Outside of the viewport, the galaxy unfurls at his feet, ripe and ready for the taking, and yet Hux feels only dissatisfaction and day-old bruises.
The vantage point—that of the Supreme Leader’s accommodations on the Finalizer—is correct, but the perspective is all wrong. Ever since Ren jerked awake in the gore and wreckage of the throne room and Hux’s hand relaxed on his blaster, the world has been upside down. In the immediate aftermath of Crait, there had been plenty to occupy him, but now he must turn his attention to the matter he’s been avoiding.
That matter being both the near-profane fact of Ren’s ascension, of Ren just taking the throne Hux has been sidling up alongside to his entire career—and how Hux will have to move quickly to incorporate it into his own plans, before it’s too late for him to turn this to his own advantage.
Silences, he thinks sourly, shaking his head to quiet his discontent. They can tempt even the well-ordered mind to unruliness. No doubt that’s Ren’s—still Ren, always Ren, no matter what may come—intention, inviting him to join him at the viewport and leaving him in the lurch, just to see how he’ll react.
He sees Ren’s intention to speak out of the corner of his eye before the man says anything; clasping his hands, setting his chin, keeping his eyes steadily and deliberately fixed on some far, already dead star.
“You were going to kill me,” Ren says. Hux says nothing, but Ren continues as if he had protested: “In the throne room. When I was unconscious.”
Hux had thought he was tired before Crait, but there’s a galaxy of difference between debilitating physical fatigue and the bone-deep weariness he now feels, a weariness whose inertia brushes against hysteria. He feels both trapped and relieved.
“Would you have done any different?” Hux asks, glancing over.
Ren looks at him then, looks at him in a way he hasn’t in years—appraising but, miraculously, impressed.
Violence has always lain between them—unspoken, even if occasionally expressed. Perhaps now, after everything, is the time to speak of it openly, this now Hux had never thought to plan for, because Snoke would either be alive or dead by Hux’s own hand were the wheel of the universe as firmly in his hands as he’d once thought.
Hux won’t apologize for what he’s done. And Ren does not appear to be providing any absolution. Nonetheless, the tension between them shifts and slackens—only to again grow taut in a different way as Ren shifts his weight, subtly imposing on Hux’s personal space just as he’s imposed on Hux’s carefully crafted plan for the galaxy.
They share a sidelong glance.
“I’ve been reconsidering our relationship to one another,” Ren says. Despite how vague his words are—contemptible mystic!—there’s something… specific in how his eyes fall on Hux now. If Hux has been glancing at Ren out of the corner of his eye these past few days, motives and machinations carefully hidden from view, Ren’s naked gaze leaves nothing to the imagination.
This, too, has always lain between them, as a companion to violence—a temptation that has always served as its own boundary. As tempting as Ren has been—especially when they first met, all heavy mouth and careful eyes and grim eagerness—Hux has never dared. If Ren felt the same, or was forbidden by the laws of his order to even know that about himself, Hux did not know; he only knew that Ren’s hand only ever landed on him in violence.
When Ren’s gloved hand lands on him now, gripping his elbow, he doesn’t start. Instead, he looks into Ren’s eyes. If they can speak of violence now, he thinks, almost lightheaded, then they can certainly speak of this.
Hux tilts his chin up—whether to goad Ren to affection or aggression, even he doesn’t know. “Supreme Leader,” he says, softly.
Ren’s eyes drop darkly to his mouth, and he places a firm hand on the back of Hux’s head to nearly suffocate him in an unstudied kiss.
Ren’s aggressive ardor doesn’t surprise Hux, even as he feels overwhelmed by the attention. Without Snoke, there is no one left to make Ren heel, to pull on his leash when he becomes too eager or single-minded.
Hux spreads his hand against the pleasing firmness of Ren’s chest, standing his ground and correcting Ren’s form. He encourages Ren’s lips open, slotting their mouths more perfectly together. Ren makes a startled noise, suspiciously similar to a groan, as Hux slips his tongue into the slick, feverish heat of his mouth, and it all comes together in Hux’s head, even as he feels a corresponding heat answer within him.
If the First Order is to rise to glory as he has foreseen it with Kylo Ren on the throne, then he will will have to fasten a new lead for the Supreme Leader, one made of stranger and more intimate materials. The world has been turned upside down, true, but now he sees that nothing truly of import has changed.
There is, at last, a path forward.
Hux breaks off the kiss, warding off Ren’s still-seeking mouth; his full lips are wet and shining, as obscene-looking as Hux had always hoped.
“There’s only us now,” Ren says, voice low and steady, but there’s something desperate in his eyes.
“That’s all there needs to be,” Hux says, carefully, and tightens his grip.