Hux’s lips are a tight, thin line as he wades into the heaving crowd. Rays of color cut through the dark heat of the club, flash into existence and then shudder out of it just as quickly. He ducks one shoulder, begins to wind his way through the patrons. Against the roil of skin, neon fishnet, and lamé, his tailored black suit is a dead pixel.
A hissed ‘excuse me’ here and there, the occasional stiff smile at a regular, and he’s across the floor, climbing the stairs that flank the DJ platform in a sharp trot. It’s a new hire tonight - the first of what he can only imagine will be many after the morning’s ordeal. The newspaper is clenched to his left side, fixed against his ribcage by the inside of his bicep. In his hand, his index and middle fingers keep the cherry of his cigarette just above his shoulder, narrowly avoiding the ear of a server as he weaves past him.
The bouncer at the door to the second floor offers an almost doleful nod as he passes. Hux clips out a hint of a ‘hello’ in return, and then he’s striding up the stairs. He sweeps past the first two doors on either side of the hallway - squalid apartments where until that morning Snoke had been putting up his various couriers - and makes for the office at the end of the hall. Snoke’s office, his mind still offers, and at the thought his lips purse into a sneer.
“Explain.” He’s already spitting as he swings the door open, tosses the newspaper onto the panelled executive desk that separates him from the back of the its matching chair.
Kylo swivels back from the window overlooking the club to face him, and Hux wrinkles his nose. Of course. Of course he’s already acting as if he owns the place. Why wouldn’t he?
“Explain what?” Kylo asks. His fingers are steepled.
Hux nearly rolls his eyes, “Enough. The statement you made.” He taps impatiently at the creased front page of the paper, “You’re the new manager?”
“Someone has to take over for him.” Kylo tells him simply.
“Are you-” Hux says, “Do you have any idea how any of this works?”
“I was the assistant manager.”
“With me.” Hux snarls, “Supported by me. Managed by Snoke. There was oversight.”
Kylo frowns, “I don’t need oversight.”
“You don’t even know how to manage payroll.” Hux protests, “And somehow you think you can just tell the Times that you have everything under control?”
“He didn’t manage payroll.”
Hux winces, pinches the bridge of his nose, “I manage payroll!”
“And now you manage it for me.”
“What’s left of it.” Hux murmurs.
Kylo scowls, “They don’t know what I can do. What I can make this place now.”
Hux’s eyebrows cant, “Or they think you’ll be in prison within the week as well.”
Kylo slumps back in the chair and crosses his arms, “I wasn’t involved, I never pushed for him.”
“I find that difficult to believe.”
Hux heaves a sigh, “No.”
“Then you know that it’s possible that I didn’t either.”
“Possible.” Hux frowns, crossing his arms.
Kylo watches him over the desk, lips working silently for a moment, “...If you’re not going to work, you can leave.”
Hux bristles, “Are you threatening to fire me, manager ?”
“Maybe I am.”
“I own just as much of this club as you do.”
Kylo straightens the cuff of his suit jacket, revoltingly crisp, undoubtedly an attempt by Snoke to enforce the employee dress code before his untimely departure, “I vote Snoke’s ownership, now, too. It was in my contract.”
Hux, seething, snatches the newspaper from the desktop once more, “You need me.”
“I could get another pencil pusher.”
“You won’t find another attorney willing to touch this club until they’re certain it’s not an albatross.” Hux spits back, “Much less one willing to sort out your logistics.”
Kylo’s lips purse, petulant, “I could.”
Hux watches him for a long moment, then drags in a steadying breath, “...You’ll need to conduct staff reviews within the week. If only to see where they all stand.”
The nervous smirk he receives in response turns Hux’s stomach.
“You can’t be serious.” Hux snorts, looking up from the club’s deskbook check register.
Kylo’s mouth tightens, “We’re not cancelling Resolution Ruiners. It’s our biggest event.”
“I- yes, precisely.” Hux sighs, tilting his small, wire-rimmed glasses up onto his forehead to rub at one eye, “The organization that goes into it, the oversight, the staffing, the expenditure, Ren-”
“We’re having it.” Kylo insists, “Make it happen.”
“Who’s going to DJ?” Hux asks, “Rey won’t work if you won’t pay her in cash, and we both know that the new hire’s tripe.”
“We could offer her more money.” Kylo supplies.
Hux pinches the bridge of his nose, “It doesn’t matter if you’ll only pay her by check. She lives in a van, Ren. She’ll not take taxed income.”
“We have to report it if we pay it.” Kylo says, “The Finalizer has to be legitimate.”
Hux rolls his eyes, “Oh, yes, we must maintain our sterling reputation.”
“We’re not just- we’re not Snoke’s lackeys.” Kylo growls, “It’s going to be different.”
“Certain expectations are going to go unmet in your ‘legitimate’ club.” Hux says, one eyebrow arched.
Kylo frowns, “I don’t mean that people can’t- people are still going to- it’s just the business side!”
Hux heaves another sigh and leans over the leger once more.
Within days, his desk is being swallowed up by a sea of nearly illegible post-it notes, sudden fixations that Kylo - having all the daytime hours in the world, he imagines - scrawls down and attaches to whatever surface in Hux’s work space that suits his fancy. ‘ Foam?’ , one of them opaquely posits, and Hux groans and kneads a few fingertips into his forehead. His gaze drops to his Rolex. Two thirty-four. If he’s lucky, he’ll be on his way within the next half hour, reach his apartment around thirty minutes later if he’s not murdered on the godforsaken, graffiti emblazoned subway platform. A benzo to bed, a bennie to rise, and he’ll manage to squeeze out perhaps two, maybe even two and a half hours of sleep before he’s off to the office in Midtown.
It’s the fourth night this week. And while Hux is perfectly used to at least once or twice, this is- inefficient. He rises from his desk, makes his way to Kylo’s -of course- empty chair overlooking the club and, with a huff, sinks down into it. The glass of the window is still pulsing dully with the thudding bass from the club sprawled out beneath it. Hux lets his palms fall to the armrests, allows himself a moment of indulgent fantasy. A world in which the club runs like a well-oiled machine, churns out a second stream of income with only his lightest caress required, the operation sealed within his own airtight policy.
Kylo, he’s certain, is in one of the VIP booths, glowering over a top shelf whiskey sour that he hasn’t the palette to appreciate. Hux’s lips purse, a tight breath barely slithering in through his nose. With one sharp nudge of one foot, he’s facing the opposite direction, one hand already on the phone.
In Midtown, Tritt Opan, with his craggy features, blue vinyl jacket and sparkling white trainers, perpetually seems to be only passing through. Hux prefers it this way, sticks to meeting him at empty bus terminals and beside street corner food carts. Today it’s in the aisles of a bodega, the owner long since on Hux’s take, perfectly aware of when to slip away from the counter and into the back to check stock.
“Mister Hux.” Opan gives a half-nod as they unseeingly survey faded bags of pork rinds and plantain chips.
“Opan.” Hux notes, adjusting his watch, “Ren.”
Opan’s eyebrows lift, “Ren, Mister Hux?”
“Down, not under.” Hux tells him.
Opan rubs his chin, sucks at the inside of one cheek for a few moments, “Blackmail.” He offers.
Hux purses his lips, checks his watch, then nods, “Independently. Not at the Finalizer.”
“Of course, Mister Hux.” Opan agrees. He lifts a can of pickled cannellini beans, the label long since beginning to peel, regards it for a long silent minute, “Needs a lot of personal information to be convincing. Schedules. Apartment layouts. Nooks and crannies to plant things. Prints.”
Hux arches an eyebrow, “And how do you suggest that I procure this information?”
Opan turns to look at him, the first time since coming together with him in the aisle, “With respect, Mister Hux...” He trails off, makes a vague, open-handed motion to the length of Hux’s body, “Seems like you have plenty of opportunity.” To Hux’s horror, he passes his tongue over his lips.
Hux looks to him, aghast, “You can’t be serious.”
“You trust anyone else to do it for you?” Hux winces. Opan shrugs, “Didn’t think so.”
Pushing his glasses back up his forehead, Hux pinches the bridge of his nose, “Earnestly?”
“Little details.” Opan says simply.
“...Little details.” Hux sighs.
It’s less difficult than it should be to linger at the periphery of too close, to brush against Kylo’s shoulder as they pass in the club. Loathe to admit it as he is, the game is familiar to Hux, expanding and contracting the space between them, barely touching and then pulling away, like breathing, in and out. Holding his tongue as he does so is still proving a Herculean labor.
In the past, they’ve brought in a caterer to supply the sumptuous Resolution Ruiners hors d’oeuvres buffet each year. It’s not truly ruinous unless there’s too much food, Hux had pointed out early on in his managerial career, and had accordingly been tasked by Snoke with making the arrangements every year thereafter.
This year, his usual caterer is ‘too boring’.
They’re in their third restaurant kitchen of the evening. Hux takes a judicious nibble of the proffered macaron, then extends the rest to Kylo, who - Hux can’t keep from wrinkling his nose in disdain - devours it wholesale without a second thought.
“It’s good.” He says with a muted shrug.
Hux considers strangling him, “It’s...good?” He leads delicately, working to keep the tightness between his temples from bleeding into his voice.
Kylo shoots him a frown, “It tastes like all of the rest of them have.”
“I-” Hux’s lips thin, “We’re going to have to pick one of them, Ren.”
“Of course we’re going to have to pick one, I just want it to be something special. ” Kylo groans, “All of these places are dull.”
Hux draws a slow breath and wills his fists to unclench, “...You’re right.” He drawls.
Kylo watches him for a long moment, waiting for the other shoe to drop. When Hux says nothing more, he blinks, “...You think so, too?”
“I think-” Hux begins, “-that perhaps we’ll need to be more daring this year. To indicate your departure from Snoke’s-” Savoir faire? Sophistication? “- more traditional managerial style.”
“More daring.” Kylo nods, “Something new.”
Hux feels the tension in his spine begin to ease, “Different.”
“We could try someone from Brooklyn.”
“ What? ” Hux gags before he can stop himself. Kylo flinches, frowns, and Hux hurriedly adds a strained, “That’s-...very avant-garde of you.”
But Kylo is already throwing his hands up, half-growling, “If you’re going to be so fucking prissy about everything I suggest, why don’t you just let me handle it myself?”
“You need someone to do the paperwork. To look over the contracts.” Hux supplies immediately, and then, more delicately, “To show them you’re not to be taken advantage of by having legal counsel on hand any time you sign.”
“Legal counsel.” Kylo grumbles.
“It’s a sign that you’re resolute in your decisions.” Hux tries.
“Shut up.” Kylo grunts, and Hux, burning with self-loathing, does.
In the silence that follows, he leans back as Kylo plucks another small, chocolate appetizer from the tray and gives it a sniff. Then, he scrapes at the chocolate shell with one nail.
“Petits fours.” Hux notes quietly in spite of himself, “It’s cake inside.”
“God damnit.” Kylo snaps, slamming it back onto the countertop, “Why do we have to do this, anyway? Can’t we just have Phasma do it?”
“She’s making the arrangements for the Battle of the Bartenders.” Hux says, “Food isn’t her area of expertise.”
Kylo scrubs a hand back through his hair with a huff, “Well, it’s not mine, either. I have better things to do.”
“Then let me handle it for you.” Hux offers, and at this he remembers to lean in, gently circle his fingers around one of Kylo’s wrists. He feels him jolt faintly beneath his touch, and presses on, “I’ll check if there’s anyone worth seeing in Brooklyn.”
“I-” Kylo works his lips for a moment, then sniffs a short, “Fine.”
Hux nods, dwells for another sliver of a second, then draws back. Kylo’s arm falls to his side, but Hux sees him curl and splay his fingers just once.
Opulent fashion is as distant an aesthetic concept to Hux as Rococo architecture, utterly unnecessary in every sense. As he trots down the stairs to the club, he hopes that the fit of his Resolution Ruiners outfit - a black crew neck tee, matching high-waisted jeans, and a trim white blazer, rolled to the elbows - will make up for their relative simplicity. Undoubtedly, he’ll be competing with frankly unbelievable expanses of pleather, vinyl, and stomach-churning prints when the evening is in full swing.
Now, before the doors have opened, the few staff that scatter back and forth across the floor are in blacks, ideal in their unobtrusiveness. Above them at the turntables, Kylo, desperately underdressed in a leather jacket and jeans that Hux prays aren’t his actual attire for the evening, is thumbing through a stack of records beside the evening’s DJ, frowning. Hux aims a nod in his direction and resists the urge to smirk when he catches the brief sweep of Kylo’s eyes along the line of his body.
“Sixty until doors.” He clips.
At least three of the waitstaff give an obedient, ‘thank you, sixty’, and Hux makes for the stairs to the office. Kylo takes the stairs down from the booth two at a time to catch him before he reaches the door.
“Where are the foam cannons?” He asks without introduction.
“The supply closet behind the bar. Beneath the bottom shelf, left side.” Hux replies, and then, with his best slant at curiosity instead of repulsion, “Is that what you’re wearing this evening?”
Kylo glances down at himself, “Yes?”
“It’s very-...” He makes a vague gesture.
“You don’t like it.” Kylo sighs, glowering, “What, do you want me to wear a suit ? Are you Snoke, now?”
“I’m not suggesting that you wear a suit.” Hux continues, “Perhaps...perhaps a dress shirt beneath the jacket?”
“A dress shirt? At Resolution Ruiners?”
Hux gives a faint sigh, “I don’t know. Something more exotic, then. Less Cobain.”
Kylo opens his mouth to reply, but before he can, one of the doormen for the evening calls down to him. He shoots a brief glance back at Hux before making his way towards the staircase to the street level.
What feels likely only a handful of minutes later, Hux can feel the hum of the bass begin to pulse beneath his feet in the office. He turns to the window, where he can see a trickle of VIP guests - club promoters, high rolling regulars, ephemeral nightlife celebrities whose costumes are twice their size - making their way down the stairs. His coffee is long since cold, but he downs a few dauntless slugs before heading for the door. By the time he’s downstairs, the doors have opened in earnest. A half hour and they’re at legal capacity. Forty five and they’ve easily surpassed it, although he elects to overlook informing Ren, who he’s managed to blessedly avoid during his initial rounds of glad-handing.
When the necessary greetings are extended, he spares himself a moment by the bar to light a cigarette and look over the swell of bodies on the floor. With the promise of - to Hux’s disdain - a foam party at midnight, more than a few patrons have chosen to eschew clothing almost entirely, and when he squints, the maelstrom of slick skin is like a single, undulating hydra. Hux takes a long drag.
Kylo’s voice, a shout from just behind his left shoulder, makes him jump, and he jerks back to look at him. In the heat of the club, Kylo’s hair is sweat-damp, swept back from his forehead, and he’s-
He’s dispensed with the flannel, and a replacement for it is notably missing. Hux balks at the sight, feels his breath catch somewhere in his throat as his eyes fall to the broad, sculpted planes of Ren’s chest.
“Ren.” He exhales.
Kylo watches him for a moment, “...What?”
Hux purses his lips, collects himself, “Have you made your appearances?”
Heaving a sigh, Kylo nods and takes a pull from the beer in his right hand, “Unfortunately.”
“I wouldn’t say that anything is ‘unfortunate’ about your patrons in public, Ren.” Hux shoots him a brief glare.
Kylo rolls his eyes. He downs another slug, then tilts the bottle towards Hux. Hux wrinkles his nose.
“I don’t drink beer.”
“Then what the hell do you drink?”
Hux pauses to glance at him, “...Glenmorangie, neat. Two fingers.” He tells him, then takes another slow drag, eyes still on him.
Kylo gives a small sniff, “Pretentious ass.”
In lieu of a response, Hux offers a noncommittal hint of a shrug. They regard one another for a long moment, and Hux is pleased to see the hint of a flush begin to creep along the long curve of Ren’s neck. Kylo huffs it away and turns back to the bar.
“Two fingers of Glenmorangie, neat, Phas.” He grumbles to the tall, muscular blonde behind the bar.
Hux can see Phasma’s eyebrows lift, and she looks back to him over Kylo’s shoulder. Arching one brow, he offers a brief, catlike smirk.
“ Today .” Kylo barks, and with a sneering mock-salute, she’s off.
Kylo turns back to lean against the bar, and from the drink shelves she casts another glance back at Hux, mouths an incredulous ‘ No ’ to him. He nonchalantly wets his bottom lip and delights in the way her eyes widen.
“Glenmorangie, two fingers, neat.” She repeats to Ren as she touches the glass down on the bar, barely looking to him.
Kylo only half-turns to the bar to scoop the drink up into one enormous hand, then extends an arm to offer it to Hux. Hux allows himself a moment to appreciate the way that Kylo’s fingers wrap almost entirely around the glass and finds himself distantly imagining the way that they might encircle one of his wrists. That they’d close around it effortlessly, leave purpling bruises in the pale, thin skin of the underside.
“Thanks.” Hux clips and plucks the drink from his grip.
He takes a short belt and relishes both the spice of it and the few seconds of silence. Kylo leans back against the bar, and Hux takes the opportunity to tilt his hips back alongside his. He can feel Kylo’s gaze return to him. Another drag. He lets the smoke filter out between his lips unhurried.
“You celebrating the evening?” Kylo asks by way of small talk.
Hux shakes his head, “Nothing out of the ordinary.”
Kylo nods, throws back the dregs of his beer and sets the empty bottle on the countertop. Phasma whisks it away and drops another, already open, in its place within a minute. Hux watches him take the first pull, watches the way his throat works, the way his prominent adam’s apple bobs as he swallows. His aquiline profile flashes blue, green, pink beneath the lights.
“We should be seen.” Hux suggests after he’s not even sure how long.
Kylo looks to him, “I thought we were already being seen. I already made the rounds.”
“Enjoying ourselves.” Hux continues, “Otherwise they’ll think the night was a failure.”
Kylo considers it, “...Midnight in a few minutes.” He says.
Hux pauses, “Oh...no, no, absolutely not. I’m not going to-”
“You said yourself that we should be seen.”
“Yes, but very preferably not through a tidal wave of soap.”
“You’re always telling me that I need a shower.”
Hux feels a flicker of heat rise in his cheeks. The foam cannons are already mounted on the railings above the dance floor, and the crowd is growing thick in anticipation. Most of those who were clothed in the first place have since shed their top layers. The floor is close, flushed, and Hux grips the bar countertop instinctively.
Kylo offers a hand, “Hux. Come with me.”
“This isn’t what I’d intended when I proposed that we be seen.” Hux grumbles.
“So have fun for once in your life.”
Hux draws a breath and lifts his gaze to Kylo’s face. It’s altogether too young for thirty, with a cautious glimmer of hope that Hux can’t remember ever seeing in him.
“What the hell.” He murmurs and beginning shrugging off his blazer.
Kylo’s grin is a rakish thing, a jumble of boyish excitement and dark satisfaction. Hux glances meaningfully to Phasma as he lays his jacket over the bar. She rolls her eyes and tucks it away. He chooses to ignore the gesture that she pantomimes beneath the bar as she does.
“Well?” He asks as he turns back to Kylo, one eyebrow arched.
With a single roll of his shoulders, Kylo throws off his jacket, drops it onto the countertop without looking. Something in Hux’s chest bucks.
“Do you even know how to dance?” He cuts over it.
Kylo shrugs, “It’s not like it’s that hard, right?”
Hux regards him doubtfully, but then Kylo’s monstrous hand is around his- good God it’s around the breadth of his entire forearm, and for another sliver of a moment Hux chases the idea that perhaps this assignment won’t be exclusively dreadful. Long-legged and Kylo nearly in freefall, they’re down the stairs to the floor nearly before Hux has time for second thoughts.
When Hux moves between clubgoers, he’s water, filling only the space around them with careful, fluid motions of his shoulders and hips. Kylo is an oncoming train. Hux winces as he watches him collide with no less than four patrons and calls back their apologies as they make their way to the center of the floor.
Kylo turns back to him as they reach it. Hux avoids his gaze to concentrate on the thrum of the music. He invites it just beneath his skin, lets it lift him into motion. Slow, languid. Since he’s been fifteen, he’s known precisely what he has to work with: skinny but long, angular but flexible. Fair to middling in his estimate, but effective if properly used. Moreso if at least buzzed. Best when just cresting the swell before barely intelligible, although tonight is hardly the evening for that.
Ren is all pressure, all energy and heat, bursts of frenetic motion, and even two feet apart from him, the hairs at the back of Hux’s neck prickle. Bring him in. Bring him in and you can have all of this, he tells himself.
The cannons burst to life as midnight arrives, and a roar rises up from the crowd. Jostled by the others on the floor, Hux lets himself be pushed in closer to Kylo. Long arms stretch out to steady him, and Hux finds himself anchored by the waist as the floor begins to fill with foam. Kylo levels another carnivorous grin toward him. Hux offers only a sliver of a thin smirk in response.
“True valor.” He quips.
“I could let you fall.” Ren shoots back.
Hux matches their gazes, “You could.”
He feels Kylo’s hands tighten a hair’s breadth, a flicker of hesitation working his lips. There are suds around their calves, now, cascading in from the edges of the floor.
“Are you going to ask me to dance?” Hux muses.
Kylo sucks in a breath, “Do you want me to?”
Hux drops his hands, fixing them over Kylo’s, pushing them tighter, lower, until Kylo’s thumbs come to rest on the curves of his hip bones, “Perhaps.”
He feels Kylo shiver, dark eyes wide, “I didn’t think you-”
“Shut up, Ren.” Hux says, then lets his palms slide up over his forearms, the smooth muscle of his biceps to his shoulders.
He’s unprepared for the way that his heels are lifted effortlessly from the soaked floor when Ren puts a hand into the curve of his back. With a stuttering gasp, he skids forward a few inches, drawn into him, and then Kylo is pulling him weightlessly back into rhythm. He handles him as if he’s starved, as if Hux will filter through his fingers if he lets go. Hux loops his arms up around him, lets his elbows lay against his shoulders to grab a fistful of dark hair and Kylo shudders in earnest. His temple is hot when Hux leans his against it.
Hux’s mouth is half-open around his name when there’s a low grinding sound and a sudden splash as one of the foam cannons coughs a gout of water onto one corner of the floor. A woman yelps beneath it, and Hux curses and draws back. Kylo’s gaze snaps up.
“I’ve got it.” Hux snaps as he pulls away, and then, under his breath as he begins to make his way through the crowd, “Foam.”
He catches sight of Kylo only once or twice over the rest of the evening, the array of managerial tasks overtaking him soon after they part. Kylo, for his part, strenuously avoids his gaze when they pass one another, cheeks flushing. Hux will be damned before he condescends to consider anything connected to Ren charming, and so chooses to ignore it in favor of returning a curt nod each time.
The hangover in the morning isn’t the worst he’s had by a long shot. There’s a dull throbbing in his temples, and the faint rattle of the fluorescent light in the office makes his teeth ache, but it’s nothing that a pot of coffee can’t cure. At least he’s been spared a painfully dry mouth. Small mercies.
Opan pages him just after eleven, a single, pointed Details? . Hux huffs to himself, fires back a None yet . Soon, in reply. He’s had no word from Kylo. Unsurprising - they rarely communicate before late afternoon. And yet some part of him feels strangely dissatisfied. After a minute frown, he summarily dismisses it and clips the beeper back onto his belt to return to his case file.
When he arrives at the club that evening, its state is similar to his own. Sore, perhaps, but not undone. The floor will need to be professionally cleaned, and one of the railings is sagging faintly in the corner - a flurried collision, no doubt. Some of the booths have knicks and scores where sets of keys and utensils have been scraped carelessly over the surface. In the dark, the wear and tear will be barely visible.
He climbs the staircase to the upstairs hall. There’s a muffled, emphatic voice filtering through it, and at first, Hux attributes it to a tenant. But as he approaches the office, the sound grows louder, and he can make out Kylo’s distinct, strained baritone.
“I won’t.” He’s groaning, “I said I won’t , okay? Jesus, what do you want from me? You need me to sign a promise in blood or something?”
There’s a long pause as the caller responds. Kylo attempts to cut in thrice, stutters over a series of, ‘but’ and ‘listen’ before he gets a word in edgewise.
“I told you I’ll take care of it!” He exclaims, then, lower, “Mom, I swear to god.”
Hux’s brows cant. He’s never heard Kylo mention his parents, either one. Not that he’s made any overtures to discuss his own ( sordid , his mind supplies) parentage. He finds himself measuring his breath and leaning in towards the door.
“I don’t have time for this.” Kylo growls, “I don’t- I- Mom. I’m hanging up now. I’m hanging up. I’m hanging up! ”
The receiver makes an agonized clatter as it slams against the cradle. Hux waits another few seconds, then slips in.
“Dissatisfied customer?” He floats.
Kylo jerks up from glowering over the desk, reddens down the length of his neck. Hux imagines it trailing down below the line of his necktie, pooling between his collarbones.
“Hux.” Kylo stammers, “Did you-?”
“Just heard yelling.” Hux waves it away, “I certainly hope it wasn’t a guest.”
“No.” Kylo murmurs darkly as he sinks back into his chair, “Just someone looking to get under my skin.”
Hux quirks an eyebrow, “It looks as if they succeeded.”
There’s a comfort in it, sliding into their usual exchange of barbs. Hux can see the stiffness in Kylo’s shoulders begin to drain away. He leans back in the desk chair, laces his fingers together, “Do we have a bottom line for last night?”
Hux purses his lips, “I have an actual job, Ren. I’m not a miracle worker.”
“Then- then you should get to it.” Kylo huffs, “I want it by tonight.”
Hux watches him for a moment, lets his eyes darken just a hint, “Do you.”
He’s rewarded with a visible jolt of Kylo’s chest, a flush that overtakes him to the tips of his ( enormous, ridiculous ) ears. Hux sinks down at his desk without another word. The corner of his mouth pricks back as he leans in over the ledger.
Initially, Resolution Ruiners had been a calculated move - an enormous, no doubt damaging bacchanal to disguise a dark week for badly needed repairs. Although overshadowed by the tradition at this point, the week afterwards has remained. Hux relishes it, even with the dip in income. The mere idea that he might sleep - sleep! - for up to seven hours a night is hedonism on an unparalleled level. Entire days spent away from the club while repair crews work, the height of luxury.
Ren has called him in on Monday afternoon. We can make some of the repairs ourselves. Budget, Hux. Hux’s nostrils flare as he descends the stairs, unlocks the door to ducks inside. Inside, Kylo is already kneeling beside the misshapen railing.
“Ren.” Hux acknowledges.
Kylo unfurls to his full height, already having shucked his rumpled flannel in favor of a simple undershirt, the former belted loosely around his waist by the sleeves. He’s wearing some kind of slouching knit cap that leaves Hux sneering.
“I wasn’t informed that you were taking a side job as a sixteen year-old miscreant.”
Hux sniffs, “What precisely do you intend for me to do here?”
“Come up here.” Kylo orders.
Hux rolls his eyes and obeys, climbing the twisting iron staircase up to the balcony level. A few of the standing cocktail tables have been upended or shoved back to give Ren space to work, and Hux purses his lips as he picks his way through them.
“Hold this.” Kylo says, motioning to the support beam at the corner of the folded railing.
“...Why?” Hux asks as he kneels to examine it. The posts and rail are bowed backward from whatever impact it is they faced, although the damage seems confined to a single segment.
“I’m going to pull it back.”
Hux stares, “Excuse me?”
Kylo huffs, “I’m going to fix it. Just hold it steady.”
“There’s no way you can just-”
Frowning, Hux lines himself up with the support bar and wraps both hands around it. Kylo rolls his shoulders once, then again, and then grips the rail. Hux feels his heels skid a few inches when Kylo’s arms go taut, bites back a gasp and leans his weight the opposite direction.
“Stop, stop.” He stammers, “Let me get ready.”
“I told you I was going to pull it.” Kylo grunts, but Hux thinks he catches a flicker of a smile at the corner of his lips.
Sliding out of his jacket and rolling up his sleeves, Hux wraps both arms around the support beam at the elbow. Kylo laughs, a low, lilting thing, and despite the way it stokes the ember of resentment in his stomach, Hux finds himself savoring it.
“Shut up and pull.” He spits.
Tapering into a short chuckle, Kylo finds his grip once more. This time, when he pulls, Hux digs into the floor to match the motion as best he can. He still stutters forward an inch or two, and the railing gives a groan.
“You’re going to break it.” He grits through his teeth.
“I’m not.” Kylo soothes.
“I’m killing you if I fall.”
Another short snicker, through his nose this time. Hux watches the line of his jaw settle, his biceps tighten, and assures himself that the way his own breath sticks in his throat is from effort. Slowly, and despite Hux’s own trembling arms, the railing yawns into place.
“I told you.” Kylo says, “I told you I could do it.”
“You did.” Hux pants as he sets his braces his hands on his knees.
“You gonna’ be okay?”
“How much do you even weigh?”
Hux scowls, “That’s none of your business.”
“I bet I could bench press you.”
“And bear the raw meat home from the kill, to be sure.” Hux scoffs, then, more deliberately, “...I can’t believe you managed it.”
Kylo glances at him, caught between cursing and preening at the praise, settles for, “Whatever.”
Hux tests the rail beneath his palm, then leans a hip against it. He watches Kylo for a moment before offering, “Did you have anything else in mind for me?”
Kylo pauses. Hux glances down at his nails, plays at one with his thumb. From the corner of his eye, he can see Kylo shift his weight from one foot to another.
“Hux…” He begins
“Don’t tell me you intend for me to scrub the floors.” Hux teases.
“First of all, you’ve never scrubbed a floor. Plus-”
Hux lifts his gaze to him with a hint of a frown, “I’ve scrubbed plenty of floors.”
“There’s no way you’ve ever had to scrub a floor, you’re a lawyer.” Kylo protests.
“Not all of us grew up with your sort of Gramercy Park silver spoon in our mouths, Ren.” Hux says before he can stop himself.
“Right, because London and Murray Hill are really slumming it.” Kylo jeers.
Hux scowls, “We didn’t come to the city when we moved to the States.” He admits.
“Do I need to reword that for you? We didn’t live in New York, Ren.” Hux sighs.
“Then where the hell did you grow up?”
Hux winces, massages at the space between his brows, “Newark.”
Kylo gawks, “ What? ”
“We lived in Newark.”
“But Newark is-”
“Yes, Ren, it’s a hellhole, thank you.” Hux spits, “You’re very kind.”
Kylo leans back, looks over him, “...Did you really?”
“What? Yes.” Hux groans, “We were- I don’t owe you this explanation.”
“How the hell did you make it to law school?” Kylo asks.
“Scrubbing floors.” Hux jabs, “Did you have something you wanted me to do or not?”
Kylo takes a breath, shuts his mouth and opens it again, “At Ruiners, you-”
The air between them changes, an almost imperceptible tightening, “I what?” Hux says.
“You were-” Kylo frowns, brows furrowed, “You danced with me and-...did you-”
Kylo tangles a set of fingers in the back of his hair, scratching at his head while the other hand opens and shut a few times near his hip, “...Did you mean it? Dancing with me?”
“Did I mean to dance with you?” Hux arches an eyebrow.
“Why are you being like this?!” Kylo gripes, “You know what I’m asking you!”
Hux crosses his arms, lets one hip tilt upward minutely. He regards him at length, until Kylo begins to fidget, then speaks, “I couldn’t be blamed for it if I did.” He says slowly, “You’re-...” He gestures to the line of Kylo’s arm as he trails off, “So I suppose that perhaps I did.”
Kylo’s cheeks redden, and Hux can see a flicker of optimism in his dark eyes, “You- I didn’t think you’d even want me to-” His gaze flits away from him, “....I didn’t think you’d want me to touch you.”
Something jerks in Hux’s chest. He swallows a breath and scrabbles for his bearings, “I-” He takes another breath, forces himself measured, languid, “I wouldn’t mind if you tried.”
Kylo shudders, “...Really?”
Hux manages a shrug, “It depends on whether or not that’s your intention, of course.”
With a step forward, Kylo places a palm at the side of Hux’s hips, tucking his thumb into one belt loop. Hux shivers, earnest and unexpected. The way that Kylo’s body fills in his space, solid and purposeful, thrills his pulse into his temples. His forehead comes to rest against his, and heat blossoms beneath Hux’s skin.
“I want to take you out somewhere.” Kylo tells him. His voice is suede, warm, smooth, and heavy.
Hux winds his arms up around his neck. His skin is searing, almost febrile, and Hux ducks in to tuck a kiss beneath the corner of his jaw, “Where?” He breathes into him, and is rewarded a brief tremble against his lips.
“Wherever you like.”
Hux leans back a hint and wets his lips with his tongue, “...After you scrub the floor.”
Hux assumes that Kylo’s selection of Cafe Carlyle reflects less on himself and more on what Hux can only imagine is a foundering assessment of what might impress him.
“You like jazz?” He quips nonetheless as they’re seated.
“It’s- do you?” Kylo asks.
“It’s tiresome.” Hux tells him, then hooks an ankle against his beneath the table, “Like you.”
Kylo’s frown melts into a flushed snort, “Asshole.”
“Do you always use coarse language in fine dining establishments?” Hux says as he smooths his napkin over his lap.
Hux continues over him, playful, conspiratorial, “How terribly crass, Ren.”
Relief colors Kylo’s features, and then the same wolfish glint of a grin, “You like it.”
“Never.” Hux chides.
“Admit it.” He urges, and the ankle against Hux’s pins him momentarily to the leg of the table.
Hux shudders despite himself, despite the inelegance of it, the eagerness, “Monster.”
“Do you like that, too?”
The arrival of the waiter saves him from stumbling over himself. He can feel heat in his cheeks and leans into the menu for a breath. This is- this entire pas a deux is illusory, a means to an end. Perfunctory. Warranting no overreaction.
He soothes himself in a glass of pinot grigio, cringing when Kylo places an order for rum and coke. They coast through most of the dinner on work-related conversation. Ren sulks when Hux turns down dessert.
“Wouldn’t you prefer to get home?” Hux asks.
Kylo winces, “You’re not having a good time?”
Hux arches an eyebrow, levels his gaze on him, “I simply thought that perhaps I’d merit an invitation.” He suggests.
Kylo blinks, “Oh. Oh . Yeah. Yes, of course.” He nearly rises from the table, check unpaid, but Hux catches him by the wrist.
“Though I’d hate to dine and dash, wouldn’t you?”
With a bashful chuckle, Kylo sinks back into his chair. Hux allows the edges of their pinkies to remain seamed against one another as the check arrives, but slips his hands into his jacket pockets when they pass through the door and out into the evening. Kylo leans out for a cab at the corner.
“No tube?” Hux inquires.
“I hate the subway.” Kylo scoffs as he opens the door of the cab for him, “There’s too many people. Everyone on top of each other like rats, it’s horrible.”
Hux slides through it. When Kylo joins him, legs bowing to crowd into the seat, their knees rest together. Hux glances down at the sight, Kylo’s broad, muscular thigh pressed up against his. He nearly misses Kylo’s address.
A job. This is a job. He repeats the address to himself, no doubt some sort of palatial penthouse in NoHo. There’s only one rung above him on the ladder now, and knocking Kylo from it will be a triumph. A spoiled brat of a Manhattan native, someone who’s never had to really work in his life. Someone who’s never-
Kylo is lacing their fingers together. Hux inhales. Entitled layabout, squalling, childish tantrum of a man, he insists.
A light rain begins to fall. Droplets cling to the fogged windows, paint the city lights in watercolor. The roll of the streetlamps washes over Kylo’s face, and Hux can see him biting his lip as he leans his temple against the windowpane.
“It’s not just because I run the club, right?”
The query knocks Hux from his thoughts, “What?”
Kylo turns to him, brows knitting, “This- all this. It’s not just because I’m in charge now, is it?”
Hux swallows, watches him evenly, “Of course not.”
“You don’t think I’d debase myself just to curry favor, do you?” Hux sniffs.
Kylo frowns, “Debase yourself? Is that what you think this is? Debasing yourself?”
“No.” Hux lies, “But it would be if I were doing it just so you’d listen better.”
“I don’t have to listen to you, you know.” Kylo jabs.
Hux huffs, “Don’t be infantile, Ren, I’m not your mother.”
Something in Ren’s face darkens for a moment, and Hux’s eyebrows cant.
“Shut up.” Kylo says quickly.
Hux leans in a fraction of an inch, “I was rather hoping that you intended to make me, in fact.” He watches Kylo’s breath hitch, adds, “And not in a cab, so wipe that look off your face.”
“Funny.” Kylo shoots back, “I was rather hoping you intended to make me.”
The apartment is spartan in a way Hux is horrified to find that he approves of: sleek and modern, the utmost of convenient without any of the frills. Black countertops in the kitchen, a well-stuffed charcoal living room set, rose wood floors. Dark, faux finish walls and track lighting. Startlingly monastic.
“This is where you live?” Hux gawks.
Kylo shoots him a quizzical glance, “Yes?”
In place of a reply, Hux looks over the apartment once more. Plenty of bookshelves, drawers. Places where incrimination could be left and not found until it was too late. He catalogues them with the address. When Kylo’s hands find his waist from behind, his breath stutters.
“Hux…” Kylo murmurs as he noses against the nape of his neck.
Hux braces his hands over Kylo’s to lean back into him, “Speaking.” He drawls.
He feels Kylo let out a breath against his skin, shudders. Kylo is kissing into the curve of his throat, and Hux tilts his head to expose it to him. His mouth is soft, boyish and lush, and the heat of it pricks up the small hairs at the back of Hux’s neck.
“Eager, are we?” Hux quips.
Kylo takes him by the belt loops to urge their bodies against one another, “I know what I want.”
Hux can’t keep back a stilted groan. Kylo is already beginning to fill out his jeans, and when Hux nudges his hips back to take stock of him, he curses softly.
“We can go slow.” Kylo assures him .
Hux turns in his grip, leaning up to allow their lips to brush, “What if I don’t want to?”
Kylo moans, a full-throated, hungry thing. He shoves the jacket from Hux’s narrow shoulders, drops his own where he stands. Hux tangles both hands into his hair, smoother and thicker than he had imagined, and leans back to bring them down onto the couch. Kylo follows with hands already pulling his shirt untucked. When it’s out of the way, he’s worrying at the skin at Hux’s collarbone with his teeth, running his fingers over the curves of his stomach, his hips. His hands are massive, and beneath his touch, Hux feels like a doll, like a plaything that he could pick up and pry apart. He’s growing revoltingly hard at the thought.
His fingers scrabble for Kylo’s shirt, then tug it up and over his head and discard it at the side of the couch. He takes his body in with his palms, greedy, demanding, and feels Kylo shiver.
“You’re vile.” He tells him.
Kylo, already panting softly, glances up at him, “What?”
“How dare anyone look like this?” Hux sniffs as he grips as much of Kylo’s bicep as his hand can contain.
Kylo huffs a laugh, “You should talk.”
Hux opens his mouth to protest, but Kylo’s lips seal over one of his nipples, and he shudders out a gasp as he feels it bud beneath the attention. Hot, hot, wet, tight, and Hux is arching back into the cushions with a strangled hiss. His hands are beginning to tremble when Kylo kisses his way to the second, already flushed and eager, and devours it.
“Ghh-” Hux is yanking at his hair, not to pull him back, but to keep him close, “ Ren! ”
Kylo draws back for air, and Hux takes in the pink of his cheeks, the hunger that clouds his dark eyes. Then he’s kissing him again, down the length of his stomach, eager, worshipful exaltations.
“Hux,” He sighs against him.
His hands struggle with Hux’s belt buckle when his lips reach the dusting of fine copper hair just above it. Hux pushes him back to undo it himself, and barely has it out of the way before Kylo is undoing his slacks.
“What do you want?” He groans into one of his hipbones, “What can I do?”
“You can fuck me, you monster.” Hux demands, fingers tightening in his hair.
Kylo surges against him, cheek pressed just beneath his navel, “I don’t want to hurt you…”
Hux nearly growls, “Bed. Bed. ” He orders.
Without a word, Kylo is up, has him in his arms as if he were nothing. Hux shivers and twines an arm up around his neck. He latches his teeth just beneath his ear as Kylo carries him into the bedroom, sucks an angry, purpling bruise into the sensitive flesh and preens at the way that it makes Kylo’s arms tremble. When they reach the bed, Kylo comes down with him, and Hux groans at the feel of his muscular waist spreading his thighs.
“Ren, fuck me.” He grates, “Before I have to kill you.”
Kylo pulls back to fumble with his jeans and manages to shuck them in a few frustrated motions. Hux tilts his own hips up meaningfully, and within a moment Kylo has dragged him free of his slacks, too.
“Jesus.” He breathes over him. His palms smooth down over Hux’s bare thighs, “Let me...let me just get you ready first…”
“Give me your hand.” Hux demands.
Kylo obeys, and without a moment’s pause, Hux takes two of his fingers into his throat. Kylo shakes out a startled gasp. Hux swallows around him, lets him feel the way he tightens around his fingers as he wets them. Kylo’s forehead drops down onto his shoulder, the whorls of his hair pooling in the hollow of Hux’s neck as Kylo gives a shattered whine.
With an obscene, wet pop, Hux releases his fingers, “Go on.”
Kylo pants against his neck as he parts his legs further with the flat of his hand. Then, his fingers are pressing at his entrance, and Hux sighs with pleasure. He nudges his hips back, and they sink into him to the first joint. Kylo stutters another gasp.
“Jesus, Hux.” He groans, “You-...”
Hux looks up to him. His lips are red, stung, and the rapt way that he’s watching Hux stirs something in his belly.
“Oh, Ren,” He muses, “You prefer it like this, don’t you?” He purrs as he splits himself further on Kylo’s fingers, “Being told what to do?”
Kylo flushes, opens his mouth to respond but can only manage an appreciative moan.
Hux smirks, “What are you waiting for, then? Fuck me with them.” He urges.
Kylo complies, forcing into him to the knuckle, and Hux grits a triumphant groan. Kylo’s fingers are long, dextrous, and Hux tries to ignore the sudden image of Kylo on his knees, soaking between his sheets, working himself open to discover how to curl them just so. The idea of Kylo’s preposterous cock hanging red and heavy between his legs as he pants into the pillow, so sensitive that even rutting into the sheets is agony.
“Turn over.” He snaps and pushes one of his shoulders.
Kylo, breathless, rolls onto his back, and Hux tightens to keep hold of his fingers as he’s pulled onto his knees. When Kylo’s elbow is braced against the bed, he plunges down over him anew. Kylo’s damp, flushed cheek against the pillow, sobbing with desire. Kylo’s shoulders straining as he struggles to fill himself more, deeper. Hux seizes Kylo’s opposite wrist and pins it up beside his cheek, and Kylo’s long body arches in desperation.
“Oh god, please, Hux!” He begs.
Hux hisses a guttural ‘ fucking hell’ beneath his breath and lifts himself off of his fingers. There’s precome beading at the tip of his own cock already, and he collects it in a messy stroke or two to slick Kylo’s. The pained whimper that Kylo offers up at his touch surges just beneath his skin.
“You want me to take you, don’t you, Ren?” He goads, “To be inside me?”
“God, yes .” Kylo keens, throwing an arm over his eyes, fist balled, to concentrate, “Fucking... yes. Please. ” His other hand clutches Hux’s thigh.
Hux tightens his fingers around the base of his cock and Kylo nearly wails. He lets out a series of animal ‘ fuck’ s through gritted teeth as Hux holds him. Hux laughs, vicious, heady, lifted by the bucking of Kylo’s body beneath him.
“My brute.” He hums with delight, “Lay still.”
Heaving for breath, Kylo quakes into electric stillness beneath him. When Hux looks down on him, his cheeks are flaming, stark against his pallid skin, and his eyes are wrecked with want. Jubilant, Hux leans in to align him with his entrance.
“Wait for me.” He commands.
Kylo nods wordlessly. His hands struggle up for the nape of Hux’s neck. One set of fingers tangles into his hair.
“Good.” Hux praises. Then, with a wrench of his hips, he takes all of him that he can muster.
Kylo lets out a gutted sob, and Hux feels his fingers clench in his hair as he cries out his name. The scope of him, the way he fills him out without even trying, the burn of it as he opens him up around him sets Hux’s spine quavering.
“ Jesus. ” He rasps.
Beneath him, Kylo is squirming in the sheets, biting his lips and begging silently for motion, friction. Hux swallows a breath and grinds his knees into the bed, savoring the drag of him as he pulls back, then sinks over him once more, deeper.
“Hux,” Kylo is grinding, “Oh god, Hux…”
It’s slow, takes time, shove after measured shove, for him to make enough space for him in his body. When he’s finally sitting against his hips, the impossible entirety Kylo gripped within him, both of them are slick with sweat.
“Oh my god.” Hux’s voice is small and distant in his own ears.
“You’re so ti-hh-” Kylo breaks off into a shudder, “-so fucking tight. ”
“Ren, fuck me.” Hux grates.
“A-are you s-”
Snarling, Hux lifts himself onto his knees, then drops, all at once, onto his length once more. Hands dropping at once to brace Hux’s thighs, Kylo pitches to life below him. Hux leans back to clench just above his knees. He batters himself on him, rides the surging waves of his body with steady thighs and teeth bared. His nails leave crescents in their wake, and Kylo is twisting in contented misery under him.
“Monster.” Hux gushes, “Beast.” Kylo nods eagerly, lips parted, trembling, and Hux presses on, “ Slut. ”
“ Oh. ” Kylo’s chest jerks, and Hux feels his cock inside him do the same.
He reaches down to brush a lock of hair behind his ear, and without pretension Kylo presses his cheek into his palm. The sight of it is devastating. Hux, unthinking, comes a series of sudden, spasming streaks up over his broad chest and onto his chin. Kylo thrashes another two strokes before spending himself into him as Hux clamps down around him.
Hux can feel it drooling down onto his thighs as he collapses over him. Kylo’s hands are in his hair again, carding, smoothing, and before Hux can consider an alternative, both of them are heavy in sleep.
A series of chirps awakens Hux in the grey hours of the morning. In the living room, a pager - not his own, from the sound of it - lets out a chitter every few moments. Hux counts five, six alerts. Against the back of his shoulder, Kylo groans.
“Just ignore it.” He slurs, voice cracked with sleep.
Hux, glances back at him, “It’s five thirty in the morning, are you certain it’s not an emergency?”
“S’just my Mom.” Kylo groans, “Leave it.” His arms tighten around Hux’s middle.
Hux arches an eyebrow, “...I see.”
Kylo huffs softly against his skin, and Hux lets a hand drift back to find his hair, idly combing tangles out of the dark curls. The way that Kylo’s body nestles around his own, it’s- Hux purses his lips. His brows furrow as he begins to document the drawers in the bedroom, windows, the door to what he assumes is a bathroom. Kylo’s breath soothes into sleep once more. His skin is warm; Hux imagines draping his own perpetually chilly body over his like a snake, bathing in the heat of him as it rises from the generous planes of his chest. Two nightstands, one bookshelf (dusty, perhaps inadvisable). Kylo pulling his fingertips in long, languid strokes over his back. Alarm clock.
“What time do you plan on getting up, mm?” Hux asks.
Kylo murmurs wordless appreciation into his back.
Hux sniffs, “Ren.”
“What time do you wake up?” He repeats.
Kylo smears a hand over his still-closed eyes, “Gnnghh, eleven…”
“ Eleven? ” Hux gapes.
“Usually work until three. Four.” Kylo grumbles.
“Well, I have to get up in a half hour.” Hux tells him.
Kylo makes a low, disappointed noise somewhere in his throat. His pager trills twice in the other room, and he winces.
“...I’ll get a shower now, then.” Hux offers.
Pushing his face into the crook of his neck, Kylo whines.
With a few slow breaths, Hux untangles their limbs, “It could be urgent, Ren.” He reminds him.
“It never is.” Kylo says sullenly. He reaches for the phone nonetheless.
Hux smooths his bangs away from his forehead, rebukes himself for doing so, and rises from the bed.
It’s a deli this time, barely a hole in the wall where Hux regards his bialy dourly when he catches sight of Opan sidling up to the counter. He picks at a few stray onions, barely glances up as Opan sinks down into the long-suffering metal chair across from his.
“‘Morning.” Opan greets him as he unwraps the waxy, checkered paper around his own breakfast.
“Mm.” Hux says. There’s a weight somewhere in his stomach. He forces down a bite to spite it.
“You have something for me to work with, Mister Hux?” Opan asks after a few seconds.
Hux takes a breath, “I do.”
Opan can’t hide the hint of a grin, “Hard-won?”
Hux’s gaze snaps up to him, and his spine straightens, hawk-like “Watch your tongue.” He cuts.
Raising both hands, Opan leans back in his seat, “Hey, hey.” He eases.
Hux regards him for a long, stiff moment, then looks back to his food, “It’s a one-bedroom.” He begins. The words are sour.
Opan nods, listening as he adds the address, describes the layout and the furniture, “...Still need a better schedule.” He concludes when Hux finishes.
Sighing miserably, Hux pinches the bridge of his nose, “How much?”
“Average comings and goings. There and not. Consistency.” Opan tells him, “Always consistency.”
“Of course.” Hux frowns down into his hands.
Crumpling his wrapper, Opan rises from the table, “Let me know when.”
Hux hikes his leather satchel up onto the dining room table, beginning to unload several sets of collated files into stacks on the pine surface. Trotting in from the bedroom hallway, his cat, an orange tabby every bit as meticulous as her master, weaves between his ankles, then departs into the kitchen before he can lean down to pet her.
“Tease.” He murmurs after her.
Through the slats in the blinds, warm slivers of early evening sunlight drape over the table, paint the hunter green walls almost gold. Hux drops down into the closest of the chairs. A cursory glance at the clock on the wall - one of only a few adornments in the dining room - reveals that it’s just before five thirty.
Hux’s nostrils flare over the clustered documents. Nine, he tells himself. He’ll have this sorted by nine. Then he can fix himself something to eat and be at the club by ten.
In the kitchen, the timer on the coffee maker beeps, and the machine gurgles to life. Hux runs a set of fingers back through his hair. Ten minutes until he needs to get up to pour. Enough to at least get situated.
He wonders how Kylo takes coffee. Too much sugar, no doubt. The body of it ruined by some sort of trite non-dairy creamer. A truly banal flavor like french vani- what is he doing? Hux hisses to himself and throws open one of the files.
The first case is a fairly simple one, a relatively standard incident of credit card fraud. A sob story of need and desperation to go along with it, as always. Hux has faced this particular defense attorney on countless occasions, a petite, resolute pit bull of a woman twenty years his senior. He sneers. She’ll be working pro bono, no doubt. Anything for a bleeding heart.
He sifts through bills, cross references them with copies of receipts, compares signatures. Pages through police reports, statements. Something clatters to the floor in the kitchen.
“Off the counter, Millie.” He shoots over one shoulder.
There’s a small, defiant trill. He sighs and rises to make his way into the kitchen. Scooping her off the counter earns him a few displeased, rabbity kicks to the side of his stomach.
There’s a window in the kitchen that looks out over First, down into the treetops of St. Vartan’s. Once he’s poured himself a cup of coffee, Hux leans one hip against the counter to look out over it. In the fleeting light, there are still people, jacket-clad and with the tight gait that Hux recognizes as New York’s default winter speed, making their way along the park’s paths. A few runners are braving the cold. Hux curses them internally.
The apartment is warm, silent. Hux takes a pull from his mug. Checks his pager. Nothing.
He huffs a sigh. How much has he already given Opan? Enough, he wonders, even without a perfect schedule? And would Opan even tell him if he moved forward without it? Of course not, he’d grant Hux the plausible deniability of his silence. A true professional.
One thumb traces the rim of his mug. He’s never stayed Opan on a job before, so there would be no need to double check with him before executing. Hux worries his bottom lip between his teeth. And of course, why would he ever stop him now? When he’s this close, when there’s only a single obstacle between him and the top of the ladder. What good is it to even think about it?
He sets the mug down on the counter, perhaps more firmly than strictly necessary, and skulks back to his work.
Hux leans in with his hips, the air rushing out of his lungs as he clutches the headboard with one hand.
“Ren... Ren …” He’s panting the word like a mantra.
When he had first lifted himself up over Kylo’s face, it had been half in jest, an almost playful demand, you’re not sleeping until you clean up the mess you’ve made. But Kylo - God, if he were this obedient in the office - had wrapped both arms up around his thighs without protest, and now, with his tongue splitting him, Hux is hard all over again.
“Fuck.” He hisses as he rides down onto the wet muscle of him, biting his knuckles.
He feels Kylo groan against him. A few moments later, the sheets shuffle behind him.
Hux pants out a laugh, “Are you jerking off to this?”
Kylo draws back briefly, shudders, breathes a, “What if I am?” against his skin that leaves Hux’s knees quaking.
‘Pervert.” Hux purrs, then, “Fuck me.”
Kylo’s tongue is back to work in an instant, urging at the sensitive muscle of Hux’s entrance, catching on the rim of it, taunting, and Hux growls.
On the bedside table, the phone rings. Hux feels Kylo’s fingertips dig into his thighs, contents himself with ignoring it.
“I know you’re home, Ben.” The message machine grates a moment later in a woman’s voice, and Kylo takes a wild swing at it with one long hand, “Pick up the phone.”
Hux’s mind dimly runs over the name as he bears down onto Kylo, who pierces him open with his tongue so fiercely that Hux gasps aloud.
“I need to talk to you.” The blurry voice continues, “You can’t just keep avoiding m-”
Kylo has the phone by the cord and drags it out of the wall without further thought. Hux reaches back to give his arm an appreciative stroke. In the living room, he can hear the phone ringing distantly again.
“ Fuck. ” Kylo snarls against the sparing flesh of Hux’s ass.
“Leave it.” Hux grits.
There’s a muffled voice on the living room machine a few seconds later, too indistinct to pick out. Hux clamps his thighs around Kylo’s ears. He’s close, desperately close, and a triumphant sigh escapes him when Kylo returns to work within him. He hears the telltale whisper of the sheets, hums with pleasure to himself.
“That’s right.” He murmurs, “Just like that, just like that…”
Kylo is whimpering up into him, and Hux can hear just by the rhythm of his motions that he’s slick. He eases one thigh back.
“Such a good boy for me.” He whispers.
Kylo seizes beneath him. There’s a spatter of heat against the curve of his back. Hux laughs, a series of thin, stuttered gasps. When Kylo redoubles his efforts, he takes himself in hand. Soon, with Kylo humming an appreciative groan against him, he finds himself riding out his own tight, jerking climax above him.
The phone is still ringing in the living room when he slumps, spent, into the sheets.
“Persistent.” Hux grumbles as he rolls into one of Kylo’s long arms. Kylo’s breath is heavy, and the rise and fall of his chest is a soothing tide.
“She’s-” Kylo winces, “...She’s going to keep calling if I don’t pick up.”
“For you?” Hux pricks up one eyebrow, “‘Ben’?”
“Don’t call me that.” Kylo grunts, “It’s not like you use your real name, either.”
Hux glances at him, “...Yes, I do.”
Kylo pauses, cheeks flushing, “...Your real name is Armitage?”
“Ben.” Hux jabs back.
“Quid pro quo.” Hux remarks, catching Kylo’s face in one hand as he leans in, “Brush your teeth first.”
Kylo snorts, “Fine.” He untangles himself from the covers and Hux’s limbs, smooths a hand back through his tangled hair and makes for the bathroom.
Hux sinks back into the pillows. Someone is speaking on the message machine in the living room again, a dull rumble that Hux can’t quite make out. He pauses, then glances at the closed bathroom door. There’s water running behind it.
Lifting himself up one on elbow, Hux retrieves the fallen phone from beneath the nightstand. The cords are tangled and the cradle is chipped. He has them half sorted out when Kylo pulls back the door once more.
“...What are you doing?” He asks.
“Righting your mangled appliance.” Hux supplies quickly, and then, for good measure, “Boor.”
Kylo heaves a sigh, “Just...just leave it.” He says as he collapses back into the sheets.
“I do intend to sleep sometime this evening.” Hux notes as he plugs one of the cords back into the wall.
“Here?” Kylo asks hopefully.
“If I’m not to be disturbed by constant ringing. ” He finds the final connection, and the machine jumps to life again.
“- will come down there if you don’t-”
“Jesus Christ.” Kylo laments and seizes the receiver, “What do you want?! ”
Hux leans into his side and sets a cheek on his chest. There’s a lengthy pause as the voice rattles in the receiver. Kylo is still warm. Hux splays a set of fingers just beneath his breastbone.
“I- no. ” Kylo is growling, “It’s my- it’s my club, you can’t-” Hux shoots him a curious glance, but Kylo waves it off as he continues, “I don’t care what you think. I don’t- Mom. ” He’s stammering, “What if I am? It doesn’t matter!”
There’s a pause on the line, and then, from the cadence of it, what Hux assumes is a question. A smug smirk crosses the heavy line of Kylo’s mouth, “...So what if he is?”
Hux looks to him once more as Kylo weaves a set of fingers into his hair. The receiver is resonating with tinny furor, but Kylos’ eyes are on him. He leans down to brush a kiss against Hux’s temple, and Hux is appalled to feel himself shiver.
“No.” Kylo is saying again, “I don’t- whatever. Whatever. If you don’t like it, don’t call me again.” And then, firmer, “Good night. Good night. ” The receiver cracks against the cradle. Then, Kylo’s arms are tight around him, possessive.
“Good talk?” Hux scoffs.
“Shut up.” Kylo huffs, tugging him closer, “And go to sleep.”
(CW for mild blood, light undernegotiated BDSM)
Hux spends the night and the next night. The coffee is strong, but too sweet for his tastes. The shower runs warm, and Kylo crowds into it with him on the second morning. Hux has to bat his hands away from his hair.
Kylo unplugs the message machines, ignores the way that the phone rings, but Hux can see his lips thin with each call.
“What on earth does she want?” He sniffs as he knots his tie that Friday evening, straightening Kylo’s with equal precision.
“To pretend she can control me.” Kylo grunts.
Hux rolls his eyes, “Besides that.”
Kylo glowers, “It’s not important.”
“Must you be so moody about it, then?” Hux shoots back.
“I’m not moody.” Kylo huffs, then drags a set of fingers back through his hair.
Hux looks back to the mirror to coax his own locks back into place for the evening. He can nearly hear Kylo simmering behind him, arms crossed and sullen.
“Don’t.” He groans.
“Don’t what?!” Kylo exclaims, “I didn’t even say anything!”
“Just don’t.” Hux repeats as he turns on his heel to make for the door, “We’ll be late.”
“I didn’t do anything.” Kylo growls as he follows him.
“Excellent, please continue.”
Behind him, Kylo’s footfalls are heavy. Hux already knows what he looks like like this, slouched, storming, petulant. His heavy lips quirked into a pout. Deserving, perhaps. Hux reminds himself to check his watch, to note precisely when it is that Kylo leaves for the club on a busy evening.
“We’re not late.” Kylo grumbles.
Hux spares him a glance back over his shoulder, “Yet.”
“God, why are you like this?!” Kylo snarls.
Hux ignores him in favor of striding out at the corner to hail a cab.
“You’re such a bastard.” Kylo grouses under his breath.
Hux’s gaze snaps back to him, hand freezing, half-lifted, “Excuse me?”
“I said you’re being a fucking bastard.” Kylo says, his lips twitching.
Hux’s nostrils flare, and his hand falls to his side as he leans in to him, “Take it back.”
Kylo snorts, “Why? You’re being one.”
“Take it back.” Hux repeats.
Squaring his shoulders and crossing his arms over his chest, Kylo frowns, “No.”
Hux draws in a narrow breath and wills his limbs still, “I’m taking the subway.” He announces as he turns on one heel.
Kylo blinks, “What? Hux-”
“Get your own cab.”
“Hux, don’t, you-”
“You’ve made your thoughts on me very clear.” Hux clips, “I’m certain you’ll prefer your own company.” Kylo has him by the arm, and Hux finds himself snarling like an animal. He lashes out with the other arm, shoving at him, “Let me go!”
Kylo draws back, brows furrowed. Glaring at him, Hux straightens his lapels.
“I’ll see you at the Finalizer.” He glowers. Ignoring the way Kylo’s mouth falls open to protest, he turns again and makes for the subway station.
When Hux emerges onto the corner beside the club, a cold, steady drizzle has begun to blur the streetlights. He curses under his breath and ducks his head as he makes for the door. A flash of white catches his eye, and he skids to a halt.
Parked a half block outside, there sits a battered white Caprice. On the passenger side door, Hux recognizes the two figures of the crest of New York. Beneath it, stenciled in a shade of yellow that turns his stomach, are the words ‘Code Enforcement’.
The usual knot of smokers is still outside, and he can hear the thud of the base from beneath them. He nearly falls twice skidding down the stairs to the door.
“Where’s Ren?” He barks at the doorman.
The doorman straightens, “Inside, sir.”
“Did you see Code Enforcement go inside?” He demands.
Swearing, Hux pushes through the doors. Already, the crowd on the floor is a pulsing, living entity. The heat of it hits him as soon as he’s inside. He makes for the bar, where Phasma is pouring a set of shots from an arc of tins. He catches her gaze as the tins dribble out their last drops, taps twice at his lapel where a badge would hang. Her eyes widen, and she looks out over the floor.
“Ren?” He asks as she quickly fixes her lips into a smile to collect tips.
“Office.” She replies.
“Eyes open.” He shoots over his shoulder as he turns.
“Got it.” She calls after him.
Each patron he passes gets an extra moment’s inspection as he shoulders through the crowd. No patches, no clipboards. Hux grits his teeth. He can hear his pulse in his ears by the time he reaches the staircase, and pounds up it two stairs at a time.
“Ren.” He pants when he throws open the door of the office.
Kylo swivels the chair to face him, lips still fixed in a dour pout, “What do you want?”
“Have you seen anyone pushing tonight?” He demands.
“Wha- why does everybody fucking care all the sudden?” Kylo grunts.
Hux’s fingertips fly to his temples, “What do you mean ‘everybody’?” He snaps.
“Some asshole asked me if I knew who was holding tonight.” Kylo tells him, rolling his eyes, “I told him I didn’t give a fuck.”
Breath tightening in his throat, Hux stares at him, “...You told him you didn’t care if someone was holding?”
“Why should I care?” Kylo’s lips tighten, “I’m not Snoke, I’m not selling.”
“Did he know who you were?” Hux presses, “Did he know your name?”
“Everybody out there knows me.” Kylo says, “Why are you so concerned?”
Hux nearly growls, “Because Code Enforcement is parked outside!”
Kylo stills, “...Oh, fuck.”
“Do you know what they’ll do to us if they claim you turned a blind eye to dealer?!” Hux strains.
“Fine us?” Kylo tries hopefully.
Hux clenches a fist in his direction, then, shaking, drags a breath in through his nose, “They can padlock us for a year under the nuisance abatement statute, you absolute idiot. ”
“Fuck!” Kylo is up out of his chair, pacing the length of the window looking out onto the club, “Fuck, fuck, fuck! ” He swats a tumbler off his desk, sending it shattering against the opposite wall.
Hux winces, “What did he look like?”
Kylo’s voice is trembling, clenched in his throat, “I don’t know. Dark hair? A little shorter than me?”
“Clothes?” Hux urges.
“I don’t-” Kylo snarls, fists both hands in his hair, “I- a red jacket, I think?”
Hux gives a sharp nod and turns. He’s halfway down the hallway when he hears Kylo call his name, and is on the stairs when he hears his weight slump back down into the chair.
Brunette, red jacket. Brunette, red jacket. Hux squints out at the floor, then scans over the booths at the edges. Rakes his gaze through the balconies. Where the fuck is he?
There’s a tap on his shoulder, and Hux whirls. Brunette, red jacket. He shudders in relief.
“Hey, are you Hux?” The man asks, nonchalant.
Hux takes a steadying breath, letting one hand rest on the railing over the floor behind him, “Who’s asking?” He inquires.
“I’m just trying to get a feel for the place.” The man brushes him off, “Trying to have a little fun, you know?”
“Oh?” Hux cocks his head to the side.
“Yeah. You know.” He gives a shrug, offers a crooked smile, “Enjoy myself.”
“I do hope the drinks are to your liking.” Hux supplies.
The man bites his lip, “They’re pretty good, but I’m looking for something a little stronger.”
Hux lets the rail hold his weight as he leans back, eyes narrowing, “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean. Do remind me of your name?”
He sighs, “Jack.”
“Is it, now?” Hux drawls, “Well, Jack, I’m afraid you may be in the wrong place.”
“That’s not what Mister Ren said.” He presses, “He said he didn’t care if I found a dealer out here.”
Hux watches him for a long moment, “...I’m not going to pay you.” He finally states.
His eyebrows lift, “Pay me? I’m not asking you to pay me.”
“I’m certain that you are aware of my profession, Jack. ” Hux continues, “You do know that bribery of a public official is a felony, do you not?”
Crossing his arms over his chest, the man frowns, “Then I’m glad that you’re not considering it.”
“I am , however, considering inviting you to come with me to view our licenses and permits in my office.” Hux continues, “I’m certain you’ll be very interested in seeing that each and every one of them are current. But first, perhaps we should be formally introduced.” He offers a hand, “Armitage Hux, assistant manager of the Finalizer. And you are?”
Heaving a sigh, he gives Hux’s hand a cursory shake, “Officer Taslin Brance, Code Enforcement. Pleasure to meet you.”
“The pleasure is all mine.” Hux says as he looks to the bar. Phasma is already watching him. He smiles thinly her way, “Do follow me.”
They wind back towards the stairs. Hux feels the small hairs at the back of his neck standing on end.
“I do wonder at the purpose of your visit.” He notes over his shoulder, “We passed our fire inspection just this past November, and I’m quite certain we’ve no violations pending with your organization.”
“Routine visit.” Brance clips.
“Oh? No 311 call?” Hux continues as they make their way up the stairs.
Brance shakes his head.
Hux nods slowly, “I wonder, Mister Brance, if we mightn’t have a mutual acquaintance.” He chances, “So many fellow New Yorkers are concerned about the safety of our guests nowadays, after all.”
“Of course.” Hux knocks twice on the door to the office.
“What?!” Ren roars from inside.
“It’s me, Ren.” Hux soothes, mock-mellow, “I’d like to go over our paperwork with a friend.”
There’s a shuffling from within the office, and a few small clatters that Hux is fairly certain are the pieces of broken mug being pawed into the trash.
“Come in.” Kylo says after a moment.
Hux spares a lean smile back at Brance, swinging the door back and holding it for him, “Be my guest.”
Brance passes by him with a short nod. Hux slips in after him and closes the door. He sees the man tense when he steps up behind him, and his eyebrows cant. Well.
“This is Officer Brance.” He tells Kylo, settling a hand on his shoulder.
“We’ve met.” Brance says as he matches eyes with Kylo.
Hux allows his touch to linger a moment too long, “Of course. Silly me.” He can see Kylo’s gaze flick to his hand as he lets it drop, and something in his amber eyes darkens, “Please, come this way.” He adds, with a few fingers grazing his elbow, “Our legal files are in my desk.”
He can feel Kylo’s eyes on him as he leans over to unlock the lowest desk drawer and thumbs through it.
“We don’t need Ren here, do we, Officer Brance?” Hux inquires as he straightens, file in hand.
Brance glances to Kylo, who fixes him with a sullen glare, “...I think we’ll be all right here.”
Kylo grips the edge of the desk, “I’m staying. It’s my club.”
“We could always take our work to one of the other rooms, then.” He suggests to Brance, eyes still on Kylo, “I do so hate to be a bother.”
“You don’t have any tenants?” Brance asks.
“Not since all that awful business with Snoke.” Hux says as he steers him towards the door, “Kylo has worked very hard to cultivate safer circumstances, after all.” He notes as he casts a glance over his shoulder.
Behind him, Kylo stands pale and trembling, fists balled at his sides. Hux frowns and turns away.
“Did you f-” Kylo chokes over his old fashioned once Brance is gone, cringes, then hisses once more, “Did you fuck him?”
“Why should that be any concern of yours?” Hux says as he leans back in his desk chair, “We’re not facing a lawsuit, that’s all that matters.”
“Did you?!” Kylo demands, “Did you let him-” His voice cracks, and he slumps back in his chair with a hand clenched in his bangs.
“Why do you care?” Hux spits, “I’m just some sort of mongrel to you, so what does it matter?”
“It- you’re not-” Kylo stammers.
“Oh, but you were so eager to call me one earlier this evening.” Hux snaps, “And even now, when I’ve dragged this organization back from a chasm that you created, you’re disparaging my methods?”
“You did.” Kylo moans, “You did fuck him, you did. Jesus Christ.”
“I offered him assistance with gratification.” Hux grates, “I didn’t let him fuck me.”
“So, what, you sucked him off?!”
Hux slams a fist onto his desk, “Why are you so obsessed with knowing precisely what occurred?!”
“Hux, I-” Kylo starts, then looks to the ceiling, swallowing, “Fuck, I-”
“You what?” Hux insists poisonously.
“I didn’t- I didn’t mean to say you were a mongrel, I didn’t mean to get us in trouble, I didn’t know he was- I didn’t know what I was saying, what I was-” He drops his face into both hands, “Fuck. Fuck! ”
Hux exhales shakily, “But you did.” He maintains, “You did. ”
“I’m sorry!” Kylo howls. His desk jumps as he slams one foot into the underside of it, “What do you want me to say?!”
Hux’s fist, still clamped, is quivering atop his desk. I hate you, he wants to say, you’re an idiot, you’re a child. Instead, he feels his chest constrict as Kylo slumps down over the desk with a growl.
“Cur.” He breathes.
“I’m sorry.” Kylo repeats, both hands fisted in his curls, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
“Shut up.” Hux murmurs.
Kylo looks up at him, lips stiffly shut, jaw straining, “...Will you hit me?” He strangles after a long moment.
“Will I what? ” Hux says.
“Hit me. Will you hit me.” Kylo repeats.
“Why on earth would I hit you?” Hux questions.
“Please, I just-” Kylo’s hands scrabble in his hair, frenetic, and he groans, “Will you do it? Please?”
Hux leans back, crosses his arms to consider. The context is somewhat different than his usual imaginings of finally, finally being able to strike Kylo Ren across that stupid, quavering mouth just the way that he deserves, but it’s- Kylo is regarding him helplessly, pleading.
Hux rises slowly, lets his fingers weave together in the small of his back, “...Fine.”
Kylo slouches from his chair gratefully, and then he’s on his knees in front of him. Confronted with the sight of it, of his long, muscular form bent below him, Hux feels his breath hitch.
“Please.” Kylo says again, quieter this time.
Hux, impassive, examines his face. Takes in the line of his cheekbone, the way that his lips work and his brows knit. Denies him until Kylo’s adam’s apple is bobbing in his throat.
It sounds like a gunshot. Hux backhands him, up from the edge of the jaw with the full brunt of his knuckles, follows through deep enough that Kylo’s head snaps to the side. His mouth falls open in silence. Then, face hidden in his shoulder, the hint of a whimper.
“More, please.” He pleads softly.
Hux thrills with it, with the sting in his knuckles and the heady rush that accompanies it. Harder, this time. It drags a yelp from Kylo. Hux wonders if he’ll be bruised in the morning, if both of them will, imagines Kylo’s cheeks purpling and sore, his own knuckles cracked.
“You like this.” He accuses with growing contentment, “You want me to- to demean you, to hurt you.”
“Again.” Kylo begs in answer.
The next blow splits his lip, and Kylo gags up a wet sob. He’s wracked with it as Hux continues to batter him, heaving in relief with every strike. Hux’s ears ring. Kylo is scrabbling at the floor to keep himself in place, rising up to offer himself again and again, even when his shoulders bow with the punishing force of Hux’s onslaught.
Hux leans in, grips him by the chin. When he drags his face up to look at him, Kylo’s eyes are red rimmed and glassy, and there’s blood in his teeth.
“Is this what you wanted from me, Ren? What you needed?” Hux pants.
“Y-Yes.” Kylo moans, “Yes, Hux, please…” He gives a choked sob when Hux releases him, “P-Please don’t stop.” When Hux glances down between his legs, he can see that Kylo’s cock is straining against the front of his jeans.
“Is this some kind of-” Hux wavers for a winded gulp, “-some kind of perverse delight for you?”
Kylo winces, “I j-just want-” He swallows, and the wound on his lip tenses and then pulses with fresh red, “I just want you to- I want you to t-take me apart.”
“Take you apart?” Hux muses.
“Please, I don’t want to th-think anymore.” Kylo implores, “Please.”
Hux redoubles his efforts. By the time his hands are too sore to continue, Kylo is sprawled out on the floor, weeping in earnest, strangling thanks into one of Hux’s ankles.
“I di-...I did it... “ He whispers, shuddering, “Hux, I did it.”
Hux crouches down beside him curiously, “Did what, Ren?”
“I-” Kylo swallows, then, smaller, “I told the police about Snoke.”
Hux reels back, “...You what?”
Kylo rolls onto his back, his blurred gaze on the ceiling, “I told them about Snoke” He croaks, “I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Hux regards him at length, the way his sweat-soaked hair puddles on the floor beneath him, his cheeks stung red, his mouth already bruised. A startled laugh bubbles up from his chest.
“ You told them.” Hux ponders, one set of fingers snaking back through his hair, “You, of all people. You took down Snoke.” He laughs again.
A weak smile cracks Kylo’s lips. Then he sniggers, a small, panting thing, through his nose, his brows furrowed. Hux kneels beside him to gather his shoulders up onto his lap as best he can.
“Barbarian.” He hums as he brushes the hair from his face.
There’s a bathroom in each of the shuttered apartment units. When he can stand, Hux leads Kylo into the closest one. Kylo’s head rests up against his knee as Hux sits at the edge of the tub, soothing away the flecks of blood from his lip with a damp handkerchief.
“Nnh.” Kylo groans appreciatively.
“Sit still, you’ll open it again.” Hux tells him.
One broad hand wraps around his ankle, nudging aside his pant leg in search of skin. Long fingers come to rest at the base of his shin.
“Thank you.” Kylo breathes.
Hux arches an eyebrow, “For what?”
“For beating you bloody during work hours?” Hux muses.
Kylo manages a tattered chuckle, “S’quieter now.”
The hand holding the handkerchief pauses, hovering an inch or two from Kylo’s swollen mouth, “Quieter?”
“When I-” Kylo makes a vague motion, a splaying of fingers towards the side of his head, “...It’s quieter this way.”
“You’re mad.” Hux tells him.
Kylo hisses softly. Except for the occasional trickle of water from the tap, silence falls over the room once more. Hux can feel Kylo’s thumb running back and forth over the curve behind his ankle bone.
“You’re a terrible distraction, you know.” Hux says.
Kylo noses into the side of his knee, “C’n we go home yet?”
Hux rolls his eyes, “And shirk further work duties? Both of us?”
“It’s almost two. Phasma can take care of it from here.” Kylo presses.
“Fantastic, nearly four full hours until your mother begins calling.” Hux sniffs.
Kylo glances up at him, “...We could go to your place.”
Hux stiffens, “No.”
“It needs cleaning.” Hux tries.
“Bullshit” Kylo snorts, “You’d never let it get messy.”
“You don’t know that.” Hux says, “Perhaps I have. Perhaps you’ve been interfering with my life so shamelessly that it’s filthy.”
“It’s clean.” Kylo insists.
Hux sniffs and winds a hand into his curls, giving a small tug of reprimand. Kylo leans into his touch.
“Let’s go.” Kylo says, quieter this time, and Hux feels his resolve falter.
“I have a cat. She doesn’t like having new people in her space. She well may bite you.”
“Are you describing yourself or the cat?” Kylo smirks. For a moment, it draws his split lip pale.
Hux runs the pad of his thumb over it, “Both. If you’re lucky.”
Hux awakens to the steady rhythm of Kylo’s breath against the spot where his neck meets his shoulder. His nose is tucked against the nape of his neck, and both arms remain wound around his middle. Hux allows himself a long inhale, then stretches. From the space between both of their knees, Millie gives a disgruntled murmur.
“Sorry.” Hux says quietly.
“Gnh?” Kylo grumbles into his skin.
Hux flicks his gaze back over his shoulder, “Not you.” He feels Kylo’s teeth graze the hollow of his neck and shudders, “Insatiable pervert.”
“Mmmhm.” Kylo hums and pulls him closer.
Hux reaches back to card his fingers into his hair. The warmth of him is staggering, a constant, almost vibrating heat, “I have to go to work.” One enormous hand comes to rest between his legs, and Hux swallows a shudder, “I’m not going to be late.”
Kylo whines as Hux extricates himself from his arms, then rolls lazily back into the comforter, folding himself around it. The slope of his shoulders in the first blinking grays of morning makes something in Hux’s stomach pitch. He rises and makes for the bathroom.
“I’ll not let you stay in my apartment without me, you know.” He calls back, “So you’d best shower now if you have any intention to do so.” The covers rustle behind him, accompanied by a groan that Hux can only describe as slatternly . He sniffs, “Well, I’m going to shower now.”
He’s four minutes late for work. At the front desk, his paralegal’s heavy brows furrow at the sight of him. Hux straightens his tie.
“Mister Mitaka.” He clips with a curt nod.
“Good morning, Mister Hux.” He replies with a quick smile, “You have a visitor in the waiting room.”
Hux blinks, “A visitor?”
Mitaka ducks slightly, taking an almost conspiratorial glance around the office foyer, “It’s- he won’t leave until he sees you, but...well, he wouldn’t tell me his name, sir.”
Hux straightens. Opan, then, no doubt. But what an egregious breach of professionalism, coming to seek him here, where there were witnesses, where Hux was well-known, “Send him into my office at once.” He glowers.
“And see that we’re not disturbed.”
Mitaka gives a mousey nod, “Of course, sir.”
Hux strides into the office and takes a seat behind his desk. His fingertips flutter over his hair, a quick inspection, before settling, intertwined, on the desktop. With a small buzz, the door opposite the desk opens.
The man that crosses the threshold is not Opan. His hair is a messy slash of gray, and although he carries it well, his cunning face is creased and worn. He’s wearing a brown leather jacket just as threadbare as its owner. Hux is nearly relieved until he recognizes him.
“Mister Solo.” Hux says, leaning back, “This is a surprise, to say the least.” His eyes narrow, “Your wife and I are presently engaged in ongoing litigation.”
“Leia sent me.” Han tells him.
Hux motions behind him, “Do close the door, if you will.”
Han glances over his shoulder and nudges it shut with one heel.
“Surely you must know that I can’t discuss any of the proceedings with you.” Hux says.
Han’s voice is the guttural growl of an aging stray, “It’s not about the case.”
Hux smiles thinly, nostrils flaring, “Are you here to inform me that she’s planning to arrange a visit from Code Enforcement to my establishment? I’m terribly sorry to tell you that we’ve already passed. Zero violations.”
“No.” Han grunts as he shakes his head, “She wants to know what it’ll take for you to stop involving family in whatever mess you two are in.”
“Family?” Hux’s eyebrows cant, “You’re the first family that I’ve had the pleasure of being in contact with, Mister Solo.”
Han growls, “Our son. She wants you to stop getting our son mixed up in all of this.”
“Your son?” Hux combs through his mind for any recollection.
“Listen, kid, don’t play games with me.” Han barks and steps up to the desk, “What do you want?”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.” Hux straightens, lifting his chin.
“Ben.” Han snaps, “You’re- it’s bad enough that you both worked for that fossil. Now Leia says you’re at his apartment, too?”
Hux’s eyes widen, “You-” He pauses, leans back in his chair to take a gathering breath, “...Mister Solo, let me assure you that my presence at the Finalizer is a matter of personal gain unrelated to any legal dealings with Counselor Organa.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Han snorts.
“My god, you really are related.”
“Let’s get to the point, here. Whatever you’re trying to do with Ben, stop. You got it?” Han demands.
“I’m not trying to do anything with him.” Hux muses, the corner of his mouth pricking up, “He’s simply my business partner.” He wonders, distantly, if Snoke selected them from among all the managerial candidates deliberately to prick her, wrinkles his nose at the idea.
“Don’t piss on my boots and tell me it’s raining.” Han scowls, “What do you want?”
“What do I want?” Hux repeats.
“To leave him alone. What do you want?”
Hux nearly laughs, “Mister Solo, I-”
“Look, I know this is some kind of game to you.” Han seethes, “You people, you’ll do anything to get another case under your belt.”
“I’m not-” Hux sighs, “I have no intention of using him to win this case.”
Han arches an eyebrow, “You’re telling me you really like him?”
“No.” Hux tells him emphatically.
He can see the line of his shoulders untense, and Han regards him for a moment with guarded relief, “...So you’re just-?”
“This conversation is no longer relevant to your interests.” Hux cuts him off quickly, “I suggest that you inform Counselor Organa of the same. I have no intention of withdrawing from my business interests.”
“You know she’s not going to believe a word you say.” Han grumbles.
Hux watches him evenly, then releases a thin sniff through his nostrils, “Barring any further interruptions, that’s none of my concern.”
Han leans his weight back on one foot, his hands perched tiredly on his hips, to look over him, “You keep each other on your toes, don’t you?”
“He’s my business partner, Mister Solo.” Hux sneers.
Han steps back, and there it is, that rakish grin that Hux has become accustomed to on younger, more severe features, “Meant Leia.”
Hux feels himself flush and curses under his breath as Han swaggers back through the door.
That he’s at the Finalizer a half hour before the doors is, he tells himself, purely a coincidence. He hasn’t spoken with Ren since their rushed parting that morning, has managed to keep from calling him purely to make him bare his throat at this newfound information. He’s not in the office when Hux arrives, and Hux denies himself, barely, the indulgence of sinking down into his chair. Instead, he takes a seat at his own desk, unseeingly shuffles through the post-it dappled bills and notices atop it.
He nearly jumps when the door clicks open, but redoubles his efforts to appear immersed in paperwork. Ren notes him with an appreciative hum. A few steps carry him to just behind Hux’s chair, where he leans in close to nose into the spot just beneath his ear and scrape his teeth over the skin. Hux shudders.
“Good day?” Ren murmurs against him.
“Mm.” Hux says, “A few minor interruptions.”
Kylo’s palms are on his shoulders, thumbs rubbing into the nape of his neck, “Oh?”
Hux covers his faltering giddiness by turning over a bill and leaning in to examine it. When had he become so accustomed to Kylo leaning over him, Kylo touching him? His hair smells like Hux’s shampoo. He schools his face impassive, “I hadn’t realized I’d been liaising with the heir to a dynasty.”
He feels Kylo stiffen, “What?”
“Of course, I appreciate that paternal threats are a local tradition.” Hux presses on past the way his stomach bucks at the gutted sound of Kylo’s voice, low in his throat, hollow.
Kylo recoils as if struck, flushing, ”You- my-”
Hux swivels his chair to face him. Kylo’s face contorts into a snarl, and he whirls on his own desk to send a stack of files flying with a frenzied swipe of one arm. They scatter to the floor with a pained hiss.
“ Fuck! ” He’s roaring, “God damnit!”
“Ren.” Hux winces, “Enough.”
“They can never just-” Ren growls, and the phone, wires trailing behind it, clatters to the ground. A glass from the night before follows it, and Kylo sets to crushing what remains of it with his heel.
Hux rises from his chair to ball his fists in the back of Kylo’s jacket, “Stop.” He hisses. The thrill of vicious glee that he had expected is absent, his stomach sour with pyrrhic victory and the sight of Kylo’s trembling shoulders, “Stop it.”
Kylo wheels on him, pallid, and Hux grits his teeth. With one slender hand, he reaches for the nape of Kylo’s neck, anchors himself there. He can feel his breath heaving against his chest. Kylo stills beneath his touch, tight.
“Why? He demands, strangled.
“Apparently your mother believed me to be using you to enhance my position in our current litigation.” Hux sniffs.
Kylo groans, and Hux takes the opportunity to brace his other hand against his muscular waist. He can feel him begin to buckle beneath his touch, watches his eyes go glassy and his jaw tense. There’s an aching want in them, the desperate need for a foothold against the idea.
“Absurd.” Hux soothes softly, galled to find himself nearly believing it.
Kylo shivers undone, arching down into him. He wraps a set of long fingers around Hux’s wrist and lifts it from his neck to press his lips into his palm. Hux shudders, barely keeps from cringing. Don’t, he begs himself to say, Don’t. Stop.
“I hate them.” Ren murmurs into his skin, eyes downcast.
Hux hooks his thumb just beneath his chin, tilts his face up once more, “I don’t care what they think. Do you?”
“No.” Kylo spits immediately, and his face flushes.
Hux nods, “Good.”
“You won’t leave?” Kylo breathes.
Hux feels the scrape of it against his insides, like claws baring in, “Don’t be stupid.” He hisses and looks toward the window.
“Shut up.” Kylo grumbles against his temple, “Is it so bad to want you now that Snoke’s not here?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Hux huffs.
“You didn’t-” Kylo’s huffs a sigh, “-You didn’t know him like I did.”
“I seriously doubt that.” Hux drawls.
For a moment, Kylo’s eyes widen, “You didn’t-”
Hux barks a startled laugh, “No. God, no.” He gives a little sniff, “What do you take me for?”
“Oh, thank God.”
“You’re filthy.” Hux says, “Do you know that?”
Kylo swallows, “He told me that you’d-...”
Hux looks back to him, arches an eyebrow, “That I’d what?”
“That the only reason you would ever look at someone like me was to get to him.” He says, “That you’d use me. To try to undermine him. If you even bothered.” The words are spilling out of him, and his grip tightens around Hux’s wrist, “That you wouldn’t bother.”
It hadn’t been an entirely incorrect assessment. Hux has had plenty of reasons to wriggle himself into someone’s bed. Has reasons, he reminds himself. Has Ren, here, splitting open like a bruised peach for him. He runs his thumb along the curve of his jaw, “And you believed him?”
“He said I- that I-” Kylo frowns, “I know I’m ugly. It makes sense.”
Hux feels it again, the sharp, goring regret, and swallows. He feels as if he’s piloting his own body, propelled, heedless and petty, in spite of the churning in his gut, “You wanted me, even then?”
Kylo’s chest jerks, and he pushes a kiss into the pad of Hux’s thumb, “I want you now .” He tells him.
“To fuck me.” Hux chides as he drops his hand, hooks it into one of Kylo’s belt loops.
“Hux…” Kylo exhales, “I-”
“Don’t be an idiot, Ren.” Hux cuts him off quickly, then slots their mouths together to keep him from protesting.
He feels Ren go slack against him, and then he’s gathering Hux into his arms, one enormous hand carding into his hair. Hux hisses against his mouth as a few carefully arranged strands are dislodged, but Kylo only winds his fingers into them, all boyish eagerness. Hux tugs his hips up against his.
“What time is it?” Kylo pants.
“Early enough.” Hux assures him, with a small roll of his hips for good measure.
Kylo tugs the jacket from his shoulders, and Hux sinks back triumphantly onto the now-bare desk.