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Star Wars: A Brother's Choice

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Fox rolled over, grabbing at the blankets. There was a little sunlight landing right on his eyes and that annoyed him, so he tried to duck his head. His bunk bed was so soft...! He honestly couldn't remember the last time he'd ever thought that that thin excuse for a mattress was soft, but he sure did now! He pawed at one of the blankets again and mumbled something, not wanting to get up. Fox cracked one hazel eye open. That was...odd. Where were his brothers? Where was Crys? Why wasn't Jagger snoring in his ear or Contrails babbling in his sleep? And where the hell was Kote?! Fox scrambled up, looking for his vod'ika. He blinked his eyes for a few minutes and scrambled around under the too soft blankets, getting way too tangled up in the process.

With a cry, he rolled off of a couch and smacked into a carpeted floor. Another inch and he would have brained himself on the caff table. Fox started breathing heavily, not exactly sure where he was. He had a strict policy of not going home with his lays and he didn't think he'd forget it, no matter how drunk he was. Fox grunted some, clawing his way out of the blankets. A quick examination revealed that he was dressed in his all-blacks and his lower armor, so that meant he hadn't gotten naked. And, weirdly enough, he did not need a shower. Fox groaned a little bit and tried to feel out just how deep he'd stepped in it. He didn't think he was still drunk, but he did know that he wasn't in the barracks and Master Siju was going to kill him for being late.

Again. Because this wouldn't be the first time that Fox had come staggering back to the barracks needing a shower and aching in places that he didn't need to ache. And no wonder he'd caught the bouncer bolt just under his ribs. He'd been too sore from a Besalisk General (may the Force help his troops, poor bastards) to really move like he needed too. Kote, however, had gotten enough of his inhaler and capsules to last another month or two. That meant that Fox could take a week or two off from hitting the streets. Fox groaned loudly and picked himself up. Maybe working three shifts in a row wasn't his brightest plan, but it was all the plan he had. What else was he supposed to do? Let Kote die?

And that was another depressing thought. Kote's hut'uun di'kut of a brother had forgotten that he didn't get rations like the rest of them did. Sure, Alpha-79 was decent about slipping Fox the leftovers, but it was bound to be past 0600 hours. Breakfast would have came and went. Kote was probably huddled in their bunk, sick and scared, hoping that no one would hurt Fox.

"Are you up yet?" Senator Padme Amidala padded into what looked like a living room, holding a plate of food. Fox's belly growled, reminding himself that he hadn't eaten since sometime earlier that night. And that had just been a ration bar and some water. Fox tried to pick himself up and looked somewhat decent, but that failed when the blanket tangled around his legs again and he almost fell flat on his shebs. Again. "How do you like your caff, by the way?"

"Do you have cream?" Fox kicked himself as soon as he said it. She was a pfassking Senator! And a fripping Queen! Of course she had freaking cream in her freaking refrigeration unit! Fox grabbed the blanket and almost threw it across the room. He rubbed his mussed up dark hair, not sure of what to say. The Senator looked like she'd just gotten up, clad as she was in a loose shirt and loose pants. Of course, she didn't have hair that was spiked up in every possible direction. No, her hair was caught up in a very nice braid and Fox pinched his other arm to stop those thoughts in his tracks. "And... I'm sorry for crashing on your couch last night. It won't happen again, I'll make sure of it."

"It's my fault for making you stay out so late." Senator Amidala passed him the plate of food and Fox attacked it. He almost moaned, not used to the flavors and textures of fresh food. Eggs, some sort of fluffy bread drenched in syrup, meat on the side, a little bit of fruit... It was so good that Fox finished in about five minutes and started licking the plate off. Senator Amidala freaking handed him (him! A clone trooper!) caff with fresh cream in it. Fox drained that quickly and wiped his mouth off on the back of his wrists. "And Ahsoka wasn't kidding. She said that clones ate more in one sitting than most people eat in one day."

"No offense, but ration bars suck shebs." Fox tried to clean off the rest of the crumbs. That meal was too good to waste, okay? He got up quickly and carried his stuff to the sink. "Look, I would help you clean if I could, but I'm already in deep poodoo for being out so late. I don't want my Jedi to get any madder than he already is." He shuddered some, not wanting to make the Chagrian and angrier than he already was. Fox grabbed at another bit of offered food and ate that, too. Padme, he noticed, did look a little bit concerned.

"Are they not feeding you?" she slowly asked. Fox shrugged some and looked over at the rest of his food. He needed to get out of here before he got in any more trouble than he already was. The last thing he needed was to get in more trouble. He was on thin ice as it was: Siju was just plain tired of him and his troops didn't trust him. He showed up drunk and reeking of sex too much, but what was he supposed to do? He had to take care of his little brother. He couldn't just let him go hungry. "Do you need some of that for later?"

Fox nodded, not believing his luck. "That...that would be awesome. Please?" He watched her with his hazel eyes, not sure if he was really seeing straight. Was a Senator really making food for him? Fox rubbed his eyes some, but he took the container of food with a nod of the head and started running to get back to the barracks. As far as he knew, he hadn't been sleeping around. He'd just been so tired that he crashed out on the couch. That was all. He was allowed to get tired, right? Fox really did hope so. He dashed into the barracks, went running for his bunk, and went headlong into a very pissed Master Siju. Fox tried to stop himself, but his boots weren't treaded right (they were too old) and he plowed into the man anyway.

Siju yanked him up with the Force and threw him a few feet. Fox landed with a grunt. "Where were you last night?! I thought that guard duty would keep you out of trouble, but clearly I was wrong!" The Chagrian pulled himself up to his impressive height and his horns seemed to bristle with every second he looked at Fox. Fox gulped. "So. Who did you sleep with this time?"

"No one." Fox gulped some. He was getting the bad feeling that Siju didn't believe him. "I promise, General! I worked three shifts in a row and I passed out, okay?! I passed out!" He knew he was yelling at his General, but he didn't really care. "I didn't sleep with anyone, but Crys and Fixer owe me credits, so I would like to collect." He shuddered some. "And Kote. General, please... I need to feed Kote? If you're going to punish me, can it please wait?"

"You were guarding that Senator." The General crossed his arms. "Did you frip her last night? Finally decided to start being a man and not let others take you? Or do you stupid clones like that more? And what are you carrying? If that's more stimulants, I'm going to have to report you to Kamino, Fox. Your own men don't trust you and you're a waste. We should send you to the front line where you'll be out of my misery."

"Vodie!" Kote came running into the room as best he could and threw his arms around Fox. The clone was about fifteen, but years of sickness and bad nutrition had stunted his growth and his mind. The smaller clone scrambled into Fox's arms and coughed harshly, his thin chest heaving from that small effort. Kote nuzzled his cheek gently, his eyes closing slowly. Fox kissed his brother's cheek. "Missed you, vodie. Why'd you leave me again?"

"I was very tired," Fox softly said. He sat down at one of the battered chairs and ignored the Jedi in the room. "Look, I brought you breakfast. Real food." He opened up the top and let Kote dig in. He tried to ignore the Jedi, but he knew this was a bad idea.

Siju cleared his throat. "This isn't over, clone."

"Yessir." Fox knew it wasn't. He just hoped he wasn't transferred to the front lines this time. He tried to ignore the dread in the pit of his stomach as Siju marched off. Fox looked back to Kote and reminded himself that it was worth it. It was worth anything to care for Kote.

Chapter Text

Fox rubbed his face some, trying to figure out where he went next. Dealing with Padme, as nice as she was, seriously cut into his time when he could be out hitting the streets and looking for money. The GAR had told Fox up front that he was going to have to care for his little brother. Fox didn't mind it. He would never be able to forget that scared child, looking up at him from a shivering squad of defective cadets. He would have taken all of them if he could. But something had called him to Kote and so he'd hidden the cadet in his barracks. That was, until Master Windu found out. It hadn't gone very well for him, though the Korun could have been much harsher with him. These days, being spoken down too and lectured would be so much better than losing Kote.

He sighed a little bit and rubbed at the stubble before getting up to shave. Clones were not paid. They didn't get any money other than what they could scrounge up or bum from their Jedi. Kote couldn't afford to not have his medication. Fox could only bum so many credits off the Jedi before he was sent away. Working extra shifts was okay, but he rarely got paid. He had to have twenty credits a week. That meant he had to have two partners at the very least. Fox glanced over at the ad'ika sleeping, still wrapped up in his blankets. Siju would never send him away. He was too good at what he did for that. Now transfer him over to a general who hated him? That was clearly a possibility. It might happen or it might not

Sevs sneered as he walked into the refresher. "Whatcha doin here?" The cocky ARC was fresh off of Kamino. The only reason why he was the Coruscanti guard was that he had failed his final training course. And the only reason why he wasn't dead was because Shaak Ti had seen fit to stop killing clones for minor things. The burly young clone snapped a towel under Fox's shebs, making him jump and yelp. "Thought you would be out on the streets, doing that sort of thing. They done the thing to you so you can't have kids yet? Cause you're dealing with that Senator?"

Fox rolled his eyes some. "It's called shaving. I'm old enough that I have to shave every morning so my face doesn't get rubbed raw. You'll understand it if you live long enough." He dodged the next popped towel and grabbed the data tablet to listen to the audio file for the day's commands. He was back on guard duty, Sevs was leading a patrol down the Crimson Corridor, looking for some Nautolan terrorist, Ace and Crazy Legs were dealing with the Jedi (guard duty for them! Yay!), and it seemed that Bust-Up was shipping out with the 786th. Fox wished the older clone luck with that. Bust-Up was good at what he did, but the 786th was known for taking a lot of causalities. General Taysume was not known for being careful and the Togruta's men paid for that with their lives.

Fox swiped two ration bars and two bottles of water from the kitchens. He ate and listened to the news, letting Kote snuggle up with him. After he was done, he kissed his little brother good bye and got ready for another day of guard duty. Fox wondered if he could go to sleep under all the armor and if anyone would even notice. The man huffed out a small sigh as he walked. He looked around some, making sure that no one was looking, before he jacked a stim into his arm. Fox groaned some as the rush hit him. He hadn't gotten much sleep last night. Nerves and dreams of that Senator he was guarding. Jerking off was one thing, but jerking off to the face of a Senator and a queen? That was a surefire way for Fox to get put down if he ever heard of one.

He showed up ten minutes early and stood beside her door. People tended to try and kill VIP like her, so it was in the Jedi's best interest to keep the VIP safe. And that was where Fox came in. It was his job to help her and make sure that she wasn't killed. Fox might not have been the best, but he wasn't going to let that get him. He had a job to do and he was going to do it. The man waited some, shifting from foot to foot. He could deal with this. He could watch over her and make sure that she wouldn't be hurt or killed. Padme didn't want to mail order a Mandalorian bodyguard (he would be a slave and sexually available to her), so the Jedi needed to provide security for her.

The red armored clone waited and set up his guard. He was okay with doing this all day if he had too. It was far better than getting shot at. So he waited and he stood, making sure that he would keep himself calm, but waiting. The clone knew what he was doing. He put his game face on and made sure that he would be ready for whenever she came out. Fox figured that he wouldn't get breakfast again. It had been a fluke, a one time thing. But after five minutes, the door opened and Padme slipped into the hall. She did look a little worried. Fox stayed still and hoped that she would let him do his thing in peace. He liked her, and he was clean, but he didn't want to explain what he picked up from a Trandoshan bounty hunter several years ago.

The Jedi didn't have to bother with a sterilization procedure. A STI had taken care of that two and a half years ago, Kix had confirmed it: Fox was fertile, but he was at less than half for a clone. That meant three quarters for a human. You got used to it.

"You're here early," Padme noted. She was wearing a blue and gold gown with some white bodice work. Fox allowed himself to admire it some before slipping inside. He took his helmet off and stood at attention. He needed to go on and get this over with. "Breakfast?"

"You don't have to feed me," Fox mumbled. He touched her hand some and tried to imagine what it would feel like to be able to touch a woman because he wanted too. Not because he was forced to do things to take care of his brothers. But Fox smelled something warm and sweet. The ration bar would keep him going, but it wouldn't fill his belly. He would usually just deal with it and get lunch from a friendly or two, but he could deal with the hunger. He'd dealt with it for years on Kamino, after all. "I'm okay, Senator. I've dealt with worse. It's my job to keep you safe."

"And you can't do that if you're hungry," Padme challenged. She handed him a frosted donut and a small tumbler of caff. "You have cream in there, too. Since you like it so much." She flashed him a little bit of a dry smile. "I figured that you would be used to eating this."

"I'm used to eating on the run." Fox bolted the food down and felt bad that he couldn't share it with Kote. But first things first: he had to protect this Senator with his life. If he messed this one up, he was going to get put down. Kote would either follow or starve to death. There was a lot riding on his shoulders and Fox squared them as he walked out. He could do this. He had to do this. For Kote.

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The caff really made him feel good after he took the stim. He was almost seeing double, he was so alert. Fox tried to keep it together. This was almost the end of the line for him. That actual end of the line would be Skywalker and Fox didn't think he could survive more than a few months under Skywalker's "leadership" or lack thereof. Why he didn't get more good men killed was beyond him. Fox just tried to keep it together. Maybe drinking the entire thermos of caff in one sitting was a really bad idea. Not only did he have the jitters times then thousand, he also had to piss. Probably like a fatheir. That would not be a good idea, especially if he had to walk out on her. He was supposed to go before, not during.

Fox really couldn't do anything right, could he?

He watched the Senators and their staff with hooded eyes, trying to remember if he had ever met any of them in a back alley. Zam Wessel? Yes. She had shifted into something that was barbed and taken him just to watch him scream and writhe. Then again, she also paid so well that he'd been set up for three months. And that was with buying pizza on every Friday. Orn Free Taa was built like every male Twi'lek down there. His pretty little assistants weren't slaves. They were bodyguards. Fox knew from personal experience that those ladies packed a punch and knew how to use it well. He didn't know much about Senator Amidala, so he listened to her audio file and tried to soak things up. He needed to know as much as he could about her.

At some point during the break, Skywalker showed up. Fox took the chance to use the refresher. Yes, he got some looks. Yes, he also knew that most of the Senate saw clones like living furniture. Not really men. Just droids made of flesh and bone that were created to die. Yeah, Fox hated people like that. But what could he say or do? It wasn't like he could hope to get in a fight with them and not get destroyed. He finished up, washed his hands,and waited for them to be done making out in an unused classroom. Skywalker had a new spring in his step as he walked out. Fox tried to ignore it, but he didn't like the way that the Senator's eyes were a little glassy as they went back to the Senate chamber.

Maybe it was being forced to listen to boring speeches all day. Fox was pretty sure that would do it to anyone. He just wanted to take a nap, but that was out of the question right now. So he stood behind the Senator, ignored the hands that touched his groin plate and his shebs, and tried to keep things going smoothly. Until he walked across Alpha-17 and Obi-Wan Kenobi making out in the halls. It looked like Alpha had Obi-Wan pinned to the wall and was actually making the famous Jedi Master shout as he did whatever he did. Naturally, Fox had a good idea what he was doing, but that didn't mean that he wanted to get an eye full. On second glance, they weren't just making out. Obi-Wan's trousers were lowered and Alpha was buried to the hilt.

Alpha gave Fox a low growl. "Either join in or go away. I don't want an audience."

"You were the one who chose this corner. Not me. I'm just trying to get Senator Amidala caff." Fox shook his head some and tried to ignore the needy whimpers coming from Obi-Wan. From the sounds of it, the Stewjonian was almost out of it. "Good luck explaining that one to Skywalker!" He darted out of sight before Alpha could throw something at him. Force, but that had made him hard. Thankfully, the groin plate covered up the evidence. But that didn't mean he wanted to walk around the Senator like that. That meant a quick trip to the bathroom, a firm right hand, a very long hand washing session, and Fox being slightly late with the caff and the cookies.

Padme gave him a look. "Did you get lost?"

"Nope." Fox bent down so he could whisper through his helmet mike. "Just ran into Alpha fripping Master Kenobi in a corner. Like they were both horny teenagers, not grown shebs adults." He rolled his eyes some and wondered what this galaxy was coming too. Kenobi had to have more self respect than that. Yeah, sure, the entire Council knew those two were fripping, but Alpha made it obvious at times. Part of that was just Alpha's nature and the rest was Obi-Wan showing that yeah, he liked clone troopers. A lot. And he wondered why half the Council hated his guts. It wouldn't do to have a Jedi Master taking it from a clone, now would it? "You want me to call the tabloids or do we keep this on the down low?"

"I think we should use this as blackmail." Padme sipped her caff and invited Fox to sit with her. He did and he also removed his helmet. When he was younger, he'd been punished for taking food from someone without permission from his mongrel officer. He'd been starved for weeks. That just meant that he tended to wolf his food now and he eagerly took the offered cupcakes. "Did you take pictures?"

"Yup. And I'll send them to you over a secure encryption." Or he would have a brother who could read do it. Fox couldn't read. It got annoying, but the helmet GPS was at least ninety percent right.

"I would like that." Padme gave him a smile that didn't quite meet her eyes and looked through him. Fox didn't like this. He knew he looked like a mess right now, but he was supposed to be taking care of the Senator. That meant that he needed to make sure she was okay. In the galaxy they lived in, that could imply keeping her safe from spells, too. Padme looked over at him. "Why are you looking at me like that? Do I need to fix my makeup?"

Fox just shook his head no. "Sorry," he lied. "I was just thinking."

"Alright." Padme turned back to her work, but Fox still had the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. He just wished that he could put his finger on it, though.

Chapter Text

Fox hurt all over and just wanted to go home. But he needed another ten credits before he had enough to pay for Kote's medication and have enough left over for a few things that he needed. He couldn't keep going to Kix and ask to be patched up for the third time in a row. Modern antibiotics killed most of thosethings, but you still had to be careful. Fox tried to have a barrier on all of them, but there were nights that he'd do anything for an extra five credits. Tonight was looking to be one of those nights, too. The bar'ves out there weren't in the mood for a clone on the street corner when they could go to a cantina and get a pretty little Twi'lek. Might be twice the cost, but you were paying for quality, too.

His stomach clenched. Fox had managed to find oil and mascara to highlight his already stunning (if you asked him) features. Some nights, it worked like a charm. Other nights he was getting no response. His belly clenched as he patrolled up and down his little patch of street. If he stayed here too long, he'd be chased off by the ones who actually owned this place, but he would work here while he could. Fox had already worked enough extra shifts to fill up another week of work. But even that wasn't enough. He needed credits. Needed credits to take care of his little brother and himself. A little bit of extra food would go a long way if you asked Fox. He didn't ever think that his belly had been full.

The ginger clone trooper tried to make himself look as appealing as possible. He smiled, said all the right things, and got himself enough to finally go home. He felt filthy and he needed a shower, but that was the price of doing business. Fix tried to ignore the scraped up knees that he had or the scratches on his palm. The clone took a deep breath as he walked and tried to slip through the busy streets. The clone really did feel horrible about himself and what he was doing. Fox forced himself not to think about it. Kote didn't know what he was doing and he never needed to know. Fox bit his bottom lip as he walked and forced himself to look at the pavement as he walked. The sooner he got back to his rack and his shower, the better. Right now he would kill to get in the wash.


The clone jumped and looked around, trying to figure out who was talking about what. Fox looked around. He finally saw Senator Amidala and he noticed that he'd wandered into one of the restaurant districts. The man swallowed some. The last time he was here, he got chased off by one of the locals with a broom stick. That was after he was harassed by the local law enforcement and just before he was run out of this part of town. Fox swallowed some and tried to explain all of this in his mind. The body oil. The mascara. The bloody scratches on his knees and the fact that he'd just ripped the knees out of his last pair of civvie trousers and the fact that his hair was mussed up and it looked like people had been grabbing it.

Because they had been. Maybe he could get away with lying, saying that his throat was sore (well, it was. It had been a long time since he'd done some of what he did), and just get the hell out of dodge.

"Senator Amidala." Fox tried backing away and looking for a good exit. She fixed him to the spot with a sharp eyed look. Fox swallowed. Oh. He was dead. He was so, so, so dead. She was going to figure out what he did on the weekends and she was not going to be happy. Fox knew from personal experience that a lot of the Senators liked playing that their aides were either virgin or inexperienced enough to pass for one. Fox could play act that, if she liked. "What a nice surprise! I was just getting back!"

"What's on your face?" She walked closer to him and smudged some of it off.

Fox yelped. "Hey! Don't do that! Do you know how long that takes me to get right?!" He heard the slight laughter and then he noticed that she had friends. Oh. Well then. It looked like they had an audience. For a brief second, he felt like turning on the other persona he had, but he didn't know if he was clean right now and the last thing he needed to do was get caught kissing a Jedi's girlfriend. Force only knew how that would go over with the rest of the GAR. Somehow, Fox was getting the feeling that the rest of the ARCs would not only pop his shebs in the shower, they would try to get some in the shower. Hey, classmates but not batchmates Fox understood, but he wasn't interested in the vode that way.

"If you wanted help with makeup, you could have asked me," Senator Amidala said. Fox tried to keep from projecting. He really did want to go back, but his traitorous belly let loose a grumble and she looked up at him. Fox swore he felt himself melting under those soft brown eyes. "Are you hungry, Fox? You do look a little pale." Amidala's head cocked some. "And are you wearing body oil?"

"I was at 79's and I needed to get home," he lied. Fox felt a little bit horrible about it and he hoped that Senator Amidala didn't know that that particular dive bar was on the other side of town. He leaned against one of the duracrete walls, knowing full well that the too-tight shirt was going to strain across his muscled form. He tried to flash her a flirty smile. "Got a little drunk with the brothers, we had some fun, I don't have enough credits to buy a cab, and could you get me a ride home, please?"

One of Amidala's friends, a Nautolan woman with feathers all in her lekku and a strange spiral of a dying star tattoo on her left arm, frowned. "79's is on the other side of town, trooper."

"The name is Fox and I must be more drunk than I thought!" Fox replied. He tried to shake his head like a dog and silently prayed to Murphy and all the saints that he got out of this without getting taken to the drunk tank. Again. Especially when he hadn't had a drop to drink tonight. Because this was a work night and he really didn't need to get soused when he had credits in his pockets. "I mean, we've been out for several hours already and Ox was really hitting up the booze! Same with Sirty. I mean, I guess I thought I could drink them under the table, but silly me, ya know?"

"You're not drunk, trooper." The Nautolan pinched the bridge of her nose. "Can we find a place with a salt pool while you sort this out? My skin is getting dry."

"They actually do that now?"

"Yes. If you don't go to dive bars where there are wampa heads hanging from the ceiling and drunk pirates starting gun fights," the woman sharply replied.

"Touche." Fox rubbed his face and tried to figure out what he was supposed to be doing now. Getting home was great. "A cab home would be great, Senator. Or even just me borrowing your comm so I can call Ox and cuss him out about leaving me and then call Lightning so I can get home before Dawn Shift tomorrow. Sound about fair to you?" He really hoped that it did. Because the last thing that he needed was to get stranded out here. Just not a good idea, if you got his drift. He needed to get home and the sooner the better.

"You're coming with us," Senator Amidala decided. She took his hand and started pulling the clone to a fancy looking place that, judging by the picture in the windows, sold fish and nerf steaks. Fox's mouth watered at the smells coming out of there. Maybe he could con people out of their dinners and doggie bags if he was smart about it? "So just what are you doing out in this district? And please don't lie to me, I'm not an idiot."

Anyone who was willingly dating Skywalker counted as an idiot in Fox's book, but he kept his mouth shut about that one. The ginger man shrugged some. "Like I said," he lied, "I got drunk with my brothers. Good and drunk."

"Then why don't I believe you?"

Fox had no answer to that and he tried to grab and stuff rolls in his mouth before she could expect him to answer.

Chapter Text

Fox had never eaten food as good as this. Well, not that he could really remember. Clones usually got some kind of nutrient goop with the odd ration bar tossed in for variety. The food tasted horrible, but you could eat it and it would keep you from dying of hunger. So that was decent.Fox moaned a little as the green bread almost melted in his mouth. It was just the right blend of salty and nutty, with these really nice little lumps baked in that made it so nice to eat. Well, it was food with texture and clones didn't always get to eat food with texture. He chewed it up pretty quick and grabbed at a roll. Well, he did that until Padme put her hand on his wrist and cleared her throat. That, coupled with a dirty look, was enough to make him draw his hand back.

"Do you mind?" he grumbled. "That might be mold green, but at least it tastes good!" And he wasn't used to food that tasted good. He was usually just expected to eat and put up with it and he did that, but good tasting food was something he really wanted to get more of. Padme shook her head. Fox gave her a little bit of a confused look. "What?! What did I do this time?"

"Let's see... you show up in this fancy district looking like a cheap whore and then you said that this bread was mold green," she replied. Padme leaned over the table and Fox got a good look at her face. She wasn't done up like she usually was. Just her plain, simple clothes and some eye shadow. Maybe a little lipstick, probably a little blush. Nothing like the dramatic stuff clones tended to do if they got a hold of some makeup. Fox had played with it a few times, but it got old quick when you started sweating it off under a bucket. Padme shook her head some. "I'm not stupid, Fox. I know you might not think very highly of me, but I'm not stupid. Is someone hurting you? Do I need to call the internal affairs people? If someone is forcing you into prostitution, that's a felony offense. And if you have a good lawyer, you might even be able to get a decent settlement."

Fox rolled his eyes. "First of all, I chose this, so frip off with trying to run my life. And maybe I like to look pretty!" But anyone could hear the lie in his words, so he tried to flash his most stunning smile. This was the smile that had gotten him out of so much trouble with the local cops. There was nothing like giving some hotshot rookie a crappy blowjob and watching him come undone. Fox sighed. He didn't bother looking at the menu that the waiter brought them. Fox got another stink eye, which he ignored. "And besides, I need money. There are only so many extra shifts that I can work until I drop dead from exhaustion. That and if I keep jacking stims, I'm gonna be tossed in the slammer and I'd rather the fripping be on my terms, if you get my drift."

Padme's mouth narrowed into a thin line. "Why do you need money?"

"Because my little brother is defective and I have to keep him fed, clothed, and have his pills. He's supposed to have them thrice a day, but we've had to stretch the pills out to once a day." Fox shrugged some."You can thank that blasted Bull Rathtar political party for that one. Not sure what they did, but whatever it was, I'd like to smack them in the face! They're killing my brother and it's all I can do to keep him going for this long." He sighed some and rubbed his short red hair.

"What would you like to eat?" Padme softly asked. She showed him his menu. "You do know how to order at a restaurant, right?"

"Can't read, so why would I even bother? Why don't you just pick something for me and I'll eat that," he muttered. Fox glared at the rude waiter, again, who took the bread and left some kind of tea in his wake. He snatched that up, took a sip, and then made a face. "Gah! What is that?!"

"That was my sunspot sparkler that you just drank out of," Padme retorted. She sighed softly. "Do you know what you like to drink at least? I'm not sure if you've ever had some of this stuff, though..." She looked through the menu. "Ahh! You do like blackberries, right?" Fox nodded, still a little wary. So he liked berries? Was that a federal offense now? Padme nodded again and bit her bottom lip. "So a caffeine free blackberry soda for you, another sunspot sparkler for me, and we'll split a plate of seafood pasta because that's my favorite and you don't know what you like anyways. That sound fair?"

Fox reached for the abandoned drink and took another sip, right before he made a face. "I really don't know why my brothers say they like this skanah! It's like it's gonna burn when it's going down, but then it all tastes sour in your mouth!" He gave the colorful drink a sour look right before he dove right back in and had it down in about three seconds. He ignored the slightly horrified look on Padme's face as he slammed the glass on the table. And maybe the crack that shot up the side had been there all along. This place looked all fancy and kriff, but they really needed to start taking care of their stuff. And hey, who was the sheb'urcyin of a waiter to say that he broke the thing? It wasn't like he had the money to replace it. Maybe he'd get the guy off right under the table if he pressed the issue too much.

"Are you clean?" Padme suddenly asked. She made her order and cast him a sharp look. Fox sighed softly. He wasn't going to get out of this, was he? The clone grimaced some as Padme touched his hand. "I need to know since I'm working with you and I don't want to get sick. Especially if I pass it on to Ani..."

"I'm clean," he assured her. "Or, well, the last test I had was a month ago, but my deece hasn't been burning and my shebs aren't bleeding or dripping stuff." He ignored her horrified look and took the soda with a murmured thanks. Huh. That tasted so much better than the other thing! He sipped that one slowly. Fox shrugged a little bit. "I'm not gonna make you sick, Senator. That's not my MO, I don't do crap like that. I'm just a poor man trying to make a semi-honest living." And that was the truth. Well, most of it anyways.

Padme shook her head. "It's money you need, right?"

Fox nodded. "Yeah. The pills are about twenty five to thirty credits a month. Clones don't get paid, ya know, and I gotta buy food for him, too. So that's another thirty or so." He gave her a tired shrug. "Stuff's gotten expensive after the war and you gotta go what you gotta do."

"I'll pay for it." Padme gave him a fiery look. "And I'll pay you for your work. This exploitation has got to stop and I only put up with it because the alternative is so much worse." Fox figured she was talking about Kamino threatening to destroy the clones when the GAR hadn't wanted to pay up. He hadn't been around for that, but Ox had, and he said that a few batches of brothers had actually been destroyed before the Jedi paid up. Padme rubbed her face some. "I wish Ani had an idea about what to do, though..."

"Ori'buyce, kih'kovid," Fox snorted. He started digging into the best plate of food he'd ever had, barring the bread, just before Padme could ask him what he meant by that. The clone hadn't ever eaten something with real meat in it and he was going to enjoy this before he got grilled again. The offer to pay for the meds was a nice gesture, though. Even if he knew she would never really do it.