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  The wind was wild on the surface of the snowy planet they’d docked on. It whipped through the barren trees, skimmed over the placid blanket of snow, kicking up flurries where it went. It was loud, too. The small group, followed by a few Stormtroopers that seemed like phantoms against the stark white snow, talked through communicators despite their close proximity.

  “This is where we’ll start construction, right?” General Hux asked once they entered a clearing. He sounded perfectly composed, even trudging through the layers of snow. Ren cared little about the planet. He cared little about what they were going to do with the planet when it was hollowed out. It was the General’s project, not his, and while he had pretended to give a damn for awhile, because he was the co-commander of the ship, equal in power to the General, his attention wore thin. The place was dull. There was nary a color to be seen on the planet. Even the sky was nearly the same grey steel color of the ship they’d just left. Of course the good General had found the most monotonous planet in the Galaxy for them to stay on for the next five years. He would have nothing less. He silently cursed Hux as he trudged through the knee-deep snow.

  “I’ll set the scanner here,” said Lieutenant Mitaka. He typed something on his datapad with some difficulty from the thick leather gloves on his hands, then placed a stake.

  They returned to the ship once the surveying was complete. They had a complete virtual map of the area five miles each way from where they stood, and they could continue their plannings from within the comfort of the ship. They adjourned, with intent to continue initial plannings for the superweapon the following day.

  “Ren, follow me,” Hux said, a slight smirk playing on his lips. He was in high spirits, Ren could feel the excitement oozing off of him.

  Ren followed eagerly, knowing what was to come.

  They met in Hux’s quarters. As soon as the door closed Kylo pulled off his helmet and sat it on the desk.

  Hux tugged off his scarf and coat and Kylo watched. He hung them in his closet carefully.

  “Ren, would you like a drink?”

  “Are we celebrating?” he asked, a corner of his lip turning up.

  “Of course. Today we finally start preparations on the project that I’ve spent five years planning. I think that deserves a drink.”

  Ren grinned. He took the glass of whiskey that Hux handed him. Hux sat on the end of his bed and sipped from his glass.

  “Is this how you normally celebrate your successes, General? Perhaps I misjudged you after all,” Kylo said, grinning.

  Hux rolled his eyes. “Sometimes I regret letting you into my ship at all,” he said. He set his glass down on the night stand and undid the first button of his shirt, revealing more of his pale neck. A few more inches down there would be a bruise left over from the last time Kylo had been in Hux’s quarters. He loved the dichotomy of the dark marks on Hux’s pale skin, and Hux didn’t mind as long as they weren’t visible over his uniform.

  “You say that as if you had a choice to begin with,” Ren said before taking another long draw from his glass.

  Hux didn’t reply, but he continued to work on the buttons to his shirt. Kylo held his breath and watched. Hux was truly a sight to behold. Beautiful, though Hux would string him up if he vocalized that.

  “You know how I hate being the only one undressed,” Hux remarked, smirking when he realized Ren was staring.

  Ren stood up and shrugged off his cloak into a messy heap on the floor, earning an eye roll from Hux. He unfastened his belt and his tunic and undershirt came off next.

  Hux stood to take off his trousers and Ren walked up to him in one long stride.

  “Let me,” he said, more of a demand than a request. He half expected Hux to say something but his hands dropped to his sides to allow for Ren to do as he pleased. He felt a thrill at that, it was rare that Hux would so easily allow Ren to be in control of their trysts.

  He undid the belt around his waist and let his trousers drop to the floor. Ren followed suit, until they were both in their undergarments. Hux reached forward and pushed his hands through Ren’s hair, touching him for the first time that evening. He pulled Ren in for a kiss and Ren manhandled him onto the bed like his heart wasn’t beating out of his chest. Hux must’ve been in a good mood because he didn’t immediately scowl at Ren for shoving him.

  It didn’t last long. When they were both spent Ren laid on the bed beside him. Hux got up and returned with a towel to clean up. He expected Hux to kick him out as usual, but instead he only meandered to his closet, pulled on nightclothes, and climbed back in bed beside him.

  They fell asleep shortly after. Ren woke up several hours later when Hux wriggled out from under his arm. He wasn’t ready to wake up quite yet so he just rolled onto his back and tried to back to sleep.

  Hux got ready silently.

  “Would you like some coffee, Ren,” he asked as he sat down at his desk. Several holograms jumped to life, filling the small room with their blue aura.

 Hux wasn’t going to let him sleep, it seemed. He climbed up and hobbled to the desk. He picked up a mug and looked over Hux’s shoulder at the holograms. It seemed that the map of the planet they were on had been completed. Hux was on the area they’d visited yesterday, and he was reading some more in depth notes about it. Rock type, layer depths, etc. Ren wasn’t interested. He sat in the chair beside the wardrobe and sipped the caf quietly. The ship was already a hive of activity. When he opened his mind he could hear tens of thousands of people working hard. Hux’s mind was the loudest, because of the proximity. He still had a slight drag to his mind from sleep but with the assistance of the caf he was quickly waking up.

  “Another General is going to be here today to discuss supplies with me. Would you like to join me in the meeting?”

  “Must I?” he asked. Hux raised his eyebrow at him.

  “No. But if you intend to be taken as someone who matters in the First Order it would be wise to attend meeting with generals.”

  Ren rolled his eyes. “I’ll attend the meeting.”

~

  Ren regretted agreeing to the meeting about 10 minutes in. Numbers bored him, especially numbers about mundane things such as how much steel was going to be needed to build the project dubbed ‘Starkiller’ , and how much fuel was going to be used to transport it to this small planet in the Outer Rim. He listened to Svent’s mind but found it equally as boring. He was a dull creature. Intelligent, of course, but boring. Ren peeked into Hux’s mind every so often, out of boredom, but found it the same. He contemplated leaving but he was in Hux’s good graces and that would make him angry. Of course, he didn’t usually care about being on Hux’s good side but the sex was frequent, and for the time being he would let Hux string him along on whatever mundane task he was needed on.

  Still, Ren tried to pay attention. The Starkiller was going to be low cost. It was quite apparent that Hux had been inspired by the Death Star, and was making improvements on it in his plans. For one, the cost of shipping supplies to a point in the middle of space was astronomical, so by hollowing a planet out and utilizing the energy of a dying star he was saving millions of credits. It wasn’t mobile like the Death Star had been, but it had a much higher range and was more powerful as it would suck the energy from the dying star it orbited.

  Svent was impressed, but moreso he was envious. He, like most First Order higher-ups, hated Hux. Hux was the youngest General that the First Order and the Empire had ever had. Svent blamed nepotism, Hux’s father had been a Commandant in the Galactic Empire. Perhaps that held some truth but Hux had been trained from birth to be a leader. That, combined with his intelligence, had gotten him his position.

  Ren told him what Svent thought that evening.

  “It doesn’t matter,” Hux said. “So long as he gets the supplies for me and doesn’t try to sabotage the operation he can think whatever he likes.”

  “And if he does try to sabotage you, I’m more than willing to take care of him for you,” Ren said, only half joking.

  Hux grinned. He approached Ren in a few smooth strides, no hesitation even as he straddled Ren’s lap on a chair not meant for two. Ren wasn’t one for patience when it came to Hux, so he grabbed him by the lapels and pulled him in for a rough kiss.

  Hux placed a hand on either side of Ren’s face to gain control of the kiss. With a sharp nip Ren slowed down and for a minute or so they were just kissing, slowly. Not tearing each other’s clothes off or pressing in so they could rut against each other. It was too close to a real relationship. Ren’s heart felt like it was going to swell and burst in his chest, a sensation that, while not unpleasant, carried a weight that Ren didn’t want to deal with. Still, he made no move to pull away, even following Hux’s lips when he pulled away for air.

  “I still have five hours left on my shift,” Hux said. Ren dropped his hands from Hux’s lapels to rest on his thighs.

  “I’m sure the ship could survive without you for twenty or so minutes.”

  Hux kissed him briefly before unfolding himself from Ren’s lap. Ren groaned.

  “You have a hand to hold you off until then, you’ll be fine.

  Ren brooded in his quarters for a spell after being kicked out by Hux. He tried to meditate for a few hours but his mind kept wandering to the kiss and the tightness he felt in his chest during. It was troublesome, the way that tightness made him feel closer to the light than the dark, but he couldn’t shake the thought or the feeling so he gave up and wandered to the bridge.

  Being docked on a planet, the Bridge was rather empty but there were still a few workers in front of various control panels completing mundane tasks that Ren didn’t really care about. Hux was busy on his datapad in the middle of everything. When Kylo entered the room he looked up for a moment to greet him. Ren didn’t have a goal in particular for being on the bridge so he meandered over to Hux’s position.

  “Lord Ren,” he muttered before going back to his work. “Did you need something.”

  “Yes,” he said, but Hux gave him a sharp look so Ren left Hux’s perch to stare out the giant window at the interminable stretch of snow before them. It was dusk, and it would be for several more hours. Days on this planet lasted six full day cycles on the ship. The next several days would be complete darkness. There was a snowstorm gathering on the horizon to follow the sweep of darkness over the land, but a ship the size of the Finalizer would experience no problems from the blizzard. Still, engineers in the belly of the ship were preparing to put more energy towards heating the ship.

  Kylo watched the storm brewing on the horizon. It had been awhile since he’d last seen snowfall. He’s spent most of his life on Coruscant, where snow was rare, on Snoke’s desert planet, or in space. He remembered being enchanted by the snow as a child, though, so he was looking forward to seeing it once more. He wondered if he would still be enchanted by it, or if his adult mind had become too jaded to experience such things anymore.

  He left the bridge and found a room with a window to meditate in. He sat for several hours, listening to the wind creaking over the hull, touching the snow and barren trees with tendrils of the force. He stretched his mind as far as he could and just listened to the dead planet, blocking out the thousands of minds on the ship. He listened to the din of the planet until he felt his inner turmoil silence. It was only temporary, though. He was never free from the chaos of his own mind for more than an hour at a time. It was a state he’d lived in for long enough that it only bothered him occasionally, though.

  He checked the time on his datapad and found that Hux’s shift had ended minutes ago, so he stood and made his way to Hux’s quarters. Hux was entering his access code when Ren approached.

  “Ren,” he greeted cordially. Hux’s quarters were in an rarely visited part of the ship but Hux was always cautious when it came to being caught with Ren. Having an affair with colleagues was technically against the law in the First Order, but there was very few accounts of the law being acted upon. On a starship that often spent months in the middle of space away from any planet, it was bound to happen. Ren understood the need to hide their relationship, though. It was unprofessional and Ren didn’t have a good standing on the ship. He was feared, he knew, but he certainly wasn’t the kind of person a high ranking general should be with.

  Hux certainly didn’t seem to care about Ren’s reputation, though. As soon as they were behind closed doors Hux was unbuttoning the front of his uniform.

  If Ren had to describe the affair, he would use the word slow. Much of it was spent kissing, rather than fucking, which was especially odd as Hux was the one who set the pace. It was his hands pulling Ren in close for a kiss and keeping there unless he had to be away, and his thighs bracketed tight around Ren’s waist so he couldn’t pull away far. Ren felt like his head was spinning, he felt emotions that he’d never felt for another person in his life and it terrified him. They were light, emotions that would make his mother exceedingly happy for him (until she knew who they were directed towards). Ren never wished so much that Hux would let him into his mind because he was desperate to know if he too felt this pit in his chest.

  Afterwards they collapsed on the bed, not touching at all. Ren reached out to Hux’s mind but he was as closed off as ever. He was ready to beg, though, to plead to Hux for any hint of what he felt. The light in his heart felt like it was going to tear out of his chest.

  Hux stood up and walked to the shower. Ren wanted to follow him, but instead he stayed in the bed. Once he heard the sound of water on tile he climbed up and grabbed his boxers and pulled them on. He stared at his clothes on the floor for a moment. His logical side said to put them on and disappear. He needed distance right now, just to sort himself out and meditate this disgusting emotion he felt away.  But he stayed, and when Hux came back in, turned out the light, and climbed in close to him the feeling only worsened.

~

  Kylo Ren meditated the entire next day. In his own room, with no lights and no sounds he focussed on the dark side. It was ironic, he thought, that the man behind a weapon that had the potential to wipe out entire galaxies could bring him closer to the light than anyone else. And that the man who brought him closer to the light would never have him as anything but dark.

  No matter how hard he tried, though, he couldn’t quelch the feelings for Hux.

  When the man in question approached his quarters he felt a particular lurch in his stomach. Hux’s energy was jittery, but carefully contained. He paused just before the threshold to gather himself.

  Ren opened the door before Hux could request entry. He stood in the doorway for a moment, his internal script disrupted and feeling slightly uncomfortable about it.

  “Evening, Ren.”

  When the door slid shut behind them there wasn’t a single ray of light in the whole room. Hux pressed his hand to the display on the wall beside the door and the lights flickered to life. They were slow from disuse, filling the room with their terrible buzzing sound.

  “Evening, General,” Kylo muttered.

  Hux took a slow breath. “What are you doing?”

  “Meditating.”

   Hux stood there for a minute more before checking his watch. “Will you be much longer?”

  “No. I’m done now. What do you need?”

  “We should talk.” Hux’s voice was serious. It was the voice he used at meetings or when talking to other Generals. Ren didn’t like it. He placed himself at the desk, with distance between himself and Hux.

  “Then talk,” he said.

  “I think we should stop sleeping together.”

  Kylo fought the urge to flinch. He’d somewhat expected it but it still felt like a slap in the face. He wanted to ask why, make Hux say the reason, but he knew. It was becoming too involved, and Ren wasn’t the only one grappling with emotions he didn’t think he still had. He also wanted to ask why he thought it was such a bad thing, but it was a question Ren himself couldn’t answer either. So rather than that he simply said, “Fine.”

  “Very well. Thank you for making this easy,” Hux said, without a note of indication as to what was going on in his mind.

  As soon as the door was shut behind him Ren turned the lights back out and sat there for a long while. He wouldn’t ever be able to touch Hux again. He had to exist beside him every day and pretend that he didn’t love him with his entire being, that he wouldn’t raze the entire galaxy if Hux asked him, that he wouldn’t throw away everything he’d trained for for his entire life to disappear with Hux if need be.

  He cursed, hot tears brimming in the back of his eyes. He blinked them away before slamming his fist on the desk and cursing. Pain bloomed in his hand as the steel refused to bend to him. He collapsed back onto the chair, feeling weak and overexposed. Anger submitted to pain, sadness. He hadn’t felt such extreme sadness since he left his home planet to follow Snoke. He cursed Hux for dredging up all these abandoned emotions in him, and silently prayed that Snoke found a job for him that sent him off this horrid icy planet for a long time soon.

~

  Ren awoke on a ship. A smaller ship than he was used to, with a fraction of the people on it. He looked around trying to get a hold of his surroundings, but he didn’t recognize the ship at all. It seemed to be some kind of battle-class ship, if the military style cots and the utilitarian design was anything to go by. He tried to reach out with the Force but was immediately met by an intense headache. Still, he persisted, desperate to know anything about his situation.

  Hux was near, just a room away, with a few other high ranking First Order employees. He was too weak to get any more information, but it was unnecessary because when he stretched out to try to get up a sharp pain all over his body brought back the memories of the last 24 hours. The Starkiller was a success, but after taking out an entire system it was destroyed by a rebel group. The planet was atomized by its own power, and now the Finalizer and it’s crew were scattered around on several ships trying to get to safety.

  Ren groaned as he climbed up. His face was stiff with bacta over his wound, and his entire body felt like a bruise. He raised his shirt up to see the damage. None on his body, except for a few bruises over his ribs. He ran his fingers over them, pressed in a little, and felt only slight pain. He didn’t think he was on painkillers so he assumed that meant the damage was only on the surface.

  He sat on the edge of the cot he was on for a moment before the door opened and Hux came in. Ren was almost taken aback when he saw the general. He looked as terrible as Ren felt. The from of his uniform was stained with Ren’s blood, his eyes were red from exhaustion. When he saw that Ren was awake and moving he sighed a breath of relief.

  “You should have left me there,” Ren muttered.

  “You know Snoke wouldn’t let me,” Hux said, but there was no bite in his tone. He sounded flat, like he didn’t even have to energy to insult him.

  Ren shook his head. “Only so he can kill me himself,” he said. “I failed my mission.”

   Hux took a deep breath. “We’ve all failed our mission on this ship, Ren. You’re the least likely to get killed. Now stop talking before you make me regret saving you.”

  Ren laid back in his bed. He didn't have the energy to argue, and neither did Hux.

  Hux began undressing. Ren watched him quietly as he laid his things on the cot across from him. Hux’s body hasn't changed much in the year that had passed since he’s last seen it. A few less bruises, slightly less soft, but still the same. Ren longed to touch him. His feelings had never gone away, he couldn’t move past them. It was pathetic.

  Hux noticed his staring, but didn’t say anything and continued to undress. Still, Ren looked away. He was in enough pain as it was.

  “How are you feeling?” Hux asked. He was tying the string on a pair of pajama pants that were too loose at the waist and too short on the legs. The ship’s sleeping quarters had been equipped with standard issue First Order clothing, but it was all starchy and ill fitting.

  “I’m fine.”

  “In the morning you need to take another antibiotic so your wound doesn’t get infected.”

  “I’m fine.”

  Hux huffed. Bare chested, his red hair a mess, he didn’t cut as imposing a figure as when he was in his full uniform but he still looked powerful. “Do as you wish.” Hux pulled on a shirt and moved to the mirror to fix his hair. His knuckles were white as he gripped the comb. “I wish you would comply, though.”

  Ren raised an eyebrow. “Do you?”

  Hux looked slightly uncomfortable. He combed out his hair and smoothed it down before answering. “Yes.”

  “Your concern is flattering but unnecessary.”

  Hux got up suddenly and turned to Ren. “Damn you I didn’t drag you out of the snow just so you could die from some infection. You will take the medicine prescribed to you by people far smarter than you or I will have you shipped back to the pile of rubble and dumped there. Understood?”

  Ren was startled by the outburst, but he could now feel the anxiety that he’d been containing pouring off of Hux in waves, and the way his hands were shaking. He hadn’t realized how close to breaking down he was but it made sense.

  “Fine,” Ren said.

  Hux’s shoulders dropped. “Thank you. Hells,” he muttered. He tossed the comb back on the desk and turned off the lights with more anger than perhaps necessary. He dropped into the cot across from Ren with a huff.

  “Hux,” Ren muttered after a muttered.

 “Yes.”

  “No harm will come to you or your crew. I won’t allow it,” he said. “I promise.”

  Hux nodded, swallowing. “Thank you, Ren.”

  For a moment neither of them moved. Hux climbed out of the bed slowly and crossed the way into Ren’s cot. Gently, he climbed in under the blanket, minding Ren’s battered body, and settled beside him. There wasn’t much space, so Ren turned onto his side and spooned him. Hux fell asleep quickly tucked under Ren’s arm, and despite his several hour nap Ren was soon to follow.

  He was awoken by an alarm blaring from the pad on Hux’s cot. Hux climbed out of his grasp to turn it off, then walked to the cabinet.

  “Ren,” he muttered.

  Ren stirred. “Hmm?”

  “It’s time to take your antibiotics.”

  Hux tossed a bottle at Ren and Ren groaned. He grabbed it and swallowed down a pill, then tossed the bottle back to Hux. Hux set it down and climbed back into the cot.

  “Are you busy today?” Ren asked.

  Hux turned around to face him. “Not particularly. Phasma is keeping me updated on the Finalizer but until we get to the rendezvous point reaching it is our only goal.”

  “Let’s stay here, then,” Ren said. Hux leaned forward and kissed him, carefully, like he expected Ren to pull away. He didn’t, so Hux shoved his hands in Ren’s hair and held him close. Ren felt that familiar feeling in his chest again, but this time it didn’t scare him because he knew Hux felt it too.