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  Hux wanted to hit something. Anything. He wanted to punch the steel wall until all the pent up frustration left his body, or until his hand was shattered to dust. Whichever came first. He didn’t, though. Rather, he sat at the end of his bed and stewed in his frustrations. His nails bit into his bare palms, his gloves and coat had been discarded on the desk. There was a dribble of blood on the front of his uniform from where the now deceased Snoke had slammed him to the floor and busted his lip and nearly broke his nose. Hux reminisced bitterly of the days before Snoke had taken over the First Order and turned it into a Force-centric operation. He rued the day that Snoke assigned Kylo Ren to his ship.

  His frustration doubled when the name crossed his mind. His neck was sensitive- likely bruised- from the arsehole choking him with the Force. He was powerless against him now. He wished he’d stayed unconscious just moments longer so Hux could have killed him with his blaster when he’d first found him in the throne room.

  He got up from the bed. It was no use on dwelling on the things he could not change. However, the dread of what was to come hung in the back of his mind no matter how much he tried to think of other things. Ren was mentally unstable and had a one track mind. He would no doubt turn a prosperous starship, one of the biggest in the First Order, into his personal transport vessel. It had been abundantly clear in the three years that he’d been on this ship that he considered it his as much as it was Hux’s.

  Hux groaned. He hadn’t slept in two days. He showered and sent for his uniform to be cleaned. In the mirror he examined the cut on his lip, as well as the surprisingly dark bruise on his collarbone. He applied bacta to the cut, but the bruises would have to heal naturally. The bastard had made them high enough that his uniform wouldn’t even cover them. He wondered if that was intentional, or if Kylo Ren had just found himself lucky. Either way, he wasn’t looking forward to leading his crew the next cycle with a testament to how their leader had been bested by a brat with mystical powers displayed on his throat.

  He collapsed into his bed with a groan. The mattress wasn’t particularly comfortable, but at that moment he would rather be nowhere else. He hadn’t had a full night’s sleep since the Starkiller was destroyed, only short naps whenever he had the time. Snoke had been running him into the ground. The old bastard couldn’t be arsed to lift a finger and do any actual work, he would rather command Hux to do it all for him. Now, he finally had a moment of silence. He sunk into the sheets like a stone in water, enveloped himself in the starchy blanket, and found sleep easily.

  It was short lived, though, as merely five hours later he was awoken by his alarm.

  The dust had settled, then. The Resistance was few and scattered, and as far as Hux was concerned they were victorious but there was much paperwork to be done; mostly regarding Snoke’s death and Ren’s takeover. Memos had been sent that Snoke was dead and Ren had made himself leader, but he needed to discuss with Ren his intentions and their next move regarding the First Order. He doubted Ren had even thought that far ahead, and he dreaded trying to convince him that there were other things of import that didn’t involve that girl.

  He got ready slowly. His caf was cold by the time he reached the bottom of the mug, and he contemplated nursing one more before embarking, but decided against it. Whiskey would be more useful, for the task he was about to endeavour upon, but he decided against that as well.

  Nevertheless, he sent Ren a message requesting a meeting in 0200 hours and went to the bridge.

  It was fairly uneventful on the bridge. They were en route to a fueling station two cycles away, but had no other goals until Ren gave them. Hux was also receiving many requests from other higher ups in the Order for a meeting about Supreme Leadership, but until Ren responded to his request for a meeting it would be fruitless. He had Mitaka send out a “Will advise when new information comes about” notice.

  He was making his regular rounds about the ship when his datapad finally chimed with a message. From Ren, it simply read ‘Fine .’ Frankly, he was pleasantly surprised that Ren even agreed to the meeting. He completed his rounds and moved to his office to prepare.

  Kylo Ren was a few minutes late, but Hux decided that it wouldn’t be his hill to die on. It would be difficult enough to get Ren to cooperate without him pointing out his tardiness. He stood and greeted Ren with a laconic “Supreme Leader.”

  “Sit,” Ren replied once he’d settled into the seat across from him. Hux did.

  “I would like to discuss with you your intentions for this ship and the First Order as a whole going forward,” Hux said. His datapad was open, and he was ready to type out whatever Ren said.

  Ren was quiet for a moment. Hux knew he wouldn’t admit his ignorance on the First Order’s business, so Hux offered it to him. “Would you like a debrief on our current operations?”

  “Fine.”

  Hux held back a sigh as he ran Ren through the current operations of the five biggest starships in the Order, not including the Finalizer . Three of the five ships were conquering Outer Rim territories, while two were establishing bases on already conquered planets for rendezvou.

  “The bruises on your neck are very dark,” Ren said.

  Hux blinked at him. “Were you listening?”

  “Yes.”

  Hux stared at him, but Ren’s eyes were on his throat. The bruises hadn’t faded at all in the last seven hours, but they were less tender.

  “You must bruise so easily,” Ren said.

  Hux stared at him, scowling. Just a few cycles ago he would have barked at Ren to focus, but now he risked Ren inflicting more damage upon his already injured body.

  Upon not receiving a response, Ren reached out and pressed a finger to Hux’s throat. Hux’s first instinct was too flinch away, perhaps hit him for daring to touch him. But instead he stood statue still, glaring at Ren as he wrapped his hand to match the bruises on the right side of Hux’s throat. Hux swallowed, every molecule in his body vibrating with the urge to move away from the rough hand that so easily injured him.

  “You mask your mind so easily, is there something you wish to hide from me, General?” Ren said. His brown eyes were on Hux’s, completely devoid of any emotion.

  “Is it wrong for me to just want privacy in my own head?” Hux said.

  Ren raised his eyebrows. His thumb pressed into the bruise hard and Hux recoiled from the pain. A curse burned at the end of his tongue but he clenched his teeth to prevent it from slipping out. Lest Ren inflict more pain on him.

  Ren seemed satisfied with what he’d done and leaned back in his seat. “Do you have any opinions on our next actions?” Ren asked.

  Hux blinked. He had many, in fact, but it would be unwise to show Ren how eager he was to be in charge. He was sure Ren was well aware of his ambitions, though.

  “Well,” Hux began carefully. “I believe we should lie dormant for some time. What with the sudden change in leadership, and the events of the last few days, it may be wise to take some time and improve upon our defense systems while you learn your duties in the Order.”

  Hux had phrased it carefully, as to not offend Ren in any way. Ren stared at him blankly. Hux could see the gears in his mind working.

 “Very well, advise the others of this plan.”

  He gave Hux no time to reply before he was leaving the office in a hurry, as though he was busy. Hux was annoyed as he was grateful that Ren was out of the room. He sent a memo to the rest of the generals and planned a debriefing meeting for the following cycle. He never liked meeting with them, but it was a necessity. They all seemed so self-important, as though the First Order would collapse if they and their godlike intelligence were the only things keeping the Order together. Hux knew better than to believe this. He was but a cog in the grand scheme of the Order, and he suspected that Snoke would have killed him after the Starkiller was complete. Hells, Snoke likely would have if he’d not informed him of the tracker he’d placed on the Resistance convoy vessel. Now that Ren was leading he felt as though his days were numbered. He wondered if he even cared that Ren would likely kill him as soon as he stopped finding him useful. For the time being Ren was clueless about what to do, and though he would never admit his ignorance he would keep Hux around to guide him. Once Ren had a grasp on his responsibilities Hux would be what he once was to Ren, a nuisance. And now Ren didn’t have Snoke to keep him from striking Hux down.

  However, ever since Snoke’s takeover all those years ago, Hux had felt his attachment to the Order waning. It’s goals changed, the Order was a thinly veiled Force-run operation and had been for some time now. Their objectives and actions had morphed into an entirely different beast than the one he once pledged his life to, and he suspected that things would never return to the way they once were. He could never leave the Order without a guilty conscience, and while he wasn’t suicidal by any means, it wouldn’t trouble him much to know that Ren was going to kill him. Any goals he had for the Order now would never come to fruition with Ren in charge, from henceforth he would forever be at the whim of those with some magical powers that made them untouchable to those without. Death seemed like an agreeable alternative to a lifetime of servitude to Kylo Ren.

  He shook the thoughts from his mind. He had work that needed to be done. He walked to the bridge and relieved Lieutenant General Mitaka from his duties. He was debriefed on the little progress they’d made in the hour or so that he was occupied. They were less than a cycle away from their destination, a fueling station, from whence they would set route to a First Order planet where the Finalizer would be receiving defense and weapons upgrades, presumably. Budgets would need to be assessed, and credits would need to be obtained. The First Order wasn’t in the business of manufacturing weapons, they would need to purchase them from a third party. This was all dull, boring work but it was just what Hux needed after the last few days. Order, peace, something that made sense and could be solved.

  As soon as his shift was completed he hid away in his quarters and began researching the costs of the upgrades per ship. The Finalizer first, as he was most intimately acquainted with her. He was lost in a world of calculations. The numbers calmed his mind until he felt put-together enough to rest. And rest he did, for a full seven hours before he was back to work.

  Hux threw himself into his work. He stayed on the Bridge but remained seated, working on his calculations if he wasn’t needed elsewhere. By the time he was scheduled for the meeting he had figured the cost of upgrading the Finalizer’s defense system to a +/- 10,000 credit margin, which was pretty damn accurate if he did say so himself. For the other ships it would likely be nearly same. Though they were smaller, they were also slightly older than the Finalizer and would need more drastic upgrades.

  The meeting itself was a short one. Ren had given him little in the way of instruction, so the majority of the meeting was spent discussing budget and allocating the credits they had toward upgrades. No one disagreed that the First Order’s ships needed an upgrade, not after a single TIE fighter was able to take down a Dreadnought. There was only logistics that needed to be sorted before they could move forth.

  The Finalizer was docked at the fueling station. It would be hours before the ship was refueled. While they were docked he wasn’t particularly busy, so he walked to the bridge and stared at the stars for a moment. He could map out the stars, how long it would take to reach each one and what planet that orbited each had to offer. It was a skill he’d honed from years of being stuck on a tiny backwoods planet during Academy, wishing desperately he could be anywhere else. He took a deep breath, gazing towards the Coruscant Prime, around which the center of the Galaxy orbited. He’d been to Coruscant once in his life and found it fitting of it’s name- it was a great city which shone like a planet encrusted with thousands upon millions of jewels. He appreciated the planet from a distance though, upon its surface he found it far too chaotic and dirty for his liking. He was told that Ren was born on Coruscant, in one of the rare moments that Kylo Ren talked about his past lives. Fitting, that such a chaotic and lost child be born on that planet.

  As if summoned, Ren appeared beside him. “Stargazing, General?”

  Hux rolled his eyes. “Ah, Supreme Leader. I have nothing else to do while refueling.”

  “Perhaps you might join me in my quarters?”

  Hux looked over at him. Again, his face was carefully blank. Hux considered what Ren might want from him in his quarters, and what his chances were of coming out alive. Still, though it was phrased as an open invitation, Hux didn’t think that declining was on the table.

  “Very well, lead the way,” Hux said. He followed a step behind Ren as he led him to his quarters. Hux had been once before, to summon Ren to a meeting after he’d ignored their messages. He’d half expected Ren to move his quarters after becoming Supreme Leader, though, but it seemed he hadn’t, at least not yet.

  It was still as dark and empty as he remembered. Ren’s bed was large, shoved into a quarter and the sheets unmade. The air was cold and stale, like a house that hadn’t been lived in, but clean. Ren took his cloak off and draped it over the back of the chair.

  “Tell me, General,” Ren started. He pulled out a seat and gestured for Hux to sit. Hux obeyed, still unsure of the leeway Ren was giving him and not feeling particularly keen on getting choked once more. “What did the other generals think of the plan?”

  “They seemed to agree with it, and were quite happy to hear that their ships would be upgraded. We came to the agreement that the Dreadnoughts should be upgraded first. I find it preposterous that a single TIE Fighter should be able to incapacitate a Dreadnought by himself.”

  “Poe Dameron is not an average pilot. He is renowned for his skill.”

  “Yet he is still a single person.”

  Ren stilled for a moment, and Hux worried that he’d somehow crossed a line. But Ren only blinked. “Very well. I do not object to that. However the Finalizer should be the next priority.”

  “Why do you say that?”

  “As the vessel of the Supreme Leader, we shall be targeted quite often,” Ren said simply.

  Hux frowned. Brilliant, all he needed in his life was more Kylo Ren.

  Ren grinned at Hux’s downfallen expression. “You should be honored that the Supreme Leader had picked your ship of all ships in the First Order’s yard to be his personal vessel.”

  “Of course, I’m honored to have such nobility on my ship, my liege,” Hux said, masking the irony in his voice to little effect.

  Something dark flashed in Ren’s eyes, and for a moment Hux braced himself for the tendrils of magic tightening around his throat once more. However, rather than magic it came to be Ren’s own hand, and it was quite gentle. “Even to someone who could kill you with a thought you still cannot control your sharp tongue, General.”

  “My apologies, Supreme Leader,” Hux said, the sarcasm only internal this time.

  Ren moved his hands up from Hux’s neck to trace across his cheekbone. Hux swallowed, fighting the urge to move into the touch. It was as though his mind had turned off at Ren’s fingertips, he could barely formulate a single thought that had nothing to do with Ren’s hands.

  “I doubt your sincerity.”

  Hux suppressed a smirk.

  “With full sincerity I can promise that I will try to work on this, lest I find myself with another set of bruises,” Hux said.

  “Ah, but you look so pretty with my mark on you,” Ren said, baring his teeth in a sardonic grin.

  Hux scowled at him, but for once had no retort. Ren seemed pleased to have shocked him into silence. “That is not, however, what I invited you here to say. I know you don’t like me, General, and I know you would rather have my position, but I value your input. You’re brilliant, I would utilize you more than Snoke had, if you would let me,” he said.

  “You’re asking me to advise you?” Hux said.

  Ren nodded.

  “What would it entail?” Hux asked.

  “When asked you would strategize battles and aid me with any questions I may have. Your regular duties as General will remain unchanged.”

  “Might I have some time to think about it?”

  “If you wish,” Ren said.

  Hux stood. “Thank you, Supreme Leader.”

  Ren considered him for a moment before replying, “There is no need for formalities when we are alone.”

  “Very well, then, Ren. I shall be in contact with you shortly,” he said, and Ren nodded.

  Hux retired to his quarters, with nothing else to do but contemplate Ren’s words. Snoke had never had an advisor, but he’d never cared for anyone else’s input either. Snoke was too prideful to take anybody’s word but his own. Luckily for the Order, he was also clever enough to not run the operation into the ground with his stupidity. Hux didn’t have as much faith in Ren as he did Snoke, which is why his mind was already made up, and had been since the offer first passed Ren’s lips.

  Still, as not to seem eager he would give it a cycle before he responded. Besides, he wanted some time to think over Ren’s words not regarding the job offer before he returned to him.

  Ren had called him pretty . It wasn’t the first time he’d been called pretty, but it was the last thing he would have expected Ren to say to him. Of course, he was calling Hux pretty whilst bearing his mark, but the fact still remained that Ren found him attractive, which was difficult to swallow. He himself wasn’t sure how he felt about it.

  He felt quite like he was back in boarding school, before Academy, fretting over whether his classmate liked him. The feeling felt infantile, and it brought color to his cheeks. He shook the thought from his mind and brought his datapad to him. He had some correspondances from other generals waiting for him, some banal, easily answered questions concerning details about the plan. He typed his responses mindlessly until a notice that the ship was done fueling appeared. He set the datapad away and moved to the bridge.

  Commanding felt as natural as breathing to him, so he had little difficulty clearing his mind of all thoughts not related to work. When his cycle ended and he traded off with Mitaka, he felt more tired than he’d expected. He showered and fell into bed with a sigh, letting his entire being untangle in the starchy sheets.

  It had been a long while since he’d lain in bed with someone. As a General he avoided laying with his coworkers, and fraternizing was frowned upon but not disallowed in the Order. But with Ren, Ren being the only one who outranked him, it would be no trouble should they have a tryst.

  Hux started as the thought crossed his mind. What the hells was he thinking, going to bed with Ren. Ren calls him pretty once, a rather patronizing thing to say to him to begin with, and all of a sudden he’s thinking about bedding him? He shouldn’t be so desperate, he was a high ranking officer in an organization that had bested the Resistance twice now, such lowly urges were unbecoming of him, especially when those urges were directed towards the petulant man-child who called himself Kylo Ren.

  The thought nagged at the back of his mind until the next morning when he conferred with Ren.

  “Come to a decision, have you?”

  Those brown eyes bored into his soul, he felt. He almost wished Ren hadn’t forgone that mask.

  “I would be honored to be your advisor,” Hux said.

  Ren raised his eyebrow. “I’m pleased with your decision, Hux,” he said. Hux’s name sounded odd but not unpleasant falling off of Ren’s tongue. Ren had rarely said his name, never without being prefaced by General. He wondered if there was some kind of game that Ren was playing, with the flattery, the doing away with titles. Ren, though an asshole, was more for blunt force than subtle trickery, though. Still, Hux wasn’t going to become friends with the man just because he needed Hux’s help. He wanted the First Order he’d initially joined back, not this bastardized version run by magicians. If he got the chance, he would kill Ren with no hesitation.

 

  In the following weeks, little actually changed on the Finalizer . They were docked at a First Order base, and their plans were still pending. It would be an estimated three months before work began at all, as all the planning and supply gathering needed to be sorted. Hux was used to the crawling pace of planning. The Starkiller had taken longer to plot out than to actually build.

  Still, they weren’t on a particular deadline but Hux wanted the ships ready for battle sooner rather than later. On the base, and with the Resistance as crippled as it now was, the chances of them finding and attacking the Order were slim to none, but he preferred to be ready for whatever whenever. Battles were seldom expected.

  He suspected that Ren shared his sentiment, because he asked for updates on their plans daily. Hux explained to him that these things take time, but Ren didn’t seem to care. He wanted immediate results, and grew more impatient as the day wore on.

  Hux, however, minded little. Most of his work now involved sitting behind a desk and working on his datapad. As much fun as battle could be, he appreciated the slow paced work tenfold after.

  He was in his office working hard when Ren suddenly entered through the door. Hux found that the worst part of him becoming Supreme Leader was that he suddenly had the access codes to every door in the ship, and didn’t have the manners or basic decencies to knock before entry.

  “Hux, I must speak with you,” he said.

  Hux gestured to the seat across from him, and Ren pulled the chair out and sat.

  “I feel as though things aren’t progressing as fast as they can be. The Resistance was not completely abolished, and it is only a matter of time before they start trying to rebuild their ranks. We must abolish them before they’re able to do so.”

  Hux took a breath. “These things take time. Before we even begin to start building we must calculate costs and obtain the needed credits.”

  “I’m aware, but I cannot see why it is taking so long to calculate.”

  “It has hardly been a week,” Hux said, scowling. “By my estimations the calculations should be done in two cycles. Then begins the process of gaining credits, which will probably take a half year, depending on how high the cost.”

  Ren let the exasperation show on his face, but Hux kept his inside.

  “As I’ve told you many times now, these things take time.”

   Ren scowled. “Watch your tone, General. Have you forgotten the chain of command on this ship? Or should I renew your reminder?” Ren said. Hux felt a wisp of the Force against his jugular.

  He bit back the sneer that threatened to show on his lips. “My apologies, Supreme Leader,” tone as dry as Jakku.

  Ren smirked then, and something in Hux’s stomach jumped. “You try so hard to mask your thoughts, but I can feel the hatred pouring off of you in waves. Every time you say those words, refer to me by my rightful title. It’s a shame that you cannot wield the Force, you would be an effortless Sith.”

  Hux was unsure how to respond, so he didn’t. Rather, he turned his chin up at Ren, maintaining eye contact.

  “How long has it been since you were last in a fight, Hux?”

 The question caught him off guard. “I cannot say for sure. A long time ago, certainly.”

  “Join me in the gymnasium for a match. No Force magic, no weapons.”

  Hux raised his eyebrows. “Even without it wouldn’t be an even match.”

  “Not everything is about victory, General.”

  So they met, Hux still dubious, in the gymnasium. It was empty at this time, with the majority of the ship’s workers asleep or working dutifully at their posts. Hux was relieved for that, at least. Ren would best him, there was no doubt about it. Already Hux had faced humiliation at the hands of Ren in front of his crew, they need not witness one more.

  Hux found a bench and began stripping himself to proper attire. His undershirt and trousers were all that remained. He felt underdressed, but he couldn’t well tussle in his full uniform. Still, he crossed his arms over his torso and met Ren in the middle of the room.

  It seemed that Ren harboured no shame about his own body, as he stood in only his trousers in the middle of the gym. His torso harboured a large scar from the bowcaster the wookiee had shot him with after he’d killed Han. Ren had refused to use bacta to heal the wound, instead letting it heal naturally. The result was a large, marred wound, distinctively visible even against the innumerable other scars on Ren’s person. If he had the figure that Ren did, though, he wouldn’t be ashamed either. He forced himself to look Ren in the eyes but the urge to look down felt all-consuming.

  “On three we shall begin,” Ren said.

  “Well, first we must discuss rules,” Hux interjected. “And how to win.”

  Ren rolled his eyes. “No biting or scratching. Winning requires pinning the other for three seconds or getting the other out of the circle. Is that sufficient?”

  “Yes,” Hux said shortly.

  “Very well. One, two, three.”

  Ren immediately lunged for Hux’s midsection but Hux jumped out of the way. What he lacked in strength he made up for in speed, and it appeared as though a sedentary lifestyle hadn’t sapped that from him. He scurried to a point behind Ren, then tackled him to the ground. It wasn’t long before Ren twisted him around and reciprocated. Ren’s hands shoved at his waist, but Hux moved sideways and freed himself from Ren’s grasp. They both stood, but remained in an offensive position; leaned forward, hands ready to grapple. Ren stepped forward, crowding closer to Hux. Hux’s eyes darted to examine his position relative to the outside of the circle and he found himself dangerously close to the outside. Ren wouldn’t let him walk in further, so he would need to grapple his way back in.

  He lunged for Ren’s midsection quickly and used his advantage of having moved first to turn Ren around so he was facing the inside of the circle. He attempted to pull back but Ren had a hold on his upper arm and yanked him back towards him. Hux temporarily lost his footing, but regained it before Ren could once more tug him towards the edge.

  Hux grabbed Ren’s other arm and tried to shove him, but they both lost their balance and tumbled to the floor, where it then became a fight to pin the other. They grappled, both writhing around the other, unwilling to be pinned. Hux was growing short of breath. Ren had more stamina than him, he hadn’t accounted for the fact but he knew it to be true. He was panting, limbs feeling leaden, when he finally manhandled Ren beneath him and pinned him by the wrists to the mat. It was short lived, as Ren used his knees to grab Hux’s waist and use his weight to flip them over. Hux let go of Ren’s wrists in favor of flailing about, and Ren grabbed them and pinned him. Hux struggled, but he was lacking now in energy so he gave in.

  “I give,” Hux said.

  Ren removed his grip on Hux’s wrists, but didn’t move from his position on Hux’s hips. Suddenly, the position felt too intimate.

  “You put up a hell of a fight,” he said, grinning.

  “All that training for nought, you were nearly bested by someone who hasn’t trained since he left the Academy,” Hux teased, but Ren wasn’t panting like he was. He would hardly call it a close match.

  “Perhaps next time we should do away with the rules. You seem like you prefer to fight dirty,” he said. “I would quite enjoy seeing you fight as you normally would.”

  “Are you saying you’d like me to bite you, Ren?” Hux smirked.

  “I wouldn’t be adverse to it,” he said, meeting Hux’s eyes in a way that felt like a challenge. Suddenly Ren straddling his waist felt like too much and too little at the same time. Ren must’ve detected some change in his emotions because he stood up and offered a hand to Hux. Hux took it, and in one swift motion was pulled back on his feet.

  Hux showered in his quarters and walked back to the bridge afterwards. As much as he loathed to admit it, Ren had been right. His mind felt clearer now, after their tussle. His limbs felt looser as well. During Academy he’d hated exercise. He hated when every breath felt like it was being scraped from the base of his lungs, or the way his entire body would ache for hours afterwards. He’d used to wrestle in Academy, as part of their course on hand-to-hand combat and he’d only ever won when he’d bent the rules to serve him. He was underweight then, the thinnest boy there. The next boy up from him had a fifty pound advantage over him. It was hardly fair, and even victory felt bittersweet when he’d cheated to obtain it. He wondered if Ren was being truthful when he said he’d like a no rules fight with him. He then wondered if that meant he would use the Force.

  His datapad chimed with a correspondence with another general, telling him the calculations on their ship were done. The others would not be far behind. He requested an update on the Finalizer , the largest of the fleet, and found it nearly complete as well. Soon they could move to the next phase. Some generals were already discussing methods of obtaining credits. Mining for metals was on the top of the list. They had many outer rim planets under their control, untapped and ripe for the mining.

  It was a week before every ship was complete. Thus began a long string of tedious meetings with much dispute between the ranks over how to obtain credits. Hux, and most of the other generals, believed mining to be the best option, but many also believed in taking over more planets and raising taxes on the ones they already had.

  “Conquering planets will draw undue attention to our operation,” Captain Cero Gestahl said.

  “The Resistance has been reduced to just a few stragglers,” General Eresi Cinn said.

  “The Resistance isn’t the only group we must worry about. Beings are unpredictable when tampered with. Between rebellion, mutiny, and enforcing our rule after we’ve taken them over it would be much simpler to just mine some uninhabited planet,” Hux interjected.

  It was two grueling hours of back-and-forth argument and another meeting the following day before they came to an agreement. Two fleets consisting of ten ships would go to seperate planets to mine, while just three ships would conquer planets. Unfortunately, Hux had been placed in charge of the conquerors, since his ship was the most battle ready, and Ren, who had chosen to attend the meeting about doling out tasks and none else, wanted to get into battle again.

  The next day he started preparations for battle. He assigned his crew to new tasks, and began plotting a course. He had a few planets in mind, mostly uninhabited with just a few tribes of people with little weaponry and mostly non-existent armies. He had selected a few planets already when Ren came in with some requests.

  “We should strike Bothi,” he said.

   Bothi was an affluent planet, the only inhabited planet orbiting a binary star system. They were practiced in isolationism, they never got involved in battles and never fought a battles unless they were provoked. Despite this, they had a strong, but small army. They were unwelcoming to guests, so while Hux knew they had an army, he knew little of their strategies, exact numbers, what weapons they used, etc.

  “It would be unwise to attack a planet we know little about,” Hux said.

  “They have constant supply ships leaving and entering the planet. If we intercept one of the ships going out I would be able to interrogate them to get whatever information we may need.”

  It wasn’t a terrible idea, but Hux would have preferred to stay with his plan of attacking sparsely inhabited planets. Bothi would be quite the conquest if they could pull it off, but the odds were too unsure for him to feel quite comfortable going through with this.

  Of course, Ren had more of a say in whether they did it or not than he did.

  “I shall put it in the ledger,” he said. “If you insist upon doing this it may be wise to enlist another ship to assist us.”

  “If we must. I’m confident we could do it on our own, however.”

  Hux stared at Ren, eyebrows raised. “It’s best to be over prepared than under. Perhaps we should intercept the ship and get more solid information before we screw ourselves over one bloody planet, yes?”

  Despite Hux’s short tone, Ren didn’t seem offended. “If you insist, General. When are we leaving this planet?”

  “The end of this week.”

  Ren did some mental calculations before speaking again. “It’s three cycles to Bothi, if we use lightspeed the whole time.”

  Hux nodded. “We have enough fuel to do so, but we’d have to stop at a fueling station before we embark elsewhere.”

  They discussed the subject more. The entire time Hux was tense with anticipation of Ren started an argument of some sort, or finding offense in something Hux said. But Ren left his office without issue. He let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, then let his curiousity run. Perhaps Ren had grown soft, or perhaps he liked Hux now, though nothing had really happened to make his opinion on Hux change. Perhaps since the scavenger girl had turned him down he was looking for other avenues to jam his dick. It wasn’t out of the question, Ren had said some oddly flirtatious things as of late to him.

  He forced the thoughts from his mind. He had work to do. He had fifty more planets in his list he wanted to look over before the cycle was through.

  He didn’t see Ren until the day they were set to intercept a supplies vessel from Bothi.

  They were both on the bridge then. The ship was in position, cloaked, and they were waiting for an unwitting vessel to cross their path. There was one on their radar, just leaving the upper atmosphere of Bothi.

  They would have to act fast, intercepting the ships transmissions as soon as they grabbed them so they couldn’t send a distress signal. One silver lining was that Bothi’s isolationist habit meant that their tech was behind the rest of the galaxies, so the Finalizer could easily incapacitate them.

  As soon as the ship was in range they fired their tractor beam and seized it. The small ship went dark, and they began pulling it into their loading dock.

  They were safely in, with Bothi having not a single clue that one of their own had been captured. As soon as the bay doors closed, a group of Stormtroopers were inside the ship, pacifying it’s inhabitants.

  All was said and done in an hour. After they had connected their ship to the cargo ship to extract any information, Hux skimmed through a report detailing the passengers on the ship. It was five beings in total, a small operation. The captain was a woman named Gara Pamm. She was a brutish woman, nearly killed one of the Troopers when they entered the ship. In her cell she was apparently screaming profanities in Huttese and had attempted to spit on anyone who walked past her. He made the trip to the holding cells and found Ren already down there, preparing for the interrogation.

  “Supreme Leader,” he greeted.

  Ren nodded to him.

  “Will you be interrogating the whole crew or just Pamm?” he asked.

  “It depends on whether or not I get sufficient information from Pamm,” he said. “Has anything of note been found in the ships data systems?”

  Hux glanced at his datapad and saw no new information. “Nothing yet. The information was all encrypted, they’re decrypting it now.”

  “I assume you came down here to hear what I’ve got from her. I shall be done shortly if you wish to wait.”

  “How short is shortly?”

  Ren considered this. “Ten minutes.”

  Hux nodded and took a seat while Ren went into the cell block.

  He heard screaming, crying, screaming, curse words, more screaming, before Ren emerged back out looking pleased. “I’ve everything we need,” he said. He tapped his datapad and Hux received a large file containing an outline of their military, strategy, training schedules, et cetera. The woman, Gara Pamm, was a pilot in the army at one point before retiring to be a captain of a cargo vessel.

  “The information may be slightly outdated but I doubt they’ve drastically redone their military in the few years she’s been out of service.

  “We can work with this,” Hux said. He read through the document quickly, scanning for any important information. “I’ll read this through in my office. I believe they’ve finished scanning the ship as well. If you meet me in thirty minutes I’ll debrief you on the information extracted and we can formulate a plan.”

  “Very well. I’ll take care of the prisoners,” he said. His hand went to the saber on his belt. Hux turned on his heel and walked the other direction to his office.

  Once in his office he began dissecting the information from both Ren and the ship. There was a lot of it, but he was particularly interested in defense and military. The planet was as well defended as any planet, perhaps a little more. They specialized in air-to-air and naval combat, as the planet was mostly ocean with a large continent and some small islands where it’s inhabitants lived. They had a fleet of TIE fighters and some boats. Upon looking into the models they had he found that the naval division’s maximum range and power would be of no concern to the Finalizer. The TIE fighters were the Empire’s models as well, older than Hux. His main concern was the army. Hux had five thousand Stormtroopers aboard the Finalizer at the moment. They were outnumbered two to one. They had superior weapons, yes, but after the battle with the Resistance they were in disarray. He’d yet to appoint a new captain to lead the army as well, since Phasma had been temporarily incapacitated in the battle. She hadn’t made a full recovery yet and she still had a month left on her recommended medical leave. He could lead them, if he must. He hadn’t led a battalion in a long time, though, but with all the information they’d been given, it should be simple.

  The door buzzed as someone on the other side requested entry. He granted it, and Ren walked in.

  “Hux,” he greeted.

  “Ren. Have a seat.”

  “We must discuss strategy. It’s to my understanding that we are limited in terms of troops and weapons.”

  Hux nodded. “Yes, we are. However, from the information we got on the ship, correlated with the information we got from Pamm, Bothi’s artillery and air fleet are vastly outdated. We still stand a chance, especially if we stick to air-to-air combat. We should limit ground battles, as they outnumber us two-to-one.”

  Ren agreed, so they began working out the fine details.

  It was several hours before they finished, with plans to attack in just a few days. Hux immediately began tasking his crew with readying their battalion, then retired to his quarters for the night. The next few days were to be busy, he would need whatever rest he could get.

  On the day of the battle, Hux woke early into the first cycle. The ship was quiet as he walked the bridge, double and triple checking that all was as it should be. As the crew slowly filtered into the bridge they began preparations.

  They were ready soon after.

  Ren joined Hux on the bridge, standing by his side as they travelled to the surface of the planet. The hood of his cloak shadowed his face, but Hux could still see his eyes, focussed like steel on nothing in particular.

  When they entered the atmosphere of the planet they were almost immediately contacted by the leader.

  “Incoming transmission from President Yvassk Foss.”

  “Accept it,” Hux said. He paced to the communications console, hands clasped tight behind his back.

  As soon as they were connected Foss spoke. “You are intruding upon a privately governed planet. State your intentions.”

  “I am General Hux, from the First Order. Our intentions are to take your planet either peacefully or by Force. Which will you choose, President Foss?”

  There was silence for a moment. “We of Bithos will not stand down and let our planet be pillaged by you monsters,” Foss said, voice booming with anger.

  “Very well then.” He gestured for the transmission to be ended. “Deploy the TIE fighters,” he said.

  From the bottom of the ship came four TIE fighters.

  The city descended into chaos immediately. The enemy TIE fighters hadn’t yet been released so they fired on the buildings, trying to cause as much damage as possible before they were met with resistance. It wasn’t long before a fleet of enemy fighters finally met them for battle. Hux watched, giving orders where he saw fit, but it was obvious that Bithos hadn’t seen battle in a long time.

  “Charge the cannons. Aim them at the barracks at the TIE hangar,” Hux said, pointing to where the enemy fighters were pouring out from. Hux intended for this battle to end quickly. It wasn’t victory he was after, it was a white flag.

  “Charging cannons. Fire in five minutes.”

  Suddenly, Ren interjected. “No, aim them at the grey building,” he said.

  “That’s housing barracks. They’re likely empty,” Hux said, carefully containing his scowl.

  “Do you dare question my orders, General?”

  Hux sucked in a breath. “No, Supreme Leader. Fire at the empty building if you so wish,” he gritted out.

  Ren looked at him sidelong, eyebrows furrowed.

  “Two TIE fighters down, three left.”

  “How many enemy fighters are there?” Hux asked.

  “Twelve.”

  “Deploy ten more. Five should aim at the hangar, the rest should aim at the enemy fighters,” Ren interjected.

  “Cannons ready to fire in ten, nine, eight.”

  Hux kept his eyes trained on the housing barrack. Ren must know something, if he were going to waste a cannon strike on the building. He wanted to be proven wrong.

  “Cannon firing.”

   A bright light temporarily bathed the entire city in red, and suddenly there was a large explosion that decimated the entire building. Hux could see the skeletal carcass of a massive ship, a warship of some sort, hidden in an underground bunker beneath a housing barrack.

  Ren looked smug, Hux felt the urge to punch that smirk off his face, but instead he just rolled his eyes. “Charge the cannons again, aim at the hangar.”

  “The enemy TIE fighters are retreating.”

  “Retreating? They would never give up so easily,” Hux said.

  “Incoming transmission from President Yvassk Foss.”

  “Accept,” Ren said before Hux could speak He swept over to the communications console.

  “Retreating so soon,” Ren asked.

  “Who am I speaking to?” he asked, not recognizing Ren’s voice.

  “Supreme Leader Kylo Ren. We’ve destroyed your only chance of defeating us, so you wish to come groveling on your knees begging for mercy?”

  “I wish to negotiate a treaty. I’ve sent the coordinates to a conference room in which we may meet for a discussion. I’m calling for a cease fire, it would only be honorable for you to as well.” Foss’ tone was carefully moderated as to show no emotion.

  Hux nodded towards the weapon commands, and they all deactivated their weapons.

  “We shall be there,” Ren said, then ended the transmission. The console chimed with an incoming message. “General, meet me in your office,” Ren then said before sweeping out of the bridge. All eyes were suddenly on Hux. He took a deep breath before marching after Ren.

  “He’s going to try to betray us at the meeting tomorrow.”

  “Why do you say that?” Hux asked. He was at least mostly sure that Ren couldn’t read minds from distances as great at the one from the Finalizer to the president’s house several miles away.

  “Bithos has had many attempts upon its independence. They will hardly submit to one group finding their secret warship. They will try to assassinate us both once we’re in the meeting, leaving the Order leaderless.”

  Hux considered this. “You speak as though you have a plan already,” Hux remarked.

  Ren smirked. “I do.”

  They went bright and early to the surface of the planet the next day. The meeting hall was built right on the seaside, so he could taste the salt from the ocean nearby on his tongue every time he opened his mouth. It was a beautiful place, with tall trees bracketing the entryway to the hall, no clouds in the sky to obscure the suns, and a wonderful view of the crystal clear ocean to look at.

  The inside of the conference hall was somewhere on the line between elegant and garish. Everything was gold and burgundy, with ornamental swirls and velvet. Hux raised his eyebrows as he examined the place. The servant who had led them in ushered them to the last door on the left, to a heavy golden door. They entered into a large room with a single dark wooden desk on the wall to the left. Parallel to the door was a large window, tinted as to not overpower the room with the sunlight. Still, it lit the room quite brightly while still giving a spectacular view of the sea. Once they owned the planet Hux would like to revisit. The sunny seaside here was much cheerier than the dismal, turbulent oceans of Arkanis.

  “President Foss will be with you momentarily,” the servant said, her voice clipped as the unfamiliar language fumbled around her mouth. +

  “Thank you,” Hux said. She bowed deeply before hurrying off. Hux took a seat at the desk and waited patiently.

  “ There’s wiretaps ,” Ren said suddenly in Hux’s own mind..

  Hux jolted at the unfamiliar voice, knees hitting the bottom of the desk painfully, but he composed himself.

  “ Remember the plan ,” Hux said.

  Hux nodded sat up straighter in his seat, squared his shoulders.

  The door opened and Hux stood. Ren remained seated.

  “General Hux, Supreme Leader Ren, pleased to finally meet you in person. I’ve brought with me my Vice President Keicho Baz and my Head of Treasury Rui Renaruz.”

  Hux shook both their hands and greeted them pleasantly, though he could feel the look of disapproval Ren was giving the back of his head.

  “I was very much hoping we might come to an agreement today.” Foss slid into his seat. “Of course, we also got reports that a cargo vessel that was slated for return today hasn’t. Am I correct in assuming that was your doing?”

  Hux raised his eyebrows at him. It was a bold move indeed to be accusatory towards someone he was looking to bargain with. Of course, if Ren was correct he wasn’t looking to bargain here. The way his fingers twitched where they rested on the surface of his desk, he assumed Ren was correct. And Foss wasn’t accustomed to situations like this.

  His supposed vice president and head of treasury looked cool and collected, steely eyes on Hux and Ren respectively.

  “ They’re going to be the ones to shoot ,” Ren told him in his head. “ You talk to Foss, I’ll keep an eye on them .”

  Hux gave an apologetic look. “You are correct. Your government is very closed off. We needed to get information before we attack.”

  “Attacking a non-military vessel is an act of war,” Foss said, his tone grim.

  “Yes. So if firing upon a military base. I assumed we were past this and in the bargaining phase.”

  Foss swallowed. “Yes, bargaining. What were your intentions for laying siege upon our peaceful planet?”

  “Credits. You’re a wealthy little planet, to my understanding.”

  “Renaruz and I discussed last night and we came to a number that might satiate the First Order into leaving our planet be. For a complete ceasefire and the First Order never comes after us again, we would be willing to part with 1,000,000 credits.” Foss looked between Ren and Hux.

  “A million credits? If we bomb out your planet and pillage the remains we can get five times that,” Ren spoke.

  Foss swallowed again. Ren intimidated him. Hux did as well, but it was a more carnal fear towards Ren. He looked towards Renaruz, and Ren’s fingers twitched toward his saber. Hux remained still, unphased about the building tension in the room. Ren was ready to kill, he was just waiting for his cue.

  “Any more than that would financially cripple us,” he said. “Have mercy, we’re just a tribe of beings trying not to get wrapped up in the messy politics of the Galaxy.”

  Hux raised his chin. “I’ve atomized five planets, and would have destroyed more had the Resistance not stepped in. I care little for mercy, President Foss.”

  The twitchy fingers on the desk tapped out a pattern: index, pinky, thumb. It was subtle, but they were all looking for it. Quick as a whip the two beings on either side of him drew their blasters and fired, but Ren was quicker, stopping the bolts in mid air. Foss let out a startled cry, but Hux had his blaster drawn and trained on his forehead.

  “I do not intend to come to an agreement here, Foss. The First Order does not compromise, especially not with insignificant little worms like you. We will take what we want and only then will we leave.”

  Foss nodded. His two hired assassins struggled against the bonds of the force. Ren watched, one leg slung over the other, looking unbothered. Hux felt a thrill go up his spine. He’d forgotten how much enjoyment he got from this sort of thing.

  He pulled the trigger and Foss was no more. Ren finished off the other two with the flick of a wrist. Once he and Hux had moved the blaster bolts continued on their path and hit the velvet wall to little effect.

  Hux made the order back to his crew to land on the city. They would face little resistance without their leader to lead them, but what little resistance they did face would be easily impeded.

  Hux stationed troops of Stormtroopers at the most populous areas to stand guard against any unruly citizens, then sent a message to the next in charge, the true vice president. That evening she sent out a holo to all citizens announcing their surrender.

  Hux finished his evening by sending a message to the generals announcing his takeover of Bithos, then retired to his quarters to celebrate. He’d lifted some gin from contraband and sat himself on his sofa with the intent to finish the entire bottle before the cycle was through.

  Of course, Kylo Ren had to interrupt him. Hux was in good spirits though, he wouldn’t let Ren put a damper on his mood.

  “You’re drinking?” Ren noted first.

  “Celebrating. We did swimmingly today,” Hux said. “Join me for a glass.”

  Ren stared at him for a moment before sitting across from him. “I’ve never had gin before.”

  Hux poured him a glass. “You’re not missing much. Some people find it disgusting.”

  “But you like it?”

  “More than other liquors, yes. I’m not an avid drinker, though.”

  Ren sipped his glass and Hux watched. He was slightly surprised when Ren didn’t make a face or spit it out, like he’d half-expected him to do.

  “Can I ask a personal question?”

  Hux raised his eyebrows. The fact that Ren was even asking for permission was a sign that it was something Hux didn’t want to discuss. “Can I say no?”

  Ren sipped his drink again. “Let me ask, and you choose whether or not you want to answer. What was your family like?”

  Hux was taken aback by the question. Why did Ren care? He assumed it was something to do with what had all happened recently, with his mother and uncle, and the girl. Perhaps he knew Hux’s childhood was shit as well and wanted him to relay it so he felt better about his own fucked life.

  “Well, my mother was a servant, my father was a commandant in the Galactic Empire. As soon as I was born I was put into the care of nanny droids until I was old enough to begin Academy at eight years old.”

  “Did you ever meet your mother?”

  Hux swallowed and ran his finger over the rim of his glass uncomfortably. He silently cursed Ren. Of course he could find some way to instantly sour Hux’s evening. “No, my father killed her after I was born.”

  Ren stared at him for a spell. “Your father died not very long ago, did he not.”

  Hux’s eyes snapped up to Ren’s face. “Yes.”

  Ren took a long draw from his glass, perhaps sensing the turmoil in his gut. Phasma had made sure Brendol’s assassination couldn’t be traced to either of them. If Ren somehow knew he would be quite shocked. He could have pulled it from Phasma’s mind, but he couldn’t understand why he would do so, or why he would care that Hux had killed his father at all. Ren had killed his own father as well. Ren wasn’t a rational being, though. He could somehow twist his intents into a treasonous thing. His superiors certainly would.

  “I see. I’ve heard rumors but I wasn’t sure they were true until your display today. I’ve never seen you so merciless before.”

  “Do you forget the Starkiller so soon?”

  “There’s a difference between pressing a button and shooting someone with your blaster.”

  “I didn’t poison him myself either.”

  “Oh?”

  Hux was hesitant to talk about it, but he doubted Ren was going to turn him in to the council.

  “I sent Phasma to do my bidding. I would have liked to strangle the bastard myself but I wasn’t throwing my rank and the years of work I had put into achieving it for that bastard.”

  Ren considered this. His cup was empty now, with Hux’s still mostly untouched.

  “Will this be a problem going forth?” Hux asked.

  “On the contrary, General. If we are to defeat the Resistance and the Jedi we will need ruthless people like you and I in charge.” He looked down at his empty glass and set it on the desk. “When you aren’t busy tomorrow we shall confer.”

  He stood abruptly and was gone as soon as he’d arrived. Hux considered his glass for a moment before swallowing the last of it down and pouring another.

~

  Hux was quite busy in meetings and planning the takeover of Bithos the following day. It was towards the end of the final cycle that he finally had a moment to squeeze in Ren’s meeting. He assumed it was about Bithos, so he messaged Ren that he was available to meet in his office. Ren messaged him to meet him in his quarters instead.

  He arrived and requested entry, which was immediately granted. Ren was sitting on the edge of the bed, and when Hux stepped in he stood up.

  “Hux.”

  “Ren. What did you need to discuss.” He leaned against his desk and Ren stood in front of him, just a few paces away. His proximity made Hux nervous, but he had little space to move away

  “Ever since I first boarded the ship, I could sense your unease with the First Order,” Ren began.

  Hux stared at Ren, unsure and slightly afraid of where he was going with this.

  “You distrust the Force,” Ren continued. “You distrusted Snoke, and me. You longed for the way things were. We hadn’t truly discussed what the future of the First Order shall be, now that Snoke’s gone. I thought we might now.”

  “Oh?” Hux said. His anxiety wavered, but didn’t disappear. Ren, though he was much calmer as of late than Ren had ever seen him, was still unpredictable.

  “I understand that you were among the first generals to be appointed during the First Order’s creation?”

  “Yes,” he said.

  “And Snoke had you do much of his work?”

  Again, Hux said, “Yes.”

  “I’ve decided to take note of the Galactic Empire and create the rank of Supreme Commander. You will be in charge of the entire military of the Order, answering only to me,” Ren said.

  Hux could barely contain the smile that threatened to break out on his face, though he was sure that Ren could feel it through the Force.

  “Truly?” he said, forcing down his grin.

  “I’ve worked with you for many years now. I can feel your passion for the First Order, the true Order, not Snoke’s First Order. I will grant you the power to restore it to what you believe it should be.”

  “Hells,” Hux said “I don’t know what to say besides, thank you, Supreme Leader, for this opportunity. I will not disappoint you.”

  “I know you won’t,” Ren said. There was a brief moment of silence, of Hux staring wide-eyed and happier than he’d been in his whole life, and Ren’s face carefully blank, his eyes on Hux’s lips.

  Perhaps it was the good spirits Hux had been put in, or perhaps it was the fact that Hux wanted it as well, but he delicately closed the gap between them and kissed Ren. It was brief, but Hux didn’t pull away far before Ren had a hand on either side of Hux’s jaw to draw him back in. They were much more frenetic this time, sloppy and dirty in their attempt to draw each other closer. Something in Hux had awoken at Ren’s touch, a suppressed sexuality he hadn’t the time or energy to express when he was being worked like a fathier under Snoke’s rule.

  Ren’s head dipped into the crook of his neck and Hux full-body shivered when he felt Ren’s teeth tracing over where his bruise once lay. He rutted against him, hips stuttering with a desire to find friction. Ren turned them around and pushed Hux onto the bed. Hux’s legs came up to wrap around Ren’s hips, holding him so he couldn’t move. When Ren pulled away from his neck, satisfied with the mark he’d made, Hux’s mind had a chance to regain itself. He pushed Ren off of of him just enough to undo his belt. As soon as the garment was tossed aside Ren stuck his hands up his uniform and closed them around his waist. There was still a layer of clothes blocking his hands from skin-to-skin contact, which Ren made quick work of. He was eager, his hands fumbling as he undid the buttons on his uniform. Hux watched his hands, his long fingers so deft when they manipulated the force but the promise of seeing Hux unclothed reduced him to a clumsy teenager

  “How long have you wanted this, Ren?”

  Ren looked up at him, met his eyes. “Since I first boarded the ship,” he said. Then he added, “I haven’t known that long. At first I thought I hated you. It was years before I realized my hatred was because you felt unobtainable. You hated me, looked upon me like I was dirt. Of course,” his hand pushed up the white undershirt, gracing over his skin. Hux subconsciously pressed into the touch. “Here you are now.”

  “What is that supposed to mean?” he scowled, but the way his voice wavered when Hux’s hands found the hem of his boxer-briefs undermined any venom in his tone.

  “Well,” Ren said. “You’re underneath me now, squirming like you haven’t been fucked in years.”

  Hux raised his chin and tightened his grasp around Ren’s waist. “I haven’t been fucked since Academy, in fact. Do you wish to end my dry spell?”

  Ren’s eyes darkened. “Yes.”

  Hux pulled him down into another kiss while Ren finally finally freed his cock from the constraints of his pants. It was brief, and Ren shoved him away with orders to undress fully. Hux did, setting everything neatly on the desk while Ren discarded his own clothes into a pile. When they were both unclothed they took a moment to appreciate each other. Hux had already seen Ren shirtless, but completely nude was another thing entirely. It was obvious that much of Ren’s adolescence was spent training. He was built well, a honed weapon. His body resembled the ones in the trashy holos he used to sneak onto his datapads in his youth, utilized behind a locked door and promptly erased afterwards lest someone find them. He used to think their bodies were unrealistic, but there was Ren before him, looking every inch like a model. Of course, he had more imperfections than the models. He had numerous scars; a large one on his side from the bowcaster, one on his collarbone, one over his stomach like a knife slash. It wasn’t off putting, though. On the contrary, in fact. Hux felt the odd compulsion to trace everyone with his fingers and mouth.

  “Do you have supplies?” Hux asked.

  Ren frowned in confusion for just a moment before opening his drawer and producing lubricant and a condom.

  Hux, satisfied, climbed back up onto the bed and spread his legs. “Do you want to open me up or should I do it myself?”

  Ren’s swallowed. “Can I?”

  Hux tossed him the bottle, which he caught. Hux laid back on the bed. “How do you want me?”

  “Just like this,” Ren said, then climbed between his knees. Hux stared at him, wanting to tangle his fingers in his hair again. Ren’s fingers traced over his inner thigh and Hux shivered.

  “Get on with it,” Hux said, meaning to come off as in control but sounding exactly opposite. Ren smirked and Hux looked anywhere but at him.

  “Of course.”

  He popped open the bottle and applied a generous amount to his fingers. Hux raised his hips up and Ren got to work. He teased the rim first. Hux shivered. He hadn’t been lying. His life had been so busy since he left Academy that he hadn’t had time for anything but a listless wank in the shower. Even someone else’s hands on his body felt incredible.

  Ren slid his first finger in slowly. Hux was definitely out of practice. The first finger was anything but pleasurable at first, but Ren, either seeing Hux’s obvious discomfort or feeling it through the Force, went slow. Once he was all the way in he pulled back out. Hux held his breath as he delved back in. This time, Ren found his prostate, and while the discomfort didn’t go away completely much of it moved away to make way for pleasure. He let out an awkward strangled moan, which he immediately felt embarrassed about but the way Ren let out a sharp breath of air told him that he’d liked it. He’d learned to contain his sounds of pleasure during Academy, something told him that that would have to be unlearned in Ren’s bed.

  The build from two to three fingers took much less time than the first, and before long Hux felt himself teetering on the edge. Ren pulled away from him abruptly, and Hux gasped. Ren didn’t seem to care. He sat back on his heels, Hux’s leg still tossed over his shoulder, and applied the condom. Hux was panting, already a mess, and they hadn’t even begun the main act yet. Ren still looked mostly composed, albeit his hair was a mess (from Hux), and his pupils were so wide that he could hardly see the color of his iris. Hux wanted to see him as wrecked as he was.

  “Ready?” Ren asked, interrupting. Hux nodded.

  There was little stretch when Ren pushed inside of him. Ren had done well opening him up, Hux reflected. It was his last legible thought before Ren started moving inside of him, brushing that spot with the tip of his cock in every other stroke. He used one hand to hold up Hux’s hips and the other to brace himself over Hux. Hux pulled him down by the hair into a kiss, but it was sloppy, messy, a desperate and uncoordinated press of lips. Hux moaned into his mouth and Ren rewarded him with a rougher pace. He dug his nails into the back of Ren’s neck, down to his shoulders, leaving light pink welts like the flowers that bloomed in the tall grass fields of his home planet. Ren seemed to like the pain, and a disembodied memory appeared in his brain reminding him of their conversation in the gym. He didn’t think at all before he dug his teeth into Ren’s bicep. Not hard enough to break skin, but it would certainly leave a mark. Quid pro quo. Unexpectedly, with a jarring stutter of his hips, Ren came right then.

  He had the decency to finish off Hux with his hand before he collapsed, panting, beside Hux. They were both spent. Hux felt like he was ten years younger, though the way his lungs burned from the exercise reminded him of his age. Still, he felt better than he had in years.

  It was a moment before he’d regained enough energy to get up. He located a rag in the bathroom and wetted it enough to clean the cum from his chest. He tossed it in a pile of clothes that he assumed was dirty. Ren wasn’t messy, per se, but he certainly wouldn’t describe him as organized. He turned back to the mirror and ran his fingers over the bruise on his neck. It would be mostly covered by the collar of his uniform, but there was a chance that it would be slightly revealed as he moved. It would be more difficult to explain than the previous bruises Ren had left. Damn him and his odd fixation with Hux’s neck. And damn himself for his odd fixation on Ren bruising him. Boundaries would have to be set if this was to continue.

  He frowned at himself in the mirror. Ren had seemed to have more… romantic feelings for Hux. And while Hux certainly wasn’t in love with him his feeling weren’t platonic.

  He left the bathroom and found Ren sitting on the edge of the bed. He entered the bathroom next to wash his hands. Hux sat on the side of the bed.

  “So,” Hux began. “What are we now?”

  “Must we put a word to it?” Ren said laboriously. He flopped down onto the bed behind him, face down.

  Hux scowled at him. “Well, me must establish rules at the very least. Are we exclusive? Do we share quarters?”

  “If you sleep with anyone besides me I’ll kill them. And I would prefer to keep our individual quarters but share a bed. Our relationship shouldn’t be open to the public, it will invite criticisms and the other generals undermining your achievements,” Ren said. “You don’t seem like the type for public displays of affection anyways.”

  If nothing else, Ren seemed to have a firm understanding of the acrimonious nature of the other generals. “And what if you sleep with someone besides me?”

  Ren turned to meet Hux’s eyes. “I wouldn’t want to.”

  Hux swallowed. “How can you say for sure so soon into this?”

  “I haven’t had the desire to sleep with another since I met you.”

  Hux felt overwhelmed by the words, but moreso he felt the urge to pull Ren into another bruising kiss. The idea of Ren being so single-mindedly dedicated to him was… nice. It made his heart feel full.

  He laid on the bed beside him. It was a large bed but they nearly touched at several points. As soon as his head hit the pillow a wave of fatigue. He climbed under the blankets and propped his hands behind his head.

  “Going to sleep so soon? I’d hoped we could go for another round tonight,” Ren teased.

  “I’m older than you, I haven’t the drive that you have. We have tomorrow, though. Tomorrow is my rest day. However, I’m still on call and I shall not ignore my duties for sex,” he said.

  “I wouldn’t expect you to,” Ren said, grinning. He climbed underneath the covers and, with a wave of his hand, the lights were off. “Good night, Hux.”

  After a moment of silence, Hux scooted close enough to throw his arm possessively over Ren’s torso. Ren looked surprised at the display of affection, but he said nothing.

  “Good night, Ren.”