Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jade_Max, Feb 3, 2012.
Love this bantering. It shows the great friendship between Ahsoka and Rex.
@earlybird-obi-wan - thank you I really enjoy writing their banter; I think that's one of the best parts of their friendship!
Jade_Max - Hi!
You write friendshippy pieces superbly. The balance between bantering buddies sliding into almost-on-the-brink of more It's tricky in the dialogue and in the characters' thoughts to not go over the edge especially if you want them to but it feels very much in character that they're just about to admit to something something LOL - it's on the tip of their tongues you get the impression. Rex is his own person - never feels like a "carbon copy" and Ahsoka is outspoken, brave, and has this stunning exotic allure.
I'm gonna delve into the longer fics too - yum!
@Jade_eyes - hey! I'm glad you're enjoying the fun that is Rex and Ahsoka's relationship. It's so tricky to find a balance, but fun too Very challenging and rewarding as a writer Thanks for reading!
SPOILER ALERT!!For those of you who have not seen the new episodes for Season 5 - this Vig is about episode 2Disclaimer: Star Wars belongs to Disney and is the intellectual property of George Lucas; he created the sandbox. I'm simply destroying the sandcastles.Title: Onderon IAuthor: Jade_MaxCharacters: Captain Rex, Ahsoka Tano, Anakin SkywalkerGenre: Friendship, AngstEra: The Clone WarsSummary: Set during Episode 2, Season 5; Ahsoka talks to Rex about the mission to Onderon.Onderon I"Didn't you tell Master Yoda we were going to be assembling a team, Master?"Anakin slanted a look at her as they walked across the hangar bay towards the transport that would take them back to the Resolute in orbit and the hyperspace capable shuttle that would take them to Onderon. "Obi-Wan and I have to plan how we're going to make this work, Snips. Find Rex and ask him if he'll volunteer for this one.""Who else?""What?""Who else," she repeated. "Rex is hardly a team all by himself."A grin crossed Anakin's lips. "He could be."Ahsoka conceded the fact but shook her head. "In some circumstances I'd agree Master, but-""But nothing, Ahsoka; You, Obi-Wan and I are the rest of the team. The smaller we keep this, the better."Rex and three Jedi? She almost flinched. For all he'd come to accept that Jedi would continue to lead them, Rex hadn't fully regained his trust in Jedi, even Masters Kenobi and Skywalker, after Umbara and Kiros – except in her. "Shouldn't we ask for an ARC trooper, like Fives, to come along too? I heard he's posted here, on Coruscant, he might-""Much as I respect Fives, this has to be kept low profile," Anakin told her firmly before his tone turned teasing. "Don't tell me you doubt Rex is capable of handling this on his own."She couldn't help it; despite her misgivings, she chuckled. "Never. If anyone can whip those resistance fighters into shape, it's Rexster.""That's what I thought.""Anakin."They both looked up as Obi-Wan beckoned from the drop ship and Anakin turned back her way. "One way or another, we're gonna need him for this one, Snips."It was an echo of their conversation before they'd begun the campaign on Zygerria and Ahsoka knew she'd lost. "All right," she conceded, holding up both hands. "I'll ask him. Who knows, maybe he'll even enjoy training some not-shinnies in unconventional warfare.""Maybe." Anakin lifted one hand in acknowledgement before he walked away towards his old mentor. "And Ahsoka!""Yeah?""He can't bring his armor; we'll need to find something to help him blend in for this one."Not bring his armor; was Anakin nuts?Ahsoka exhaled. Trust Anakin to leave Rex in her hands; their relationship hadn't been the same since Umbara and Kiros and both men knew it. They simply hadn't done anything to change the status-quo. Neither seemed intent on starting the conversation that needed to happen and, as a result, Anakin left dealing with Rex to her more often than not.Still, he'd said ask Rex, not order, so that was something.Turning, she headed for the barracks where the men would be gathering their gear for their return to the ship, wondering how in the world she was going to be able to convince Rex to come with them without his armor.It didn't take her long to cross the catwalks and skylanes before finding herself next to the five hundred and first's home turf. A new shiny stood guard and snapped to attention as he caught sight of her, obviously surprised. "Commander!""At ease, Trooper," she admonished with a wave of her hand. Examining his helmet, she noted a small symbol above the lower joint nearest her giving her the clue she needed to his identity with the helmet on. "Sighter, right?""Yes sir.""I need to speak with Captain Rex."There was silence for a moment as the new trooper seemed to process the request and, Ahsoka knew, was trying to find a polite way of asking why she simply hadn't used her comm. to contact him. She waited patiently, but the expected question wasn't forthcoming, showing the soldier's good sense of tact, so she broke the silence. "The door, Trooper?""Sir?""I need to speak with the Captain," she couldn't keep the amusement out of her voice. "Either you're going in for him, or I am.""That won't be necessary, Commander."His voice drew her around with a grin to find him striding towards her, helmet clipped to his belt, an even expression on his face that didn't fool her. The pleasure at seeing her was there in the sparkle of his eyes. And the amusement that she'd been about to break his barracks regs - again.She crossed her arms over her chest and heaved a sighed as he neared, knowing he'd appreciate the banter. "And I was so looking forward to coming in there after you.""I can see that, sir." He addressed the Trooper, "At ease, Sighter. The Commander's as much a part of the five hundred and first as you or I.""Respectfully, sir, she's a Jedi.""She's both.""Sir?""Ask Kix; he loves to explain," Ahsoka suggested with an impish smile as she turned her full attention to Rex. "Have you got a minute, Rex?"He motioned her off to the side, away from the eyes of the shiny and around the building. She exhaled, her smile fading as she fell into step with him. They walked for several extra paces before Rex, his voice pitched low, broke it. "Are you all right, Ahsoka?"The concern in his tone was touching but Ahsoka pushed it aside and focused on the main reason for being there. "We're going to Onderon," she jumped in without preamble, turning to look at him straight on. "Anakin wants you to come with us.""We were made for this Ahsoka," he reminded her. "That's not exactly news; what's the deployment? Squads? Battalions?""Er, when I say us, Rex, I mean, you with Anakin, Obi-Wan and I."There was a half second before he straightened and looked at her searchingly. "Just me."Ahsoka nodded."That seems to be happening a lot lately.""Call it a compliment to your unique talents," she offered. "In this case, we're going to train a bunch of freedom fighters how to take back their planet from the Separatists."Rex's eyes gleamed with both challenge and excitement. It was an unusual task, one they hadn't really done before, and, as she'd expected, he more than rose to the test. "When do we leave?""You don't want to know more before you agree?""Training a bunch of locals to hit back at the clankers on their home turf? I insist, Commander," he snapped off a crisp salute, coming to attention, "I volunteer."She couldn't help it; she laughed. "At ease, Rex."He relaxed and graced her with his half smile. "You sound surprised.""That was easier than I thought it would be.""Any particular reason?""Not really," she admitted. She should have known Rex, who took his job seriously, wouldn't pass up an opportunity like this one. Why had she ever thought this would be a problem? "I guess I was just expecting more resistance.""Not from my quarter," he assured her, slamming one closed fist into his other open palm, "we'll whip those resistance fighters into shape in no time and show those Separatist traitors a thing or two about it.""Yeah… yeah sure; right."Rex's hands dropped to his side and he regarded her critically, making her look away under the intensity of his gaze. He always saw much more than she ever expected and now was no exception. "Something wrong, Ahsoka?""I-" There was silence between them as she turned away, her shoulders slumping as she reached to touch the wall of the barracks with one hand. Her free one clenched into a fist as she fought to find the right words. Rex wasn't going to like this but he had to know. "You shouldn't be so quick to offer to go," she told him tightly. "You don't know all of the facts.""I know enough," he assured her, "I know citizens of the Republic are fighting the war I was born to, doing my job and putting their lives on the line when it's my duty and privilege to protect such honorable people. I know what you and the Generals are capable of; that you'll do your-"His confidence in her was her undoing."Lux is there," she cut him off before he could go further, spinning to look at him. Rex's jaw snapped shut and clenched as she continued. "I know what you and I are capable of as a team, Rex; what I don't know is if we're going into another situation like the one on Carlac.""If it resembles it in the slightest, I'll stun him for the duration."Despite his vehemence and her own misgivings, she laughed - once. "Rex!""I mean it Ahsoka," his expression was grim as he crossed his arms over his chest. "Friends don't deliberately endanger one another's lives.""Funny; isn't that exactly what I'm doing to you?""I volunteered," he countered. "Someone has to watch your back besides the General - and knowing who's waiting for us, I certainly don't trust the Bonteri boy to do it.""Rex-"He shook his head when it appeared she was about to offer an apology – or appreciation. "Any other surprises I need to be prepared for?""Just one," she watched him closely. "You'll have to wear non-military scout armor.""Sir?"His sharp, incredulous look matched his tone, surprise making him formal. Ahsoka bit the inside of her cheek. This was the reaction she'd been expecting. "This is a 'train and observe' operation; your armor's very distinctive and we can't afford to make you a target. Still volunteer?"Rex straightened and nodded sharply. "Armor doesn't make the man; just tell me when and where – I'll be ready."Her expression softened as she watched him, knowing how much their armor meant to the men individually. It was the only thing they really truly owned and for Rex to be willing to go into this situation without it simply to watch her back… the gesture meant far more than it looked on the surface. "Thanks, Rex.""Nothing you haven't done for me, Ahsoka. When do we deploy?"She checked her chrono. "In ten.""Wait with Sighter; I'll be back in two."fin
Loved the viggie and now eager to get my hands on the season four and alas I have to wait for the DVD's of season 5.
Great stuff - shows the loyalty and trust under everything.
I love this. Too bad I can't read all of these in their entirety
@earlybird-obi-wan - Season 4 is pretty spectacular; there's a lot of stuff that happens which, if they play their cards right, should factor heavily into the remainder of the show. But, that will depend on if the writers tie everything back together My biggest complaint about Season 4, and so far Season 5, is that there is practically *no* Rex / Ahsoka interaction so... there will be a lot of Vigs about that *laughs* Glad you're enjoying it so far
@Jade_eyes - Thank you; that was really what I was aiming for. Regardless of what obstacles ahead, Rex and Ahsoka are friends and, like good friends, will always do what’s necessary to watch each other’s backs.
@Alexis_Wingstar - Thank you; I'm glad you're enjoying them. If you'd like, I can send you the link for where they're posted on ff.net... or I can send them to you individually. I keep copies of all my stories as they're posted on my hard drive. You never know when the online resources might fail
Thanks for reading guys - more to come
I'd love a link to them on ff.net, thanks
Captain & Commander
Here you go
Thank you *Runs off to read*
Disclaimer: Star Wars belongs to Disney and is the intellectual property of George Lucas; he created the sandbox. I’m simply destroying the sandcastles.
Author’s Note: Huge thank you to laloga for helping me keep this ‘canon compliant’ - there is a Rexoka version that will be going up in another thread at some point after this one. Thanks girl!
Title: Distraction - Canon Compliant
Characters: Captain Rex, Ahsoka Tano
Genre: Friendship, Angst
Era: The Clone Wars
Summary: Set after Episode 14, Season 4; Rex tries to help Ahsoka sort through the conflicting emotions after her latest brush with Lux Bonteri.
GAR Compound Coruscant - Mess Hall
“Am I boring you, Commander?”
Rex watched as Ahsoka jerked with his polite inquiry, her forearm jumping under the fingers he'd placed there to get her attention.
Her gaze flew guiltily back to his, cheeks flushed darkly, the chevrons on her montrals deepening as she did - the Togrutan equivalent of a blush. “What?”
“Am I boring you,” he repeated, partially amused by her distraction but also worried; it wasn’t like Ahsoka not to be focused in the here and now - especially when talking to him after such a long absence. She shook her head, meeting his gaze for a brief moment before dropping it back to the mostly untouched tray before her. She’d moved her food around but taken only a bite or two – also unlike her.
“Sorry, Rex,” she murmured, taking a tiny bite. “I guess I’m a little preoccupied.”
An understatement if he’d ever heard one. Considering her for a long moment, he watched her gaze go unfocused again as she seemed to get lost within her thoughts once more. Knowing she wasn’t paying him any attention, Rex took a moment to openly study her, forcing himself to do so dispassionately – as a leader examining a soldier.
He noted new additions to her features that hadn’t been there when he’d last seen her several weeks ago. The strain lines around her eyes and lips; bars of worry and concern that she’d never before displayed in so public a setting. Her expression was more worrying; distant and anxious, as if her thoughts weren’t pleasant ones.
Letting his gaze drift downwards, he noted the lax grasp on her utensil as it dipped, unused and forgotten, towards the tray of uneaten food. Her other hand rested on the table top, tracing lines absently on the surface.
Watching her fingers for a moment, his brow furrowed; it looked like she was spelling something… something that ended in an... ‘x’?
Looking around the crowded mess, he found it was fuller than normal.
With Torrent Company on Coruscant for a couple of days after their last assignment, they were enjoying a couple of days of downtime while waiting for General Skywalker to come back with their next orders. Ahsoka's sudden appearance this morning had been an unexpected and welcome surprise.
But, while he and Ahsoka were known to share their meals given the chance, she’d done little more than push hers about her plate while he’d long since finished. Clones were seated to the left of their end table position, across the table and behind; they hadn't been able to get a corner or wall seat as they preferred.
There was little privacy here but that didn’t stop him from reaching out to touch her hand, stopping her idle drawing, and bringing her attention back his way. Her hand tensed, but he didn’t remove his. Waiting until she made eye contact, he pitched his voice low, knowing he sounded concerned – and he was. “Are you all right?”
She glanced left and right before meeting his gaze again, ever so briefly only to have it drop almost immediately. Hiding from him, he realized. Whatever was bothering her wasn’t something she wanted to talk about and he inwardly cursed. She wasn’t all right; he could see it and hadn’t really needed to ask, but she also wasn’t going out of her way to find an opportunity to explain the reason why.
Making a snap decision, Rex knew what he had to do. “Are you done with that, Ahsoka?” Her gaze snapped back to his with the use of her name in public and he pointed to her tray, continuing. “If you are, let’s go.”
Catching his meaning almost immediately, her eyes widened and her grateful expression told him he’d done the right thing; it was all he’d wanted to see and wasn’t disappointed. She nodded, her unspoken agreement all the encouragement he needed, and stood together.
Collecting their trays, they headed for the entrance, placing them on the recycling rails next to the door and headed out. Ahsoka seemed to be caught on a detail, her eyes having gone glassy again as she stepped through the portal.
Rex, seeing Fives was in their way, gave the ARC trooper a nod and a pointed look when Ahsoka didn’t greet him.
Fives was opening his mouth to fix that oversight when he caught Rex’s eye and snapped his mouth shut. With obvious reluctance, he stepped aside, throwing Rex a concerned look. Rex gave a miniscule shake of his head, a sign he didn’t yet know either and Fives nodded once. It was a sign he understood what Rex was doing. He should; he'd seen how close the Captain and Commander were. Fives entered the mess hall once they’d passed, Rex missing the frown he cast over his shoulder.
Rex gave his brother little thought beyond being grateful that Fives had understood not to say anything.
Lost in thought, Ahsoka’s pace was automatic and Rex stepped to her side, reaching out to direct her to the left with the pressure of his fingertips at the small of her back. She came back to herself with a shake of her head, looking at him, and blushed again as she narrowly avoided walking into a corner courtesy of his timely direction. “Sorry, Rex; did you say something?”
He shook his head, leaving his hand where it was but not touching her just in case she drifted again. “No.” Casting her a pointed look, he nodded back to the mess hall. “But Fives will be upset you didn’t acknowledge him.”
“What – Fives? When?”
Rex nodded behind them. “As we were leaving the mess just now.”
She groaned. “I’m going to owe him an apology. I’m sorry, Rex; I didn’t even notice.”
“So you keep saying; ‘sorry’ has been every other word out of your mouth since you got back.” His look turned pointed, not letting her look away as concern entered his tone. “You haven’t been yourself since returning from that bungled peace negotiation.”
“A little more happened than just the peace negotiations,” she admitted. “Where are we going?”
“Some place we can talk.”
She was quiet, following his lead, and Rex headed for the only place he could think of where they wouldn’t be disturbed; his quarters.
On planet there were few places that didn’t hold many, many troopers and, as a Captain, he had the choice of bunking with his men or having his own room. He’d opted for the latter; privacy wasn’t something the GAR was big on for its troops, but General Skywalker had insisted his commanding officers be given something.
As a result, it was the only place he knew of nearby where they wouldn’t be interrupted or watched. Without an observation deck to visit in the middle or the night, or an empty training room, it was the closest thing to privacy they'd get. And Ahsoka wouldn’t speak with him, to him the way she so obviously needed without that kind of isolation.
Ahsoka looked at him curiously as they walked, her gaze tracking down across his civvies with interest - she’d not really seen them before - and though he could feel it, he didn’t respond to that curiosity and she chose not to voice it. His concern for her was more than it should have been and he knew it; she wasn’t just his commanding officer but his friend. His best friend. What happened to her often affected him.
She had choices to make, mistakes to muddle through and a future to look ahead to. He didn't. It wasn’t about him anyway; it never had been.
Everything he did for her was to help her, to push her; to give her the tools to cope when he wouldn’t be beside her anymore for, inevitably, that day would come. He was a soldier and he would one day sacrifice his life for the greater good. If he was lucky, he’d do it saving the lives of others; he would do it saving hers.
Rex could think of no better way to go down than to trade his life for the chance she would live.
They entered his quarters without a word between them, and Ahsoka – true to form and much to his relief – took a moment to examine her surroundings as he closed the door and put his back to it. He watched, removing his blasters, as her gaze traveled once around the room before coming back to linger on the items of interest. His armor piled neatly on the locker at the foot of the single bunk, his helmet neatly on top. As her gaze drifted away, his blasters joined the pile, the holster and belt folded neatly underneath.
The bunk itself; a standard issue frame, mattress and covers – tightly creased and folded as per regulation. His pillow sat at one end and her lips twisted into a faint smile; Rex wondered what she was thinking of, but her gaze moved on.
To the small table and chair beside the bunk, the data pad on top next to the only decoration in the room that made it his; the small two inch mock up of a blaster rifle, a clone’s helmet over one end and an inscription in Mandalorian in raised letter across the base.
Ni su'cuyi, gar kyr'adyc, ni partayli, gar darasuum.
It had been the one and only gift Ahsoka had given him when she’d discovered clones didn’t celebrate their lifedays as other beings did. Her reasoning at the time had been that everyone deserved to celebrate even if they only did it once.
She gravitated towards it, her fingers reaching out to trace the inscription, translating it as she whispered the words. “I'm still alive, but you are dead. I remember you, so you are eternal.” Her fingers dropped back to her side and she finally looked at him. “I can’t believe you still have that.”
“It was a gift, from a friend,” he returned with a faint smile. “What else would I do with it?”
“Throw it away?”
He shot her a pointed look.
“Okay, maybe not. I’m glad you like it.”
“What’s wrong, Ahsoka?”
She sighed and exhaled loudly. "Nothing." He remained silent as she turned back towards the table, placing one hand on it as her shoulders suddenly slumped, her voice dropping. "Everything."
When she didn't seem inclined to continue, he braced himself for a discussion he suspected he didn't want to have, pushing aside the personal reluctance in favor of her needs. "Everything."
"Well, maybe not everything," she admitted, glancing back his way with the faintest of smiles. "You're back so that's something." A pause, and then- "I've missed you, Rex."
"Likewise." But she'd never know just how much. "What happened, Ahsoka? Last I heard you'd been assigned to Senator Amidala as her primary bodyguard on Mandalore; she's fine, isn't she?"
"She is," Ahsoka agreed. She turned and, to his surprise, slumped to the edge of his bed instead of taking the chair next to it. The mattress dipped as she seemed to curl in on herself, her shoulders hunching, her hands folding in her lap, looking much smaller than normal. Smaller than he'd seen her before.
Alarmed, he moved, crossing the room in three strides. "Ahsoka?"
Her eyes were swimming with tears as she looked up, meeting his gaze, and he jerked back as if she'd struck him. He'd never seen her cry. Not when injured; not when saddened; not when things had looked their bleakest. She hadn't cried when faced with death on Naboo by the blue shadow virus. Hadn't cracked when Bane had threatened to space her – he knew; he'd seen the holo.
The impact of those tears was completely unexpected, settling like a stone in his chest and the need to alleviate whatever had caused it had him moving before he consciously considered the consequences. Crouching before her, his hands settled close to either of her hips, the cool metal of her lightsabers pressing against his forearms as he searched her features for what was wrong.
"What is it?" his eyes narrowed as a thought occurred to him. "Did someone hurt you?"
"I hurt myself," she admitted on a dejected whisper, her head tilting forward a fraction without losing eye contact. She looked crestfallen. "I'm a horrible Jedi, Rex. I don't deserve to be a Jedi."
His eyebrows snapped together. "Says who?"
Staring at him, tears trembling on her lashes, she shook her head.
"You're one of the most dedicated, inventive Jedi I know - and that's saying something."
Thankfully, she laughed, reaching up to brush her hands over her cheeks but her laughter was tinged with the sound of her tears. "With Anakin as my Master, I had better be."
"Give me a name, Ahsoka," he urged. "I'll set them straight."
"Me," she whispered, her smile fading. "I'm the... I..."
"You never doubt yourself," he searched her gaze, hurting because she was hurting."What brought this on?"
She stared at him for a moment before deliberately unclipping her lightsabers from her belt and set them aside, on his pillow, her gaze never leaving his.
He understood the gesture; it was her way of saying that she needed to be just her. To be Ahsoka Tano and not Commander Tano or Jedi Padawan Tano; just Ahsoka. "I'd do the same, but," he drew her gaze to the foot of the bed, "I can hardly be more out of uniform than I am now without getting us both into trouble."
She laughed, as he hoped, nearly choking on the sound before giving her head a shake. "Skyguy would never understand."
"I'd have the chance to explain?"
Her smile, the barest tilt of her lips, flashed across her features. "Probably not." It died before truly finding purchase, tears glittering on her lashes again. "Do you... remember when we had that talk a few months back," she swallowed, searching his gaze, "the one on the observation deck about... crushes?"
He'd hardly forget it and gave her a sharp nod. His world had been off kilter for a while since she'd given him a name to label his feelings for her. It would have, he reflected, been better if he'd been able to leave them as he'd thought them to be. It had taken her leaving for several weeks and the situation on Kiros for him to come to terms with them and move forward. "I remember."
She stared at him for a moment before turning her face away and he swore he saw something akin to shame in her eyes as she did. “I’m... I like Lux, Rex,” her words were whispered, soft, as if she didn’t dare say them any louder. “I’m a Jedi; I can’t afford to. Jedi aren’t supposed to get… attached.”
“Jedi get attached all the time, Ahsoka,” he corrected her with a shake of his head, leaning forward and daring to touch her cheek to draw her gaze back his way. “You’re attached to Anakin.”
“He’s my Master; that’s different.”
“He’s… he’s a Jedi.” She faltered, not moving to break his touch, her brow furrowing, “Eventually he’ll have to let me go when I’m knighted and end up with a Padawan of my own, to be a Master like he is.”
“Like Anakin is with Obi-Wan?” Her smiled faintly. “Masters and Padawans form strong bonds, Ahsoka. Anakin’s not just a Jedi. He’s your mentor; like… your brother.” That was apt and he followed the thought through, trying to reassure her. “Like you are with the men of Torrent Company; with me.”
There was a momentary pause, heavy with meaning, before she sat back, breaking his hold and his hand dropped to his side.
"My mission to Mandalore didn't go so well," she admitted, the switch in topic catching him off guard as she avoided giving him an answer. Scooting backwards on his bunk, she set her back to the wall and pulled her knees to her chest defensively. "Senator Amidala was fine when I left her..." she paused and then winced. "I abandoned her, Rex; I left my post when I was supposed to be protecting her; I..."
Staying crouched where he was, he took in her defensive posture and slid into the nearby chair and drew it up close. "I refuse to believe you abandoned her without good reason," he told her firmly, "and knowing the Senator, she likely gave you permission."
"That doesn't make it right," she protested, confirming his suspicion.
Senator Padmé Amidala was enough like Anakin Skywalker that Rex had come to expect the unexpected with her. Watching Ahsoka as she gathered her thoughts, he realized that he hadn't actually touched on the real reason she was distraught. He waited, with far more patience than he knew he possessed, as she tilted her head to rest her chin on her knees, her hands before her face. Her fingers visibly trembled before she clenched her hands into fists.
"Lux Bonteri was there, Rex." Her tone was even, almost flat, and without inflection as she dropped the name of the young man she'd mentioned to Rex a few months ago. It didn't last as her voice shifted, taking on a note of hesitancy, and then urgency. "He... spoke out against the Separatists, claiming that he had proof Count Dooku killed his mother, not the Republic as we'd been told. The Separatists... they went crazy, claiming it was an internal matter and hauled him away."
Rex's stomach clenched; he could see where this was going. "You went after him." It wasn't a question.
Ahsoka flinched. "I had to," her eyes unfocused and words were whispered, distant, as if she was trying to convince herself more than him. "Padmé said... she said I..." her gaze snapped back to his. "I abandoned my post because I couldn't let them kill him."
"Nor should you," he agreed. Ahsoka considered the boy a friend and he'd have been disappointed if she hadn't acted. For all a part of him didn't want to hear about her and this Lux character, she needed this and he wasn't about to deny her no matter what he felt.It wasn't within him to turn his back when she was obviously hurting. "Were you able to reach him in time?"
"Barely." she exhaled a shaky breath. "It was a close one but we were able to get away from Mandalore and I - can you move those somewhere, Rex?" she looked at her lightsabers. "I can't..."
He reached down and collected both weapons, placing them on the table behind him, blocking her view with his body.
"Thanks. I... where was I?"
Rubbing her forehead with her fingertips, Ahsoka then pulled them away but didn't appear to really see them. "We left Mandalore. I'd intended to bring him here but Lux pulled a blaster on me."
"I hope you kicked him in the shebs."
She blinked and then chuckled, shaking her head. "I should have; it might have saved me what came next. He stunned me after I disarmed him. I-”
“He what you?”
That’s what he thought she’d said. He frowned. “With the blaster.”
“No, with a hand stunner.”
Which meant they’d been closer than he’d anticipated. If Rex ever met the little Bonteri boy, he’d have a thing or two to say about his treatment of Ahsoka. Stunning someone could be dangerous; stunning someone and dragging them into an unknown situation without their permission was completely unacceptable. Especially when that person was Ahsoka. His reply was laced with derision. “That wasn’t very friendly of him.”
“He was desperate; I wasn’t listening to him.”
“That’s not an excuse to stun you.” She exhaled raggedly and Rex relented, tramping down his indignation to deal with her confusion. She needed Rex the friend, not Rex the military commander who objected to his people, of which she was one, being taken against their will. He exhaled, his voice even when he spoke. “How long were you out?”
“I don't know, but I woke up on Carlac."
Frowning as she paused, Rex sought the planet in his memory. "Snow; Ice; indigenous planet-bound nomads?"
"An odd place to take you."
"Not really," Ahsoka swallowed hard. "Deathwatch was on the planet."
Rex came half off the chair before he checked the reaction, his hands clenched at his sides, reaching for the blasters that should have been there. The power of the fierce protective surge the words had wrung from him caught him off guard - and not all of it came from a soldier wanting to protect their Jedi. Or rather, it did, just not in the same manner his brothers would have felt.
He would be the first to admit, in the most private recesses of his mind, that his perception of Ahsoka wasn’t as professional as it should have been. Especially after all they’d been through recently with Kiros and Umbara; they’d been through too much together.
Ahsoka was watching him with wide, surprised eyes and Rex realized he'd caught her off guard. Mentally chastising himself for his lack of discipline, he forced himself to sit back down, but leaned forward, spreading his hands deliberately on the top of his bunk. Eyes on hers, his voice was even, measured, certain he'd heard her wrong. "He took you... where?"
"To Carlac; he'd made a deal with the Deathwatch."
"And he just... brought you along."
"You. A Jedi. The one kind of being that Deathwatch hate above all others."
She nodded again.
"Is he stupid or just blind?"
"He didn't know, Rex," she corrected softly, miserably. "He's been sheltered; he was the son of a diplomat and raised to believe differently than we do. He doesn't... didn't have any real knowledge as to the war or the factions or the sides. He just... he wanted to avenge his mother and Deathwatch was willing to help him."
"That's no excuse," Rex protested. "You could have been killed, Ahsoka!"
"I know; and now he does too." Her lips twisted. "Trust me; we won't be visiting any more Deathwatch camps. Once was enough."
Exhaling softly, he grimaced. "I'm sorry; you were trying to tell me something."
"It's... good to know you care, Rexster." She eased her grip on her legs, letting them slide a little across the sheet, but her arms remained wrapped about them and resumed her story. "I was alone in the ship with Artoo when I woke up but Lux had taken my lightsabers."
Rex felt his features tighten, acutely aware of the two cylinders at his back, but restrained himself from interrupting. Ahsoka needed to tell this story and he, to his dismay, found he needed to hear it. If for no other reason than it would help her.
"I had Artoo search for them while I went to find Lux; that's when Deathwatch appeared." Her expression changed into one he'd never seen as she tilted her head back to look at the ceiling. There was a moment as she gathered her thoughts and then sighed. "They didn't take to my presence too kindly," she admitted, “I don’t know if it’s because Lux was supposed to be there alone, or if it’s because I wasn’t… I’m not…”
Ahsoka flinched but nodded. “That’s part of it; also because I’m female.”
“Why would that matter?”
“Because women, to them, were little more than slaves,” she grimaced. “It probably doesn’t help I was an idiot and told them I was Lux’s intended instead of his bodyguard.”
“You… His… what?”
“Not one of my brighter ideas.”
No; no it wasn’t, he agreed silently even though he didn’t voice the thought; he could see she was kicking herself enough without adding his opinion to it. Ahsoka obviously needed someone to lean on; not someone who was going to tear apart her mistakes and criticize. No matter how much he wanted to.
“Anyway, so they took us back to the Deathwatch camp and put us in this tent alone together and Lux tried to explain what he was doing. Driving through the camp to get there though was… it was kind of like being back in the Trandoshan’s hands - except I had my lightsabers.”
“When did you get them back?”
“I didn’t. Not right away anyway.”
“Artoo found them on the ship,” her lips tilted at the mention of the droid. “He’d been bringing them to me when Deathwatch showed up and hid them. If he hadn’t had them, I might not have come out of there alive.”
He didn’t follow. “I don’t understand; they let you keep them?”
“What?” she blinked and then shook her head as if trying to follow his train of thought. “Let me - no! Oh no; Artoo held onto them until later when we broke out. I simply meant that they were nearby unlike when I was taken by those hunters.”
Rex nodded once, in understanding. “What happened next?”
His question brought the most unusual of reactions; her montrals flushed a deep, almost black hue and she looked away. Alarmed, concerned, his brow furrowed upon seeing her lips move but no sound come out.
Her forehead dropped alarmingly to the top of her knees. Her voice was muffled, but clear, as she repeated what she’d said, confusion clearly present in the statement. “Lux kissed me.”
He should have expected it.
Knowing how she’d been after the last encounter with the Bonteri boy, Rex had suspected it was only a matter of time before one of them made a move. What he hadn’t expected was the impact her words had.
He’d mentally prepared himself for this eventuality but nothing, nothing had prepared him for the surge of anger her words unleashed. His hands closed into tight fists, his breath catching as his jaw clenched, the idea that someone, anyone had manhandled her igniting a slow bleed of fury in his gut unlike anything he’d ever.
Ahsoka belonged to Torrent Company; she was supposed to be untouchable. Especially by some... boy.
The silence stretched between them for long seconds which turned into a minute before Ahsoka finally lifted her head to look at him. Her expression was as confused as her voice had been but laced with something had hadn’t expect to see; guilt.
It spurred him into speech. He didn’t really want to know, but she obviously needed to say it to be able to work through it. So he did what was expected of him as her closest friend; he asked. “What happened?”
She sighed and winced. “We were arguing about the Deathwatch; Lux was trying to explain that they’d agreed to help him kill Dooku to get revenge on for his mother and I was trying to tell him why it was a bad idea. I remember talking one moment and then Lux was kissing me the next when the leader of the Deathwatch came in. He… kissed me to shut me up.”
Rex frowned. “And you didn’t deck him?”
“Oh, believe me, I wanted to,” she admitted. “I pushed him away but we had an audience so I couldn’t really object without putting myself in further danger. If Deathwatch suspected I was a Jedi…”
It was hardly the romantic scenario he’d feared, in fact, it was more like… “Isn’t that considered assault on some worlds?”
That made her laugh, softly and once, but really laugh, her posture relaxing a little more. “It is, yes, but if he hadn’t…” she shook her head. “I might have given us away Rex; I was so focused on getting him to see reason, to make him see that Deathwatch was evil, I didn’t sense their approach. Lux cut me off before I could give the game away.”
Smart thinking on Bonteri’s part, Rex admitted privately for all he didn’t like the method. No one knew better than he did just how worked up Ahsoka could get when expounding philosophy on something she believed in deeply. “Did they believe your ruse?”
“They bought it initially; I was put in with some local women they’d... convinced to work for them.” Her expression darkened, guilt and pain marring her expression. “I took an interest, got to know them, I figured if I had to play the part, I might as well know what I was up against and discovered they were being kept their mostly against their will to serve at the pleasure of Deathwatch.”
“Did they all die?”
Ahsoka blinked, jerking back to look at him, confused. “What?”
“You’re blaming yourself for something; something related to these women. I can see it.” He held her gaze for a moment before repeating his question. “Did they all die?”
She exhaled, her shoulders slumping a little. “No.”
“She… she was the chief’s daughter. Tryla. She reminded me of Kalifa - remember the-”
“Padawan who died with you during the Trandoshan mess,” he finished with a nod. “I remember.”
Ahsoka smiled at him wanly, a small acknowledgement, but didn’t expound on Tryla; later in her narrative, he suspected, when the event actually occurred, he’d hear more. “I tried to convince Lux he was wrong about Deathwatch but he didn’t want to listen. I... was put to work serving drinks, Lux in particular, but he wasn’t inclined to listen to my warnings.”
“Di'kut,” “Rex interjected grimly. “And not just for ignoring your greater experience.”
“His heart was in the right place.”
“His heart?” the words exploded before he could stop them, the angry burn in his gut finding release, and Ahsoka recoiled, her back hitting the wall behind her. Despite her withdrawal, he couldn’t help himself; the words came out hard and fast, clear criticism for the boy who’d been so cavalier with her life. “He should have been thinking with his head. Putting you in danger-”
He bit his tongue, swore – and Ahsoka chuckled.
“Serves you right,” easing back into her posture, she loosely wrapped her arms around her knees, “You, of all people, know I can take care of myself.”
“Normally you’re not surrounded by Deathwatch,” the thought was chilling even after the fact; he was glad he hadn’t known before hand.
“Just Trandoshan hunters?”
“Hunters that didn’t realize what or who they’d captured. If Deathwatch had discovered you were a Jedi-”
Rex froze, biting the inside of his cheek, his fists clenching as those two words reverberated through his being and, despite the urge to release it, he inhaled and exhaled evenly before trusting himself to speak. “I’m missing something here; between you being undercover and the Deathwatch learning your identity.”
“A few things,” she agreed, visibly appreciating his restraint and return to topic, her eyes meeting his briefly to convey it before flitting away again. “When Lux wouldn’t listen, I thought I’d lost him. The leader of the group, Pre Vizsla, treated him like an equal... or, if not an equal, someone to be respected. He played to Lux’s vanity and naiveteand made promises it seemed he could keep. He played the magnanimous leader, deliberately misleading him; twisting his words...”
At her pause, he leaned forward fractionally when it seemed she was disinclined to continue. “Ahsoka?”
She didn’t answer.
“Ahsoka,” he managed to catch and hold her gaze. “What did they do?”
“It shouldn’t have surprised me,” her words were bleak as her knees drew upwards towards her chest again, resuming their defensive pose as her hands tightened around her legs. “They promised the villagers their freedom, saying that they’d leave and never return.”
Rex could see where this was headed but remained silent, letting her say it.
“He made a big deal out of it, like he was trying to impress Lux; to show that they could be good guests and comply with... reasonable requests.” Ahsoka tucked her chin to her knees, but didn’t break their eye contact this time. “Lux bought it, which I think was the point. The next day, when we went to the village, the Deathwatch brought all of us women along. It was part of the agreement, their show of good faith, or being good guests. They proceeded to teach the good people a lesson.”
“A fatal one.”
She nodded, twisting her arms at an impossible angle and folding her fingers together, visibly squeezing. “When they shot the village leader and began to burn their houses down, I...”
He jumped in as she faltered. “You couldn’t stand by and watch.” Rex reached forward to catch her hands, frowning as he noticed they were unnaturally cool; more so than normal. Without thinking, he enclosed the folded digits together between his warm palms. It left him over extended at an awkward angle but he didn’t notice; all he cared about was relieving the stricken look in Ahsoka’s eyes.
“I made myself a target, Rex; I tried to help, to save them; to give them a chance and all I did was get myself captured.”
“Did they finish burning the village?”
She blinked. “What?”
“After you exposed who and what you were, did they keep burning the village?”
“Well… no. I think they were more interested in a Jedi execution.”
“Mission accomplished; by keeping their attention on you and diverting it from their original purpose, you saved the villagers and gave them a chance to salvage what they could.”
“I hadn’t thought of it that way.”
“You’re too close to the situation.” Rex squeezed her hands and then released them, her fingers having slackened so she was no longer holding herself in a death grip. He was relieved when her legs slid back towards their semi-resting position, an indicator she wasn’t feeling so… lost. “What happened after you made them pay for capturing you?”
“You sound so... sure of that.”
“With the villagers out harm’s way and you sitting in front of me now?” he gave her a look which deliberately said she needed to work on her acting skills; a moment of levity that worked.
She grinned, as he’d hoped, the first real smile he’d seen from her even though it didn’t last and faded quickly. “They took Lux and I back to camp. I don’t think he realized until Pre Vizsla said they were going to kill me exactly what their views on Jedi were.” She sighed, drawing on the fabric of her knees with one index finger. “Artoo managed to get me my lightsabers and Lux helped me get free.”
Ahsoka stared at him for a moment - and then, to his delight, even though it was at his expense, began to giggle. “Oh Rex, if you could see your face! Yes, really. Lux may not be much of a fighter, but he did play his part.”
Somehow, Rex managed to keep the second of derision and incredulity he wanted to voice from doing so.
“Artoo helped too. He’d rebuilt the droids that Deathwatch was using for practice purposes and convinced them to help rescue me.”
“You fought with tinnies?”
Her smile was tongue-in-cheek and reached her eyes this time, her tone taking on a teasing note. “You could say that; I think there was a battle droid or two in there.”
She snorted. “At that point I was willing to take what help I could get. Lux isn’t much use with a blaster, but he is pretty handy behind the controls of a speeder.”
“In other words, you did all the work while the boy drove?”
“We all have our strengths, Rex; it’s not like I was going to ask him to take pot shots from a moving vehicle when he had a better chance of hitting me than the Deathwatch creeps. I’m used to having marksmen at my back like you, not Senators who barely know which end of a blaster to hold.”
She had a point.
“Not all Senators.”
“They can’t all have Padmé’s training,” she agreed and shook her head. “It was a running fight, but we managed to get off Carlac. And then,” her face fell, confusion written all over it once more. “And then Lux just… left.”
“He spaced himself?”
“He took the escape pod.”
So much for wishful thinking on his part, but Rex’s animosity towards the young Bonteri was personal in ways Ahsoka wouldn’t understand; in ways he wouldn’t let on. Nothing in this conversation was convincing him his feelings about the boy he’d never met were anything but justified. “Leaving you the ship and a way home.”
She nodded, leaning back against the wall and sighed. “Yeah.”
He waited, watching her, sitting back in his seat and crossing his arms over his chest, knowing she’d eventually crack and want to know what he was thinking. He kept his expression deliberately neutral, just to annoy her.
She watched him, watching her, and he could see the way she fidgeted, shifting in her seat, her body curling forward over her knees, daring to meet his gaze head on a she stretched her fingers out to gently grasp her own ankle. The silence stretched into minutes before she finally frowned. “What?”
“I’m still waiting.”
“For the part that makes you such a terrible Jedi.”
Disclaimer:Star Wars belongs to Disney and is the intellectual property of George Lucas; he created the sandbox. I'm simply destroying the sandcastles.Author's Note: Big Thanks to the individual who recommended this [you know who you are *grin*]; I couldn't notdo this once you offered the idea; thanks man!Title: Light Duty – Part 1
Characters: Captain Rex, Ahsoka Tano, Jar Jar Binks, Padmé Amidala
Genre: Friendship, Humor
Era: The Clone Wars
Summary: Set after Episode 18, Season 1; despite his protests, Rex is recruited to give Representative Jar Jar Binks basic firearms training during an assignment on Naboo. Ahsoka goes along for morale support, and to basically enjoy a lot of laughs at Rex's expense.Author's Note: Big thanks to sachariah for taking a look at this before it went live! IF you haven't read his fanfics, go read them; "When Night Falls" in particular!++++++++++Light DutyDay One"Surely you're not serious, sir."Rex's properly professional protest made his superior officer smile as he was securing the buckles to his chest plate; the first time he'd been in armor after his near deadly brush with the Blue Shadow Virus a week and a half ago. It was good to be back in uniform; comfortable.Familiar."I'm afraid I am, Rex. Now that both you and Ahsoka are out of danger, Pad- er... Senator Amidala has requested that you give Representative Binks some training.""I'll have Denal-""You, Rex," Anakin reiterated with a shake of his head. "She asked for you by name.""Wow, you must have made an impression, Rexster," teased Ahsoka from where she was adjusting her belt so she could attach her lightsabre once more; they'd only justbeen given leave to exit the medbay - and had their personal effects returned - and neither had wasted any time in securing them properly."Respectfully, sir," Rex informed the General stiffly as he was pulling on his vambraces and gauntlets, flexing his wrists to make them sit just right. "I'd rather take a long trip out a short airlock."With a chuckle, Anakin shook his head. "The only way I could get the two of you out of here this soon was to promise a lighter series of duties for the next week. It's your choice, Rex; you can stay here," he waved one hand at the sterile medbay, "or be outside on Naboo for the week with an hourly session daily with Jar Jar."Staring at his General, Rex wondered if it was really an option even as he seriously considered pulling off his armor and climbing back into the bed. Even as he contemplated the idea, he knew he couldn't. Another week of enforced inactivity and he'd go crazy. Reluctantly, he glanced at Ahsoka as she stepped up to Anakin's side before looking back to the older Jedi.His words, when he finally spoke, were reluctantly resigned. "By name, you said sir?""You've made an impression, Captain," Anakin assured him with a grin. "Trust me; Jar Jar's not so bad when you get to know him.""Putting a weapon in that walking accident's hands, trained or not, is inadvisable, General. I'd rather give blasters to younglings.""Hey!""Not you, kid.""You'd better not be talking about me," Ahsoka told him smartly, crossing her arms over her chest. "I'm not a youngling.""Rex knows that, Snips," Anakin grinned at her before addressing Rex's comment. "And you more than proved it down there." She practically preened under the praise and Rex bit back a grin. "You're going along for some R and R and to help Rex keep Jar Jar in line.""I'm not going with you?""You can't," crossing his arms, Anakin looked from Ahsoka to Rex and back. "You're under the same restricted duties that Rex is for now, Snips. I'm not going to risk either of you in a war zone when you're still recovering.""Sir-""I know," Anakin held up one hand to forestall his protest. "I'm asking a lot of you, Rex, taking on Ahsoka and Jar Jar at the same time, but there's no one else I'd rather leave her with and the Temple is too far away. Until you're both fully recovered, the medics don't want to chance hyperspace travel.""Then Senator Amidala is staying as well?""Everyone who was exposed is taking leave unless they're on round the clock care, Snips."It was grim statement, but an honest one, for Rex knew that at least two of his troopers were still in the throes of the disease, fighting off a recurring infection that had the medics and medical droids alike stumped. These, he suspected, would be taken back to Coruscant or Kamnio for 'care'.Neither man was one Rex expected to see alive again; whether by the virus or at the hands of the Kaminoians, the outcome would be the same.Shaking off the dark thought, he glanced to Ahsoka. "There are worse companions than the Commander, sir. Thank you.""You drop in ten; get together what you think you'll need; I've been assured there's a training pistol in the armory on planet that you can assign to Representative Binks."Which meant it only shot low powered bolts; joy. Not looking forward to assignment, but knowing that orders were orders considering the alternative, Rex nodded reluctantly. "That's very thoughtful of the Senator, sir. I appreciate the consideration.""We're trying to train him, Rex, not kill you. You'll be fine.""Yes sir.""And no underground bunker exploring for either of you this time; you're under orders to take it easy." Anakin grinned and turned to go. "Remember; drop in ten.""Oh boy, a week on Naboo?""With Representative Binks, kid," Rex reminded her. "That alone is going to make this the holiday from Hell.""Which one?""Pick one; I hear Corellia has nine of them."Ahsoka grinned. "Come on Rex; it won't be that bad.""It's Representative Binks; the same clumsy Gungan who nearly got you killed," he returned evenly, his blood simmering towards anger with just the memory.He'd moved too late to stop the shot, realizing belatedly what the Gungan was doing almost as he pulled the trigger, able to see the bead he'd accidentally taken on Ahsoka from his angle in the back. Senator Amidala had stepped in but only succeeded in deflecting it. While probably saving Ahsoka's life in the process even as she'd been placed in further danger, it was the fact someone might not have gotten there in time, that he hadn't seen the danger until it was too late, which had preoccupied him through the later stages of his recovery and filled him with certainty. Jar Jar Binks was to be avoided at all costs.His orders, however, made that impossible. "It can't get much worse.""Only if you let it; I, for one, can't wait to get back to the fresh air."Rex shook his head as the young Jedi raced out of the medbay with an appearance of her old energy. A showcase that she was recovering but not yet fully recovered; he caught sight of her as she paused outside the door to catch her breath only to take off again immediately.Shaking his head again, he found he couldn't find amusement in the scene.Instead, her taking a moment to catch herself was all too eerily reminiscent of her collapse in the lab. A collapse that had haunted his nightmares through their time in the medbay and often resulted in his eyes snapping open in the middle of the night to seek out her sleepy, prone form in the next bed over. The constricting sensation across his chest that always accompanied the dreams never failed to ease until he saw her chest rise and fall with even, unlabored breathing.He forced the memories away; the lab was behind them now and Ahsoka was safe if not yet completely recovered.Until they reached Naboo anyway.Jar Jar's actions in the tunnels, his hasty blaster shot that could have kill Ahsoka, might not have been deliberate, but the outcome wouldn't have mattered if that bolt had connected a fraction higher. And now the incompetent Gungan was being given a second chance. Even if the blaster being used was a training one, Rex was certain that if there was a way for it to turn deadly, the Gungan would find it.It was his job, apparently, to ensure that didn't happen.++++++++++The trip planet side was relatively uneventful, Ahsoka shifting with excitement as she grasped the safety straps, obviously eager to be on the ground. He stood beside her and, despite his misgivings, found some of her excitement bleeding into his outlook and lifting his spirits. After watching her on that medbay bunk, so still and lifeless for so long, it was good to see she was finally recovering the spark she'd lost.True to form, she was out of the drop ship the moment it touched down in the hangar bay, hitting the deck with a stumble that made her laugh with a loud, "Whoops! Hi Padmé!" before turning to greet the dignitary that awaited them.Rex exited the ship more sedately, striding to Ahsoka's side as she turned a smile on the worn, but present, Senator who'd been with them in the bunker. The only member of their greeting party, it appeared. He stopped next to the Padawan and offered a crisp salute. "Senator Amidala."She waved away his salute. "Padmé, Captain Rex," she told him stepping forward to place one hand on Ahsoka's shoulder with an answering smile. "After everything in the lab, I think we can avoid the ceremony.""As you wish, my lady," he offered with a bow of his head, borrowing Anakin's name for her. "You're looking well.""And the both of you look better than when I last saw you." She turned her attention to Ahsoka and dropped her hand. "Your Master didn't come with you?""He got called away.""And left you here with me?""Yeah," Ahsoka informed her with a shrug. "It happens."Rex chuckled. "He's left her in my charge, Senator; General Skywalker tells me you've made a specific request."Padmé motioned for them to follow her and Rex and Ahsoka did so, heading for the exit. "It's not a request, I'm afraid," her tone was anything but apologetic. "May I speak plainly?""Skyguy does," Ahsoka offered cheekily, "and Rex prefers it."His only addition to the conversation was a nod of confirmation."Jar Jar could have seriously injured or killed Ahsoka down in the lab if with his carelessness, Captain. For all Representative Binks has aided in our relations with the Gungans, he's still… misguided in some of his actions.""I owe you thanks for your quick thinking, Senator," Rex informed her solemnly. He wasn't one to hash words, but he was very grateful that the Senator had seen, and interfered, with the Gungan's actions. Especially with what it had nearly cost her.She slanted Rex a look over Ahsoka's montrals as the led them out of the hangar bay and into the surrounding corridors of the Nabooian palace, accepting the acknowledgement with a nod as she forged ahead. "I know there's little hope of actually training Jar Jar as a warrior, but I would feel more comfortable if he understood the potential consequences of his actions and the dangers of wielding a blaster so carelessly."Put that way, Rex was having a hard time thinking of a way to tell her no. She'd obviously seen the same possible outcome he had down in the bunker and had ordered General Skywalker to volunteer Rex's help in trying to set the clumsy Gungan straight.It was a flattering as it was frustrating."May I speak plainly, Senator?"Padmé nodded and motioned for him to go ahead."Respectfully, I believe what you're asking me to do may not be possible."Her answering smile was amused. "I agree completely, Captain Rex.""Then why train him?""Because," Ahsoka piped in, "then we can at least say we tried."Rex cast Ahsoka an assessing look. "You don't put a green trooper into battle without basic training, kid; Representative Binks is worse than green, he's what the Kaminoians would call defective. Not battle qualified. There are plenty of other jobs which might suit him better."Padmé, to his surprise, laughed. "While I don't disagree, Captain, there were people who voiced concern about Jar Jar being the Representative for the Gungans in the Senate and he's acquitted himself quite well. I understand your hesitancy and concern," her gaze met his, dropped with a speaking look to Ahsoka, and then came back, "we can't let the past crowd an opportunity for the future.""Senator-""Jar Jar is often sent with me on missions, Captain," Padmé cut him off, her tone firm. "I would sleep better knowing he had more than a passing knowledge of what a blaster is supposed to do."Sound reasoning if he'd ever heard it, but Rex wasn't ready to capitulate just yet. "A field manual would be just as instructive.""But not as experienced." Padmé stopped outside a set of doors and opened them, revealing a small suite. "I'm hoping Jar Jar might absorb some of yours, along with your respect for the death you wield," she nodded to the dual blasters slung on his hips, "by proximity if nothing else."Which made that, that.Knowing which battles to pick was the trait of a good soldier and Rex, always a good soldier, capitulated reluctantly. He really didn't have any choice since it was basically a Senatorial Order, but better that he give in gracefully than be forced to accommodate. "As you wish, Senator.""Padmé," she corrected again before smiling faintly. "Take heart, Captain; it's only for a couple hours a day."Entering the room behind her, Rex was given no chance to respond as the lanky Gungan seated on one of the couches rose to his feet. "Padmé!""Hello Jar Jar," she stepped aside. "You remember Captain Rex and Ahsoka?""Mesa would not forget such awesome warriors," Jar Jar exclaimed, putting one hand in the air - and promptly catching a beaded wrist band on the gently swirling overhead fan. "Oie! Aie! Help! Mesa caught!"Rex closed his eyes and started to count backwards from ten as Jar Jar hopped and skipped around the room, trying to free himself. A soft, cool hand against his drew his gaze to find Ahsoka looking at him with a touch of empathy. Then she was gone, darting across the room to the hung up Gungan."Relax, Jar Jar," she told him, ducking as one of his arms shot out and nearly clipped her before springing upwards to his shoulder.Rex bit the inside of his cheek to stop a chuckle as Ahsoka was nearly thrown off the Gungan, forcing her to grab his flopping ears to maintain her balance. Jar Jar flailed, his head coming back with the force of her grip, nearly dropping Ahsoka to the floor as he completely lost his balance and was dragged a little before finding his feet again.She - they looked ridiculous.Scrambling up, Ahsoka managed to grab his arm and nearly toppled when she let go of his ears to bend forward and try to free him. Her perch was precarious and Rex stepped forward, suddenly alarmed when she looked about to be launched into free fall. "Ahsoka-"She let out a yelp as she grasped the Gungan's wrist, losing her balance completely as Jar Jar spun, sending the Togruta flying back towards Rex. She collided with him, sending them both to the ground, Rex rolling with the impact to curl about the small Jedi, his arms wrapped protectively around her as his armor took the brunt of the impact.There was a shout and a crash and then silence as things settled.No hopping Gungan; no cries for help, just the silence - and then the chortle against his breast bone. Looking down in alarm, he saw Ahsoka's montrals shaking and, for one heart stopping instant, thought she'd been injured by the impact.And then, her face turned towards his, and a smile split her lips and she began to laugh, laugh!, with fervor. Her head shook first as she dropped her forehead back to his armor. Then, as he watched, she began to shiver, the force of her laughter making her whole body shake and his arms tightened on reflex."Oh gosh, Rexster – you should…" she giggled uncontrollably, "you should see your face!"++++++++++Fortunately for Rex, he wasn't put through the agony of Jar Jar's bumbling company for too long. Once sorted out, Pamdé had explained to the excited Gungan exactly why Captain Rex and Padawan Tano were there, later confessing in an aside to Ahsoka - which she promptly told Rex when they were alone - that she hadn't promised Jar Jar training for fear Rex would decline.If it had been an option, and not an order, he would have.Dinner with their host hadn't been as painful as it could have been, but Rex had not enjoyed the Gungan's company; even when the klutzy creature had spilled his first course all over himself. The highlight of the meal had been Jar Jar needing to leave it to clean up.That, fortunately, had deemed the end of their first evening, with Rex accompanying Ahsoka for a tour of the grounds; or rather, the Padawan showing him what her Master had apparently described in great detail from a time, about the time Rex had been ejected from his maturation chamber, when Skywalker had saved Naboo.It proved to be an enlightening and, surprisingly enjoyable, evening despite what morning would bring."This isn't so bad, Rex," Ahsoka insisted, looking about the practice field where Jar Jar would be joining them for his first lesson in about twelve hours. "Look; it's long and narrow and there's not a lot that he can hit aside from the targets at the other end.""Except us," he couldn't help the grumble. "I don't like this, kid; he nearly killed you down in that lab. Why are we giving him a second chance?""He hit my lightsaber, Rex; it takes more than a blaster bolt to short it out.""You didn't see him take aim, Commander; if Senator Amidala hadn't knocked him, it would have hit you about," he tapped his breast, just over his collarbone, "here.""Rex-" she shook her head, planting her hands on her hips to give him an exasperated sigh, "-not everyone is as handy as you and your brothers are with a blaster. At least Jar Jar tried to help.""Against rollies? I've know about the invasion of Naboo; even if he hadn't fought in it, which he did, the dullest di'kut knows you can't take out a shielded droid with a blaster!""Di'kut?""Mando'a," he explained without hesitation; it might have been the first time she'd heard him say it, but it was certainly unlikely to be the last. "Means... idiot; waste of space," he flashed her a faint, unapologetic beginnings of a smile, "someone who's useless."Her grin reappeared with an impish bent. "So not what I thought it was."He almost asked her to elaborate but decided against it. He could imagine what she'd thought it had meant considering his less than rosy attitude towards the Gungan. "The point, kid, is that his shot could have seriously injured or killed you. If he'd aimed lower, it could have ricocheted back towards the rest of us.""You're not exactly unprotected," she slapped a hand against his armored forearm."No; but the Senator and Representative weren't."She blinked."Their protective wear was HazMat kit; if you hadn't deflected the shot away, it could have easily struck and killed one of them.""Which is what brings us here in the first place," Ahsoka sighed, turning to continue their walk, "Rex, can I ask you something?""Yes, sir."She stopped, leaning against one of the rails that overlooked a large garden, staring out across the verdant landscape as the sun was creeping towards the horizon for setting; the season was summer so the light was up longer and Rex watched it bathe her in golden light. Ahsoka looked pensive for the first time since they'd departed the medbay."Do you…" she frowned, shook her head, her Padawan braid swaying as she considered what she was going to say. Her brow furrowed, her lips taking a deep, almost cynical tilt, the expression striking him as far too serious for one who'd been excited simply to leave the medbay hours earlier. Finally, her look one of intense concentration, she clasped her hands together, elbows on the rail, but didn't look at him. "Did you ever think Anakin might not make it back in time?"Dozens of times, he admitted silently, but wasn't about to say it aloud. He and his brothers, while each unique, had been bred for the war they were fighting and the apprehension of Doctor Vindi had been a part of the reason they'd been created in the first place. For all the sorrow he'd felt covering the dead down below, he'd also felt pride; they'd done their job and done it well and if the price was their lives to ensure Naboo was safe, so be it.He hadn't, however, been willing to count Ahsoka's, nor the Senator's, among them. Neither was a clone; neither had been bred to fight or die for the Republic. While each had chosen, or been chosen, for a life of service, that life would be twice, possibly three times the length of theirs."I was prepared to die if necessary, for the good of Naboo, Commander." He told her honestly, if not completely so and omitting the fact that he hadn't been prepared to watch her die. "It wasn't a matter of the General's ability.""So… you didn't believe he'd come back with a cure?""The General has a way of surprising us when we least expect it; I never doubted he'd return.""Rex - did you think any of us would be around to see him?""If I had credits, I'd have put them on you and the Senator," he stepped to the rail next to her, staring out at the glorious sight of the Nabooian golden hour; it seemed magical. Like a place out of time."Until I collapsed, right?"He said nothing.Ahsoka looked from the vista to her hands and he saw them clench together from the corner of his eye. "Padmé… Padmé tells me you caught me; when I succumbed."He had. The image had followed him through to their rescue and recovery; how her eyes had rolled back in her head and she'd swayed. How she'd crumpled before his very eyes, upbeat and believing in her Master to the last, trying to give them hope even as she surrendered to the virus' effects.He'd been across the room when it had happened and wasn't sure, even now, how he'd made it to her side before the Senator or Jar Jar. Maybe he'd vaulted a module or tank; maybe he'd simply moved with a speed he'd never before exhibited. All he knew was that one moment she'd been slipping, as if in slow motion, towards the floor and the next she'd been in his arms.Despite everything he'd been through, that particular moment wasn't one he would forget any time soon. The fear. The anger. The helpless feeling that had welled within him - all of it demanded a voice it would never find. His words, as a result, were no less than accurate, if underwhelming."I did.""And that you took care of me until Anakin arrived with the cure?"He nodded. He'd had brothers to worry about but she'd become the focus of his attention the moment she'd passed out. His vibrant, optimistic Commander; his impish and cheeky friend had been on the verge of death and there'd been nothing he could do about itAhsoka looked up at him then. "Thanks Rex."Her eyes were luminous in the setting sun, open and honest, and he could see just how much she meant what she said. It left him humbled - and suddenly, uncomfortably, aware of the fact he'd done for her what he wasn't sure he'd have done for anyone else. Watching her like that had done something to him, inside him, he didn't fully understand. He didn't know what to say and simply offered her another nod, looking away.It shouldn't have surprised him when she reached out to grasp his arm and regain his attention, but it did and he looked back to her guardedly."I mean it. I know you had your brothers to worry about and the Senator and Jar Jar, but… having you take care of me gave me strength. Even if Padmé hadn't told me, I'd have known, Rex." Her expression was solemn. "You gave me the will to hang on until Anakin came back. I ow-""If you say you owe me your life, kid," he interrupted, not at all comfortable with the angle of the conversation with it so far beyond his scope of experience it was laughable, he tried to deflect her, "I'd say we're even. I save you; you save me. It's what friends do; or so you told me."She blinked.Once.Slowly.And then cocked her head at him thoughtfully. "I did say that - and... we do, don't we?""If you still feel you owe me, kid" he extracted his arm from her grasp by stepping back and folding them behind him, "you can help my sanity survive this mission with Representative Binks and we'll call it even."The impish, exuberant smile she flashed him was enough to lift his spirits and banish the memories of having seen her at her weakest moment."Done!"They turned to make their way back inside, a tight and warm, effusive glow settling around his heart. A glow he did his best to ignore as she launched into a story about Skywalker.++++++++++Day Two"Mesa hold it like this, Captain Rex?"Rex ducked under the swing of the Gungan's arm, hearing Ahsoka snicker from somewhere behind him, lifting one arm and intercepting the limb on his forearm as it came back his way. "Representative Binks-""You've got it backwards Jar Jar!" Ahsoka called 'helpfully' from the sidelines."Backwards?" he lifted the blaster towards his face.Rex's hand shot out to grab it, wrenching it from his grip before he blaster burned his face, a reflex from dealing with over eager shinies. Though… maybe next time he'd try and check the impulse. Or maybe not. General Skywalker wouldn't appreciate his 'friend' Jar Jar ending up in the medical bay under Rex's watch. Flipping the blaster around, he depressed the catch for the power pack, doing what he'd wanted to initially, and popping it out. Closing the chamber without it, he stepped back.By the time Jar Jar came to a stop facing him again, he was looking at his hand in awe. "Yousa super fast, Captain! Mesa never even feel it!""Training, sir," Rex spun the slightly off balance blaster on his palm, gripping the barrel and offered it back to the Gungan. "Something we're trying to give you."Jar Jar proffered the sloppiest salute Rex had ever seen. "Yes sir, mister Captain sir!"Somehow, Rex managed not to rub the bridge of his nose and the headache that was building behind his temples. The last twenty minutes had been thoroughly unproductive with the Gungan having arrived with the training pistol and intent on starting to shoot right away. "Good. Take the blaster."Jar Jar reached for it, looking like he was about to engulf the whole of Rex's hand--and Rex pulled his hand away. "Not like that, sir.""Then howsa?"Looking over the Gungan's shoulder, Rex nodded to Ahsoka. "May I borrow you, Commander?"She was on her feet and at Jar Jar's side in a heartbeat. "What can I do?"He offered her the blaster. "Take the blaster."She cocked her head at him and reached out slowly, watching his face for hints, and he subtly nudged the stock into her palm. Her fingers closed about it, with a deliberateness that made him want to smile. He wondered idly if she'd ever held a blaster before that moment. With a sharp nod he let it go and her arm dropped before she caught herself, taken by surprise with the weight."It's heavier than I expected.""Even more with the power pack," he agreed, turning his attention to the Gungan again. "When you take a blaster from anywhere, always use the stock of the blaster," he pulled one of his own from his hip holster and demonstrated the different pieces as he spoke. "The power pack slides inside the stock here, with the power indicator on the top at the back of the slide; the slide is at the base of the barrel." His personal weapons were modified but the pieces were essentially the same. "Never grab the barrel unless you're looking to get shot.""Uh Rex-"He flashed Ahsoka a quelling look. "Or unless you're in the middle of a combat zone and know what you're doing or offering it to an ally. Fair?""Very.""May I continue Commander?"She nodded, still examining the blaster in her hand with mild interest. An idea struck him and he motioned to the blaster Ahsoka was holding. "Take the blaster Representative Binks.""Yousa can call me Jar Jar, Captain," the Gungan insisted for the third time that morning as he turned to the Padawan. "Wesa be good friends!"Ahsoka had already turned the blaster around to proffer it to Jar Jar properly. This time the Gungan followed her lead and acted with deliberation, picking the blaster up almost daintily.With a flick of his thumb, Rex hit a switch on his blaster to knock down the power to the lowest setting, spun it around with a flourish and offered it to Ahsoka. "Sir."She looked startled. "What?""It occurs to me you spend all of your time around us and don't know how to use our weapons in the event something should happen to yours.""It's a lightsaber, Rex," she made no move to take it. "It's neigh indestructible.""Lightsabers are moye moye shiny! Jedi weapons are moye pretty!"Neither of them acknowledged the excitable Gungan. "But it can be lost or taken from your person," he insisted. "A little target practice doesn't hurt, Commander."She stared at him for a moment before reluctantly reaching over and grasping the blaster pistol's stock in one hand. He didn't let it go. "Rex?""You'll want both hands, sir. They've been modified and pack a bit of a kick even at the lowest setting."She did as he asked and he released the barrel, the blaster only dipping a little this time as she compensated."Should mesa be using two hands too, Captain?""No sir," Jar Jar's power pack was still in his hand and, despite his clumsy appearance and actions, the Gungan was stronger than he looked. "We'll work on form today.""There's a form to shooting?" Ahsoka grinned as he shot her a look."When practicing, there's a shooting stance," he informed her evenly. Taking up a position between his trainees, he smoothly pulled his other blaster pistol from its holster and demonstrated. "Feet shoulder width apart, one foot slightly back from the other; no, sir – slightly apart and turn – there." He glanced at Jar Jar as the Gungan attempted to copy him.A flying leg kicked him in the back of one knee, dropping him heavily onto the joint, was his answer as Jar Jar hit the ground, tripping over his feet. The next fifteen minutes were spent picking themselves up as Jar Jar accidentally took them down, one after the other, while trying to help him up.Taking the power pack out of the blaster had been the best decision he'd yet made.Shortly thereafter, Rex called a halt to their first session, promising the Gungan they'd pick up again at the same time the following day. Ahsoka went off with Jar Jar to assure him he'd done fine his first day when Rex couldn't, on principle, offer that praise.Holstering his weapons, he headed for the barracks, intending to take a shower and find something that would reaffirm in his mind his role as the Captain of the five hundred and first's Torrent Company. Something that wouldn't, in any way, involve clumsy Gungans.TBC
Caught up on this and Rex teaching Jar Jar is hilarious.
@earlybird-obi-wan - Thanks I had a lot of fun writing this for all Jar Jar is painful to actually attempt
Title: Light Duty – Part 2
Characters: Captain Rex, Ahsoka Tano, Jar Jar Binks, Padmé Amidala
Genre: Friendship, Humor
Era: The Clone Wars
Summary: Set after Episode 18, Season 1; despite his protests, Rex is recruited to give Representative Jar Jar Binks basic firearms training during an assignment on Naboo. Ahsoka goes along for morale support, and to basically enjoy a lot of laughs at Rex's expense.
Author's Note: Once again, a big thanks to sachariah for taking a look at this before it went live! If you haven't read his fanfics, go read them!
The following afternoon, after another hilariously disastrous attempt at training the Gungan with marginal success, Rex was cleaning his blasters in an attempt to keep hold of his patience, sitting at the table in the common area of the rooms they'd been given, when Ahsoka entered with a grin.
"Jar Jar thinks you don't like him."
"Well I know that Rexster," she returned impishly. "You could try not to show it though."
"I'll take it under advisement, kid."
She giggled, plopping down into the chair across from him. "He is a handful, isn't he?"
It was an understatement that got her a snort.
Handful was a company of shinies who hadn't yet earned their names. Handful was a bunch of cadets who thought they knew better than the battle hardened officers who were training them. Handful was a bunch of thermal dets without override codes. He corralled his line of thinking. Jar Jar Binks was not a handful, as she'd put it; he was a mobile self destruct waiting for a place to happen. If he was as adept a politician as he was a shot, the Republic was in trouble if he was ever given any real power.
Ahsoka propped her chin on her hands, her elbows on the table as she watched him.
Minutes passed as he finished cleaning one blaster, reassembled it under her curious eye, oiling it lovingly before setting it aside and then disassembled the other. The routine helped calm him, mitigating his annoyance and irritation with his current assignment. She seemed to sense when he was ready to talk again.
He was currently checking the charging ports for damage and his meticulous care with the parts seemed to fascinate her.
"Why'd you go for dual blaster pistols instead of the heavier Deece?"
It was a welcome change in topic. "I'm ambidextrous," he replied as he tilted the chamber towards the light to get a better look, "seemed a shame to waste it."
Ahsoka watched as he ran a brush over the contacts with a practiced move. "Are all troopers ambidextrous?"
He glanced at her before sliding the brush across the middle and down the sides of the chamber. "No."
"How do you know?"
He looked at her then, folding the cloth around the delicate firing contacts and brush and placed the whole ensemble on the table. "It's not something that's a genetic certainty." It was something, though, that made him feel closer to his sire. Jango Fett had been ambidextrous and dual wielded pistols; Rex felt he honored the man whose DNA had given him life by making the best use of his talents and following his example.
"Like..." she glanced at his closely cut blonde hair inquisitively but was unwilling to ask the question or unsure how to phrase it inoffensively.
"Right; like hair and eye color. Clones though we may be, it's more the muscular and cognitive abilities that were copied. Everything else is just window dressing."
"Well, it's very pretty window dressing," she returned with an impish smile. "Aren't all Captains ambidextrous?"
"Some work to be," he told her, resuming his task but without looking at it; he could do it in his sleep. "I think we all have the potential to be proficient with both hands; some just come by it more naturally."
"Like how Master Skywalker can wield two sabers?" her eyes lit up, practically shining. "He borrowed mine the other day for practice; did you see?"
"I could hardly miss it; he was dead center in the medbay," Rex replied wryly; his General wasn't exactly a subtle man and, unlike most Jedi, enjoyed showing off a little. In this case, it had worked to boost the morale of those stuck in the medbay. It had, unfortunately, been immediately before their release and deployment on their currently assignment. "Haven't you ever seen a Jedi dual wield before?"
"I saw a holo once," she allowed, "but it wasn't the same thing."
"Do you think he'd teach me if I asked?"
"And give him another chance to show off?"
She giggled. "He is a bit of one, isn't he?"
"Understatement, kid," Rex agreed wryly, making her laugh again. "I think you'll never know unless you ask."
"True," her smile was impish. "Wanna come with me? You could give me pointers on grip like you do with the blasters."
"For a Jedi, you're not bad with one." His lips kicked into a half smile. "Once this assignment is done, we'll see what the General has planned next."
"Come on, Rexter!" She rolled her eyes. "Next time we see him is likely to be on a transport here and you know it."
So the kid had picked up on the General's unconventional friendship, or obsession, as Rex thought of it, with the Nabooian Senator. Good for her. "Do you plan to ask him the moment he lands?"
"If I'm there; wouldn't it be wizard if we could both dual wield?"
"Wizard?" he echoed the phrase, trying not to laugh; it would have been undignified. "Where did you hear that?"
"Skyguy said it once to Artoo; he didn't know I was around."
Rex couldn't help it; he snickered. It started as a chuckle at the mental image of his General saying it and progressed to a full blown, head back, gut aching, side splitting guffaw as he imagined Anakin saying something so absurd. The release was a welcome one, all of his frustrations with the mission boiling over into the ridiculousness of the circumstance.
Ahsoka waited, grinning at his amusement, until he'd calmed down. "Feel better?"
"Much," he agreed with a half-smile, feeling lighter, the tension of the last few days having eased somewhat. "I don't believe you, Commander; the General would never say something like that."
"Ah, but he said it to Artoo," she returned slyly. "And Artoo records everything."
"I still don't believe you," Rex assured her, sliding the pieces of his blaster back together with deliberately quick hand motions.
"If I can get that holo, will you come with me to ask Skyguy about dual saber training?"
"Kid, if you can get that holo," setting aside his second blaster, he grinned at her. "I'll not only go with you, but I'll owe you one too."
"Anything," he trusted her not to go overboard with whatever request she might make.
"Really?" Her eyes widened, her delight obvious. "Anything?"
Silence fell between them as Ahsoka contemplated what he was offering her.
But their discussion had set the tone for the rest of the night and, for the first time since landing to begin this mission, Rex slept well.
"I said concentrate, sir," Rex ordered the Gungan with a whip like crack of his voice.
Jar Jar was standing next to Ahsoka at the line, sighting down the twenty yards to the target, his tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth, his ears tied back so not to interfere with his vision and his fingers locked around a larger version of the training pistol he'd originally brought. Rex had found it after realizing Jar Jar's hands had been too big for the holdout blaster normally used and deliberately dialed down the bolt settings.
For the first time in his life, Rex found he was wishing target practice could be done with a stun bolt.
Rex watched closely as Jar Jar leaned into the blaster, visibly trying to focus on the target and squeezed the trigger, tensing as he waited for the inevitable kick back and trip. He was surprisingly disappointed when the blaster went off, Jar Jar compensating for the kick back, the blaster bolt firing off down the alley towards the target.
But, as the Gungan stepped back, his foot caught on a crack in the flagstones. He slipped with a yelp, throwing both hands into the air, dual bolts exiting the blaster at wild angles, forcing Rex to duck and Ahsoka to scramble aside. As Jar Jar hit the ground, the blaster went off again, the bolt zinging off a pillar, ricocheted and came arcing back at Ahsoka's back.
She reacted with blinding Jedi speed to drop his blaster pistol and pull her lightsaber, deflecting the bolt away. Ahsoka let out a surprised cry as one of the other stray bolts sliced in from above before she could turn to intercept it, and scored a smoking line along her forearm.
"That's it!" Gaining his feet, Rex stalked over and forcefully yanked the blaster out of the menace's hands, checking the settings. The low power he'd placed it too had been changed. Meaning the bolts that had just been sent Ahsoka's way had been potentially lethal. If she hadn't deflected the one or moved… "We're done; you're done. Get off my target range!"
Jar Jar blinked at the Captain. "Mesa no mean to-"
"That's the problem, sir," snapped Rex. "You never mean to and you almost do every time. No more; you're not getting a third chance. Out; we're done!"
"Rex, he didn't-"
"Stay out of this, Commander."
Ahsoka's sharply indrawn breath was processed somewhere in the back of his mind as there being hell to pay later, but his focus was on the dangerous Gungan.
As Jar Jar opened his mouth to protest, a blinding, icy rage like he'd never before felt overtook him as Rex reached the end of his tether. He'd done as asked; he'd attempted to train the Republic's worst suited Representative in warfare and failed. He'd put up with this nonsense, given his best, stood by stoically as he'd nearly been shot a half dozen times.
That slight movement of Jar Jar's lips was all it took.
Rex drew his remaining blaster pistol and pressed it against the Gungan's head, leveling a look on him that was pure murder. "Leave. Now."
Jar Jar squawked and scramble away, falling all over himself, practically running on all fours to escape as he bolted for the exit. "Mesa going, mesa going!"
Silence followed his departure for a half second before the sound of a body falling down stairs and the Gungan's distinctive cries ringing back to them. There was a moment of audible scrambling before another fall and another set of what had to be Gungan cures before it started to fade. Flipping the blaster to stun only as an afterthought, Rex waited until he couldn't hear Jar Jar anymore before lowering, but not holstering, it.
"Put the blaster away, Rex; he's gone."
Ahsoka's displeasure brought him around, one eye still on the archway, not trusting that the Gungan wouldn't come back. "I want to discourage his return, sir."
"Put it away, Captain," she told him firmly, her lightsaber already back on her belt, straightening from where she'd stooped to collect his other pistol. "Jar Jar isn't going to come back."
Reluctantly, Rex holstered the blaster, turning his attention fully her way, his gaze immediately narrowing in on the injury across her forearm. "You okay, kid?"
"It's a scratch,Rex," she told him with a roll of her eyes. "Don't you think you over reacted just a little?"
No; he didn't.
He'd acted with restraint.
If he'd overreacted, Jar Jar's brains would have been spattering the wall behind her. Instead of answering her directly, he flipped around Jar Jar's weapon and proffered it to her.
"I think we're done for the day; I don't-"
"Take a look at the power settings, Commander."
A note in his grim tone must have warned her he wasn't amused for she stepped towards him and looked as he'd instructed, her eyes widening. "Full power."
"Full power," Ahsoka's gaze game back to his, "I thought you said you were going to dial it down?"
They shared a look, Rex taking no pleasure in watching the truth of what had just occurred and what could have occurred blossoming in her gaze. "Then that… this…"
"Were full power blaster bolts without enough energy to land a killing blow." He lowered his arm. "If you hadn't-"
Her hands came up, cutting him off, the mark on her arm already starting to turn black. She'd likely have a new scar; not the most auspicious of stories, but anyone who knew Jar Jar would empathize. He most certainly would. He waited for a few moments to see if she'd said anything and, when she didn't, spoke up.
"Scratch or not, we should get that looked at, Commander."
Silently, she handed him back his blaster - properly he noted - before following him off the practice range and back into the palace. Holstering the blaster only once they'd hit the main floor, Rex scanned for any sign of the Gungan and was smugly pleased to find none.
Now to get Ahsoka some medical attention.
"I'd like you to explain yourself, Captain," Padmé's expression was displeased as she barged into the common area Rex was sharing with Ahsoka several minutes later. "What's this I hear about you pulling a blaster on a Representative of Naboo – and what happened, Ahsoka, are you all right?"
Rex didn't even glance up, though he could see Padmé's expression change from irritation to concern in a heartbeat. He didn't move from his task, keeping his fingers firmly locked about Ahsoka's wrist while the other hand applied a salve to her wound.
"I'm fine, Padmé," Ahsoka reassured the Senator with a smile, "Just a little training accident."
"Representative Binks shot her." Rex corrected immediately on the heels of her trying to brush it off. Her arm twitched in his grasp, but he didn't let her go as he reached for a bacta patch. "Hold still, kid; I'm almost done."
Padmé was silent for a moment before exhaling a loud breath. "So you pulled a blaster on him, Captain?"
"He wouldn't have left otherwise."
"If you'd simply asked-"
Rex's head came up, his expression dark. "He's had two free shots at the Commander, Senator; I wasn't going to give him another."
"A training bolt can't hurt-" she stopped herself, looking at the injury Rex was covering with the bacta patch. "That doesn't look like a training bolt."
There was silence for a minute, until Ahsoka broke the tension between he and Padmé. "Jar Jar must have accidentally flipped it back to normal power when he tripped."
"And shot you."
Ahsoka nodded, glancing his way.
"And what were you doing on the firing range?"
"Giving Representative Binks some competition," Rex supplied, finishing his task and finally releasing Ahsoka's arm. "Everyone should know the basics in wielding a blaster."
"I agree; are you any good, Ahsoka?"
"I'm not bad," the young Togruta cast a sly look his way. "Almost as handy with Rex's blasters as he is."
"She's a quick study," Rex agreed, addressing the Senator. He wouldn't go so far as to say Ahsoka was as good as he was, but she was certainly more proficient now than when she'd begun; scarily so. "But I wouldn't go that far."
Ahsoka shrugged. "I don't know if or when I'll ever use the skill, but it's nice to know I could if I had to."
"I'm glad to hear it wasn't a total waste then." Another sigh from the Senator; resigned this time, her anger seeming to have dissipated. "I take it you've not had much success with Jar Jar?"
"Representative Binks is as hopeless a cause as I stated upon my arrival. I-" he took a deep breath, head up, shoulders back and stated his case plainly. "I cannot train him any more than I already have."
It pained him to admit it, but there it was. He, Captain Rex, of the infamous five hundred and firsts Torrent Company, was incapable of training a clumsy Gungan.
"I can't say I'm surprised, Rex," Padmé empathized surprisingly. "Were you at least able to get him to hold it properly?"
"He can take it apart and put it back together with supervision," he held up his fingers, tapping off what he had been able to train the klutz on. "Without it, he's liable to put the tibanna gas chamber in backwards and blow himself and the blaster to pieces when trying to fire."
"Noted," her amusement was obvious. "What else?"
"He can hold it properly in the right stance!" Ahsoka interjected.
"If he concentrates." Rex quantified.
"Which is normal for Jar Jar," Padmé agreed. "Were you able to get him to fire and aim in the right direction at all?"
"Forty percent of the time he gets distracted easily and it throws off his concentration."
"A sixty percent success rate?" She sounded impressed. "Better results than I had hoped, Captain Rex."
"But less than I'm accustomed to getting."
"Jar Jar is not your typical recruit." Her smile was wry. "I'm told you've terminated his training."
"Are you sure you won't consider continuing for the last two days?"
"Yeah Rex, it could be fun!"
"I'm sorry Senator," he cast Ahsoka a quelling look; even she wouldn't sway him in this. "I've done everything I can with him." And if he shoots Ahsoka one more time…
The strength of his reaction to Ahsoka's injury struck him belatedly as excessive as the murderous intent which crossed his mind. He was a clone, bred and grown to get shot at. He and his brothers got shot at every day; their Commander, Ahsoka got shot at every day, yet this was somehow different.
Somehow, the thought of Jar Jar, of anyone, doing her harm, stuck in his chest like an inactive vibroknife – not unlike his visceral reaction to her collapse in the lab.
It shouldn't have affected him like it had; death was a part of life, of his life. An accepted risk and reality. She was a Jedi, a soldier - albeit a young one - and her life expectancy was only longer because of her connection to the Force and the lightsabre she bore.
It shouldn't have mattered that his Commander was facing death, only that she'd met it in the line of duty without hesitation.
He shouldn't have let his concern for Ahs- his Commanding Officer, interfere with his objectives. Shouldn't have put anyone's well being, hers especially, above the mission. His personal failure troubled him, turning his thoughts darker than they'd been before, analyzing without understand his disturbing actions and reactions to Commander Tano's plight – both on the range and in the lab.
In the end, with nothing in his experience to guide him, he came to one conclusion; it was done.
Rex was relieved to put the mission behind him but, for all he felt guilty for being unable to fulfill his task, he was glad to be rid of it.
"I understand Captain; better than you know." Padmé shook her head and approached where he was standing next to Ahsoka's chair. "Pulling a blaster on him aside, I can't thank you enough for having the patience to teach him what you could. I feel better knowing he's somewhat better prepared for the missions we'll be on."
"Respectfully, Senator, if you want to be prepared, bring along a couple of clones and leave the Gungan behind."
"I'll take it under advisement, Captain." She assured him, offering her hand. "Once you return to the Resolute, perhaps you can pick a couple of your brothers you think would be suited to the position on an… as needed basis."
"It would be my pleasure, Senator," he assured her, clasping, shaking and releasing her hand swiftly while offering her a nod. "Thank you."
"But Rex, what are we going to do with ourselves if we're not training Jar Jar?"
"What else, kid? You think you can out shoot me; you get to prove it."
True to her word, Padmé didn't hold Rex to the remainder of Jar Jar's training and his remaining time on Naboo was blessedly Jar Jar free. He and Ahsoka spent a good deal of their time on the shooting range, Padmé joining them on occasion when her schedule permitted, and proving to be an excellent shot.
When General Skywalker landed several days later to collect them, Ahsoka bounded up to her Master with the whole of her renewed vigor, a grin Rex feared would split her face and the exuberance he'd so missed, and asked the question that would, eventually, fundamentally change her fighting style forever.
Jar Jar is a walking, shooting and everything disaster indeed.
I love all these little viggies! They are all really well put together, but you don't get the impression that Ahsoka and Rex are more than friends. They can't afford that and you do a really good job in writing their characters.
One cool thing that I would like to see though is Anakin gaining Rex's trust back. They are really good friends but it is different after the Umbara arc. I think you should have one set after season 5 episode 3 where they are about to head off Onderon. Ahsoka should pull Anakin aside and tell him to talk to Rex about what happened on Umbara. I know you usually just write about Ahsoka and Rex, but you have made it known that Ahsoka has seen the friendship between Rex and Anakin is strained. Being the good friend she is to both of them she wants to set matters straight between them and encourages Anakin to have that conversation with Rex on their way back to Coruscant.
I like this latest one, though I feel sorry for Jar Jar. (klutz that I am, I fear I wouldn't be up to Rex's training standards, either).
Why don't you write that, Serenara?
I thought about it, but I'm really not that good of a writer. I've tried before, but I just can't seem to get everything right. The reason I asked Jade_Max is because she's such a good writer. She'd be able to portray that scene better than I could, or anyone else I know.
Never, turn down writing a story because you feel you aren't good enough! The only way to get good enough is to do it. I'll be glad to beta it for you if you wish.
@earlybird-obi-wan - thanks Jar Jar is always such an entertaining character to explore. He's such a klutz even though he means well and the resulting disaster is just sadly entertaining *grin* glad you enjoyed it, thanks!
@Jedi Knight Serenara - What a lovely thing for you to say; I'm very flattered - thank you for the compliment! Keeping everyone in character is always tricky but, I think, if you can hear them in your head, you've done something right. and I agree with Alexis; you should write it. If you'd like, I'd be happy to co-author it with you to help you out... or, like Alexis, offer to beta.
@Alexis_Wingstar - thanks I feel bad for Jar Jar too, but I mean, sometimes he really does bring it on himself *laughs*
Jumping in to say - with regards to all of these viggies - that you've done such a wonderful job overall with portraying the deep, abiding friendship that Rex and Ahsoka share. They have so much to learn from and teach one another, and I love how you handle their characters with grace and insight as they do so. Really, really good stuff!
@laloga; Thanks so much These two are so much fun to write in any context, but friendship more than any other one. Having them play off one another to grow and develop is such a challenge, but it's one I've just been enjoying so much! And you, and your feedback and help, have been invaluable on a bunch of these so...
For those of you who have not seen the new episodes for Season 5 - this Vig is about episode 2 [again - lol]
Title: Onderon II
Characters: Captain Rex, Ahsoka Tano, Lux Bonteri
Genre: Friendship, Angst
Era: The Clone Wars
Summary: Set during Episode 2, Season 5; Ahsoka's reunion with Lux isn't all she hoped it would be.
The debriefing was short and sweet, and Rex knew, looking around the freedom fighters of Onderon, he had his work cut out for him. These were men and women forced from their homes by the strength of their principles and, while formidable and admirable, not exactly expert warriors.
They were ill equipped to deal with the droid occupation; the trio of leadership was visibly at odds, the tension between them unhealthy for the movement. Yet, he wasn't here for fixing their leadership. He was here to teach them some of the guerilla tactics he and his men had perfected and pass along some of the lessons they'd learned the hard way.
Pulling out a datapad, he double checked the training regime he'd cobbled together, adding a couple of notes the new intelligence had provided.
"Ma'am?" he looked up to see the woman who'd offered to help get their supplies; Steela… Steela something; much as he prided himself on his attention to detail, his focus had been split at the time of their introduction. He put his datapad away.
She smiled faintly. "Just Steela, Captain Rex."
"Rex," he offered with a nod. Civilians liked to eschew titles and he'd learned to reciprocate the same courtesy when it was offered.
"Captain Rex," Steela insisted as she matched his steps, steering him towards several milling groups. "If you're going to be training us; it's better to keep that distance."
He agreed, but had also found it never hurt to make the offer; helped 'break the ice' - as Ahsoka had once told him. "Of course."
"How much help do you need with the supplies, Captain?"
"A dozen men and Commander Tano."
A moue of something crossed Steela's face as she looked away.
Rex followed her gaze to his Commander and Bonteri were speaking together in low tones. Ahsoka's head was cocked, a smile playing about her lips as she laughed and shook her head at something the boy said. She looked young, eager, a sparkle in her eyes as she, in turn, make Bonteri laugh.
Carefully controlling his own expression, Rex considered Steela from the corner of his eye and was surprised to see irritation on her features.
"She's not really a Jedi, right?"
"But she's so young!"
"Apparent age is not an indication of experience or ability," Rex turned away, keeping one eye on Ahsoka and the Bonteri boy, his tone deliberately even. "Commander Tano is a highly respected member of the Jedi order; she wouldn't be here if she was incapable. Rest assured, ma'am, those lightsabers on her hips are for more than just show."
"I just put my foot in my mouth, didn't I?" Steela smiled ruefully. "I'm sorry, Captain; I didn't mean to disparage your Commander."
"Many who encounter her make the mistake of underestimating her abilities." He shrugged, leaving it at that. It wasn't an acceptance, but he'd made his point and he turned his focus back to the task at hand. "The men you recruit to collect the supplies will need rope and large nets or travois - if you have them."
"That's something we do have," Steela excused herself and departed to collect the men and supplies they would need.
Rex, not needed for that organization, and at a loss for something to do until they had the supplies, pulled out the datapad and resumed making his notes, one eye still cast towards Ahsoka. He couldn't help himself. He knew the difficulty she would have with this encounter and took the opportunity to visually assess the young man who'd so caught her fancy.
Shorter than he was, Lux wasn't, in Rex's opinion, much to look at. Average young looks to his way of thinking. Brown hair, messy and unkempt - sloppy - like one of the holostars Ahsoka had shown him on a whim.
Bonteri's uniform was flashy, upper crust and expensive looking; as if the young man had decided to pull something from his closet to dazzle the droids instead of destroy them. Though how he'd go about the latter, Rex wasn't sure; the young Senator carried no weapon he could see. Yet, he knew better than to take that at face value after the kid's underhanded treatment of Ahsoka and their subsequent adventure to Carlac.
As he'd told Steela; apparent age had nothing to do with ability; and for all Ahsoka and Lux appeared to be the same age, he knew his Commander had years on the boy. Still, for all her experience in the field, and all the boy's inexperience, he'd managed to catch her by surprise. As a result, Rex would watch his step.
The kid wasn't stupid, just naive - which made him dangerous, and Rex wasn't about to underestimate him.
After that brief, and less than impressive, assessment, Rex found he still couldn't pin point what exactly was the draw for Ahsoka. Lux Bonteri might have been better than average looking, Rex wasn't exactly a judge of male attractiveness, but otherwise seemed very much a young man playing at war.
His past treatment of Ahsoka aside, Rex wasn't sure if he'd have liked Bonteri anyway; he came across as spoiled, entitled and more than a touch arrogant.
With the way Bonteri had treated Ahsoka in the past, Rex's opinion of the kid was about as low as it could go before being outright hostile. He wasn't looking forward to working with him but Rex was able to put his personal feelings about the young Onderondian aside and focus on his true purpose.
Not the training of the rebel cell, though that was certainly a strong secondary objective, but to be there for Ahsoka in what he knew was going to be a rough assignment for her.
An assignment that was going to get interesting, no doubt; if he read the look Steela had shot his Commander and the ensuing clipped comments correctly, he suspected she was jealous of Ahsoka's time with Lux. Or rather, the young Bonteri showing an interest in the Padawan.
Teenage drama had never interested him, but in this case he was emotionally invested.
Bonteri had already botched and endangered Ahsoka's life once and that grievous error in judgment was one Rex found he couldn't forgive or forget. Ahsoka was well able to take care of herself and seasoned enough to know when to avoid a situation, but she had a major blind spot when it came to the Bonteri boy. The kid, who had put her at risk once and was liable to do it again if he hadn't learned his lesson, was a wild card for her reaction.
If her assignment to Mandalore was any indication, she'd risk a lot to ensure his continued well-being.
As Ahsoka had often done the same for him, it irked him to know the little di'kut earned the same respect; especially since he knew it wasn't reciprocated.
Steela caught his attention with a hand wave and a whistle, giving a brief instruction to those who would be coming to collect the supplies, and led the way into the forest. Rex followed, glancing around at the dozen or so who were accompanying them, Lux and Ahsoka falling in near the back as he stepped beneath the canopy.
The trek wouldn't take long, maybe twenty minutes, and as the camp disappeared behind him, Rex's instincts warned him of someone approaching from his blind side. Glancing back, his hand falling to his blaster, he deliberately left it where it was as Lux Bonteri distanced himself from Ahsoka and fell into step with the clone Captain.
"If you have a moment," Lux looked around as they ducked around one of the larger trees. Stepping closer, he young man nodded off to the side, an indication that he wanted to distance themselves a little more from the group and Ahsoka, who was tailing them, a few steps back. "I'd like to speak with you; alone."
"Of course." Rex hid his personal dislike for the boy under a veneer of professionalism. Other than their shared friendship with Ahsoka and common enemy, as far as Rex knew, they had nothing in common. If Bonteri was about to try and justify his actions on Carlac or some other kind of nonsense, he had a surprise coming.
Rex caught Ahsoka look from him to Bonteri and back and made a motion with his hand to let her know that this didn't involve her.
Their boots crunched in the leaves and detritus as they walked for a few minutes in silence, Rex casting a sidelong look at the boy Ahsoka had told him so much about and reviewed his assessment. He still looked like a holo star. As he confirmed his earlier findings, Rex found himself slightly was amused that, despite his chosen career path, that the young Senator was at a loss for the words to begin. So Rex made it easy. "What can I do for you?"
"You can explain."
Words Rex wanted to turn back on him but he doubted the kid was talking about Carlac. His brows furrowed, searching for the context - but Lux didn't elaborate. "Explain about what exactly?"
There was an underlying hostility to the name of the planet that Rex didn't follow, unable to fathom just where the question had come from. As far as he could tell, there was no context and he answered as honestly as he could. "It was a successful planetary reclamation operation early on in the war."
Inexplicably, Bonteri's jaw hardened, his eyes darkening with what Rex could only label as rage. "And when you assaulted the planet, why didn't you take prisoners?"
"GAR policy, sir; hostiles are eliminated unless they surrender."
"Hostiles." Lux's voice turn cold. "My father was a man doing his job on Aargonar and you and your ilk killed him without provocation. I've read the reports, Captain; their position was assaulted by the republic army and they were forced to defend themselves!"
Mindful of Ahsoka's presence several feet back, Rex managed not to snap back at the upstart. He kept his tone carefully neutral though his temper spiked. "My ilk."
"Clones," Bonteri hissed, "I know what you are, Captain; I don't approve of you being here."
"You did ask for the help of the Republic."
"We asked for the help of the Jedi Council," Lux snapped back tightly. "Of Ahsoka and Masters Skywalker and Kenobi; not you."
"The Generals chose to include the person most capable of getting the job done; me." Rex slanted a hard look at the child to his side. "Like your father was, sir, I am obliged to follow orders."
"How dare you presume to-"
The venom in Lux's tone was the last straw and Rex stopped, turning on the young man with a frown. "I presume, because you father undoubtedly killed many of my brothers before he died and I don't hold you responsible," he bit out tightly. "Honor him for what he did; as a solider and a man and let the pass rest."
Watching the shock and indignation bloom on Lux's face was almost worth it but stopping drew Ahsoka's attention and she closed the distance before Lux responded.
"Is there a problem, boys?"
Starting at Lux, watching the boy watch him, Rex didn't feel obliged to enlighten the Padawan. Lux stiffened under that gaze, going impossibly more rigid with Ahsoka's presence. Having pulled Rex aside to void her involvement, Rex suspected he wasn't feeling the need to enlighten her either.
"No problem, Commander."
"Lux?" The Padawan stepped between them.
"It doesn't concern you; stay out of this, Ahsoka."
Which was not, Rex reflected inwardly, the way to get her to step away. He watched as her expression went from friendly to closed, turning his way with a deliberate move. "Rex?"
"I said stay out of it; this is between me and the clone."
There was a flash of irritation in her eyes and Rex held his tongue; he knew what came next. He could see it in the depths of her azure orbs. Ahsoka had never liked being told what to do by anyone, least of all someone who was disparaging her friends - even if it was another friend - and she had always been, Rex knew with a surge of satisfaction, particularly protective of him.
"And I asked a question of you and Rex," she countered, all Jedi Commander in that moment, never taking her eyes from Rex's. "Captain?"
"He's asked about the assault on Aargonar, Commander."
She frowned, not placing the reference - which wasn't surprising since she hadn't been Anakin's Padawan yet.
"It's where he and his kind ki-"
"Kind?" There was a note in her voice that belied years on the battlefield the Bonteri boy couldn't hope to match. "Rex and his brothers are human men, Lux; they're not a kind. They're flesh and blood like you or I and they deserve your respect!"
"They killed my father!"
Irritation slipping from her like water, Ahsoka blinked and turned incredulous eyes to the young man,. "Now? You picked now to bring it up? We're getting ready to train you, all of you, on how to help free your planet from the very people your father believed in and you're rehashing history?"
"He was my father!"
"Rex didn't kill your father, Lux."
"You don't know that.
"For all you know he wasn't even on Aargonar at the time!"
"I was on Aargonar," Rex conceded, knowing it wouldn't really help but unwilling to let his Commander fight this battle for him. Honesty was ingrained in him and if a little part of him took some pleasure in turning the screws on Bonteri, so be it. "Torrent Company and the five hundred and first were charged with assaulting the main base and the bulk of the enemy forces though, not the outlying posts."
"He'd say anything, Ahsoka."
"If Rex says that's where he was, that is where he was, Lux."
The young Senator glared at her and Rex drew his attention, trying not to like the friction between them when he knew Ahsoka's feelings for the boy. "I may not have been a part of that particular assault, Senator, but I do regret your father was a casualty of the campaign."
"A nice way of saying you'd have shot him if he was shooting at you."
"It's war, sir," Rex's response was surprisingly diplomatic, even to himself - but then, he'd put that battle behind him a long time ago. "The unfortunate truth is that there are casualties on both sides."
"Lux, I know you're hurt, but Rex didn't do it; you can't blame every clone for the actions of a few who were following orders."
"Your father was fighting for the cause, the leader, who eventually killed your mother. I know you miss them, but don't you think it's time to put that conflict aside and move forward? Don't you want to honor their memory with legitimate action instead of looking to place blame?"
Lux looked from one to the other and then nodded once, sharply, his expression closed and grim despite the fact that Ahsoka's words seemed to have gotten through to him. "For Ahsoka's sake and the sake of my people, I will learn what you have to teach me, Captain, but that doesn't mean I like you."
Rex said nothing, biting his tongue on the comment that the kid didn't know him not to like him. His fingers twitched, itching, to take his blaster and stun the annoyance just to end it.
Lux had accused him of something from a battle that had been years ago; Rex's own grievance with the kid was barely months old. But, out of respect for Ahsoka, he said nothing. Would continue to say nothing; this was neither the time nor the place to call the Bonteri boy on his actions with regards to the Padawan.
The day would come, but that day wasn't now when they were forced to be allies.
Lux moved away.
"Boy, you sure know how to make friends, don't you, Rexster?"
Ignoring her tease, Rex smiled faintly and nodded her way, tilting his head towards Lux when she made no move to follow. "Go with him, Ahsoka."
She blinked, surprised and decidedly undecided. "Are you sure?"
"It's where you want to be," it was plain to see the crush she had on the boy hadn't faded despite her impassioned defense of him, and while Rex didn't like it, he could do no more than accept it, "maybe you can convince him I'm not the bad guy here."
"Gee Rex, why not just ask me to win the war in a day?"
"You need a challenge," he teased.
"Are you sure?"
With one last look, she turned and left, catching up with Bonteri while Rex watched and then, as they began to speak, turned his attention away and back to the path, picking his way quickly through the brush to join the advanced scouts to locate their supplies. This was what he was good at and why he was here; he refocused on his objective and deliberately put the Padawan and junior Senator from his mind.
He had a job to do and intended to do it right.
Great story and now looking forward to see the episode