Last part! For real this time. Sorry it's later than expected but I was trying to get further in Huxloween (and I'm still not done…). This chapter is the end, a little open ended, but still where this one stops. I will admit, it's open enough that I'm tempted to make this a series, especially since I sort of want to write something from Hux's POV for it. He has been a roller coaster of emotions in the background where no one can see it but me. But, alas, I don't think I have time. Heh.
Whatever the case, thank you for reading, and thank you for all the wonderful, thoughtful comments, and lastly: I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have writing it!
12/5/2016 Edit: Despite what I had thought, I did end up continuing this work into a series. However, since the content rating increased (and because it's not terribly popular here), I've chosen not to post the other parts on this site. If you'd like to read them, you can find the sequel fics on my Archive of Our Own account. Thank you!
Starkiller base was T-minus twenty days to completion, and Ben had three main objectives.
For the first, he needed to destroy the shield generators of Starkiller base beyond the ability to be repaired quickly. Getting home and warning the Resistance wouldn't do Ben any good if they couldn't destroy the weapon from space, since there were too many foot soldiers and land defenses for their limited numbers to attack affectively. It had plenty of weak points to initiate a chain reaction to destruction with a ship's fire power, but only if you could hit them.
Second, Ben would need to secure his own fast exit so that he could warn the Resistance, and inform them of the base's weakness. This was the easiest part of Ben's plans, as his personal shuttle was always ready to take off at a moment's notice anyway. One of the few benefits of being a co-commander with a sporadic schedule was a Shuttle Bay team that was aware he came and left at odd hours often without giving a reason.
Lastly, and the most difficult part of it all, was Ben needed to convince his Mother and the Resistance he wasn't lying about his undercover assignment, and get them to mobilize a force as soon as possible. He wasn't sure where Luke was, so the man vouching for him wasn't something Ben could rely on.
Which meant he prayed his Mother sensed his good intentions immediately, because even if he destroyed the shields, Hux was scary resourceful and might have things up and running faster than Ben had plans for.
Ben growled to himself as he set the charges in the lower levels of the shield generator.
He had murdered so many people in the name of this assignment, and yet it was lying to Hux all this time that had Ben's stomach twisting in guilt. He should have never started an intimate relationship with that man. Ben had never vocally returned Hux's affection, but there were some things that came across without being said. Hux dug his way into Ben's affection, against all odds, and there was no way the General had not noticed his feelings were returned, whether Ben wanted them or not.
Ben was going to hurt General Hux. Breaking his cover and destroying Starkiller was going to be a worse blow to that man than if Ben stabbed his lightsaber through Hux's chest.
Ben would be betraying Hux personally, and the knowledge that he was going to do so on top of breaking the man's heart, tore Ben apart.
He stalked down the corridor, using the Force to distract any Storm Trooper who saw him down here. Ben set the next few charges and kept moving, staying as focused on the job as he could be while his insides tied themselves in knots thinking about what he was doing. He only had four more to set, and not only would the shield generator go down, but there should be enough debris to block any repair attempts for a few days. Their heavy construction equipment had been moved to storage last month, so it would take time to get it all back out.
Ben rubbed a hand down his face. He had another problem with General Hux, more so than lying to him and betraying the man's feelings: Ben didn't want Hux to die.
It only made it worse when Ben realized he wouldn't have wanted Hux to die even if they hadn't started sleeping together. The man really had made himself a nuisance in that regard. Ben had already murdered people to spare the man's life; how could he let him die now?
Starkiller base was going to go down in flames. It had to. Because if Ben was going to throw away his mission, then that was the minimum casualty of Ben's explosive exit from the First Order. In the best case scenario, it would be destroyed so thoroughly no one could rebuild it. However, that would also kill everyone on the planet.
General Hux had already moved into his Starkiller base quarters ahead of schedule, wanting to oversee the final stages of the project personally. It had worked as a good excuse for Ben to accompany him without suspicion for easier access to sabotage the base, but ruined his hopes that Hux would be on the Finalizer when the Resistance attacked.
That of course led to a much bigger problem: Even if Ben saved Hux, what could he do with the man?
Ben couldn't afford to stop off at the Finalizer to drop him off. Hux would be furious that Ben took him off planet for no reason, and would figure out what had happened. He'd report Ben to Snoke, and he would of course summon the other Knights of Ren to come chase down their errant master.
Ben also certainly couldn't bring Hux back to the Resistance or his Uncle's for asylum. They'd never grant it to one of the highest generals of the First Order. He'd be made a prisoner, and likely put to death for building Starkiller in the first place. Marooning Hux on some Outer Rim planet had too many factors that could go wrong and leave him dead anyway.
And in all of those cases, Hux would be so angry at Ben's betrayal, he would never accept the aid if Ben tried to help him find a safe place to hide away.
Ben set the last charge, using more force than necessary slamming it into the wall. He pressed his forehead, mask and all against the wall and stared at the explosive. This had to be done. There was no way he could avoid it. Starkiller had to fall and it had to fall now, no matter what Ben's personal feelings were on the matter. Ben slammed the side of his fist into a wall.
"What a mess," he said to himself.
He left the lower part of the base, detonator in his hand. He'd set off the charges when he reached the shuttle bay, and take off as soon as he knew they had discharged. There was no room to leave anything at risk, so he had to make sure the explosions worked before he left. After that, Ben had already packed his shuttle with everything he'd be taking with him, and all he had to do was leave. Perhaps when Ben got into space and far, far away, he'd stick his sickening feelings over Hux into the same place where he kept the rest of his guilt.
Ben took two steps up the ramp when he felt Hux in the Force. The man was sitting in his shuttle, and he was angry. Steeling himself for the confrontation, Ben strode into his shuttle and slammed the control to close the ramp.
"What were you doing in the shield generator room, Lord Ren?" Hux asked, voice strained. He sat in the passenger seat in the back cabin, his hands on his knees. "And I should hope it has no relation to your emptied out quarters and your luggage in this shuttle."
"And what makes you think I was near the shield generators?" Ben asked, curious despite himself.
"The tracking device in your belt," Hux said, standing and crossing the room. He stopped a foot from Ben, his fists shaking. "I had honestly forgotten the Supreme Leader asked me to hide it there when we first met five years ago, but today for the first time, it threw a warning beep at me on my datapad that you were somewhere you weren't supposed to be."
"I always knew Snoke suspected, but I didn't think he'd taken that step yet," Ben said, more to himself than anything. He removed his helmet, tossing it onto the floor. Hux twitched at the clatter, and Ben could tell he was nervous. All the same, Ben walked past Hux toward the pilot seat of the shuttle. The man was alone, and Ben bet his current lack of judgement likely tied to the hurt he felt. It wasn't a smart move to face Ben alone when he suspected treason. It was unlike Hux, but it worked oddly in his favor at the moment. "I'd sit down if I were you."
"You are not going anywhere," Hux said, following Ben into the cockpit. He grabbed Ben by the cape, digging his fingers into the coarse fabric. He hissed, "What you are going to do, is gain some sense and undo whatever it is you did down there. Then we're both going to pretend this never happened, and that'll be the end of it."
There was not an ounce of hatred in Hux. Anger, hurt, betrayal, and this overwhelming desire to save Ben from consequence ran together in an agitated and confused state, but his affection for Ben burned strong underneath it all. Hux was terrified Ben would be executed for this.
Hux trembled, and Ben smiled softly. At least that made one part of his next decision easy.
Ben grabbed the back of Hux's head and dragged him down into a kiss. He tapped their foreheads together. "I'm sorry, Hux."
"Don't be sorry, be smart," Hux replied. His fingers tightened in Ben's cowl. "Don't do this, Ren."
"Sit down, Hux," Ben said.
He used the Force to shove Hux into the copilot seat, and held him there. The man struggled, but Ben ignored him. Instead, he started the engines of his shuttle, and pressed the detonator.
Hux flinched when the echoing sound of explosions ran throughout the entire base. He twisted his head to the side and yelled, "What did you do, Ren!"
"My job," Ben said. He looked at Hux and smiled softly. "And my name is Ben."
He used the Force to knock out Hux, and concentrated on piloting the ship out of the docking bay and into space. Ben still had no idea what he would do with his unconscious General, but at least he could keep the man under until he made up his mind.
Convincing Ben's mother that he was one of the good guys went easier than planned, due to Luke having a vision from the Force. Ben had to admit that in his haste, it hadn't occurred to him that could have been an option. But the Force was with Ben, and Luke arrived at the Resistance base, along with the very still alive Padawans as further proof, to let his mother know what was going on before Ben landed.
It didn't stop her from tackling Ben in a hug all the same when he descended down the shuttle ramp. He had missed her so much, and hugged back with the same ferocity. The only thing that would have been better was his father being present, but the man was too far away on a job of his own to make it back in time, though he did send a comm as soon as Ben's mother got a free moment.
Without needing to convince people of his innocence, combined with the extended delays of Starkiller base trying to get their act together with the General missing, the Resistance was able to give the First Order officers and soldiers who were willing to surrender themselves a chance to evacuate before they destroyed the planet.
Quite a few were willing to trade sides completely, including one soldier named Finn who had become fast friends with one of Luke's students named Rey and the pilot Poe.
With Starkiller base destroyed, Snoke had retreated into hiding with the remainder of the Knights of Ren. He'd buried himself so far beyond their reach, that neither Luke nor Ben could sense the man in the Force. It seemed for now, that Ben's mission was on hold until the man made a move and revealed himself.
As for the rest of the First Order, it was still there, but in shambles. Without General Hux, their Weapon, or the Supreme Leader, it was a wounded crew barely holding it together.
At the end of the day, Ben had failed his mission to kill Snoke, but the outcome wasn't as bad as it could have been. He leaned back in his chair, eyes closed. It was nice to sleep again without visions of burning planets and screaming.
"You seem to have much on your mind," Luke said, joining Ben in the small shuttle he'd taken refuge in to collect his thoughts. Ben had a room on base, but due to certain cargo in the quarters, Ben preferred to stay in the shuttle. Luke sat next to him in the galley. "Care to talk about it?"
"I need to do something with the man in the back room," Ben said. He'd been able to hide Hux's identity from Luke and his mother, but he couldn't hide the life presence in its entirety. Ben rubbed his face with both hands, sinking into his seat. His nights were free of Starkiller base and dead planets, but General Hux still plagued his thoughts. Now that the immediate danger was destroyed, Ben could no longer put off confronting the man. "I can't keep him asleep much longer."
"You also can't keep hiding his presence from your mother much longer," Luke said, pressing his lips together. He patted Ben on the arm and huffed. "She knows you're hiding someone in here, and is a hair away from making you tell her."
"Don't remind me," Ben said. He leaned his head to the side, massaging the side of his temple. Ben's mother was respecting his privacy for now, but only likely because she could feel the agony that was tugging on his soul concerning the matter. But even her curiosity and patience wouldn't last much longer. If his father arrived, it would be even worse. Ben tugged on his hair. "I don't know what to do with him."
"Talking would probably be a good start." Luke crossed his arms. "That typically solves most problems I've found."
"You've never seen him angry," Ben said, snorting. He could see the fierce eyes and red-colored cheeks already. Ben looked Luke in the eyes. "He could give Mom a run for her money."
"Well, you did always take after your dad more," Luke said.
Ben hit him in the arm.
"But seriously," Luke said. He nodded his head toward the back room. "Whoever it is you have back there hiding from all of us, clearly he's from the First Order. I don't know who was important enough for you to bring back this way, but he can't stay here."
"Whatever you decide," Luke said. He moved to the other side of the galley table and hugged Ben tightly. "Just know you're always welcome to come back home, and that I'm sorry you're leaving again so soon."
Ben smiled and grabbed the back of Luke's hand to squeeze it. "Thank you, Uncle."
Luke left without another word, but squeezed Ben's hand back just before he took off. Ben covered his face. He got up from his chair and opened the door to the back room. Ben watched Hux sleeping on the mattress, looking more peaceful than he'd feel when the man woke up. Ben closed his eyes and counted to calm himself. He'd say goodbye properly to his mother, and go figure out what to do with Hux somewhere off base.
If the man decided he wanted to run, the least Ben could do was make sure he didn't run straight into a Resistance base.
Ben had chosen a neutral planet in the Outer Rim for his confrontation with Hux. The man was sleeping soundly in the bunk, naturally this time, and Ben was content to let the man wake on his own time after the two-week long forced sleep.
He hoped Hux didn't mind that Ben had changed his clothes while he slept, but he figured that Hux waking to a sweat-drenched uniform would make a tense conversation even worse. He really hoped Hux didn't notice that Ren had been using a rag to wipe the sweat off each time he changed him.
Though considering they'd slept together, he probably won't care either way. Or at the very least, Hux would have plenty of other reasons to be angry with Ben that would take priority when he woke up. If anything, hopefully his clean state would be in Ben's favor. But he wouldn't put bets on that either.
Ben was half-asleep himself when Hux started to come to, drowsy and blinking sluggishly.
"Did you drug me?" he slurred, pushing up a little as he rolled on his side. He grasped the side of the bunk, glaring up at Ben. As consciousness returned, Hux took a calculated glance around the room and a quick peek at his plain shirtsleeve. "Are we still in your shuttle?"
"Yes, but you've also been asleep for about two weeks," Ben said. Hux snapped his mouth shut, and his grip on the side of the bunk increased until his knuckles turned white. Ben kept his voice low, "Starkiller base was evacuated and then destroyed."
Hux sucked in a pained breath, his hand trembling. "And the First Order?"
"Snoke is still alive somewhere," Ben said, twisting his own hand into a fist. He did not regret abandoning his mission, but he was still upset that monster had been able to escape. Ben released the fist and calmed himself. "The rest of the First Order is too disorganized to be any threat for the meantime, though they are still banded together from what our informants have been able to gather."
"After all we worked for. After everything we built. How could you?" Hux gathered himself. He licked his lip and practically growled, "How could you just throw it all away and betray us, Ren?"
The unspoken "How could you betray me?" in that sentence stabbed at Ben's chest.
"I'm not sure 'betray' is the right word, when I was never on the side of Snoke and the First Order to begin with." Ben shifted in his seat, aware that Hux's gaze grew angrier by the second, and it did nothing to lessen the hurt. "I was more of a saboteur or spy, than a traitor."
"Then what were we, Ren?" Hux asked, turning his face away. The wave of self-hatred that flooded over him made Ben want to reach over and hug the man, though it would certainly be an unwelcome gesture at the moment. Hux covered the bottom half of his mouth. "A game? Some sort of twisted way to pass the time?"
"If you'll remember right, I did reject your advances quite a bit," Ben said, slightly breathless. Hux was still calling him the wrong name, but he didn't have the heart to correct him right now. Habits were hard to break, and he only heard the correct one once. "I didn't intend for things to get that far."
"Then why did you?" Hux asked. The man pulled his knees up, and rested his elbows on them, slowly drawing in on himself. His facial expressions had shut down, and Ben could hear the man thinking of every interaction they'd ever shared, looking for the hints that Ben was going to stab him in the back he must have missed. Hux hissed, pausing on a particularly strong memory of him kissing Ben while the man was still asleep, nothing but fondness radiating from him. "Because it got pretty damned far."
"You weren't wrong when you said I desperately needed a distraction." Ben tugged on his hair. He wrapped his fingers around it, pulling it tightly so that it was painful. He needed to ground himself. "It was a moment of weakness that went farther than I was expecting it to."
"Weakness is certainly a good way to put it," Hux said.
Ben sat straighter in his chair, adjusting his robes as he moved. He was glad to be rid of the heavy black robes of his Ren guise, but he still wasn't used to the lighter fabrics. He tugged on the edge of his black hood, the only element of Kylo Ren he'd wanted to keep. The fabric was a welcome weight, and the smell familiar. It grounded him, and Ben took a moment to touch the fabric.
"No one knows you're here," Ben said. Hux glanced at him, combined with a tensing of his limbs. Ben corrected his slip quickly. "That wasn't a threat. It just means that you're free to decide what you want to do from here, though I am sorry your options are limited without the First Order to go back to."
"And who says I can't go back there?" Hux asked.
"Because someone will have to be blamed for the loss of Starkiller and their best soldier if they ever hope to regroup, and you'll be a prime target." Ben said bluntly. He'd gone with the group to destroy Starkiller base, and did a quick sweep of the minds who chose not to surrender and ran. They all blamed Hux's missing status as a key factor in the base's destruction. There was no question the man would be a target if he went home. Ben kept Hux's gaze when he declared, "Snoke will kill you if you go back."
"Leave," Hux said, curling in on himself again. He looked too small in the borrowed clothes without the padding of his uniform and the shoulders of his great coat. Even naked he seemed to have a larger presence. When Ben hesitated, Hux turned to him and hissed. "Now. Get out."
Ben held up a hand. "Hux."
"I said get out!" Hux shouted, face red with anger.
Ben said nothing more, and left the room.
Ben poked at his bowl of porridge, debating if it was worth it to bring Hux his portion of the meal. On the one hand, the other man clearly wanted some time alone and Ben was going to do his best to respect that. But he also hadn't eaten anything substantial in two weeks, save for the nutrition shots Ben had been giving him. He shoved a mouthful of porridge in his own mouth and glared at the table.
He was supposed to be done with making big decisions like this for now.
The door to the back quarters opened, saving Ben at least the trouble of wondering if he needed to go fetch the man or not for breakfast.
"Was any of it real?" Hux asked without preamble, crossing the room and sitting across from Ben. He joined in glaring at the table, fists clenched in his lap. "Or was I a complete fool thinking we had shared feelings?"
Ben got up from the table, and spooned out a second helping of porridge. Hux watched him like a hawk, staring hard at every moment. Ben sat the bowl in front of Hux with a spoon before sitting back down. The few seconds of stalling did nothing to help him answer more properly.
So he started to tell the truth, for what felt like the first time in the past five years.
"I spent quite a bit of time in denial and lying to myself concerning you," Ben said. He rubbed the side of his arm. Ben half-smiled, stirring his porridge. "And you're here and not dead, so the feelings that you thought were between us are probably more real than I ever wanted them to be."
Hux pressed his lips together, thinking much too hard. He eventually worked up the nerves to speak, and Ben held his breath.
"It's funny, you know. I've been thinking back on all the moments where I feel you should have given your true allegiance away, and realized I brushed every single instance off as you being socially awkward," Hux said. He tugged over his bowl of porridge when a rumbling stomach gave away his hunger. "And to my embarrassment, I thought it was endearing as often as I found the behavior irritating."
"I noticed," Ben said.
Hux looked at him after a bite, eyebrow raised.
"My strongest strength in the Force is the mind." Ben tapped the side of his head. "I played it down to try and fool Snoke, but picking up on people's thoughts, emotions, and inner feelings is as easy as breathing to me. I often do it without even meaning to, so essentially, I usually know what everyone is really thinking, whether they say it or not."
Hux put down his spoon. He looked at Ben sharply, anger surfacing in a manner so familiar it was almost calming. "So you knew how I really felt about you, even the emotions I could barely admit to myself, and continued to lie anyway?"
"Yes," Ben said. He smiled wryly and licked the side of his lip. "But if it makes you feel better, I felt horribly guilty about taking comfort with you when I was supposed to be destroying everything you loved."
Ben laughed, throwing his head back and cover his face with his hands. He dragged his fingers down his face and leaned back in his chair. "I didn't think it would."
Hux ate in silent for a few more moments, thinking hard and Ben let him. They had plenty of time to sort things out before they went their separate ways. Ben ate his own breakfast, his chest hurting. That was the only way this was going to end. He'd been a fool to even fancy the idea that he could keep this thing that he had with Hux in any way. Ben scraped the bottom of his bowl, getting the last of the ration.
He missed the smell of Hux's lotion.
When their bowls were empty and bellies fully, the two of them sat in silence. Ben didn't want to leave the table, and Hux was still thinking. Another ten or so minutes passed before the quiet was broken.
"So who are you really?" Hux asked, looking across the table. He crossed his arms, fingers tugging at the unfamiliar shirt sleeve. "If you're not Kylo Ren?"
"My name is Ben Solo," he said. "And I'm a Jedi."
The General stared for a few moments, before chuckling under his breath. He tried to stop it, waving his hand in the air as the laughter grew louder and louder until the man was full on guffawing.
Hux smacked the table, shoulders still shaking. "How dare you make me laugh. I'm angry with you! For real now, who are you?"
"Ben Solo," he said again. Ben tugged on the edge of his hood. "I'm a Jedi under the training of Luke Skywalker. I've been training with him since I was a child, and went on this undercover mission when I was twenty-five."
"One," Hux said, holding up a hand with a single finger raised. He leaned across the table, glaring Ben down. "We have had way too much sex for you to be a bloody Jedi. I refuse to believe that I have enough seductive prowess to woo a Jedi. And second, even if there was a chance of that being true, there is no way I have slept with the bloody missing son of the Resistance General, Leia Organa."
"I probably should have clarified that I'm not very good at being a Jedi," Ben said, thoughtfully. He winced and tilted his head, before taking a swig of his glass of juice. He grabbed the breakfast plates and stacked them to give his hands something to do. "Which is why I was the first choice to ask when they needed someone to do the undercover mission that required killing and torturing innocent people as part of the job description."
Hux got up from the table and went back into the bedroom, slamming the door hard enough that Ben winced.
"Hux?" Ben asked, knocking on the bedroom door. The man hadn't shown his face outside of the back room in a couple days, and Ben was happy to let him have the time to himself since there was a refresher back there, but he needed to go collect supplies in town. Sadly, Ben wasn't sure he wanted to leave Hux completely alone. "I need to go into town, do you want to come with me?"
He waited and heard nothing. Ben sighed and knocked again. "I'm leaving in about five minutes and I'll be gone about an hour."
Ben would just have to lock up the shuttle when he left. Hux was smart, but so was Ben. He could totally fix the locks to keep the man trapped. If he even noticed his temporary roommate had left. Ben had just finished tugging on his cloak when the door to the bedroom opened.
Hux stomped out, face flushed. He had on his old First Order uniform boots, and tugged at his shirt. "I don't suppose I could get new clothes, could I?"
"Of course. I'm sorry I haven't had anything but my own to let you borrow," Ben said. He rubbed the back of his neck. He tugged off his own black hood and cape and held it over to Hux. "You might want to cover your hair, though."
"I suppose so, being a wanted man and all," Hux said. He pulled on the cape and adjusted the hood low on his face, still scowling. The fabric of Ben's hood looked far too large on Hux, but it worked well enough for what they wanted. And it was really cute to see the proud man drowning in the dark fabric. Hux got to the door, staring forward. "Well? Are we going or not?"
Ben nodded and opened the door to the shuttle. Hux trailed behind him the entire way into town, looking at their surroundings and taking note of everything. He was still resourceful, even now, and Ben would do well to remember that.
He also reminded himself Hux was free to do whatever he wanted at this point, and Ben had very little say in the matter.
"What are your plans now?" Hux asked, holding a small bag of new clothes. The market was lively around them, voices and chatter drowning out everything. Ben had to struggle to hear Hux, even with the Force. "Since you seem to have accomplished your undercover goals, I imagine you have free time to spare. I suppose you'll return to your master to study?"
"No," Ben said. He paid for a few packets of food, and shoved them in his satchel. He gripped his hand into a fist, walking to the next stand. "I failed my mission, so I need to find a new way to complete it."
"Failed?" Hux asked, mouth stretching. "You destroyed Starkiller base and scattered the First Order. How is that a failure for the Resistance?"
"My mission was to kill Snoke," Ben said. He shook his head and laughed. "I had to abandon my cover because Starkiller base was a bigger threat at the moment."
"For someone who had to kill Snoke, you sure spent a lot of your time on my ship," Hux said.
"Tell me about it. Snoke was a suspicious, paranoid nut and made sure even his apprentice was far, far away," Ben said, smiling. He chuckled again, his shoulders shaking. He grinned a bit at Hux, knowing he'd get hit for saying it. "Why do you think I was always destroying control panels?"
Hux stopped dead in the center of the road and stared. He opened his mouth and then snapped it shut. He shook his head kept walking. "No wonder you were always so angry."
"I'm just glad no one questioned that Kylo Ren had the same awful temper as Ben Solo, or my cover might have been broken in the first month," Ben said.
"Can't imagine where you got that from, considering who your mother is," Hux said.
It was meant as a jab, but Ben just smiled. No one knew what his mother's temper was like better than he and his father did. Ben knew good and well where he inherited all his anger from.
The next couple of hours were spent in companionable silence, save for a comment here or there on what snacks to buy and what supplies they needed.
"I think we've got everything we need," Ben said, looking in his bag. The afternoon had been rather pleasant, walking around with Hux to shop. It was wonderfully domestic, and Ben already looked forward to the next trip out if Hux was still around for it. But sadly, their evening did have to come to an end. "We can probably head back to the shuttle now unless there's something you needed."
"No," Hux said, cutting short any hope Ben had of making the next few hours last just a bit longer.
Ben had taken to sleeping on the bench in the common room of the shuttle. Offering to share the back bedroom wasn't an option, and even if Hux didn't really deserve the only bed on the shuttle, it was a tiny way for Ben to feel slightly less guilty about destroying his life.
Even if it was an awful one, Ben was sure that Hux appreciated it.
Speaking of the man, Ben opened his eyes and turned his head when he caught him approaching. Ben sat up and Hux jumped a near foot in the air. "Did you need something?"
"You're awake," Hux said. He dropped his shoulders, looking guilty. Ben allowed him his privacy, and didn't bother to check what the man was sneaking around in the middle of the night for. Hux scratched the side of his head, ruffling his hair. "You were always such a heavy sleeper, I didn't think you would notice me."
"I'm actually a very light sleeper," Ben said. "I faked being asleep around you more than I want to admit, to be honest."
"A lie by omission on top of everything else, then," Hux said. He took a few steps closer and stared down. There was something odd in his eyes; fond and angry and hurt. "Which means I'm sure you heard many things you weren't supposed to, and still continued to string me along."
"At the end," Ben said. He glared up, narrowing his own eyes. "But for the first four years, I did everything possible to keep you away. And if you'll remember, the first time we had sex I said quite clearly that I hated you."
"You did," Hux said. He climbed into Ben's lap, dropping down hard enough that the air was knocked out of Ben's lungs. He shoved him down by the shoulders and stared down. "And it was the one time I could tell you were lying."
Ben held his hands in the air near Hux's sides. They longed to grab his hips or his thighs and touch the man again, but he resisted. Falling into temptation is what got him into this mess the first time around. Though the way Hux was staring at him said that a second fall wouldn't be turned away.
He couldn't tell if that was a good or a bad thing.
Hux leaned forward, pressing Ben harder down with every bit of his weight. Hux's fingers dug through Ben's shirt, squeezing hard. "I want to hate you."
"I know that feeling," Ben whispered, wondering if he should have just kept his mouth shut. He dropped his hands on Hux's waist at the top of his thighs, and tried not to smile too much. "It's frustrating, isn't it?"
"It's upsetting that I still can't seem to hate you, even after saying something that stupid," Hux said. He slipped forward to kiss Ben, grabbing the back of his head. "Though I am starting to understand why 'I want to stop thinking' was one of your favorite lines before foreplay."
"This is very good for that," Ben whispered. He squeezed Hux's hips and breathed harder. Ben was falling all over again, and the only thing on the line right now were his own feelings. "Though it never really worked. I always had far more to think about than I wanted afterwards. Give up your thoughts for a few minutes, and triple them afterwards. It's a bit of an unfair trade."
"Though it must have been worth it since you kept coming back," Hux said, pressing a light kiss to Ben's lips. He scooted a bit farther forward, squeezing Ben with his hips.
Ben met the motion with a roll of his own hips and clutched Hux harder. "I'm starting to think it might be."
"I really wish I could hate you," Hux said.
He dropped down for another kiss, and Ben could tell even without the Force that he was lying, too.
Ben half-expected to wake up with a knife in his side, and all of last night having been some complex plan to catch Ben off guard for Hux to get his revenge, but the only thing Ben woke to was Hux asleep and tucked into his side like he belonged there. They had made it to the bed in the back at some point, entangled together under the sheets, and Ben couldn't remember ever waking up this happy.
"This doesn't mean I've forgiven you," Hux muttered into Ben's side. His face was jammed into the crook of Ben's neck. "Just to be clear."
"The thought never crossed my mind." Ben rolled over, tucking Hux into his chest. The motion was familiar and practiced. Ben hugged Hux tighter. He had missed it. Ben missed this so much. He buried his face in Hux's hair. "Do you know what you want to do from now on?"
Hux snorted into Ben's chest. "Do you?"
"Kill Snoke, but don't ask me how," Ben said.
Hux drew a circle on Ben's hip. "And after that?"
"Nothing I have to do," Ben said. He petted the back of Hux's head, fingers combing through the red strands. "Though going back to being a Jedi feels like a fool's errand after this, so I suppose I'm open to suggestion."
"Kill your parents and destroy the Resistance?"
Ben smiled despite himself, kissing his monster in the side of the head. "I'll think about it."
"I was being serious, you know," Hux said. He drummed his fingers on Ben's side, eyes still shut. "If you kill Snoke, then my reason to avoid going home to the First Order flickers away. They'll be desperate for a leader and I'll be more than happy to step in. Therefore, getting back to the original goal of wiping out the Resistance and the Republic would be the logical next step."
Ben was a tad frightened by just how serious Hux was.
"I'd have to stop you," Ben said, finding himself too warm, content, and happy at the moment to work up the energy to scold him. Hux had said far worse in bed before in any case. This was hardly the most graphic way he'd described killing Ben's mother before. Ben kissed him on the side of the head again. "You'd be a worse threat to the universe than Snoke if you were calling all the shots."
Hux moved, scooting up so that they were face to face. He turned Ben's head by the cheek and held his fingers there. "Then what do you suggest I do?"
"Settle down with a poor excuse for a Jedi and make a repair shop?" Ben asked.
"That sounds like something you want to do," Hux said, scowling.
"Well, you keep that dream," Hux said. He cupped the sides of Ben's head, and kissed him hard on the lips. Hux patted the side of Ben's cheek with his thumb and huffed fondly, mind once again whirling with plans. "If I can seduce a Jedi into sleeping with me, perhaps I just have to try harder to seduce him into joining the right side for real. You really were a great benefit to the First Order most of the time, even if you were trying to do the opposite."
"Or maybe I should seduce you into the right side," Ben said, mouth quirking into a smile. "Because the New Republic really is not the evil you seem to think it is."
"Challenge accepted," Hux said. He rolled the two of them over, putting Ben on top and Hux beneath him. They kissed again, slow and lazy, but with something heated behind it that hadn't been there before. Hux wrapped his arms around Ben's shoulders, drawing them closer together. "Now I think that's more than enough thinking for one day, don't you agree?"
"Definitely too much thinking," Ben said. He sank into Hux with a kiss, and closed his eyes.
Killing Snoke could wait for another day; Ben had all the time in the galaxy.