It had been a year and a half since Rex had turned traitor on the Republic -- or rather the Empire had turned traitor on him.
He still had his helmet and his armour at the bottom of his pack, but these days he was no longer a soldier, except of fortune. It wasn't that he liked the life of a mercenary. Simply that he wouldn't have been able to live with himself had he stayed in service of the Empire. Not that the Empire would let him live if they found him now. Chances were slim that they'd find him. He no longer looked like the perfect soldier he'd been and few clones remained in the Empire and fewer every day.
There was a clone, sitting in the dark at the end of the bar. The helmet on the table was one of the new, "storm" -- Rex resisted the urge to spit -- trooper helmets, but that was definitely a clone sprawled out next to it; Rex would know that face anywhere, from the mirror to the battlefield to a forgotten bar on the edge of the galaxy. The clone was busy trying to drink himself to death, by the looks of it. Poor sod.
It wasn't like that was a surprise. Ever since Clone Order 66 had gone out, all the clones who had chips were dropping dead. The light caught the scar on the edge of the clone's face and Rex's breath caught in his throat.
Rex made his way through the bar, limbs slow and heavy as if moving through bacta. He sat across from Cody, slamming his feet on the table.
"Fuck off, bounty hunter," Cody said. His blaster was on the table right next to his helmet. He reached out, ignoring both to down another shot.
"Nah." Rex put his own helmet down and pushed his hair out of his eyes. To force Cody to look at him, he grabbed the next drink from the line -- this place served alcohol by the meter.
Cody did look up at him. A flicker of recognition passed through his eyes. "You got a ship."
"Yeah. Stole it." It was a lie and Cody would know Rex was lying -- the stormtrooper wouldn't know the bounty hunter was, though.
"Gonna have to arrest you for that -- but I'm finishing my drinks first."
"Whatever," Rex said. Inside he was boiling. He was offering Cody a way off this rock and what was Cody doing? Getting even drunker -- hell, if he drank anymore he'd start seeing things that weren't there. Aw hell. Was that what was going on? Rex reached out and pushed Cody's arm back against the table.
Cody sighed and picked up his blaster. "Or not. Lead the way, scoundrel."
That was probably the best performance Rex was going to get out of Cody, so he got up and lead the way. Thankfully his ship wasn't far, but was still out of the way. Cody shot the hyperdrive clamp off the hull.
"Watch the paintjob," Rex said. He kept his bounty hunter accent firmly on -- he'd gotten it from Cad Bane, who was territorial with hats but liberal with accents.
Once they were inside the ship though, the accent dropped entirely. "What the hell, Cody, are you trying to get yourself dead?"
"Fuck," Rex said, because what else was there to say? "Why?"
Cody tossed him the blaster. "Killed Kenobi, didn't I?"
"He'll be surprised to hear that." Rex threw his helmet -- Rako Hardeen's helmet -- at Cody.
Cody caught the helmet, one-handed. One couldn't say the bioengineers of Kamino hadn't done their job properly, because Cody was still blindingly drunk, but his reflexes were as sharp as they'd ever been. Cody held the helmet to the light. He looked back at Rex. "You look nothing like Hardeen."
"Ain't trying to be Hardeen," Rex said, Cad Bane's accent over his words.
"And you sound nothing like Bane." Cody tossed the helmet back. "Are you trying to be Fett?"
Rex bristled. "I'm my own man."
"Good for you," Cody said.
At which point Rex got tired of dropping hints that Cody wasn't picking up. He loved the man, but he could be oblivious with the best of them. Rex got into the pilot's seat, took off and punched them into hyperspace.
Cody sobered up halfway through the trip. Somehow he managed to avoid Rex even harder while sober that he had while drunk. Finally, once they'd dropped out of hyperspace, Cody emerged wearing some of Rex's clothes. He'd shaved and cut his hair. He looked more like Rex than Rex did, these days. Ah, fuck it. Rex was going to shave too. Wouldn't want Kenobi to try and take his head off again.
Damn near succeeded too. If it hadn't been for Sabé and her Rebellion passphrase... Eh. No use wondering about might-have-beens.
So the two of them landed the ship -- it was a two-pilot ship, ideally, even if it could be handled by one -- and ventured out into the desert. It was like stepping into a furnace. Rex almost choked on Tatooine's dry heat. He'd barely stepped foot in the planet and he already had sand everywhere; it was really irritating.
From the dune behind them, Kenobi called Rex by his bounty hunter name, so only Rex turned around. At his side, Cody had gone deadly still and kept staring at the horizon.
"Hey," Rex said.
Kenobi was staring at the back of Cody's head with his hand on his lightsabre. "You brought a friend."
"Yeah. If he ever turns around." Rex took a step forward, not sure if he was trying to protect Cody from Kenobi or Kenobi from Cody.
Behind him there was a slow shuffle of feet against sand -- Cody turning around. In front of Rex, Kenobi's hand left his lightsabre. He was staring past Rex like he'd seen a ghost.
"Commander Cody?" Kenobi's voice barely sounded like his own, all strangled.
"For my sins," Cody said. There were two slow thumps against the sand and Rex had to turn around to figure out what the hell Cody was doing. Cody was kneeling.
That was just embarrassing. Was he still drunk? Rex rushed over and pulled Cody to his feet.
Cody briefly resisted then went along with it all too readily. He fell in Rex's arms and wept. Rex hugged him.
"Commander," Kenobi said.
Rex passed Cody over to him. Kenobi staggered under the weight and threw a betrayed look at Rex. Rex smiled. Cody stepped away from Kenobi. It has his turn to throw a betrayed look at Rex.
Kenobi reached out and cupped the side of Cody's face. "It wasn't you."
Then Kenobi kissed Cody.
Look. It wasn't like Rex didn't know Kenobi was in love with Cody and pretended that Rex was Cody in the dark, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt. Rex turned away to look at the horizon, trying to figure out what had so fascinated Cody earlier.
Someone grabbed the back of his collar and kissed him.
Once his eyes got used to the sun's glare, Rex could see it was Kenobi. Kenobi let him go, only for Cody to kiss him.
Right. Talking could wait.