“My soldiers can recover the map from Jakku,” General Hux said proudly to the hologram that towered above both him and the cloaked man standing beside him. “There will not be any issues.”
“Kylo Ren will accompany them,” Snoke commanded. “We must acquire the map before the Resistance does; if they discover Skywalker’s location, it would be detrimental.”
Hux’s jaw tightened. He had never been force sensitive, but even though the man standing beside him had his face covered in the stupid mask, he knew he was pridefully smirking.
Hux knew that today would be a defining one. The weapon he had long overseen construction for would be ready-- ready to destroy the Republic. It would no doubt be the most important day of his career. All he should be doing is focusing on strategizing and computing, which shouldn’t be difficult. Those were the things he loved most.
Yet, for some reason that he couldn’t compute in his head-- which was quite frustrating for someone who prized themselves as a human calculator-- he was focused more on outperforming Ren. An unfriendly competition, of sorts.
He wasn’t sure if there was one thing specifically that he felt the need to outdo him in, but more just as little things that would add up. For example, retrieving the map without the assistance of the black cloaked man. Though, Hux knew the retrieval of the map was not to be deemed a ‘little thing’.
“Of course, Supreme leader,” Hux said, bowing his head.
With that, the hologram faded. Hux’s stomach dropped and he kept his eyes off Ren and his hideous mask. Oh, how he hated that mask. Ren, giving the General a pass on an awkward admission of ‘defeat’, turned quickly and bumped his shoulder against Hux as he strode out of the room, his ridiculous cape billowing behind him. Hux viewed this act as almost more humiliating than being confronted by a childish ‘I won’. Ren did not look back over his shoulder and the door slammed shut, leaving Hux feeling irrationally angry and desperate for a way to one-up the insufferable man.
Hux left the room slowly, temper sizzling over Ren’s ‘victory’. It wasn’t that he thought Snoke had made a mistake-- heaven forbid him that day ever came-- but more as to the fact he was tired of Ren’s antics the last several weeks.
Ren had always been unbearable, but it had been worse lately. Hux took great pride in the Finalizer, though not nearly as much as he did Starkiller, which he had designed a great deal of himself. However, the Finalizer was still his ship, under his command. Yet Ren decided it appropriate to aimlessly wander the halls, strutting about as if he owned the place. Intimidating the soldiers, knocking over Hux’s things, and sometimes, if Ren was so bold, purposely bumping into the general himself. Or when he would become suddenly enraged and would slash and jab his weapon is every which direction-- causing accident reports to pile up on Hux’s desk, keeping him from sleep. Not that he got much of that anyway. But this was his ship, and Ren felt he could destroy parts of it as he pleased. That wasn’t how things were supposed to go, not at all. There was an order to things, a very necessary order that needed to be followed at all times. Things were placed where they were for a reason, and Hux prided himself in the fact he never did anything without reason.
But Ren, Ren was all emotions. There was no mathematical thinking, no logic, and it drove Hux crazy. How could a man so disorganized have such confidence in himself? A single numerical miscalculation would send Hux reeling, but Ren just acted on emotional whim. And it was infuriating.
Many nights in the past weeks, after tediously filling out reports, Ren’s accident reports among them, Hux would lay awake in bed. He would allow himself to become angered at the day’s events, primarily events circling the masked fiend that roamed his ship.
He would imagine acting on the rage that boiled up inside him, to take Ren by his coat and slamming him up against the wall. Making him take off that hideous mask so he could yell into a human face. The mask would drop heavily to the floor, and Ren’s lower lip would tremble in fear of what the general would do to him for maiming his precious ship.
And what would Hux do?
As Hux strode through the cold halls of the Finalizer, that thought burrowed it’s way deeper into his mind, mixing with other emotions he was sure it was not supposed to. He could scream in Ren’s face, make him cry like a baby. That would be satisfying. But the thought wormed deeper into his head, down into more human thoughts that the General had long become accustomed to repressing with charts, schedules, and computations.
Hux entered his large office that overlooked the bridge of the Finalizer and gazed down at his subordinates with a look of approval. It was so beautiful, the way they worked like machines. They spent their day doing things in order the way Hux had flawlessly organized them to be done. Like droids, but much better. Most droids, Hux decided, were too stupid to waste any time on.
And in this little machine he had created, there was a defect. The defect was Kylo Ren. Hux always found a way to smooth out the discrepancies, but he wasn’t completely sure how to smooth out that issue quite yet. Another thing to keep him up at night, he supposed.
He sat down in his chair and smoothed his uniform, and then pulled a paper out of a drawer and neatly laid it out in front of him. He straightened his posture and looked over the paper, and the furrowed his brow. It was a speech he had written in the only spare time he had, when he was supposed to be sleeping. It wasn’t very long, but it seemed powerful, and that’s what mattered. He would read it to the soldiers before the first time testing his new weapon, Starkiller. The corners of his mouth upturned slightly as he read over it again.
He imagined giving this speech before hundreds of Stormtroopers and soldiers right before firing his new weapon. The crowd would be awe struck at the weapon’s power, at the speech’s power-- at his power. That would show Ren. Sure, he may be able to use the force, but could he command an army like Hux could? He smiled. No, no he couldn’t.
Hux was quickly notified of Ren and the troop’s departure, and he leaned back in his chair, already unexplainably anxious for his return.
Ren had not taken long to do whatever it was he needed to. As soon as Hux authorized the docking of his ship, he left his office to see what information the masked man had retrieved.
Though he knew the map to Skywalker was instrumental, deep down, Hux wanted the mission to have been a failure. The smug way Ren had bumped into him after receiving Snoke’s orders had been too much of a low blow for Hux, and he didn’t mind the tantrum that he knew would come along if Ren had failed in any way. Even if it meant another accident report.
By the time Hux reached the docking station, Ren was already long gone. Frustrated but not surprised that he had acted without his permission, Hux summoned Mitaka and demanded an explanation of Ren’s whereabouts.
“T-there was no sign of the map,” the jittery man stumbled. “But they found a resistance pilot who knows where it is. Kylo Ren is questioning him now.”
Hux angrily turned away and walked quickly to the interrogation room. He had been a bit shorter than usual with Mitaka, but today he had no time for courteous formalities. Today was about his greatest achievement and a major victory-- and outdoing Kylo Ren.
Yes, Hux set in his mind as he sharply turned the corner. Yes, today was about not only taking down the republic, the resistance, but to him personally, Kylo Ren. And he would not be defeated, for General Hux knew no such thing.
Hux impatiently waited outside the interrogation room, smoothing any wrinkles in his uniform. He suspected Ren was doing his little mind reading trick. He wasn’t sure how it worked, but it did frighten him a little bit. To have a stranger browse around in your private thoughts-- it would be, in short, humiliating. Ren, to Hux’s knowledge, had never looked around in his head. His jaw clenched. He would need all the help from this mystical force he could, should he ever decide to try.
A sound that seemed to be a yell, or a scream, was faintly audible from inside the interrogation chamber. Hux knew that meant Ren had probably gotten what he wanted, and he straightened his stance as the door hissed, sliding open. Ren strode out, confident as ever.
“It’s in a droid,” Ren said, voice emotionless through his mask. Hux noted that the man did not greet him.
“A BB unit,” the masked man continued, turning to Hux.
“Well then,” Hux said dryly, upset Ren had so quickly been able to gather this information. That his mission had been a success. “If it’s on Jakku, we’ll soon have it.”
Hux looked at Ren with a hint of a scowl. He hated his mask. Though he had rarely seen Ren’s face, he found it much more appealing. There was no connection with something made of metal, which is how Hux should have liked it. Should have.
“I leave that to you,” Ren said before quickly walking away.
Though his mask let through almost no emotion, Hux could’ve sworn there was a hint of teasing. But it was probably just his mind getting to him. He scowled and looked down at his boots. The recovery of the droid was now his top priority. To get the map, of course-- but more importantly for today, to tie things up with Ren.
Hux quickly returned to the command center and paced around. There could be hundreds of BB units on Jakku— was Ren’s information really all that helpful? He scowled down at the technicians as he walked. It would be wrong to take his anger out on one of them, that would be too much like Ren.
Hux sneered as he thought of the man. He would find the BB unit, the map, and present it to Snoke before Ren even knew what was happening. That would show him who was in charge.
Yes, he thought. That would show him. Ren would cry like the brat he was, and Hux could tangle his hands in his hair and show him—.
The General stopped pacing suddenly, dreadfully aware of the rabbit hole that thought was heading down. He glowered down at a technician who had stopped working to look up at him.
Before Hux had time to think of a way to meticulously disassemble that thought and bury it in the depths of his mind, an alarm sounded through the ship.
His head shot up as the technicians quickly tried to determine the cause of the alarm, and he silently prayed one of Ren’s outbursts hadn’t caused any form of major damage.
“General Hux!” a Lieutenant said, quickly approaching him. The look on his face instantly told Hux that whatever had sounded the alarm was more than one of Ren’s tantrums. “We have an unsanctioned departure from Bay 2. It appears to be the prisoner, who got help from a stormtrooper.”
Hux’s face flushed in anger.
“Use the turbo lasers!” he shouted, Mitaka and the officers scrambling into place. “Shoot them down. And find out which stormtrooper is helping him!”
Hux was humiliated. Not only had the prisoner escaped from his ship, but he had done so with the help of one of his stormtroopers. He could already hear Ren mocking him for this failure. Hux had no doubt that the cloaked man would soon appear to do exactly that, and he felt something like butterflies in his stomach. He quickly shoved it down though, for he had no reason to fear Kylo Ren, and why else would he feel that way other than fear?
A high pitched beeping from the officers’ screens filled the control room as Hux anxiously paced back and forth. This is not how things were supposed to happen, things were not allowed to stray from his plan.
“Sir, they’ve taken out our Turbo Lasers,” an officer informed him.
Hux clasped his hands behind his back and quickly walked across the platform. He didn’t have long to fix this before Ren showed up.
“Use the ventral cannons,” Hux ordered Mitaka.
“Yes sir, bringing them online,” he answered.
“General Hux,” a mechanic voice called out.
The General’s heart skipped. He knew he’d show up, especially for a serious issue like this. But to have to admit his defeat, the second one today— it was not fair. He swallowed hard as he felt his face grow warm.
“Is it the resistance pilot?” Ren asked.
“Yes,” Hux said, trying to keep a firm stance. He knew the ridicule that was bound to come. “And he had help. From one of our own.”
The General quickly turned away so that Ren could not see how red his face had become. Hux decided the the cloaked man had an unfair advantage in this little unspoken game they played. With that hideous chunk of metal covering his face and mechanizing his voice, he could never tell when he was getting to Ren.
“We’re checking the registers now to identify which stormtrooper it was,” Hux continued, looking away. The butterflies in his stomach were not subsiding.
“The one from the village,” Ren said almost immediately. “FN-2187.”
Hux quickly turned his head to Ren, confused by the man’s quick response and unexplainably disheartened that he had his back to him. The General decided that he had probably used one of his little force tricks, but before he could question him on it, Mitaka interjected.
“Sir, ventral cannons hot.”
Hux took a few steps towards Ren, angered at the betrayal of his stormtrooper.
“Fire,” he ordered, body tense.
Mitaka began firing the cannons, and Ren turned around to face Hux. The masked figure said nothing, but the black eye holes in the mask seemed to bore into the General. Hux shifted uncomfortably.
He thought how much he preferred Ren’s real eyes, rather than just two black holes. Though Ren’s eyes were dark as well, they were much softer, vulnerable in a way. ‘Vulnerable’ was rarely a term Hux would use in reference to something he liked, but in this instance, it strangely fit. He could picture his soft eyes, looking up at him—.
Hux’s muscles suddenly tensed. Not only did he realize he had zoned off staring at Ren, but something about his thoughts—. It was a strange feeling. Like he wasn’t alone in his own head.
Panic suddenly set in as he realized this might be Ren browsing around in his mind, but captain Phasma, who had appeared on the bridge, called him over to where she had pulled up the service record of the stormtrooper in question.
Hux, not wanting Ren to see the shame on his face, briskly walked past him without giving him a glance. He stood rigid in front of the hologram of FN-2187’s records, curling his nose in disgust at the betrayal.
“FN-2187 reported to my division, was evaluated and sent to Reconditioning,” Phasma informed him.
“No prior signs of non-conformity?” Hux asked, trying to shove the alarming idea that Ren had seen his thoughts aside and focus on more pressing matters.
“This was his first offense,” she answered.
“General,” a Chief Petty Officer said from a nearby screen. “They’ve been hit.”
“Destroyed?” he asked, hopeful that maybe this mishap could be put behind them.
“Disabled,” she answered, much to his disappointment. “They were headed back to Jakku— the fighter's projected to crash in the Goazon badlands.”
“They were going back for the droid,” Hux realized, grateful that their search for the BB unit had been narrowed down. Perhaps he still had a change of outdoing Ren before the day was done. “Send a squad to the wreckage.”
“General,” Ren said from the bridge.
Hux’s jaw tightened and he turned around to face the masked figure.
“We need to report this to Supreme Leader,” he said.
Hux glanced around and then nodded, and the two men left the bridge side by side. As they walked through the hallways, passing officers and stormtroopers, he wondered if Ren had really been looking around in his mind. When Ren did his interrogations, there was usually a fair amount of screaming. He hadn’t felt any pain, simply another presence. He blushed as he thought what idea had been skirting around in his mind at the time. As much as he hated it, he knew that was not the first time thoughts such as those had made an appearance. He figured it was just his hatred and annoyance towards the man taking all possible forms as it poisoned his well calculated mind.
They entered the chamber, Hux annoyed by Ren’s clunking armor and his obnoxious hood. Snoke’s hologram flickered and came into focus as the two men stopped beside each other.
“Well?” he asked, voice raspy. “The map to Skywalker?”
“It’s in a BB unit on Jakku,” Hux said, speaking quickly before Ren could get a word out. “My troops were successful in retrieving a pilot who knew the whereabouts of the map—.”
“I questioned the pilot and was able to extract the information,” Ren cut in. “But one of General Hux’s Stormtroopers helped him escape in a TIE fighter—.”
“And then they crashed on Jakku,” Hux continued, shooting a quick glare at Ren. “I’ve sent a squad to the wreckage to try to locate the Stormtrooper, Resistance Pilot, and droid.”
“Very well,” Snoke said, sitting back. “This droid cannot fall into the hands of the Resistance. To capture the droid is optimal, but you may destroy it if you must. Go. Find the droid.”
Both men bowed as the hologram faded away, and anxious to avoid conversation with Ren at the moment, Hux quickly left the room. As he returned to the bridge, he was aware of Ren following close behind. He fought the urge to look over his shoulder, but the cloaked man joined him in his quick gait across the bridge.
“Supreme Leader Snoke was explicit,” Hux said, looking for something to say. “Capture the droid if we can, but destroy it if we must.”
“How capable are your soldiers, General?” Ren asked.
Hux was disgusted with Ren’s lack of belief in him. First he walked around the ship as he pleased, destroying what he wanted when he wanted. And then came the teasing, the constant bumps into him when there was plenty of space. And now, questioning his skills?
“I won't have you question my methods,” Hux spat.
“They're obviously skilled at committing high treason,” Ren said, sarcastic tone not being completely filtered out by his vocoder. “Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army.”
Outraged, Hux whirled around to face Ren, ignoring the fact his heart skipped when he realized how close his face was to the metal mask.
“My men are exceptionally trained, programmed from birth—.”
“Then they should have no problem retrieving the droid,” Ren said, voice rough through the vocoder. “Unharmed.”
Hux’s heart was beating wildly with something that he guessed was for the most part rage. He quickly scrambled in his mind for what he knew about Ren, something, anything, to push his buttons.
“Careful, Ren,” he sneered in his face. “That your "personal interests" not interfere with orders from Leader Snoke.”
“I want that map,” Ren said, inching even closer. Hux leaned back a little, in fear the proximity of the black clad man to him may stir up some of the thoughts from earlier.
“For your sake,” Ren continued. “I suggest you get it.”
Ren turned to walk away, bumping Hux’s shoulder as he did so. The General swallowed hard at a gnawing feeling that oddly accompanied the burning hatred he felt towards the man. Uncomfortable with a few of his thoughts, Hux returned to his office above the bridge. He sat down at his desk and looked at his speech. It was right where he left it.
He sighed. He could practice again, but he knew it would simply be a distraction. He had the speech memorized. Hux simply wanted an excuse not to think about Kylo Ren. He hated that man, he knew. He knew what hatred felt like, like the way he hated the non-conforming stormtrooper and the Resistance pilot that had made a fool of him, the Resistance, and the Republic itself.
The only difference was out of all the problems weighing on his shoulders as he went to bed at night, Ren was the issue that would permeate his brain like a sickness, spreading into other categories of thoughts— specifically one— where he definitely did not fit.
But, shamefully, when Hux was too tired to try to bury thoughts he deemed ‘too human’ and ‘not suitable’ for a machine-like general such as himself, Ren did fit in those thoughts. In fact, he fit nicely. But they were thoughts, that’s all they were. Sleep deprived thoughts of an affection deprived man.
During the day, Hux kept those thoughts out for the most part. But lately, he was finding that task increasingly difficult. To lust after a masked creature— it made no sense. But Ren rarely removed the mask, so the General was forced to settle. Perhaps, once his finally outdid the man, that burden would be lifted, and Ren would no longer seep into his private thoughts.
“I hate that man,” Hux snarled, shoving his speech back into his desk drawer.
Not wanting to think of him any longer, Hux pulled out some of his Starkiller plans. He had most of these memorized as well, but he knew there was no harm in looking over things again. Today needed to be a success. Losing the Resistance Pilot had been a setback, but Hux was sure that his troops would be able to recover the droid. The pilot and stormtrooper had probably died in the crash, so they would cause no more trouble. How hard could it possibly be to find a droid?
After awhile of looking over maps and charts and designs for Starkiller, Hux got a notification from Mitaka that the squadron had returned and that he needed to speak to him. The General usually did not like people in his office, but he made an exception. Mitaka entered and swallowed hard, standing up as straight as possible.
Hux’s stomach dropped. He did not come bearing good news.
“Well?” he asked abruptly, standing up straight. “The droid?”
“W-we were unable to require the BB unit,” Mitaka stammered. “It escaped on a stolen Corellian YT model freighter with the help of a girl and someone we believe to be FN-2187.”
Hux’s face flushed as he filled with rage. Ren had bested him again. What was it the masked man had said? That for Hux’s own sake, he better get it? The General’s heart hammered faster as he wondered what exactly Ren had meant by that. As he felt his mind tumbling into the gutter, he quickly decided that he was not in a proper state to be speaking to Ren. He should instead be focusing his attention on defeating him.
“Has Kylo Ren been notified?” Hux asked, trying to remain calm.
“Then do so,” Hux snapped.
“M-me?” Mitaka stuttered.
“Yes, you,” Hux said, turning his back on his subordinate. “Now get out.”
The General heard the door shut, and he sighed. Sending Mitaka to do his work was cowardly and cruel, he had no doubt Ren would have a tantrum of some sort. But he couldn’t be bothered with that right now, he needed to locate this freighter and one up the cloaked man.
Hux left his office and walked down to the bridge to command a search for the Freighter, and then stood over the officers and watched the work. He flicked his eyes at Mitaka when he joined him on the bridge. The man was visibly shaken and his neck was bruised, and Hux felt a momentary sense of regret. But it soon passed.
“K-Kylo Ren has been notified,” Mitaka stammered.
“Very well,” the General said shortly.
Hux grit his teeth. He couldn't let Ren mess anything else up, not today. Starkiller was ready to be tested, and that would prove to Supreme Leader— and Ren— his true capability. He thought it best to prepare to head to Starkiller, where he would give his speech. He excitedly rocked on his feet, deciding to leave the bridge to prepare for the most important point in his career.
“Lieutenant Mitaka,” Hux barked.
The man jumped in surprise. “Yes General?”
“Alert Kylo Ren to be at Bay 1 for shuttle departure to Starkiller in one hour. If the name of the Freighter the droid is aboard is discovered, transfer the information to leader Snoke immediately.”
Nodding to his Lieutenants as he left the bridge, Hux headed to his sleeping quarters to change. He passed several high ranked officers on his way, but he found himself uncomfortably disappointed to have not run into Ren.
He passed through several doors and then stopped to enter a code. He punched the buttons and the door hissed open to a small living room. It was modern and organized, just the way he liked things. A black desk sat in the back of the room, his command cap placed neatly on it. Hux faintly smiled. He liked his hat, it gave him a sense of authority without obscuring his face like Ren’s stupid mask did.
Picking up his cap, Hux entered a room to the left. It was his bedroom, and it was as stark and empty as his living room. Hux scowled. It was too empty. He had the necessities; a nightstand, a closet, a bed. An empty bed. Ignoring the too familiar feeling that once again gnawed at him, he fetched the uniform he would be wearing to deliver his speech from his closet and laid it out neatly on the bed.
Hux decided that he should shower and entered the bathroom adjacent to his bedroom. He turned the water on and stripped down as it heated up, lazily tossing his dirty uniform on the floor. He stepped into the shower and lowered his head, allowing the hot water to run down his neck and back. It was relaxing, he was especially tense with everything going on today. The thought of the victory he knew was to come brought a twinge of a smile to his lips.
However, as usual, Ren spoiled his thoughts. He grimaced as he thought about Ren’s cold, impersonal voice through the vocoder, and the dark shade that covered his eyes. Hux wanted him to remove the mask, to let his dark curls tumble down his neck, for Ren to gaze at him with his soft brown eyes.
Hux’s thoughts continued and his hands began to wander as he showered. He liked Ren’s thick scarf, it suited him. It was perfect for grabbing onto and slamming the idiot against the wall, to grip onto while Ren would whimper and beg for mercy. Ren’s perfect lips would tremble only inches from his, and then, yes, the General would be victorious. Hux’s breath quickened as he plunged deeper into the idea, face shamefully red as he began to subconsciously move his hand faster. He would press his body against Ren’s, to feel his heat as he submitted. He would grip the scarf with one hand and restrain Ren’s hand with the other, and then…
Hux made a small noise as he finished and then watched in disgrace as the water washed away the aftermath of his stray thought. Dreading the idea of being late, he quickly finished his shower, nauseous with disgust for himself. Hux dried off and stood in front of his mirror, hands tightly clutching the sink counter until his knuckles were white. Ren was poisoning his mind, permeating his deepest and most private thoughts. He had had thoughts like these many times before but never had he let it get this far. He was a General, he could not let his ardent hatred of Ren consume him. After all, Hux despised that man.
Hux fetched his uniform from where he had laid it out neatly on the bed and tossed his old clothes in the dirty laundry. He pulled on his uniform, buttoning up his shirt and pulling on his pants and coat. He ran a comb through his hair before placing his command cap neatly on his head. He looked into the mirror with approval. This is what a General was supposed to look like; proper with a dignified sense of authority. Someone that could command a fleet, and hopefully one day, a galaxy. But Hux felt another wave of nausea as he remembered what he hid under his authoritative charisma, a shame-filled man whose mind had been infiltrated by the person he hated most.
Hux shivered as he pulled on his boots. He would ride a shuttle to Starkiller, no doubt accompanied by Kylo Ren. He was almost sure that Ren had looked into his thoughts earlier, during a time when Hux’s thoughts were not exactly clean. Would he say anything? Or would he do Hux the honor of giving him an awkward silent treatment? The General wasn't sure what was worse.
After reviewing his appearance once more, Hux left his room and strode down the hallway with all the dignity he could muster at that point, automatic doors hissing closed behind him. He made his way to Bay 1, lieutenants and officers saluting him as he passed by. Hux smirked. The men did what Ren asked because they feared him, while they followed Hux’s commands because they both feared and respected him.
Hux entered Bay 1 and approached the shuttle that the Stormtroopers were preparing for takeoff. Reminded of earlier’s betrayal, he glared at them as he climbed aboard. He nodded to the pilot and then walked back to the passenger’s cabin, heart in his throat.
He kept his eyes straight ahead, forcing himself not to look at the black cloaked figure that occupied the room. His stomach clenched nonetheless. The passenger cabin was a simple gray room with a singular bench up against each wall, and Ren had taken a seat in the back right corner. Hux sat down in the opposite corner, as far from the other man as possible. He smoothed his uniform and fixed his eyes on the blank wall directly across from him, his heart racing. He would not look at Ren.
But Ren was looking at him. In his peripheral vision, Hux could see Ren’s mask clearly pointed towards him, dark visor hiding whatever emotions Ren’s eyes would otherwise give away. Hux felt his face heating, and he clenched his jaw and fixated harder on the wall. He would not look at Ren.
Hux heard the departure sanction come over the static in the cockpit, and the engines hummed to life and filled the ship with a calming lull. The shuttle lifted off and quickly exited the Bay, zooming off into space towards Starkiller.
Hux sat rigid, every muscle tense as he tried to rehearse his speech in his mind. The weapon would be a success, he told himself. The Republic will be destroyed, and Ren will be out of his mind. Just as the General began to relax, Ren’s mechanic voice penetrated the silence.
Hux’s head snapped up and his stomach dropped.
“Excuse you?” he spat, trying to maintain a controlled appearance.
“Ashamed,” Ren said again. “Contrite. Penitent. Humiliated.”
“I know what it means,” Hux sneered. “Who, exactly, is ashamed?”
“You are,” Ren’s said, voice horribly difficult to read through his vocoder.
“And what exactly,” Hux asked, praying the spite in his voice was thick enough to mask the underlying panic. “Am I ashamed about?”
“You tell me,” the masked man said. “The escape of the resistance pilot? The betrayal of your stormtrooper?”
A flood of relief washed over Hux as some of the tension left his shoulders. But the relief was short-lived.
“Or is it something else?” Ren continued.
“I have nothing to be ashamed of,” Hux snarled, trying his best to sound intimidating while he tried to suck in as much air as he could and remain calm.
“Nothing?” Ren asked. “I’ll remember that, General.”
Those words put a pit in Hux’s stomach, and he turned his eyes away from Ren. He was acutely aware that the masked man continued to stare for a few minutes before finally turning away. The General wasn’t sure what Ren meant by that statement, and he forced himself not to dwell on it for the time being.
Hux closed his eyes and rehearsed what he would say to leader Snoke in his head. He could place the blame of the Pilot’s escape and the loss of the droid on Ren, but that would be childish. Perhaps Snoke would admire his honesty and humility. The General began to doze off, and soon, a beeping noise filled the cabin as the ship’s engines changed gears. They had arrived at Starkiller.
Hux stood as they landed, offering Ren a look of contempt as he too got to his feet. He swiftly turned his back on the masked man and stood rigidly beside the door. The ships engines became quiet and the door hissed open, Hux stepping out quickly and walking briskly into the cold, Kylo Ren close behind. The workers at the landing station parted to allow the General and Ren pass through. Though Hux retained a commanding appearance in front of his soldiers on his weapon, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end at the sound of Ren’s heavy footsteps behind him.
The men entered the indoors portion of the base through a large door, where a Lieutenant was awaiting them.
“General Hux, Kylo Ren,” he said, saluting them. “I will alert everyone of your arrival. The Freighter containing the droid has also been identified.”
“Bring Supreme Leader online in the assembly room, and alert him of the Freighter’s identity,” Hux ordered.
“Yes General, right away.”
Hux and Ren began making their way to the assembly room Officers saluted the two men as they passed, and Hux kept his chin up. He was a powerful General with the power to destroy entire systems, nothing should scare him. Especially not a crybaby like Kylo Ren. Hux and Ren headed into the large room, where Snoke’s hologram was already coming into focus. The General placed his hat on a hook outside the room, wanting to look less aggressive in front of his leader.
They slowly approached the towering image of their leader. Hux’s heart was pounding, Smoke angry was not something he wanted to see. Unless, that is, that anger was directed towards Ren. That would be far more bearable, perhaps even enjoyable.
Though the assembly room was massive, filled with hundreds of desks, the twenty five foot figure on the podium seemed to dwarf it all.
“The droid will soon be delivered to the Resistance…” Snoke said, voice deep and powerful. “Leading them to the last Jedi. If Skywalker returns, the new Jedi will rise.”
“Supreme Leader,” Hux said, deciding to try to impress Snoke with his honesty. “I take full responsibility for th—.”
“General!” Snoke snapped, making Hux wince. Our strategy must now
“The weapon,” Hux said, twitching as he realized his opportunity. “It is ready. I believe the time has come to use it. We shall destroy the government that supports the Resistance, the Republic. Without their friends to protect them, the Resistance will be vulnerable, and we will stop them before they reach Skywalker.”
Hux’s heart hammered as Snoke leaned back, seemingly considering his proposition.
“Go,” Snoke said. “Oversee preparations.”
Hux’s chest swelled with pride. “Yes, Supreme Leader.”
He turned his head to Ren to offer him a look of contempt, and the hooded man looked back at him. His mask, however, hid his expression. The general’s heart picked up speed nevertheless.
Hux strode out of the room confidently, grabbing his command cap and placing it on his head. He walked to the command center with new vigor, this was it. This is what he had been waiting for. He was going to destroy the Republic, and defeat Kylo Ren. And then finally, that idiot would be out of his thoughts. Ren would no longer plague his mind when he showered, or worst of all, tried to fall asleep in his too-empty bed at night.
“General,” a colonel said as he entered the command center. “The freighter the droid was aboard was the Millennium Falcon. We have received intel that the droid is now in Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana.”
“Very well,” Hux said. “Send troops to recover the droid.”
“Anything else, sir?”
A smile flickered across the General’s face. “Prepare the weapon to fire.”
The colonel was visibly surprised, but did not question him. “Yes sir. What is the target?”
“The Hosnian system,” Hux sneered. “The republic.”
“The weapon will be prepared, Sir. Is that all?”
“No,” Hux said, giving the man a cocksure look. “Before you start preparations, assemble everyone in the rally stadium.”
Hux proudly began walking to the rally stadium. This was it. What he had been waiting for. As he walked, Hux spotted the hooded man. The General was surprised to see Ren walking in the direction of the landing station where they had arrived.
Ren bumped into Hux’s shoulder as he passed, and the General became rigid with anger. The Supreme Leader had opted to go with his idea, to fire the weapon, and yet, Ren still thought it appropriate to treat him with little respect.
“Ren,” he snapped.
The masked man turned around and stood still. “General Hux.”
Hux twitched at the way his name sounded through the vocoder. He briefly wondered how it would sound with the mask off, and with a more personal touch to it.
“Where, exactly, are you going?” Hux asked, voice derisive as he looked him over.
“I am returning to the Finalizer for the firing of the weapon.”
Hux panicked. Ren would miss his speech, and one of the main goals of it had been for him to see his sheer power as the thousands of people applauded him. To defeat him. To impress him, though Hux did not like the term ‘impress’ when it came to Ren; it made it sound like he was trying to win his approval.
“You’ll be missing my speech,” Hux scowled. “I’d appreciate it if you were there.”
“I bet you would, General,” Ren replied, tone undetectable through his mask. “I bet you would.”
With that he briskly turned away, leaving Hux with a shameful lump in his throat. He tried his best to shake it off and continued walking, though his step was now less sure. He had laid more out for Ren than he deemed appropriate, and he had no doubt he’d suffer the consequences of Ren’s incessant smugness.
Hux entered a code into a door and walked down the long corridor where access to most was prohibited. Phasma was waiting for him at the end of the hall, where there was another door. She stood tall and saluted him, and Hux returned the salute.
“Ready for your speech, General?” she asked.
The General adjusted his coat and command cap, trying not to think of the way Ren had blown him off. It wasn’t fair, he was actually being kind for once. He thought Ren ought to appreciate him more; appreciate the late hours he stayed up filling out accident reports, the expenses he paid for the damages he caused, and keeping his cool when he wanted to kill him.
“I’m ready,” Hux said, trying to calm his nervousness.
“The troopers and officers will not be assembled for another ten minutes, and we cannot fire the weapon until we know Lord Ren is safe aboard the Finalizer.”
Hux blinked. “And who gave you that order?”
“Lord Ren did, sir.”
The General twitched. “Very well.”
Hux waited with the captain for ten more minutes until they were notified that the troops had been assembled and that the weapon was ready. He nodded to Phasma and took in a deep breath. This was it.
He punched another code into the door and it hissed open, a blast of cold air from the outside world hitting him. In a small outdoor space, about thirty high ranking officers were waiting for them, accompanied by several stormtroopers. Behind them was a large red banner with the symbol of the first order.
“They’re waiting for you on the other side, General,” Phasma said.
Hux sniffed, nose red in the cold. He looked at the men and then stepped through a space in the banner. His stomach clenched at what he saw.
There was a podium that extended into the stadium, which was filled by over a thousand stormtroopers. It was a sea of white, broken only by red first order banners. They were neatly organized in groups, behind them TIE fighters and beyond, the mountainous, snowy landscape of the planet they had gutted to make this weapon. For a brief moment, the general felt intimidated. But then he remembered they were assembled here for him, on the weapon he had designed. His eyes turned cold as he stepped out onto the podium, his officers making neat rows behind him. This was his, all his. Once this weapon fired, he could control the universe. Never again could anyone call him worthless. Not his father—though he was long dead—, not Snoke, not the Republic or Resistance, and definitely not Kylo Ren. He no longer led the First Order, he was the First Order.
“Today is the end of the Republic!” Hux announced loudly, voice echoing through the thousands of soldiers. “The end of a regime that acquiesces to disorder! At this very moment, in a system far from here, the New Republic lies to the galaxy while secretly supporting the treachery of the loathsome Resistance.”
Hux’s heart was beating rapidly as a wave of newfound animosity swept over him.
“This fierce machine which you have built, upon which we stand, will bring an end to the Senate!” he roared, body trembling and voice growing in volume. “To their cherished fleet! All remaining systems will bow to the First Order! And will remember this…”
Hux trailed off for a moment, anger overwhelming. He unclasped his neatly folded hands and shook his finger.
“As the last day of the Republic!”
The thousand soldiers saluted him in unison, and a dark sense of confidence embedded itself deeply into his bones. He could not be stopped now.
The roar of the stormtroopers’ boots filled the stadium as they all turned around, and Hux waited impatiently. There was no way his weapon could fail now. He had everything.
For a moment, there was silence. Then, a massive atomic blast caused wind to rip through the stadium as a blinding column of white light shot into the sky. Stormtroopers stumbled back and others covered their eyes, but Hux stood still, head held high as he watched. The intense light shone in his cold blue eyes. He thought it was such a shame that Ren could not see him like this and he hoped that the masked man was watching from the Finalizer.
The Republic was gone. And now, he was the most powerful man in the galaxy. A smile flickered across his face. He could not be stopped. He could have whatever he wanted now— even Ren. Hux was puzzled that that was the first thing that came to mind, but he was too power hungry at the moment to care.
Hux gave an approving nod and properly clasped his hands behind his back, before turning and exiting the podium, his high ranking officers filing behind.
“Sir,” a colonel said as Hux entered the command center. “The squadrons have arrived at Takodana and are engaged in combat with the locals.”
“Good,” Hux nodded and then hesitated. “Where is Kylo Ren?” he asked, not sure why it was any of his concern at the moment.
“Lord Ren is accompanying the squadrons on Takodana, Sir.”
The General wondered why he was there but figured he had his reasons, albeit probably stupid ones.
“Very well,” Hux said.
The colonel said, and the General left the command center and entered his office. He smiled softly and placed his command cap on his desk and then sat down. Even the pile of accident reports, most likely due to Ren, was not enough to dampen his mood. He hoped that everything went well on Takodana, that Ren would be okay. It was odd thought, for he usually wished for the black cloaked man to be ejected into space. He had been worrying about him more recently and he hadn’t quite gotten used to it. Hux figured that it was because there was no point in one-upping Ren if Ren wasn’t around to see—and pout over— it.
Hux was looking forward to seeing Ren again. He could rub his victory in his face, and hopefully, his mask would be off as he did so. That way, the General would get to see him blush in shame, his lower lip quiver, and his doe eyes turn misty. It was rather adorable— though Hux wasn’t sure that was the right word. The idea of his lips, the blush on his face— it sent a downward heat rushing through him again. Perhaps thinking that way was shameful and wrong. But Hux had just destroyed an entire system, obliterated the Republic. He was now so powerful, could he even do wrong?
He fiddled with the button on his pants, debating whether he should allow those thoughts to intensify. A beeping from a small device on his desk made the decision for him; he was being summoned to the command center. Hux sighed and adjusted his pants and wondered what could be going wrong.
In the command center, there was a frantic feeling. A lieutenant quickly approached him, and Hux did not like the expression on his face. Panic suddenly gripped his chest as he considered that something might have happened to Ren.
“What’s going on?” Hux asked, lungs feeling pinched. “Why did you summon me?”
“Sir, our squadrons are under fire by the Resistance fleet on Takodana.”
Hux tensed. “What is the position of the commanding officer?” Of Ren.
“He has not asked for backup.”
The General knew that it was not protocol to send backup if the commanding officer did not ask for it, but worry clawed at his mind.
“Give them a minute,” Hux said. “If you have not heard anything else by then, send up backup.”
Hux began pacing around the room. This was not right. He had just achieved his goal, he should not be sick with worry over that idiot. As much as Hux hated him, the Finalizer would seem empty otherwise. And the General already had enough empty in his life.
“General!” a Lieutenant said from his station. “We’ve received word from Lord Ren. They retrieved what they needed and are on their way to Starkiller.”
“Very well,” Hux said, a wave of relief washing over him. Too much relief, he thought. He should not worry so much about Ren. “Trace the Resistance’s reconnaissance ship. I want to know where their base is.”
“And alert me when Ren has arrived back, and then inform me of any information he acquired on the mission. I will be in my office.”
Hux once again left the command center and returned to his office. The door closed behind him and he took a seat in his chair, trying to remember what he had been doing before he had been beckoned. Remembering, he sighed. The wave of arousal was gone, and the liquor in his lower desk drawer sounded most inviting at the moment. However, he was still on duty, and he was trying to lay off drinking. Sometimes when Hux was trying to fall asleep, the loneliness would become too much to bear, and he would find company in a bottle. It was not something he was proud of, it sounded sad just thinking about it: an affection deprived workaholic drinking himself to sleep in his empty bed. Perhaps, now that he was far more powerful, someone would want to keep him company at night.
Hux winced. That thought was even sadder.
Not wanting to waste time, the General pulled out a pen and began working on the accident reports. He started from the bottom, and, not to his surprise, it was from when Ren had destroyed a console with his lightsaber. Hux sighed and quickly worked through the report; he could have probably filled it out by muscle memory by how many of those had come across his desk.
A few reports in, a buzz from the door startled him. Hux pressed a button on his desk and the door hissed open, and a colonel entered. The man approached his desk and saluted him, the door closing behind him.
“General,” he said.
“What information did Ren retrieve?”
The Colonel shifted uncomfortably, and Hux instantly knew whatever news he brought was not good.
“Lord Ren was unsuccessful in recovering the droid—.”
“I thought he said that they had retrieved what they needed?” Hux snapped.
The young man winced. “He took a girl instead. She had seen the map, and he was confident he could extract the information with his… Methods.”
“He has been unable to require the information through interrogation. And the droid has most likely been returned to the Resistance along with the map. Also, we traced the reconnaissance ship as you wished. The base has been located in the Ileenium system”
Hux swallowed hard, trying to control his anger. He had destroyed the Republic, and yet Ren had not been able to retrieve a mere droid.
“Where is Ren?” the General growled.
“Talking with Leader Snoke, Sir.”
Hux sprang out of his chair. Ren was probably making him out to be the bad guy when he was the one who had been keeping everything in order. Not bothering to be respectful, he shoved his way past the colonel and into the hall leading to the assembly room. His heart raced as he broke into a light jog, not caring if the officers gave him strange looks.
Snoke would never do away with Ren, he was his apprentice. Him, on the other hand— if he endured a fantastic failure of some sorts, he had no doubt that Supreme leader would simply kill him off. Hux’s heart went to his throat, wondering how he would do it. Snoke was powerful, he could do it slowly and painfully— or even worse, a sickening nightmare that he dared not think about for long, have Ren do it for him.
The General, approaching the assembly room, could hear Snoke’s voice through the doors.
“And the droid?” the hologram asked.
Hux threw open the doors. “Ren believed it was no longer valuable
As he stormed down the aisle to where Ren stood, his heart missed a beat. For some reason, the man had removed his mask. Ren turned around and briefly met Hux’s gaze with his soft brown eyes, and then hung his head in shame. The General used all his willpower not to keep his eyes on the man and then continued.
“That the girl was all we needed. As a result, the droid has most likely been returned to the hands of the enemy. They may have the map already.”
Snoke leaned forward, visibly furious. Hux didn’t mind making Snoke angry with Ren, he knew he would not harm him. It was himself that he needed to keep out of trouble.
“Then the Resistance must be destroyed before they get to Skywalker,” Snoke said bitterly.
“We have their location,” Hux boasted, twitching in excitement at the idea of using his new weapon again, to feel that power and authority. “We tracked their reconnaissance ship to the Ileenium system.”
“Good,” Snoke said, Hux’s hopes soaring. “Then we will crush them once
and for all. Prepare the weapon.”
Hux noticed Ren shift nervously. “Supreme Leader. I can get the map from the girl. I just need your guidance.”
“If what you say about this girl is true, bring her to me,” Snoke answered.
Hux and Ren bowed respectfully to Snoke, and the hologram faded away. Before Ren could walk away, Hux grabbed his arm angrily.
“What were you even thinking?” Hux snarled. “Your incompetence astounds me.”
Ren’s eyes flickered around, not meeting Hux’s. The General’s heart wanted to soften at the ashamed blush on his face or his pink lips, his dark eyelashes and the soft curls that framed his pale face.
“I can get the map from the girl,” he insisted, though his voice was unsure.
Hux couldn’t stand it anymore. He grabbed a handful of the black fabric Ren cloaked himself in and yanked the man close to his face. The General stood on his toes, either in an attempt to be taller than the dark haired man or in a twisted excitement. Ren gasped in surprise, and Hux could feel the heat of his breath on his face.
A wave of heat rushed downward. Hux couldn’t act on that, it was too unprofessional— so he settled for the next best thing.
“You’re such an ignorant child,” Hux sneered in his face. “You couldn’t even retrieve a miserable little droid. A failure, that’s what you are. You can’t even get the map from some random girl— you need Supreme Leader’s help with everything.”
Ren’s eyes began to mist. “I—.”
“Shut up,” Hux spat. “You have nothing you can say for yourself. I am going to go destroy the Ileenium system now, and you’d better get things sorted out with this girl. But I know you won’t be able to. I’m going to see how long it will take before you come running to me, asking for my help, because a problem came up and you’re too weak and childish to deal with it yourself.”
The General let go of his cloak and then gave him a sturdy shove, and then walked briskly away. As he headed for the Command Center, an unusual feeling sat deep in his stomach, replacing the heat and arousal he had felt moments before. It was something he was not used to, but the General was nearly sure he knew what it was.
It was guilt.
Guilt, Hux had decided long ago, was a useless emotion. Why waste time feeling bad about something when there is no longer anything you can do to change what happened? He made decisions based off what seemed mathematically logical at the time and then didn’t look back. He had just destroyed a planetary system, and he was on his way to the Command center to destroy another one.
Hux shyly admitted to himself that he had enjoyed what he had done to Ren. But the guilt stemmed from the raw hurt in his deep brown eyes. That caused a strange lack of computation is the General’s brain— he wanted to hurt Ren, he was almost sure of it. Then again, he wanted someone to occupy his empty bed at night. For someone to sit with him in his kitchen as he quickly ate one of his bland dinners— though that would be problematic, given the fact he only had one chair at his small table. It was all he had ever needed.
Hux entered the Command center with his head held high.
“Attention!” he snapped.
The people in the command center froze what they were doing to look at their leader. He strode across the room to the window and gazed out at the TIE fighters on the landing station.
“Prepare the weapon.”
“The target, Sir?” a lieutenant asked.
Hux sneered. “D’Qar, in the Ileenium system. The Resistance.”
The technicians and officers all began flicking between screens and pressing buttons as Starkiller was prepared for its second firing. Hux’s chest swelled with pride as he looked out the window. Someday, he was meant to have everything. He may have been birthed by a lowly kitchen servant— but that no longer mattered. Snoke was old. Someday, and someday soon, he hoped, the galaxy would be his. And there would be order like there was supposed to be.
“Begin charging the weapon!” Hux ordered when the safety protocol check had been completed.
“Yes, sir. Weapon charging,” a technician answered.
A smile flickered across his face as he watched the sky begin to dim as the weapon charged, sucking in the nearby sun. Soon, both the Republic and Resistance would be gone. And then he’d truly have everything. He didn't think he was doing it for his own benefit, but rather the galaxy’s. The Republic was weak and did not have a strong, central system for maintaining order. And lack of order was chaos, which led to deaths. Yes, Hux had just killed thousands of people— but he assumed it to be for the greater good. He was a well organized, intelligent man capable of maintaining order. It would save people in the long run.
“Report,” Hux said.
“Weapon charged in fifteen minutes, Sir,” an officer answered.
Content with himself, Hux mused over the idea of reigning over the galaxy for a while longer, until he suddenly spotted something in the sky. It was a fleet of ships, approaching quickly.
“Colonel,” the General said abruptly. “Do you sanction a landing for those ships?”
The Colonel did not have time to answer before the ships were in clear sight— they were Resistance X-Wings. Hux’s mind began whirring as he tried to figure out what had happened. By then, all the technicians had realized what was going on and were hunched over their screens, running diagnostic tests on the shields.
“What is wrong with the shields?” Hux roared.
“Sir, it appears they were disabled on base.”
The gears in his mind chugged and then he froze with a sickening realization. The resistance girl.
“Where is Kylo Ren?” he asked, body beginning to tremble. There was no way a small fleet of Resistance pilots could destroy Starkiller, but reporting an attack would not make him look competent in Snoke’s eyes.
“His whereabouts are unknown at the moment,” the technician answered.
“Then find him using the tracker installed in his lightsaber,” Hux snarled. “I need to know where he is.”
A loud boom gently shook the Control Room, followed by several more. Alarms began to blare and the General’s heart jumped as he looked outside. The resistance was hitting the thermal oscillator. Hux knew if the oscillator sustained enough damage, the planet’s core would become destabilized— destroying Starkiller. A dire sense of alarm came over him, and his lungs felt pinched. This was not supposed to happen, it couldn’t happen. Never before had he wanted to throw a Ren-like tantrum as much as he did now, but he quickly reminded himself that he did not have that luxury. His success, along with the lives of everyone on Starkiller, including his own, depended on his ability to think rationally in situations such as these.
Hux turned quickly to the Colonel. “Dispatch all squadrons.”
“Yes, General.” he answered.
“Report on Ren’s location?” Hux asked. If the base crumbled apart with Ren still on it, Snoke would have his neck. There might have been other reasons why he was concerned about the man’s location, but now was not the time for thoughts such as those.
“We’ve tracked him to inside the oscillator.”
Hux’s heart jumped. Ren was inside the section that was being attacked, just his luck. The General angrily turned back towards the window, cold eyes set on the massive air battle right outside. Ships, Resistance and First Order alike, tumbled from the sky and hit the ground. Hux usually had great faith in his troops and weapons, but today had not been going to plan.
“Colonel, prepare a shuttle,” Hux ordered, his stomach clenching, almost as if his doubt was an admission of defeat. But doubt would keep him— and Ren— alive.
“Sir, they’ve destroyed our shuttle hanger,” he answered.
“Is there one in maintenance?” Hux asked, trying to think quickly.
“Yes,” he answered. “Just one. But it’s a civilian shuttle, meant for long trips and living on for periods of time. And it’s in bad shape, it would take all night to reach the nearest habitable planet, let alone the Finalizer—.”
“I don’t care,” the General snapped. “Have it ready to take off at a moment’s notice.”
“Yes, Sir,” the Colonel said, hurrying out of the Control center.
Hux turned back to looking outside. He did not believe in foresight, but a pit deep in his stomach told him that this was not going to end well. And what was Ren doing in the oscillator? The General had enough to worry about at the moment. If this ended up being Ren’s fault— which it probably was— Hux wouldn’t know what to do, what to say to him.
The sky had blackened as the sun disappeared, and Hux felt a flicker of confidence. If they could destroy the resistance base, taking out the fleet would be nothing. As long as the oscillator did not sustain too much damage, things mind end up okay.
“General, your shuttle is on standby,” a lieutenant informed him.
“Very well,” Hux said, silently praying it would not be necessary.
Suddenly, another large explosion rang from the oscillator, this one seemingly from the inside. Hux’s chest tightened. Ren. The General thought it odd that the other man was the first worry that had popped into his mind, but he decided to deal with that later if he lived to do so.
“Report!” Hux shouted, body tense.
“Oscillator is damaged but is still operational. Ready to fire in two minutes.”
Hux gave him a curt nod. Anger boiled in his stomach, how dare the Resistance damage his weapon? He was trying to restore order to the galaxy, and those imbeciles would not stop getting in his way. The sky was almost completely black and red lights flashed in the Control room.
Hux turned around and paced across the room, coming to a halt next to a technician’s screen and standing rigid, hands neatly clasped behind back. He must retain a sense of order.
“Weapon at full capacity in thirty seconds,” the technician informed him.
He felt a twinge of excitement in his stomach. “Prepare to fire.”
His anticipation grew as the light disappeared from the sky. The weapon was ready, and the Resistance was his. Suddenly, a loud explosion ripped through the air, the ground trembling below their feet. A new set of alarms went off, and a dreadful sense of the horrible reality hit Hux like a bus. He watched in sheer terror as the oscillator crumbled. The planet was done for, the weapon was done for— he was done for.
“Sir!” the technician said, eyes wild in fear. “The fuel cells have ruptured. The oscillator has been destroyed, the collapse of the planet will soon begin.”
“Where is Ren?” Hux shouted, face red in anger.
The technician pulled up another screen. “I—In the forest.”
“Send me the coordinates,” Hux snapped. “I want my shuttle waiting for me at landing pad one, and get leader Snoke on!”
Hux took off running to the assembly room, the nauseous feeling in his stomach pleading him to stop. His heart felt sick and his legs felt feeble as he ran. He wanted to cry, but that was irrational. He had to get to Snoke, and then he had to save Ren. Even amidst his great failure, he had to keep it together. He had no choice.
He burst through the doors and the hologram, though glitching, was up. Debris fell from the ceiling and crashed to the ground.
“Supreme leader!” Hux shouted, out of breath. A rumble could be heard in the distance. “ The fuel cells have ruptured. The collapse of the planet has begun.”
Snoke took this in slowly, and the General’s frustration mounted. He had to go find Ren, he didn’t have time to do this right now.
“Leave the base at once and come to me with Kylo Ren,” he said grimly. “It is time to complete his training.”
Hux nodded and a sudden jolt of the room caused the hologram to dissipate. Not taking any time to catch his breath, the General took off again. The floor cracked and rumbled as he ran. It was dark in the tunnels, save the spinning red alarm lights. He pulled a screen out of his pocket as he ran and opened the coordinates that the technician had sent him. The tracker placed Ren in the forest close to the oscillator, and Hux cursed under his breath. Panicked officers and stormtroopers ran past him, all looking for a way to escape their already sealed fate. Hux made a sharp turn and ran out onto the landing pad, where a beaten shuttle was waiting. He scrambled inside, heart pounding and the ground cracked open where he had stepped moments before.
Hux ran into the cockpit, where the Colonel was waiting for him.
“Lift up!” Hux shouted, and the Colonel frantically pulled on the controls. The engines roared as the ship lifted off the ground. “We need to find Ren!”
Hux showed the pilot the coordinates, and the ship veered left and soared over the trees. The General stared at the screen, the reality of things seemed slurred. He focused on the dot that pointed out the man’s location.
“We’re almost over him,” Hux said when his screen began to beep. “Here! Lower the ship.”
Hux looked out the window, anger and panic rushing through his veins. There was a massive schism in the ground, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted Ren to have fallen in it or not. He decided he’d rather have Ren alive, for his own life’s sake.
The ship lowered onto the rumbling earth, and through the window, Hux spotted a black-clad man strewn in the blood-soaked snow. Another wave of nausea rolled over him. As many times as he’d wished Ren would be killed in an accident of some sort, the reality— the reality was not something he was ready to deal with.
“Open the door!” Hux commanded.
He ran from the cockpit and stumbled out the door, the ice cold air blasting him. He struggled through the thick snow, eyes burning and heart sick. He reached the bloody patch of snow in which Ren lay, and he looked down at the man. His dark hair was wild and stuck to his blood on his face, which flowed from a massive gash across his face. His eyelids fluttered and he looked up at Hux, eyes oddly calm for the dire situation they were in.
“W—who—,” he stammered. “Who is it?”
“Who is it?” Hux screamed, rolling Ren over and pulling the dazed man to his feet. “It’s someone who completely hates you, you incompetent idiot!”
Ren stumbled and began to fall, and Hux used all his strength to brace the larger man against himself. He threw Ren’s arm over his shoulder so that the wounded man could lean on him.
“Walk with me!” he shouted, the two men almost falling over when the planet rumbled beneath them.
The General knew how dire the situation was, but Ren still didn’t seem completely aware. He hurried his step, not caring that Ren was basically dragging his feet and was groaning in pain. Hux squinted in the bright lights of the ship as he pulled Ren aboard the shuttle. The door hissed closed behind them and he leaned the dark haired man against the wall.
“Get out of here as quick as you can!” Hux screamed towards the cockpit.
“Yes, general!” the Pilot shouted, and Hux stumbled as the ship quickly took off, tearing through the collapsing planet’s atmosphere and into space.
“Come on, you wreck,” Hux spat, pulling Ren along down a small passageway.
The shuttle was old, and the floors were dirty. On the left, there was a small room with seats, accompanied by a large window. Hux stared in surreal horror out the window, Ren still leaning on his shoulder. Out the window was Starkiller, fiery lava replacing its crust and flares shot from the bubbling surface. Suddenly, a massive explosion blinded Hux, and he looked away as the former planet exploded to form a new sun. His project, his pride— it was gone. He had stood on the steps and so viciously denounced the Republic and Resistance and built confidence in the weapon into the men, but it had failed.
He had failed.
There was a staircase at the back of the ship, presumably leading to the sleeping quarters. Hux stomped down the steps, dragging Ren, who cried out in pain. The General could feel Ren’s blood seeping into his own clothes, and he briefly wondered about the extent of the injuries— and how he had sustained them. There were no bacta tanks, so the gash on his face would no doubt scar.
There was a bedroom at the bottom of the steps, which he guessed had been refurbished, for it was a bit nicer than the rest of the ship. There was a small bathroom to the left and a twin bed in the middle of the room.
Hux sat Ren down on the bed, not wanting to dirty the sheets with his blood. He figured that there would be a first aid kit in the cockpit.
“Stay here,” he ordered, though he was not sure where else he would go.
He quickly went up the steps and walked down the passage to the cockpit, where the Colonel sat silently.
“Do you know if there’s a first aid kit?” Hux asked. “Lord Ren has been injured.”
“U-under the copilot’s seat,” he stammered.
The General leaned over the seat and pulled a white box out from underneath. He looked at the colonel, realizing the man was misty eyed.
“Are you injured?” Hux asked.
“What?” the Colonel said. “Oh, no. I. I just… I had friends on that base.”
Hux felt a stab of guilt for the second time that day. Not only had he failed himself and Supreme Leader, but he had failed the thousands of men that had called the base home.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said, not wanting to get emotional. “Set a course for the Finalizer, we’ll need to stop for supplies.”
“Yes sir,” the Colonel answered quietly.
He carried the box to the back of the ship and stomped down the steps to where Ren sat motionless on the bed. He placed the kit next to him and opened it, thankful that it was full of medical supplies and not half-used up.
“Where are you hurt?” Hux asked, voice cold and impersonal.
“I was shot in the side and slashed in my face,” he said, coherently speaking for the first time since Hux had found him.
The General rummaged around in the box. He found a needle and some thread for stitches, along with a long spool of bandages. There was some gauze for dressing the wounds and towels as well.
“Take off your clothes,” Hux told him.
Ren blinked, his glassy eyes not registering with what the General said.
“Oh, relax,” the General huffed, too angry right now to acknowledge a scene similar to this often played out in his head. “I’m going to dress your wounds.”
The dark haired man chewed his lip and then obliged. He unwound his scarf and placed it gently beside him, then undid the thick belt going around his waist.
“I—,” he began.
“I don’t want to hear it, Ren,” Hux snapped. “Not right now.”
Ren’s eyes glistened with tears as he continued undressing, wincing in pain as he pulled his shirt off. He sat in front of the general and hung his head in shame, black hair falling into his eyes. Hux wanted to take a moment to admire the man in front of him, to look over his body that he deemed to be in much better shape than his— save the wound on his side. But he couldn’t think like that.
It was one thing to have dirty thoughts in the privacy of his own bedroom or shower, but while dressing his wounds in a bedroom, it was unacceptable. Hux took out the gauze and cleansing wipes. The blood on Ren’s side had begun to dry; it would be a mess to clean.
“Hold on,” Hux said. Ren said nothing. He walked to the small bathroom where he turned on the sink, and warm water flowed out. He washed his hands thoroughly as to avoid dirtying the man’s wounds. Sighing, he looked around the small bathroom. It wasn’t exactly nice, but it was stocked with shampoo and lotion, though he was not sure where it came from.
He brought the wipes and gauze out to Ren, who was hunched over with a broken expression on his face. Hux wasn’t sure if he pitied him or not.
“Lay down,” Hux ordered, and Ren did so. “Now stay still, I’m going to try to clean you up.”
Ren stared up at the ceiling as Hux gently pressed one of the wipes to his wound. The General expected him to wince, but he remained still. He wiped away the dried blood to reveal a wound that was surprisingly less serious than he thought. He then moved on with a fresh wipe to his arm, where he had been grazed.
“I killed him,” Ren suddenly said.
“Who?” Hux asked, not paying much attention to what he had to say. Ren killing someone was nothing new.
A small smile flickered across Hux’s face. “Is that so? I’m a bit experienced in that field.”
Ren tensed up. “I—I didn’t want to.”
Hux sighed and began to dress the wound with the gauze. “Then I guess that’s just another stupid thing you’ve done today. Now don’t move, I’m going to clean the one on your face.”
Ren closed his eyes as Hux leaned over his face and began to wipe away the blood on his face. As shameful as he considered it to be, he admired the man’s features as he slowly cleaned the gash. He was thankful that he had not damaged his eyes; it would be such a waste of his beautiful brown irises. He gazed softly down at his dark eyelashes and the curl of hair that stuck on his forehead. Hux reached out and gently touched his cheek to hold his head in place as he gently cleaned the wound, and a small smile appeared on Ren’s lips.
“What are you smiling about?” Hux snapped, forcing himself to return to his usual acrimonious state of mind.
Ren did not answer and the smile faded, much to the General’s subconscious disappointment.
“Now sit up,” Hux commanded. “I’m going to bandage you up.”
Ren heaved himself up and put his arms out so Hux could wrap the bandages around his waist and arm. The General, not meeting the man’s eyes, wrapped his arm with the spool of bandages. When it was thoroughly wrapped, he tore the bandage and tucked it into place. Hux then moved on to his waist. He held the loose end of the bandage firmly in place and began to wrap it around him, layer after layer. When he was fairly certain the bandages would stay in place, he tucked the end in and place his hands on the sides to adjust a loose portion. Hux looked up at Ren and was startled; their faces were less than an inch apart, and Ren was staring at him with his sad brown eyes. Hux suddenly became uncomfortably aware of the placement of his hands on Ren’s waist, and he pulled away as his face began to heat.
“There,” he spat, mentally exhausted. “So, want to tell me about what happened to my base?”
Ren quickly looked down. “I—. It was an accident.”
Rage began to boil inside Hux as he looked at the pathetic man in front of him. An accident.
“Well, that accident,” Hux said, voice raising. “Is going to cost me my career!”
Hux was usually not one for yelling. But now, everything he had worked for, lived for, killed for— it was destroyed. All due to the carelessness of the man sitting in front of him. He had had enough of being the calm one. If there was ever a situation where he deserved to throw a tantrum, it was now. And Kylo could keep his mouth shut.
“The scavenger girl, she’s strong!”
“You were beaten!” Hux screamed. “By that girl?”
Ren was obviously stunned by the General’s lack of composure. “S—she had help. From FN-2187.”
Fury burned in Hux’s eyes. “You were beaten by a stormtrooper and a scavenger?”
Tears flooded Ren’s eyes and he stammered. “I—Look, I—.”
“No!” Hux shrieked, well beyond caring about keeping an orderly appearance. His hair had begun to fall in his face, and his face was red with rage. “No Ren, you don’t get to cry right now! You don’t get to throw a tantrum now! It’s my turn.”
Hux angrily threw the remaining bandages on the floor and began to pace around.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to do my job? To have to keep in order as many things as I do? It’s stressful and exhausting! And guess who doesn't help at all? You! You just dance around all over my ship on your little force-quests or whatever. And when I want to go to sleep at night, the stack of accident reports on my desk keeps me up! You cost me thousands of dollars because I have to replace equipment that you destroy with your childish temper!”
“I—,” Ren began.
“I’m not done,” Hux snarled, eyes burning. “Your antics— Someone has to calmly lead the order! Someone has to be the stoic leader that the troops can look to in times of crisis! And you are obviously not an option, with your erratic behavior, so that leaves it to me! People always call me cold and emotionless, but they don’t realize I don’t have a choice— you don’t give me a choice! I can’t break down!”
“Shut up!” Hux screamed. “Just shut up! It’s my turn! You’ve forced me to become this cold, emotionless thing! You think you’ve had it rough? I was beaten as a child, made a child soldier by my own father! I was illegitimate, not even supposed to be born! But look what I had built up, what I’d become! Starkiller was mine, and it’s gone because of you!”
Hux’s face was red with rage and his lungs hurt from screaming. Tears had begun to stream down his face, and Ren sat completely still, terrified to see the General express this type of emotion.
“It was mine, Ren! You know what I gave for that ship? I gave everything! All I had was my routine, day after day, a constant cycle!” Hux screamed as his body became racked with sobs. “And I’m so lonely! I have no friends, Ren! And at night, I eat my dinner alone, and try to go to sleep in an empty bed!”
Hux took in a few gasps of air and then hung his head, crying softer now. He must’ve looked pathetic, but he couldn’t care less. “It’s so empty.”
He cried for a minute, Ren completely silent as the General’s broken words hung in the air.
“Is…” Ren said softly. “Is that why you think about me?”
Hux looked up. His hair was a mess and tears dribbled from his bloodshot eyes. “What?”
“You think about… Me.”
Hux sniffled, and then his stomach clenched as he realized what Ren was probably referring to. Usually, he would have refuted that statement, fought it tooth and nail. But he was too weak to put up a fight. “H—how—.”
“I can hear your thoughts,” Ren said, face slightly reddening. “All your thoughts. You have a noisy mind.”
“A-all?” Hux stammered in embarrassment, wiping tears away with his sleeve.
“Even the dirty ones,” Ren said, cutting to the chase.
Hux’s lungs felt pinched. “I, I don’t mean to have them, they just—.”
“Hux, just,” Ren shook his head. “Just come here.”
Hux dragged his feet to Ren until he stood directly above the bandaged man, who was still sitting on the bed. He hung his head in shame and sniffled. The dark haired man slowly stood and was still for a moment before gently pulling Hux’s coat off his shoulders and letting it drop to the floor.
“W—what are you doing?” the General asked, heart hammering. He hadn’t had an outburst like the one he’d just had before, so he was still frantically trying to recollect himself.
“You need this,” Ren said, an unfamiliar tone to his voice.
“W—what do I need?” Hux stammered, eyes confused. He couldn’t think straight right now, it was like his thought process was running up against a brick wall.
Ren gently placed a hand on Hux’s waist and leaned over to whisper in his ear.
“Me,” he breathed, planting a kiss on his jaw.
Hux took in a shaky breath and closed his eyes. Heat rushed downward and he blushed, but he tried to maintain his dignified sense of composure.
“N—no, Ren,” he said, trying to ignore his growing arousal. “You don’t understand, I hate you—.”
“I know,” Ren said, cutting him off. He pulled off his jaw and looked the General straight in the eyes. “You can go back to hating me tomorrow. But right now, you need this. But I won’t keep going until you admit to it.”
“I—,” Hux chewed his lip and looked downward. He knew Ren was right. “I need this.”
“Look at me and say it,” Ren said softly.
Hux swallowed hard. This was no doubt, his weakest point. But Snoke was probably going to kill him; he really had nothing to lose now. He looked up into Ren’s deep brown eyes and felt his heart jump.
Ren’s lips crashed into his, cutting him off. Hux’s eyes widened in surprise, but he closed them as he felt the other man’s tongue slip into his mouth. The kiss was sloppy, and Hux clumsily began to push back with his own tongue. He felt Ren begin to undo the thick belt that went across his hips and then began to try to pull his shirt off.
Hux broke the kiss to help him, his uniform quickly coming off over his head. Ren’s hands went across his chest and gripped his waist, sending a jolt through the General at the skin on skin contact. Ren resumed the kiss, and Hux’s hands gently explored his body, being careful of the bandages. He silently prayed they would hold for this; the last thing he needed was for Ren’s wound to open right now. He allowed his hands to travel up to his broad shoulders and then cupped his face in his hands. Hux let out a small moan at the way Ren’s lips and tongue tasted, tangling his hands in his long hair. Ren’s grip on his waist tightened at that and he let out a small gasp.
Hux’s pants had become uncomfortably tight, and he wasn’t sure how to communicate that to Ren. The General shyly pressed himself up against the taller man and slowly grinded the bulge in his pants against Ren’s thigh.
Ren lowered his hand down to Hux’s ass and pulled him closer, forcing the ginger man to grind against him harder. Hux broke the kiss and let out a small moan at the pleasurable pressure, burying his face Ren’s neck. Desire overriding his shyness, Hux reached down and undid Ren’s pants, quickly pulling them down so he could admire through his underwear.
“Confident, are we?” Ren chuckled, smug as ever.
“Shut up,” Hux hissed.
“Make me, General,” Ren teased. “Or are you—.”
A moan was ripped from the taller man’s throat as Hux boldly reached inside his underwear and curled his hand around his cock, squeezing lightly. Hux couldn’t care less about being composed and orderly right now, he deserved this, after all the nights he’d imagined it as he laid awake in his empty bed.
Ren let go of Hux’s ass and quickly pulled away to yank off his boots and to completely remove his pants and underwear. Hux’s breath grew heavier with arousal as he watched him undress and then realized he should probably do the same.
Hux hastily pulled off his boots and unzipped his pants and pulled them down, along with underwear. His hard cock flopped out and a bead of precum formed at the slit. He looked at Ren in awe, not long ago he had been wishing for him to remove simply the mask, just so he could get a glimpse of his face. Now he stood naked in front of him, and Hux looked his body over with a hungry desire. He may have lost Starkiller today, but he could at least lay claim to one thing for the night.
Ren’s lips crashed into his once again, and Hux felt the man’s large hands curl around the back of his thighs. He let out a surprised gasp as Ren lifted him up, and Hux curled his legs around the taller man’s hips. A jolt of pleasure shot through him as Ren rubbed his cock against his, and Hux let out a loud groan and tightened his grip on Ren’s hair.
Ren moved slightly, lifting the General up higher and then laying him down on the bed. Hux shifted his head onto the pillow and adjusted himself as Ren climbed on top of him. The lust in Ren’s eyes— it sent a tingle up his spine as he looked him over. His cock twitched in anticipation. He had already cum today, so in theory, he should be able to last longer— but he already felt like he was going to blow his load any moment.
“Wait,” Hux panted as Ren began to kiss down his neck and lower himself into position. “Wait.”
“What?” Ren said between kisses, lightly sucking on the skin.
“You’re going to be on top?” Hux asked, trying not to gasp as he felt Ren’s cock rub against his own. In Hux’s late-night fantasies, he had always imagined himself on top, fucking Ren into submission.
“Yea,” Ren breathed, and Hux shivered as he felt the taller man’s cock leak onto his stomach.
“I could do it better, you know,” Hux panted, pulling at Ren’s hair.
“I’ve already messed up enough today,” Kylo said, pulling off a dark hickey he’d left on Hux’s neck. “Allow me to do at least one thing right.”
Hux let out an amused sigh. “Alright. Fuck me already.”
“That’s what your thoughts have been screaming at me for a long time,” Ren chuckled, pulling off of Hux and spreading his legs so he could kneel over the ginger man. Hux looked up at him and blushed.
“That too. You have any lube?”
“I barely got off the planet, why would I have that?” Hux snapped. “There’s lotion in the bathroom, use that.”
Hux expected Ren to have to climb off him, but instead, he simply reached out his hand and the lotion flew into it. He offered the General a smirk, locks of black hair falling into his face.
“The only good use I’ve seen of those powers of yours,” Hux said, rolling his eyes. He needed Ren so bad right now, he could feel his owl precum dribbling down his cock.
Hux guessed Ren heard his thoughts, for the dark haired man looked down at Hux’s leaking arousal. He gently grazed his fingers across the slit, and Hux’s back arched in pleasure.
“M—more,” he panted, not willing to lower himself to the point of saying ‘please’.
He watched with wild arousal as Ren poured a large amount of lotion into his hand and began slicking his cock. Hux had had dirty thoughts of the man many times, but he could never have imagined how little control he would have over himself, how bad he’d want it.
“You never knew you’d want it this bad?” Ren smirked, continuing to slick his cock.
“Get out of my head,” Hux growled.
“Fine,” Ren said playfully as he began to gently play with himself, gliding his thumb over his slit and then taking his whole length in his hand and pumping.
“Ren, stop touching yourself and fuck me,” the General commanded.
“No please?” Ren pouted.
“We’ll see about that,” the dark haired man said.
He positioned himself and slowly slid his thumb in and out of the General. Hux gasped. It burned, but it burned good. It was an odd, pleasurable and painful sensation, a sensation that he did not know he needed until now. His heart was slamming as he closed his eyes; if he watched Ren while he did this, he was scared it would push him over the edge.
“You ready?” Ren asked softly.
“Just fuck me,” Hux said, an almost begging-like tone in his voice that accidentally slipped through.
Ren slowly pushed his head in and Hux let out a groan. The burn was almost too much, but he needed this. He needed the hurt, the pleasure, and most of all, he needed Ren. He needed him as deep as he could go, to be completely filled. For the dark haired man to blow his load inside him. Ren gasped and his breathing became heavier as he pushed himself in further.
The amount of pain grew and Hux shivered, strangely wanting more. Sweat broke on the General’s forehead as Ren pushed himself all the way in. Hux let out a choked moan and curled his legs around Ren’s hips.
“G—general,” Ren stammered, laying himself on his elbows so that his face was right above Hux’s. The ginger man blushed harder upon seeing the pleasured expression on Ren’s face. He was beautiful, despite the scabbing gash across his face. His black hair tumbled down around the two men as he leaned his forehead against Hux’s. The General knew that tomorrow if Snoke didn't kill him, he would go back to hating Ren as always— and he became desperate to savor every moment of this unlikely union.
He locked his eyes on Ren’s. A smile spread across his face, and Ren gave him one to match. Hux brushed a lock of stray hair out of his dark eyes, and then Ren began to move. Hux’s breath hitched at the movement and the burn that followed, but he needed this. He needed to be spread, to feel the pain along with the pleasure. He needed to feel something, to remind himself that he was indeed human. He felt as if his body was melting away, nothing remaining but the sensations and the lust he felt.
Thank you, he thought as he gazed up at the man, knowing Ren would hear it. Thank you so much.
“Thanking me, hm?” Ren moaned, beginning to sweat as he slowly moved. “Even after today?”
“Don’t get used to it,” Hux breathed.
“Yea?” Ren gasped. The man began to speed up and Hux groaned and pleasure began to replace some of the burn, his cock hitting a place that sent shivers of enjoyment through his body. He curled his toes and pulled harder at Ren’s hair as the pace picked up even more. Ren’s breath was labored as he began bucking his hips wildly, no rhythm to his thrusts.
Hux moaned and then smirked. He was as reckless fucking as he was at any other time, as to be expected. The General’s cock had now begun to ache as he leaked, and he attempted to reach down to stroke himself.
“Careful, General,” Ren said, catching his arm. “You can’t do that.”
Hux’s eyes widened. “W—what?”
“You’re unbearable, Hux,” Ren panted, slamming into him harder. “You need to learn a bit about humility.”
“You don’t understand,” Hux choked out, dizzy with need and arousal. “I need to cum.”
“You need to be less full of yourself, is what you need,” Ren groaned as his balls slapped against Hux’s ass. The ginger man could tell Ren was close, his cock filled him so well, he could feel him pulsing. The grazes against his prostate drove him wild, for it was amazingly pleasurable, and all he needed to cum was a few strokes of his cock— which Ren was denying him.
“I need it,” Hux gasped, his urge to cum painful. He arched his back to try to rub it against Ren for a little belief, but the taller man angled himself just out of reach.
“You need to ask,” Ren panted, thrusts hard and random.
Hux’s eyes widened. He knew what Ren meant, but he swore he wouldn’t sink to that level. But the ache was becoming unbearable.
“Ren,” Hux choked out, body beginning to tremble.
“You don’t have to,” Ren said. “Only if you want to cum. You can keep your pride, but your cock will remain full. Does that work for you?”
The general grit his teeth and looked away from Ren. His urge was overwhelming, he had no choice.
Ren’s thrusts sped up, and Hux could tell he was on the edge.
“What was that?” Ren asked.
That bastard, Hux thought.
Hux swallowed his last bit of pride and locked eyes with Ren. “Please, Ren. Please let me cum.”
“There we go,” Ren groaned and curled his hand around Hux’s cock and began ruthlessly jacking him off.
Within seconds, it all became too much for Hux. With a loud groan, he spilled himself all over Ren’s hand, some of it dripping onto his stomach.
“H—Hux,” Ren stammered, moaning as he filled Hux with his cum. His thrusts slowed as he rode out his orgasm, the General’s eyes blank in a pleasured daze.
The taller man pulled his softening cock out of Hux and collapsed next to him, laying his face close to Hux’s.
“What are you doing?” Hux asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
“I’m laying next to you,” Ren answered, still catching his breath.
“You don’t need to do that,” Hux said shortly, the realness of what they had just done beginning to dawn on him.
“But you want me to,” Ren said, meeting his eyes. “Look, I know you’re worried about tomorrow. But do you really want to sleep in an empty bed again tonight?”
Hux chewed his lip, slightly upset at Ren for calling him out. Of course, there were other things he should definitely be mad at him for right now.
“S—stay,” he said, at first unsure. “Stay. For tonight.”
“I am,” Ren yawned.
As ashamed as he was for showing such affection, Hux rolled over and burrowed his face in the crook of Ren’s neck. He smelled like the pine trees on Starkiller, and it made him a little heartsick. Ren gently wrapped his arm around the General.
“What do you think will happen?” Ren asked quietly.
Hux thought for a moment. “Snoke will probably kill me.”
“No, you’re his apprentice. He won’t kill you, you know that.”
“Maybe not physically.”
Hux did not understand what that meant, and frankly, he did not what to know.
“The sheets are going to be disgusting,” Ren commented.
“Yes, they are. How are your wounds?” Hux asked, closing his eyes.
“They’re okay,” Ren asked. “T—thank you. For coming to get me.”
“Snoke’s orders,” Hux mumbled.
“You would’ve done it anyway.”
Hating Ren for being right, Hux said nothing. The hum of the ship’s engines began to lull the two men to sleep, but right before he fell asleep, a haunting thought crossed Hux’s mind. Ren stiffened next to him, and the ginger figured he must have been listening to his thoughts.
“Ren,” he mumbled, half asleep.
“Would you ever kill me?”
It was silent for a moment as Hux’s question hung in the air.
“I don’t know,” Ren finally answered. “We’ll be back to hating each other tomorrow.”
“I know,” Hux said. “But, what if Snoke told you to?”
“Honestly?” Ren said quietly. “Yes. You worry about that a lot?”
Hux cuddled closer to Ren and pulled the covers over them. “Sometimes.”
It was quiet for a few more moments.
“T-today,” Ren stammered. “My father. He told me that Snoke is just using me for my power. You don’t think that’s true, do you?”
Hux sighed, and a strand of Ren’s black hair tickled his cheek. “I don’t know, Ren. I really don’t.”
“That sounds weird, coming from you.”
“Doesn’t it?” Hux smirked.
“Goodnight, General,” Ren said. “I’ll see you when we wake up.”
“No you won’t,” Hux said. “I’ll already be dressed and ready by the time you wake up, waiting for your lazy ass, with a spiteful look on my face.”
“You mean your normal look? Ren said playfully.
“Oh, shut up,” Hux said. “I bet stormtroopers draw sticks on who gets to tell you bad news.”
“Shut up, Hux,” Ren murmured playfully.
“You’d miss me if I stopped talking,” Hux said, his statement coming out as more of a question that he would have liked.
“I suppose,” Ren answered. “Life would be boring with nobody trying to one-up me.”
“Pretty good reason not to kill me.”
“Maybe,” Ren said, drifting off to sleep. “We’ll see, General, we’ll see.”
“Very well, Lord Ren,” Hux answered, letting the drone of the engines lull him to sleep.
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