Crazy Cat Ladies Of The First Order
Kylo wanted it to be clear that this had most definitely not been his intention.
His intention had been to finally gain some sort of advantage over Hux, to finally have some sort of control over the little tosser. The fact that Hux had a stupid ugly orange cat (probably to match his stupid ugly orange hair) presented him with the perfect opportunity to get himself that advantage.
His plan? Kidnap the cat, lock it in his highly secure quarters, let Hux know he had the cat, boom, instant leverage against Hux. Easy-Peasy.
The only problem had been that he had never actually seen the cat. He knew that Hux didn’t keep it just in his quarters, he had heard Stormtroopers talking about seeing it and occasionally he had seen little clawmarks on the walls or orange hairs laying on the ground.
So, his plan 2.0? Ask Hux where and when his cat was usually doing its cat things. It was his pet after all, he had to know something about it. Of course he couldn’t just walk up to Hux and ask him „Hey where the fuck is your cat gonna be hunting for mouse droids tomorrow at 0013?“. No, he had to be subtle, really subtle, because he had to grant it to Hux, he was smart and he was ruthless and he would surely assume that Kylo would be planning something sinister. So Kylo prepared himself for many, many subtle conversations.
The first opportunity presented itself after debriefing an assault on a resistance stronghold. All the lower officers had already left the debriefing room and only Kylo and Hux, who had been quietly contemplating the new developments, had stayed behind. Kylo hadn’t been listening to a thing that had been said and thus didn’t even have anything to contemplate to begin with and decided that the sort-of awkward silence was the perfect moment to begin to put his plan into action.
„I noticed your cat the other day, General,“ he said. Smooth, Kylo. Also a lie, but how should Hux know?
Hux, a cautious person by nature, seemed to increase his internal defences by atleast 70 %
„Obviously, you would see her sooner or later, it would be cruel towards the animal to keep her confined to my quarters,“ Hux said tensely.
He stood up and began striding towards the door. Shit. Shitshitshitshit, this opportunity couldn’t be over this soon, not with such an unsatisfying result!
„She didn’t look well!“ Kylo blurted out and stood up as well.
Hux stopped still in his tracks and slowly turned around a 180 degrees.
„What do you mean?“ He said with a flat expression. And then Kylo almost heard something click inside Hux’s head. „Ren, I swear if you have harmed her in any way-“ he snarled and, fuck Kylo, think of something quickly, he is getting pissed!
„Her eyes,“ he said, trying to make his voice sound as nonchalant and borderline-bored as possible.
„ What’s with her eyes?“
„A little tense today, are we General? They were watery. Very watery and appeared to be sticky.“ Could cats even get watery eyes? Would Hux think that he had made his cat cry? Were cats even able to cry?!
Hux said nothing and while he didn’t seem to be lost too deep in thought Kylo knew what was bubbling just beneath her surface I saw her just this morning, she seemed fine Ren is lying of course he is lying
but what if she isn’t I’ll have to thouroughly check her over today Ren can’t know this is bothering-
„How horribly irresponsible of you, General,“ Kylo interrupted his thoughts with a sneer „to let your sick animal roam freely on the ship where it coul easily infect our crew. I would have expected something better of you, General.“
Kylo swept out of the room, leaving Hux alone on his own. Well, that didn’t went to bad. He had talked to Hux about the cat. And he had upset Hux, that was certainly a plus. And while he hadn’t found out anything about where the cat spent its time, he would definitely do so next time. Surely.
And next time came sooner than he expected.
The next day after the troops had had breakfast, to be precise.
Hux walked right up to him, just out of his personal space and for a millisecond he just stared at him with an expression as if he had bitten into a lemon.
„I thouroughly checked my cat over last night. Her eyes are absolutely fine. Just like the rest of her,“ he snapped, whirled around and briskly walked off, his overcoat expanding behind him like a pair of big black wings.
Well great, now he knew that the goddamn cat was fine but that didn’t fucking help him. He wanted Hux to tell him where the animal could be found and not how it’s physical health was.
He needed to optimize his plan.
Step One: Talk to Hux about the cat constantly. Make him talk about it constantly. Sooner or later he would have to drop something.
Step Two: Questions! Hux had his head so far up his own ass, he probably loved answering questions, hopefully especially about his cat.
Problem: Hux was smart he would know that something was fishy.
Problem Two: Stage One of his plan, be subtle, contradicted with Stage Two, talk with him about the cat as much as possible.
Solution: No solution. Hope that Hux is so obsessed with his cat that he won’t care or won’t notice. Wing it.
How often he saw Hux varied from day to day and he surely wouldn’t try to spark up a conversation while the two of them waited for an audience with Snoke, he was determined but not suicidal. But he was fairly certain that he would be able to increase the moments that they were alone with each other if he tried. Be it by following him into empty corridors, asking him for a word in a secluded area of the main bridge or by running into him totally not on purpose while he was in the gym (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1800 to 2000).
„Hux. How old is your cat?“
The perfect opportunity. A deserted corridor, just after they had blown up some Resistance transporters. Kylo felt the triumph and joy radiating off Hux like heat and he had grasped his opportunity.
Hux’s steps faltered and he turned around to face Kylo, a slightly confused expression on his face.
„Um, she’s five? About to turn six in a month?“ he answered and the why the fuck would he ask? was evident on his face.
„Ah. And what is the usual life expectancy for cats?“ Kylo asked and closed in another step on Hux.
Kylo felt the other man’s defences gently sliding up.
„Are you threatening my cat ?“ He asked slowly.
Oh shit, wrong direction. „I’m merely interested,“ Kylo explained nonchalantly. And when Hux did not immediately answer he added, on impulse:
„ I just saw her preying on some mouse droids the other day and she looked so impressively agile and aware that I thought to myself that she must surely still be young.“
Hux’s shoulders relaxed just so slightly.
„Yes, she is. She is certainly not a juvenile anymore but since cats can get about 15 years old she is definitely at her prime right now.“
He liked people complimenting the cat. Just as expected.
„Did you own her since she was a kitten?“
An image flashed through Hux’s mind, a tiny orange ball licking his finger and something almost like warmth blooming in his chest.
„Yes, I bought her from a breeder, on Canto Bight,“ he murmured absentmindedly. For a moment he seemed to delve into deeper memories and Kylo was ready to just latch onto the side of his conciousness and find out something that might help him with his cause, something with substance…
Then Hux’s comlink beeped. And a second later his own.
Goddamnit, it had been going so well.
But it was a solid base to work on, he reasoned as he and Hux power walked back to the bridge to exterminate the Resistance X-Wing fighters that had popped up in front of them. A very solid base indeed.
The next day, still elevated by the little success from yesterday, he walked straight up to Hux while the other man skimmed over a text on his datapad.
„What is your cat called?“ Knowing the animal‘s name might help with luring it somewhere. Besides Kylo sort of genuinely wanted to know.
„Why would you want to know?“ Hux asked without looking up. His voice sounded cold and vaguely pissed off, but that was fine he always sounded like that, that didn’t have to be a bad sign.
Kylo considered thinking up a lie, but ultimately decided against it, it probably wouldn’t make a difference anyway.
„I just was curious.“
Hux looked up from his datapad and at Kylo with an unreadable expression.
„Her name is Millicent,“ he finally said.
„Did you name her after someone in particular?“
Hux’s expression slowly shifted from unreadable to confused.
„No… the name just appealed to me.“ He switched off the datapad, placed it onto the console in front of him and crossed his arms.
„Why are you suddenly so interested in my cat, Ren?“
Shit. Shit goddamnit, he was onto him.
„I’m not interested in your cat, General!“ Kylo said forcefully and for once was thankful for the mask covering his face.
„Now don’t treat me like an idiot!“ Hux spewed. „You have never asked about my cat ever before and now three times in the last few days? You are planning something!“
Kylo saw his plan evaporating in front of his eyes.
„I am most certainly not!“
„No? Well then you better have a good explanation.“ Hux kept his voice down and carefully controlled. Kylo knew that Hux was aware that staffmembers could walk by any minute and he didn’t want to cause a scene under any circumstances. But Kylo also knew, also felt, how icey anger and hot protectiveness started seeping up Hux’s veins.
„I don’t have to explain anything to you, Hux!“ Snarled Kylo. He had no idea what to say, how to explain himself, how to find a good excuse, so defensiveness and anger was the next best reaction.
Hux pushed his lower lip forward in what might almost be a pout if he weren’t so terrifying. He took a step closer to Kylo and, shit, he wasn’t physically intimidating at all, but he was trying to be and Kylo was almost impressed at the effort.
„Ren, I swear if you are planning to harm my cat in any way, shape or form I’m going to make your life an even bigger misery than it already is.“
Kylo felt something sharp poking at his side and suddenly remembered the small blade Hux always carried in his right sleeve.
He lowered his head until it was only a few inches apart from Hux’s face.
„Get out of my space,“ he growled and took a step forward himself, bumping his shoulder into Hux’s in the process.
Hux’s hands balled up into fists and Kylo knew he was struggling with whether he should say something or not. He ultimately decided against it and wordlessly began walking away, head slightly bowed in anger.
Kylo knew he had fucked up. Everything he did so far, for nothing. Just because his idiot head hadn’t come up with a good explanation to Hux’s understandable worries.
The words had left his mouth before he conciously processed that they even were in his head.
He turned around just as Hux whirled around as well with an annoyed „What?!“
The seconds before Kylo spoke seemed to drag by like an eternity.
„ I keep asking about your cat because I overheard two troopers talking about bothering it and playing cruel pranks on it for fun. I knew that you would be unbearable to be around if something were to happen to her, so I decided to indirectly check on her through you. And I didn’t want to tell you the reason because you are still touchy and equally unbearable about the troops misbehaving since FN-2187.“
Hux’s face seemed to both pale and blush at the same time.
„Which two troopers did you overhear?“ He asked cautiously.
Kylo made an approximate I Don’t Know motion with his arm. „How should I know? I can’t tell them apart with their helmets on.“
Hux clenched and unclenched his hands rhythmically and stared at the floor with a blank expression. He seemed to struggle with himself and Kylo felt a flurry of emotions playing bumper car inside him. Anger. Anxiety. Confusion. Worry. Gratitude…?
Hux struggled with himself. Very obviously, for Kylo. And then:
„I… thank you. Ren. For informing me about this unfortunate incident.“ To the unobservant listener Hux’s voice would have sounded as cold and straight and detached as usual, but Kylo was a very observant listener and of course he noticed the slight tremor in his voice.
He is very upset Kylo suddenly noticed. Understandable, he had just been told that his most prized possession, his cat, was being threatened. But there was something more…
He is upset because he’s confused. Great, but why was he confused? He didn’t even have to gently probe at Hux‘s mind, the realization simply came to him.
He’s confused why you should tell him. Why you would do something nice for him. He believes what you said about the cat, but he’s scared unable to believe your simple motivation.
Ah. Well, good to know.
„I will keep Millicent in my quarters for a few days. And I will make sure that the two culprits will be identified,“ Hux stated, more to himself than to Kylo.
„That would be probably for the best.“ Not for Kylo’s plan but he didn’t want to make Hux even more suspicious than he already was.
Hux opened his mouth as if to say something more, but apparently decided against it. Instead he quickly nodded at Kylo and strode past him, making his way down to the main bridge.
Well that certainly had been… something. He did know Hux’s cat’s name now after all. Millicent. And he hadn’t lost all the progress he had made with his plan so far, even though it had certainly seemed so for a moment. So far so good.
And yet, he somehow felt unsatisfied. Something about his interaction with Hux had been… off, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. It wasn’t the argument, he definitely argued with Hux often enough. Maybe the almost-friendly tone of their conversation at the beginning? The fact that Hux had (mostly) believed his explanation without doubt? Or was it the fact that Hux had seemed so unfamiliary genuine in the worry about his cat?
He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure. And since he had no way of finding out the actual reason, it was probably for the best to just not accept it an move on.
But Kylo had to admit that he hoped that his conversations with Hux would soon bring their desired result. Because in their own way they were exhausting. Not because he had to feign interest, he was interested in that cat, but because having to constantly watch his words in fear of slipping and always expecting Hux to see through him was, well, tiring. Also, he wasn’t a particulary great fan of delayed gratification and he wanted results. Now.
He just hoped that his next interaction with Hux would leave him with a better feeling. And with more accomplishment.
He wasn’t sure if Hux had avoided him on purpose or if it was just a coincidence but he didn’t run into the General for an entire week, even though he had actually actively been looking for him.
But when he did find him it was certainly a sight to behold.
Hux was drunk.
No, scratch that. Hux was absolutely fucking wasted.
The Finalizer had been staying in the orbit of one of the First Order’s base planets to pick up supplies and parts of the troops had been granted shore leave. Kylo, frustrated at how his cat plan was currently on hold, had decided to treat himself to a night out and had snuck onto one of the transporters that brought the troopers to the planet‘s surface.
He had been wandering one of the leisure streets that were lined with bars and nightclubs, low-key lost in thought about how it slowly became suspicious that Snoke hadn’t contacted him in such a long time when something
the force had caused him to stop dead in his tracks.
He ignored the men bumping into him and instead focused on the little voice in his head and the little feeling in his gut that told him hey that bar on your right side? with the pink milkshake on its sign? how about you go in there? you should really get in there, there’s someone
Wow. There’s someone. Gee, thanks what an accurate information. But he wasn’t complaining, the Force wasn’t a search engine after all.
Kylo had learned to trust suggestions like these.
So he turned right and walked straight in.
The bar was overflowing with people from all kinds of different species and Kylo slowly made his way through the masses. He knew where he was going. He didn’t knew why he knew, but he knew.
In the end he arrived at a single table, wedged into the literally darkest corner of the room, and. Well. There certainly was a someone.
„Ren?!“ Hux shouted and his voice was slurring so badly that it came out sounding more like „When“. Which Kylo was incredibly grateful for since he was absolutely not interested in somebody finding out that two of the galaxy‘s most dangerous men were currently residing in the same dingy bar.
„Yes,“ said Kylo and walked the few steps over to the table, a little shell-shocked at what he was seeing. Hux was a wreck. He was holding a brightly colored drink and judging from the small armada of empty shots and other glasses in various sizes, it certainly wasn’t his first.
That definitely explained the slurring and the blush Kylo atleast imagined to see on Hux’s cheeks. His hair, usually so meticulously gelled down, was completely destroyed. It had more resemblance with a womp-rats nest than with anything else.
„What happened to you?“ It blurted out of his mouth before he could stop himself. He flopped down onto a second chair, opposite Hux and just stared.
„I’m drunk!“ Hux proclaimed and grinned at him. Okay, Hux had to be really completely shitfaced, he had grinned.
„How much did you have?!“
„I had lots of drinks! Lots and lots of drinks!“ Hux kept on grinning and Kylo noticed that under his table his legs were bouncing like crazy. His feet made a regular tap-tap-tap sound whenever they collided with the floor. „This one was purple! And that one was yellow. These were green and those and that were clear. I don’t know how many I had, I had lots of them, the bartender took some glasses away a while. How does my hair look?“
He was babbling. Hux was babbling.
„Umm…“ Kylo couldn’t think of a bullshit answer quick enough but Hux didn’t seem to mind.
„Here you should try this one! It is red like your stupid lightsaber!“ Hux yelled. „The music here is so loud! Here, try it! It’s red!“
He pushed the glass in front of him towards Kylo and grinned at him eagerly. Seeing Hux like that was a strange mix between fascinating and horryifying. He was completely out of. He didn’t seem to be bothered that Kylo had found him here or that he had sat down with him. Sober Hux would have already bitten his ass off. Drunk Hux seemed to be almost giddy that somebody was talking to him.
Better me than one of those pimps from outside. Drunk like this he is vulnurable.
A lightbulb seemed to flicker on inside Kylo’s head.
Hux was drunk. He was talking, he was inhibtionless, he could be exploited.
Kylo felt like he had just won the lottery.
„No thank you,“ he carefully said and pushed the glass away.
„But you should drink something, Ren! Ren. Ren. I’m always calling you Ren. Do you even have a first name, Ren?“ Hux asked.
Kylo had to admit, this stunned him for a second.
„Um, yes. It’s Kylo,“ he blurted out before he could stop himself.
„No, Kylo,“ he corrected on instinct and almost wanted to slap himself. Why the hell was he telling him his first name?
„Kylo! Kylo do you come here often?“
„No.“ How the fuck should I, I’m here for the first time!
„Oh! That’s okay, you can sit here even if you’re here for the first time!“
„Thanks I guess.“
Okay, Hux was very obviously a talkative drunk. Whereas Kylo was usually just a, well, vomiting drunk, but that wasn’t the matter right now. Talking with drunk Hux was sort of entertaining in it’s own way and certainly made some fine blackmailing material on it’s own, but he had to grasp his chance and ask him about the fucking cat. No more pretenses.
„Hux, where did you leave your cat tonight?“
„Wha?“ He slurred and happily grinned at him.
„Where is your cat!“
„In my quarters! I left her in there before I left! I petted her too, because she is so soft! Millicent is so soft and round! And I gave her food and drink. And I locked the door so she wouldn’t get out while I’m away.“
Okay, that was good, that was something.
„ Hux-“ He couldn’t finish. Hux was touching his hair.
„What the fuck are you doing?!“ He hissed and slapped his hand away.
„I wanted to touch it!“ Said Hux, sounding almost hurt. In the dim light his green eyes looked huge.
„Because it’s different! It‘s against regulation length and it looks so silky. I wanted to touch it.“
Kylo sighed and had to resist the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. „I know. But could you maybe not? It freaks me out.“
Hux nodded solemnly and Kylo noticed that he began to pick at the skin of his thumbs. He wasn’t wearing his gloves.
„Hux, do you know where your cat walks around during the day? Where it spends it’s time?“ He asked.
„Ummmm…“ made Hux and picked at his thumbs a little faster. „Lemme think. I’ve gotta think. Think hard, because, y’know, I’m drunk everything is droopy in my head,“ he slurred and Kylo watched helplessly as his co-commander‘s head tilted forewards until his chin was resting on his chest. All while he continued to make the „umm“ noise.
Kylo blinked once and stared at Hux. But he waited. Hux was drunk and if he was to be believed about how much he had drank it was almost a miracle that he was still able to talk and sit more or less upright.
„I don’t know,“ he finally concluded and raised his head a little. „I’m sorry Kylo, I can’t remember. Maybe tomorrow when I’m not more drunk. I’ll tell you when you ask nicely.“
Kylo felt a wave of frustration roll over him and he had to close his eyes and take a deep breath. It’s fine. This is fine. Hux was drunk, it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t remember. If he said that to himself long enough it would maybe stop him from becoming angry.
For a second he contemplated just pulling the answer straight out of Hux’s mind. He was so drunk, he wouldn’t remember, would he? But then Hux opened his mouth again and the thought was completely wiped from Kylo‘s mind.
„Kylo?“ he asked and his voice was unusually thoughtful for being so drunk. „I think I’m going to throw up.“
Kylo had already dragged Hux through half of the building before he even noticed that he had stood up.
They quickly exited the bar and Kylo darted straight towards a dark alley which looked even too dingy for a drunk couple to be snogging there, all while steadily muttering „shitshitshit“ under his breath.
He pushed Hux towards an opened dumpster and apparently not a second too early as the commander of the Starkiller Base, the man known and feared in the entire galaxy for his viciousness and discipline, violently got sick. Well, apparently Hux was a vomiting drunk too.
Kylo couldn’t describe it anyhow else. It was pitiful seeing the General puking up his guts and making all kinds of whimpering and sobbing noises as a side effect. He felt almost sorry for him.
Sorry and completely out of place. God, he really wasn’t good with sick people. Or people suffering in general. Usually when people suffered in his close proximity it was because he had injured them. And in that case he could usually just kill them. But this was Hux, he couldn’t just kill Hux.
Uncomfortable, Kylo shifted his weight and cleared his throat awkwardly. Except for some heavy breaths after every heave Hux showed absolutely no sign of stopping. He really must have had drunk half of that bars contents.
Kylo sighed. Kriff.
„There, there,“ he muttered and laid his hand onto Hux’s shoulder and began to rub over it. He was quivering like some sort of baby animal. Pathetic.
Hux continued to heave for about a minute or so before he finally stopped, gasping and staring blankly into the dumpster.
„Are you done?“ Asked Kylo.
„…I don‘ know…“ he mumbled.
In the back of Kylo’s mind a sentence he had heard a long time ago walked straight through the door.
„Well, better out than back in. Put a finger in your throat if you’re still nauseous and get everything up. You’ll feel better afterwards.“
„I know,“ Hux slurred „I’m not doing this for the first time.“
Kylo rolled his eyes. Smartass. „Then why aren’t you doing it already?“
Hux complied and pushed his middle and index finger into his mouth. His gagging sounded almost painful, but except for a string of drool as he pulled them back out nothing else left his mouth.
„I think you’re done,“ Kylo stated dryly.
Hux stood up straight, as before he had been half-slumped over the dumpster, unconciously shaking off Kylo’s hand. About half an hour ago Kylo had described him as a wreck, but he had been a happy wreck. Giddy, bouncy, bubbly. Now? He was an real, actual wreck. There was vomit and spit stuck to his chin, he was shivering and the force of his vomiting had brought tears to his eyes. He sniffed and began to wipe at his face, swaying slightly on his feet.
Now Kylo definitely felt sorry for him.
He had to take Hux home. There was no way he would answer any questions anymore and in his current state Kylo doubted that he would be able to take himself back to the Finalizer on his own safely.
„Hux, I’m going to take you back to the Finalizer,“ he announced.
„…okay,“ Hux murmured and blinked at him. „I got vomit on my hand,“ he said and wrinkled his nose in disgust. He looked like he might start to cry.
Kylo didn’t have a tissue on him, he was a Knight of Ren after all, they didn’t carry tissues. He sighed and considered his options for a moment. Either vomit on a bit of his robe or Hux crying.
„Here, wipe it off,“ he said and held the edge of his robe towards Hux.
Hux sniffed and proceeded to wipe his hand off. Kylo just hoped that he wouldn’t cry now. And consoled himself with the thought that Hux was going to be so embarrassed when he was sober tomorrow.
„Come on, we’re going,“ he said and hooked Hux’s arm through his own. He didn’t trust Hux to safely walk on his own.
They set off through the crowded streets with Kylo steadfastly maneuvering them towards the spaceport with it’s cab station. Hux kept stumbling over his own feet and muttering under his breath and Kylo was seriously unsure how he ever would have managed to get back on his own.
„Kylo?“ Hux slurred after half of the way and his head lolled around so he was facing him. „I’m feeling bad. Being drunk was fun but now it isn’t. It’s not fun anymore, Kylo. I want to be sober again,“ he whined, miserably.
„That’s tough, but you’ll have to deal with it. I can’t magically turn you sober.“
„I want to go home…“
„We are going home you idiot,“ said Kylo and gently jostled Hux’s arm. Sober Hux never would have permitted being called an idiot. Miserably drunk Hux didn’t care. And almost put Kylo into cardiac arrest when he let his head drop onto his shoulder.
„Hey! Don’t fall asleep on me!“ He hissed at him and began to walk a little faster.
„I’m not,“ Hux mumbled and closed his eyes. Shit.
Kylo walked even faster and dragged Hux with him. He just needed to get to that fucking cab, Hux could take a kriffing nap in there.
„Hux. Hux! We’re almost there, you can sleep in the cab, alright?“
„Are you listening to me?“
Kylo sighed and kept on walking. And Hux drunk had seemed like such an opportunity.
„Does this always happen when you drink?“ He asked, suddenly curious.
Hux apparently had been listening because he raised his head and tilted it around a little.
„Yes. I get drunk and then I’m happy and then I drink too much and then I throw up and then I’m not happy anymore,“ he explained.
Kylo drew his eybrows together in slight confusion.
„Then why do you do this to yourself if you know you’re going to end up like this? You’re smart Hux, it doesn’t make sense.“
Hux sniffled and licked over his lips. He seemed to regain some sense of control over himself and no longer let his head rest on Kylo’s shoulder. Then he began to explain.
„I… I do it because I like it. The drunk, y’know? Being drunk. Because I’m always so tense and nervous and anxious and I can’t pick my fingers because I wear gloves and I can’t bounce my legs because it’s unprofesh-unpro-unprofessional. And when I‘m drunk I relax and my brain isn’t working so fast and nothing’s bothering me and I’m happy because I‘m not thinking about my problems and how I’m a failure and it’s nice and I’m happy.“ He had been talking faster and faster until his words had almost bled into each other. And then he dropped his bomb.
„Ren, I think I might have anxiety disorder, y’know? I do feel like it.“
Kylo didn’t say anything, just continued walking in stunned silence. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. General Hux had anxiety disorder? What a wild concept. What an unrealistic, true concept. Because he knew that despite being batshit drunk Hux was telling the truth. In his current state he was not capable to tell anything but the truth. Besides, a little birdie
the force made him know that it was true.
„Are you an alcoholic?“ He asked and glanced over at him. It didn’t seem plausible, but Hux with anxiety hadn’t seemeed plausible either, so he might just as well be.
„Noooo,“ Hux panted. His head was tilted onto his chest again. „Alcoholics are smelly and ugly and don’t have their life together. And I have my life together. And I don’t smell. Do I smell, Kylo?“
„ I only drink when the troops are on shore leave. The last shore leave was last year. See, Kylo I’m not an alholic.“
He was telling the truth. „Alright, I believe you.“
They were slowly reaching the port and Kylo began to look for an empty cab to hail.
„And usually,“ Hux continued „usually when I’m stressed I just cuddle Millicent. Because she is so soft and she purrs! And I know that she likes me because cats are smart and like people for more than just feeding them! She likes me… and it’s so nice to pet her…“ Hux’s voice dropped down to a confidential whisper. „One time I cried and she licked my tears.“
Kylo was aware that he was really fucking bad at feelings. But even he had to admit that this was probably the saddest thing he had heard in a long while.
And it didn’t tell him anything relevant about the cat at all.
Absentmindedly he managed to hail a cab and maneuver Hux’s drunk, long limbs inside. He slowly waved his hand in front of the cabbies head („you’re going to take us to the Finalizer, no questions asked. You will not charge us. You will forget we were here“) and they were on their way.
Hux stared at him in awe. „You are a wizard! A space wizard!“ he exclaimed.
Kylo rolled his eyes. „If you think so. Listen, try not to throw up in here okay? Are you nauseous?“
„Naw…“ said Hux and fiddled with his seatbuckle. He was defintely still drunk and definitely still tired, his eyes were droopy, his head kept tilting and his hands were slow and uncoordinated. Kylo couldn’t help but to feel sorry for him.
„Here, let me,“ he mumbled and buckled Hux in. „ You should close your eyes or you’ll get queasy and throw up.“
„…Okay.“ Hux’s eyes slid shut and he let his head drop back onto the seat. Wouldn’t it be nice if he were always this compliant?
The flight back to the Finalizer passed quickly and after threatening the lieutenant who happened to have flight security shift with bodily harm and also transferring a holo of his I.D. to him they were allowed to land in one of the minor side hangars, the one closest to Hux’s quarters.
Kylo almost had to lift Hux out of the cab, the other man was so out of it, and they set off through the labyrinth of the Finalizer’s corridors.
Kylo made sure to only choose corridors which he knew were deserted at this time of the night. Bless his insomnia and his tendency to take long walks through the ship whenever it hit.
By the time they reached Hux’s rooms the other man looked as if he was asleep right on his feet
„Hey?“ Kylo asked and gently patted Hux’s cheeks. „Hux. Do you still know your entry code? Or do you have a key card?“
Hux mumbled something and patted at the pocket on the right side of his trousers.
Kylo suppressed a groan and shoved his hand down into the pocket, feeling around for the card. Triumphant, he pulled it out and slid it through the scanner. The door slid open with a soft hiss and he and Hux stumbled into Hux’s sanctuary.
For a moment, Kylo was in silent awe. These were Hux’s quarters. His rooms, where he slept and ate and enjoyed his few hours of leisure every night. Where he lived.
Hux didn’t seem to care about Kylo’s amazement. On his own he padded towards a second room, presumably his bedroom, relieving himself of his jacket and shirt and undoing his trousers buttons on his way. He didn’t care that Kylo could see him. He was tired and queasy and being drunk just wasn’t fun right now.
Kylo let the key card fall onto a small caf table in the middle of the room and walked into Hux’s bedroom. Hux sat on his bed and was struggling with taking off his trousers. Kylo figured that he had definitely been nice enough for one night and walked into the small adjoined kitchenette next to the bedroom. Kriff, he was thirsty. As opposed to Hux he hadn’t drunk anything during the entire night.
He was just pouring himself a glass of water when with a flash he remembered something an old enemy had told him a long time ago.
Remember kid, if you ever get drunk off yer head, drink some water with salt and sugar in it, it tastes like shit, but it’ll cure your hangover before it even begins.
Kylo violently shook his head, as if to shake Han Solo’s voice out of his voice by sheer will. But the piece of advice might not be too stupid… Besides it couldn’t hurt to try, could it? Hux was probably going to have a killer headache tomorrow morning anyway.
He mixed lukewarm water with salt and sugar, stirred it with a metal spoon and with the glass in his hand he walked back to Hux.
In the meantime Hux had won the battle with his trousers and was lying on his bed in his shirt and underpants.
„I didn’t fall asleep yet because you are still in my room.“ He announced when he noticed Kylo.
„Your welcome,“ Hux murmured and twisted his face when he saw the glass in Kylos hand. „No more drinks please…“
„Shut up, Hux, you should drink that, it’s good for you,“ Kylo ordered and put the glass down on the bedside table. He grabbed Hux’s arms and pulled him up into a sitting position, sat down onto the edge of the mattress and handed him the glass.
He was slightly afraid that Hux would spit the water back up, but the other man silently drank everything in small sips.
„Ew“ he said and yawned. „Thank you, Ren, I‘m still tired, I’m going to go to sleep now.“
Hux was a man of his word, because as soon as he had let himself flop back into his pillows he was out like a light.
Kylo continued to sit on the bed for a moment, amazed and astounded. Hux didn’t care. Hux didn’t care that Kylo was still in his rooms, that he could potentially wreck havoc however he wanted, he was just… asleep. Drunk Hux didn’t care, sober Hux would be horrified at himself tomorrow. If he remembered.
Kylo stood up from the bed and stared down at Hux. He hadn’t even bothered to pull his stupid blanket over himself. Jerk. He sighed and pulled the blanket out from under Hux, which wasn’t noticeably hard since Hux weighted approximately 60 pounds sopping wet, and carelessly threw it over him. Just as he was done he stilled, shocked and considered his actions.
What the fuck? Why the hell was he being so nice to Hux? He hadn’t been nice to Hux ever before. And before tonight he had never even considered being nice to him. Something had happened.
It’s because you pity him. Yeah, that probably was it. Hopefully.
Kylo walked back into the first room. The physcial distance to Hux seemed to immediatly make his head a little clearer. And he slowly realized in what a privileged position he was in right now.
He was in Hux’s quarters and Hux was completely passed out. He could go through his stuff. He could look for possible blackmailing material (not that he didn’t already had enough after tonight). He could take Hux’s key card with him and quickly make a copy. He could come back later and bug the entire rooms…
A soft sound broke him out of his thoughts.
Kylo whirled around towards the open doorway to Hux’s bedroom. Two green eyes were staring at him.
Right. The cat. There had been something.
He hadn’t turned on the lights in this room to begin with and turned off the one’s in the other when he had left it so the only source of illumination was the small lamp on Hux’s bedside table. He could only see the vague outlines of the animal as it sat on the floor quizzically looking at him, only it’s piercing green eyes.
„Meow“ made the cat.
Kylo had a sudden and inexplicable urge to say „Hi“. Stupid.
He could just take her, he suddenly realized. Just snatch the animal, leave the room and begin blackmailing Hux tomorrow, first thing in the morning. It wouldn’t be hard, he knew that cat‘s could be nasty animals, but he was strong and wearing thick clothes and gloves, he could easily overpower it.
Kylo stared at the cat
Millicent. The cat stared back.
This was what he had wanted for weeks. What he had worked for. This situation. Well, not this exactly, but being alone with the cat? That was what he had wanted.
Millicent stood up and gracefully walked back into the bedroom, vanishing into the shadows. Kylo heard a soft thump as she jumped onto what he strongly presumed to be Hux’s bed.
Kylo left the quarters.
Without the cat.
On his swift walk back to his own quarters he told himself that it would have been a stupid decision to take it. Hux would have known that it was him (
wasn’t that the entire point?), he hadn’t prepared any food, drink or tranquilizers for the cat at his rooms and maybe a night patrol of stormstroopers would have seen him with her and stopped him ( they wouldn’t have and you know this pretty damn well).
But between these thoughts and arguments images kept flashing through his mind. Hux violently throwing up. Hux sniffling and wiping tears from his eyes. His head leaning onto Kylo’s shoulder. His bright smile as he offered to share his drink with him. His somber and spaced-out voice as he told Kylo about having fucking anxiety disorder. Him talking about how much he loved his cat.
Something had happened. Yes, something had happened. And Kylo was absolutely and completely overwhelmed with it.
Kylo pushed all thoughts from his mind. Overthinking now wouldn’t make anything better. It was late. He was tired. This evening had flooded him with new impressions. He was going to go to bed. And tomorrow the world was going to look a whole lot clearer.
He punched in the code to his own quarters on the small numberpad besides the door. His door slid open and deciding to follow Hux’s example, he walked through his room and collapsed into his bed. Without even pulling his stupid blanket over himself.
The next morning Hux was not on the main bridge.
Kylo didn’t run into him in one of the corridors or outside a briefing room. He didn’t even bother to check in the mess hall since Hux always ate in his rooms and the gym was just as improbable, he never exercised before late afternoon.
Even though he had slept Kylo refused to deal with the strange shift in their relationship that had occurred at some point last night. He just wouldn’t. Maybe if he just ignored it long enough it would just go away. Why exactly? What would be so bad about not being antagonistic towards each other a hundred percent of the time?...
Nontheless he complied to his random urge to pay Hux a fleeting visit around midday.
He knocked on the durasteel door and waited, for once patiently, for Hux to open the door. If he would even open it at all.
After a few minutes Kylo heard a dull rummaging on the other side, followed by half-hearted curse. A key card slid through the scanner on the inside and a second later the door slid open.
Hux was still a wreck, which probably wasn’t surprising. Sleeping hadn’t done his mussed-up hair any good, his eyes were bloodshot and there was a dusting of ginger stubble on his cheeks. He smelled as if somebody had vomited into a distillery. The low throbbing in his head and the nausea in stomach seemed to almost radiate off him.
„Good Morning, Hux,“ said Kylo and put his foot into the doorway just in case Hux wanted to try to let it slam shut.
„Ren,“ rasped Hux and cleared his throat. He was averting his eyes.
Kylo considered making a stupid joke or dumb comment, but ultimately decided against it. He wasn’t sure why exactly he was here, but he did know that it was not in order to mock Hux.
„Do you remember what happened last night?“ Kylo decided to just get to the point without a fuss.
Hux blushed vigorously, his usually pale face gaining a pink color that horribly clashed with his hair.
„No.“ He stated and the pink turned to a deep red.
Kylo narrowed his eyes at Hux. „You’re lying.“ Obviously he was. Kylo probably would too.
Hux said nothing and stared at a piece of grey wall behind Kylo’s head. His hands were clenched into fists and Kylo saw that he was picking at his thumbs with his index fingers. He wasn’t wearing his gloves. Kylo didn’t know what to say, so he said nothing.
It was Hux who eventually broke the silence first.
„Have you come to gloat?“ He asked, sounding oh so very defeated. It should have made Kylo happy, but somehow it didn’t. „ Because if you just want to make fun of me you better get the ordeal over soon.“
Kylo crossed his arms, suddenly unsure about himself. „No. No I don’t want to make fun of you,“ he said lamely.
„Then why are you here?“ Hux’s voice was slowly regaining it’s cutting tone and Kylo felt how anger began to flare up within him.
The truth left Kylo’s mouth before he had conciously thought about it.
„I don’t know. I just wanted to be here. How is your cat?“
Hux stared at him and his expression was completely blank. He kicked Kylo’s foot out of the doorway and let the door slam shut.
Kylo stared at the closed door. That could have gone better.
He is angry. It’s normal. Yes, Hux was angry, obviously he was. But as Kylo slowly extended his metaphorical antennae towards him, he realized that he wasn’t angry at him.
He’s angry at himself. He is angry that you saw him like that, that you saw him weak. He can’t let anybody in, he can’t be vulnurable. He is so angry that he let you see, that he told you his secrets. He is so very embarassed.
And with a start Kylo realized that he was also scared. Scared shitless that Kylo was going to use this against him. And not yet ready to admit this to himself.
Hux needed time. Time to overthink and process last night. And Kylo was going to give him that time.
A dim, mean voice inside his head whispered to him Why don’t you just prove him right, huh? Mock him. Exploit him. Tell anyone. You hate him, don’t you?
But Kylo knew he wouldn’t do it. A part of him wanted to, certainly. But another part, and it was terrifying how fast this part was growing, wanted to not hurt Hux. Ever.
Maybe he needed to overthink and process a little too.
The next time Kylo saw Hux was about three days later. He had been avoiding him and he openly admitted that. He had been thinking and processing very intently for the last few days, but so far had not reached a consecutive conclusion.
It was early in the morning and Hux was standing at the front of the main bridge, apart from the crewmembers who were sitting at their respective computer terminals. He was clutching a cup of caf and just by looking at him Kylo felt tiredness descend over him like a heavy blanket. Hux was exhausted. Well, he never seemed to be particulary well-rested, but that wasn‘t the point, he was much more tired than usually was.
„You’re tired,“ he greeted gently and came to stand beside Hux. He wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and instantly relaxed when he got a usual, normal Hux reaction.
„I am most certainly not,“ he rebuffed, but the bags under his eyes betrayed him. The rest of his outer appearance was meticulous and well-groomed as always, but he must have had run out of undereye concealer.
„Did your cat keep you awake?“
He wasn’t sure why he asked. His cat-plan had been pushed out of his mind almost completely in the last few days and he honestly didn’t expect a serious answer. However, sometimes life was full of surprises.
„Yes, actually she did,“ Hux sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with two fingers. „She didn’t come home to my quarters last night, like she usually does, and I spent the better part of the night looking for her.“
„Oh, does she usually always arrive at the same time? Is that how you knew she wasn’t coming?“ He asked as casually as possible. Maybe Hux just really wanted to talk about his cat. He didn’t know. Somehow he didn’t want to check. He decided to play along.
Hux sipped on his caf, black as his soul, and answered
„No, it can be anything from late afternoon to about 2300, but when she wasn’t there at 0100 it became evident that she wasn’t coming. I looked for her for four hours, because Lord knows what could have happened to her and I checked all her favorite spots, the laundry room and the kitchen’s antechambers and the rooms where the main heaters are and she was nowhere to be seen, so when I decided to just retreat back to my quarters, there she was, that little deviant, looking up at me as if she was just particulary pleased with herself. Which she probably was,“ finished Hux and stared directly straight ahead.
Kylo looked at him from the corners of his eyes, slightly stunned. Incredible, about a week ago this information would have made him euphoric and now… he just somehow didn’t care.
„Just like a typical cat,“ he muttered lamely.
„That’s what she is,“ said Hux „I can’t really blame her for acting according to her nature.“
And then he shrugged and smiled at Kylo. Not drunken and alcohol induced but a small, unsure, loopsided, honest smile that was probably the softest and least pained expression that Kylo had ever seen on him.
With horror Kylo realised that it suited him. With even greater horror he realised that he had conciously thought that thought and that it hadn’t sneaked up upon him.
He felt the sudden urge to ask him if they were good again. But that wouldn’t have made sense. He and Hux had never been „good“ with each other to begin with. But he somehow wanted to be. Something had changed and Kylo wanted Hux to like him. Because he had started to like Hux.
„Listen, Ren, I’ve got to go, I’m leading a meeting on level 46 in 15 minutes and I’ve got to practice my introductory speech first,“said Hux and finished his caf with one big gulp.
„Yeah, see you soon,“ Kylo muttered and for a second his and Hux’s eyes met before the General turned around and walked towards the doors.
Huh. Kylo guessed that they were good. This conversation, albeit short, had probably one of the most friendly and docile one they had ever had, atleast while sober. Maybe the most friendy.
And why? Because something had changed yes, yes, yes, he got it. Something had changed. He knew where to find Hux’s cat and kidnap it, Hux had told him himself, he had what felt like an endless supply of possible blackmailing material and the way to controlling Hux and having his way with him was well-lit and paved.
But he knew that he wouldn’t.
He wouldn’t hurt him, be it emotionally or physically. He didn’t want to, because he was starting to like Hux. And not just out of out pity. Pity had maybe been the catalysator, but it was almost as if seeing Hux drunk, emotional, happy, teary and human had made Kylo like him.
Scratch the „almost“, it had made Kylo like him. And it seemed that being human around him had also made Hux maybe like (
trust?) Kylo. Well, probably after some considerable thinking and processing and evaluating.
It felt nice to be maybe liked. It felt good. It made Kylo feel a fuzzy warm feeling in his chest (though maybe he was just him being hungry).
He looked forward towards speaking with Hux the next time and not just because he wanted to find out things about his cat. He wanted to just see him. He couldn’t quite explain to himself why. But maybe that wasn’t important, maybe just the feeling was what mattered.
As it turned out, he didnt even have to make the first move this time. Hux came to him.
He walked up to Kylo the next evening after a short debrief meeting concerning an ambush of a resistance base on L’Ooor, looking slightly sheepish.
„Ren?“ he asked and Kylo noticed that he was just slightly bouncing his left leg. „I remembered how you kept on asking about Millicent for the last few weeks and…“ he broke off for a moment and had to swallow and avert his eyes for a second. But typically for him for him he caught himself fast.“ …and I wondered if you maybe would like to come to my rooms and actually meet her. Since you always talked about just having seen her.“
A warm feeling spread through Kylo’s entire body.
„Yes, I would like that,“ he answered and now he, probably for the first time, smiled at Hux.
Tension he hadn’t even been aware of seeped out of Hux’s shoulders and his leg stopped bouncing.
„Good! Good. Do you want to come now or…“ he trailed off and looked at Kylo a little unsurely.
„Sure,“ he said and began walking, he knew after all where Hux’s quarters were.
Hux walked beside him and the fact that the silence between them was almost companionable and not uncomfortable was… nice. Surreal, but nice.
Hux opened up his quarters for him and set off towards the kitchenette, probably to prepare some tea. The man almost breathed tea.
Since last week Kylo knew of course what Hux’s quarters looked like but for a moment he still stood silent in amazement, because this time sober Hux had invited him, as opposed to him dragging drunk Hux into his bed.
„Meow,“ made Millicent the cat, sitting right on top of Hux’s caf table.
„Hi,“ said Kylo Ren, Leader of the Knights of Ren and living nightmare of hundreds of people. He slowly walked forward towards the table and crouched down in front of it. He didn’t want to startle the cat. He removed his black gloves from his hands and extended one of them towards her head. He wanted to pet her, because she did look very soft.
Millicent bumped her head against his hand. She was soft and so close to her Kylo could truly appreciate how glossy and healthy her fur looked. She was a truly beautiful speciman of a cat and for a split second Kylo was disgusted at himself for ever having wanted to harm her. Millicent started to purr. It sounded like a speeder engine, only quieter and softer. And in this moment he could understand very well how Hux always petted her when he had been feeling anxious. The sound was very soothing. And she was a very sweet cat.
Hux appeared in the doorway, holding two mugs of bitter tarine tea. He walked over to the table and set the mugs down and, after a moments notice, he sat down on the floor beside him.
Kylo made an affirmative noise and scratched Millicent a little.
„She is very soft,“ he murmured absentmindedly „and very glossy. How do you get her hair this glossy?“
Hux took one of the cups and sipped at it. „It’s because of her food. I only give her pure meat, because cats are carnivores and it’s really the only thing one should feed them. If I gave her anything else she wouldn’t get enough nutrients and her fur would be a lot more dull. Also…“
Kylo smiled as he listened to Hux explain the science of cat feeding and cat grooming to him. A few weeks ago he would have laughed in the face and bitch-slapped anyone who would have dared to suggest that one day he would sit on General Hux’s floor, pet his cat and listen to him talking about the care of said cat.
And yet here he was.
And you know what? He liked it. This had most definitely not been his intention when he set his little plan into action, but it was better than his intention.
Right now, in this moment, he was happy. Happy to be here. Happy to be with Hux.
And, if the warm feeling that he felt in the other man when he concentrated on him was any indicator, Hux was happy too.
Somehow this was so much better than blackmailing.
Kylo glanced over at Hux and found that relaxed and happy and talking about something he was passionate about was a look that suited him. He looked pretty.
And the only surprising thing about this thought was that it didn’t surprise Kylo at all.