Every time a mission went well, Kylo Ren noticed that General Hux would disappear for an hour or more into his private quarters after taking care of business. There, he would lock the door and reappear smelling exotic and looking more relaxed and content than ever. While Ren respected the general's privacy, to an extent, he was also dying to know what the hell Hux did in that hour. He considered all of the obvious possibilities, including taking a nap, sex, or a long, long shower. But none of those made sense. And Hux would never shower for that long, he was far too frugal to waste such a "valuable resource" on the ship. It was a mystery and Ren was prepared to get to the bottom of it.
In reality, Hux's preferred activity after a solid victory was using a bath bomb. The simple act of sitting in a tub of steaming water while an effervescent mixture dissolved, knowing that he was successful, was incredibly relaxing. He had discovered bath bombs on a mission to Coruscant about a year or so ago. The mission was intelligence gathering on potential Resistance members in the area, mingling in with local Courscanti. Supreme Leader Snoke had suspected that the Resistance would likely be recruiting in what was arguably the hub for liberal Jedi idealists, at least back in the days of the Republic. Hux went undercover as a Resistance supporter, which he loathed, and explored Galactic City. What he gathered was this: it was overcrowded, even on the highest levels, and few people existed in the area that could actually make something of themselves. Hux felt trapped by the sheer amount of skyscrapers, and was nervous when inside of a building for too long. Unfortunately, being outdoors was even worse than indoors, because the streets were filthy, literally and figuratively. Trash littered the lower levels of Galactic City, and it was impossible to take three steps before running into someone trying to push death sticks, Rokna blue, or some variant of spice, or posing as some sort of bullshit New Order leader in order to extort the masses. It was exhausting work, and he almost gave up when he met a lovely human woman who shared his hatred for the planet. They bonded quickly over their loathing of the specific, disgusting and grimy feeling one got when out in the streets among the rabble for too long. She showed him a small shop in CoCo Town, the collective commerce area of Galactic City in which bath bombs were sold, promising they would help remove the unclean feeling, as well as other unpleasant emotions. He was hesitant at first, mainly because of the word bomb in the name, but ultimately gave in and tried one. As if using death sticks, he was hooked. The mission was ultimately a failure, as no obvious Resistance recruiting could be observed in the capitol, but for Hux personally, it was a win. Now, he imported small crates of bath bombs through various sources with his own personal money- better to keep himself anonymous, or else someone could have the idea to make one into an actual bomb, he reasoned. Hux loved bath bombs, but would never, ever admit that to anyone. Especially Ren. He would probably harass him about it for eternity if he ever found out. But maybe he would benefit from them, too. He would never know.
It took all Kylo Ren had to not march up to the general and force him to tell him his secret. It would have been much simpler that way, less effort, but he hoped that Hux's secret would be all the more rewarding if he worked for it. He did not, however, spare stormtroopers from mind tricks to spill their secrets. They were always in fear of him, especially the newer ones, blubbering nervously. It was just easier to command them to share any information they had on Hux. For the most part, nobody seemed to have an idea what Hux did that made him so relaxed. Some of the rumors were interesting, though, including the one that he bathed himself in the blood of his enemies while eating fine foods. Ren wondered if Hux had spread that rumor himself.
One day, Ren approached Captain Phasma about the issue in a hallway outside of command. He could sense her amusement before he even opened his mouth to speak.
"Something funny, Captain?" he asked as she nearly walked by.
Phasma stopped and turned to face him. Maybe it was the fact that her amor was extra shiny that day, or that she had no particular fear of him, or the idea that she could hold the secret to Hux, or maybe even that she was slightly taller than him, but nonetheless, Ren's heart skipped a nervous beat. "Kylo Ren, do you need something, sir?"
"I need information on General Hux," he said quickly, glancing around the hallway to make sure Hux wasn't going to sneak up and discover Ren's snooping. So far, so good.
"Sir, my security clearance is lower than yours, I'm sure you could find--"
Suddenly, Ren felt Hux moving around in command, and heard his voice faintly approaching, probably berating someone. "Let's talk and walk," Ren ordered, and the two began walking away from Hux's voice.
"What would you like to know, sir?" Phasma asked, casually waving down the salutes of some stormtroopers.
"What do you think I want to know?" he inquired.
"Do you want an honest answer, sir?" Ren could practically hear the smirk on her face.
"Rumor has it you've been trying to uncover what the General does after wins. Sir."
"That is correct."
"And you want to know what I know, sir?" Ren sensed that she knew something big, perhaps the truth itself.
"It's bombs, sir."
"B- bombs?" Ren stopped walking abruptly. What the hell did bombs have to do with--
"Bath bombs, sir."
"Care to elaborate, Captain?" Ren was perfectly confused. He had never even heard of bath bombs before. Were they like small explosives for the shower? Literal explosives?
The captain laughed, "Only if you don't tell the general, sir."
"I won't." They continued their circuit.
"It's like a fancy soap, sir. They're from Coruscant- the general imports them maybe once a month, top secret dealings."
"What makes them so special?"
"I don't know, sir," Phasma admitted, "I've never had the pleasure of using one. I have heard however, from a very reliable source, that they have a healing and stress-relieving power to them. Pop one in a bath and it's apparently very near an orgasm, sir."
"What source is this?"
"I can't tell you, sir." Phasma made a zipping motion across the mouthpiece of her helmet. "I can tell you that they are highly qualified to make such a judgement."
Ren considered this as they neared command again. "Do you happen to know when a new shipment is coming in? And could one, perhaps, intercept this shipment?"
"1900 tonight, sir, east archive wing. General Hux usually picks it up around 2100."
"Thank you, Captain."
"If you'll excuse me, I have to return to my post," Phasma said, saluted, then returned to command.
Ren developed a plan.
At 1830, he made his way to the archives. There was little traffic besides stormtroopers changing shifts at 1845, who saluted and were waved off. He waited at the archive door at 1855, helmet removed to illicit a more trusting reaction from whatever delivery boy arrived. At 1859, he worried Phasma had given him bad intel. At 1900, the door opened slightly and a package was slid inside the crack. A quick set of beeps from the other side of the door, and then silence. So that was it. Ben was surprised, to be honest, and put his helmet on before examining the package. It was rectangular and it smelled. A clean smell. Jasmine and lemon, he guessed. He then transported this smelly box to his own quarters, to examine the contents. Hux would get his bombs, but not until after Ben's curiosity was satisfied. Once in the safety of his room, he carefully unpacked the box, finding maybe seven fist sized bath bombs inside of various color and shape. They didn't seem particularly interesting. He considered opening one and using it, but reprimanded himself for even thinking such a thing. If this was what made Hux bearable then so be it. Relaxed Hux was much more open-minded than normal, stressed out Hux anyways. Around 2030, Ben stood outside of Hux's door in a pair of black loose pants and his long sleeved undershirt, still wearing his gloves out of habit. He didn't like it when his fingers got cold, so the gloves were on almost all of the time. He sensed Hux was probably in the bathroom. Earlier that day, they had been able to capture several Resistance bases, and if this bath bomb theory was true, then Hux would be in the bath. He entered slowly with the box to his chest, eyes having to adjust in the dim light since he decided to leave his helmet in his room. He raised the lighting slightly so as to not run into anything, and to try to not give Hux a heart attack after coming out of the bath. Light and warmth streamed out from under the bathroom door, and Ben suddenly felt very jealous. How could a damn dissolving bar of soap deserve to give Hux such an amount of relaxation and pleasure and not himself? He knew it was foolish and possessive thinking, but he was jealous nonetheless. Some damned Coruscanti import, the very planet that Hux disliked the most, was able to, within an hour, affect Hux to such an extent that everyone on the ship knew something was up, but he himself couldn't do such a thing. Not yet, at least.
In the bathroom, Hux exhaled deeply as he half sat in the bathtub. The bathtubs in officer's quarters were much too small to properly lay down in, and sitting upright was just not comfortable. He made a mental note to outfit his home, or maybe this ship, with one of those deep tubs once the war was over and the Resistance destroyed. Maybe he would buy an extra fancy tub, one that kept the water a consistent temperature and had jets and everything. Then, he considered, he would probably be able to celebrate every day like this, with a bath bomb, instead of on the off chance a battle went according to plan. He hummed to himself in amusement. It was hard to see himself not in war. He wondered what would become of Kylo Ren, of Ben Solo. Maybe Ben would retire and join him in this home with a fancy heating tub. It was wishful thinking, he knew. Such thinking is what got people hurt. But because this was his hour, his time to let it go, his mind let the thought wander around unchecked. He imagined he and Ben being able to leave the nightmares behind, taking a ship and travelling to watch the New Order's affects across the galaxy. They would have to get to that point first. Once the water started going lukewarm, he inhaled the scent of the water one more time- lemon and jasmine, his personal favorite, and pulled the plug. He dried off and pulled on boxers, and then cursed softly when he remembered what day it was. Nobody would steal a random box in the archives, probably. He would get it eventually. He toweled off his hair, making little ginger triangles stick up all over, and quickly finger combed it back into its part. He yawned and opened the door, raising the lights to half power.
Hux was surprised, to say the least. He was more surprised to see Ben holding what looked like a shipment of bath bombs than to see Ben himself. The shock quickly turned into embarrassed anger.
"Where did you get that?" he demanded, still sleepy from the bath.
"Archives," Ben said, lips quirking up.
"Who told you? Was it that damn protocol droid? I'll have him dismantled and turned into boots for thi--"
"Relax," Ben stood up from the bed in a fluid motion, Force-moving the box to a dresser top. "What's in these bombs that they can make you feel better than I can?"
Hux crossed his arms, "Well, for one, they don't snoop through my business and show up in my quarters while I'm in the bath," he said, rather cross.
"Don't be like that Hux," Ben whined, "Let me take care of you."
Hux scoffed, "What do you have in mind?"
Ben patted the bed with a cheeky grin. The sheets were immaculately smooth except for the spot where he had sat waiting for Hux. Hux narrowed his eyes. "No sex," he said firmly. "I'm too tired."
Ben put up his hands defensively, "Of course." The ginger nodded and made his way to the bed. He gracelessly flopped down face first onto his bed, letting out a satisfied sigh as he rested his cheek against the cool pillow. "Get on with it before I fall asleep," Hux warned, eyelids heavy. Above him, Ben quickly tied his hair into a ponytail, not wanting it to fall in his face and impair his vision of Hux, blissing out from his bath. He removed his gloves, deciding that risking cold fingers was the price he had to pay to do this right. Unless of course Hux asked for them to be put back on.
"This is all about you tonight, okay?" Ben leaned over, lips nearly touching Hux's ear, "Tell me if you need anything." Hux shivered involuntarily and closed his eyes.
"You're gorgeous," Ben declared, taking a moment to admire Hux in full. He found freckles across Hux's pale shoulders and made a point to kiss them. "Beautiful."
"Is that it?" Hux feigned annoyance, burying his head in the pillow.
The older man huffed through the pillow, a muffled noise. Ben smiled and moved to the end of the bed.
"Not my feet," Hux said, quickly turning on his side to look at him. Ben was puzzled. "Ticklish," Hux explained lamely.
"Not your feet," Ben promised, kissing Hux briefly on the lips. Hux grunted and flipped back over. "But if I did..."
"I'll kick you in the head," Hux promised darkly, making Ben laugh. "Don't test me, Ben."
He pressed a kiss to Hux's inner ankle, causing a sigh to escape the ginger's mouth. He started with light touches up and down the general's calves, butterfly touches, really, then added pressure, making his way up his legs with circular motions, alternating between palms and knuckles. Hux moaned quietly as whatever tension was left over from the day was released. To be fair, standing stiffly in not particularly comfortable boots for hours did do a number on his legs. He drifted in and out of sleepiness until he felt Ben's weight suddenly over his legs. "What--"
"I needed a better angle," Ben said simply, beginning to firmly press on the backs of Hux's thighs with his fist. He followed the line of his hamstrings, leaning down to kiss particularly tense areas.
:"Oh my God," Hux breathed. That was amazing.
"Is this good?" Ben sounded smug.
"It's-- ah-- okay," Hux replied, blushing furiously. He crossed his arms under his head and tucked his nose into the crook of his elbow to try to mask the redness.
"Hm, that's no good," Ben tutted, and switched from his knuckles to the palms of his hands, spreading his fingers on each leg and pressed down, moving his hands back down towards Hux's knees, nails lightly scraping skin. Hux could have cried. His breath hitched and his back arched instinctively. He bit back a moan, balling his hands into fists under his head.
"Is this still only okay?" Ben sounded so smug that Hux would have hit him in a normal situation.
"All right," Hux groaned, "It's excellent. You're-- very good at this."
Ben considered having Hux remove his boxers, but he did say no sex, and it was hard enough to keep himself in check with Hux like this. So Ben moved up to the general's back, a warm tone in the low light, straddling his thighs. He leaned in again and nipped lightly at the nape of the ginger's neck, breathing him in.
"You smell different," he observed.
"Lemon and jasmine," Hux said through his arms.
Ben remembered his task, and massaged Hux's back. His lower back was tight, despite the soak, and required a significant amount of pressure before Hux finally felt the release. His shoulders were the worst, with a knot right at the edge of his left shoulder. Ben had to switch up his technique to not hurt Hux, and carefully used the heels of his hands to loosen it. It gave way eventually, making the general groan out of relief. "I might dissolve if you keep this up," Hux slurred.
"I would use the Force to put you back together," Ben promised, having made it up to his neck. He rubbed gently along the sides of his neck and carded his hands through his ginger hair, almost dried.
"Ben." Hux's voice was low and muffled.
Hux rotated around underneath Ben, sleepy blue eyes meeting hazel. He wrapped his arms around Ben's back, undoing Ben's ponytail in the process, and brought himself up to meet Ben's lips. He nipped at Ben's bottom lip, making the dark haired man suppress a moan. They tipped onto their side, laying on the bed together looking each other in the eyes.
"Thank you," Hux sighed, running a hand through Ben's long hair, gripping gently. He felt weak, but in a good way. "I would return the favor, but as you can see, I don't think I can move."
Ben placed a kiss on Hux's forehead, "It's fine. Get some sleep."
And the two fell asleep soon after, peaceful together for the first time in a while.