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drop the curtain, blow out the candles

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Kylo doesn’t want to agree. The mission is innocent, simple, and boring, not his regular thing - escort rich nobleman to his wedding. He hasn’t spent years in rigid training to be a guard of honor. He wouldn’t even consider it but an informant told him the family of the man offered a generous amount of money for the one day job. Kylo is short on money, as always; he’s never developed a habit to count them. Therefore, he decides to go to the meeting and learn more details.

The meeting place is as odd as the job. Instead of an inconspicuous bar, or park, they are meeting at a lavish restaurant at the top of the Harmony Tower, the taller building in the city. He is greeted by a man in a suit and is lead to a private room with a panoramic view of the city, where another man is waiting for him. He is old, with a wrinkled face and grey beard. Despite being a foreigner here Kylo knows who the man is, every soul who cares about country politics even a little bit knows him.

During their secret encounter, he finds out that the mission is not so much about being a guard to the man, but to participate in some elaborate pre-wedding performance. Arkadian people have an odd tradition where, if a pair doesn’t want a big celebration, the bride or groom-to-be must be “kidnapped” from their parent’s house and “against their will” brought to the secluded location for a ceremony.

If Kylo agrees he will get access to the defense plan of a family’s castle, the exact location of his pretense victim's bedroom, and their guards will be notified and will let him in. All he needs to do is to act as an intruder, break into the bedroom — preferably through the window — capture the man and bring him to a small house in local mountains where the wedding will happen.

The only obstacle will be a somewhat real fight with the man. According to Brendol, his client and father of the groom, to show love and devotion groom-to-be needs to resist and pretend as much as possible.

“The harder the resistance the stronger the love is and happier will be marriage. This tradition came from the ancients’ time. Back then a warrior could capture any person they found attractive, perform a ceremony, consummate the marriage and after that, the family of a victim could not seek revenge. But you aren't interested in history lessons, are you Lord Ren?" he tells Kylo with a condescending smile. Lord wasn't his title, that was from another order, and the old bastard probably knows about that. Kylo decides not to correct him and nods. 

"But it’s still customary to tell the kidnapper that the wedding is unwanted. The victim needs to show that they are chaste, and want to protect this so nobody would think ill of them." he cringes his nose, like he smells a fart and sips his brandy "The ritual is often done by friends of a groom, or a groom himself, but rich families like ours can afford to hire … hm … help for more authenticity. My son is going to fight pretty hard. Armitage is madly in love, so he begged me to organize this thing. I can’t tell him no, I spoiled the boy, but he is the only son I have. All this ceremony is romantic nonsense but it also quite efficient,” his client smiles. This one looks more sincere "Can you imagine how much money I will save on a wedding feast?"

"I see your point, sir," Kylo says as politely as he can, but it nevertheless sounds fake. He is not used to speaking directly with nobles, regularly taking orders through their attendants. But, as Brendol told him, he wanted to meet personally to organize everything perfectly for his precious son.

The tradition seems strange, but who he is to judge others? In his culture, they have a custom for a groom (or an older person in a couple) to wash the feet of bride’s (younger person’s) mother during the change of dishes, which looks as revolting as it sounds. There’re a lot of strange things in the land of Arkanis. Traditions are traditions,  and money is really good so after negotiations, he agrees to take the mission.

"My son, though it was his idea, doesn’t know about specific details of the plan. Not the date or the exact location of the house. He wants it all to be as much a surprise for him as possible."

“What should I do if your son resists too much?” and after hesitation, “my lord”

Brendol’s warriors are famous everywhere from the seas of Naboo to the Jakku desert. Trained from birth, in harsh conditions, unquestioningly loyal and obedient, they are the main export of Arkanis, the foundation of its prosperity; but it’s highly unlikely that Brendol or anybody in the family has gone through that combat training.

Kylo doubts that this son can put up a real battle against him but some noblemen fancy themselves as great fighters just because they haven't ever sparred with someone who wasn't their servant. It's easy to win over the one who is scared to mess your pretty hairstyle but in a real fight, all these lords and ladies don't know how to defend themselves and not to lose any vital parts.

“He is entirely comfortable with some bruises, but I’d urge you not to break any bones, or hurt his face. It's his wedding, he should look flawless.” he finished his drink, they shook hands and Kylo left.

 


 

After the kidnapping, he understood what Brendol was talking about. Everything went according to the plan: he went to their castle in the middle of the night, to show how client oriented he can be. The castle was renovated. Kylo isn’t quite familiar with the Arkanian architecture, but it looks ancient outside, but has modern attributes. The security system is definitely cutting-edge technology. The back entrance was unguarded as they agreed, and he easily entered and climbed to the bedroom window, where his target was soundly sleeping in the opulent canopy bed. He was young, much younger than he’d expected. He had his father’s red hair, so common for Arkanis people and freckles. When Kylo tried to grab the man, he woke him up.

"What's going on? " younger Hux asks in a displeased, but not scared voice.
"I came to take you to your destiny, sweetie! Don't resist me, and I won't hurt you." Kylo prepared this phrase in advance and tries not to laugh and break the character. He doesn't usually talk with his targets, but when he has a rare chance to play it's too tempting not to add some cliche. Maybe he should tell him the whole evil plan in a dramatic tone. Who says if it's work it can't be fun when the opportunity occurs?

But this redhead must be really into traditions and wants to show he loves his future-husband very much and probably he also has a soft spot for acting and pretending, because he is really committed to the act. He fought tooth and nails, screamed and bit intruder before Kylo overpowered him and successfully manage to tie him down and gag him. Kylo’s used an extra rope simply for the show.

After a swift descent and dragging the squirming body through the perfect lawn, they got into a rented car. Kylo couldn’t risk to compromised his favorite Silencer during this circus. The car cost him a fortune, but she is state of the art technology. She’s not for this mission. So he took this unremarkable vehicle. It’s small but reliable and had no traces back to Kylo. He pushed the man on the back seat and buckled him up. Kylo chuckled, maybe it’s not traditional but he needs to deliver him in one piece. Now all Ren needs to do is to present his client to his fiance and get the money. It's as easy as can be.

 


 

The sun already has risen, yet they still have a long road ahead of them. If Kylo counted right they need approximately five hours to arrive at the foot of the mountains, and after that one more hour to ascend. The day promises to be long. The bite marks and scratches on his arms are hurting, and there is a pressure in his temples. Armitage has been unstoppably wriggling and humming for hours and all Kylo wants is to finish this job in silence. He hasn't been left any instructions about feeding him, and he isn’t in the mood to remove his gag any time soon.

After one more hour Kylo’s passion runs out. He was listening to his client struggle for too long. They are paying him for it — paying good money — but still, it’s ridiculous. His head is throbbing and he is wearied. He needs to be concentrated on the road; even though it’s empty now, anything can happen.

"Enough, I get it, you love the guy, L-O-V-E him, but just be quiet and rest until we get to the wedding!"

He does stop for a moment, his eyes wide all his body frizzed, but starts once again even more madly! He is rocking in the seats, and thumping his body back. It seems like the man is trying extra hard say something, he is even blinking at him in the rearview display. He has a pleasant voice, but more screaming is not what Kylo needs after the sleepless night, so he tries to reason his captive. His first try wasn’t that successful yet what can be worst than this?

"What is wrong with you? There is nobody here except two of us and believe me, I don’t care about your stupid traditions, a need to pretend, all this purity and virginity bullshit. You can save all these games to your so special husband!"

More frantic humming muted by gag and Kylo considers for a moment to knock him out and finally enjoy peace. But he isn’t sure that they’d pay him if groom arrived at the wedding with his pretty face unharmed but with a concussion. And maybe Kylo Ren isn’t a good guy, but he won’t sink to hitting a tied man just because that man is too committed to rituals. He needs to endure a couple of more hours and then they will arrive at the place, he’ll get his reward, go to the nearest pub and forget about these strange people, their strange weddings, and their strange customs. He may also find somebody for himself there to warm his bed and his cock tonight. Maybe a redhead too.

After a particularly loud noise, Kylo decides ones again to try to calm down him, with as much patience as possible. Third time's a charm .

“The more you annoy me, the slower we go and then later we’ll arrive at your sweetheart! If we don’t reach the mountains before the darkness we will need to stay somewhere for the night.” maybe if he understood where they needed to get, he’d save the struggling for later. ”There is a part of a road we'll need to go by foot and I won't risk breaking your lovely neck by going there in a dark. And we will hardly find an inn that upholds your high standard. So it’s in your best interest to be quiet. I promise I will tell you when we are near the place so you could act as a struggling captive for them,” Kylo turned to him and smiled reassuringly.

Even more silenced noises, grunting and squirming. The man seemingly has decided to play his part for the whole duration of a trip. If he continues to act like this at the near path in the mountains, it’ll be wiser to tie him more and carry him. He really hopes he will finish this mission today, he is prepared for an extra day, and they discussed a possibility with eldest Hux, but that’s worst case scenario.

Kylo is too tired of this theater now. He is a mercenary, not an actor for this rich entitled dude. He isn’t trained to deal with this; he's never a problem like this with real captives. The real captive would be traveling in the track and consider themselves lucky. The real captive would be scared of him.

But maybe the man—Armitage his name is Armitage, he reminds himself—has his reasons for all this pretense. Maybe for him, it's important to honor this tradition. He is his client and he pays for that, Kylo reminds himself. Kylo sighs. He doesn't have any solution after all, except moving him to the roof, because this model inconveniently doesn’t have a track.
"Okay, whatever. Continue, if that makes you happy."

Maybe if he ignores this behavior the man will grow tired and quit. He’s heard it works on children, although it's never worked for him.

 


 

Kylo tried to zone out, to concentrate on a road ahead of them, but the young noble behind him was all he can think about. He discreetly checked him over his shoulder. So young, he must have been somewhere in his early twenties, just around Kylo’s age. And he’s already decided to get married. Arkanians don’t believe in divorce, if you are married it’s until death separates you—or Kylo. Half of the Silencer was paid for using the money he’d gotten for helping one important senator to get rid of her husband. That’s why there is not so common to rush with the marriage, it’s better to wait and find more about your significant other. Another frequent job he’s done is trying to find dirty secrets people conveniently forgot to tell their future-spouse.

And this client not only decided to do this but even go throw in some complicated rituals. Kylo wonders, would somebody be so in love with him to willingly go through something similar for him? Would Kylo want it? Would Kylo want it from this guy?

Strange thoughts. He shouldn’t think about his prisoner in that way. He is not even a real prisoner, he is a client, and that's highly unethical. He's never had any improper relationship with a client, even whilst some of them were, in fact, showing interest in him. All of them were bored, older than him and married — so much for a sacred everlasting union — some servants for even elder and bored people who needed his talents. For a culture strongly opposed divorces they’re pretty lax with infidelity until it’s public. Strange people.

But this Armitage is undeniably cute with his gorgeous red hair, slender body, and pale skin visible throw translucent white nightgown. It doesn’t look comfortable, too thin to protect from the cold, decorated with lace and embroidery. It’s probably very costly, but at least it looks to be pleasant to the skin. Stupid thing covers him from neck to ankles, hiding his form, but Kylo can remember how narrow his waist was and the curves of his hips. All of his appearances is noble, even regal: from narrow wrists to cheekbones, so sharp you could cut a paper with them.

He relives the fight in his bedroom, how desperate young Hux was. He hadn't had a chance against Kylo, being much lighter and smaller than him, but he’d fought like his life depended on it. Was he so sure Kylo would hurt him, or was he genuinely surprised and didn't perceive it as a start of his ceremony? The Hux family had a lot of enemies, Brendol was known for surviving two assassination attempts throughout the years, and those are only the public ones; how many are unknown. Could younger Hux think his father's rivals are trying to kill him?

He remembers the feeling of Hux’s body under him when he was holding him with one shoulder and trying to tie him. He wriggled so much, his cries muted by the pillow. Kylo can’t help but consider what would it be like to touch that skin, to kiss that furious mouth, to have the scratches and bites from romantic nights, not a fight, to have this body all for himself? Would he be as eager in the bed as he was in the fight?

He imagines Armitage being delivered to HIM by an anonymous mercenary to be promptly wed surrounded by a small group of closest friends. Kylo always had a thing for secret small weddings, as his grandparents had had. They’d stay for the feast and then would be led directly to a bedroom, with Armitage being as stubborn as always, which was so obvious even now, wouldn’t drop an act and continue to fight.

Kylo would enjoy it, all small punches, curses, loud threats. He’d want all the bites and scratches, he’d wear them proudly, like a proof of how ferocious his Armitage is. But just to be on the safe side with his sweet husband he’d whisper: “Do you want me to stop, Armie?”.

"Kylo Ren, if you ruin our wedding night I’ll suffocate you with a pillow," Armitage would pause and say in serious even tone and then immediately add with an angry snarl, “Stop, animal, don’t you dare touch me with your dirty hands,”. They’d play this game. He’d rip Armies clothes, while been called a brute, monster, animal, all the names Hux could come up but they would sound like praise.

He'd pin him to the bed, even tie him down, roughly kiss him, all of him, touch him, slowly open him, tease him until his new husband would drop all pretense and start to beg "Kylo, please".

 

Kylo lost in that fantasy, his pants grew tighter, his skin was hot, breathing became irregular. He knows he should stop the car and concentrate. It felt remarkably real, he isn’t even sure he didn’t fall asleep while driving the monotone bleak road. It was highly unprofessional and also unsatisfying, he can’t take a break now for a quick wank. He is on a mission not on vacation, and his client will be married to another man in hours.

So now he is angry at himself, at Armitage Hux, at his future husband, and at this stupid nightgown. "Kylo, please" still echoing in his head, voice soft and pleading. Maybe they should take a small break, he needs to clear his head, stretch his legs and take a leak.

He suddenly realizes, after he comes back to reality, that he hasn’t heard anything from his prisoner.

"Shit!"

He turns his head only to find Armitage Hux, the only son to Brendol Hux, count of Arkanis, is unconscious.

Chapter Text

Kylo stops the car and rushes to Hux. No, no, he hopes the man doesn't strangle himself to death or had a heart attack or what else could happen to the spoiled viscount, who left his home without his entourage for the first time in his life? Could one die from shock caused by his own acting and imagination? Whatever happened, it can't mean anything good for Kylo.

When he’s reached Hux in the backseat he touches his neck and searches for the pulse. Yes, it’s there. He is alive, that's a reliever. Kylo realizes with annoyance he was holding his breath. No need of burying the body or going on the run from Brendol’s wrath. He feels foolish. Good thing his client hasn’t seen him. He clearly overreacted and the man is merely resting, tired after an eventful night.

The man apparently finally decided to sleep and Kylo supposes when he wakes, he will be angry and will retaliate with more of his genuine performance. But Armitage’s head is hanging in an uncomfortable position, and he can see a trick of saliva from the corner of his mouth.

"Your Lordship, are you asleep?" The dumbest question one can ask, and the man doesn’t respond. He should leave him there and continue to drive without his constant wriggling and wailing through the gag.

Instead of that, he lightly slaps Hux's cheeks. It’s better to be safe than sorry, particularly when it’s about the health of the son of the mighty ruler of Arkanis. The man is known for not overlooking even the smallest mistakes.

No reaction, his body is lax and if not for the safety belt he would have already fallen forward to the floor. That’s not good, not good at all.

Kylo takes a series of deep inhales to calm his once again rising panic and then carefully removes the gag, unbuckles and shakes him a little.

"Armitage? Say something!"

The man slightly opens his eyes, then coughs hard and rapidly blinks.

“Air... breathe ... hard to breathe,” his words mixed with horrible wheezes from his throat.

“Yes, sir, don’t move, I’ll help you.” It’s probably too tie ropes, so Kylo promptly cut off them across his chest with his old pocket knife and removed them, so nothing can impede his client’s breathing.

"Better?"
“My head is spinning, could you ... sir,” his voice is so small, and he is visibly trembling. “I need to ... I'm going to be sick …” coughing and gagging noises constantly interrupt him, making it almost too unclear for Kylo to follow. “...please, sir.”

“Okay, wait a sec, hold it,” He awkwardly takes shaking and gasping for air Armitage from his seat. The man can’t stand with his hands and legs still tied so he just puts him on the ground near their vehicle. And now his client, whose father paid Kylo more than remarkably generously, lies there and looks miserable when he tries to brace himself on the ground while he is attempting to puke. The best scenario for a romantic wedding day ever, and it’s somewhat his fault. He regrets he used an extra rope simply for the show, maybe that is what caused the disaster.

“I’ll help you, my lord,” He gingerly comes in front of the man so Armitage won’t be frightened by him. He tries to use a soothing tone. “Can you give me your hands?”

The man doesn't look at him, his face covered with a mess of a tangled hair and turned down, but he holds out his bound hands in front of himself. Kylo cuts the ropes, and then repeats the procedure with his legs.

In Kylo’s view, the man still looks miserable, but at least his position should be more comfortable now.

Young Hux had probably never been alone while feeling unwell. He was raised in a castle, in one of the wealthiest families in the country; he was always surrounded by an army of doctors and servants who would do everything to relieve his suffering and guarantee his well-being.

With this in mind, Kylo decides to try to comfort viscount, to assure him he is not alone and it’s nothing to fear. He comes close to him and, as tenderly as he can, puts a hand on his shoulder with the intent to rub it but the man flinches from his touch.

Kylo immediately removes the hand and looks closely at it. It’s large, with rough skin and old blisters from his training. It’s not a hand for gentle touches. Why did he even decide to do it, what other result did he expect? That Armitage would be grateful, that he would want to hold his hand or ask him to hold his hair? It’s okay, Kylo doesn't care about it. He shouldn’t touch his clients. It’s a regular job, just with little complications that come with a need of target being alive and unharmed — he must collect himself.

"It’s okay, sir, you are going to be fine," Kylo isn’t sure it’s true. He doesn’t understand what’s actually going on with the man. For all Kylo knows, he could be seriously ill.

While Hux is standing on all fours trembling, still making gurgling and choking noises, it occurs to Kylo that maybe he has some sickness his loving father forgot to mention. Once in a tavern, he heard a story about the man who needs to eat every couple hours or he'd faint, and one of his previous targets was a woman with a rare condition that needs to take special drugs once per day, Kylo just switched them, she peacefully died within a week, and the inconsolable young widower transferred Kylo his payment.

Maybe Armitage has something similar, maybe that’s what he was trying to say all that time, maybe he wanted to eat or had to take drugs or multiple other possibilities. Rich people are remarkably fragile.

He’s trying not to look too closely at the shaking back of Armitage, to give the man some semblance of privacy, and tries to think of something else. Kylo hates to be a mere witness: the feeling of being useless, not being in charge of a situation. He kicks small rocks on the ground, to put his restless energy somewhere. What he really wants is to scream, break something, to be in control once again. All these hours he thought the man was pretending, but apparently, he was in distress and was trying to say that. When his father finds out about it, and Kylo has a bad feeling that little Armie will surely mention the ruined wedding to daddy, he won’t be happy about it. It’s not desirable for a mercenary career to make his employers unhappy in general, but with a count of Arkanis, it’s much worse — powerful and vindictive are not the best traits for a potential enemy.

But there is nothing else Kylo could do right now, hence he is staying there like a guard, who apparently he should be in the first place in that mission.

When he looks at the man again after a particularly loud sob, Kylo’s eyes go down and he notices his still bare feet. They are pale and smooth like rest of his skin, not used to walking on the ground or in rough uncomfortable shoes. He probably has a special servant to attend his feet, massage them and clean his toes. Kylo had had one in another life, when he had had another name. It’s chilly outside, viscount must be cold in his thin nightgown and without shoes. Perhaps Kylo should bring some spare clothes from the car or cover him with a jacket. He will ask him when the man stops that round of throwing up, he doesn’t want to touch him without a warning once more.

A barely audible voice brings him back from his contemplations, "Water, sir," Armitage is still kneeling, his face is hidden and almost touches a ground. "I need some water. Please, sir!"

"Yes, your Lordship, wait here," He’d almost opened a front door the car to fetch a flask from his duffel on the front seat when he heard a running noise.

His hand is still on the unopened door handle when he turned around to see Armitage darting into the nearby woods, his nightgown fluttering like a fairy’s dress.


Fuck! He can’t believe all of that was just another part of the freak show he regrettably agreed to participate in. Apparently now his client has decided it's time to play "a runaway bride" part. Kylo was genuinely worried about his well-being only to be fooled like a green boy. That’s what happened when one started to care even a bit! In a real mission that could be a mistake that would cost him his life, but, if Kylo is entirely honest with himself, in a real mission, the target would either be in a trunk or already dead and he wouldn’t have to bother about vindictive fathers.

Kylo ponders for a few seconds about waiting near their vehicle until Armitage comes to his senses or gets tired and comes back, but the little lordling can be stubborn enough to decide to go back to his father’s home. Kylo would be dishonored, have lost his money, reputation and who knows what else to that damn family. A more likely scenario is that the brat will lose his royal ass in the forest, get scared, injure himself and Kylo would need to spend hours there trying to find him and drag what would be left of him back here. Anyhow there will be more trouble for him if he decides to wait.

Thus he is chasing him through the thick forest in the direction Hux ran. Branches are scraping him, and his only solace is that the noble asshole must be suffering much more, being protected only by thin silk. Kylo becomes angrier every second. It’s much colder here than near the road, the air disgustingly damp with a distinct smell of rotten leaves, and he hates it. Moreover, now he feels fooled and angry so he certainly wants to punish young Hux for this cheap trick. Kylo bets he was never disciplined in his life, no one even raised a voice at him, and little nobleman has decided he can act as he wants, then that all people, and particularly those who are working for his daddy, are his personal toys to play with. He is the client but this is it, somebody needs to teach that spoiled shit a lesson!

“Stop! I swear I'll spank you when I catch you! The more you run, the more annoyed I’ll be." If the client decided to act like a child, Kylo was going to punish him like one. "Your father only demanded not to touch your face, but other parts weren’t off limit!"

While running he has time to consider the situation he found himself in. How can Kylo be so obtuse as to believe him? He is a professional doing this for almost six years but was cheated by the simplest trick. He blames that ridiculous fantasy about Armitage. He saw a pretty face, got carried away and completely forgot he was on a mission. It had never happened to him before, not even once had he lost control at work or he wouldn’t have survived that first year. But, to his defense, he’s never participated in ceremonies for the amusement of rich folks before now either. It’s simply not his format, all this situation has nothing to do with the face, and the face is not that pretty anyways, simply symmetrical. Kylo just feels lonely lately, buried in work with no time to find a good lay. That’s his problem, that’s the only reasonable explanation: a combination of his sexual frustration and the specificity of this particular job.

"Your ass will be so sore when I finish with you, not only will you not be able to sit during your wedding feast, but you won’t even be able to consummate your marriage!” Kylo is screaming while still chasing him through the darkest part of the woods, only glimpses of white fabric and red hair visible ahead of him amidst green and brown. “Believe me, I've foreseen your so beloved husband won't like it!”

Hux runs pretty fast with his long legs and he had a head start, but still, Kylo is much faster and better trained so he finally catches him up and knocks him down to the ground.

“Are you crazy?!” they both are panting. Kylo straddles him from behind and holds his wrists behind his back with one hand and pushes his head to the ground with the other. He is using much more force than is needed, Hux’s face will be covered in mud, and he will obviously have bruises on his wrists but Kylo doesn’t care. “I'm tired of your games!”

“Release me, stupid goon! Immediately! It's an order!” There is only resentment and hostility in his voice, all pretense weakness from illness abandoned. No more please, sir. Just more screaming and incessant threats.

Kylo starts to suspect the man got lost in his own act. Did he decide to play all the roles in one day? There was furious fighting, an appearance of being ill, but remarkably polite, running away and now they are back to fighting and screaming with a hint of despising! Will he fake illness once again in a couple of hours or create a new persona?

Kylo is part of an ancient order, he was trained from the birth by the best masters his parents could buy, he has come through many trials and hardship, but now he is stuck here with this shallow nobleman who, for some petty reason, fancies himself a great actor. Kylo Ren shouldn’t be here, in this forest, with this man; he was bound to do great deeds, like his ancestors — not to be an extra in another person’s matrimony play! All of this was simply so absurd, he couldn’t help it. He started laughing.

"What was your brilliant plan?" Kylo’s voice is full of taunting. He wants to hurt him with this simple truth, to show him how foolish and pathetic he is. He releases Armitage’s hands and stands up above him, "To break your legs somewhere in these woods, to meet a wild animal and be bitten, to get lost? You think they would admire you for your … what? ... bravery?"

Hux turns around and lifts himself up so he is sitting on the ground now and facing Kylo. The front of his nightgown is dirty as well as his face, brown and green from dirt and grass. The man is looking at him with pure disdain, but he is finally silent, that can be count as a victory. Kylo can't stop grinning, this day has gone totally wrong and somebody needs to pay for it, the consequences be damned.

“All of this to go extra miles for the old ritual! Were you that bored in your castle? Poor little Armitage, tired to play with of his daddy's wealth. News for you, people won’t respect you for that, your sweet husband won’t respect you for that, even your father thinks it’s foolish!” after that he stops screaming. His rage is drained away. He doesn’t want to punish him anymore, runs throw chill forest restored his sanity, the man is not worth it, all he can feel now is disgust with these people. Kylo doesn’t want to do anything with that rotten family, besides taking his fairly earn credits and forgot about them. He can control his voice once again, so he continues calmly “Can't you wait for a day to play all the roles you want in the bedroom with your husband, your lordship? Or you are so used to people to do whatever you want, you can’t even imagine that you aren’t the most important person in the world?“

Hux is still looking quietly at him, cringing. Good, he deserved this.

“You are just a pathetic spoiled boy, sir!” Kylo says, with his most “eat shit” smile on the face. He gives Hux his hand so lordling can manage to pull himself up. ”Get up, your Lordship. We need to continue our sacred journey to your wedding destination.”

Armitage pushes his hand off, making no move to actually get up. He just stares at him from where he sits on the ground.

“You are even more thick-skulled than I've initially thought. You still don't get it, merc!” he said, his voice uneven from running and screaming but undeniably laced with contempt and mockery. It doesn’t seem that Kylo’s speech shamed him, it's something else going on here. “Brendol fooled you, dumbass!”

“It's getting old!” So, that’s his new role. Kylo can't afford to lose time for this if he wants to end this stupid ceremony today. He moves his hand once again to grab him and pull the stubborn man up. “Let's move!”

"He fooled you, idiot," he says slowly with a scuff. He still doesn't make any move to get up "And you believed his plain lie."

“Don’t try the limits of my patience for this. I’m doing my best to not to hurt you now, but you are playing with fire. Quit this show and get up!”

“There is no show,” he says tiredly with a sigh. “Just an old man who doesn't take no for an answer and a count who would sell his own son for bits of additional money and power.”

"What are you talking about?"

"Brendol didn't hire you for a pretense kidnapping, but for a real one."

“Cut the crap,” he speaks deliberately slow. He doesn’t want to scream again but he is becoming annoyed with his new game. “Your father told me about your traditions, you need to fight to show …”

“Yes,” he interrupted Kylo “there are still pairs who fake kidnapping so they can secretly marry each other but people do this only if their parent opposes the union. If one in the pair is significantly less influential or wealthy.” His voice sounds like he is giving a lesson to a stupid kid “For others, it’s merely a part of a wedding feast when the bride or groom are kidnapped and guests need to participate in stupid games to find them. During a feast. For fun.”

“Your story doesn’t make any sense, boy. Why would your father lie to me, if he could simply order a kidnapping?” That story doesn’t explain anything. If it was true it would be much easier for Brendol to simply tell the truth. Knights of Ren are famous for doing much worse things than kidnapping for the force-wedding. Maybe Kylo personally wouldn’t agree. Killing or kidnapping for a ransom agrees more with his moral codecs than force-marriage, but others are not that picky.

“Use your head! He is a proud man, he is a ruler! That man, he'd seen me during one of my father’s function and he told Brendol he wanted to marry me. My father knows I would never participate willingly in the ceremony, and it would be a disgrace for him if I made a scene in front of all the guest and the press. If people find out his son doesn't obey him he'll lose his reputation. How can he control troops if he can’t control his own offspring? That’s not information he wants anyone to have against him. But that way, with all that show, he can play it as my decision to elope for a secret wedding. If it's an insignificant romantic decision of a stupid lad who will care about it? You may not believe me but it's true. What reasons do I have to lie to you?” Hux finished his little speech and is now looking at him with a challenge in his eyes.

They are silent for a while, there’re only soft sounds of the forest around them.

Somehow Kylo knows the man isn’t lying. Nobody is that good at acting, and that would finally explain his deranged performance. This hapless Armitage is going to be married by force and Kylo is now a part of it. This new knowledge must change everything, it must; except in the real world, it doesn't. He still has a job he's committed to finishing, he still has his honor, status, his order and he must obey its rules. He can't break a contract even if his client is a monster who sold his own son.

“Let's go back to the car,” he says after a long pause. Kylo is deliberately avoiding looking into his face. Instead, he is staring at the surface of the stream next to the place, where the man is sitting. The light is playing on the water, so beautiful, so peaceful. He doesn't want to know what Hux is thinking of him right now, presumably nothing good.

It's been a couple of minutes and the man doesn’t move.

"Let's go back to the car."

"I have money, I can pay you!"

"Let's! Go! Back! To the car!"

Even if the question was only about the money, Kylo seriously doubts this man has something that doesn’t belong to his father. But money can’t fix it, they both know that.

Armitage stands up but doesn't move to him.

Kylo comes closer and stops mere inches away from him.

“I don't enjoy this and it isn't fair,” Kylo says quietly. He tries to maintain a soothing voice, even though he wants to scream and punch somebody, preferably some rich old bastard “Your father is a piece of shit but he is also one of the most influential people in this country. You should have obeyed him, it’d have been better for everybody” - it’d have been better for you . Whoever he is bound to marry probably isn’t happy that his sweet prize doesn’t want to marry him and humiliated him in front of Brendol.

"You can just let me go, tell them I've run away, tell them I've slit my own throat, tell them I've fallen from the cliff."

"Go back to the car, if it’s needed I'll drag your ass there," Ren finally looked him in the eyes to show how serious he was about it, but Armitage doesn’t look away and instead comes toward him.

“We can run together! They won't seek us until the next day, you told me that yourself, and we could be far away before then. You are brave, aren’t you, merc?” Hux leans closer “A mighty warrior as you are can easily outrun my father’s guard. You can find work in another country, it’s not like the world ends here! And I can work for you!”

"What will you do?" he is smirking. He doesn't fall for the cheap flattery, but he wants to find out where the man was going with that.

“Whatever you want,” Hux closes the gap between them, their bodies touching now. “We can sell Brendol’s secrets. He thinks I know nothing, but I was gathering information for years. I can be your accountant, I’m good with numbers. I’m smart," Hux’s nightgown is so thin and he is so close, Kylo can feel the warmth of his body, "I can help you with negotiations." he is whispering in Kylo’s ear. "I can wait for you in your home to greet you after a long day,” his hand lightly brushes along Kylo's side. “I can be yours,” his breath is hot on Kylo’s neck. The hair on his nape is standing, and it’s getting harder to think. Kylo feels one of Hux’s hands on his ass, and the other stroking his shoulder. Kylo, please pops up in his mind.

"What are you doing?" he catches Hux’s hands. His voice is hoarse. He doesn't want to stop him, but they can't continue.

"You don't want me?"

Kylo should say no. He really should, that would be the right thing to do, but he simply doesn't answer.

The thought is remarkably tempting. He remembers his fantasy, which feels more like a vision now, so vivid it was. He could turn his head off and do what his body desire. They could run away together. He is smart and skilled. They could get in the car, change direction, start a new life together; but it’d mean to abandon everything, to be on a run for the rest of their lives.

"Tell me what you want and I'll give it to you!" Hux answer in a low tone. He probably intended for it to be seductive, but it sounds strange and desperate, like a rehearsed line from some vid. Has he ever said something like that before?

"Whatever I want?"

"Yes!"

"So, you would rather make a shady deal with a mercenary who you don’t know, who can use you and then betray you, than marry that guy?"

"I'd drop to my knees and suck your cock right now for the mere possibility to avoid that marriage!" he responds with frantic determination. He definitely isn’t concerned about his purity or chastity at the moment.

"Why?" Kylo must know the answer, he must understand what drives the strange actions of young viscount before he makes any rash decision. "Why do you think I'll be any better than him? You don’t know anything about me, you don’t even know my name."

Hux looks uncertain. There is a strange stillness between them. He looked somewhere in the woods and loudly exhaled before he started quietly speaking again.

"There are rumors he had multiple young wives and husbands who died or disappeared under strange circumstances."

Hux still wasn’t looking at him. Kylo has to ask him but he fears he already knows the answer.

"Who are you engaged to?"

From Hux's silence, Kylo realized he'd asked the right question.

"Just tell me."

An old and powerful man, who is richer than Hux’s family, who isn’t much concerned if a story with force marriage became public knowledge. The man who likes to play with new toys, but these toys tend to break.

"Are you promised to Snoke?"


Chapter Text

Kylo is studying Hux’s face while both of them are quiet. He doesn’t remember wanting to be wrong that much ever in his life. He is silently begging Hux to say something, anything that would deny Kylo’s guess. It still can be someone else, who knows how many old perverts this forsaken land has. Even if he tells that he wasn’t told the man’s name it would be better than that. But Armitage, who was so talkative a minute ago, is saying nothing. He is looking at his bare feet like he sees them for the first time.

His master’s name is still hanging in the air like a curse. It’s been months since he heard it out loud for the last time. Even the few who know the name are trying not to use it. People fear it more than a bad omen. Kylo thinks it’s ridiculous to be scared to even pronounce it. It’s too superstitious even for that deeply religious country with a large pantheon of gods, goddesses, and spirits, they all need to be honored and want new temples, feasts, and sacrifices, with ancient traditions and new bizarre ceremonies. But most of the people, who have dealt with Snoke and survived that, dread him more than any mythological creature or angry idol. His image is surrounded by stories, each one is more gruesome than the other. Powerful people whisper them to each other and add more and gorier details every time they retold it. People tend to become irrational when disfigured bodies of whole noble families are founded in their luxurious and well-secured houses. The name had become a symbol of mysterious horror.

The pause is too long and Kylo thinks of repeating the question or touch Hux to pull him back to reality. Before he manages to open his mouth Hux looks at him and slightly nods.

It would be better if he was still staring down or tried to lie. It would be so much easier for Kylo to not see those big blue eyes fearlessly looking at his face, while they both know it’s over. If a moment ago there still was a chance to run away together, recklessly abandon everything behind, now he knows the truth. He will never agree to that.

“What do you know about Snoke, Hux?” he tries to maintain a neutral voice, not to show his real feelings.

“What’s the difference, mercenary? Do you want to collect intel before you hand me over to that creature?”

“I doubt you could say anything I don’t already know,” Kylo answers without mockery. “I’m simply interested to know if you are naive or planned to jeopardize my life for a small possibility of your own survival without sharing the real level of danger with me.”

He doesn't wait for an obvious answer and continues: “So, it’s the second one. I’ve underestimated you, lordling. Pretended to be a sweet little thing, while knowingly sacrificing me when we had zero chances to succeed.”

He actually feels something akin to respect for Armitage. The man is ready to fight and use every possibility, however weak it is, for his survival. Kylo has seen a lot of people in life or death situations. Most of the noble folk surrender too easily, not used to any struggle in their pitiful lives.

“I can’t help you, Armitage. Even if I wanted to, no one can go against Snoke. Not your father, not you, and definitely not me. No one can hide from Snoke, no one would help us.” He isn’t sure why he is still talking to the man. It would be wise, to simply grab him, drag him to the car and put a gag back in his mouth. But Kylo is compelled to explain himself to him. Young Hux struggled the whole day to get this opportunity. He was willing to do anything for even the slightest chance; he deserves to hear this.

“It’s suicidal to go against him. He will search for us and will be even more angry with you than he is right now.” He doesn’t want to think about what Snoke will do to Kylo, what he will do to all the Knights of Ren if he would disgrace him like that.

“And you are fine with sacrificing me to that monster?”

“What other choice do I have? Even your father, with his army and his title, couldn’t compete against him. Snoke always gets what he wants. It would be less painful to everyone involved to give it to him willingly. Wherever we’d go Snoke would eventually find us. And by us, I mean you. You, cause I’m not going with you. I like my life. I’m kinda used to have all my body parts attached to me. And I’m gonna keep it that way. There is no cowardice in admitting it.”

“Are you going to release me?” There’s a clear surprise in his voice.

“No, Armitage.”

That was a bad choice or words, and after seeing Hux poorly hidden hope, he feels like an asshole, like a stray cat teasing its prey.

“You may see me as heartless or as a coward. But it would be better for you that way. It’d be much more painful when Snoke finds you, and, believe me, he will.” As punishment, Snoke would probably order Kylo to bring Hux back, and for the sake of the order, he would willingly agree. “Let’s review your options. You can try to run away once again or to fight me. But you won’t win. Honestly, I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t, even after everything you did today but I will if you make me.”

He squeezes Hux’s arm. Not with full force, but enough to show him that he isn’t joking about potential pain.

”Decision is yours — to go the rest of the way with dignity or tied up and gagged. Whatever you decide, the result will be the same.”

Armitage Hux is staring him in the eyes. His body is slightly trembling with rage, hands clenched in fists. Muscles of his arm are tense against Kylo's hand. He looks like he is going to attack him.

“So be it!” he says with defeat. Hux pushes Kylo’s hand away, shoves him aside with his shoulder and slowly goes past him.

“Where do you think you are going?”

“To the car!”

“It’s the other way, sir.”

They go back to the road, Kylo slightly holding Hux’s shoulder in case the man changed his mind and decided to try to run again or do something equally stupid. He doesn’t need to think of a direction, he can easily recall his path here. He doesn’t want to think of the warm feeling of Hux’s sleepwear against his hand and a naked body underneath it. Instead, he thinks of one ancient myth from his homeland, something about virgins who needed to be sacrificed to a sea demon every ten years or it would destroy the town, about a young princess who jumped into the sea because she was so brave. Kylo always hated that myth.


“Turn away, merc!”

It’s a reasonable request, but it makes Kylo cringe inside. He knows that Armitage didn’t mean anything he told him in the forest. It was just his plan to escape, but it still hurts. His tone, how he pronounces merc, how he looks at Kylo, it’s so different now. Even in this situation, he is a nobleman and Kylo is merely a servant. He hates himself that he wanted to believe him, wanted to abandon everything he'd had for him, even for a short moment. He needs to sort out his priorities.

“No.”

“You can't possibly expect me to undress before you.”

They are staying in front of the vehicle, Hux with a heap of clothes in his hands, and Kylo watching him closely. After they came back from the forest he gave Armitage his spare sweater, jeans, and socks because he complained that he was cold and his outfit was soiled. Kylo always takes spare clothes on a mission when he can put them in a car. It’s an easy thing to do but it helped him in many situations: an unexpected drop of temperature, a need to clean blood or bandage a wound, simple hygiene and comfort.

"I can. And I will."

An evil part of his soul wants to remind Hux what he was offering him only minutes ago or that his current transparent outfit doesn’t hide much. He pushed the thought aside, it would just be mean. Instead, he says: "You’ve run away once. I’m not in the mood to chase you again. You can either change in front of me or continue to wear that lovely thing. I promise not to look, but I won’t turn away."

For a second he thinks that Armitage will throw his clothes at him, but he puts them carefully on the ground and pulls his nightgown off abruptly. Kylo does as he promised, he doesn't look at Armitage's body, only staring at his flushed angry face. He knows if he looks at other parts of him he is doomed. He won’t be able to continue this mission. He focuses his attention on the bright red of his hair. Such a vibrant color. Is it soft? He bets it is, he probably uses some extortionate hair products and has his own hairdresser in his father's castle.

When Armitage is finished Kylo finally allows himself to look down at the rest of him. He looks surprisingly domestic. Kylo’s clothes are too big for him, the sweater goes to the middle of his hips, sleeves too long, so he rolled them, his jeans hanging. He looks like a lover he shared his clothes with. Now he probably smells like Kylo. So cute, so vulnerable. How can Kylo let anyone else touch him? How can he let anyone hurt him?

“What with the face, merc?”

"Stop calling me that!"

Kylo doesn’t know why he is annoyed by that. It’s just … it was nice when Armitage was pretending to like him.

"How should I call you, merc?" he says, intentionally emphasizing it.

Kylo doesn't get why he is trying to provoke him.

"Sir? Or maybe you are a knight. Should I call you 'my knight'?"

Armitage is using that sweet voice from the forest, but now he is overplaying it.

“Could we continue our delightful journey, my knight?”

"Stop it!"

"Oh, you don’t like it too!" he says mockingly. "Let me remind you something, merc, I don’t even know your name."

He's almost provoked Kylo to say “it’s Kylo Ren”. But he stopped himself in time. It would be stupid to share his chosen name with his captive. It’s not that he fears that Armitage will remember it and will seek revenge afterwards. No, but if he tells something about what has happened here to Snoke, his master will be disappointed in him. And Kylo doesn't want to think about what Snoke did to him the last time he has disappointed him.

"My knight in a shining armor forgot his name. That’s a pity, but now I have no choice but to continue to call him merc."

Cursing to himself, he tries to think of any normal name. He needs to come up with something, but all he can think about is Ben. His old name. The name of a prince. Too rare. Too obvious. Too painful to use. It’s complete blankness in his head like he forgot all names he’s ever known. Think! Come up with something! And quickly!

“Call me Obi!”

“Obi the Mercenary?” Armitage looks at with mild disbelief.

He doesn’t know why he said that name. It’s always bothered him that his —Ben’s— parents decided to name him after a man they both barely knew. An old master, disgraced and gone to exile. Pathetic. It would be better if they named him, like Han wanted, after Ben’s uncle - Bacca. It sounds fierce, a proper name for a warrior.

“You don’t like it, do you, Armitage? Does it offend your noble ear, my Lord?”

“I don’t care. What’s next, Obi?”

Kylo turned to face the vehicle.

“Front seat or back, sir?”

“You want me to choose where I will sit when you drive me to my execution?”

“Yes, my Lord.”

Kylo can’t decide if Armitage is really that dramatic, or if he is pretending to annoy him.

The young man hesitates for a moment, opens the front door and takes a seat. Kylo closes the door after him and blocks it. He smiles a little when he thinks about Armitage seating next to him. It probably is a part of some plan to either convince Kylo to save him or to attack him while he is driving. It would bring him more trouble, but at least they can talk. He can’t understand why he wants to talk to Armitage right now, but he can’t deny it too. Kylo gets into the car and is ready to continue the mission. He looks in the rear view mirror and notices a white fabric lying in the mud next to the road.


Two more hours of a monotonous road. Two more hours of utter awkwardness. Two more hours of that damned mission. Kylo tried to initiate a talk a couple times, but Armitage didn’t show any desire to participate. He is sitting silently, watching how the sky and forest are changing outside. Kylo gets his sour mood. Only yesterday he was an heir of Arkanis, walked in golden slippers, could do whatever he wanted, order people around, and today he is going to be sold like livestock. And no talk can change it.

Kylo feels rumbling in his stomach and decides to try another way to get Armitage’s attention.

”Are you hungry, Your Lordship?”

Armitage looks at him for a spare second, shakes his head, and turns back to the window. It's like he is making a point of not communicating with Kylo.

Kylo is starving, he hasn’t eaten since yesterday evening, and if Hux has decided to go on a hunger strike, it’s his own problem.

“Would you please pass me the package in the bag, sir?”

Hux looks at him again, with a question on his face.

“It’s under your seat, sir.”

Armitage bends over reluctantly and tries to grab it. “Yeah, just grab the bag, and I’ll find it myself.”

Hux hands him a middle-sized grey duffel bag, with old stains. Kylo usually puts there all necessary stuff for a quick retreat: food, water, spare weapons, first aid kit. His sandwiches are there too, wrapped in a preserving paper.

He bites into one, mmmh, it's cold but tasty. He studies Hux’s reflection on the control panel. His captive is looking at another sandwich that is currently laying on Kylo’s lap.

“I still could share if you want, sir. It’s not something fancy, but it’s fresh and homemade.”

He moves a package in the empty space between them. He made it himself, from the leftovers of his dinner. Not a food for a spoiled nobleman. Has Armitage ever eaten something that wasn’t prepared by a trendy chef?

The sandwich lays there. A symbol of his good will. He’s almost finished his when Hux finally reaches to take it. Hunger overcomes pride, or in this case grave mood. Armitage slowly unpacks it and takes a bite. Kylo braces himself to hear critics from him. But instead, Hux makes a satisfied moan.

“It’s good! What is it?”

“Haven’t you ever seen sandwiches, sir?” he says mockingly, no one can be that disconnected from real life.

“Of course, I have. Once or twice.” He smiles slightly. Kylo isn’t sure if it was an attempt to joke, or not. “But seriously, what's in it?”

“Salad, fried onions, tomato sauce, and roasted duck.”

“Did you hunt it?”
“No —he grins— I've bought it on the market, then I roasted it.”

Kylo is pretty proud of his culinary progress, when he ran away he couldn't even make an omelet.

“Can you buy food ingredients there?”

“Yes. Haven’t you been on Arkanis central?” he asks with doubt in his voice. He can’t believe it. Ben Solo-Organa has never prepared his own meal when he was a kid. But he remembers going to the market with Ben’s parents. It was entertaining, all the merchants wanted the Royal family to try their food. They offered Ben a lot of sweets, one old man always tried to give him wine.

“No,” he says, a sad smile on his lips. “Brendol didn’t allow me to go there when I was a kid, didn’t allow me to go anywhere actually, and now…” he doesn’t finish his thought, and continues to eat.

After they finished their simple meal, he gave Hux half of a chocolate bar, and he accepted it without arguing. Ren opens his mouth to ask if he wants to eat something else, but Armitage speaks first: “Is it true?”

“What, sir?” Ren asks with a small smile, he thinks that the young man wants to learn more about markets and food production.

“Obi, is it true about...” he whispers barely audible. He continues to look at the window instead of at Ren. “ .. Snoke? That he killed all his previous spouses.”

Kylo isn’t sure how to answer that question. He doesn’t know any facts. He’s never seen any of Snoke’s companions, or what was left of them. He heard the rumors and the rumors are much darker than simply killed.

Armitage still doesn’t look at him, acting like he isn’t interested in the answer. Kylo has promised himself to be honest with a poor guy, but he can’t repeat him what he heard from people. Maybe it’s a lie, an exaggeration, no need to scare him more if he doesn’t know the truth.

He says simply, “Yes.”

They continue to stew in the silence. This vehicle doesn’t have an audio system. He was begging the universe for silence only hours ago, and now it’s smothering him. Kylo is the one who starts talking about Snoke that time.

”He is old, really really old.”

“I know, I’ve seen him. Thanks for sharing.” Armitage snaps at him.

“I mean...” It is treason to say that, his old scars are hurting from a mere thought of what Snoke will do if he finds out. But Kylo continues. “I know there are stories about him, that he is some demonic creature, that he can’t be killed. It’s not true. He is a mortal.”

“Why are you telling me that, Obi?”

“I mean, it’s not like you need to be with him for decades. All you must to do is survive for a couple of years until he dies,” or someone finally kills him, he adds inwardly. “You are a smart guy. A handsome one. You can find a way to placate him.” Kylo doesn’t want to imagine in what ways. “Be gentle, be loving, don’t argue with him, do what he says and then you could outlive him.”

“Do you believe it? Look me in the eye and say that you believe it, say that he simply needs a gentle touch and some love. SAY IT! Say it, Obi!” he hisses. “If you are so dedicated talking with me, at least stop lying.”

“I’m not lying, just preparing you. There is a chance. It’s not big, but it’s possible. And you must understand that even if that happened, whoever is responsible would either kill you with him or…”

“Yeah, I can imagine what happens after a knight kills a dragon,” he answers venomously like it’s Kylo’s fault. He continues harshly after a pause. “I hate him. I hated him all my life. I should have killed him when I had a chance.”

“Who?” It can’t be Snoke, he only came to this country ten years ago.

“Brendol.”

“Your father?”

Hux gives him an affirmative nod.

“Hey, he is an asshole, but he didn’t have a choice. It’s Snoke. People give him what he wants.”

He is interrupted by an angry laugh: “Believe me, Obi, Brendol Hux was happy to sell me.”

“Why would you say that?” One would be a special kind of evil to sell their own child to Snoke.

“Because it’s true. Brendol hates me. He’s never wanted me. I wanted to kill him. I made plans, I needed to wait for another four months, I’d be finally free. But that fucking monster saw me on that fucking function.” He is talking fast, almost too fast for Ren to follow. “All my plans were ruined. And now I’m here. Brendol took everything from me. My mother, my life, my freedom, my dignity and now he even took my ability to choose my own death.”

He breathes heavily, his chest rising and falling rapidly.

“Here, take some water.” Kylo gives it to him, and Armitage takes it without arguing. He drinks almost the whole flask and wipes his face with his sleeve.

He is not a romantic fool, Kylo thought in the morning. Not a poor soul he saw in the forest. Not a spoiled brat. He is a survivor. And if anyone has a chance run away from Snoke alive it’s him.


He parks the car in front of a small two-story house near a lake. It’s made from logs and looks old but it's in good condition. They turned and drove on the ground road for the last half an hour without any accidents. Armitage hasn’t said a word after his breakdown, he was sitting there, looking at one point. Kylo's decided not to bother him. He wasn’t in a mood for talking too, he was extremely tired, the day was much longer and more emotional that he had expected initially.

“Are we here already? I thought we need to climb to get to it.”

Armitage doesn't turn to Kylo, still looking away and hugging himself.

Oh, the poor man thinks they’ve already arrived at the place for the ceremony. Kylo feels like an asshole, he should have told him where they are going. “As you can see, sir, it’s already twilight, in an hour it will be dark. And I've taken into consideration your previous speech about an ability to choose your own death and revenge on your father. I don’t want to take a risk and go there at night.” He stops the engine and picks up his bag. “We are going to stay here and we’ll drive the rest of the way first thing tomorrow.”

“So, what is that house?”

“It’s an inn.”

Hux scrunches his nose and raises his brows. He doesn’t move to leave the car. “An inn is a place where you stay while you travel, sir.”

“Like a hotel?” He seems to think that Kylo is trying to trick him.

“Exactly! Not that big or opulent but they have beds, hot water, and food.”

Kylo’s already booked a room on a fake name there, for him and his associate. He’s done it a few days ago when he heard of the possibility that it would take more than one day. Even for simple missions like that, he tries to arrange safe houses and emergency plans. Always be prepared — he learned it the hard way.

They enter the house through the door without a sign. The inn doesn't have a name, but it's often called 'Lake house'. It’s a quiet place where locals go for hiking or to spend a romantic time together for a weekend. Kylo hopes no one will ask about Armitage’s strange unfit clothes or why he has no shoes. He takes a key from a nice old lady, who wishes them a pleasant stay, tells him that dinner will be served in ten minutes in the main hall and about an opportunity to book a boat trip on sunset.

Their room is on the second floor. Kylo enters it. If he wished for a sign there it was. He didn’t specify what type of room he’d need, and now they stay in the middle of the room with two large beds, two bedside-tables between them with a prickly plant on each of them. He feels guilty that he hoped they would share a bed tonight. It’s the last peaceful night for Hux, it’s good that he won't be forced to sleep near Kylo. He puts his belongings on the bed closer to him and hurries away from the room. They have dinner to catch.

Chapter Text

“And what do you suggest, Obi?” Hux’s voice is laced with unhidden contempt.

Instead of going to the dining hall, they have been arguing for the last twenty minutes. Hux doesn’t have shoes. Neither Kylo nor his asshole father, the Count of Arkanis, had thought about shoes when they came up with their ‘stealing away in the middle of the night’ plan. And now Armitage's feet are cold. And he refuses to go anywhere until Kylo solves that.

That’s really crazy, and Kylo shouldn't care, but he does. Truth is that he doesn't want Armitage to suffer more than necessary, and if it was up to Kylo, he'd buy the poor lad everything he wanted, including the nice shoes his tender feet deserve to wear. But that's not the case.

So they have two options. The first one, the smart one, Hux could wear Kylo’s combat boots, while Kylo goes barefoot. To that, Armitage, being a spoiled little piece of shit, gave him a look of utter disgust. Yeah, maybe Kylo’s boots aren’t new and are big for him, but Hux looks at him as if he suggested he ought to drink from the sewer in the Corellian slums after Kylo took a bath in the same sewer. The second option, the stupid one that came from Hux, is to eat in their room. The small inn doesn't have room service, and for that to work, Kylo needs to go down to grab them chow. And he is not that dumb to leave his captive alone even in a locked room.

There is the third option, but vacationers will definitely notice if he drags a screaming and fighting man to a table.

At that point, Kylo really doesn’t understand what Armitage's plan is. Is he trying to irritate Kylo as part of his escape plan? He must realize that running away from Snoke will be more harmful than being with him. Maybe it’s petty revenge on Kylo for participating, a final act of resistance before his marriage.

“I’m going to take a leak,” Kylo says instead, too tired of quarreling.

“What do you want from me?” Hux asks crossing his arms. "Assistance?"

“You are going with me to the bathroom.” When Hux looks at him and cringes, Kylo explains, “ There is no way I’m letting you out of my sight, lordling. Again.”

Hux rolls his eyes but goes with him without a word.

The bathroom is small: toilet, glass shower stall, and one of the tiniest sinks he’s ever seen. They barely fit there.

It’s awkward to pee, and not taking his eyes away from Armitage’s reflection in the mirror. It's even more awkward when Hux inspects his body and stares at Kylo's hand with his dick. Only when he’s finished does Hux’s gaze snap back to Ren's face.

As a sign of shameful unprofessionalism, Kylo averts his eyes and sees two fluffy white bathrobes and two pairs of some kind of bath shoes that look like they are wooden.

"Look, your lordship, flip-flops. Would you be so kind as to wear them?" Kylo asks not counting much on success.

"What?" Hux looks where he points, "Oh...them. Yes, but with socks!”

“Yes.” Not the most stylish choice, but Kylo guesses that people do that sometimes. Then again the whole of Armitage's attire looks strange. ”Can we go now?”

Armitage looks like he wants to continue bickering, but he nods.


 

Before entering the dining hall, Ren takes Armitage’s arm, moves him closer and mutters in his ear, “Don’t do anything stupid. It won’t change a thing. And I’ll drag you back to the car, where we'll sleep. Hungry.”

Hux nods again, with a face that is as blank as a piece of paper, and they enter the room.

It’s a buffet. There aren't a lot of people there: one family with kids, and three couples, two young, maybe a little bit older than he and Hux, and one really ancient, who are holding hands.

Armitage omits the row with roasted meat, boiled roots, and salads and goes straight to the table with drinks, while Kylo takes the plates for two of them. Hux stays for a couple of moments looking at different bottles, then shakes his head and takes a whole jug of cheap wine. Ren doesn’t see any point in stopping him.

The chicken Kylo took for himself is mediocre at best, and he can make better pea and carrot puree, but at least the salad is fresh. Obviously, Ren decides not to drink, although that would improve both his meal and his sour mood. He tries to talk with Armitage again, asks him about his food preferences but he ignores Ren and concentrates all his attention on his rosé.

Ren is picking topics in his head, but can't come up with anything valuable to say. But it's unbearable to sit in silence and look at how Armitage drinks cheap booze like he spent days in the desert.

"Do you want something else, sir?"

"What?" Hux stops staring at the nearby couple, who seems to be newlyweds and looks at Ren.

"A dessert? Or the servants brought a new bottle of better wine." Hux doesn't react and he continues "It's with berries. I heard it's good. Or a boat trip?"

“What?” Hux gapes at him.

“A boat trip. The innkeeper told us about it.” Kylo feels like an idiot the moment the words escaped his mouth.

“Why?”

“I don’t know,” Ren starts to be annoyed once again. Why Hux is like that, he is only trying to help him. “People like it. You can watch the mountains and the sunset.”

“No. Somehow, Obi, I’m not in the mood for watching the sunset from the boat with you.”

“As you wish.” You will regret it tomorrow. Kylo wants to say it, but the words feel rancid in his mouth, and the urge to pour himself brandy becomes stronger.

After that comes more silence.

When Kylo’s plate is empty, and Armitage drank half of the jug he asks, “How come you know his name? Not that many know who stands behind the Supremacy,” his voice is neutral, but Kylo recognizes the interest behind it.

“Snoke… he saved my life,” his reply coming out as a whisper.

Hux snorts a laugh, but when he looks at Ren’s face he stops. He sees something in Ren’s expression that kills Hux's bitter smile and turns it into a cringe.

“Somehow I doubt that that monster,” Hux wrinkles his nose, "is capable of that."

“That’s what’s happened,” that's not what he should tell. Not to anyone, and definitely not to a person who will be sharing his master's bed, “He gave me strength, he gave me knowledge, he gave me purpose.” He gave me my knights. ”If not for him I would be lying dead in some dark alley a long time ago.” Or my family would have executed me as a traitor in the main square. “All he asked in return is my obedience.”

“As you say,” Hux shrugs, almost finishing his next glass of wine.

“You don’t believe me.”

“I do believe that you believe in that,” Armitage tilts his head not putting the empty glass down.

“But that’s true.” Boy, you will be my heir one day, if you are worthy. "No matter what you believe."

“From what I know about that man, and men like him," Hux speaks slowly as if he weighs every word before saying it, "It's more likely that he uses you, and will dispose of you if you pose any threat to him. Just saying.”

“You have no idea what you are talking about. It’s just your opinion. And it doesn’t change anything,” Kylo says, trying to be as neutral as possible. It's not Armitage's fault that he is frightened and wants to extend his own shitty situation to Kylo's life.

“Nothing does for you!”

“You know nothing about me,” it comes out more defensive that Kylo intended but who cares.

“Don’t I, Obi?” Hux gives him a cruel smile before continuing, “You claim you are a mere mercenary. Let's look closer. You only use a fork, and you wipe your mouth with your own hand like the common folk would do. But your other table manners are better than most upper-class mongers or bureaucrats that have dinner with Brendol. You see, it's the small details that are easy to spot if you know where to look. How you hold a glass, how you put your hands. Even how we chew is different from commoners, who were required to learn proper manners in their adulthood.” He stresses the word 'we' . “I assume you are or were a noble. Then your accent. You make it sound generic and include some lower-class words, but in the end, you speak like a person who prefers reading to watching shows. Then there was ‘sandwich’. Common folk here calls it 'butteredbread' or ‘butty’ . ‘Sandwich’, o r 'flip-flops' , we call them eastshoes, are what people from west lands call them. That made me listen to your short o’s and how you draw your voice down at words that end with a consonant.” Hux mimics the accent Kylo didn't know he had, “If I needed to guess I’d say Naboo, or maybe Chandrila, but definitely the central part of the western region. Stop me if I’m wrong, Obi."

Hux pours himself more wine, gulps it and continues "What else? Young —how old are you?" he squints his eyes and gives Kylo a brief once-over, "Twenty-four? Twenty-eight?— Naboonian nobleman. Maybe the Count? One of the lesser princes? Someone who—what have you done?—Ran away in disgrace? Gambled all his heritage away? Or was it elopement with a commoner?" Hux uses a pause to bite into his meal, while Kylo is thinking about dragging him away and locking him in the car.

"Yeah, you look like a person who can see long legs and plush lips and lose their head," Hux continues. "One way or another you find your way here, thousands of miles away from your nation. Alone, dishonored, lost everything including your family name." A mean smile once again appears on Armitage's lips. "Don’t give me that look, Obi, it takes you a couple of seconds more than normal to turn your head when you hear ‘Obi’. Are you changing names often? No," he answers without waiting for Kylo to react. The lordling clearly enjoys the sound of his own voice. "You'd prepare the new one beforehand, and not get stuck, like an idiot, when I asked. My bet is that you have a new name, widely known in narrow circles. To build a new life and a new name you’d need time, and you know that monster by name, and you know how he looks, so you saw him. To build that kind of reputation you need years, maybe even a decade."

Hux stops and swallows the rest of the wine in his glass.

"Let me draw a picture for you. Young, eh, Earl?“ he looks at Kylo’s trying to read the confirmation of his guesses on his face, ”on the run, skilled with weapons but with no real-life experience, who even can’t make himself a decent sandwich ,” Hux says it in a heavy Chandrila accent, “without cutting his finger in the process. The money he took with him—or did you steal it, not-Ob i?— that money is almost over. He is lonely, disgraced. Was it a tavern where some of his henchmen found you? A brothel?  Snoke approached you, said he’d been searching for you, proposed to help you, then made you do his dirty work, made you break all your principles and you promised, and feel grateful in the process.”

“Shut up,” Kylo says as calmly as he can.

“Thank you, master, for making me do things I vowed I’d never do. Thank you, master, for your forgiveness after you gave me an impossible task and I failed it. Thank you, master, for making me stronger with your tough punishments.”

“Shut up!”

“Thank you, for saving me from my loving family.”

“Shut up, or I’ll make you!”

“Do that, that’d be fun to watch. If you're deaf or dumb, I can’t make you hear me. But make yourself a favor, think about it.” He finishes the rest of the wine in the glass. Was it his third or fourth? Kylo stopped counting, but Armitage had more than enough. “You are not that unique in your destiny as you think you are, Obi-the-common-merc .”

 


 

 

They are silent on their way back to the room. Ren slightly pushes Hux to the bathroom. Even if Hux has questions, he chooses not to mouth them, and goes in slightly staggering.

“Do you want to take a shower, sir?” Kylo asks when the heir of the richest land in the Kingdom flops down on the closed toilet.

Hux doesn’t answer. He doesn't even deign to look back at Kylo.

Okay, it's his choice. He can be dirty as much as he wants.

“Stay there and don’t do anything stu...”

“Stupid,” Hux finishes before him, "Merc Obi, why do I question that you have my best interest in heart when you say it? Maybe I should do stupid things if that’s where being smart led me?“

Ren only sights to that and steps in the shower stall. That was a long and eventful day. He can’t help Hux and he shouldn't try to befriend him. Now Hux’s knows too much. One word to Snoke may cost Kylo a lot.

The glass door between them is open, but Hux doesn't react to the splashes of water, concentrating on his feet. Kylo commands himself not to care if Armitage is cold, or if he needs anything. He's not Kylo's problem, but he can very much become if Kylo doesn't concentrate.

“Brendol does that all the time, you know?” his slurred voice interrupts Ren’s thoughts.

“What?”

“What Snoke has done to you. He brainwashed enough people into believing him for me to notice the pattern. He told me that himself when he still planned for me to lead his army someday. It works especially good with young people who have nothing to lose.”

“It’s only your fantasies, my lord, you know nothing about me.”

“Obi, you are talking with a deadman, no need to lie.” He laughs. It is a laugh of a drunk man who is genuinely amused and doesn’t hold himself back. But after multiple deceptions from Hux's family, Kylo doesn't swallow it. “Obi, I could tell about one man who thought that my father loved him as a son. Red, gullible idiot, he was basically Brendol’s slave, he used him to do his dirty work, to clean up after him. Brendol gave him some worthless titles. He died during one mission. His body was found half-eaten and disemboweled. Do you want to know what Brendol said?”

“He said: 'That's unacceptable! I spent two hundred credits on his armor'.” Hux laughs even louder. “Of course, the armor was what bothered him. He has a literal army of blockheads like Red.”

“Maybe Brendol did love him like his own son after all, eh?” He laughs once again. Longer and angrier this time until he starts to cough. Hux gets up from the toilet, goes to the tap and drinks from it.

“You have a nice body,” he says suddenly, ogling Ren in the mirror and splashing his face.

“That won’t work,” Kylo is not that stupid to fall for one trick twice in one day. Armitage is Snoke’s new spouse, only an insanely reckless person would touch what is Snoke’s.

“But you do have a nice, very nice body. That’s just a fact," his voice is high and slow, "I didn’t have time to notice that before. Strong muscular legs. Big arms … The other parts of you are big too. If the lord is well endowed, happiness is a frequent guest in the house,” he repeats a common folk phase in a sing-song voice and turns to face Kylo. “Well, whatever gods your people are praying, these gods did bestow you with a really nice body.”

Armitage looks at him shamelessly, a big drunk smile on his face.

“I’m done. Let’s sleep,” Kylo turns off the water. It’s better to put a bathrobe on before his traitorous body decides to listen to the flattery.

“My turn,” Hux says taking his—Kylo’s— clothes off. Right there in this tiny room. As if it's normal.


His movement is slightly uncoordinated and he's swinging. Kylo keeps asking himself how drunk his captive really is and how much of that is a show.

They switch places, which is not an easy task to do in the bathroom without touching naked and clumsy Armitage. Of course, Kylo's hand touches his side. Of course, Hux's hip taps with his. And now Hux is taking a shower and Ren is sitting on the closed toilet, trying to combine two impossible tasks — not taking his eyes from his target and not staring at the bare form of the future husband of his boss.

There is something to look at. Younger Hux can joke about Kylo's body as much as he wants, but Armitage's body is flawless. If he ever had a type Armitage would be it: lean and tall, nobly pale skin, legs that look like they belong to an antique statue and vibrant red hair. You must be a special kind of fool to look at that perfect little ass, that now belongs to his master. You must be crazy to tear your eyes away from it. And Kylo is not crazy.

The drops of water land on his face.

"What the f..."

“It’s my last day, I can have some fun, can I?” Armitage interrupts him, sounding soberer and less cheerful. '“What was the last day of your life, the man who calls himself Obi ? Your previous life?”

“My mother’s brother tried to kill me, but I overpowered him, and left him to die,” Kylo blurts out unexpectedly even for himself. He omits the part that he was sleeping and that the latest rumors told him that Luke survived it, and is currently hiding somewhere in the north, like the coward he always was.

Kylo meets his eyes trying to decipher what Hux thinks, and quickly getting angry. What does he want to find in these blue eyes? Compassion? Sympathy? Understanding? Forgiveness? Why should Hux feel any of these toward the man who kidnapped him, and works for Snoke? And why should Kylo care?

“Put the robe on, and go to sleep. We are leaving at dawn,” Kylo says cursing to himself for telling Armitage too much. Again.

Hux wears one of Kylo’s t-shirts to sleep, it’s loose and he looks lovely in it. Kylo sleeps naked usually, but he wears underwear and a t-shirt too. Not because he doesn’t want Hux to see him naked, but if Hux has decided to run away in the middle of the night, it would be more convenient to chase him with at least some of his clothes on.

“If you move, I’ll hear. I am a very light sleeper.” Thank you, Luke. “I don’t want to tie you to the bed. But I will if you give me even the slightest reason to.”

Armitage obeys, lies on the bed, closes his eyes and doesn’t move. Meanwhile, Ren checks the door and all the windows, give one more brief look at his captive and turns the light off.

 


 


Armitage's theories about Snoke and their connection haunt his mind.  The boy is wrong, he says to himself multiple times. Yes, Armitage did guess some facts of his past rather accurately, but that doesn't mean a thing.

He tries to meditate but that's not working.

Kylo isn’t sleeping when he hears that the Hux is moving in his own bed. Sound of fabric. Maybe he is fumbling with the comforter, got cold or hot, reasons Kylo, no need to act. Then the sound of light steps. He doesn’t want to get up and chase him, too much motion, maybe Armitage just wants to visit the bathroom. The door is closed, the key Kylo hid. But the sound of steps doesn't move to the door, it approaches Kylo's bed. Is he trying to attack Kylo? Maybe Armitage stole a knife from the kitchen. Stupid boy, why you want me to punish you?

Kylo waits, breathing normally, but instead of the blow, he feels that his mattress moves.

“What do you think you are doing?” he asks not opening his eyes.

“What does it look like?” Hux presses his body against Kylo’s, and their naked legs and arms touch. Even this minor contact sends electric strikes down Kylo's spine.

"It won’t work," he repeats what he told Armitage before, trying to sound certain about that, but he doesn’t push Armitage away.

“I’m not an idiot, you won’t go against him," Hux murmurs under his breath, "I got that. I just can’t let that asshole take even that from me.”

Kylo isn’t sure what who is talking about, Snoke or his father.

“Take what?” he asks unsure.

“Everything,” Ren feels how Hux’s shakes his head, “I don’t want to lose everything before I even feel for the first time.”

“Hux, you are drunk. You don't know what you are doing. Go back to your bed.” I’m just the first available option for him. Kylo opens his eyes and looks at Hux’s silhouette at his side. 

“It was not my first bottle of wine. I’m part of the Hux family, even if the old geezer doesn't think so, I know how to handle my booze.”

“I know you want me, Obi. I’m not blind.” Armitage is speaking fast. Very fast. “I know you are afraid of Snoke. It’s understandable. It's okay. I won’t tell him. That’s the deal, I don’t tell him anything and go with you willing tomorrow, and you fuck me.

No. That won’t work. Go to your bed. Now. That’s what Kylo should have told him. “Why, Armitage?” he asks not believing his own stupidity.

“I’ve never been with another person,” he whispers, even quieter than before. Ren needs to put an effort to hear him, even though he is inches away. “Not in that way. I… I’ve done things but never gone all the way. I don’t want my real first time to be with a violent monster. If I can’t change anything else, at least I can change that.”

Ren knows that it’s a trap and that Snoke will punish him. Snoke will punish Hux too.

"If Snoke will find out..." and he will, he always does , "Armitage, believe me, it's not worth it."

"He won't if we both don't tell him."

"Armitage," Kylo puts his hand into his hair and strokes it lightly. It's even softer than it looks. It's easy to forget about everything, but... "we can't."

The silence set between them. They are laying on their sides for some time, looking at each other in the dark, with Ren's hand staying on Hux's nape.

“Obi, please,” Armitage says desperately after not getting any reaction from Kylo.

Kylo, please.

He is a fool. He is the fool. He will lose everything. He will regret what is going to happen for the rest of his life, which at that rate won't be far from now. But he can’t stop.

“Tell me what have you done?” Kylo sighs. He doesn't want to know but if he is going to do that, at least he is going to do that right. "With other people and by yourself?"

“Why?” Hux sounds suspicious. 

"For once, I don’t want to hurt you. But if that doesn't convince you,” Kylo puts his hand on his thigh and carefully strokes it, “how else do you want me to make it satisfying for you without any data?"

"Who says I want it to be satisfying?" Hux hisses but doesn’t move away.

"And what do you want?" He is leaving small kisses on Hux's jaw and slowly moving to his ear "Do you want to harm Snoke with your act of defiance? Do you want me to hurt you? To take you rough and painfully?"

Hux doesn't answer but he makes a small moan when Kylo sucks his earlobe.

"Armitage," he continues, trying to sound convincing, "I won't harm, or punish you if that's what you really want," Kylo punctuates each word with a small kiss. Kylo can’t tell what Armitage genuinely desires, but if he’s seeking pain, Kylo won’t provide it. "I won’t do that. I won't assist your self-destruction. But I can make it good for you." I want to make it good for you. Please, let me make it good for you. "And for that, I need you to talk to me."

Armitage keeps rubbing himself on Kylo, and Kylo puts one of his hands on Hux’s perfect little ass and the other one on his scapula guiding his movements. He finds out, Hux doesn’t have underwear on, he probably took it off when Ren heard him wiggling in his bed.

"I do have the experience," he pauses, when Kylo touches him in the right way, "But I've never done, you know..." he whispers, and Kylo thinks he must be embarrassed, "penetration."

After that declaration, Armitage starts to kiss Kylo's neck which quickly turns into biting. He does it not in a particularly gentle way, it's not hurting either. Just enough and Kylo likes it.

"But what have you done?" Kylo's voice is ragged. Talking is not what he prefers to do right now, but he needs to find out, and the sooner the better.

Hux bites him hard before answering. "Almost everything. Stop asking. Or that turns you on?" He brushes his thigh on Kylo's length, that is more than hard, and huffs. "I was the heir of the most powerful family in the Kingdom, it wasn’t hard to find enthusiastic partners."

"Yeah?" Kylo swiftly pushes Armitage on his back, climbs on top of him, pins his hands and looks him in the eyes. The animal inside him wants to tear anyone who touched Armitage, but he silences it and wills himself to speak calmly, "And how far did you go with them?"

"Far." And continues when Kylo keeps looking at him and doesn't let him move, "Don't be stupid. I was locked in that damn castle for almost all my life. Not many entertainments there. And I'm pretty experienced with my own fingers if that what you want to hear."

"Bored little lordling. Locked in his opulent golden cage." Kylo is starting to grind his hips against Hux’s. "All alone playing with his lonely little hole in his cold lonely bed. How many times did you imagine someone assisting you, my lord?"

Hux reciprocates by digging his nails into Kylo’s shoulder. And they both moan.

“We can do things,” Kylo puts his hands on each side of Armitage’s head. “But. The second you feel uncomfortable in any way you must promise me to say it. Deal?”

Hux nods.

“And Armitage,” Kylo takes his chin and moves his face so their eyes met. He hates himself for what he is about to say. “it won’t change anything.”

Kylo hears a sharp exhale. It's hard to decipher whether it was a sad chuckle or a sigh. He sees Hux nodding again in the twilight of the room.

They stay silent and motionless for the next few seconds. Their faces close to each other, noses almost touching, Kylo's hips are lying on Armitage's, with only a layer of thin fabric, that doesn't conceal much, between them. Only their breaths can be heard. Kylo can't believe what is about to happen. He is the luckiest bastard in the Kingdom. And an idiot. 

It’s like jumping into a cold lake.

It’s like launching into battle.

It's now or never. 

And Ren kisses him. Their lips finally touch, just small pecks, without tongues and without bites. It's almost chaste. Kylo doesn’t remember when was the last time he kissed someone like that, maybe never. Or in his previous life, young prince Ben kissed one of his mother’s guards whose name he forgot a long time ago.

But Hux's lips are better than any fantasy he had about them. Soft and smooth. Perfect lips, lips that someone like Kylo Ren doesn't deserve. And when Hux's tongue licks him and enters his mouth he can swear it is the most sensual thing that has ever happened to him.

It's hard to move away from that perfect mouth, Kylo wants to kiss him until both of them are out of breath, and their lips hurt, but it's not how it is bound to be. He presses open-mouthed kisses to Hux’s jaw, and trails kisses down his neck, feels his pulse and a tremble of his breath.

He feels Hux’s hands on his hips, they go up and pull Kylo's shirt up. Kylo helps Armitage take it off, pausing when he’s propped up on his elbow and traces Kylo's abs and chest with fingers of the other hand. 

Kylo hears his own shallow breathing. He may be on top of Armitage, he may have all the power, but he is completely, utterly and irreversibly captivated by Armitage's feather-light touches.

He swallows hard and, to regain any semblance of control, he lowers his hands and takes his own shirt off Hux.

Armitage's fully naked body lies under him. He knows he ought to say something, some endearment or dirty name. Something that he told and heard countless times before, but everything that comes to his mind sounds shallow.

Kylo squeezes his eyes shut and by feel finds Hux's mouth again. This time he puts all the desire he has into it. It's messy and passionate. He moves down and suckles one Hux’s nipple, simultaneously playing with the other one between his fingers. He is rewarded with sweet, keening sound, the Hux arches his back and put his hands to Kylo’s hair tugging it. Kylo groans against his nipple, which only makes Armitage grip harder. 

Kylo moves further down, kissing the bottom of his soft belly, and massaging his inner thighs, while Hux's hard cock touches his neck and cheek.

“Did someone take your cute cock in their mouth?” Kylo asks lightly stroking him.

“I’m the viscount of Arkanis and I’m twenty-five,” Hux pants, voice broken and ragged, “what do you think?”

Kylo is not disappointed to hear that. Not at all.

He places a small kiss on the head and tastes his precome. Then Kylo licks, slow and tenderly, for the whole length of it, starting at the base and finishing by taking the head of it into his mouth, which makes Hux moan and tremble. The hands in Kylo's hair tug harder. But that’s not his destination, he moves down, and gently bends and opens Hux’s knees wider.

“And there,” Kylo bites his lip to keep from groaning again. He circles Hux’s hole with an index finger while keeping lightly jerking his cock “Did someone touch you there?”

“Are you going to ask about every part of me?” Hux asks. Even mumbling with shallow breathing he sounds a bit annoyed and a lot entitled. “Yes, I let certain trusted people finger me if you need to know.”

“I didn’t ask about fingers,” Kylo says and moves his face closer to Hux’s hole, now his lips almost touch the skin when he keeps talking. “Did someone touch you there with their mouth?”

“No,” he replies voice amused “Why would someone do that, that‘s filthy, and...”

Kylo doesn't listen to the rest and laps him. He tastes like a freshly washed skin, and with every swipe of Kylo's tongue, he trembles and inhales sharply. The whole experience sets Kylo's body on fire. His own cock begs for attention, and it's hard not rut on the mattress or on Hux's leg. 

When Kylo pushes his tongue inside Armitage, he shocks him with high a meowl-like sound. Kylo moves away and looks at him to check if he is okay.

“Don’t stop!” It’s probably intended as an order but sounds more like a plea. The hands in his hair push him down, and that's all the signal Kylo needs.

He continues, concentrated on the task. He settles for a steady pace, moving the hand on Hux’s cock in one rhythm with his tongue.

Shortly, Armitage starts to move erratically, trying to both fuck into his hand and fuck back on Kylo's tongue. He comes with a high pitched cry.

Kylo moves his mouth to Armitage's cock, swallowing come. When it's over Ren cleans his belly with his lips, devouring every drop last, until the man under him begins to shake. 

He moves to back up to Hux’s face, places a small kiss and holds him in his arms.

“Does that satisfy your need, Armitage?”

Kylo’s own cock screams and demands his part of attention, but he chooses to ignore it once again.

Hux only rubs his face on Kylo’s neck, and Kylo buries his nose into his hair, deeply inhaling his smell. Maybe, after Armitage falls asleep I can sneak into the bathroom and finally touch myself, he thinks.

As if Hux read his mind, he slightly turns his head up so their lips meet again. It starts lazy, small kisses and slow strokes of his tongue. Then Armitage craws fully on top of him and starts to devour Kylo's mouth with unexpected passion. 

"What are you doing?" Kylo groans against his cheek, while Hux sucks his neck.

"I thought we had a deal?" Armitage replies, and Kylo can hear a smile in his voice.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” Kylo can’t believe he asks that. With any other partner, he’d turn them on their belly, put their ass in the air, and have his way. But it's Armitage, and with him, everything is different, “We don’t need to finish that way.”

“Yeah? And if I ask him?” He reaches for Kylo’s painfully hard cock. “What would he say?”

It's just a hand. Normal hand, like any other. Yeah, it has tender skin, but nothing special. But his touch drives Kylo crazy, and Kylo is afraid that he will come just from this touch, like an inexperienced teen with their first love.

“Don’t talk to him, he is a stupid prick,” he manages to joke, between fucking Hux’s definitely not innocent hand.

“Just fuck me, Obi. Don’t make me beg.”

Please, Kylo rings in his ears. How on earth he can say no to Armitage. Snoke would skin him alive if he ever finds out. When he finds out. But screw Snoke.

“Lie on your back and hug your knees.” Kylo knows he sounds desperate, but he doesn't mind anymore.

Hux obeys, while Kylo moves to his bag near the bed and grabs a small bottle of lube.

“You promised me to say if you don’t like it.” He hovers over Hux’s face. His eyes have got used to the dark and can see his delicate features now.

“Just do it!”

"Fuck, you are so beautiful," Kylo blurts out.

Armitage exhales sharply and Kylo steals a small kiss before moving down.

He covers his finger with thick and viscous liquid and carefully pushes it inside Hux.  Armitage is relaxed and pliant, and it doesn’t take much time for Kylo to have two fingers into him and start to fuck him, drawing a whine from Armitage with each push. 

When Armitage starts bubbling the strings of yes and more, Kylo withdraws his fingers, lubricates his cock and gives it a couple of lazy strokes.

He puts one hand near Hux’s head and guides his cock to Hux’s entrance.

“Relax,” he commands.

In his gut, he knows that it’s the moment that will change everything. And everything, really everything has changed already from the first moment he saw Hux lying in his huge ornate bed last night. Or even before that, much earlier, every decision in his life, every mistake, every deed led him to this moment.

“Obi, are you with me?” Hux puts a hand on his cheek voice tender and slightly worried.

Ben ,” he whispers.

“What?” Armitage asks, sounding very put out.

“My name is Ben .”

He enters Hux. He can’t say what is more overwhelming: how tight and hot Hux is, how his nails dig into him, his breathing, that Kylo feels with his whole body or how Armitage echoed 'Ben' under his breath.

"Are you okay?" Kylo asks, when he is fully inside him, touching his forehead with his own.

"Yeah," Armitage tries breathing normally, "You... you can move."

That is all invitation that he needs, settling for a steady rhythm, where each thrust matches with Armitage's moans.

It's all too much, too hot, too tight. Armitage's smell, Armitage's voice, the softness of his skin. And Kylo shudders as he comes with a long, loud groan. 

He moves his hand between their bodies, takes Hux's cock in his hand and jerks it.

"Yes, yes, yes. Please, more, a bit more," Armitage says, breathless and babbling, clearly not in control of his own voice anymore. ''Please, Ben!"

Armitage screams his name a second before hot cum hits his hand.

  They lie like that for some time, Kylo on top of him, regaining their breaths and coming back to their senses, with a puddle between their stomachs. When he finally is able to move, Kylo uses his shirt to clean them both.

He throws his soiled shirt away, Armitage rolls on his side, so Kylo can only see his back.

He doesn't cover himself with a blanket and draws his knees closer to his chest. Kylo listens closely to the sounds he is making, trying to find out if he is crying. But all he can hear is breathing. He doesn't know what to say, so he stays silent. He hugs Armitage from behind

“Can I stay?” Hux asks still facing the far-away wall and his own bed.

Kylo should say no, remind him not to do anything stupid, and repeat that it still doesn’t mean anything. But he promised not to lie to Hux.

Kylo hugs him and moves even closer, covering them both with a blanket.

"We need to sleep," Kylo says after a while. Somehow he knows that Armitage is awake just like him. "Tomorrow will be a long day."

"Tomorrow," a somber voice answers him, "I don’t want it to begin. I don’t want to waste any second for sleeping."

Ben tenderly kisses the back of his neck. He doesn’t want to sleep either.

Chapter Text

Kylo wakes up. He feels great: rested and full of energy. He had a wonderful dream.

The room is still dark but he can see the outlines of everything around him. He looks out of the window and it is not night anymore but the sun is not going to appear during the next hour.

He doesn’t remember his dreams, but he’s sure that he dreamed about killing an ancient monster, a great unspeakable evil. He’s breathing heavily. His head is light. He remembers that he won, and he’s elated with the baffling feeling of success.

He turns his head to his left and realizes that Hux is not in bed with him, only a crumpled blanket lies there. He turns to his right and looks at the second bed. There is no Armitage there either. The memories of what they did last night flooded his mind. He betrayed his master. He touched Snoke’s future husband. He lost his control for pretty words and pretty lips. And Armitage used him, lulled his attention and got away, while Kylo snored like a sated fool. Kylo should thank the gods and younger Hux for not killing him before running away.

He must rise and chase the lad. He must do at least something. He must feel regret for what they did, what he did. He must be ashamed from not waking up. But he feels nothing and doesn’t move. He looks at the door, and it’s closed. If Armitage stole the room keys, and, likely, stole the car too. Kylo specifically rented the untraceable car, and if Armitage is smart—and all points out that he is— he would ride as far as he can, and then change transport. Kylo is worried about his Knights — will Snoke punish them too for his mistakes, or is there a chance that he can convince his master that the fault is only his?

The sound of running water spooks him. He dashes for the knife that he hid under his pillow. After a couple of seconds Armitage appears from the bathroom.

Kylo catches himself thinking that he should be relieved but he isn't. He hides back the knife. He knows Armitage is unlikely to see, coming back from brightly lit space to the dim room. And even if he did, Kylo doesn't care.

“I needed to use the bathroom,” Armitage explains quietly, gesturing toward the door. His voice is in between placating and scared. And for the first time Kylo thinks about what life Armitage had been living under the guardianship of Brendol. He told Kylo that he wanted to kill his father, and that his father hated him. A jerk who sold his son into sexual slavery to a sadistic monster doesn’t look like he was a good parent before that. ‘ You can leave bruises, but not on his face. ’ That’s what that the prick said.

“It’s okay,” Kylo places a small kiss on Armitage’s nape. He put on Kylo’s oversized shirt before leaving to go to the bathroom, and in the dim light from the window, he looks like an ephemeral creature, a fairy or a spirit. “Sleep, your lordship,” Kylo whispers in his hair.

“Should we pack already?” Armitage asks with strange neutral voice.

“We still have time to rest,” no we don’t, but it’s easy to lie when Hux’s warm body is on his side and his smell permeated everything around them, “I’ll wake you up.”

Armitage nuzzles him. He puts his arm on Kylo’s chest and after a couple of minutes Armitage’s breathing becomes even. Kylo’s eyelids become heavy and he starts drifting away.

Kylo sees darkness. It's everywhere and he's darkness too. He doesn't panic. He is not scared. He observes nothingness around him—around the space that should be him—with mere curiosity. Then he feels a sharp pain of his own nails digging into the softness of his palms. Kylo looks down and sees his hands. Then he looks in front of him. Now there are huge wooden double doors with intricate carving on them far ahead of him.

The doors open. A tall, thin figure sheeted in a gown that is as white as fresh snow is standing on the threshold.

Kylo can't explain how but he knows it's Armitage Hux, in that damn sleeping dress that was stained, ruined and left near the road in the no-name part of the forest.

The cave, Kylo knows it's a cave, is darker than the darkness around him, and even a quick gaze into it makes his blood runs cold.

Kylo runs toward Armitage. His body doesn't obey him. His legs moving so slow like he is stuck in marshy water.

"My boy," he hears Snoke voice. It unmistakably him even if that sounds like a hissing of hundreds of snakes, "I knew I could trust you. You are loyal to me. You will be rewarded. You will be exalted."

Kylo stops. He is halfway to the doors. To Armitage. He can't see Snoke only his voice—voices— continue to praise Kylo Ren. All he can see is Armitage with his hair vivid like fire, like the only source of light.

Armitage turns around. Slowly. Very slowly. His face is twisted with horror. He saw what's waiting for him in the belly of the cage.

Kylo sees Armitage's lips moving “Ben, Please!”

But the doors close before Kylo is able to move, and when he reaches them to open them, the doors disappear like mist in the sun.

Kylo is gasping for air. His heart is beating wildly. His lungs burn. The pressure hurts every cell in his body. He reaches for something. For someone. For Armitage.

“Armie!” he screams. The voice escaping his mouth is barely a whisper. 

“Armitage,“ he reaches and reaches in the viscous void.

In the next instant, he’s with Armie in a narrow bed in a murky room. Or it’s not a room. It’s only a bed with shabby grey linens amidst the very same shifting dark. Armitage's naked body is warm and tangible, frustratingly real in the nightmarish surroundings.

“We should run away,” Kylo hears his own voice. It's tired and low. That's not the first time he has thought about that, but he's finally willing to voice that.

His fingers are tracing the newest ugly scar on Hux’s inner thigh. It must have healed only recently, and that, Kylo realizes, is the reason he hasn't seen Armitage for a long time. Looking at it hurts him. It enrages him. The constantly present want to strangle that monster with his bare hands flares up with renewed vigor.

“You know we can’t,” it’s Armitage’s voice, but it sounds different. Neutral. Numb. Something important has disappeared from it. “He will find us and he will kill us.”

“I'm not afraid of him.” Not anymore. "I don’t care."

“I do.” A soothing touch of his hand on Kylo's shoulder calms him a bit.  Armitage kisses him. It’s a familiar and soft kiss. “We must be smart about it. I won’t let him hurt you. I won’t let him take you away from me."

“I'll kill him. I promise you, Armie,” these words on his lips feel familiar too. He knows that he told them too many times. He knows he means it. Every single time.

“You will. Someday. We just need to wait.”

Their temples meet, Armie's hands touch the back of his neck and his fingers massage Kylo’s nape.

“Ben...I don’t want to waste our time talking about that,” he says and pulls Kylo into an embrace, but when Kylo’s hands touch Hux’s back he turns into a grey mist.

The bed disappears.

And Kylo is falling.

Falling.

Falling.

Falling.

He lands on the polished black stone floor and the next thing he’s doing is pulling his dagger from the last guard's chest. He turns around immediately and runs to Armie. Kylo is finally able to hold him in his arms. He can finally call Armie his.

“We did it,” Armitage’s laughter is manic. His short black robe that is soaked in blood, but it's not his blood. A quick look tells Kylo that his mate is mostly unharmed. “Ben, we did it!”

They kiss every inch of each other’s face, standing with deranged smiles, amidst dead bodies, amidst the smell of blood, and Hux keeps repeating 'we did it'.

Now Kylo can see his surroundings. It's Snoke’s residence. His great hall. Or what is left of it. 

Catching his breath, Kylo looks at the body of his master, of his greatest enemy, a heinous monster, who had been torturing the love of Kylo’s life for years. His face is disfigured and throat is swollen. Snoke scratched it with his own nails before he suffocated. Right, the wine that Hux gave him. The poison.

“We should leave.” Kylo hears himself saying.

“No," Armie's voice is level.

Kylo looks him in the eyes and sees a fire he saw years ago when they first met. Back then it was wild, uncontrollable, now it's stable, purposeful, threatening to kill anyone in his way.

“Where will we go?" Armie asks pursing his lips and frowning. "It’s my country. It’s my people. I won’t let them suffer. I won't let anyone like Snoke came here again. It’s all ours now, and I’m going to protect that.  I’m going to bring the order. I'm going to rule.”

“Armie,” he pleads.

Brendol Hux is dead. The mighty army of Arkanis is in turmoil. Snoke is dead. But Armitage is alive and unbroken. They can leave all of this behind. Kylo simply needs to find the right words.

Kylo looks at the face of his everything, at the man he pledged to serve till his last breath. He studies the face so different from the face of the boy he abducted from his father's almost a decade ago. He’s still the most beautiful man alive, Kylo doesn’t care about any marks on him.

He looks at Armie, but the man disappears in the mist and the room starts to disappear around him.

The tears are running down his face.

The next time Kylo opens them he is in the Emperor’s bedroom. It’s all black and red, plush and marble, the smell of incense and expensive whiskey.

All of these here are excruciatingly real. The cold and hard floor is uncomfortable under his knees. The high-quality wool of Emperor's pants that are almost touching Kylo's cheeks. The salty taste of his precome. The inconvenience of the pose. Emperor's groans from above. The need to hold his own wrists behind his back, clutching them hard. The painful grip of the Emperor's fingers in his hair.

The Emperor rarely touches him these days. Kylo can’t remember when was the last time he saw Hux naked, when was the last time Hux's touches were even slightly gentle, when was the last time they did it in the bed, or talk about something other than the latest campaign, resistance, rebels, interrogations.

Even now Emperor's hands are in gloves. Kylo relishes that touch anyway. He knows perfectly well that even that is more than he deserves.

Somehow they become even colder. Years and resentments drove him away from Hux. Kylo knows he deserves such treatment, every bit, and more. Kylo knows Hux will never forgive him, not fully. In a previous life, he hoped that after they slew the monster, they would be happy, buy a small farm, adopt a kid, find peace. The Emperor's loyal hound does not deserve peace. He vowed to serve and he'll serve till his last breath. 

The Emperor puts his crown on, and leaves the room, all that is left for the knight is to stare at his fluttering red cloak.

He screams until his throat begins to ache until his voice doesn't give up, and chest hurts. 

Then he wakes up.

He doesn't feel rested. His body pains like he spent the whole night offloading wagons in the docks. Cold sweat covers his body. His breathing is uneven and shallow and it takes Kylo some time to grasp where and when he is. He can see the room in the pale light that comes from the partially curtained window.  The weather outside is as sour as his mood, grey clouds with a promise of rain. He is in the inn, in the room with two beds, on that wretched mission, with his captive, his lover, his—Kylo's head hurt when he tries to remember what else was Armitage to him in his nightmares—soundly sleeping near him.

Kylo can't suppress a sad chuckle when he looks at him. Armitage snatched the whole blanket, rolled to the far end of the bed, lay on his side, turned away from Kylo's side, hugged the blanket to his chest, so his back and his ass were bare and cold, judging from how curled into himself he is sleeping. Kylo appraises his form for a bit. He still has a compilation of fading memories of spending years in a futile want to see Armie like that again. He rises up, fetches the second blanket from the other bed and covers the lad.

He should wake Armitage up, Kylo muses, but they had a long day yesterday and today is going to be even longer. And where do they have to hurry? Whatever is going to happen will happen, no matter whether his visions were accurate or not.

With that train of thought in his head, Kylo puts his smelly clothes on as quietly as he can and leaves the room, locking the door behind him. 


Concentrating on not questioning his decision, Kylo descends the stairs. It's easy not to think about what he needs to do today when his mind is occupied by finding breakfast. It's easy to forbid himself from thinking about his dreams, when they appear unreal and irrelevant now, in the light of the day. He can't even recall most of them now, all that's left are tight feelings in his chest and scratches on his palms, that he apparently left during the night.

The reception desk is empty now — the owner of the inn is nowhere to be seen. There on the desk, Kylo notices a holder with the various postcards. The photos of the lake from different points, happy couples on a boat, the inn. He takes one of them — it's a view of the lake that was taken from the nearby ruins of the ancient castle. He looks in the window behind the desk and compares what he sees with the photo. Ashen sky, stormy lake, brown or leafless trees versus the sunny weather, with mountains covered with lush green in the background. He grabs a pen from the desk and writes down the instructions. Then he takes an envelope puts the postcard and five crumpled, greasy banknotes inside it. 

Kylo looks in the window again, studying the hostile view. He considers hiding the envelope inside the drawer. It has a lock. But it's a primitive one, Kylo can easily break it. Damn, a kid with a screwdriver can easily break it. There the hostess can find it when they left. He doesn’t left inside the desk, instead, he puts it in his pocket. He can deal with that after he finds food.

The breakfast is served at the hall where they dinner yesterday. Now he understands why the reception was empty. The relatively small room is buzzing with people and the hostess, small old woman, is helping two servants.

The mouthwatering smell hits Kylo's nose, and he grabs a tray and two plates and starts to fill them. He doesn't know what Armitage prefers. During their previous meals together he wasn't enthusiastic about anything, so Kylo goes with diversity. Two types of fried eggs, crispy meat, salted violet fish from the North, pate, vegetables. He takes a basket of bread rolls, a small plate of cheese—hard, soft, and that salty strings that Ben's father liked so much— and fruits. When he gets to the table with beverages his tray is loaded and heavy.

"Oh, I'm sorry. You need to wait, honey," coos Maz the hostess, when Kylo asks where he can find coffee.

It's okay he has time. He could give her the envelope, that currently feels hot inside his pocket, but his hands are full. He even needs to ask the servant's help to put two glasses of fresh juice on his tray.

Finally, when the pot of coffee arrives, he puts sweets on top and can go back to Armitage, if he is still in their room.

When he passes the window he stops again for a moment. He views the Mountains in the North. These are mountains he should have climbed. It's about half an hour, forty minutes maximum, to drive there. He could have done it yesterday. Then he should have drunk himself into oblivion and fucked a random stranger. He should have forgotten all this. He should have become Snoke's heir someday and found his way to greatness.

He grinds his teeth and turns away. There is no sense in pondering about what is decided. 


Near the unremarkable inn door to their room, Kylo balances the tray with one hand and puts another one on the doorknob. He pauses. The cheap metal is smooth from countless hands polishing it over the years. Has this inn seen a more strange couple than Armitage and him? Probably, no, but according to the brochure it has more than two centuries of history, so maybe other damaged and confused couples have stayed in this room before.

Kylo hesitates a bit more than finally turns the doorknob, opening the door. The sigh of disappointment escapes his mouth. He doesn't question why exactly the fact that young Hux is sleeping in the exact place that he's left him is disappointing.

He crosses the room and puts the food on the bedside table near Armitage right in front of the window that overlooks the valley to the West.

Kylo comes closer to him. He admires the outline of his body under the thick blanket, his calm face with an innocent expression, his long golden lashes, and his lips that look like they were drawn by an artist. If his dreams are right, time and the monster will destroy this boy. Armitage will die, and Emperor Hux will be resurrected from his ashes.

Kylo wants Armitage. A lot. Maybe, he's never wanted anyone that much before. His dick is hard. His body is throbbing from want. He's barely able to stop himself from throwing away that blanket, mounting him, devouring his lips, taking him, again and again, until Armitage is trembling from overstimulation under him and both of them can't even move from exhaustion.

Taking a series of slow deep inhales, Kylo leans down and lightly, only brushing, kisses Armitage's forehead.

“Wake up, Armitage,” Kylo whispers into his ear. He tries to sound warm and affectionate.

“Are there any other options?” the lad answers, his perfect lips stretching into a small smile with his eyes still closed.

“Yes,” Kylo kisses Armitage below his ear. He takes a slice of bacon from the plate and waves it in front of Armitage's nose, “But your food will get cold.”

“My food?” he opens his eyes. They are smiling too.

Covering himself with a blanket and folding his naked legs into a semblance of meditation position, Armitage sits on the bed. He has nothing on but Kylo’s shirt, and that knowledge ignites Kylo's lust even more.

Kylo drives away lewd thoughts and sits on the floor in front of Armitage, mimicking his pose. He does it properly like he was taught back in the days he was prince Ben.  The floor is covered with a cheap carpet of ambiguous color between grey and dark blue, but at least it’s not cold to sit on. He looks at Armitage from the floor. Oh gods, how beautiful he is.

"Are we waiting for someone?" he hears Armitage asking, and when he glances at him the lad seems alarmed, although he tries to hide that.

"No," Kylo says softly. "Why are you asking?"

"There is enough food to feed a unit of troopers," Armitage shrugs but looks more relaxed than before.

"It's included in the price," he lies, "We can pack the rest."

Kylo doesn’t want to admit that he brought all this to make Armitage happy and that he actually shouldn’t have. That was stupid, he thinks, a man like Armitage Hux is used to get elaborate gourmet meals all the time. And he plays you, helpfully provides his inner voice, sounding a lot like his master's.

“Thanks,” Armitages interrupt his inner self-flagellation.

Kylo turns to see Armitage’s face and there is a barely noticeable smile on it.

They eat together. Only their chewing and clinging of forks on plates—mostly coming from Kylo—interrupt the silence. The food is fine, better than yesterday's dinner was. But one must be a complete idiot to ruin the eggs.

His dish isn't even half empty when Armitage puts it aside and grabs a pastry with red berry marmalade inside it. Kylo studies his face, his movements — Armitage shuts his eyes for a moment after swallowing, then Kylo catches the slightest smile.

Kylo lightly traces his fingers on the soft skin of Armitage's inner thigh. The last time he saw this thigh, the last time he touched it at his dream-vision, it had an ugly fresh scar. In reality, there is only smooth perfect skin under his hand. Kylo stops his hand on the hem of the shirt and looks into his face again. Armitage’s breathing hitches.

“I will kill your father,” Kylo says without thinking.

“What?” Armitage squires his eyes at him.

“I will.” He will. He knows that. He doesn't know how yet but he will. When he tries to dig deeper into his feelings his head is stricken with sharp pain again.

“Don’t say things that you don’t mean,” Armitage says, his voice seemingly unaffected. But when Kylo examines his face it’s sad and a bit angry.

“I do mean what I said. I will kill him. For you. For what he’s done to you.”

“Brendol Hux is the most powerful man in the country. He is a count of Arkanis.” Hux states the obvious with a dismissive tone as if there is even one living soul in a thousand-mile radius who doesn’t know that. “His army is unbeatable. He..”

“I know. But I'm not an ordinary mercenary. I was trained for all my life, Armitage. This gig,” he shows his hand around. ”All this is not what I usually do. And I know the defence system of your family's castle. I know its weaknesses. And I’m persistent.” and I think you will help me. Somehow.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes.”

“Thanks.” Armitage smiled wanly.

They continue eating in solemn silence for a while. He looks at Armitage's ankles. They both are crushed under the weight of the truth that wasn’t said, Kylo thinks. The truth that should be deemed as insane, but somehow it ignites warmth in Kylo’s chest. Armitage must feel it too. He must or all that Kylo is preparing to fulfill doesn't make any sense.

Kylo's plate is almost empty, and he keeps repeating each step of his plan in his head, eating a sweet roll and paying it no attention when a soft chuckle makes him look up.

"Your chin," Armitage grins when their gazes meet. "It's dirty with jam. So much for the good manners I thought you had. And red jam looks like blood, making you look like a monster from creepy tales."

"Er, thanks." Kylo moves his hand to clean it, but before he manages to do so, Armitage stops it with his own hand.

"Let me, messy boy," he whispers.

Armitage leans closer. Their noses almost touching. He looks Kylo in the eyes with an adorable flush spreading on his cheeks. Kylo assumes that Armitage wants to use his own fingers, and when the tip of Armitage's tongue licks his chin, Kylo stuck motionless for a second. His tongue keeps brushing over Kylo's face, warm and tender, awakening waves of lust in his body, making his skin hot and reaching all the way to his toes, making them curl inside his combat boots.

Armitage gently bites his lower lip and pulls away, causing Kylo to chase him.

It's not what they are supposed to be doing in any version of reality that includes breathing Snoke, but Kylo can't force himself to stop, can't force himself to care. He finds his hands on Armitage's thighs massaging them up and down, stopping on the edge of his shirt, not daring to advance any further without invitation.

“What do you have in mind, your lordship?” Kylo asks fighting back a smile.

"I don't know. Are you ready to find out, fake commoner?" Hux says seductively into his ear while tugging Kylo's shirt up. He probably wanted to sound seductive, but he is also fighting back a smile, and it ruins all his acting. Or improves it, Kylo isn't sure anymore.

The shirt flies to the far corner. Armitage's fingers are in his hair. Armitage's legs are around his back. Armitage's lips are on his mouth again. They are passionate and demanding, sucking and biting, driving Kylo crazy, making him forget about everything but giving Armitage what he wants, what he needs, serving him and letting him use Kylo's body as it pleases him. Then Hux's hands slide down, clutch on Kylo’s upper arms. He hooks his legs tighter around Kylo’s middle and pulls Kylo into bed with him. 

Kylo lies on top of him, not taking his gaze away from Armitage's eyes. His body is on fire, begging to rut on him, to hold him down, to fuck Armitage into the mattress, but Kylo doesn't let his basic instincts take over control. He can't — it's not about his needs, it never was. He covers Armitage's face with kisses instead, savoring every small moan that escapes his delicate lips.

Breaking a kiss, Kylo looks at his face. He makes an effort to engrave it in his memory like that: relaxed, peaceful, with a humble smile and half-closed eyes—and not to remember that other face from his last nightmare. It's not about how that face looked. Kylo can't care less about wrinkles, old scars, or grey hairs in Emperor's beard. No, he tries not to think about how this sweet expression would have changed for a mask of cold disdain.

Armitage lightly bites his earlobe and sends sparks down Kylo's spine.

"What do you think about doing something different?" he whispers into Kylo's ear, tickling Kylo's skin with warm breathing.

Kylo doesn't get what he meant until Armitage pushes Kylo to move, pressing one hand on his shoulder and Kylo complies. Armitage climbs on top of him, straddles Kylo’s hips, puts his hands on both sides of Kylo's head and starts kissing him again.

"I like your lips," Armitage says between kisses, "They are gorgeous, downright sinful."

That doesn't make any sense, because Kylo knows perfectly well that his face is far from one that can be called handsome. He does have a nice body, and he can be smooth if he needs too — it's often enough to find a company for a night. But he doesn't argue, maybe Armitage is trying to be nice, or doesn't know what else to say, instead, Kylo catches his lip between his teeth and lightly bothers it, making him whimper.

Armitage reaches between their bodies, unfastens Kylo's belt and unzips Kylo’s pants. He slides his hand into Kylo's underwear and lazily strokes his dick. Kylo moans against his mouth, losing himself in pleasure, caressing Armitages sides, and moving his shirt up.

"May I?" Kylo asks, his voice barely a whisper.

Armitage nods and sits straight, helping Kylo to undress him.

Then he leans down, bites Kylo’s shoulder just a bit too hard, making Kylo sharply exhale and tighten a grip on Armitage's sides.

He sucks the bitten spot. Then licks it. Kylo shivers with each swipe of his tongue, it must be embarrassing to fall apart for such a trivial thing, but he doesn't care. Kylo doesn't care about anything but holding Armitage in his arms.

Armitage stops abruptly, pulls away, and inspects his work.

"There'll be a mark," he says.

"I don't care," Kylo responses automatically, then after catching changes in Armitage's expression, he adds, "You can do with me whatever you please, my lord."

"Is that so?" Armitage flashes him a dangerous grin.

"Yes." Kylo promised not to lie to him after all.

“Take your pants off,” Armitage commands and sits on the bed near him. Then he adds, when Kylo is naked, "Now lie down, don’t move and be pretty."

And before Kylo can make any assumptions about what is going to happen he reaches for the bottle of lube on the bedside table.   

Armitage covers his fingers with it, puts his left hand back near Kylo’s face, and reaches behind himself. He's fingering himself, panting hard while Kylo’s looking at his concentrated face, and makes small circles with his thumbs on Armitage’s upper thighs. Armitage rubs his body on Kylo's naked chest and it makes Kylo growls — he wants to participate, to open Armitage’s tight little hole with his mouth like he did last night, to taste him, but he was given a direct order to stay still, and Kylo promised to obey.

Then Hux pours more lube into his hand and generously covers Kylo’s dick with it, stroking him.

“Ready?” he asks Kylo as if he’s the one who needs preparation.

Maybe it’s true, because Kylo does feel like it’s his first time. He looks into Armitage’s eyes and nods. What is wrong with me when I am around this boy?  

Armitage nods too and excruciatingly slowly lowers his hips. 

It’s madness, we both are so dead , Kylo has time to think that before Armitage’s warm, slick tight hole is all around him, Armitage’s face is once again right in front of him—their noses touching—and Armitage’s body is on him. Kylo can’t speak, but even if he could all he can think about is how good Armitage feels around him.

"I'm starting to move," mumbles Armitage.

"Please do," Kylo says, laying his hands on his perfect little ass.

When Armitage rides him, he is completely the opposite of the man Kylo saw in his dreams. He is tender, affectionate and somehow ineffably fragile. He leaves small kisses on Kylo's torso. His hands roam on Kylo's chest, while Kylo’s hands are on his sides, helping him, and holding his weight. Kylo doesn’t move and doesn’t guide Hux. He allows him to take what he needs from his body, trying to last longer, trying to remember every little detail about this moment, to conserve and preserve it for the following years to come.

Armitage moans, mewls and exhales multiple 'yes' above him. Combined with the obscene and wet sound of skin to skin contact it's the sweetest melody than he's ever heard.

Then Armitages whines a plea. It's weak and barely audible, but it is definitely Ben

It sobers Kylo like a bucket of cold water. He is not Ben. Not anymore. Ben is dead, and he is Kylo Ren, and Kylo Ren needs to cum and doesn't need to care about anything and anyone else.

Kylo hooks his leg over him and easily turns them both—still buried deep inside him. He puts lays Armitage on his back and climbs on top of him.

"Ben, what are you doing?" he laughs with the voice full of delight. And that turns Kylo even angrier.

He looks at Armitage's happy face and observes how that expression fades, and a surprised one is taking its place. Kylo doesn't want to see what expression will come next.

"Nothing, don't speak," he says, withdrawing. He abruptly flips Hux into his stomach and pushes inside him in one swift motion.

Kylo sets a punishing pace, repeating to himself that he doesn't care about what the other man feels about it, but Armitage seems to enjoy this even more.

"Yes," he practically shrieks into the mattress.

Armitage is moaning, panting and whines at the same time. ‘Yes', ‘more’, and strings of curses that Kylo didn't expect to hear from a pretty mouth of a nobleman are filling the room.

"Don't stop," Armitage cries, "Please! Don't fucking stop!"

Slowing down for a moment, Kylo looks at the flawless skin on Armitage's back. He can't help but think about marking him, about ruining that perfection, destroying it, sinking his teeth into soft flesh, biting and sucking on the lower part of his neck, where it connects with his shoulder, right on the opposite side of the spot where Hux marked him. It’d be like signing a death sentence for them both if the monster sees it. The perfect symmetry of the perfect madness.

Kylo stops. He leans closer. He puts his mouth on that tender place. He scrapes his teeth over it. But instead of locking his jaw on it, he kisses that spot. It’s like he simply physically can’t hurt Armitage. Gentle and devoted, Kylo nuzzles his neck, while his hips continue to hammering Hux. He cums with a soundless groan in Armitage, marking him from the inside. Kylo continues fucking his hole until his oversensitive dick hurts and Armitage is whining weakly under him. Only then Kylo pulls out and collapses near him on his back.

Kylo knows he needs to take care of Armitage. All his mixed and fucked-up feelings aside, it's common decency to help your partner to finish. Even if they insist on calling you by the name of a dead prince, you asked them to call you. Kylo stops his overthinking and turns Armitage on his back to suck him off, but he sees a puddle of jizz on Armitage's stomach.

“When?” he asks staring at it with a surprise.

Armitage only shrugs. He has a sated smile on his face, and his eyes are closing. He looks like he is ready to doze off again.

“Hey, don’t even dream of sleeping,” Kylo tells him. He's trying to sound strict, but he fails. He feels too good for faking an authority, and honestly, all he really wants right now is to hug Armitage and fall asleep together.  

"We need to take a shower. And get away from here," he adds, when Armitage doesn't seem to consider opening his eyes.

Armitage yawns, opens his eyes, stretches, nods then glances at him. And that when Kylo sees a shadow of the Emperor in him. For the briefest moment, softness disappears, a small smile changes to pursed lips, and his eyes are two shards of ice. Then he stands up and heads to the bathroom, not looking back.

Left with his thoughts Kylo lies there. Is he, Kylo, responsible for creating that monster as much as Snoke? Maybe, it doesn't matter what he will do, they will end up in that room anyway, with a cold floor under his knees and the colder man above him?

But what other options has Kylo other than stand up and follow Armitage there like a loyal Chandrila Shepherd?

"Care to join?" Armitage calls out to him from the shower stall, when Kylo opens the door. The room is already damp and full of warm steam. It's tempting, but giving in to temptation is all Kylo done for the last day.

"We don't have time for that. Be quick," and that to lighten the mood he continues "I don't want to pay for an extra day."

It didn't work. At least his own mood only gets worse. What if he has done it already? What if they are doing it in circles for eternity? Hurting each other and betraying each other? How else Kylo can explain this feeling that he's already been there? That he knows that he will fail? Again and again and again? He rarely thinks about thin matters in the last few years. He followed the warrior's path, not the path of monks, Snoke repeated to him. If he wanted to think about spirits, souls, inner energy, he should have stayed with his half-mad uncle, and let him kill prince Ben Organa.

Kylo takes a quick shower, making a point of not looking at Armitage and ignoring his rare questions.

They dress up in silence, putting on yesterday's smelly clothes. They leave the room and take Armitage’s flip flops—or what they call them here—with them. Maybe they are disposable, Kylo placates his conscience. After all that he's done, after the lowest low, yet he’s firmly against stealing.

When they reach the main door of the inn, Kylo casts a look at the reception where the hostess is waving for him with an overexcited smile.

"Wait for me in the car," he tells Armitage, and remotely unlocks it.

"Why?" he looks at Kylo as if he's suspecting that the car will be caught on fire the moment he sits inside it.

"Just do what I said," the anger begins to rise again in his chest. Hasn't he done enough to deserve even a little bit of trust? "I need to pay for our meal. Here, take the bag and go."

Armitage opens his mouth, then shuts it, snaps the duffel bag from Kylo, and proceeds to the exit. Kylo checks that he sits in the car and only then approaches Maz.


Driving slightly calms him. It's nice to feel in control, to literally be at the helm again. Hux tries to speak with him a couple of times, but Kylo pretends to be concentrating on the road. After less than half an hour, when the road becomes monotonous again with the green walls of trees on each side, and grey pavement till the horizon his inner turmoil raises its ugly head.

The decision is made, he repeats in his head, there is no reason to overthink it now.

On the other hand… On the other hand, he still can change his mind, change course, do what he should.

"How did you end up here?" a leveled voice from his right demands his attention again.

"Hm?" maybe if Kylo pretends to be deep in his thoughts, Armitage will take a hint and leave him alone.

"Not here-here. I can guess where my beloved daddy found you, but here in Arkanis? In this part of the world?" with side vision Kylo sees that Armitage is looking at him, "What has actually happened with the Royal Academy? I, obviously, heard rumors, but they, obviously, aren’t accurate if you are sitting next to me."

Kylo doesn’t answer. What can he tell him? Instead, he makes a point of gazing ahead at the road.

“Ben? Are you here?” Armitage asks. He sounds impatient and even confused. “Ben? Hey, your Highness?”

“Yes, Armitage," Kylo sights and grits his teeth, making an effort to sound neutral, and not speeding up. "I can hear you perfectly clear. There is no need to repeat that name. And there is even less need to say that title out loud.”

“Why?”

“Because the rumors are true. Ben Organa died in the attack on the Royal Academy. His body was burnt in the fire. What was left of him is now resting in the Royal tomb under the Church of Light,” Kylo asked himself many times if that sarcophagus empty or did his Mother put someone else there?

“But your uncle? You said he was the one who attacked you. That’s not what the news reports had said. The whole world thinлs that ex-imperial terrorists were the force behind...”

“I know, Armitage,” he sighs “Listen. You can’t use that name. It’s too famous. I know I asked you to call me that. But you know that was in the rush of the moment. I shouldn't have. Okay?”

He pronounces it with an indifferent tone but his frustration must be apparent on the edges.

Armitage looks at him for a long moment. He frowns and wrinkles his nose.

“I’m not stupid,” his voice is low, ”I won’t tell anyone. I thought…”

“You thought wrongly,” Kylo interrupts him again.

“As you wish, Obi ,” Armitage pronounces his fake name like a curse word.

“You can call me Kylo.”

“Kylo?” Armitage looks at him and he wrinkles his noble nose again, “How many names do you have?”

“Armie, I will answer all your questions, but not now, when I’m driving,” he snaps. The car is riding at full speed and Kylo can’t allow his already clouded mind to wander even more.

“And when that’s wonderful moment is going to happen, clearly-not-another-fake-name-Kylo?” Armitage screams back, “What? I don’t deserve even basic respect to have a normal conversation with me, do I? Yesterday, you wanted to talk, what has changed after last night, hm?”

Kylo does not swallow the bait, and doesn’t answer the clearly provocative question. He won’t point out that Armitage was the one who wanted to have sex with him. Or have sex in general.

“So, you want us to sit in silence.” Armitage states the obvious, “Great! Whatever! As you wish, not your Highness Kylo!”

For who knows how many times Kylo regrets that the car doesn’t have a music box. Kylo rented the basic model, and obviously without it or any other devices that can be traced.

“You can tell me something instead,” he turns to Armitage and smiles a bit.

“What?”

“I don’t know,” Kylo really doesn’t want to hear anything sad from Armitage but needs some noise to get distracted from his doubts, “Tell me a story.”

It seems that Armitage decides to ignore him in spite, but when Kylo is sure that he won't get any answer, Armitage says, “What do you want to hear?”

Any topic that comes to Kylo's mind is disturbing. Not traditions, too close to weddings. No childhood stories — he doesn’t need to hear about Armitage’s crappy childhood, or his horrible father, not today. 

“I don’t know anything, some anecdote,” he says eventually.

“Do you think I’m a whore and a jester?” Armitage spits.

“I don’t think you are a whore,” he really doesn’t. Why would he, the man is only a couple of years younger than Kylo, but he has never been fucked till yesterday.

“Then why are you only interested in fucking me?” Armitage practically hisses.

You were the one who wanted that , Kylo almost hisses in response, but he stops himself.

Kylo takes his hand off the gear stick and brushes his fingers over Armitage's hand that lies on his hip. He doesn't react but doesn't take a hand away either.

“I’m interested to hear from you, interested to hear everything from you. Fuck, Armitage, I promise you I’ll answer all your questions, just not right now. And now if you want you can tell me something, or stay silent. Because I really can’t participate in any meaningful dialogue.”

Armitage keeps his mouth shut for a while.

"I know one story but it’s a sad one," he mutters. "Long time ago in a land far away there was a princess.  She was a tree spirit, an immortal daughter of the Forest King. She liked her life in the forest, but she wanted more." Kylo vividly imagines a beautiful girl with light green skin and a mane of foliage. "She often ran away from her father and from her family, and from her people to see other lands and other animals, and other people." Armitage's voice is strange like he is reading from a book. "One day she met a handsome mortal man. She talked with him till sundown. He came to see her every day. On the thirtieth day, she lay with him. Her father—the King̦—would never forgive her, any relationship with mortals was forbidden, but she did that anyway. The King cast her away and took her immortality. She came to a city of mortals and found out that her handsome friend was a young prince."

“Was he married?” Kylo thinks that he knows a similar story: the prince's wife was very angry, and a young maiden...Kylo wasn't sure... she either turned into a witch or cried until she became a rainbow.

“No,” Hux says.

“So his parents were against their marriage?” Kylo asks with a smile. Almost all fairy tales are the same, and he was pretty sure he can guess this one.

“No, they were happy to welcome such a fair girl to the family,” judging by the voice Armitage was also smiling.

“So, why is it a sad story if everyone is happy? Does it have an evil sorcerer who secretly wants to marry the prince?”

“You won’t know if you don’t let me finish,” Armitage interrupts his guessing. “The Forest King was so angry with his favorite daughter, as I said, that he took away her immortality. She was cursed to live one human life with her sweetheart, suffer from human diseases and die a human death. And she was ready for that. But that wasn’t the only punishment," he makes a dramatic pause, "Every soul is immortal and the king cursed her soul so every time she died, she would be reborn far away from the prince's soul, her true soulmate. They would always start apart in every life, in every world, in every form. Time and time again. Her soul would know neither peace nor rest until it would be able to find its true soulmate again. All the time the soul forgets everything and seeks the soulmate, not even knowing what it is looking for. Every family the soul would have, it would be bound to leave and betray, reliving over and over again that first betrayal.”

“The Forest King sounds like a jerk!” Kylo says. It really was a sad story.

“Yes, he is.” Armitage easily agrees. “but we have an adaptation for children with the kind King, who forgives his daughter before her death. And the moral of this version is that the princess can do whatever she wants and face no consequences. But you should watch it. Sometimes. The songs surpass all expectations for the show.”

“Why did you tell me that?” Kylo is somehow even angrier and more confused than he was before.

“I liked it when I was a kid. It was my favorite theatrical performance. Both the original and the version for children. I went to see it with my nanny. I thought... never mind, merc.”

Shit, Kylo keeps doing one thing that he promised himself he would not — hurting Hux. He fails that. He failed his knights. Again. Although he promised not to do that at any cost too. And now all he has is the slightest hope that the instructions he left will be enough, and that they will get them in time, and the smiling hostess Maz will do as he told her, and not take his money and throw the paper away.

Kylo looks at Armitage's face half turned to the window. A young noble betrayed by his family member, woken up in the middle of the night, so by the cruel joke of fate, lose everything he thought he had. Is it a coincidence or Kylo's mind is just desperately trying to convince him that they are more alike than any other human?

On the next crossroad he turns to the right, to the East, as he planned this morning.

"So?" Armitage asks. "When are we going to arrive? Do we have time to eat, or should I wait for the feast? Somehow I don't think that Snoke is prepared something for me."

Kylo doesn’t answer. When the words escape his mouth they will become reality.

"I have a right to know. I think I deserve that!" Armitage screams, "You know that wasn't part of our deal. You said it won't change anything, but you behave like I'm already a thing and I'm still a viscount, the son, and the heir of Brendol Hux. I deserve to be respected."

"Okay, what do you want Hux?"

"I demand to know when are we going to arrive!"

“Never. We are never going to arrive , Armitage. The moment we stop will be the moment they will kill us.”

“What are you talking about?” he asks, pronouncing every with a pause.

“I’m not going to give you to him. Not today. Not ever. Understand?” Kylo grits his teeth and makes an effort to control his temper.

“You said it won’t change anything,” Hux says, enunciating every word like it's a curse. 

“It didn’t,” it’s true, somehow it’s true. Kylo knows that he won’t give Armitage to Snoke, even if they didn’t have sex. "It's not because of the last night. I made my decision. Now we need to leave this land and change the car."

"What the flaming hell are you talking about? What decision? Are you going to tell me about everything? Are you going to consult with me before taking me gods know where?"

Kylo isn't sure what to answer—definitely not that he doesn't actually have a real plan other that drive away and kill everyone who stays in their way—and Armitage's screaming only disturbs him from driving.

Letting out a long, deliberate sigh, Kylo gazes at him and says, "I'll tell you everything. As I promised. When we are in a safe place." 

“There are no places where we are safe from him," Hux says, looking at him, "You said so yourself. He will find us. He will kill us. Slowly and painfully.”

“Very likely. But until I’m breathing that wedding or whatever that pathetic land calls it is not going to happen.”

“Why?” Armitage finally stops yelling and says that at a regular volume. 

Kylo is silent. If he tells the truth about connection, about his dreams, about their destinies being intertwined together, Armitage will only laugh at him. 

“Why?”

"Why it's so important?" Kylo answers with a question.

"I don't know maybe because you were so resolute that you won't betray your master and the next moment after we did that..." he trails away. "I need to know your reasons, so you won't change your decision the next night."

"I won't change my decision," and he knows that it's also true. He didn't change his mind even when there was nothing left of that sweet boy.

"Why?" Armitage asks again, the doubt coloring his words.

“Because," Kylo says, rubbing his temple with one hand, "Okay, because! I don’t know. Because that's the right thing to do. That’s stupid. And you are not even a nice person. Fuck, you can't even pretend to be a nice person. But I know that’s what I should do.”

When Kylo turns his head to look at Armitage, he smiles. Kylo hates that. But some remnant of Ben inside him enjoys that smile. Greatly.

"But Snoke is your master. He knows you," disbelief mixed with astonishment is dripping from his voice, "He knows your moves. You said he'd taught you."

"He did. But he wasn't the only one." And he hopes that knights will be able to distract Snoke and refocus the attention of the honored count of Arkanis.

"But he has spies everywhere." Now surprise overpowers disbelief and a tiny whiff of joy is added. "You are willing to risk everything for—for me, eh?"

For us. But that's not what already smug Armitage needs to hear.

"But my father has an army, and allies everywhere," his smile disappears. "Every land that uses his soldiers will be our enemy. Canto Bight is to the East. Every sentry in the city came from his Academy. How much time do we have until they realize that we aren't going to come?"

Kylo looks at the road. He can't allow himself to doubt his choice. 

"Not enough to go to the neutral lands," Armitage concludes from his silence, "And when Snoke and Brendol Hux learn the truth the East will be their first choice. We shouldn't have wasted any second in that room. We shouldn't have even stopped for the night."

And Kylo doesn't need another reminder than he didn't think everything through.

"They WILL find us," Armitage says, "We need to... I need to think."

Armitage doesn't even finish the sentence when Kylo steers the wheel and makes the sharp U-turn that throws both of them to the right, and only safety belts keep them in the seats.

"You are right we can't go there," Kylo sighs again.

Armitage is right, their chances aren’t very good to the East. To the North are mountain ranges and Snoke’s forces. And to the South lies Arkanis with all Brendol’s fatherly love. There is only one place where they can go. It’s the West. Leia will kill him, but at least it would be a quick execution. If Kylo bargains it right Armitage will be safe. And he’d rather die than let Armitage suffer, he’d rather die than give Armitage to Snoke, he'd rather die than see the ice-cold Emperor instead of the boy in his car.

“What are you doing?" Armitage raises his voice again, "That's not what I meant. Kylo! Ben, please don't.”

“We are not going to Snoke. I promise. I told you that. I will die but I won’t let him touch you, ever.”

“Then why did you turn?”

“We are going to Naboo.”