One day remained until Starkiller would fire upon the Hosnian System. As the evening drew down over the vast ice wastes of the planetoid, Ren turned to the calm of meditation to clear his mind. And yet, even long practice did not allow him to draw on its usual strength and power. The memory of his mother beat strong against his thoughts, a dark-haired wolf at his door: all he could see when he closed his eyes was the haunted sorrow of her features whenever she’d spoken of the fate of Alderaan.
She had felt it then. They had all felt it: millions of voices, silenced. It would be billions, when Starkiller fired. And he would feel it then himself, for the first time.
I feel as though I have known it a thousand times before.
It should not have bothered him so. It should have been nothing but a promise of triumph. In his assigned quarters deep within the base, Ren rose from his cross-legged position, called his weapon with but a scarce thought. The weight of it was strong, familiar in a gloved palm; it guided him through his forms, the saber a dancing song in his hands. But no serenity came with it. Ren felt only a crawling sensation beneath his skin, another soul trying to claw its way free.
In the end he walked. The winding passages of the vast structure, stretching deep into the bedrock, supplied him with an endless labyrinth. He navigated with no purpose, the flanking chambers dark and locked tight. A strange quiet had fallen over the operational heart of Starkiller Base; in this moment, she beat not. But then of course it had been a task completed to perfection at the very conclusion of its impossible schedule. Nobody lurked in a dark corner, working on last minute repairs or refinements. Starkiller simply waited for her moment: a silent sleeping machine whose belly would soon be ignited with all the power of a dying sun.
But the deeper he moved, the more he knew one thing to be true: he was here. Ren felt him long before he saw him. In that, it would have been easy enough to avoid him completely. But he did not. As he came to one of the wide-windowed control stations about the central column, Ren drifted close without restraint or regret.
Hux had no sensitivity for the Force. Yet Ren had occasionally thought the man’s mundane senses almost preternatural; he did, for example, have an unerring sixth sense for when any one of his thousands of underlings was not doing their job properly. He also often predicted Ren’s tantrums, even if the knowledge did nothing to minimise subsequent damage. And a general he might be, but Ren had seen him take apart a malfunctioning console and rewire it to working order without instruction or effort, even while the entire time bawling out a particularly unfortunate technician regarding a completely unrelated matter.
Given that, perhaps it was only natural that he would be down here. Starkiller could not controlled from one place alone, but Hux had chosen a vantage point some distance from the central command. Yet the satellite unit provided a vast viewscreen onto the central chamber, where the beam would be focused through once it had been refined, deep in its weaponised heart.
The clean scent of the place seemed only magnified the closer he drew to Hux. Ren paused, breathed deep, tasting a miracle of engineering amongst exiles. Hux paid him no heed. His hands moved silent over the one screen he had turned on, long fingers oddly bare of gloves. The sight of his skin, tinged blue in the holo light, turned something strange and low in Ren’s abdomen.
Ren could see even from such distance that Hux’s attention was fixed upon schematics of the base entire. As he flicked through them, one after the other, Ren caught no sense of concern, nor of last minute panic. Only the contentment at a task now complete laid quiescent over his mind. But then, just beneath that: a low buzzing of lazy-roiling thoughts. Ren easily recognised it as the taint of alcohol. Yet Hux would be nothing close to drunk, not on a night like this, and Ren caught no sign of the source of it. How like the general indeed, to drink to his weapon and then come gaze upon her beauty.
Ren glided up behind him, wordless and silent until he leaned over one narrow shoulder. “I feel as if I’m interrupting something private,” he murmured, low and mocking. “Should I perhaps leave you and your weapon of mass planetary destruction alone?”
Hux turned, sharp, hand slipping towards the blaster on his hip. Then, a fierce scowl broke apart his contentment in one sharp furious moment.
“Ren. I’m not in the mood.”
Ren raised an eyebrow – not that Hux would be able to tell, given the mask. “That’s not the impression I am getting.”
The rising flush upon his cheeks only made the faint freckles darken in colour; charmed, Ren tilted his head and stared harder even as Hux balled his hands to fists. “Get out.”
Ren merely shifted his weight, leaned closer over the schematics. “She is very beautiful.”
And already Hux was pinching his nose, high upon the bridge. It gave Ren an unexpected burst of pride; garnering such a reaction usually took a tad more needling than this. “Ren—”
“I cannot fault your affection.” And he turned now, lean hips against the console, arms crossed over a broad chest. Hux, oddly, stood quiet – and Ren could not help his grin, knowing Hux had an unerring ear for mockery. “You are a man attracted to the siren call of power – and this is considerable power, all under your command.”
The flush had not abated. Hux’s mind, half-shielded as it was, shimmered with anger, and – and something else. Ren’s amusement only grew as Hux said darkly, “I really am not in the mood for this.”
“I’m not so sure about that.” Although, he was; the general had come down here alone, to moon over his beloved weapon, because there was no-one else he might share his glory with. And a terrible thought crawled into his mind as Ren swayed closer, voice very low. He’d always had a weakness for terrible ideas.
“Can’t sleep, General?”
“Don’t touch me.”
It was so easy to ignore Hux’s demands. Even without long practice, Ren would have been a master of it. “But you want it,” he mused, one gloved hand rising, pausing just before the lightly freckled skin of his cheeks. “You want…to celebrate.”
“Don’t you dare.”
Ren allowed the hand a slow passage down Hux’s narrow chest, leather catching lightly over the thick fabric of his pristine uniform. Then, at his crotch, he twisted the wrist, found that already a considerable handful had formed there.
Hux jerked back, hands grasping behind him for the solid support of the console. His fury burned from him with the glorious flare of a supernova. Ren glanced upward, rather enchanted.
“Remove your hand.”
“No.” To his own ears it sounded almost conversational, even as he wondered at his own purpose. But then, he remembered it: the memory of a million voices, raised in anguish. And how the gleaming schematics of Starkiller had turned Hux’s eyes silver, and so very cold.
Gloved hands rose to the other man’s belt. “Let me do this, for you.”
“I know how you feel about me.” The spluttering that made up Hux’s wordless reply only left Ren grinning wider behind the mask, half-glad Hux could not see the creeping madness of it. “I know how I make your life so very difficult. With my tantrums and endless, childish demands. And yet…look upon your works, now, and allow me to despair.” He stripped the belt away, cast it aside. “You have achieved more than any other officer in the First Order.” And he could feel his own words cutting clean and clear through the sudden desperate confusion of Hux’s mind. “Allow me to…congratulate you.”
A low sound gurgled in his throat, a strangled protest, eyes very wide. And then Ren was turning him around, smiling to see his hands braced upon the console. Ren did not need to be in his mind to know Hux wanted this; it radiated from him in desperate sudden heat. But he wanted to see her, too. He had come down here for Starkiller.
You can have this, General. I will allow it – if you will give me this in return.
He had the vaguest sense that this was not Hux’s preferred position. And yet, with Starkiller perfect before him, Hux only bit deep into his lower lip as Ren slid trousers down narrow hips. And then he frowned, gloved hands smooth over the lean buttocks. The freckles there were…unexpected. As if reading his mind, Hux let out a short and impatient breath.
“There are sunpods upon the Finalizer. For resetting and maintaining circadian rhythms. You might have no interest in such, sustained as you are by your damned mysticism, but the rest of us—”
How he could remain dignified while in such utter disarray, Ren might never know. And yet he managed it with an élan that even the most pompous of senators would envy. “It is more efficient.”
“Of course it is.” Any soothing quality to the words was quite stripped away by the way his hands began to work the muscle, hard and kneading. Hux just sighed, arching forward, pushing his hips out and further into the cradle of Ren’s hands. Tension only returned to the lean form when one hand drifted close to the crease, a fingertip dipping inward.
“Are you going to prepare me, then? Or shall I do it myself?”
Excitement uncoiled itself with lazy anticipation, low in his belly. In that moment Ren could think of nothing else but what it would feel like, to push in, to feel him from within his body, as well as his mind. “Are you not ready now?”
“Well, you are not fucking me dry, Ren, I don’t care what crazy fantasies—” A pause hit, lightning-strike quick. Then his words turned deeply suspicious. “Wait. Have you actually ever done this before?”
Ren did not say a word. He hadn’t needed to; Hux just snorted, a sound somewhere between disbelief and disgust. If that were not irritating enough, the man now tried to move, twisting his narrow body in Ren’s wide hands. He only closed them harder about the narrow waist; while he did not call upon the Force, it lurked as a promise behind the bruising pressure of his fingertips. And Hux sighed, surrendered, but not in the way he had thought.
“Ren, there’s a medkit wall unit, just down the hall. I’m sure it will have gel used for—”
A thump cut him off, from somewhere just down the corridor. A moment later a decent-sized case slapped into Ren’s outstretched hand. Hux remained very quiet, and very still – but for nowhere near long enough.
“Did you just use the Force to fetch yourse—”
“Shut up, Hux.”
Already he rummaged in the small container, having flicked it open the moment he received it. The gel he located would no doubt ruin his gloves. He didn’t care. As soon as he had a handful he pressed one finger between lean cheeks, twisting as he began to work it inside.
To his credit, he could feel Hux pushing back, bearing down; his breathing came harder, hands braced before him, head bowed with loosened hair now falling into his eyes. For a moment Ren paused, quite intrigued. A twist, this way; Hux gasped a breath in, let it out in stuttering moan. And then, a thrust, that way; he swore, low under his breath, and Ren had to resist the urge to laugh. He hadn’t heard such language since the last time Hux had tried to take him to task over the destruction of a particularly useful navigational array.
But now that same man, who could stand so tall and so cold-eyed while barking out orders and reprimands, curled forward on trembling knees; even beneath his jacket Ren could see his arms straining, struggling to keep him from falling forward and onto his smug face. Ren might have found it more amusing if he himself wasn’t having difficulty keeping the uniform’s jacket tucked out of the way. Flicking it up again with a burst of uneven Force, he drew a sharp breath. The general’s skin gleamed so white against the dark. It flooded his mind with the urge to rip away the mask, to go to his knees, to press his face there and just taste.
Instead he only closed a hand upon one hip, holding him still, hard enough to bruise. Hux had been correct; this was not something he had done before. Yet, since childhood, Ren had often sent out curious probing tendrils of the Force, caressing the surface of the minds of others to see what it was they wanted. In this, if nothing else, Hux proved himself an open book. And despite the man’s earlier scorn, for Ren such activities were unfamiliar only in practice rather than principle. And he had always been quick to learn, when he felt the urge.
The hunger burned in him now, alien and unexpected. His prick felt uncomfortably confined by his trousers, but Ren did not reach for it. Instead, he snaked one hand forward, curling it about Hux’s cock instead. The other hand moved from one finger to two, and then three; even as he set up a lazy motion along his cock, he twisted them with a crook of a strong wrist. Beneath him, Hux’s entire body drew up tight, his spine a long line against the fine lines of his general’s uniform.
The desire hit Ren sudden and low, his own cock still twitching, begging for touch. “I want you naked.”
“What? No.” Hux kicked a heel back, caught Ren in the shin; he might as well have been attacking a permacrete wall for all the effect it had. “No. You’ve already got me bent bare-assed over a brand new console. That’s as good as it gets.” But Ren had set about his task, clothed hips pressed close to those naked as his hands reached forward to the general’s high collar. “Get your hands off that, you’re going to rip it…oh, for crying out loud.”
Ren allowed Hux to slap his hands away only because he could see clear intent amongst even the tangle of Hux’s racing thoughts. And then he took easy amusement in watching the tremble of long fingers over hidden seams. Of course there were layers; Hux shucked off three before he revealed the vast expanse of skin to Ren’s ravenous gaze. Already he wondered if he could count them all: the freckles dusted over the slight hunch of his shoulders. And as one gloved hand traced constellations amongst their galaxies, his eye caught upon the glint about his throat: Hux’s ID tags, two durasteel plates upon a chain. Three gloves fingers slid beneath, pulled gently back.
“Don’t you dare choke me.”
“I’ve thought about it.”
“I’m sure you have.” The scathing words might have had more power, had he not been completely naked and bent over before his greatest accomplishment. “But you’re fucking me now, and that’s as far as it goes. You can choke me on the bridge. I’m sure you’d find it more entertaining with an audience anyway.”
And Ren snorted; not even the flat tones of the vocoder could mask his amusement as he ran a teasing finger along the line of Hux’s spine, chasing a droplet of fine sweat. “If only this had an audience.”
And even as he arched into the touch, Hux kept his perfect scorn. “You said this was my reward.” A hand, reaching back, grasped with knowing ease at Ren’s cock. And Hux squeezed through the thick material of robe and trousers, just hard enough to skirt the edge of true pain. Ren didn’t need to see his lips to know he smirked, wide and perfect. “This is mine, and mine alone.”
Smacking the impertinent fingers away, Ren freed himself far too easily. Slicking up, grasping himself at the root, Ren pushed in without any further play. Gasping, now, Hux managed no words. Ren’s own grin was constructed of little more than a vicious victory as he let go, then grasped his Hux’s hips, pulling him back until his ass had swallowed the entirety of his prick. And then he stopped, stared, entranced by the sight of where he disappeared so completely into Hux’s trembling body.
The heat of him was unexpected – Hux, who strode the halls in full uniform with greatcoat flapping no matter the ambient temperature, had always struck Ren to likely be as cold as his ice-chip eyes. And yet, now, he burned. And it left Ren’s thoughts as little more than sudden overwhelming avalanche of sensation; above them, a dim light flickered overhead, the air thickened and tasting faintly of starburn.
“And don’t you dare short out anything important down here, damn you.”
Ren answered simply by covering the fool’s wide open mouth. Hux bit down, hard, enough to draw blood even through his gloves. And Ren laughed with easy delight. Hux only bit harder.
And then, with more care than he cared to acknowledge, Ren eased out, then in again. Given his lack of experience, it felt awkward, at first; he could not find the angle to make it easy, and the faintest hint of genuine pain shimmered in the thoughts tangled upon the surface of Hux’s mind. Then: it turned better. Pressing his bleeding hand against the console, so close to Hux’s white-knuckled hand they might have touched, Ren curved himself over the other man’s body and thrust.
With the other hand reached around, leather smooth over the slickness of Hux’s leaking cock, Ren kept up a desperate pace. Within moments, he knew his miscalculation; much as he wished to be all but dressed while Hux writhed naked before him, he could not breathe; the helmet hung heavy from a bent head, his breath damp and harsh against the vocoder unit inside the mouthpiece. A vague, half-directed flick, and the Force answered his demand, snapping the damned thing open. With a sweep of one hand, and droplets of hot blood splattered over a console, Ren cast it aside.
And then, he lost himself in it. Experience counted for little when he could press his face against the arch of Hux’s thrust-back head, lips pressed to the salt-bitter taste of his damp throat, and simply work his hips in the fierce rhythm his thoughts demanded. Hux would have called it cheating, had he been able to recall simple language. Ren didn’t care, now fisting one hand in the bright hair and stretching his throat out until the other man could barely even breathe. And yet, he could feel Hux pushing back. He always pushed back. His teeth bared in a desperate rictus of a grin, and he followed Hux’s desire: shoving at him until he fell over the edge, and dragged Ren down with him.
The world came back to him in bits and broken pieces; he had felt the same, Ren remembered, the day he had first held his lightsaber in hand. Peculiar and impractical as it still was, it had thrummed in his hands with perfect resonance, bright and burning and his. And Ren could not help but lean forward, licking a long line over Hux’s frantic pulse as he whispered, “You will feel this, tomorrow.” And he gave another rough thrust, half-hard cock dragging inside the damp heat of his ass. “When you stand before them all. You will remember—”
“Oh, shut up, Ren.” Squirming free, Hux turned an expression heaped with scorn upon Ren. It soon dissolved into sharp surprise, eyes widening as Hux actually looked at him. He had obviously not realised Ren had removed the helmet. For a long moment, there came no break in the silence save for the slowing of their breathing. Ren did not even realise he breathed in tandem with the other man – not until Hux turned away, breaking their caught stare. And he frowned. It was hardly the first time Hux had seen his face. But the strange expression upon his own, tangled and doubting and curious, made it seem as though it was.
Then Hux shook his head, winced; he was no sorcerer, and yet Hux had broken the spell. “I need—” But a glance at the console cut him off mid-sentence. The pale eyes widened, something very like horror twisting his lips into a dire frown. And then he dropped to his knees. Ren had no words as Hux began hunting through the piled heap of his discarded uniform. A victorious muttering hissed out between his teeth, and he emerged with a monogrammed handkerchief.
And now Ren could only watch, still trembling with the aftershocks of orgasm, as a still-nude Hux began to scrub furiously at the console. A moment later he threw down the hanky in disgust, cursing as he turned to the medkit. Wound cleansing pads in hand, Hux returned to the task of cleaning his own come from where it had splattered across the console. By now, slowly tidying his own cock away, Ren cleared his throat and wondered how much of this he’d just imagined.
“I’m working, Ren.” And the head, bright red and bowed over his work, did not rise. “Although I suppose that would be an alien concept to you.”
Ren allowed Hux a moment to admire his work. And then he sent out a finger of Force energy, and hooked it about his ID chain. It was but the work of a moment to drag him close. A burning kiss was his reward.
“Good luck,” he said, tasting the man’s indignant disgust and finding it delicious. “For tomorrow, I mean.”
And then he was gone in a flurry of black robes. Returned to his own quarters, Ren slept long and without dreams. And the next morning, upon the bridge, the general having delivered his speech, Ren watched silent as Hux brought down the executioner’s axe with voice alone. The streaking red of death cut across the sky like open wounds. Behind his mask, Ren blinked back the thought of another world. The ache of memory, old and infected, was not his to bear. It was far more pleasant indeed to turn his mind outward, to seek another mind entire: one thrumming with joy, fulfilment, a pride so deep and dark it rivalled Ren’s own desire.
So: are you satisfied yet, General?
At first he received back only vague shapes of thought: something like laughter, something like fury. And then it crystallised into a short and sharp, Get out of my head.
Oh, but don’t worry, Ren crooned in return, gentle and teasing as he turned from the bridge. Because you will be. Soon.
Without further word Ren moved towards the hangars. There were places he needed to be, now that there were others that no longer existed.