute, Hux wasn’t even sure if the man had still been breathing.

By the miracle of the man’s Force, he had been unharmed, to Hux’s eternal relief. That Lord Ren was able to rise from the ground and press forward to attack the enemy head on immediately afterwards was inspiring. It was moments like those, that made every destroyed panel on the ship worth it.

In cutting down the Resistance who had boarded the ship, Lord Ren had embodied the Knight that he was. Or perhaps the Prince he looked like.

But all the same, the image of Ren sprawled on the ground refused to leave Hux’s mind. If the man had been even a second late with that protection bubble of his, he would have been caught in the blast and have died with the storm troopers around him. The idea that Lord Ren was a mortal man, who could be killed, had taken root, and Hux hated how it made his heart twist in his chest.

Hux found himself watching Lord Ren more often than he had before after the Knight’s near-brush with mortality.

He had taken it upon himself to get to know the man better, and perhaps figure out exactly why his heart seemed to beat a tad faster every now and again for reasons unrelated to lust when he was around Lord Ren. Following him around on his missions, in particular, had been proving quite informational.

Hux watched the ways his fingers twisted, or the way his shoulders moved when he walked or fought. Every tilt of his head was a telling sign to what he was feeling, and Hux wondered if that came from wearing a mask all the time, or if every inch of Lord Ren was just that expressive. It certainly made reading the man easier. Whether on the battlefield or walking down the hallways, Hux kept his eyes on the Knight.

And Lord Ren was upset over something more than usual.

Hux stood in front of a smoking panel, the telltale red lines of Ren’s lightsaber still lingering in the destruction. He sighed heavily as a technician came to start clearing away the ruined cover panel. Hux stepped back, allowing the man to work as he considered the damage.

According to the report, Lord Ren had entered the room, thrown a fit and left just as quickly. It had been fast and without warning, as if it had been bubbling up and all that energy needed to go somewhere before he struck something else. Hux had caught Ren on the bridge after the event before it had been reported, and noticed the man was still tense.

Despite knowing that Ren still used the gym very regularly, the destruction had begun again in full force.

Hux left the room, hands at his side. He had played with the idea that Lord Ren was simply still upset about losing that cruiser, but that had been weeks ago. Nothing on the ship had been particularly different lately. Work on Starkiller base was progressing as planned, and as far as Hux knew, Lord Ren’s missions were going well.

So what could have the man still so tense and stressed?

He supposed the urge to find the source of the man’s concern and fix it should come as a shock to Hux. Doubly so since it seemed to stem from concern for Lord Ren himself, and not just the damage he was doing to the ship. That wasn’t the sort of man Hux was when it came to personal issues. But he was making an exception for Lord Ren, and Hux told himself not to think too hard on why.

“Lieutenant Mitaka,” Hux said, coming onto the bridge. His officers were working diligently and it was nice to know that the Knight was the only thing Hux needed to be worried about when it came to his crew and ship. He turned to the Lieutenant, “When is Lord Ren next scheduled for the field?”

Mitaka pulled up the schedule and tapped a few screens. “He will be assisting in our take over of the Moon next week. Lord Phasma is already meeting with him to coordinate their troops.”

“Very good, Lieutenant,” Hux said. He mentally reviewed his work for the next few days, and found it was free enough. If he finished a few reports early tonight, there would be nothing pressing and he could afford the time off. “Schedule me to accompany them. I do believe I’ll personally be supervising. It’s good to show my face on the ground now and then.”

“Yes, sir.”

Six destroyed panels was more than enough for an intervention, as far as Hux was concerned. Someone needed to find out what had Kylo Ren snapping more than usual lately, and it might as well be the closest thing he had to a friend on the ship.

Not that Hux was Lord Ren’s friend (or anything else, but those were thoughts best avoided for the moment).

Hux had decided when he first made the decision to inquire about what was bothering the good Knight, that perhaps he would make sure to avoid the gym for the conversation. He didn’t want to taint one of the few areas on the ship they could spend time alone together in relatively pleasant company. Having the conversation during the end of a successful mission (and Hux couldn’t imagine anything less for this next one with Lord Ren and Phasma working together) would be perfect, however.

Ren would be in a good mood, and Hux would be able to ask what was wrong in a calmer environment. And if all else failed and Ren refused to give Hux something to fix, then perhaps he could remind the man there were other distractions available should he want to take them.

Breaking panels and lifting weights were hardly the only ways to reduce stress, and Hux’s bed was still more than welcoming should the man finally cave.

Chapter Text

Something was very wrong with Kylo Ren.

Hux stood in the doorway of the gym, watching the man punch a wall with his bare fists. His hands weren’t even wrapped for the punching bag and his gloves were off. It was flesh on metal in sickening whacks one after another. The door shut behind Hux as he walked inside.

Ren did not turn or acknowledge him.

He stopped a few feet away from the angry man, watching as Ren destroyed his knuckles on the walls. Hux knew that Ren was frustrated by his lack of instruction from their Supreme Leader, but was that truly what would drive him to this? Hux winced as Ren split open his knuckle on the wall, drawing blood. He was completely lost in his own world.

Perhaps his inactivity was enough to drive him to this. Ren seemed the sort of man who needed something to do with his time. Whether it was a mission, or training, or just terrorizing the crew, Ren needed to be busy. With Supreme Leader Snoke putting all of the First Order’s focus into finishing Starkiller base, there wasn’t much for Ren to accomplish on his own, was there?

Blood spotted the walls where Ren continued to strike. Hux had wandered closer while he continued to hit and he still did nothing to recognize he was no longer alone.

His face was twisted in rage, contorted in near agony. Hux was a bit amazed at how the expression twisted in his own stomach. Lord Ren wasn’t meant to look that way. He was the embodiment of strength, and when he wasn’t that, he was eternally aggravating. Anger suited him always, but this pain and agony that came with it were not needed.

Lord Ren looked like he was going to break.

Hux would not allow this.

He had reached out and grabbed Ren’s wrist before it could make contact with the wall before he could think twice on the matter. Ren’s head whipped to the side, eyes wide as he realized there was another person in the room with him. His entire body tensed, but went limp a second later. Hux and Ren stared at each other, before Hux worked up the nerve to speak.

“I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m fairly certain hurting yourself will not solve the dilemma,” Hux said, tightening his grip on Ben’s wrist. He got a better look at the bloodied knuckles and it made his stomach twist. He’d need to put bacta on that or it would scar. Hux guided the hand away from the wall, gently extending the man’s fingers out of the fist they’d created. “You don’t have to tell me what’s bothering you, but I insist you stop this nonsense.”

“Let go, Hux,” Ren said. His shoulders dropped and his eyes were half-focused. The man looked so lost and tired. Hux squeezed the man’s hand. Ren spoke softly, almost to the wall. “What do you want?”

“You missed your one shift on the bridge this week, and no one has seen you anywhere outside of your quarters in three days,” Hux said, keeping his eyes locked with Ren’s eyes. They were looking at something beyond him, but he would not let Ren step away from this. Hux licked the edge of his lip. “When the gym was reserved, you’ll forgive me for wanting to find out if you were in fact still alive.”

“You’ve done that,” Ren said. He stepped away from Hux, yanking his arm out of Hux’s grip. He turned away, staring at the back of his hand. His shoulders shook and there was a tremble in his voice. “You can leave now.”

Something tugged at the edge of Hux’s heart, staring at the man’s back and the loose strands of sweat-soaked hair.

Hux couldn’t have left now even if he wanted to.

“As I see it Ren, whatever it may be that has you bloodying your knuckles,” Hux said. He forced Ren to turn back to him by grabbing his tank top. Before Hux could even think to change his mind he yanked Ren down into a kiss. The Knight did nothing to fight it, and Hux kissed the man harder, shifting to hold the man in place by the back of the head. He took a breath, muttering against Ren’s lips to finish his sentence. “Does not change that you seem to be in desperate need of a distraction.”

“I seem to recall rejecting these advances,” Ren said. Hux felt every heaving breath; every tremble of Ren’s form. Hux felt too warm and his heart was beating too quickly. He’d wanted this for so long, but it hadn’t been this way. He’d wanted something purely physical, but the ache and longing in Ren’s eyes was anything but. He needed something more. Ren licked his lip. “Usually you respect that.”

“Usually you don’t need it this badly,” Hux whispered. He wished that he had taken his gloves off for this. The strands of Ren’s hair were slick between his fingers, but he couldn’t feel them. He rubbed his fingers into Ren’s skin all the same, and Lord Ren moaned in appreciation. Hux pressed their foreheads together, longing for skin on skin contact; it was warm. “Let me distract you, Ren. Before you really hurt yourself.”

Lord Ren stilled. He was thinking far too hard, and Hux nuzzled their heads together. Their noses touched and he almost went for another kiss, but he needed Ren to say yes. Something inside of Hux needed a real answer from this man.

“Sometimes I really hate you,” Ren said, breaking the silence.

And then he kissed Hux.

It was needy and desperate and Hux wanted more of it. He threw his arms around Ren’s shoulders, nipping until Ren opened his mouth. Hux squeezed, gripping tight to the back of Ren’s head until the kiss deepened further. Ren growled into it, grabbing Hux and slamming them both into the wall. Hux moaned.

“Really, really hate you,” Lord Ren said again before taking another kiss.

Hux smiled into it. What the man said contradicted what he did. And no one held that tightly, and that desperately to someone they hated. Hux pressed a kiss to the side of Lord Ren’s lips; he knew a lie when he saw one.

“Save the pillow talk for later,” Hux said. He hopped up, wrapping his leg’s around Ren’s waist. The man held him up easily enough and Hux enjoyed his new view, looking down into the man’s large eyes. Hux kissed down, tugging Ren’s head back. He held on so tightly he might have bruised Ren’s face. “You’ve got better things to do with your mouth right now.”

Taking the hint, Ren kissed Hux’s neck, clinging to Hux’s waist. He tugged on the edge of Hux’s uniform, as desperate for skin as Hux.

“We should take this somewhere more comfortable,” Hux said, petting the back of Ren’s head. The man grunted, warm fingers finding the skin of Hux’s back. “I believe your quarters are closer, but mine will do if you don’t mind a walk.”

“My room is fine,” Ren said, his face still pressed in Hux’s neck. He took a deep breath, before he backed away. He set Hux down gently and ran his hands through his hair a few times. He paced a bit, trying to calm down enough for the walk. Ren looked nervous, but still eager. “Let me. I need my mask.”

“Take your time,” Hux said. He leaned against the wall, flattening his own hair back down. Ren tugged on his clothes and robes in record time, putting his mask on last. He grabbed his cape and other belongings and hung them over his arm. Hux headed for the door, “Shall we?”

The need was clear even through the vocoder when Ren breathed, “Yes.”

Hux was certain that he and Lord Ren made it to the Knight’s quarters in record time.

The second the door was shut behind them, Lord Ren took off his helmet and dropped it into a round stand that was full of ash hard enough that a puff of grey fell around it and settled on the floor. Hux was curious but the look of want in Ren’s eyes was far more interesting than a stand full of ashes.

A man of few words to the end, Hux was not surprised when Ren crossed the room without another word, his robes flaring behind him, dragging Hux into another kiss without saying a thing. Ren tugged off Hux’s belt, opening the jacket without splitting their mouths.

Hux hummed into it, grabbing Ren’s hand to help move the process of getting naked along. He tugged off Ren’s glove, and brushed against something wet. Hux tugged Ren’s hand up, and noticed the bloody knuckles. He sighed and turned his head away from the next kiss.

“You can’t possibly be changing your mind now,” Ren said, the disbelief almost comical (and the hint of an accent came through that Hux struggled to recognize). “Did I miss something?”

“Not on your life,” Hux said right back. He kissed the front of Ren’s fingers and smiled. “But we are wrapping these first before you get blood everywhere. I believe I have some bacta wrappings in my refresher.”

Ren tilted his head back, sighing heavily, but let Hux lead him toward the refresher all the same. He sat quietly while Hux dug out the bandages, though he did busy himself by taking off his outer robes and the other glove. By the time Hux turned around, the man was already shirtless and waiting, hair plastered to his forehead, still slick with sweat.

If he kept looking like that, they weren’t going to make it to the bed.

“I’m surprised you’re willing to do this first all considering,” Ren said while Hux smeared bacta on the back of his knuckles. “Even now you look like you want to get going.”

“You act like we don’t have all evening,” Hux said, switching to the other hand. He rubbed off a forming scab to let the bacta do its job before covering it up. Hux finished a moment later (another record time for the night) and held up Ren’s hand. “See? Already done. That didn’t take long at all, and now we don’t have to worry about the back of your hands scarring.”

“You talk too much,” Lord Ren said. He laced his fingers together with Hux and leaned forward, kissing away Hux’s words. Ren dropped their held hands to wrap his arms around Hux’s waist.

Hux welcomed it, tossing his own gloves away behind Ren’s back. His fingers found Ren’s skin and he loved the heat. Hux dug his entire palm into the man’s back, clutching tightly. Lord Ren almost seemed feverish in his heat, and Hux drank it up along with his tongue and joined mouths.

They rid themselves of their clothes, as Hux pushed forward and got them both headed toward the bed in the back room. Ren fumbled a bit with the snap of Hux’s pants, but clever fingers got the clasp soon enough. As soon as it was open, he pulled out Hux’s undershirt and rid him of it so that they were both shirtless. Ren wrapped his arms around Hux’s lower hips, pulling him up so that Ren could bury his face in Hux’s neck. He kissed there hard, before they tumbled onto the mattress.

Hux landed on top, fingers finding defined muscle no matter where they touched. Ren kept kissing his neck and Hux pressed his face into Ren’s hair. It felt greasy, but Hux loved this. He’d waited so long for it, and Ren did not disappoint. He pressed his hand into the Knight’s chest, and felt his heart beating under the surface.

“Since you want to get straight to the point, I’ll keep the talk minimal,” Hux said, dropping his hand to Ren’s belt line. “Any preferences?”

“Quiet,” Ren said, snorting as he shifted back to make it easier to get out of their pants.

“That takes the fun out of some of it,” Hux said, chuckling to himself. Ren’s hands were on his hips again the second the last of their clothes were gone, big and firm—just like something else on the man. Hux kissed him hard on the mouth, shifting his hips. “But seriously. How do you want to do this? Hands? Mouths? Someone on their back? Knees? I don’t share your powers of mind reading, and I don’t particularly want to fumble about like teenagers forever trying to feel it out.”

“As long as you stop talking,” Ren said, sitting up on his elbows. That tired look from earlier crept back on his face, and Hux found he rather hated it. Ren drew circles in Hux’s hips with his thumbs. “I really don’t care.”

“Fair enough,” Hux said.

He pushed Ren down on his back by the shoulders, debating. Hux straddled the man’s waist, leaning forward to thread his fingers into Ren’s hair. If Lord Ren didn’t want to talk, that was fine; kissing worked just as well. Hux nipped Ren’s bottom lip before taking his mouth properly, his tongue meeting Ren’s.

Ren’s hands shifted enough that he could tug Hux’s hips forward to press into his own. He pulled his legs up, and Hux moved with it, more than happy to put his chest against Ren’s. All those hours in the gym were much appreciated. Hux felt the heat at their waists growing and kissed Ren’s jaw in appreciation.

Hux tugged Ren’s arms up so they fell around his back, and he dropped his own around Ren’s neck. Holding each other felt better than Hux expected it would; both a little desperate. They found a steady rhythm, just rolling their hips into each other, but Hux was ready to take this a little further and get Lord Ren a bit more involved.

This was all to distract him from his troubles, wasn’t it?

Hux sat up, pressing his palms onto Ren’s chest. He dragged his thumb down the line of Ren’s ribs and stomach, watching the way it twitched. The man must be ticklish and Hux almost tested it, but he had a feeling that would break the mood. Ren was hard against his thigh and it was almost amusing how aroused he was from so little foreplay. He must have wanted it more than he wanted to let on. Hux, embarrassingly enough, was in the same boat.

He found a slight problem though when he glanced around the room. As much as Hux would like to move this along, he seemed to be missing something rather important.

A small bottle smacked Hux in the side of the face. He jerked away from it, nearly swatting it away, but it floated in mid air. Hux looked down, and found Ren wore the most amused little smirk. His hand was up, fingers spaced as he held the little bottle up with the Force. Hux snatched it out of the air with a huff. “Thank you.”

After that, Ren was no help at all. He was more than pleased to sit back and let Hux do the rest of the work, preparing himself and fitting them together. Hux would have been annoyed, if Ren didn’t make the most wonderful groan when they sank together. The knight had to cover his mouth to stifle the sound, and his back arched off the bed so wonderfully Hux had to smirk.

“I know you said you wanted me to be quiet, but I don’t see why that should apply to you,” Hux said, bracing himself on Ren’s bent knees to help his pace. His breath was labored, and he really needed to visit the gym more often himself after this, but he could keep up with Ren and that was what mattered. Hux dropped hard, earning a new moan from both of them. “You do have a lovely voice without that vocoder of yours.”

“Hux,” Ren growled. He flipped the two of them over, throwing Hux on his back. He hissed at the angle change and finally started to be a bit more of an active participant. “Shut up.”

Hux wanted to laugh, but he was too busy wincing as Ren thrust a little harder than necessary. The Knight’s breathing was erratic, and he kept his teeth gritted together to keep further moans from escaping. Hux held on, grabbing Ren’s arm and his hair, more than happy to let the other man finish things up. Hux held tight, kissing the side of Ren’s head.

The Knight’s eyes were closed and he shoved his face into Hux’s neck. His shoulders shook, and sweat soaked his skin. Hux shivered when Ren’s long fingers went between Hux’s legs and went to work. The man massaged Hux until he finished first. Ren tensed before releasing a heavy shutter, finishing himself a second later.

Lord Ren breathed heavily as his body cooled, but he was content to stay where he was on top of Hux. He practically nuzzled Hux’s shoulder before sighing, body perfectly relaxed.

Hux petted the back of Ren’s head, before rolling out from under him. He reached over and grabbed his coat from the floor. He pulled out his package of cigarettes and lit one before turning over his shoulder. “I do hope we can do that again.”

Ren grunted into his pillow, delightfully sleepy.

“I take it the ‘no talking’ rule has been lifted?” Hux asked, he wiped the two of them off with a handkerchief before wadding it up. “Ren?”

“Do what you want.” The man turned onto his back, pressing his side against Hux’s. He reached for a blanket and tugged it up around his shoulders. Hux slipped under them, laying next to Ren, smoking.

Staying here a few more minutes here wouldn’t hurt.

Hux woke sated and content, despite feeling sticky and filthy from the dried sweat. He blamed the contradictory feeling on Lord Ren, who was still asleep next to him. Hux turned on his side, tugging the blanket with him.

When he’d first offered to sleep together, the idea that they would spend the entire night together hadn’t crossed his mind as an option. He figured there’d be sex to finally free them of the tension that had been building up, and they’d part ways. But then Ren had let Hux decide if he wanted to stay or leave, and watching the man fall asleep while in mid-conversation had been—endearing. That was the word. Ren’s relaxed state was contagious, and the last thing Hux wanted to do was leave the bed.

The idea of slipping out in the morning while Ren slept wasn’t first on his mind, but Hux had a good internal clock. If he was awake, he was probably due on the bridge soon and that meant he had to leave his comfortable state. He patted Ren’s back, before crawling out of the bed over him. He passed by the stand of ashes, tapping the man’s mask on the top of its dome as he passed. Ren remained on the bed, breathing deeply.

His face had evened out in his sleep, and it was truly relaxed.

However, the wrappings around his hands were still present, reminding Hux of what had Ren agreeing to sleep with him in the first place. It was still unsettling knowing that REn could bleed. Hopefully the bacta did it’s job erasing the evidence, and that Lord Ren might seek out Hux instead of breaking his wrists on walls should he ever find himself in that position again.

Though, Hux still didn’t know what had caused that particular outburst.

Hux gathered his clothes, glad that his greatcoat would cover them on his trip back to his own quarters for a shower and change. He caught sight of a clock on the desk and noted his internal clock had been right on the money, and he had plenty of time to get ready.

Dressed, he stopped by the bed on his way out.

“No more breaking your knuckles,” Hux said, brushing a bit of Ren’s hair out of his eyes. Ren remained asleep, and Hux smiled to himself as he left.

Hux was a man of routine, and Ren fit neatly into it to his delight.

Nearly a month had passed, and they managed to slip quite a bit of personal time into their already busy schedules. Hux was sleeping better than he had in years, and the increased productivity from his well rested state was doing wonders for his mood and Starkiller base’s completion. More importantly, Ren’s damages to equipment had dropped dramatically since they’d started sleeping together. Hux was apparently a better distraction than he’d thought if Ren was coming straight to him when he was feeling the urge to break something.

However, once a routine was settled, breaking it was all the worse.

“Has there been word from Lord Ren’s party?” Hux asked, approaching Mitaka on the bridge. His footsteps echoed on the bridge, a good deal of the staff already working on their transfer to man Starkiller base. Hux wanted his best people on the project, and that unfortunately meant his Finalizer suffered a bit for it. Hux crossed his arms behind his back. “They’re supposed to be back any day now, aren’t they?”

Ren’s one week (two at most if things went badly) mission to find a Jedi artifact was a day into it’s third week, and Hux found himself concerned. Lord Ren could handle just about anything thrown at him, but typically the man reported in when things weren’t going to plan or he was going to be this late.

Mitaka shook his head. “No word, sir.”

“Carry on,” Hux said.

He looked over the bridge, giving one last check that everyone was in their place before turning. Hux left the bridge, counting to ten as he breathed. There was no need to fret. Lord Ren would be fine. He was a Force user, and one of the few left in the universe. He was looking for an artifact in a lost temple, not for a peer. It’s not as if he could really run into someone that was his equal.

But he had been knocked down from an explosion.

And Hux had seen him bleed.

“He’s fine,” Hux said under his breath. He walked faster down the corridor, ignoring the storm troopers and officers around him. This worry was for nothing, and it would make him look weak if any of it leaked to his face. “Get it together.”

Hux entered his room, glancing at the clock. If Lord Ren were here, this is about when he’d come wandering by Hux’s quarters. The man had a preference, it seemed, and he would always come to Hux’s room when he wanted something. Hux didn’t mind so much, though he did wonder what was in Ren’s room the man wanted to get away from. Things had been fine that first night, and Hux couldn’t remember doing anything untoward save for perhaps remarking that the man’s tray of ashes was becoming of him.

“Maybe he was embarrassed,” Hux said.

He stripped off his coat and hung it on the back of the chair. Hux sat down, folding his arms on the desk. His room felt too quiet without the other man lumbering about. Sure, he didn’t come every night, but typically there was enough lingering destruction (the unmade bed from when he left after Hux went to his shift, the bits of black hair in the refresher, running out of lotion faster) that it felt like Lord Ren stayed over every night. But after two weeks of nothing but Hux, the room remained entirely his own.

“Stop thinking about him,” Hux demanded of himself. He gripped his hands on his knees and sucked in a breath. “He’s your coworker and a fling, nothing more.”

Hux certainly didn’t miss their evening chats (the “no talking rule” was completely off the table the second sex was finished, which still amused Hux to no end; Ren had to be shy). And Hux absolutely did not miss the look in Ren’s eyes when he got what he wanted and looked ready to eat Hux alive. Nor did Hux miss the way the man freely abused the Force to do menial tasks when he was lazy, like reach for blankets or knock Hux back onto the bed.

He didn’t miss any of it.

Hux got up and headed for the refresher. He stripped his shirt over his head and dropped his clothes. He slammed on the water shower over the sonic, dunking his head under the warm waves of it. Hux ran his fingers through his hair, concentrating hard on getting clean instead of how much he wished a second person was there with him.

The comforting water did little to distract Hux.

He shut off the shower, and grabbed a towel, wiping off the loose droplets. He stared at himself in the mirror, and frowned at the tired look in his own eyes. Hux looked away from it, and focused on an object at the edge of his sink. He reached down and picked up the small, black razor that was half-hidden behind a soap dish. It belonged to Lord Ren. Hux squeezed the razor and brushed his fingers along his own five o’clock shadow.

He grabbed the lathering cream from the edge of his sink and proceeded to do something ridiculously sentimental: He used Lord Ren’s razor to shave. There wasn’t much point in lying to himself was there?

Hux missed Lord Ren.

This sentiment was only reinforced when Lord Ren came straight to Hux’s quarters to see him after finally returning from his mission a week later. It tugged on the edge of his heart to know Hux wasn’t the only one who was missing the other.

They were both in over their heads.

Hux typically did not indulge in fantasies, at least not in detail.

He had thoughts of sex, for sure, driven by lust and the desire to bed Lord Ren from before, but they were quick and to the point. The little daydreams focused on the sex itself and very little else. Having a particular location in mind, or scenario, were a rarity as they were unlikely to happen.

Getting to have sex with Lord Ren on Starkiller base, however, was a literal fantasy come true. And Hux had mocked Lord Ren for being a romantic once upon a time. Oh, how those tables had turned now that they were wrapped up together on their “Lovely Planet.”

Not that Hux could be blamed for thoughts like that when Lord Ren was doing everything possible to remind Hux of Starkiller base. The man was as volatile and heated as the suns that powered his weapon, but as cool and controlled as the snowy surface when he chose it. He was the perfect mix of hot and cold that defined Starkiller base, and Hux could not throw away the comparison now that he’d thought it.

No wonder he was so absurdly attracted to the man.

Hux dug his fingers into the hair on Ren’s head, neatly nestled between Hux’s thighs. Lord Ren didn’t often take to his knees, but when the mood struck, it was typically all Hux could do to keep from falling to his own. He kept his hand shoved over his mouth to muffle the whimpers, heel knocking into the bed frame. Lord Ren held Hux still, large hands secure on his hips.

The wind picked up outside Starkiller base, large chunks of snow pounding against the window in Hux’s quarters. He watched it for a moment, hips rolling to help Ren along as he worked. Hux loosened his grip, smoothing his fingers through the dark hair before falling back onto the bed. Ren grunted, pausing a minute to take in the changed position, but Hux’s legs were still off the side of the bed so it wasn’t like he’d moved that much.

It was for the better, anyway. Hux tugged lightly on Ren’s hair. “Come up here. As lovely as the view is, I’d rather finish with you inside me.”

Ren kissed his thigh and crawled up, kissing Hux on the mouth.

“It’s also easier to see your face up here,” Hux said, breaking the no-talking rule just for a bit. Ren would forgive him as long as he kept it light.

“Greedy,” Ren said in return.

He proceeded to shut Hux up with more open mouthed kisses, and bringing their bodies together in a manner that was now officially practiced.

A good while later, Hux petted the back of Ren’s head again, though this time it was neatly tucked into the crook of his neck. His long arms were wrapped around Hux’s waist, and the man was fast asleep.

Hux kissed the top of Ren’s head, turning to hug the man closer. Everything was coming together so well. Starkiller base was a month and a half away from completion, Lord Ren was in his bed (among other things, perhaps), and Snoke was pleased with their progress. The Resistance wouldn’t know what hit them, and the New Republic would suffer. The universe might finally be granted the order it so deserved.

“Stop thinking.” Ren nuzzled his neck and grunted. He squeezed Hux like a pillow, burying his face further into Hux’s neck. It felt like Ren was attempting to draw heat from Hux to compete with the chill from outside. “It’s late.”

“It is,” Hux said. He closed his eyes and breathed in. He could fall asleep like this every night and be content.

“Lord Ren,” Hux said, stepping next to the man. He was once again out in the yard, looking out over the trees. Hux had caught him out here alone quite a few times over their few days on base. He wasn’t quite sure what attracted the man to the trees so much, but the man’s love of flora was a human trait that didn’t worry Hux (unlike the knowledge that he bled), so he accepted it. “Have you spoken with the Supreme Leader recently?”

“Yes,” Ren said. The vocoder muted his voice, and Hux found himself disliking the mask. The man underneath was so much better, human or not. Lord Ren stretched out his fingers, massaging his hands. “Why?”

“I was curious if you had any other pressing missions coming up,” Hux said. When Ren saw the Supreme Leader alone, it tended to be related to getting an assignment. Which often meant he’d be leaving, and frankly, Hux wasn’t looking forward to the next time Lord Ren disappeared for weeks. “With Starkiller so close to being finished, it’d be good to know if I’ll be splitting my forces to assist you.”

“The search for Skywalker continues, but there’s nothing pressing that requires my immediate attention.” Ren said. He continued to watch the trees, something somber about him. “I’ll be free to remain on base until after the firing, when my training with my Master will continue into the next phase.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Hux said. He tucked his hands in his pockets, taking a few steps closer to Ren to block the wind. “You’ve contributed as much to the First Order as anyone else, and should be here to see it fire at its debut.”

Ren nodded, but said nothing.

“Truth be told,” Hux said, wondering what madness had taken over his mouth. But there was something about being out here alone, with Ren in the wind that brought the words so easily. “It’s been pleasant seeing more of you around these past few months. It makes me regret the wasted time we spent trying to outdo each other when we could have been working together.”

“Working together seems an odd way to put it, considering our professional lives have changed very little,” Ren said, snorting behind his mask.

“A happy personal life means a happy working life,” Hux shot right back. He sent a smile in Ren’s direction and tilted his head up. “Productivity has gone up in spades since you stopped destroying panels in at least three sectors. Imagine how that would have multiplied if we’d nipped this in the bud years ago instead of months.”

“Glad to be of service,” Ren said, the jab heavy even through the vocoder. Lord Ren curled his shoulders inward, leaning toward Hux ever so slightly. He spoke softer, his voice almost lost in his mask. “And of yourself?”

“I have never been opposed to conversation or company, but I’ve found it hard to come by all the same,” Hux said. He stepped closer until he was nearly flush with Lord Ren. He looked into the mask, but he could picture Ren’s eyes all the same: dark, warm, and regal. Hux slowed his breathing, almost whispering himself. “So yes, our mutually beneficial relationship has been just that, and I rather enjoy your company. Quite a lot, if I may say so.”

Ren looked away, almost bashful. His fingers twitched and Hux almost reached out to hold his hand. But he resisted; they were alone but you never knew who was looking out a window. It wouldn’t do to make the two of them look like lovesick children, even if that’s how Hux felt.

Lord Ren must have been feeling it, too. Hux could see his breath pick up, and the sway of his body as he processed the words underneath what Hux had said.

“I didn’t take you for one who’d fish for compliments.” Hux reached up and patted the side of Ren’s mask, hoping to comfort the awkward man. He dragged his fingers down it until they left metal and tugged on the side of his hood. “You learn something new every day.”

Lord Ren chuckled, turning away from the woods. He reached for the General’s hand, taking his fingers gently. He squeezed once before letting go and walking away swiftly, as though embarrassed. “Come on General, I believe they’re serving dinner soon.”

“Sounds good,” Hux said, knowing full well he’d be seeing the man after dinner.

He followed Lord Ren into the base, walking side-by-side. Once upon a time, these walks were tense and frustrating as Hux stewed over whatever offense Ren had created at the time. But now, it was welcome and comforting in a way that Hux hadn’t expected. He looked forward to eating dinner with someone. He looked forward to the two of them retreating to their room to turn in for the night.

Hux looked forward to waking up tomorrow morning next to the man.

What was meant to be a mere distraction had turned into something much more. If this is what it meant to fall for someone, Hux was more than happy to jump over the edge.

Chapter Text

Hux sipped from a cup of coffee in his quarters, looking over the last of the paperwork for the final officer transfers for Starkiller base. Soon, the platform outside would be decorated and his prepared speech would air to everyone in the First Order, letting them know who the true victors of this war would be.

In as little as twenty days, the New Republic would fall.

He smiled to himself, setting his cup down neatly on the table. Hux only had a few more pages to go, and he could get back to the last minute checks for everything else needed before the weapon fires. Hux wanted to be finished, prepared and ready to go ten days before their official date just in case they had the opportunity to fire early.

You never knew when an opening would present itself.

Hux flipped to the next page of his report. Maybe Ren wouldn’t mind listening to Hux’s speech one more time to help him proof it. Hux was fairly happy with it, but this would be the defining moment of his career and an important mark in the history of the First Order. It had to be perfect. Last time he had practiced, Lord Ren hadn’t been very forward with feedback, but he’d also been dozing. Hux chuckled to himself, perhaps practicing speeches didn’t make for good pillow talk.

“Let’s see, Phasma wanted to do a practice run for the grounds,” Hux mumbled to himself. He sipped his coffee. “I think I can fit that in—”

A loud beep called from Hux’s personal datapad.

Hux frowned, tugging it over and flipping on the screen. An application had opened, and a small red indicator light blinked on a map: A map of Starkiller base. Hux opened the map, finding the exact location of the blip in the bowels of his base. It was in the shield generator room near the lower layers of Starkiller base. It was a highly restricted area that had been nearly sealed off after construction had finished.

And Lord Ren was in it.

Hux had honestly forgotten about the tracking device in Lord Ren’s belt. He’d been instructed by their Supreme Leader to place it there when Lord Ren first came aboard his ship, in case of emergency or if Lord Ren would need to be recovered when he was unconscious. He went on missions alone quite often, so it only made sense on some level to keep track of him. However, as a side note, he’d mentioned that it would alert Hux if Lord Ren went somewhere he wasn’t supposed to.

Or at least that was the official reason for the device should Lord Ren stumble upon it.

“My apprentice can be quite independent at times, which is not uncommon for a follower of the Dark Side. Sometimes personal ambition will get in the way of the greater good,” the Supreme Leader had said, looking to the side of the room as he confessed an ulterior motive. He had twisted his gnarly hand in the air, waving it about. “But he is also young, which means in addition, he does not always make the best decisions. So should you see him acting on his own, do let me know and I will be sure to set him straight.”

At the time, Hux had taken that as polite code for “Dark Side users often go rouge and try to take over, so let me know if Ren is going to back stab me like that Vader boy did to the Emperor.”

But as the years past and Lord Ren made no sign or hint that he felt anything other than respect and awe for their Supreme Leader, those worries fell to the back of Hux’s mind. Lord Ren was loyal and true to the First Order, no matter what troubles he may cause otherwise with his sporadic personality. Hux’s fingers stilled as they hovered over the small beacon making it’s way around the holographic map.

That wasn’t as true as of late, was it?

Lord Ren had grown increasingly frustrated with the Supreme Leader’s decisions this past year. He’d been aggressive and violent more so than usual. Hux covered the bottom of his mouth.

“He wouldn’t,” Hux whispered. The little blip continued to make its way around the shield generator room, methodically and stopping at certain points. Hux knew that there were vital points to the infrastructure at each place Ren stopped. Hux growled, “That idiot.”

Hux pushed away from his desk, slipping the datapad into his jacket. He left his quarters and headed straight for Lord Ren’s. If the man had been planning a Dark Side take over of some kind, there had to be evidence. If Hux could get it, maybe he could blackmail Ren into seeing reason and stop this foolishness.

Betraying the Supreme Leader would only get Lord Ren killed.

He picked up his pace in the hall, knowing he needed to get the information before Lord Ren finished whatever he was doing in the shield generator room (he didn’t dare flat out accuse sabotage—not to his Starkiller base; Ren wouldn’t dare). Hux entered the key-code to Lord Ren’s room and opened the door.

He sucked in a breath, tightening his hands into fists.

The room was empty. Lord Ren’s few belongings were missing from the shelves, and his clothing drawers were open and emptied. Hux strode further into the room, slamming open the refresher. All of his toiletries were missing as well. Hux yanked out the datapad and checked Ren’s location again. He was slowly making his way out of the generator room and on a pathway that would take him to the upper levels.

Lord Ren wasn’t just going to betray the Supreme Leader, he was going to leave.

Hux ran out of the room, not caring who saw him dashing down the hallway. He had one destination on his mind that the man could go if he’d packed everything away. If Lord Ren wanted to leave, he’d have to take his shuttle to do it.

Hux still had time to make that idiot see reason before he got himself killed doing something stupid.

Hux dreamed of snow and trees; of his lovely planet.

Things were worse than Hux had predicted.

He pulled his legs up, arms wrapped around them. The borrowed clothes smelled of Ren and it was distracting in the worst way. It smelled good; Hux didn’t want to feel good right now. Lord Ren had betrayed the Supreme Leader. He’d betrayed the Order. Ren had betrayed Hux and for what?

The New Republic.

Hux felt nauseous, his stomach turning. Ren had destroyed Hux’s Starkiller base and ruined his life for the New Republic. Hux wanted to sob, but he was too furious with himself and Ren to give into the grief just yet. He’d mourn his lost planet later. Right now he had a Force User who dared to kidnap him and taken away everything that mattered to deal with.

“And I thought he was just trying to pull some Sith Lord stunt,” Hux hissed to himself. He bit the side of his thumb, glaring at the door. Hux could have dealt with that. And honestly, if Lord Ren couldn’t be swayed to reconsider attacking the Supreme Leader, at least maybe Hux could have made sure he kept the First Order in his thoughts. They could still work together for the betterment of the universe, but no. Hux growled, “A New Republic spy. How dare he?”

Hux didn’t even know what had happened to his people. He knew Starkiller was destroyed, but not what happened to the Officers or the troopers. Ren had said they were evacuated, but that told him nothing. Who knew what the New Republic did to their prisoners of war? They preached righteousness, but Hux knew corruption when he saw it.

They were no better.

He dug his fingers into his hair and sucked in a breath. “How did I not notice? There had to be signs.”

But all Hux could think of was Ren’s lost eyes and his tired face as he sat in that chair and told Hux the devastating news. Of his smile when Hux petted his hair and he was half-asleep and content. Of the way he tore through the enemy with his lightsaber and a ferocity matched by no one. Of how Lord Ren competed fiercely with Hux for the Supreme Leader’s praises. Hux dragged his fingers down his face and fell back into the pillow. He would get Lord Ren one thing: He’d been a damn good spy to have kept it secret for five years, one of which was spent literally sleeping with his enemy.

They’d both been weak. Hux had been blinded by affection, and Ren apparently fell to lust. He could only hope Ren hated himself as much as Hux did at this exact moment for…for getting caught up in it all.

“So why did he kiss me?” Hux asked himself. He touched his lips and tried to recall it over again. On the shuttle, just before he’d been knocked out, Ren had kissed him. He’d apologized and looked so regretful and it just. Hux curled on his side and let his head fall on his knees. “Why?”

Hux closed his eyes and breathed. Ren had looked apologetic when he’d confronted Hux about what he had done. It was in his eyes, but only when he spoke of his relationship with Hux. Ren had been concerned about Hux’s well being and what the First Order would do to him if he went back. Even if it was Ren’s fault, there was no mistaking that he cared somewhat.

That had to mean something.

“I guess I have more questions to ask,” Hux said. He dropped his feet to the floor and looked at the clock on the small side table. It was nearing dinner time, and what better place to confront someone about betrayal than the meal table? Hux snorted to himself and straightened his borrowed clothes. Hux would ask his questions, and get his answers. “And if I don’t like what I hear, I’ll kill him.”

Lord Ren was a prince.

Twice over. Not only was he the son of the Princess of the dead planet Alderaan, but also apparently the grandson of the previous Queen of Naboo (and apparently the “reformed” Anakin Skywalker Ren had called through the door once when he was trying to coax Hux out for conversation). He was a prince.

And a Jedi on top of all of that.

Hux tugged Ren’s hood farther down over his face as they stomped through the marketplace looking for supplies. He dearly wanted to believe that Ren was messing with him with that whole “I’m Ben Solo, son of your greatest enemy who’s been missing for five years” nonsense, but then again, Ren also didn’t seem like he was lying.

Besides, if you were going to lie, even Ren had enough sense to make it believable.

Hux’s only consolation in this entire matter, is that Ren—Ben—whoever the hell he was, clearly was as in over his head as Hux. The blasted fairy-tale story prince fell for “the enemy” while he was undercover, and it was too unbelievable to be anything but true. Hux sighed, watching the awkward man as he negotiated the price over a bag of sweets.

Now that he’d dropped the act, it became very clear just how much of Lord Ren had been an act, and how much of it hadn’t.

There was none of Lord Ren’s strict posture and dominating personality out here in the open. None of the tense lines of his body. Nothing frightening. This “Ben Solo” blended in with the people, and moved freely and openly with a loose smile and looser lips as he chatted.

But he was also no stranger, and that gave Hux the most thought.

He’d seen that smile that Ben gave the shop keep in his own room when Ren was amused at something Hux said. The glances Ben kept sending Hux were identically to the ones Ren would after they were finished and he debated staying or leaving, even though they both knew he was going to stay. Hux had seen that exact roll of Ben’s shoulder when Lord Ren was at his most relaxed.

Ren had only truly been himself, been Ben Solo, when he was alone with Hux.

That knowledge made it incredibly hard to hate the man the way Hux wanted to.

It seemed inevitable that Hux and Lord Ren would end up in bed again. It’s how this entire disaster started, so it might as well be where it continued.

“Starkiller was going to be my greatest achievement,” Hux said, biting Ren’s lip. He dug his fingers into the side of the man’s head as he grabbed him by the hair. He kissed Ren hard enough that the ex-Knight moaned into his mouth, clutching at Hux like a lifeline. “I have absolute confidence it would have worked perfectly, and it would have been glorious.”

“I know,” Ren said, grabbing the back of Hux’s thigh. They were cramped on the bench in the small mess and he had to twist to keep Hux in his lap. “That’s why I blew it up.”

“You don’t feel the least bit sorry either, do you?” Hux asked. He smacked Ren in the side of his shoulder. The man grunted and Hux tugged on Ren’s hair, rolling their hips together. “After all those times you called it lovely, I figured there’d be at least some sentiment attached to it.”

“I hated that planet the second I knew about it,” Ren said. He slipped his fingers through the belt line of Hux’s new pants and massaged his lower back. “The only thing lovely about it was the trees.”

Hux snorted, nearly laughing to himself. “Of course.”

“Sorry,” Ren said. He kissed Hux’s neck and smiled into it. “That you’re upset about it, anyway. I won’t apologize for destroying that monstrous base, though.”

“Oh, shut up,” Hux said. He moved and knocked his knee into the wall. He leaned back and grabbed Ren’s shoulder. Hux leaned their heads together and sighed. “Come on, if we’re going to do this we might as well use the bed. I think I bruised my knee.”

“No complaints from me,” Ren said. He gathered Hux up easily despite their nearly same height and stumbled as he crossed the room. He opened the door with the Force and his hand, but Hux still had to duck his head down to keep from knocking into the door frame. Ren dropped Hux on the edge of the bed and yanked off his shirt. “Any preferences for our hate sex?”

“If you’re going to keep making jokes instead of spouting your usual sarcastic fair, I might have to change my mind,” Hux said, cheek in his hand. That jerk laughed, and the looseness in his shoulders and body language was telling in more ways than one. It was becoming increasingly more obvious that their earlier bouts of sex, while satisfying, were weighed down by Ren’s guilt and denial. Hux bit the edge of his finger; this was better. “I was always fond of you on your knees.”

“Because you’re obsessed with my hair,” Ren said, dropping in between Hux’s legs.

Hux buried his hands in Ren’s hair, tugging his head forward to press the man’s nose into his inner thigh. He played with the strands, settling back. “Guilty.”

Ren pulled Hux’s pants down and grinned. “What else is new?”

“Now see here—” Ren interrupted Hux mid-scolding with a warm mouth and an active tongue.

Hux supposed he could save the harsh words for later. Maybe it was his turn to be distracted for a change.

“You look like something’s on your mind,” Ren said, shoving a mouthful of oatmeal into his mouth. Hux was starting to suspect it was the only meal the man knew how to make, since they’d had it for every meal they’d eaten so far. “More than usual, I mean.”

“I’m thinking up ways to kill Snoke,” Hux said, stirring his oatmeal. And that was true. If Snoke was preventing Hux’s return home, than the man had to go. Hux was loyal to the First Order above all. Hux spun his spoon in a circle in the air. “Because clearly you’re going to need assistance, considering how little you managed to get done in five years.”

Ren scowled and it was adorable. Hux wanted to pinch the man’s cheek. No one who had killed as many people as he had was allowed to look that cute with his hair still wet from a shower.

“Besides,” Hux continued, “the sooner Snoke dies, the sooner I can return to the First Order.”

“It’s a good thing we’re not on a time limit then,” Ren said, scraping the bottom of his bowl. He finished it off, and looked at the stove like he wanted seconds. “That means by the time we’re done planning how to kill him, I might have swayed you into seeing the benefits of the New Republic.”

“I think you mean by then I’ll have convinced you that the First Order is your true home and calling,” Hux said, smiling right back. “The universe deserves order.”

“It deserves peace and freedom,” Ren said.

“And you’re an idiot if you think the New Republic can provide those things,” Hux said. He picked up his bowl and grabbed Ren’s while he was at it. He dumped his in the sink and spooned out another helping for Ren. The man took it with a small thank you, and Hux sat in the chair next to him. He patted Ren on the shoulder. “You’ll see the light, don’t worry.”

“We’re going to argue about this every day aren’t we?” Ben asked, laughing into his next bite.

“Until you see reason, absolutely,” Hux said, liking the sound of “every day” more and more. “Every day for the rest of your life if I have to.”

Ren pulled Hux over by the back of the head and kissed him. He tasted like the sugar he’d dumped into his oatmeal. Ren smiled into Hux’s mouth. “I look forward to it.”

Hux rather found he was, too.