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Bloodlust

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Armitage Hux’s life revolved around power: what comprised it, how to get it, how to keep it. That had always been true, even before he found himself in the delicate situation that dictated a portion of his adult schedule. What was power? For the General of the First Order, it was command. What was command? Control, of course.

And oh , how rapidly things had spiraled out of control. The shuttle rocked as it cleared Ilum’s atmosphere moments before the planet shook itself to bits. The lights flickered briefly, but the engine didn’t choke. They weren’t dead in space. The shuttle soared toward the Finalizer.

His life’s work and approximately seventy-five thousand First Order personnel (a shame) and five trillion Hosnian citizens (a message), were now stardust. And Hux couldn’t even mourn Starkiller properly. Kylo Ren had seen to that, getting himself torn open in the snowy wastes and having to be dragged aboard barely clinging to life. His blood soaked his own robes and now the chest of Hux’s uniform from lugging him along, and it was pattering down onto the durasteel floor at a rate that was alarming.

It required all of Hux’s carefully-built-up restraint to sit beside the man with a neutral expression on his face. The iron-salt-sweet tang of any blood was maddening, and Ren’s smelled especially delicious. Of course he’d known it would. He knew just from being around the man unmasked. But it was so much worse now that it was unearthed from his skin, a precious treasure. Molten rubies.

“Docking, Finalizer main hangar,” the pilot said.

Kylo groaned, his eyes fluttering as rapidly as his pulse, and he slumped forward. Hux caught him and sat him back up none too gently, his gloved hands coming away wet. He tried to dismiss the thought as soon as it occurred to him, but like a curse it lingered. The pilot and copilot were busy landing, and Hux and Kylo were separated from the troopers by a durasteel divider. Kylo looked like death warmed over, his eyes closed. No one was watching him.

Hux raised one gloved palm to his face and, careful not to smear his mouth, licked it. He shuddered in something approaching ecstasy. There was really no direct comparison to food or drink. Blood, anyone’s blood, was as complex as wine, but it was hearty too. Buttery-rich with fat and as filling as a bantha steak. Kylo’s was the best he’d ever had. Hux felt more alive just licking up the traces of it. There was probably a universal trade involved; Kylo Ren was as delectable as he was awful. Hux licked his palms clean in broad swipes of his tongue and then sucked on his gloved fingers. He barely stopped himself from turning to the side and simply lapping at the wound on Kylo’s face after. The grisly cut bisected the right side of his face and went down into his neck. Hux could follow the path until his mouth was right over Kylo’s fading pulse and then silence it forever.

Hux got up to meet the medical crew outside the shuttle, instructing them to keep Kylo Ren alive at any cost, and then walked briskly off into the well-loved halls of his ship without a backward glance. His hands trembled, and he clenched them to still the sign of weakness. Kylo’s scent clung to him, the sweat and blood and the miasmic stench of failure. Delivering Kylo to Snoke alive and healthy was perhaps the only thing that would save Hux’s miserable life, and here Hux was fantasizing about draining him. It had been unwise to give in to his baser urges. Hux thought, with a sense of acute dread, that he would pay dearly for it.



Kylo sat up before his surroundings coalesced around him, grunting in pain. At least it was dampened, no longer the white-hot agony he remembered flaring through his face and side before everything went dark. Droids whirred around him, cautioning him to move slowly and lay back down, and he flung them into the walls with a pulse of Force energy. General Hux would be here soon, if the monitor screaming to his left was any indication. Let him come. They could get the fight out of their way. The blame that he was sure to lay at Kylo’s feet for the destruction of his precious superweapon.

Kylo stood up on shaky legs, pulling tubes and wires off his skin. One of them was attached via needle, and the short, sharp sting of it tearing out grounded him. A doctor and her blue-clad nurse rushed in, their faces masks of dismay. If Kylo were anyone else they might have man-handled him back into bed, but they didn’t dare touch an angry Force-user. The doctor held her hands up in supplication.

“Please sir, you must rest—”

“Hux,” Kylo rasped.

“Certainly. Er,” the doctor looked at her assistant and he scurried off. “We’ll summon him here. You’re in no state to walk the ship. Please, sit down. I’ll take your vitals.”

The doctor was thinking with a poignant mixture of awe and terror that she’d given him enough sedative to keep a rathtar asleep for a few days, under General Hux’s direct order. Kylo gathered he’d been out only a few hours, three of them in a bacta tank. The sedative had been necessary after he destroyed the first tank in his half-awake state, and they just kept pumping him full of it until he was no longer thrashing or making tools rattle in their trays ten feet away. Kylo could picture Hux giving the order, weighing the possibility of Kylo’s death against further damage to his ship and finding it more than acceptable.

Kylo let himself be ushered back into bed, though he knocked the IV bag and various cords further back with a thought, and the doctor did not attempt to reattach them. She checked his wounds and applied fresh bacta sheets to them, tapping the transparent blue film with its dissolving microneedles down into his flesh. They made his injuries look purple and dead instead of crimson.

The door slid open, admitting Hux, and the doctor left without a word. Kylo almost expected Hux to show up all haughty and prim and proper with his coat on. Maybe that cute little hat too. Instead Hux’s hair was in disarray and his uniform clasps were undone, the flap of his jacket hanging open and baring the gray undershirt beneath. He had dark circles beneath his eyes. He hadn’t slept much in the lead-up to Starkiller’s firing, Kylo knew. Hux had evidently not caught up on rest after his return to the Finalizer. He looked positively ragged.

Kylo patted the bench built in to the side of the Med Bay bed and Hux settled there with a sigh, immediately lighting up a cigarra. No one would tell the General not to smoke in the Med Bay, not even on a good day. A good day this was not.

“Did you want company?” He asked bitterly.

Kylo searched him and found nothing of note. Hux’s thoughts swirled and crumbled, their disarray outpacing that of his appearance. The future was shadowed. Snoke had given Hux one direction — bring Kylo to the Citadel. Hux clung to that goal like a lifeline. He was a resilient man. Even now he was thinking that he'd come back from the dead before and could do it again -- pretentious prick. Kylo fought not to chuckle at Hux's melodrama. He asked a question instead.

“He knew where I was?”

“What?”

“On Starkiller,” Kylo clarified. Hux winced at the name, grief-stricken. Kylo softened his voice, hating himself a bit for playing into Hux’s eccentricities. “Snoke told you where to find me.” The implications were enormous, Kylo hadn’t suspected his Master could track him at such distance—

“Don’t be daft,” Hux grunted. He took a long drag of his cigarra and turned his face to blow smoke out. It writhed up in the glaring Med Bay lights like an ephemeral gray serpent. “I put a tracker in your belt.”

Kylo raised an eyebrow. “When?”

“Unimportant.”

“Hux. How long?”

“Too long.” Another drag, another exhale. The tip of the cigarra burned orange. “It was necessary. Was it not?”

“You carried me.”

“You’re delusional. Blood loss. Keep spouting nonsense and I’ll send you to reconditioning. Ren, if you’ve nothing of importance to discuss I have repairs to oversee.”

Kylo grasped at his blurry memories. There was something important, something that had nagged at him with its wrongness in the moment, but then everything had faded. Just before the blackness, Hux had touched him again, pulling him upright when Kylo tumbled forward like a buoy in a sea storm, and then—

“You tasted it,” Kylo said, the words coming dreamlike out of his mouth before he’d fully thought them. Hux stiffened almost imperceptibly, joints going rigid, jaw clenched. It was all the confirmation Kylo needed. He could skip a mental invasion. “You did .”

“Rest. I expect you to be relatively sane when we speak again.” Hux blew one last smoky breath directly at Kylo’s face and then departed, his gait quick.

Kylo blinked, eyes watering from the smoke and mind positively whirring. It was unlike Hux not to own up to some fault or another. Even when he was ashamed he met criticism head-on and with a level eye. Kylo was more and more sure he’d seen what he remembered: Hux doing something much stranger than licking his own bloodied lips after a fight. He’d licked and sucked on the leather of his gloves, almost delicately cleaning them of every drop of Kylo’s blood. And he’d looked to be enjoying it. Intuition nagged at Kylo -- this was something more interesting than pure sadism.

What are you hiding?

Whatever it was, Kylo would figure it out. It was his duty to discern whether the General was keeping secrets that could upend their mission. Well, upend it more than the scavenger girl already had. Kylo clutched at this new objective in just the same way Hux clutched at his own next step. He closed his eyes in meditation and scoured his memories of Hux, looking for anything else unusual he might have initially dismissed.



Hux lay on his couch, freshly showered and dressed down to his robe, thinking. The air was coppery from dinner, but he hadn’t yet summoned a cleaning droid. He contained the mess to the kitchenette as always. No one turned down a drink from the General of the First Order, especially not a lowly trooper. He’d pulled a file at random from the reconditioning schedule and summoned them. It was sloppy work, but he didn’t think anyone would ask questions. Not so soon after Starkiller’s demise. One missing trooper was nothing in comparison. Even if someone came sniffing around Hux’s word would be absolute. He’d say he suspected the man was a spy and confirmed it, then dispatched him. But it still nagged at him. He’d gotten this far by being very careful, only taking the men scheduled for execution. The ones Kylo singled out as disloyal, or the prisoners Kylo finished interrogating. But Kylo, whom Hux was only just now realizing he had used as a sort of meal selection service, was down in the Med Bay recovering, not terrorizing the troops or interrogating prisoners. And Kylo knew . Kylo sat next to him still stinking faintly of blood, living temptation warm and oozing next to Hux under the chemical scent of bacta, and the man had known. He had seen.

Hux couldn’t face Kylo again without sating his thirst. The feeding had been as sloppy as the selection. Savage. His cabinets were splattered red, the counter dripping with it, a glass tumbler he’d gotten out as part of the drink ruse was a quarter of the way full from the arterial spray of the nude body now slumped on the floor. Twisted and broken in a widening red puddle. Hux had kissed him. He always did — he’d learned quickly that his victims went slack and compliant after a kiss, and had done an analysis on his own saliva ten years ago. The matter came back 93% unidentified in the First Order’s database, which was an apt description for the creatures that had cursed him to live like this.

Hux should force himself to get up and wade into the kitchenette and drink the blood congealing in that glass. He would need every drop he could get to stay in close proximity to temptation. Temptation laying five floors below, stewing in ego and religious self-flagellation. Hux should drink more. He’d meant to, but then he had twisted the trooper’s neck a certain way to tear out more of his throat and his dark hair — longer than regulation, should Hux start requiring occasional checks without helmets? — had partially obscured his face and Hux had dropped him, seeing only dark hair and pale skin and red blood, too much blood to lose and live. He’d backed away until his shoulder blades smacked into the wall behind him, and the nightmare faded. It wasn’t Kylo Ren laying crumpled in Hux’s room, the one man whose life would save Hux’s when they reached the Citadel, his infuriating and childish and reckless but also powerful and therefore valuable co-commander. It was only a nameless trooper.

Hux had waited for his breath to even out and then showered, dinner forgotten. It would mean another shower to re-enter the kitchenette now. Hux refused to track blood all over his quarters like some kind of animal. Another shower it would be. With his wits about him the idea of doing harm to Kylo Ren was almost laughable. No matter what sort of monster Hux had become in the cold of a cave in Wild Space, Ren was more powerful. He’d wrench Hux apart with the Force before Hux subdued him. Hux was nearly sure of it. Still…better to be safe. Hux swung his feet down onto the floor and stood.



“General,” Kylo greeted Hux. They stood on the bridge together. Hux looked better. Much better. The pattern was obvious now that Kylo was looking for it. Hux seemed to deteriorate over the course of each month, growing hollow-cheeked and paler than usual. More angry. Then one day like clockwork he was reset. Kylo had always taken it for lack of sleep and poor nutrition, but now that explanation seemed insufficient. Hux was absolutely chipper. One night’s sleep and sustenance other than caf and tabac couldn’t do that , could it?

“Ren. What is it?” Hux said, and his voice lacked the venom it had the day before. His face was almost calm, looking out on the distant light of the stars.

Kylo drew a blank. He hadn’t really come to the bridge for any reason except to observe Hux. “How are you feeling?” He asked lamely. Hux looked at him as if he’d grown a second head.

“Very well, thank you.”

“Yeah. I bet,” Kylo said.

A little line appeared between Hux’s brows, and Kylo stalked away.

That night, he scoured Hux’s records for anything anomalous, reading until he got a headache and his eyes felt dry. Normally First Order documents bored him to tears, but now that he had a mission Kylo pored over each one like he’d torn through Luke’s Jedi texts in his first year of study. A picture started to coalesce. Once per month, Hux personally disposed of one of Kylo’s castoffs. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason. He didn’t always choose the traitors. There were prisoners intermixed. The dates lined up. Hux’s personal executions were evenly spaced across time. Kylo was sure it related to Hux’s shifting appearance. He did something to those people and it...refreshed him.

Kylo lay back in bed, shutting off his datapad at last. He thought about Hux licking his blood from his gloves, the pink swipe of his tongue on the leather, the obvious enjoyment on his face. It had been like walking in on the General naked, and carried the same sort of pleasure. Like seeing something he shouldn’t. Kylo wanted to see more. He wanted to know what Hux did to the people he executed. Ludicrously, Kylo felt jealous.

The Citadel loomed. As they walked together toward the docking bay to board their shuttle, Kylo waited until they turned the corner into an empty hallway and then pulled Hux aside into a closet. Hux protested, slapping at his arm.

“What is the meaning of this?” Hux snarled.

“I know you’re hiding , General,” Kylo said, his voice low and menacing.

“Unhand me.” Hux’s expression was neutral, but his eyes were sharp. Not afraid, exactly. Hux had never been afraid of Kylo. But he was wary, and when he dug his heels in like this there was no budging him. Hux would make them late to meet Snoke before he fessed anything up, and he'd blame Kylo when they arrived. Kylo loosened his grip, and Hux fled. Kylo destroyed the closet and then the paneling in the hallway to let off steam, leaving deep orange saber gouges in the walls and floor and knocking the lights out.



Hux hadn’t intended to stay in the Citadel, but Snoke did not dismiss him. The old alien bade him stay until further notice. Hux sent orders to Mitaka through holo-transmissions, but the work Mitaka sent back wasn’t fit to fill Hux’s hours. There was too much he couldn’t do remotely. If Snoke kept him here any longer he'd have to feed. Risky. He took to wandering the sprawling city-station in his off hours, hiking up the stairs to the security spires and looking out the viewports.

There were winding hallways, and endless red-uniformed personnel that were deferential enough, but whom Hux didn’t trust. He explored the enormous greenhouse one day but found that the lamps shining down on the plants stung his skin when he stood too close, and so retreated from the room. It was something that he hadn’t before considered. He'd been in space since the incident. It was better to find out from a galactic plant nursery than by descending onto Jakku in the middle of the day. At least sun sensitivity wouldn’t prevent him from returning to Arkanis if he chose.

What a stroke of luck , Hux thought morosely. He was walking back to his quarters from the greenhouse when he found himself accosted and yanked to the side suddenly, this time by invisible hands. It was Kylo, of course. Fitting that they should continue their conversation in exactly the fashion they’d left it. The door slid shut behind Hux, sealing him into a low-lit storage room with Kylo Ren.

“There are places to have conversations other than closets,” Hux said. “This didn't work last time. It's the definition of madness, Ren.”

Kylo’s hands closed around his arms, dragging Hux close. Kylo’s helmet was off, resting on a stack of boxes beside them. “What is it?” Kylo asked, frustration written on his face.

“You’ll have to be more specific,” Hux taunted him, but he felt a pit of ice in his stomach. He’d come too far to lose it all because an overgrown brat got curious….

“Whatever it is you’re fixing it tonight. That’s the schedule, right? You get all sick-looking and then it just reverses every month. Tell me.” Kylo was close. Hux could feel his breath on his face. It was soured from caf, but even that was sweet to Hux right now. Hux could feel the heat of his skin.

I could have you. I carry a very untraditional sedative in my mouth. One kiss and I could have you until your pulse stopped. Until you begged for the end in a strangled whisper . Hux realized too late that Kylo was listening in, pain budding in his temples.

Kylo’s soft lips parted in shock and he released his grip on Hux. In the cramped space there was no avoiding his scent -- the surface smells: sweat and the oil he used to clean his saber hilt, faint herbal shampoo. Beneath that, something intrinsically Kylo. The scent he carried with him always. Smoke, musk, and ozone encoded into his soul. And under that, blood .

Kylo shifted, trying to hide the hard line of his cock in his leggings and only making it more obvious by moving. Hux snorted at him. “Oh, hells. You’re a walking stereotype.”

“As if you aren’t,” Kylo bit back.

Hux could hear Kylo’s heart thumping as if he had pressed his ear to his broad chest. He wondered if Kylo could hear the absence of a pulse beneath his uniform. If he was zeroing in on it with the Force, realizing the monstrosity of the man in front of him. The thirst came on him. Thirst wasn’t entirely accurate -- Hux only thought of his body’s needs in that way because of the means of satisfying them. It wasn’t like being parched, or like being hungry and smelling baking bread. It was being unable to breathe. It was exactly that -- Hux had examined his own blood, or whatever passed for it now, and found that when he was thirsty it ran black and dead while just after feeding it could pass for a living man’s. Beneath Kylo’s skin was oxygen. How long had it been? Hux should have taken one of the Citadel staff already and to hell with the consequences.

Kylo shifted his feet, centering his weight. His arms were out from his sides, hands open and ready for a fight. Whether consciously or subconsciously, he’d squared up. Hux wasn’t sure enough that, if he managed to get any of his saliva into Kylo’s mouth, it would actually put him down. Kylo had resisted unparalleled doses of sedative in the Finalizer’s Med Bay.

Hux held his hands up and took a half-step back. “Ren...I won’t--”

“Will you die?” Kylo asked.

“What?”

“If you keep going like this, will you die?” Another thought occurred to him. “Are you alive?”

Hux blinked, electing to only answer the first question. “I don’t know.” But then he shivered, because he did know.

Kylo saw it in his mind -- twisting paths between wet rock, a wrong turn with a cave at the end, and skinny forms bursting forth from it, crowding around Hux. He’d been separated from his trooper detail. He was alone, winding his way through foggy mountains to try and return to his shuttle. Blaster bolts didn’t put the creatures down. They were little more than skin stretched over skeletons, their mouths bristling with jagged fangs, their eye-sockets hollow and glowing cold blue. The first bite was agony. By the time the fifth monster rucked his shirt up and dug into his stomach, Hux barely felt a thing. He was floating. He blinked up at his murderers, watching as some vast internal shift happened and he could see faint and shining particles drifting from himself to them. He closed his eyes, just letting the feeling overtake him. He couldn’t move if he tried. His limbs were heavy. He was conscious of a strange sucking. Not just his blood. It felt like they were sucking out his soul. He was barely aware that anything had changed until he heard the creatures talking amongst themselves in a harsh tongue he didn’t recognize. It was evident in their voices that something was wrong. He opened his eyes. One of them grasped the wrist of the other, curling bony fingers all the way around the emaciated limb. There was more discussion. Then, the one holding the wrist brought it to their mouth and tore it open. The monster let their black blood dribble over Hux’s mouth. It burned like acid.

When Hux awoke the creatures were gone. He felt his face, finding no blisters. His mouth tasted like a rotten fruit, the sort that went powdery and sour. He found his way back to the shuttle, staggering like he was drunk through a blurred and gray void, and without a thought ripped the helmet off the trooper waiting there and tore into her face. The woman’s blood sharpened everything, bringing Hux back to reality. In the absence of recovery those beings had elected to reproduce instead. He drained and disposed of her, and then punched the ship up through the atmosphere of that cursed place, heading back to his station on the Absolution . If he could he would reduce that planet and the cursed things on it to stardust. He considered the Death Star, already picking it apart and rebuilding it in his mind.

“Kriff,” said Kylo.

“That’s an understatement,” Hux snapped.

“Your wounds….”

Hux wordlessly pulled his uniform jacket up, letting Kylo look at the faint silvery scars there. His injuries usually healed dark purple on account of his coloring. Not these. “Satisfied?” He let his jacket drop.

“No,” Kylo said obstinately. “They weren’t taking your life. I mean, that was a...a side effect. They were feeding on the Force.” His voice approached wonder. “You could see it.”

“Blood loss,” Hux said mildly. “Delusions.”

“You aren’t Force-null. You’re outside of it completely.” Kylo was looking at Hux the same way he looked at the weathered texts he stole from temples. “This is incredible! I was always taught that the Force flows through everything, but you--” He stepped forward, all caution forgotten, wanting to touch Hux’s face for a better reading.

Hux scrambled back with a hiss, clapping a hand over his mouth and nose. Ren . It was a warning and a plea.

“Right. Okay. You need to eat,” Kylo said, nodding once. He tilted his head to the side, and Hux didn’t catch his meaning until Kylo pointed at what little of his throat showed above his collar.

No ,” Hux all but moaned. It was maddening, looking at Kylo offering himself. “I’ll kill you.”

“You can’t stop like they did?”

Hux bit his lip, staring at Kylo with pupils blown wide in his pale eyes. In the gloom of the storage room it made him look like a predator. He shook his head. “No. Not now. I won’t stop once it begins.”

“Okay,” Kylo looked intrigued, which was never a good sign. “Go back to your room. I’ll meet you there.”



When Kylo appeared, he had a red-shelled trooper in tow.

Traitor? Hux thought, doing his best to think it loudly.

No one will argue otherwise , Kylo’s voice appeared in his mind.

“Ren,” Hux said, taking a deep breath and clasping his hands behind his back. “Very good.” He read the identity number on the trooper’s red breast. “SR-2304, remove your helmet.”

The trooper hesitated only a moment, and then obeyed the order. She was young, olive-skinned and faintly freckled. She must spend her off-hours under those infernal UV lamps in the greenhouse.

“Step to me.”

The trooper did, obedient as ever. She was a bit short for a stormtrooper. Hux put a gloved hand on the back of her head, her auburn hair braided up in an intricate pattern forming a cushion between her skull and his palm. Her eyes widened in surprise, but she didn’t resist him as he leaned down and kissed her. Her mouth opened under his and Hux slipped her his tongue, and then she went slack, falling against him. Her eyes were vacant, dreaming. Hux pulled his lips away from hers, holding her like she was a swooning damsel in a holovid.

“Neat,” Kylo intoned. His helmet was off again. He’d placed it on Hux’s coffee table. His voice was mocking, but his dark eyes were bright with genuine interest.

“I don’t suppose you’ll be convinced to leave.”

“Not a chance.”

Hux sighed and turned back to the trooper, catching her eye. “Stand up.” She did, only a bit shaky on her feet. “Undress.” She began to, stripping down her red armor and setting it aside.

“How… kriffing hells. You shouldn’t be able to--” Kylo spluttered. “You aren’t using the Force.”

Hux shrugged. “No. I'm not.” Hux had investigated this too, but didn’t have an answer. His hypothesis was that it was related to one of the unidentified enzymes he produced, but the Order’s records were insufficient to confirm that, and he refused to scour the galaxy for more of those things. More of his kind, Hux amended, knowing his displeasure at the sentiment showed on his face. “Let it lie. Be quiet or I’ll send you out,” Hux threatened. He had no real power to banish his co-commander, but Kylo did shut up, waiting eagerly for what came next.

The trooper stood in her undershirt and shorts, completely vacant of emotion or thought between them. Hux took his coat off and folded it and then held it up. “Put this on the couch, please,” he said to Kylo. Kylo levitated it there obediently. It was inconvenient to mess a uniform when he only had a three here with him, but Hux wasn’t about to strip down and put his skinny white frame on display with Kylo fully robed. He’d do this neater than his last feeding. As neatly as possible.

Hux drew his knife out of his sleeve and punched it unceremoniously into the trooper’s neck, endeavoring to latch his mouth onto the wound quickly once he pulled the knife out. Blood still gushed up over his face and down his uniform front, darkening it. The trooper gasped raggedly, but didn’t try to run or fight. Mere seconds in, she went boneless, no longer able to stand. Hux lowered her down carefully and knelt over her, drinking deep. The blood that escaped him started to pool on the floor. Kylo didn’t step back when it reached his boots. He was staring down open-mouthed. His erection was back, Hux noted, looking up at him.

He was a bit dizzied to find himself in the same condition. It was ridiculous. Consuming someone for survival wasn’t erotic. It was necessary, and messy, and anyone who watched should rightly be horrified. But Kylo looking at him like this, in open admiration and with a stiffy straining the front of his pants... that was erotic. Hux pressed a palm against himself until his own hard-on ached. The trooper’s pulse slowed, stuttered, and stopped. The blood leaving her wound now simply dripped like caf from a cracked thermos. Her life was gone. Hux sat up, knowing the picture he was making of himself, his pale face stained with gore and pieces of his hair coming free from the gel he combed through it.

“You look better,” Kylo said.

Hux laughed. The sound was punched out of him by the strangeness of the situation. He’d never expected to do this in front of someone who would live through it, and that was perhaps the last thing he’d expected to hear now that it had happened.

“You do,” Kylo said defensively, smiling himself. “I mean, you’ve got something,” he indicated his whole face with his pointer finger. “But you look less like a strong gust of wind would blow you over, General.” He licked his lips and mirrored Hux, putting a hand over his crotch. “You drained her Force presence down to nothing.”

Hux’s brain turned, immediately coming to the conclusion most relevant to himself. “You won’t tell the Supreme Leader?” He asked.

“No,” Kylo said at once, his face growing somber at the thought as he caught Hux’s meaning. “He won’t see a hint of it.”

The idea of Snoke finding this out… Snoke wouldn’t see the value within the threat. He’d order a Force-sucking wraith disposed of, Kylo would bet good credits on that. Never mind how long Snoke had cautioned Kylo to be gentle with the General, espousing his value. Snoke would want something like this eliminated in the same way he wanted other powerful Force-users struck down. Kylo, in contrast, was enamored. Hux had known this about himself the last six years and never tried to siphon off Kylo’s abilities, because Hux recognized the utility of power. Suppose Kylo caught Rey again...suppose that if she refused Kylo as a teacher, she could be weakened? It was a thrilling possibility.

“Is there anything else I should know?” Kylo asked.

Hux considered it and shook his head. “No. I think you’ve got the sense of it.”

“No…” Kylo searched his mind for old legends. “Accelerated healing?”

“Not that I can tell. It’s slower if I haven’t fed, but even when I have it’s nothing to brag about.”

“Fire summoning?”

“Ren….”

“Don’t give me that look. This is unheard of. It’s like a scary Youngling’s tale, someone consuming the Force itself through blood. You told that woman what to do. You shouldn’t be able to do that!”

“It wasn’t a mind trick,” Hux said, sniffing. He was impatient to clean himself up. Maybe if he threw Kylo a bone… “There’s one thing. Sunlight. It’s unpleasant when filtered to mimic its state on a planet.”

Kylo looked thoughtful. “It’s lucky you’ve made your career in space.”

“Yes. Quite. If that’s all….”

Kylo got the hint, picking up his helmet. “For now,” he grinned, and then took one step and grimaced, hand twitching toward his crotch. He pulled his robes closed around him before he left.



Half the next month passed in a shapeless haze. Kylo stayed gone, being subjected to who knew what sort of trials. Hux sent a message to the Supreme Leader asking for leave to return to the Finalizer until Kylo Ren’s training was finished. It hung there in his outbox unanswered. He missed his ship immensely, and found himself wallowing a bit in his now-abundant free time. Insulting -- to be the General and have free time after a major defeat. He should be regrouping, striking back. It was during one of these sessions, lying prone on his bed in his robe and pajamas, that Kylo Ren burst through his door again, removing his helmet as he entered. He hadn’t even bothered to knock, just used the override cylinders they had for each other’s spaces in case of emergency.

He stopped short. “Hux?”

“Yes?”

“What are you doing?”

Hux sighed, turning his head to look at Kylo. “I’m surprised you don’t recognize a foul mood in someone else.”

“Are you...hungry?”

“No.” Hux turned his face back up and threw an arm over his eyes. “I’m not being properly utilized .” Kylo laughed, the sound closer than Hux expected. When he moved his arm, Kylo was standing beside him. He looked keyed-up as if he was fresh from the gym. Beautifully flushed. Excited. Hux rolled his eyes. “Whatever you want, the answer is no.”

“I’ve been thinking--”

“Wonders never cease.”

“Have you ever tried to stop?”

Hux sat up, on high alert. “No. Absolutely not. We are not having this conversation.”

“Come on. You’re not hungry, so this is perfect. Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Not at the cost of your life, you imbecile.” Hux snapped.

“As if you don’t want me dead.”

Not before we’ve turned the tide of war. And not here under Snoke's thumb. Hux didn’t bother to stifle the thoughts. Kylo had heard them before and either hadn’t turned Hux’s treachery over to his Master, or Snoke hadn’t cared.

“As much as it pains me to say it aloud, Ren,” Hux ground out. “You are too valuable to the First Order for me to experiment with.”

“Okay,” Kylo said, pulling out a secondary plan immediately. He’d been thinking a lot, it seemed. “So we just test whether you can control me. You haven’t ever tried to eat a Force-user, have you?”

“It’s not eating -- ugh. Fine.” Hux kept his anticipation out of his face and voice. But truth be told, he was curious. It would be one mystery settled, and possibly a tool to add to his arsenal. If he could put Kylo into that dream-state…. Kylo put a knee on the bed. “Boots off,” Hux snapped.

Kylo humored him, unlacing his boots and unclasping his cloak and leaving them in a black heap on the floor before clambering into bed. His weight made the mattress shift, and Hux felt a spike of panic. Kissing Kylo was not something he’d been prepared to do today. It wasn't that Hux was unaccustomed to kissing people he had no attraction to -- it was a means to an end. But this felt different. As Kylo settled into a cross-legged seat in front of Hux’s bent legs, Hux realized why. Kylo was attractive. He had a plush mouth, and those wide dark eyes. Even the big nose was sort of refined. Kylo more than made up for his physical pleasantness with his thoroughly grating personality, but it still made Hux’s insides twist to think of kissing him.

Determined to meet this challenge, Hux swung his legs around to sit on his knees and leaned forward. His hands found Kylo’s face. His skin was warm. Kylo’s big hands gripped Hux’s waist, holding him up without effort. Hux could relax his whole weight onto Kylo’s arms and not be dropped. It was as much a precaution as it was an attempt to be helpful. Hux would hit the wall behind him before he could use the knife up his sleeve, if he had designs to. Hux leaned in, ghosting his lips over Kylo’s. His breath was warm and minty. He’d brushed his teeth before coming here. Hux hesitated, the ridiculousness of this situation hitting him. Kylo Ren had come here to be kissed, after watching Hux murder a woman and drink her blood. Hux balanced on the edge. Kylo pushed them over, surging forward and sealing his mouth to Hux’s.

Hux kissed him back hungrily. He licked Kylo’s lower lip, asking for entry, and Kylo granted it. Even though he’d suspected as much, Hux was still uneasy when Kylo did not go soft in his arms at once. His joints did relax, but only slightly. Kylo was still present enough to suck on his tongue, and hells that felt nice. Hux licked into his mouth twice more before disengaging. A string of spit hung between them and broke. Hux made eye contact with Kylo. Kylo’s eyes looked vacant and glassy, just like any other victim’s. A spike of electricity went through Hux.

“Undress yourself,” he said, falling back on his usual commands. As if in a dream, Kylo removed his gloves and then his tunic, tossing them on top of his discarded cloak. His chest was bared, and Hux was surprised and envious to see that none of Kylo’s bulk was armor. He looked like something out of a Naboo sculpture garden. But he was following Hux’s commands...something dark and bitter and triumphant surged in Hux.

Then Kylo laughed, the look on his face sharpening at once. He grabbed Hux’s arms with a shout, making Hux jump.

“You--” Hux cried, and then was too angry to speak.

“I’m shitting you,” Kylo grinned. “Feels nice though. Like being stoned.”

“Get out,” Hux grouched.

“No. Give me another.” Kylo pursed his lips. Hux tried to slap him and Kylo’s grip on his wrist stopped him short.

“You’re insufferable,” Hux told him.

“That’s one test down. Let’s keep going,” Kylo said, his voice taking on that low sing-song quality it got just before he hoisted an officer into the air by their throat. Kylo's hold on him loosened and the knife strapped to Hux’s left forearm came free of its sheath and zipped to Kylo’s open hand. Before Hux could utter a word Kylo drew the blade shallowly over his left pec, just above his dusky nipple. Blood dripped down.

“Ren,” Hux gasped, outraged and panicked and...and thirsty. He hadn’t steeled himself against the temptation. He didn’t need it, but with fresh blood in front of him he felt the desire to latch on. And Kylo’s blood was so much better than any trooper’s. Hux knew the cause now. It was the Force, the stars-damned Force. It seemed he'd never escape it.

“What, are you scared?” Kylo said, and Hux tackled him. It wasn’t effective. Kylo had fifty pounds on him easily. He was as solid as a durasteel column. He chuckled, throwing an arm around Hux and holding him close. Hux licked at the cut, and then sealed his mouth over it and sucked. It wasn’t an artery. There was no risk that he’d drain Kylo dry. Not from this cut, and Kylo had the knife. Hux couldn’t jam it into his carotid to get more.

Kylo swayed just a bit and then let himself sink down to the side, pulling Hux with him. He tossed the knife off the bed so that he could get both hands on Hux’s lithe frame, one on his shoulder and one on his back. As Hux drank, something rose and fell within Kylo. It was like being deep in meditation. He couldn’t see the Force -- he suspected that only those nearly drained dry would see that phenomenon -- but he could feel his energy being used as if he were lifting something heavy or freezing a blaster bolt in place. Hux was siphoning it off. It felt no different than any other exertion of his will, though it was being done to him and not by him. That in itself was amazing.

There was danger in this, but it was distant. Kylo thought that Hux would have to take quite a lot from him before he lost the ability to recover. It was possible that Hux couldn’t take Kylo’s connection to the Force without taking his life too. Kylo felt almost protective, looking down at Hux now. He was a dangerous man. Anyone who looked at Hux and dismissed him as a threat was a fool. Yet Kylo looked at his thinness and his pale skin and the desperation with which he fed and felt the need to defend him. Hux pulled off the cut to lick up the blood that had dripped down, his tongue moving slick over Kylo’s nipple. Kylo let out a small noise, and Hux looked up at him, startled. Without breaking eye contact, he licked the cut once more, and then sat up, straddling Kylo’s hips. One shoulder of his robe fell down. His lips were stained red, and his pale eyes were bright with life. He was beautiful.

“You train shirtless?”

“I...yes.”

Hux moved faster than Kylo expected, a pale blur, and pulled one side of Kylo's leggings down, baring his hip. Of course even in the middle of something like this Hux would be thinking about appearances, deciding how not to leave a visible trace. Kylo got a glimpse of Hux's teeth -- they were sharper than they should be -- before Hux bit down. The puncture hurt, but the pain dulled quickly. One of Hux's hands was resting on Kylo's cock, the pressure insufficient to do anything but tease. Kylo tried to sit up and the room spun. He closed his eyes. When he opened them he sensed that time had passed.

“How do you feel?” Hux asked. He was sitting on the edge of the bed. His eyes reflected the light from the lamp on the side table, pupils glowing yellow like an animal's. Hux looked very awake. He'd bandaged the cut on Kylo's breast and the ragged bite on his hip.

“Uh…” Kylo lay completely still, but the bed still swam unpleasantly under him. “Dizzy? How much did you….”

“Not enough to damage you. A bite introduces much more saliva. That's what you're feeling. I apologize.”

Kylo sank into sleep. When he first woke he was conscious of Hux moving around, cleaning the room by hand instead of calling a droid, and then sitting on the couch with datapad in hand, typing furiously. Kylo closed his eyes again. When he floated back into consciousness again the holographic numbers on the wall told him it was morning. He’d never been a morning person, but he felt a bit groggier than usual. He stretched and realized he was still lying crosswise on Hux’s bed. Hux had put a blanket over him at some point. The sheets were brown with dried blood beneath him. Kylo's heart thudded with the realization that he'd passed out while Hux was feeding. He clapped a hand over his pulse as if he needed to double-check it.

Kylo sat up and spied Hux curled up on the couch, reading something idly on his datapad. He had blue slippers on. A mug of caf steamed on the coffee table. The scene was rather domestic. Kylo’s fear evaporated, reconfiguring into something else. His chest felt light and airy, and his face suddenly felt very warm. Hux’s hair was mussed as if he’d been running his hands through it, and there was the slightest flush to his cheeks. The wave of feeling that hit Kylo looking at him now was devastating. He wanted to cross the room and sit next to Hux and pull him close. Maybe to kiss him again. Kylo dressed himself and got up, lumbering awkwardly over.

“I, uh...shit, I’ve got training.”

“I apologize,” Hux said, looking genuine. “I should have checked your calendar and woken you.”

“You could have told me to move.”

“What? Oh. I didn’t sleep. Hells, Ren, I’ve gotten so much done.”

“I thought you didn't have work?”

Hux clicked his tongue. “Foolish of me. I've started something new.”

“Oh,” said Kylo. Hux looked a bit manic.

“You said you had training?” Hux prompted.

“Yeah. Yeah,” Kylo murmured, and stooped to pick up his helmet from the coffee table. It looked like Hux had painstakingly wiped it clean. Kylo left, and could not quell the strange sense of disappointment he felt in leaving.



The days wheeled. A month and a half went by. Hux received permission to return to the Finalizer at the end of the next month. Long enough that he’d be forced to feed again first, even with what he’d taken from Kylo. It was beyond time. He’d grown thirsty. Not just thirsty. He struggled to function. Lightheaded, in need of air like his lungs wouldn't fill no matter how deep he breathed. He pulled two different stormtroopers and kissed them stupid and then released them, sending them on their way. The smell wasn’t right. The thought of biting down on their flesh or cutting them open and drinking deep turned his stomach. His chest hurt. He lay awake in bed, not a productive wakefulness but the sick kind, and thought. This is not sustainable. I’ll drain someone like medicine. I’ll plug my nose if I must. I need to. Thirst hadn’t ever been completely divorced from lust, but now they seemed inextricably entwined. It pulsed hot in his belly. Hux wanted to kiss Kylo again just as much as he wanted to drink from him.

At his wits end, Hux sent a meeting invitation to Kylo for the next evening. It was accepted in seconds, a far cry from his usual habit of ignoring everything from Hux’s address. Hux paced for an hour after, considering cancelling it. He didn't want to drink from Kylo again. It felt like admitting defeat. As if one taste of Kylo had altered him somehow.

When Kylo arrived, Hux rounded on him immediately with accusations. “You’ve done something. What is it? You did some...some wretched sorcery, didn’t you?”

“What?” Kylo asked blankly, his face dismayed. Then, “Hux, you look terrible.”

“I can’t sleep,” Hux snapped. Then, quieter, as if the room weren’t soundproofed. “I can’t drink .”

Kylo’s face changed subtly in alarm. “You fed after me, didn't you?” Hux’s face betrayed that he hadn’t and Kylo cursed. Hux felt the faint headache that signaled the beginning of one of Kylo’s intrusions into his head, and Kylo's mouth fell open. “Hux!” He scolded. It was a strange role reversal. Hux crossed his arms in front of him, feeling ashamed of having let it go this far. He hurt. Bone-deep hurt. His mind was fogged as if he had a fever. His chest ached. He couldn’t get a deep breath in. And irritating arousal pooled between his legs, unsated. Kylo shook his head, disconnecting in the same instant. Hux scowled and rubbed his temples. “You need to drink.” Kylo said. His voice sounded rough. Hux didn’t need to peek under his robes to know that his own state of strange and heady want had influenced Kylo.

Kylo started to undo his robes and Hux lunged at him, grabbing his hands to still them. “ No ,” Hux growled, sounding like he meant it very little. “I’ll drain you.”

“You won’t,” Kylo disagreed. “You're the most repressed man in the galaxy. I was asleep last time and you stopped.” They could always refrain from kissing at all, and stick to shallow cuts instead of bites. Those were the responsible things to do, but Kylo certainly wasn’t going to bring that to Hux’s attention.

Doubt crossed Hux’s face and then was chased out by desperate need, and then he was undressing Kylo himself with trembling hands. Kylo returned the favor, pushing Hux back toward his bed as he ripped layers free, baring pale skin. They were kissing before they hit the mattress. Kylo slid his tongue into Hux’s mouth and Hux moaned, splayed out under him, pants pushed down and tangled on his legs. He kicked them off.

“You’re pretty,” Kylo murmured between kisses, and Hux swallowed loudly, desire pulsing through him. What makes you think I want to hear that from you, Ren? Oh, but he did. He did. “Where is…?” A picture appeared in Hux's mind, accompanied by wordless question.

“Bedside drawer,” Hux croaked, assenting. How long had it been? Hux's sexual exploits had been limited to his own hand for years. Having sex with someone who went limp after kissing him held no appeal, and the last thing Hux needed was an infection from a casual fling.

Kylo pulled it open with the Force and levitated a nondescript bottle of regulation lubricant into one of his hands. He sat up, the pale planes of his chest and stomach and muscular thighs almost glowing under the lights. Hux ordered the lights low on instinct, realizing that he was just as visible, his own lean limbs and the shadows of his ribs that he’d been mocked for his whole life. Before the lights went down Hux got a good look at exactly what Kylo was working with.

“That thing could be classified as a weapon,” He said. Kylo grinned wickedly, slicking himself up. Hux felt a stab of fear. “You’re not putting that in me.”

“Didn’t think I was. I’m not actually stupid, you know,” Kylo said and then squirted lube directly down onto Hux’s thighs and burgeoning erection.

“That’s cold.”

“I’ll warm you up,” Kylo massaged the lube around on Hux’s thighs with one broad, calloused hand and then moved up to stroke his cock. Hux let himself relax into it. Kylo quickly started to replicate the grip that Hux used on himself.

“Get out,” Hux said mildly. “You’re a living headache.”

“Most people don’t notice unless I dig,” Kylo said, defensive. His hand pulled away and Hux almost whined, and then Kylo was settling down on top of him, his thighs straddling Hux’s and his cock sliding between them just under Hux’s balls. “Press together.”

Hux did, moving his legs together until his knees and ankles touched. Kylo tilted his head, offering one side of his throat to Hux. Hux kissed it lightly, feeling Kylo shiver on top of him. He could feel his pulse on the sensitive skin of his lips. “I need my knife.”

“You can’t just--”

“It’s unwise.” His spit was only part of it. Hux didn’t trust himself not to tear out a chunk of flesh. He’d barely stopped himself from biting off Kylo’s nipple the last time. Kylo summoned the knife and held it up for Hux to take. He was starting to rock his hips against Hux’s gently, breathing a bit harder. His pulse jumped. “Hold still.” Hux made a shallow cut along the side of Kylo’s neck, just deep enough to get blood flowing.

Hux sealed his mouth over the cut, the arm holding the knife splayed out and hanging off the mattress, the knife dangling lazily from his fingers. Kylo thought that he should push the weapon from Hux’s grip just in case, and then Hux sucked on the wound he’d made and dipped his tongue into it, and Kylo saw stars. Cold points of light flickered in his mind, not stars after all because they swayed. Candles floating on a black sea. Hux drank from him in a gentle tide, pulling and then receding. Kylo rutted against Hux’s body, chasing an orgasm that promised to be just as lazy, spooling out over time instead of there and gone in a lightning strike. Hux’s body, always lukewarm as if heated by the ambient temperature, started to warm. In time his flesh was as warm as Kylo’s. Kylo wondered wildly whether consuming all of him would keep Hux warm the rest of the month.

“I’d let you,” Kylo whispered, putting the image in Hux's mind. It wouldn't have been true before they fell into bed together and it wouldn't be true later, when they got up again. But for the moment, it was. That was dangerous. Kylo was drunk on it.

Hux gasped against him, missing a pulse of blood that stained his face and Kylo’s throat and the sheets beneath them. Kylo pulled back to look at him and saw that Hux was flushed, actually flushed pink all the way down his chest, and then Hux chased him and latched on again. Kylo hooked an arm around him, holding him up off the bed. He thrusted harder, moaning. The friction of Hux's skin on his cock was imperfect, edging him. Why had they resisted this so long? The very good reasons eluded Kylo’s grasp. I know you’ve wanted me . Kylo didn’t say it. Even so far gone, Hux might not like to hear it out loud. Kylo turned it around, baring his own proverbial underbelly instead.

“Wanted you so long,” Kylo said. Hux’s hand dug it’s nails into his shoulder and Hux bit down on his throat with an animal growl, hard enough for sharp teeth to part flesh. More blood gushed out, too much for Hux to swallow all of it. It painted his face.

“Shit,” Hux hissed, dropping the knife. Kylo heard it clatter to the floor. “We need to stop, you need--”

“Finish first,” Kylo said. Hux’s mouth found the ragged wound, but Kylo had been talking as much about himself. He thrusted again, once, twice. On the third stroke he came, his release pulsing out onto Hux. Kylo rubbed himself against Hux's cock as he finished, painting it with ropes of white.

“Ren,” Hux said. He wasn't drinking anymore. He had a hand pushing firmly into the wound, blood spurting between his fingers. When Kylo didn’t budge Hux's voice sharpened, “ Kylo .”

Hearing his name jolted him out of his post-orgasm fog like touching a live wire. Kylo rolled off to the side and Hux followed, keeping pressure on him.

“Shit. Shit. You fucking idiot,” Hux was muttering. The med kit was still laid out on the dresser, and Hux got up to fetch it, moving fast. He blotted Kylo’s bite clean with something that stung and then pressed a heavy-duty bacta patch into place. “We'll be lucky if you don't need a transfusion. I didn't mean to.”

Kylo's brain deciphered the words slowly. They seemed unimportant. Everything except Hux's face seemed unimportant. Hux looked like a horror show. Kylo probably did too. “You stopped. It'll take a lot more to bring me down,” Kylo said, and then pulled Hux back into bed before Hux could chastise him for his ego. Hux was still hard. Kylo wrapped a hand around him, stroking him in the manner he’d pulled from his mind until Hux shuddered and came too. Hux seemed as though he were about to get up, and Kylo swung an arm and leg over him to trap him.

“We’re disgusting.”

“Sleep,” Kylo urged. He took his own advice. Without an alternative, Hux did too.



In the morning, Hux woke to find Kylo already up and staring at him. Kylo wordlessly reached over to the bowl and rag he’d placed on the side table and started mopping up the gore and semen crusting on Hux’s skin, starting with his face.

“Didn’t want to wake you,” Kylo said.

“Oh,” Hux said. He couldn’t think of anything else.

“When are you leaving?”

“At the end of next month. Will your training be complete by then?”

“It will be,” Kylo said, sounding like he was making a decision rather than repeating orders from Snoke.

Hux couldn’t bring himself to challenge Kylo outright, but a part of him protested at Kylo cutting his own development short to chase...whatever this was. Although the thought of trying to drink from anyone else after this was sickening-- No. Hux was a soldier. He would do what he must. He steeled himself to push back against Kylo’s stubbornness for the good of the Order, making his voice cold and hard.

“So you leave with me. And then?”

Kylo wasn’t phased. “We end the Resistance. Together.”

Hux nodded slowly and the feeling of weak indulgence that he associated with pleasure of all sorts diminished. Snoke didn't know what was best for Hux. It was therefore likely he didn't know what was best for Kylo. New possibilities glittered like bloodstains in the night.

Together.