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Kintsugi

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Everything was hazy as Cody drifted in and out of consciousness, writhing. A shadow loomed over him and something wet dabbed at his forehead.

“Easy, ad’ika,” a voice murmured softly. “You’re okay.”

Cody didn’t feel okay. He felt like he was dying.

His skin felt too tight and he was cold yet sweating, or he was hot yet shivering; his stomach was rolling and cramping uncomfortably and he kept throwing up everything that his saviour attempted to feed him.

“Here, Kote,” the voice said reassuringly once more. Cody felt a straw against his dry lips and eagerly drank the blissfully cool liquid, which had a fruity tinge to it. “Good, ad’ika. We’ve got to keep you hydrated.”

Cody groaned as pain ripped through him and curled up, shivering and panting.

“I feel like I’m going to die,” he groaned, vision swimming. There was a sad chuckle and a hand ran through his sweaty hair.

“You’re not going to die, Kote,” the voice reassured him. “You’re just going through withdrawals, but you’ll be okay.”

Cody groaned once more as his vision swam and he drifted out of consciousness once more.

 

Rex winced as Healer Che gently poked at his sides, clicking her tongue.

“Well, your ribs are just about healed,” she sighed as she pulled away. “There’s just the deep bruising that’s still healing which is why you’re so tender.”

Rex nodded, fixing the shirt he was wearing to cover himself. Vokara smiled sadly at him, noticing the bags under his eyes.

“How are you sleeping, Rex?” she asked gently. Rex gave a small shrug, focusing on pulling a thread out from his shirt so he didn’t meet her gaze.

“Not so well,” he admitted finally. “It’s been hard.”

“Nightmares?”

“Yeah, but also because Cody’s not there,” Rex mumbled. A gentle hand rested on his shoulder and steered him so he was sitting down on the edge of the bed.

“How is that affecting your sleep?” Vokara asked gently. “Is it because you’re worried about him or something else?”

“A bit of both,” Rex sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m used to sharing a bed with Cody now. Every morning for the last six months, I’ve woken up with Cody beside me…and every time I woke up from nightmares, he was right beside me.”

Vokara frowned at that as she sat down in the chair beside the bed, looking at Rex.

“You shared the same bed for six months?” she repeated.

“Almost six months,” Rex said quietly. “There were two weeks when we were separated as a punishment.”

Vokara nodded, frown deepening.

“What do you when you can’t sleep?” she questioned.

“Pace, I guess, I just get restless,” Rex answered, looking around the small consult room, at its soft pastel colours and the flowers in the corner; he just didn’t want to look at Master Che.

“What did you do as a hobby, Rex?” Vokara asked gently. “Before this - what did you do to unwind?”

“I used the gym a lot,” Rex said. “Went to the shooting range.”

“Was there anything you did that wasn’t so strenuous or violent?” Vokara continued. “Playing cards or darts or drawing even?”

Rex shook his head. “I occasionally played cards with the vode, but I was never any good at it. Cody’s the artist, not me.”

“Isn’t there anything?” Vokara pressed.

Rex hesitated for a moment, fidgeting with his sleeves. “When I was on Osiris,” he said slowly, carefully, “there was an Osirian named Darl who looked out for Cody and me.” Rex gave a small smile. “She’s also the one who kept us fed. She taught me how to bake…and I really enjoyed it.”

Vokara smiled at that. “That’s really good, Rex,” she praised. “I’ll order you some baking supplies for your apartment here.”

Rex’s eyes widened at that. “T-That isn’t necessary,” Rex stammered. “I-I don’t want to impose…the Jedi are already doing so much for me –,” Rex broke off as Vokara held up a blue hand.

“Rex, you are a good man,” she told him softly, yet firmly. “We want to help you and, truly, buying you some cooking materials isn’t a hassle. We want to see you recover from your experience and help anyway we can. It’s truly nothing at all.”

Rex gave a small nod, looking at his hands, which made Vokara frown once more.

“Rex, have you seen a Mind Healer yet?”

Rex gave a small snort at that. “Clones aren’t ones to talk about their feelings, Master Healer.”

“You went through a traumatic experience, Rex,” Vokara said, shocked. “Surely after the really horrible battles there’s someone you can talk to? Or if you’re feeling anxious?”

Rex shook his head. “We talk to the wrong people we get decommissioned,” he said bluntly. “Cody suffers from an anxiety disorder, but Obi-Wan is helping him with that; Kix has the shakes after the battle is done and the wounded are treated; Jesse won’t leave Kix’s side after a hard battle, while we can’t pry Hardcase away from the ranges. Fives get tense and Echo buries himself into his regulation manuals…and poor Tup has nightmares that has him screaming himself, and us, awake.”

Vokara just stared, horrified, as Rex listed all of this. Vokara shook her head firmly.

“Okay,” she said. “You are definitely seeing a Mind Healer. I know you think you don’t need it, that clones were bred to be tougher…but that isn’t true, Rex,” Vokara implored. “All of you are important and your mental health is just as important as your physical health. You’ve been through a traumatic ordeal and I do not want to see those memories and hurts be supressed and fester so much that it leads to you having a major breakdown or killing yourself.”

Rex just stared at her, golden eyes wide.

“I’m going to be talking to the Council about rotating Mind Healers throughout the different battalions, hopefully that will help some of your brothers, especially if we give them techniques to help them calm or release their emotions in a way that doesn’t hurt them.” Vokara looked to Rex once more, giving a small, soft smile. “We all need help, Rex, whether you’re a clone or a Jedi…it never hurts to talk.”

Rex looked at Vokara’s reassuring smile, at her caring eyes, and gave a small nod. He wanted to get better…for himself, for Fives.

“I’ll organise someone to talk to you,” Vokara reassured him. “I have just the Jedi in mind, you’ll like her. She grew up with Obi-Wan actually.”

Rex gave a small grin at that. “Do you think she’ll tell me stories from when he was a youngling?”

Vokara snickered at the hopeful tone. “She might.”

Rex nodded, rubbing his eyes tiredly and making Vokara frown.

“You have someone staying with you, don’t you?” she questioned.

“Yeah, my cyare, Fives, is staying with me,” Rex answered quietly. “Until he gets called into battle again.” Vokara winced at that.

“Well, just as long as you’re not alone,” Vokara sighed. “I’d rather you not be by yourself to deal with nightmares. When Fives goes back to the front, I want you to comm someone. Is there anyone in the Temple, well, more permanently, that you trust?”

“My ori’vod, my older brother,” Rex explained at Vokara’s confused look. “Ponds…he’s staying in the Temple for now as well,” Rex shrugged. “Apparently he pissed off the Chancellor?”

Vokara snorted at that, her lekku curling slightly. “Well good, that man deserves a good kick in the ass.”

Rex snorted at that, unable to stop the laughter that came from him. Vokara just smiled as she watched him laugh.

 

Echo glanced at Ponds once more, who nodded, before he grinned and sent off the data-file to several holo-news stations. He had been so angry when Ponds had come to him, telling him what the Chancellor had said, that he had jumped on the chance to show the Galaxy exactly what the Chancellor was really like.

It had taken him a few days to get into the surveillance of the Senate building, treading carefully as he looked through the system, finding the footage from the Chancellor’s office, and making sure he didn’t set off any alarms as he copied the footage from Pond’s and Windu’s meeting with the Chancellor.

Seeing it made Echo grit his teeth angrily and he was savagely pleased to do this. He even looked around further in the recordings, trying to find more instances of the Chancellor’s cold heart.

What he found made him frown though.

True, he had found more instances of the Chancellor being a dick and double-crossing people – which he saved for future use – but what was more concerning was the frequent blackouts in the recordings. The Chancellor would tell his secretary not to disturb him, press a button on his desk, and then the recording would cut out.

Echo was curious to know what the Chancellor was hiding.

“You’ve left no trail, right?” Ponds asked quietly, glancing up and looking around the Archives, making sure no one was nearby to hear them.

“None whatsoever,” Echo reassured him. “I’ve backtracked and laid false trails, but there’s no way they can find out who took the footage or who sent it to the news stations.”

“They won’t be able to see that you’ve sent it from the Jedi Archives?” Ponds asked again, just wanting the reaffirmation. He didn’t want to give the Chancellor another reason to attack the Jedi and following a trail back to the Archives, where the footage was sent from, would definitely be the worst thing.

“There’s no chance,” Echo reassured him. “I’ve used the Archive system to piggy-back into another network and laid false trails, but I’ve also erased all digital fingerprints of the Archives from the network I’ve piggy-backed on, so there’s no chance.”

Ponds nodded, taking in a breath as Echo grinned at him, offering him his datapad.

“Go on, Ponds,” he said with a grin. “You press it. Get the Chancellor back for threatening to recondition you.”

Ponds grinned at Echo, leaning forward and pressing the send button, a deep glee settling in his stomach as he knew the Chancellor was about to get his comeuppance.

 

Fives tiredly blinked open his eyes, lifting his head from the pillow when he realised what had woken him. Fives blearily reached out, hand touching the cold other side of the bed, confirming the fact that he was alone before he yawned, rolling over and sitting up. Fives rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he turned, placing is feet on the floor. He tiredly looked around the dark bedroom, sighing. He got to his feet and quietly walked from the bedroom and into the main apartment. Fives leaned against the doorway to the bedroom, looking over the apartment the Jedi had given Rex.

The sky was still a dark black outside, with hints of an inky blue towards the horizon, showing that the sun would be rising soon. The apartment was softly lit by dimmed white lights, which threw shadows across the dark blue couch and the wooden table and chairs next to the large window.

What really caught his attention was Rex in the kitchen of the apartment, wearing his sleep-pants and a grey tank top, as he bustled around, mixing this and adding that. Fives walked towards the kitchen, making sure that Rex would hear him coming, and settled by the bench to watch Rex as he placed a tray in the oven. Fives let his eyes drift over the cakes already baked and set aside to cool.

“How long have you been up?” Fives asked softly.

“A while,” Rex answered simply, turning to face Fives. Fives smiled at that flour smattered across Rex’s nose, where he obviously had rubbed.

“You’re going to make all the men fat,” Fives teased as he reached over to gently dust the flour off of Rex’s face. “You know Jesse had to break apart a fight over the last cookie that you baked? …Of course, Jesse ended up just grabbing the cookie and eating it himself.” Rex snorted at that.

“I was planning on giving most of it to the younglings,” Rex said with a small shrug, before gaining a devious smile. “Thought I’d let them loose on Yoda full of sugar.”

Fives burst out laughing at that, leaning against the bench. Rex smiled as Fives laughed before he turned to get the next batch of cookies out of the oven. Rex placed the tray down, letting it cool before he turned back to the bowl with the next batch of dough within it.

Arms wrapped around his waist and Rex froze before his body reacted, jerking away, elbow catching a jug and sending it flying to the floor, with blue milk going everywhere.

Kriff, sorry!” Fives apologized sheepishly as Rex turned, heart racing and tensed. “Sorry, Rex, I…didn’t think.”

Rex gave a small shrug, turning away, trying not to let Fives see how much that one simple action had shaken him. Inwardly, Rex cursed Tris for making him so jumpy that his own boyfriend couldn’t even hug him. Fives crouched down on the floor next to him, holding a rag that he used to mop up the spilt milk.

“I’m sorry, Rex,” Fives murmured again. “I…forgot.”

“It’s fine,” Rex grunted, really not wanting to talk about it. Fives stood up, depositing the cloth in the sink, before he turned and look at Rex, who had also straightened by then.

“What woke you up?” Fives asked, watching as Rex turned back to his mixing bowl, picking out batter to roll into small balls.

“Nightmare,” Rex answered quietly.

“Want to talk about it?”

Rex just shook his head, breathing in deeply. He’d rather forget about that nightmare; forget that he had dreamed that Tris had survived and had found him, pinning him to the bed, helpless, as he took Rex, growling in his ear about how much he loved it, how Rex belonged to him and only him. Rex had looked to the side to see Fives’s golden eyes staring back blankly, blood pooling around his slit throat. Rex had screamed in his nightmare which had jolted him awake, shaking and sweating profusely.

He had looked to Fives, seeing Fives was still curled up, sleeping peacefully and snoring softly. Rex’s heart had slowed at that sight, but he still felt shaken and knew he wasn’t going to get back to sleep that night, so he had come to bake in order to clear his head.

“You’ve got an appointment with that Mind Healer today, right?” Fives’s voice asked gently, breaking him from his horrid thoughts. Rex nodded.

“Yeah, first appointment with them,” he sighed.

“Hey, it’ll be good,” Fives reassured him, reaching out to take Rex’s dough covered hand in his own. “It’ll help…and I don’t want this to destroy you, Rex, I don’t want to lose you.”

“You won’t,” Rex murmured. “I-I know it’ll help, but you know how it was on Kamino…the stigma of talking about mental health…” Rex trailed off.

“Yeah, I know,” Fives sighed, “but that’s going to change now, right? I don’t want to see any more brothers that we couldn’t save.”

Rex shuddered at the memories of all the younger brothers he had found with self-inflicted blaster wounds.

“You said Master Che seemed quite adamant about it,” Fives said before he grinned cheekily. “And you know how stubborn Healers and medics are.”

Rex snorted at that, knowing that far too well.

“Do you know who the Jedi is that you’re seeing? The one who grew up with Obi-Wan?”

“No, Master Che didn’t give a name,” Rex answered. Fives hummed thoughtfully, continuing to watch as Rex bustled around the kitchen and couldn’t help but smile at the sight of the calmness that came across Rex’s face as he mixed batter.

 

Palpatine gritted his teeth as he watched the news feed before turning the channel again and again.

It was all the same.

Chancellor doesn’t care!

Clones raped while Chancellor indifferent!

Has the Republic being blaming the wrong people for this war?

Jedi for the Republic and its people!

Will the Jedi leave the Senate’s control?

Chancellor threatens soldier with reconditioning for speaking up!

Clone soldiers suffering for Chancellor’s whims!

Outcry for clone rights!

Clones will defect Senate for Jedi!

Abuse of clones by Navy personal!

Protests for Jedi to take protection of clones from greedy Senate!

Palpatine snarled, lightning flickering from his fingers in anger. They kept replaying the footage over and over, showing his indifference to the clones and him threatening that annoying Commander as Windu stands in front of the clone to protect him.

There were protests now, arguments that he should lose his emergency power! Palpatine clenched his fists in anger, turning off the news feed, before sweeping to his feet and pacing his office.

He was furious!

He had had his best slicers to figure out who hacked his security feed, but they had come up empty handed. He had them killed after that.

He knew…he just knew that it had something to do with Windu’s Commander, but all enquiries to the barracks had led him to the clone being holed up in the Jedi Temple with no way for Palpatine to get him.

Though that had apparently been in place since after their meeting, days before the footage was released.

Palpatine snarled in anger and frustration, the Dark side pulsing around him, feeding off of his fury.

This could undermine everything!

The public were crowing for his removal and for the clones to be granted rights. Amidala and Organa had stepped up in their fight for clone rights, with Satine Kryze adding in her support. Skywalker was still avoiding him and he felt his grip on his future apprentice slipping.

The Dark Side was giving him no answers; the future remaining murky and unseeable, as though it was betraying him.

Palpatine grumbled under his breath as he sat back down, breathing in.

He would fix this, find a way to turn the tides back in his favour.

He always did.

Chapter Text

Cody slowly and tiredly blinked open his eyes, seeing and thinking clearly for the first time since Tram had drugged him. Cody winced as he shifted his limbs, which felt heavy and stiff. He still felt so exhausted.

Cody turned his head on the pillow, looking around the small stone room he was in. He was obviously underground, with no windows, which left the room nice and cool. The room was pretty empty, with only a small table and chairs in the corner, which was currently covered with datapads and weapon cleaning material. Cody turned his gaze to the doorway as he heard approaching footsteps. The figure paused in the shadowed doorway, seeing that Cody was awake.

“It’s good to see you awake and alert, ad’ika.”

“I knew it was you,” Cody said tiredly. “Only you and Boba still call me Kote…and you’re the only one out of the two who can physically lift me, Jango.”

Jango Fett chuckled as he approached, grabbing the cup of juice on the bedside table and placing the straw against Cody’s dry lips. Cody examined the older man sitting on the edge of the bed. He looked just like him, but older, scars marring Jango's face and greys beginning to appear within the deep black hair; the wrinkles were also slightly deeper around Jango's eyes and forehead from the last time Cody had seen him.

“It is your name after all,” Jango said before giving Cody a look as he went to stop drinking to argue. “I know you go by Cody now…but Kote is what I named you and it’s what you’ll always be to me.”

Cody stopped drinking and laid back against the pillows, not having the energy to get up. Jango sat on the edge of the bed, dark gold eyes looking at him in concern.

“How are you feeling?”

“Exhausted,” Cody said hoarsely. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt this exhausted.”

Jango smiled sadly. “Your body had one hell of a fight getting that spice out of your system, while still making sure your heart kept beating. Withdrawals are never easy on the body, especially getting off spice when you’ve been given it daily for two weeks.”

Cody winced at that before he looked to Jango.

“How’d you know where to find me? How’d you know it was actually me?”

Jango chuckled at that. “Even though you all look like me, you’re all still vastly different from each other,” he pointed out. “Also, up until last month, I had access to the GAR system.”

Cody just stared at him. “What?”

“Well, I had to make sure I wasn’t anywhere where the GAR was going to be, not if they found me, it would defeat the purpose of faking my death after all,” Jango explained. “I also snooped around when I got bored, just checking up on you all. Saw Rex is doing well with the 501st, while Ponds is serving with Windu, and you were with Kenobi.”

Jango fixed Cody with a look at that. “I also found out you changed your name when I stumbled across an article about Kenobi, in which you featured, when he called you Cody and the article wrote that. The reporter interviewed you as well and she also called you Cody. Why did you change your name, Kote?”

“Stop calling me that,” Cody said quietly. “That’s not who I am anymore.”

“What do you mean by that?” Jango demanded to know.

“You called me Kote because you said I had promise, that I would be great,” Cody spat, “but I wasn’t. I broke under the abuse of an Admiral. I let him beat me, both physically and emotionally, and I never fought back. I just let him beat me down and break me. Why did I deserve the Mando’a name meaning ‘Glory’ when I couldn’t even protect myself or my men from his bias and hate?”

“Kote, I gave you that name because you deserved it and you still do,” Jango told him firmly. “It doesn’t matter if you fall or if you stumble, it only matters if you push forward, which is what you’ve done. You’ve pushed past the abuse that Admiral gave you; you rose to the rank of Marshal Commander, a rank which a clone was never meant to get. Kenobi obviously sees something in you if he fought so hard to get you promoted.”

Cody just looked away.

“You might not believe me, Kote, but you deserve this name more than ever,” Jango reassured him. “It is you.”

Cody just took in a breath before looking back at Jango. “So, you knew it was me from spying on the GAR network and because of the article?” he asked, changing the subject. He didn’t want to talk about his name anymore.

Jango nodded his head. “I did,” he confirmed. “I read the report that you had been kidnapped and I was furious and I tried to find you, but that was hard to do since I no longer have the network I once did with me being ‘dead’ and all.” Jango looked to him, meeting Cody’s amber eyes. “However, I heard rumours around Mos Eisley that there was a clone pleasure slave, who was being hired out, so I came to see if that information was true…which was when I saw you, and the scar confirmed it was you.”

“Why did you save me?”

“Because you didn’t deserve that, Kote, no one does,” Jango replied. Cody just nodded, turning his gaze to the ceiling.

“Why did you leave Boba?” Cody asked, looking back to Jango, who stiffened. “He thought you were dead until recently.”

“It was better for him that way,” Jango said bluntly, standing up.

“He severely damaged a ship that it required evacuation, killed a brother in an attempt to kill Windu, and almost killed Ponds in a misguided desire for revenge,” Cody countered. “He was almost arrested by the Jedi, but Plo felt sorry for him and also deemed saving his hostages more important.”

“It was safer for him if everyone thought I was dead.”

“The Jedi didn’t,” Cody pointed out. “They thought you and Boba had gotten away until Boba came seeking revenge. My Jedi felt so guilty because of it, because they didn’t look for Boba to make sure he was safe, because they had been so sure you were together once they failed to find your body.”

Jango frowned for a moment before shaking his head. “It’s better for them all to believe I’m dead.”

“Why?” Cody demanded. “Why is it so important that you let your son believe you were dead?! He needed you! He still needs you!”

Jango stared at Cody once more, dark golds unreadable. “I did that for Boba.”

Cody just stared after him in disbelief as Jango turned and headed towards the door of the room. Jango paused in the doorway.

“I’ll get you some food, don’t try to get up,” he warned before he disappeared. Cody sighed as he lay back against the pillows, agitated.

He didn’t get why Jango would do that to Boba. He understood why he might fake his death, but he didn’t understand him leaving Boba in the dark, hurt and alone, thinking his father was dead.

Cody sighed as his eyes drifted shut, exhausted.

He’d get to the bottom of this…for Boba at least.

 

Rex blinked as he looked down the hallways blankly, unsure of which hallway he was meant to take. The Jedi Temple was far too large and it made getting lost far too easy.

“Uh, excuse me?” Rex asked, stopping a passing youngling. She looked at him, playing with her dark red hair.

“Yes, can I help you?”

“Yeah, I need to get to this room and I don’t know where that is,” Rex said as he showed her the message. The initiate read it and brightened, nodding cheerfully.

“That’s on my way to class, I’ll show you,” she chirped. Rex smiled at her thankfully and followed her as she skipped down the hallways.

“You’re the one who’s been making sweets, aren’t you?” she asked, glancing back at him. Rex gave a small nod.

“I am.”

“They’re reallllyyyy good,” the youngling said sincerely. “Are you going to be cooking again? We really, really liked it.”

Rex couldn’t help the smile that came across his lips at that. “I might cook again soon,” he told her. “Though, I have to share it with my men as well.”

“Oh, okay…but we’ll get some eventually, right?”

“Right.”

“Awesome!”

Rex chuckled at that, following the skipping youngster before she came to a stop in front of the room.

“This is the one,” she told him, before smiling. “See ya soon!”

Rex laughed softly, shaking his head as he watched her skip over, waving at her as she turned to wave at him. He turned his attention back to the door in front of him as she rounded the corner and disappeared from view. Rex sighed as he stared at the door. He really didn’t want to do this.

Taking a deep breath, he steeled himself before he pressed the pad beside the door. The door slid open silently and Rex stepped inside. He looked around the room, unsure if he was in the right place.

It sure didn’t look like a room a Mind Healer would use. He had been expecting hard couches and desks with cold white walls.

This was totally different.

The room was painted a deep blue colour and there was a small fountain in the corner which was trickling away soothingly; the sun shone through the large window, and the sheer blind covering the window made the light in the room nice and soft.

There were no hard chairs in the room, only large piles of soft cushions.

“Rex?”

Rex turned around, seeing a Mon Calamari standing in the doorway, smiling softly at him as she stepped forward. Rex took in the Jedi dressed in the light cream robes, which complimented her salmon coloured skin, with her soft silver eyes.

“You are Rex, right?” she asked softly. Rex nodded.

“Yes, ma’am.”

The Mon Calamari laughed softly, shaking her head as she smiled at Rex. “Just call me Bant, please.”

Rex gave a small nod.

Bant smiled once more as she indicated to the cushion piles. “Please, have a seat.”

Rex stared at her for a moment before lowering himself down on one of the piles, crossing his legs as he leaned back slightly against the large round pillow supporting his lower back. Bant settled down on the cushion pile opposite him.

“I thought we’d have a talk outside of the Halls of Healing,” she told him. “So I chose one of the meditation rooms. I find it more…peaceful, compared to the Halls, and I hope you will too.”

Rex just gave a small nod and Bant sighed slightly.

“Rex, I understand that clones have a stigma against mental health…not through any fault of their own of course,” she added hurriedly, “but because of the Kaminoans and the trainers. They called anything other than perfect ‘defective’, but that isn’t true.”

“It’s just…it’s going to be hard,” Rex said, voice hoarse. “I want to talk, I want to get Tris out of my head, but I feel like someone will hear and will send me back to Kamino, like all of the brothers who couldn’t cope anymore.”

“Your brothers shouldn’t be sent back to Kamino due to their PTSD. They fight hard and see horrors that others can’t imagine, which is why we’re going to be rotating Mind Healers between battalions now. We hadn’t realised that the GAR didn’t already have something in place for you. It was an oversight on our half and we apologize for that, but we’re not going to let Kaminoans or the GAR recondition you for a natural response that has occurred in battle.” Bant looked at Rex and smiled reassuringly at him. “No one is going to send you away either. No one will hear what you have to say – unless you want to tell them – except for me, Rex, and I’m here to help you, not to judge you.”

Rex nodded once more.

“I know it’ll take a while to get comfortable, this is something new to you,” Bant told him gently. “So we’ll take it nice and slow, okay?”

“Sure,” Rex murmured, though he rubbed the thighs of his pants nervously. Bant smiled at him reassuringly.

“Well, I won’t start with the hard stuff,” she promised. “Can you tell me how you’re going?”

“Do I have to talk?” Rex asked desperately instead. “Can’t you just go in my head and fix whatever’s there?”

Bant smiled sadly at him. “That’s not how this works, Rex,” she told him gently. “If we did that then we’re not addressing the problem, it’s just pushing it aside and hiding it, which allows it to fester until something reminds you and it all breaks free.”

Rex shuddered at that but gave a reluctant nod. “I’m…not sure how I am,” he said slowly. “I’m not used to this or feeling like this. I’m used to having nightmares, that’s just part of being a soldier, but…I’m not used to feeling so jumpy and so tired.”

“How do you mean ‘jumpy’?”

“I can’t…I can’t even have my partner hug me unless I can see him,” Rex said, voice cracking slightly. “He tried to hug me the other day and I just froze and then jerked away, like I couldn’t control it. I know he wasn’t Tris…but…I just couldn’t help it.”

Bant nodded in understanding. “It was a natural response,” she reassured him. “You went through months where you were hurt, this is natural. I know it’s hard to think that way, but you’re just defending yourself. In time, when your mind and body begin to realise you’re safe, it will stop.”

“I know Fives is safe!” Rex said, frustrated. “I love him and he loves me…I know he’s safe, but…”

“I know,” Bant said gently. “It’ll take time, Rex, you went through trauma no one should go through. It is natural to feel jumpy and that will take some time.”

“It shouldn’t,” Rex muttered. “We were designed to be better.”

“You’re still human, Rex,” Bant pointed out. “No matter what the Kaminoans did, short of making you into unfeeling droids…you are human and you have feelings and fears just like every other sentient being.”

Rex sighed and gave a nod.

“You said you’re getting nightmares,” Bant started carefully. “I won’t ask you to tell me about them, not until you’re ready,” she added as she saw Rex’s hesitant look, “but what do you do to overcome them, to calm yourself down?”

“I bake,” Rex admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. “There was an Osirian who looked after Cody and me, and she taught me.”

“That’s good,” Bant said, smiling, before a cheeky look flashed in her eyes. “Were you the one who baked all of those sweets for the younglings before they had their class with Yoda?”

Rex grinned back slyly. “Maybe.”

Bant laughed at that. “I got to see the aftermath of that,” she giggled. “Yoda just standing there as the younglings were all fast asleep around him, crashed from their sugar rush.”

“What did he say?”

“Too old for this, I am,” Bant repeated, giggling again. Rex grinned at that, laughing. Bant smiled at him once more. “So baking and pranks then?” she asked. “They help?”

“Pranks were always a good way to unwind after a hard battle,” Rex admitted. “The worst was Cody -,” Rex broke off suddenly, looking away. Bant looked at him sadly.

“Cody,” she murmured. “He’s your brother, isn’t he? The one that was kidnapped with you? Obi-Wan’s boyfriend?”

“Yeah,” Rex just said quietly. Bant nodded in understanding.

“You two kept each other strong when you were held captive, didn’t you?” she asked gently.

“Yeah,” Rex answered once more, voice breaking slightly. “He kept me out of trouble…mostly…and I stopped him from letting Tram break him.”

“I know you miss him and are worried for him,” Bant said, “but how is it hurting you the most? I hate to sound callous when I ask that, forgive me, but what is it the most that you’re noticing you’re struggling with without Cody by your side?”

“Sleeping,” Rex said hoarsely. “He kept the nightmares away…and-and just every time I felt like breaking down and crying or just wanting to just bury myself under the covers and never come out…he was always there to hold me and make me feel better.”

Bant nodded. “Okay, we’ll stop there for today, Rex.” She smiled softly at his surprised look. “I don’t want to push you your first session, but now I’m going to go over meditation and breathing techniques for when you wake up from your nightmares or are just feeling anxious or uneasy.”

Rex nodded and listened to her as she led him through meditation and the breathing techniques.

At the end, Bant smiled at him.

“How are you feeling, Rex?” she asked gently.

“Tired,” he answered with a sad smile. Bant nodded.

“I suspect you’ll be feeling that way for a while,” she told him. “I believe it’s just your body starting to know that you’re safe, so it’s not on edge all the time, waiting to be attacked, and that’s what is contributing to the exhaustion.”

Rex nodded once more, slumping back against the cushions. “I do like the room though,” he admitted. “Less scary than a medical room.”

“Oh, I agree,” Bant said with a smile. “It’s nice to get out of the Halls.”

“So, you help Jedi that have gone through trauma?” Rex questioned carefully. Bant nodded.

“I do, especially with the war. Mind Healers are in higher demand now with so much suffering in the Galaxy.”

Rex nodded once more before looking up with a small smile. “I also heard you grew up with Kenobi.”

Bant laughed at that. “Oh, yes I did. So very stubborn.”

Rex chuckled at that as Bant’s smile turned sad.

“I actually need to go see that stubborn nerf-herder after your appointment,” she sighed. “He’s barely left his quarters since he’s returned.”

Rex flinched at that and Bant smiled sadly at him.

“It’s something we’re used to,” she told him, trying to sound reassuring. “He cares so much that he tends to struggle with himself if something doesn’t go right.”

“Yeah, Cody said something about that,” Rex said carefully. “Said Kenobi took the blame on himself, berated himself for things that couldn’t be helped.”

“And for that Quin would blame Qui-Gon,” Bant muttered under her breath, though Rex caught it. He chose not to bring that up, though he would research that name later.

“He’ll be okay though, once we find Cody,” Rex said confidently and Bant smiled, nodding her head.

“He will,” she said, smiling once more. “You know, when Cody was assigned to Obi-Wan, I started to see him less and less. Cody helped him and for that I am eternally grateful. I am glad my friend has found someone who loves him.”

Rex smiled at that. “I am glad Cody has found someone too.”

Bant got to her feet, Rex following closely, and stretched out.

“Well, speaking of the stubborn nerf-herder, I should go and see him,” Bant said, smiling at Rex. “I’ll see you again at the same time in three days, is that okay?”

Rex nodded. “That’s fine.”

“Good,” Bant said, before reaching out and placing a cool, webbed hand on Rex’s shoulder. “I know it’s hard for you to open up about your feelings and fears, but you did great for your first session, Rex. Don’t forget what I taught you about meditation and breathing, and hopefully that will help you sleep some more.”

“Thank you, Bant.”

Rex headed back to his apartment, feeling a bit better about this whole Mind Healer thing. He had been expecting them to be pushy and try and get him to talk about what had happened straight away, but Bant wasn’t like that and he was grateful for it.

Maybe he’d go research popular Mon Cala desserts.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan sat in his darkened apartment, head buried in hands as he sat on the couch. He couldn’t stop thinking of Cody, of the last time he saw those desperate but resigned amber eyes staring at him just before Tram dragged Cody away.

He had failed Cody…again.

Obi-Wan just couldn’t get Cody’s eyes out of his thoughts.

The door slid open and Obi-Wan heard a sigh. The lights turned on, though only to a dim glow, and Obi-Wan heard footsteps approach. He knew who it was, having sensed her Force presence. A weight settled beside him on the couch and a cool, webbed hand touched his shoulder, sending comforting waves to him.

“Oh, you stubborn nerf-herder,” Bant’s voice said fondly but sadly. “You blame yourself for far too much.”

Obi-Wan shook his head. “This was my fault, Bant,” he said, voice shaking. “I was the one who let Tram take Cody.”

“That’s not what I’ve heard,” Bant argued gently. “I heard from Skywalker what you attempted to do, jumping on the moving ship and then planning to risk your life by attempting a jump that would have killed you if Skywalker hadn’t stopped you.”

“Tram shouldn’t have gotten that far with Cody in the first place.”

“You had to defend yourself against blaster bolts,” Bant countered. “If you had done nothing to defend yourself, if you had attempted to run after Cody, you would have been killed before you reached him and you know that.”

Obi-Wan just shook his head and Bant sighed, rubbing his back.

“You’re going to find him, Obi-Wan, I truly believe that,” she murmured.

“We’re meant to be better, Bant,” Obi-Wan croaked. “Why couldn’t I save him?”

Bant sighed heavily. “As horrible as this sounds, and I know it’ll probably mean nothing, but perhaps this has a greater purpose.”

Obi-Wan looked at Bant in disbelief and she sighed.

“Yes, I know how that sounds, but you can’t tell me that the Force feels a bit more lighter, a bit more hopeful, to you…and that when you think hard on Cody, try to see him through the Force, that it doesn’t seem brighter still?”

Obi-Wan frowned, closing his eyes and focusing on the future, on Cody.

Strange…it did seem a bit brighter, a bit more hopeful, around Cody.

Bant smiled at him as he opened his eyes to look at her. “Told ya.”

“How did you discover that?” he asked in surprise.

“Well, after I was assigned Rex as my new patient – and knowing that I’d have to talk to you about him as well – I meditated on Cody and that was what I felt,” Bant explained.

“Rex is your new patient?” Obi-Wan asked, eyebrows raised, before he hesitated. “How is he?”

“He’s struggling,” Bant said carefully. “Though that was expected after everything he’s been through.” Bant lifted her gaze to meet Obi-Wan’s. “Though I am surprised you haven’t gone to see him.”

Obi-Wan averted his gaze at that. “How could I?” he murmured. “I-I didn’t want him to blame me…I know it’s my fault…but…”

“It’s not your fault, bantha-brains,” Bant told him firmly. “Rex doesn’t blame you, I know this, as do you.”

Obi-Wan just grunted, burying his face back into his hands. Bant sighed at that. She tried to speak to him for a while longer, but he just closed up again.

“You need to stop blaming yourself for things out of your control, Obi-Wan,” Bant said softly. “Have a shower, eat some food, and get back out there, Obi-Wan…Cody will be waiting for you.”

Obi-Wan just listened as she stood up, placing her webbed hand reassuringly on his head once more, before she left him to his thoughts, knowing he just needed to work this out himself, like he always did.

He knew Bant was trying to look out for him, she always did…but he knew he was to blame.

He was never fast enough to save them.

Not fast enough to save Qui-Gon from Maul, wasn’t fast enough to save Shmi from being killed and wasn’t fast enough to save Cody from his torturous captor.

He was never good enough.

 

Anakin paused as he felt distress echo across the bond he still shared with Obi-Wan. He looked to Ahsoka, who had stopped a few steps away and had turned once she had realised he had stopped.

“Everything okay, Skyguy?” she asked. Anakin blinked, focusing back on her before he gave a small nod.

“Yeah,” he said, though he was unsure. “I’m just gonna check on Obi-Wan.”

“Do you want me to come with?”

Anakin shook his head. “No, you go hang out with the 501st.”

“I see them all the time now,” Ahsoka said with a grin. “They’re always coming around to see Rex so he’s never alone when Fives is on duty.”

“Well, that’s a good thing, Snips,” Anakin grinned back, “but you better chase them around the training halls, just to be safe.”

Ahsoka laughed at that, promising she would, before she headed off. Anakin frowned after she had disappeared from view and quickly headed up to his and Obi-Wan’s old apartment.

He had moved out shortly after he was knighted, mostly because he didn’t want Obi-Wan to know he was sneaking out to see his wife, but it had still been hard to leave him.
Anakin chuckled to himself as he placed his hand on the door-pad, which immediately accepted it and opened the door.

Of course Obi-Wan hadn’t taken him off the approved entry.

Anakin stepped inside and immediately froze as a wave of despair and hopelessness washed over him. He blinked, immediately finding Obi-Wan curled up on the couch, legs drawn up with his arms wrapped around them, face buried in between his knees.

“Obi-Wan,” Anakin said worriedly as he quickly hurried to his side, sitting beside him. “Obi-Wan, what’s wrong? Is it Cody?”

He knew Obi-Wan had gotten some weird readings from Cody over their bond in the first few days. It had left him feeling disorientated and hazy, almost like he had been drugged was Obi-Wan’s exact words, so he had reluctantly blocked the bond, being unable to focus.

Obi-Wan just shook his head, back heaving.

“Obi-Wan, please, tell me what’s going on,” Anakin said, growing even more worried. “Do you want me to call Bant?”

Obi-Wan shook his head once more and Anakin wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close and holding him tightly.

“I’m sorry,” Obi-Wan whispered, making Anakin’s frown deepen.

“What for?” he asked, genuinely confused.

“Never being good enough.”

Anakin closed his eyes at that whisper. He knew Obi-Wan had a tendency to be self-deprecating. He had asked Quinlan, Bant and Garen about it and Quinlan had muttered something about Qui-Gon, but not enough that Anakin understood. He knew Obi-Wan always tried his best, always pushed himself further than humanely possible, but yet always blamed himself for things out of his control.

“Please, don’t say that,” Anakin murmured in Obi-Wan’s ear. “You go further and try harder than anyone I know.”

“Still too slow,” Obi-Wan mumbled. “Too slow to save Qui-Gon, too slow to save Cody…too slow to save your mother.”

Anakin stiffened at that, letting go of Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan uncurled himself, flat grey eyes looking at Anakin guiltily.

“What?” Anakin breathed.

“When…when you started having nightmares, I became concerned,” Obi-Wan croaked. “I know I told you dreams pass in time - I mean, I used to get told that all the time -, but…but I was just hoping that that was true and so you wouldn’t be distracted on your mission.” Obi-Wan looked away from Anakin, staring at his hands instead. “I comm’d Vos, who was doing a mission near to Tattooine and asked if he would go check on your mother when he had the chance.”

“You asked Quinlan to go make sure my mother was okay?” Anakin repeated, speechless. Obi-Wan nodded.

“I should have pushed him to hurry but I didn’t know your dreams were of your mother dying, I thought she was just hurt,” Obi-Wan shook his head. “I should have done something earlier, pushed the Council harder to save her…but…I just didn’t think. When I cam across you after Qui-Gon’s death, trying to remove the chip by yourself, I was shocked…I didn’t know you were a slave until then, Qui-Gon hadn’t told me or perhaps I just didn’t want to see it…and I should have thought about your mother then. I mean, you were a slave, so obviously your mother would have been too…but I just…it just didn’t seem to register then, I was so worried about getting your chip removed and with your training and trying to be a good mentor to you…I just didn’t think. I’m so sorry, Anakin.”

“Obi-Wan, that wasn’t your fault,” Anakin finally managed to choke out, tears welling in his eyes. He didn’t know that Obi-Wan had sent someone, that he had also been concerned. He had blamed Obi-Wan for so long, the Chancellor even pushing that that had shown Obi-Wan didn’t cared…but it hadn’t been true.

“You tried when you knew I was having nightmares and that was more than anyone else ever did for me.”

“I should have pushed harder or brought it up more when you were a youngling,” Obi-Wan whispered. "I should have trusted more in your visions, I used to have them, I know what's it like...but...I was so used to being told to 'focus on the here and now' I thought it would help you."

Anakin shook his head as he wrapped his arms around Obi-Wan again, holding the quivering Jedi close.

“Obi-Wan, you weren’t the only one who knew, remember?” he murmured. “The Council knew, Padme knew, Chancellor Palpatine knew…but no one did anything, even those with access to more funds than you,” he added bitterly, thinking of the Chancellor. “And I don’t blame you for not realizing, it…it was a trying few months after Qui-Gon died and it would have been so much worse for you since he had been your Master for twelve years.”

“I still should have pushed Quinlan to go sooner,” Obi-Wan whispered, voice breaking. “I-I just…I never realised your dreams were of her dying, I thought…I thought she was just in pain and I thought we could change that.”

Anakin closed his eyes, burying his nose into Obi-Wan’s soft hair.

“You know she was happy when she died?” Anakin whispered. “She had been freed and had married a man who loved her; she even got a step-son. She was also happy to see me when she died in my arms.”

“Oh dear one,” Obi-Wan whispered, wrapping his arms around Anakin. Anakin shook his head.

“I…I’m the one who let her down, Obi-Wan,” Anakin mumbled, letting go of Obi-Wan so he could look away, unable to meet Obi-Wan’s eyes.

“Anakin?”

“I was so angry that she had died, that she had been tortured by those animals…that I killed them,” Anakin admitted. “I just saw red and I killed them all. The men, the women, the children…I didn’t care, I just killed them.”

Silence fell between them and Anakin clenched his fists, closing his eyes tight.

Why did he have to tell Obi-Wan that? He didn’t want Obi-Wan to hate him.

A gentle hand rested on his chin and guided his head back.

“Do you regret it?” Obi-Wan asked gently. Anakin gave a small nod.

“Most of it,” he mumbled. “The women and children didn’t deserve it, and I know Mum would have been so upset at me, knowing what I did in her name…but…but part of me still feels satisfied that I killed the men that hurt her.”

Anakin swallowed hard, still unable to look at Obi-Wan.

“I’m sorry, Master,” he said quietly. “I know I acted in anger and I should regret it…and, well, I sort of do…but not really.”

“I know, dear one, I know,” Obi-Wan murmured.

“I’m sorry I let you down, I know you would have never done something like that…but I was just so angry.”

“You think I haven’t acted in anger?” Obi-Wan asked him gently. “That I haven’t killed anyone in anger?”

“Well, yeah,” Anakin said, finally looking to Obi-Wan, who smiled sadly at him.

“Anakin, do you really think I did not give into my anger when fighting the creature who killed my Master?” he asked. Anakin just stared at him. “I let my anger guide me when I was fighting Maul…but I let it go once he was dead. It doesn’t mean we’re Sith, dear one. There are times when we lose our way, the only difference is what we do after that.”

“What do you mean?”

“We could have embraced that anger, that darkness, and let it consume us, but we didn’t,” Obi-Wan said with a small shrug. “We still chose to be Jedi, but we understand how easy it is to fall to anger.” Obi-Wan gave a bitter smile. "Why do you think the Council was watching us so closely during the early days of your training? They had a suspicion I had given in to my anger and they were keeping a close eye on me...and on you as well."

“Do you regret killing Maul in anger?” Anakin asked carefully.

“No,” Obi-Wan answered easily. “I am glad he is dead, that is why I understand what you’re saying about not fully regretting killing the Tuskan Raiders. I am glad that you do regret killing the women and the children…but I do not blame you for not fully regretting killing the ones who killed your mother.”

Anakin buried his face into Obi-Wan’s shoulder, shivering and sobbing, feeling relieved that Obi-Wan didn’t hate him after hearing his horrible secret. Obi-Wan shushed him as he held him close, gently stroking his hair.

“The Chancellor a-always s-said you’d hate m-me and g-get me expelled from the Jedi,” Anakin stammered, hiccupping, into Obi-Wan’s robes.

“Well, he was wrong,” Obi-Wan said firmly. “He doesn’t know me.”

“No, he doesn’t,” Anakin sniffled. “A-And, Obi-Wan?”

“Mm?”

“It’s not your fault, any of it,” Anakin told him quietly but firmly. “It wasn’t your fault that Qui-Gon took on Maul by himself, he could have waited for you. It wasn’t your fault my mum died, it was the Tusken Raiders…and Cody isn’t your fault either. Tram just had the better position. You’re gonna get him back, Obi-Wan.”

“I know,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I just feel so…useless.”

“I know,” Anakin echoed. “But it still isn’t your fault and Cody will say the exact same thing when we get him back.”

Obi-Wan chuckled weakly as he held Anakin closer. “Force, we’re messes aren’t we?” he murmured. “Never mind Mind Healers, we just need to talk and confess to each other, huh?”

Anakin laughed weakly at that. “Yeah, I think so…nothing like a good confession and cry session.”

They both laughed, yet neither let go of the other, feeling content and reassured with the other in their arms.

 

Rex frowned as he looked around the Archives, not sure where the best place to start was.

“Ah, young Rex, back again?” Rex turned around and smiled at the elder female Jedi, who was head of the Archives.

“Madam Nu,” Rex greeted. Jocasta Nu smiled at her, the wrinkles around her eyes deepening.

“Have you finished that book already?” she asked him. “I never knew what avid readers you and your brothers were. Ponds and Echo are in here every other day; they’ve even brought along your medic, Kix.”

“Yeah, he found out there were some medical texts in here which he really wanted to read,” Rex said with a smile. “I’m most grateful that you allow us to use the Archives.”

“Oh, dear, it’s no problem,” she reassured him. “The Archives are open to all Jedi and friends who wish to further their knowledge and I must admit, it is quite nice to see the men the Jedi fight alongside just taking time to read.”

Rex smiled and nodded. “I know Echo truly loves it in here.”

“He’s a good boy,” Jocasta laughed softly. “Now, young Rex, how can I assist you?”

Rex hesitated for a moment. “I was looking for information, but wasn’t quite sure of where to look.”

Jocasta nodded patiently.

“And what exactly are you seeking?”

“Information about a Jedi called Qui-Gon,” Rex said hesitantly. Jocasta blinked in surprise.

“Qui-Gon Jinn?” she asked in surprise.

“I believe so?”

“He was Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Master,” Jocasta explained, looking at him thoughtfully. “I take it you didn’t know that?”

Rex shook his head. “Obi-Wan doesn’t speak much about his Master and Skywalker never mentioned him either.”

Jocasta nodded thoughtfully before she beckoned for Rex to follow her. He followed down an aisle to a row of computers. She led him towards a seat and watched as he sat down before leaning over and typing in a few commands.

“This will show you the files we have on Qui-Gon, from mission reports and a bit more. I do hope that helps with whatever you are trying to find,” Jocasta said.

“Thank you, Madam Nu, it’s definitely a start,” Rex said gratefully. Jocasta placed a hand on Rex’s head.

“Summon me if you need any more assistance.”

“Thank you.”

Rex watched Jocasta leave, heading off to help a Padawan looking lost and confused, before he turned his attention to the screen in front of him.

“All right, Qui-Gon,” Rex murmured. “Let’s see who you were and why Quinlan Vos hates you so much.”

Rex had already decided that if he couldn’t find the information here, that he would go bail up Vos and get him to talk. After all, this was about Obi-Wan, his ori’vod’s cyar’ika, and until Cody came home, Rex would make sure Obi-Wan was okay.

Hours later, and the search had yielded frustratingly little. All Rex had discovered was Qui-Gon was terrible at filing reports for missions and they only got filed if Obi-Wan had been on a mission and had written a report himself.

Rex sighed as he powered down the computer, resigning himself to talking to Vos. He got to his feet and headed out from the Archives.

He should probably bring Vos a peace offering, something to soften him up.

 

An hour later, he stood out in front of Vos’s quarters, plate in hand. The door opened and the Kiffar male blinked, staring at Rex in surprise.

“Rex,” he greeted. “Never expected to see you at my door.”

It was then that Rex realised that no one greeted him by calling him ‘Captain’ anymore. They had all forgone the title…and Rex found himself not actually minding; he didn’t feel like a Captain anymore.

“Vos,” Rex greeted in return, then offered the plate, watching as the Kiffar’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. “I wanted to talk to you.”

Vos sighed and nodded, stepping aside to let Rex into his apartment. Rex walked in and Vos led him to the couch, grinning as he took the plate from Rex.

“I’ve heard rumours about your cooking and I hope I’m not getting the reject batch,” Vos teased as he placed the plate down.

“The reject batch gets sent to Palpatine, with a note from Mas Amedda,” Rex said with a sly grin. Vos snorted at that as he sat down, watching as Rex did the same.

“So, what can I do for you, Rex?”

“I had a session with Bant yesterday,” Rex said carefully, “and we were talking about Obi-Wan and how he blames himself for things out of his control and Bant said that you would blame it on Qui-Gon…I don’t think she meant for me to hear that part,” he added, seeing Quinlan raise an eyebrow in surprise.

“Ah,” Vos murmured. “Why does that interest you?”

“Obi-Wan is my brother’s cyar’ika, his beloved, and while Cody isn’t here…I want to make sure Obi-Wan is okay,” Rex explained. Vos sighed and gave a nod.

“I grew up with Obi-Wan,” Quinlan explained. “Well, I was a few years older, but I got along with the little dork and his band of friends, especially since he was a bit of an outcast, much like me.”

“He was an outcast?” Rex asked in surprise, thinking of how well liked and respected Obi-Wan was in the Temple.

“As a youngling, yes,” Vos answered with a sigh. “I don’t know why. He was talented enough, he had been in the Temple since he was just a few months old, but he had a strong grasp of the Force. He used to get some terrible Force visions, which Yoda used to come see him about, which might have put him on the outer amongst the other younglings…but he was a good kid, little quick to anger, but with how much he was bullied, I don’t blame him.”

“So, where does Qui-Gon come into this?”

“I’m getting there,” Vos said, amused. “You need to understand Rex, before the war, the Jedi Temple was a different place with different rules. Before the war, when an Initiate turned thirteen and hadn’t been chosen as a Padawan, then they aged out and were assigned to a Corp of their choice; whether it be the AgriCorp, EduCorp etc.”

Rex just stared in shock. Vos gave a wry smile at his expression.

“Yes, things are different now with the war…but it was harder back then,” Vos murmured. “Obi-Wan was quickly approaching his thirteenth birthday and yet he hadn’t been chosen as a Padawan yet. I couldn’t understand why; sure he was all gangly limbs and occasionally tripped over his feet, but he was one hell of a fighter and a good friend who defended those being hurt. My Master couldn’t understand either. He had heard that several Masters had approached Yoda about apprenticing Obi-Wan, but Yoda turned them down, saying that wasn’t the Force’s wish.”

“What was it wish?” Rex asked in disgust.

“Well, my Master, Tholme, believed that Yoda wanted Obi-Wan in his own lineage and was pushing him towards Qui-Gon Jinn, who had refused to take a Padawan after what had happened to his previous Padawan.”

“Obi-Wan wasn’t Jinn’s only Padawan?”

“No, he had two before Obi-Wan,” Vos explained. “First one was Feemor, who became a Knight and was a good Jedi, and the second one was Xanatos, who fell to the Dark side.”

Rex swore under his breath and Vos nodded in agreement.

“Qui-Gon was so destroyed, so betrayed by Xanatos’s Fall, that he refuted all of his Padawans, which included Feemor, and swore never to take on another Padawan.”

“Poor Feemor,” Rex murmured. “What happened to him after that?”

“I’m pretty certain Feemor is still around here somewhere,” Vos said thoughtfully. “I think he hides in the lower levels now with all of the artifacts. He was pretty brainy, really humble guy too.”

Rex made a mental note to chase this guy down.

If he could get a brother back with Puck, surely Obi-Wan could gain a brother in Feemor.

“So, Qui-Gon refused any more Padawans,” Rex repeated. “So how did Obi-Wan end up as his Padawan?”

“If I’m going to continue this, I need a drink,” Vos explained as he headed towards the kitchen. “Rex, you want one?”

“Not allowed to drink,” Rex said reproachfully. “Master Che’s orders.”

“Ah, don’t want to anger her,” Vos agreed. “Want a juice or water or something then?”

“Uh, juice please.”

Vos nodded and busied himself getting the drinks.

“I had some Jawa Juice,” Vos said as he set a glass in front of Rex. “Aayla always tries to make sure I’ve got food. I’m certain she thinks I can’t look after myself.” Vos smiled fondly at that. “For my old Padawan, she certainly acts more like my Master.”

Rex snickered at that and Vos sighed as he helped himself to one of Rex’s biscuits.

“Okay, so where was I?” Vos mumbled. “Ah yes, why Qui-Gon was such a dick.”

Chapter Text

“Okay, so Yoda had organised for the Initiates to have a spar and all prospective Masters came along,” Vos explained. “Qui-Gon came to watch a spar and it ended up being Obi-Wan against his bully, Bruck Chun,” Vos continued. “Obi-Wan won but Qui-Gon rejected him, saying that he was too angry, which left Obi-Wan rather heart-broken and morose.”

Rex just blinked in shock.

“So, with Qui-Gon’s rejection, Obi-Wan was put on a transport to the AgriCorps two weeks before his thirteenth birthday.”

“But he wasn’t thirteen yet!” Rex protested. Vos nodded, looking at the amber liquid in his glass bitterly.

“And he wasn’t given the choice of where to go either,” Vos growled. “The Initiate is supposed to choose their own path after that. Obi-Wan would have been great in the EduCorps, I could definitely see him as Creche Master…but he wasn’t given the choice. He was just sent to the AgriCorp. He was so distraught by that and felt so useless because of it. All of his training and he was sent to be a farmer.”

Rex clenched his fists at that, but Vos just kept staring into his drink.

“Of course, who else was on the transport to Bandomeer - which was were Obi-Wan was being sent - on a mission…Qui-Gon Jinn of course,” Vos muttered. “I’m not completely sure on what happened, since I’ve only heard the story once years ago, but Obi-Wan was kidnapped by a group on the planet and forced into working in a deep sea mine with an explosive collar around his neck.”

Rex blinked, lost at that. “Wait…what?”

“Obi-Wan had stumbled across something he shouldn’t have, which isn’t unusual since it’s Obi-Wan, and he was kidnapped because of it,” Vos explained. “Of course, things got more complicated when it came to light that Xanatos was the one in charge of the Offworld Mining Corporation and he was attempting to eliminate the rival company so he could reap all of the profits and power.”

Rex swore under his breath and Vos nodded, frowning.

“Now, I can’t completely remember how the situation happened, but somehow Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon ended up in this bolted room and there had been charges set to blow, which would kill thousands of people. Our usual brave, selfless Obi-Wan offered to blow himself up with the explosive collar so that Qui-Gon could escape and save everyone.”

Rex couldn’t believe what he was hearing, that Obi-Wan would offer to blow himself up so the man who so coldly rejected him could escape.

“Of course they found another way out and managed to disarm the charges while Xanatos ran for the hills,” Vos finished, “but Qui-Gon decided to take Obi-Wan on as Padawan after that.”

“And the Council let him?!” Rex asked indignantly. “After he almost allowed a child to blow himself up?”

Vos gave a small nod. “Yep…and it just got so much worse,” he sighed before downing his drink. “I need another drink.”

Rex watched as Vos got up to pour himself another drink before he came to sit back down.

“So, their relationship was like quite a few Master-Padawan relationships, they argued and disagreed over things,” Vos continued once he had settled down once more. “Qui-Gon was in tune with the Living Force, which focused more on the here and now while Obi-Wan was more in tune with the Unifying Force, which was the reason he got some terrible visions…which Qui-Gon usually pushed aside as he told him to ‘focus on the here and now,’” Vos muttered, rolling his eyes. “They did eventually start getting along and working together though.”

“Well, I’d hope so,” Rex sighed as he leaned back in his chair. Vos hummed in agreement.

“So things were going well until about a year after Obi-Wan became Qui-Gon’s Padawan. There had been a civil war on Melida/Daan and the Jedi had sent a Jedi, called Master Tahl, to go and negotiate between the two. However, Tahl was taken hostage and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were sent to save her,” Vos explained. “Now, you should know that Qui-Gon and Tahl grew up together, and their group – consisting of Jinn, Tahl, Micah Giiett and Plo Koon – were pretty close to one another.”

“Plo was friends with Qui-Gon?” Rex asked in disbelief, wondering how the caring Buir of the Wolf Pack could be friends with a man like Qui-Gon.

“I think Plo was closer to Micah,” Vos said thoughtfully, “and from Tholme said, Jinn, Micah and Plo grew apart, especially as Plo and Micah were appointed to the Council.”

Rex gave a small nod and Vos smiled sadly at him.

“So Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan arrived on Melida/Daan to find Tahl. They found assistance in members of the Young - a group that had formed of the kids and teenagers from the different warring factions - who had befriended Tahl and wanted to help save her. Obi-Wan became rather close with them, especially their leader, Cerasi, as they were teenagers around his age, trying to fight for a better future than the Melida wanted to give them.”

“Brave kids,” Rex murmured and Vos nodded in agreement.

“Obi-Wan felt the same and wanted to help them, but Qui-Gon reminded him the mission was finding Tahl and taking her home,” Vos sighed. “They did find her and she was broken and blinded, so Qui-Gon wanted to rush to get her back to Coruscant, while Obi-Wan wanted to do more to help the Young. Now, don’t get me wrong, he knew helping Tahl was important, but he wanted to make sure the Council would help the Young, that Qui-Gon would…but Qui-Gon refused, saying they couldn’t intervene without a request from the Government, while the Young were just a rebel group. Obi-Wan was angered by that, saying he had promised to help, that the Young needed their help, but Qui-Gon had his orders – first time he had actually chosen to follow them, mind you – and ordered Obi-Wan to the ship.”

“Obi-Wan refused, didn’t he?” Rex asked quietly.

Vos nodded sadly. “He did and Qui-Gon told him if he stayed he would no longer be a Jedi…so Obi-Wan quit and Qui-Gon left him there, returning back to Coruscant and telling the Council that Obi-Wan had resigned and was no longer a Jedi.”

“They still left him there alone?!” Rex asked angrily in disbelief. “He was a child!”

Rex couldn’t believe the Jedi, that Qui-Gon, had left Obi-Wan there. He was a teenager! They would have never left Ahsoka in a war-zone if she had been stubborn and demanded to stay, damn what the Council said. Rex knew Obi-Wan and Skywalker would have never left Ahsoka behind if they had been placed in the same situation.

“You all right, Rex?” Vos asked gently, breaking Rex from his thoughts.

“I just can’t believe they left him there,” Rex said in disbelief, shaking his head. “Obi-Wan would have never left Anakin or Ahsoka in a war-zone, even if the Council had ordered it…he would have never done it.”

“I know,” Vos reassured him. “Though, to be honest, I would have been tempted to leave Anakin behind on some planets.”

Rex looked at Vos at that, seeing Vos grinning at him. Rex rolled his eyes good naturedly and nodded for Vos to continue.

“Obi-Wan has never been forthcoming about what actually happened on Melida/Daan,” Vos sighed. “I only know that he put a call out to the Council for help and they sent Qui-Gon to go help.”

“Well, that was smart,” Rex said sarcastically, making Vos snicker in amusement.

“I agree with you there.”

“So what happened?”

“Well, after Qui-Gon left, Obi-Wan, Cerasi and the Young managed to stop the civil war,” Vos explained. “But apparently one of the Young wanted the Elders to pay or was power-hungry or something…so that led to a fight breaking out and Cerasi, Obi-Wan’s friend, was shot and killed. Obi-Wan didn’t know what to do, so that was when he put in a request to the Council…since Obi-Wan had been elected leader of the Young after Cerasi’s death, the Council had to send someone to mediate between the warring factions.”

“Still can’t believe they chose Qui-Gon,” Rex muttered.

“Yes, well…after they sorted out that mess, found another a faction group of the Young was the one to kill Cerasi, and made sure the war was stopped…Obi-Wan came home with Qui-Gon, and the Council were reluctant to reinstate his Padawan status and put him on probation.”

Rex struggled not to swear at that and Vos smiled at him sympathetically, understanding his feelings.

“We kept close to Obi-Wan, though we felt a little hurt that he had left us, we were just glad he was back,” Vos explained before sighing. “And then of course, Xanatos reared his ugly head again. He had been planning to kill Yoda and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan managed to find him before he put his plan into effect…but Xanatos had had an accomplice within the Temple, who had kidnapped Bant after she had come close to discovering his plans, and it was then they discovered that Xanatos’s accomplice was Bruck Chun, Obi-Wan’s bully. Obi-Wan had to fight him, struggling to get past him in order to rescue Bant, who had been chained up at the bottom of the waterfall pool in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. Chun slipped and Obi-Wan tried to save him, but Chun preferred to die for everything he had done, so he let go and fell, which broke his neck and killed him.”

“How’d the Jedi take that?”

“They realised it wasn’t Obi-Wan’s fault,” Vos said. “Chun’s father attempted to get Obi-Wan prosecuted for Bruck’s death, but Qui-Gon managed to step in at the last moment to save him with a recording from a device hidden inside Bruck’s lightsaber, which showed Bruck’s last conversation and that Obi-Wan tried to save him.”

“Huh,” Rex murmured. “At least he didn’t let Obi-Wan go to jail for something that wasn’t his fault.”

“True,” Vos sighed.

“So, how did Obi-Wan become like he is today?” Rex questioned. “How did he become the man who takes so little care of himself and blames himself for that he cannot control?”

“I blame Qui-Gon,” Vos said firmly. “You know this already, but Qui-Gon wasn’t as attentive to his Apprentice as he should have been. After missions where Obi-Wan would have been hurt, Qui-Gon would just go and do his own thing and leave Obi-Wan to take care of himself…and Obi-Wan hated the healers, so that didn’t help.”

Rex snorted in agreement at that. He had seen Obi-Wan avoid the medics.

“Obi-Wan just wanted Qui-Gon to trust him, so he pushed himself hard and would forget to take care of himself in that pursuit,” Vos sighed. “He just wanted to be the perfect Padawan for Qui-Gon, especially since Qui-Gon always seemed to hold him away at arm’s length and was always critical of his actions because of Xanatos. Things just got more tense the older Obi-Wan got and by the time the Battle of Naboo came around, they were barely speaking.”

“Why did it get so tense?”

“Master Tholme believed it was mostly due to Tahl’s death,” Vos said quietly. “He cared for her and her death affected him greatly and he changed. He even distanced himself further from Plo and Micah, who were both Council members…even after Micah’s death, he and Plo were never really close again.”

Rex nodded, still frowning.

“Obi-Wan pushed himself harder because he didn’t want to be pushed aside by Qui-Gon again,” Vos explained gently, seeing Rex’s frown. “Every time he failed, or thought he failed, he’d blame himself, even if things were out of his control, because he didn’t want to disappoint Qui-Gon…which was something he was never able to overcome.”

“But surely after twelve years he wouldn't worry about that, right?” Rex asked, concerned. Vos just smiled bitterly.

“You would think so, but after we just start to begin to like Qui-Gon, he turns around and shows what a massive dick he is again,” growled Vos. “You see, just before the Battle of Naboo, Windu approached Qui-Gon about Obi-Wan taking his trials and Qui-Gon said that Obi-Wan wasn’t ready. So, jump past the Naboo blockade and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rescuing the Queen, having to land on Tatooine and all…they finally arrive back on Coruscant with a small boy in tow who Qui-Gon had found.”

“Anakin,” Rex said. Vos nodded in confirmation.

“Qui-Gon brings this young boy in front of the Council to be tested, but they sense darkness in him – though I don’t blame the kid, he was a slave on Tatooine – and refuse to train him…so Qui-Gon says he will train him and that he takes Anakin as his Padawan learner, which blindsides Obi-Wan completely.”

“But…he had Obi-Wan,” Rex said weakly.

Vos nodded. “Yoda pointed that out and Qui-Gon announced that Obi-Wan was ready to take the trials, which infuriated Mace because Qui-Gon had just told him that Obi-Wan was ready…and then he goes on to say that only two weeks later. Obi-Wan felt like he was being pushed aside, all because his Master wanted to train the ‘Chosen One’.” Vos shook his head in disgust.

“Of course, I didn’t hear about it until I got back,” he muttered. “I saw Qui-Gon on Tatooine but I was undercover then, so I couldn’t do anything, and by the time I got back Qui-Gon had been killed and Obi-Wan was alone with a new Padawan while he was barely a brand new Knight himself.”

Vos sighed heavily, downing the rest of his drink once more.

“I tried to be there for Obi-Wan, to support him, and, man, did he need support,” Vos muttered. “Qui-Gon’s last words weren’t to tell Obi-Wan that he was sorry or that he was proud of him…no, his last words were to tell Obi-Wan to train Anakin because Qui-Gon believed him to be the Chosen One…and Obi-Wan, being the large heart he is, promised to do it.”

“They do make a good team,” Rex said quietly.

“I know they do,” Vos reassured him, “but Anakin should have spent some time in the crèche amongst the other Initiates before they allowed Obi-Wan to take him on; they should have given Obi-Wan some time to recover from losing his Master and the subsequent snapping of the training bond, which apparently really hurts when it’s snapped instead of dissolved…but they didn’t give him that and Obi-Wan struggled. He always felt he wasn’t good enough for Anakin and his anxiety really played up with that.”

“I don’t think another Jedi would have done so well with Anakin,” Rex said. “He’s…well, outgoing, I don’t want to think how much worse that would have been when he was a cadet.”

Vos snorted with laughter. “Multiple his current energy levels by about ten and you have Anakin as a youngling.”

Rex laughed at that, grinning. Vos smiled at him before it faltered.

“Well, that should explain why Obi-Wan is the way he is,” he murmured. “I hope that helped.”

“It does, Vos, thank you,” Rex said. “I think I might know how I can help at least…but…thank you.”

Vos inclined his head and Rex stood up to leave before pausing.

“Hey, Vos, why don’t you have your own battalion?” Rex asked. “Obviously you care and I know a lot of brothers would be better off having you as a General compared to someone like Krell.”

Vos smiled sadly. “Don’t take this personally, Rex, I know you’re great guys and all…but every time I’m around any of you, I feel uneasy,” he admitted. “I know it’s something my psychometry is causing me to see, so while I know you’re all loyal, good men, there’s just something that’s making me uneasy...and I do better by myself, it's easier being a Shadow that way.”

Rex gave a small nod, not quite understanding, before he left.

 

Echo stood nervously in front of the doors of the Council Chamber, fidgeting with his helmet nervously as he held it in front of him. A hand rested on his shoulder bell, a comforting weight, and Echo glanced over to see Ponds standing beside him, smiling reassuringly at him.

“It’s fine, Echo,” Ponds reassured him.

“But…what if they know it was me who got that footage?” Echo asked worriedly.

“Oh, I’m certain they know…but I know they don’t care,” Ponds added as he saw Echo had paled. “I think they just want to know more.”

The doors opened and Kit Fisto poked his head out, smiling at the two of them.

“We are ready for you,” Kit said before he stepped aside to let them in. Ponds and Echo walked to stand in front of the Council members as Kit went back to take his seat. Echo looked around, noting a few empty seats that hadn’t been filled with the holos of their respective Council members and realised only the members who were currently at the Temple were here. Echo met Obi-Wan’s tired gaze and Obi-Wan offered him a tired but reassuring smile.

“Echo, Ponds, thank you for coming so quickly,” Windu greeted. Echo inclined his head as Ponds smiled at Windu.

“We have had the Chancellor breathing down our necks,” Kit spoke up. “He is certain a clone is the one who leaked the footage to the press.”

“We asked what proof he had and he said he had none, but he knew it was a clone. I am certain he believes Ponds is to blame,” Windu continued, noting how Echo had paled. “I told him that unless he can find proof, we aren’t going on a witch-hunt and blaming all of the clones...after all there are so many people in the Galaxy who dislike him, I am certain it could have easily been one of them.”

“Sirs…” Echo croaked.

“We know it was you, Echo, no other has your tech talent,” Obi-Wan spoke up finally, smiling, “but we aren’t going to turn you in.”

“We wanted to know what else you found when you were perusing through the Chancellor’s security system,” Plo added, speaking up. Echo frowned at that.

“Sirs?”

“Trust him, we do not,” Yoda explained.

“It has come to our attention that something isn’t right with the Chancellor,” Windu took over explaining. “Skywalker has become uncomfortable around him, feeling an intense feeling of wrongness around him, and Kit has picked that up with the Chancellor’s aura as well…not to mention how he pushed aside Cody and Rex and threatened Ponds for simply speaking up…no, something isn’t right.”

“That’s why we wanted to know if you saw something else, Echo,” Kit added gently.

Echo gave a nod, fidgeting with his gauntlet.

“There wasn’t much else besides political stuff,” Echo explained, beginning to relax knowing that the Jedi weren’t going to have him arrested. “I do have a few videos saved of the Chancellor double-crossing people and being a complete piece of osik, but I don’t know if that’ll help.”

“Could you send us the files?” Kit asked curiously. “I think we’d be intrigued to look over them, maybe see if we can discover the wrongness we’re sensing.”

Echo nodded. “Of course, I was only keeping them for future discrediting use.”

Obi-Wan snorted at that, grinning at Echo. Echo smiled back.

“Oh, and there was something else,” Echo said, suddenly remembering. “When I was looking through the hours of footage, there were sporadic instances of the Chancellor looking all angry and telling his secretary not to bother him, before he pushed a button on his desk and the surveillance cut out.”

“He cut the surveillance in his office?” Windu asked, surprised.

Echo nodded once more. “And it was only for about ten to fifteen minutes at most.”

“Maybe he didn’t want the cameras catching him throwing a temper tantrum?” Kit suggested.

“No, I’ve seen him lose it in the footage,” Echo said. “This is something else.”

“Is there a way you can override this?” Kit asked curiously. Echo hesitated.

“I can put a program into his surveillance so the next time he does that, you get a live feed,” Echo said slowly.

“But?” Obi-Wan pressed.

“Attempting to place that in there could set off dozens of alarms,” Echo explained, “and I’m certain that he’s made sure his surveillance security system has been reinforced with traps to catch slicers. Attempting to place a program in there could lead the Chancellor back to me and the Jedi.”

“We do not want to risk you, Echo,” Plo spoke up. “Please do not do that, we will find alternative means. You are not worth risking,” he added firmly, seeing Echo hesitate.

“Thank you for your insight, Echo,” Windu added. “Kit will speak to you after about getting the recordings.”

Echo nodded, letting out a relieved breath as he begun to relax. He turned to leave but paused when he realised Ponds wasn’t moving.

“Ponds?” Windu asked, seeing his Commander still standing there. “Is everything okay?”

“Please excuse me, High Generals…but I’ve actually had an idea,” Ponds said carefully.

“Tell us, you should,” Yoda spoke up. “Always good to hear ideas, it is.”

“I noticed how the public reacted when they saw Mace sticking up for me, a mere clone in the Chancellor’s eyes,” Ponds explained. “Suddenly they saw the Jedi in a different light, especially since they saw Mace arguing for Rex and Cody’s sake and then sticking up for me when the Chancellor threatened to have me reconditioned.”

Ponds paused for a moment, getting his thoughts in order.

“The public turned on you because they all saw you as aloof and thought that you thought you were better than them,” Ponds continued carefully.

“It’s true,” Obi-Wan spoke up, sounding thoughtful. “The trio who helped Anakin and I plan the Osiris attack said they wanted to help because they knew Cody and I were together, and that it showed them that clones were feeling beings and that Jedi weren’t as ‘hoity-toity’ as they thought we were.”

“What was your idea to combat this, Ponds?” Plo asked curiously.

“Well, seeing how the public reacted to the footage of Mace standing up for us clones, I thought ‘why not show the public more’?” Ponds said. “I want the Republic to see the Jedi as the clones see you. We know the people you are, that you’re caring and kind, but aren’t afraid to have fun either.”

“So, recording us?” Kit asked, tilting his head curiously.

“Yes and sharing the footage,” Ponds said. “Not everything of course,” he added hastily, “I would make sure the footage is cleared with you first, but things like the younglings playing or the Initiates pranking each other or the Jedi sparring with their men. I was even thinking that I’d do the same for the clones so the Republic could see that we’re actual people and we all have different personalities and likes and dislikes; like Rex and his cooking or Echo and his tech, stuff like that.”

Yoda hummed thoughtfully, looking to Windu.

“That could actually be a good idea,” Kit spoke up thoughtfully. “It allows people to gain an insight of what a Jedi actually is and that we allow our younglings to laugh and have fun…also that we still have fun as well,” he added with a large grin.

“Allow this for now, we will,” Yoda said. “Master Windu will view all footage before it is released.”

Ponds inclined his head, grinning. “Thank you. I will make sure that the clones will follow the guidelines and only I can post the footage once it has been cleared. I’ll take charge of the posting and watching the comments,” Ponds added, “since I’m Temple bound.”

Windu nodded, smiling slightly at Ponds.

“Well, Commander, you have a new job. I look forward to seeing the footage, to see the Jedi as you see us.”

“I won’t let you down, Mace,” Ponds promised before he turned, placing his hand on Echo’s shoulder and leading him out. Echo grinned and said something about meeting Wolffe. Ponds just nodded, already composing the message to send out to the private clone line they had established on the comms, so that way they could communicate without the GAR reading their every word.

Ponds grinned.

He had so many plans for this.

Chapter Text

Cody winced as he emerged into the bright, harsh light of the Tatooine suns. He shaded his eyes for a moment as he peered out of the door of the hut. He found Jango nearby, working on an evaporator, not seeming to care about the harsh heat of the suns beating down upon him as he worked. Jango looked around as he heard Cody approach.

“Good to see you up, ad’ika,” Jango said, turning his gaze back to the evaporator. “Shows your strength is returning.”

Cody raised an eyebrow but leaned against the evaporator, hiding in its shadows to take refuge from the heat of the suns. He was still feeling a bit weak also, but he didn’t like lying about, especially since Jango had been avoiding him, only staying long enough to give Cody food and drink before he quickly disappeared.

“I hate lying about,” Cody said simply. “I needed to get up.”

Jango nodded as he tightened a bolt. Cody just watched him for a moment.

“You still haven’t told me why you let Boba believe you were dead,” Cody pointed out. Jango sighed, giving Cody a look.

“You’re not going to drop this, are you?”

“Nope,” Cody answered with a grin. “You always did teach us not to give up.”

Jango glared at him. “Taught you too bloody well,” he muttered under his breath.

Cody just shrugged, staring at Jango until he sighed, grumbling under his breath. Jango tightened the bolt a bit more before he finally looked back at Cody.

“It was safer for Boba if everyone thought I was dead,” Jango said.

“You’ve said that, but not why you believed that,” Cody countered, gaining an unimpressed look from Jango.

“I was getting to that,” he growled before he sighed heavily. “I requested Boba as part of my contract, wanting a son of my own…but that also gave my employers a weakness to use against me,” Jango explained. “I would do anything to protect Boba and they knew it.”

“So why fake your death?”

“I knew too much,” Jango said simply with a shrug. “They knew that if the Jedi got their hands on me, I could tell them information, so I knew they wouldn’t chance it and they would use Boba to get me…so I made them think I was dead and kept Boba in the dark to protect him.”

Cody stared in shock and Jango glanced at him, giving a gruff chuckle.

“I know, sounds ridiculous but it was safer for Boba and I will not risk him.”

“I get that,” Cody murmured, “but wouldn’t he have been safer with you?”

“Harder to hide in plain sight with a kid by your side,” Jango muttered, “and they wouldn’t target him if they saw he was by himself, that he wasn’t by my side.”

Cody sighed and slid down the evaporator to sit on the sand, feeling a bit light-headed. Jango looked at him in concern.

“You all right, Kote?”

Cody gave a small nod at Jango’s concerned question.

“What information is so important that your employer would threaten Boba for?” Cody asked before frowning. “Wait…aren’t the Jedi your employers?”

Jango shook his head with a dark chuckle. “No, the Jedi weren’t the ones who employed me. I was hired by man called Tyranus, who is actually Count Dooku.”

Cody stared at Jango horrified before leaping to his feet. “He was the one who ordered us?!”

Jango gave a half shrug. “I don’t know if he was following Jedi orders, there was a discussion of another Jedi called Sifo Diyas who was apparently the one who placed the order with Kaminoans,” Jango said slowly, carefully, “but Dooku was the one who hired me to be the template. I don’t know his reasoning to help the Jedi or the Republic…but I didn’t ask; that’s what gets people killed.”

Cody frowned, deep in thought, as he stared blankly at the sand. Jango gave a wry smile.

“Now you get my predicament,” Jango said with a small snort.

“I have to tell the Jedi,” Cody said suddenly, looking at Jango. “I have to get back and warn my Jedi.”

“No,” Jango said firmly. “I’m not letting the Jedi take you back, not after they let this happen to you!”

“That’s my choice!” Cody snarled back. “I’m not leaving them!”

Jango shook his head firmly. “No.”

“You don’t get to do this!” Cody yelled. “You aren’t my father! You were the DNA donor, not my father! Boba is your son and you’re his Buir, but you aren’t mine! I have to get back to my Jedi, to Rex, my brothers…I need to warn them and I need them.”

Jango just stared at Cody before he sighed.

“You know, when I took that job, I had planned not to get involved with you,” Jango said calmly, meeting Cody’s amber eyes. “I had planned to remain detached…but then I watched you, saw you all developing personalities and likes and dislikes; I watched as you stood strong to all the horrors that Kaminoans and trainers, myself included, threw at you…and I couldn’t remain detached. I came to care for you, especially the squads I looked after, like yours, Kote, and I wanted so much to protect you from the Kaminoans and their idea of training and ‘perfection’. I tried to save as many as I could from culling, from the torture training, but the Kaminoans had their orders and I couldn’t do anything but look out for you, be there for you when you needed me.”

Cody just stared at Jango, amber eyes wide.

Jango smiled sadly. “When I made reports to Dooku, I mentioned you all, told him that the Kaminoans training was absurd, especially how they treated the babies, and how they treated you, just mere children and teenagers…and I think he knew that I was coming to care for you,” Jango looked away. “I spoke highly of you in the messages as well, of your squad, and I think he saw that I was no longer detached, that I had become attached to you all…but he never tried to do anything and sometimes I wonder why.”

Jango shook his head at that, chasing away the errant thought and looking to Cody.

“You may not think I’m your Buir but I have thought of you, of Rex, Wolffe, Ponds, Bly, Gree and others as my sons since you were little and full of light and life.”

Cody’s face softened slightly at that admission and Jango sighed as he bent down, picking up the tools.

“And that is why I will not allow you to go back, Kote, I do not want to lose any more sons and you’ve been through enough. They don’t deserve you, Kote, and I will never let anyone hurt you again.”

Cody just stared after Jango, shocked, as Jango headed back into the hut.

 

“So, how have you been, Rex?”

Rex smiled slightly at Bant as he settled back down on the cushions. “I’ve been okay,” Rex admitted. “I’ve found something to keep my mind busy.”

“Oh?”

“I want to look after Obi-Wan while Cody isn’t here,” Rex explained, fiddling with a loose thread on his shirt. “So…I went to speak to Vos about Qui-Gon Jinn.”

Bant stared, shocked, before she recovered herself. “I-I’m not sure that’s the wisest idea, Rex,” Bant said softly. “You’re meant to be focusing on your own recovery.”

“It helps,” Rex admitted. “I’m used to looking after others and…and it helps to focus on something else.”

Bant sighed and gave a small nod. “Okay, so what did you find out about Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon?”

“I found out why Obi-Wan feels the blame as much as he does,” Rex murmured. “He always pushed himself to be the best, to impress Qui-Gon but it never seemed to work.”

Bant smiled sadly.

“No, it didn’t,” she murmured. “He tried so hard to be the best Jedi he could.”

“Well, at least he had you, Vos and Garen, I think?” Rex said, watching as Bant turned her eyes downward for a moment.

“He didn’t have me for a little while,” she murmured. “I-I blamed him for the death of my Master but I soon came to realise there was nothing he could have done, she was already dying by the time they reached her.”

“Well, at least you made up,” Rex pointed out. “That’s what matters most.”

Bant looked to Rex and gave a small smile. “I thought I was meant to be the one giving you advice?”

Rex snorted at that and shrugged.

“I just get it,” he said. “A brother, one of my original squad-mates - who hated me for years - just apologized to me, and I am glad to have him back.”

“That’s good to hear, Rex,” Bant said. Rex nodded, smiling softly before hesitating.

“I heard that Qui-Gon had another apprentice, one that he refuted when another turned to the Dark Side, called Feemor,” he said slowly.

Bant nodded. “That is true.”

“Do you know where he is?”

“I believe he sticks in the lower levels, taking care of the artifacts,” Bant mused. “I think I remember him from when my Master went to look over some of the artifacts…well, feeling the artifacts, she was blind after all,” Bant added, which caused Rex to frown in thought.

“Blind?” he murmured. “Was your master Master Tahl?”

Bant looked at Rex in surprise but gave a nod. “Yes, she was my Master until her death and that was when Master Fisto took over my apprenticeship.”

“Sorry for bringing that up.”

“It’s okay, Rex,” reassured Bant. “I’ve had my time to come to terms with it.”

Rex nodded once more, still fidgeting with the thread on his shirt.

“How have your nightmares been?” Bant asked. “I understand Fives is being deployed again soon.”

Rex sighed and gave a small nod at that. “I still have nightmares about Cody, about Tram hurting him, or…or about Tris still being alive and coming back for me and killing the ones I love.”

Bant nodded reassuringly as Rex finally admitted his fears.

“That’s good that you’re able to talk about it,” Bant praised him. “It’s good to admit your fears.”

“I hate being so scared,” Rex said, casting his eyes down to look at his hands. “I know Tris is dead, I killed him myself, so why am I so scared of him coming back?”

“That’s natural, Rex,” Bant said softly. “Tris hurt you, tortured and humiliated you, it’s no wonder you’re still fearful. That man tormented you, hurt you for six months, it does not surprise me that he still haunts your dreams and that is something that will pass, as you talk and as you face your fears and face what Tris has done to you, you will become stronger and will be able to force him out.”

Rex nodded silently.

“Do you know what you will do once Fives goes back to the front? Who will you go to when your nightmares overwhelm you?”

“Ponds…or Obi-Wan,” Rex murmured before adding, “or you.”

Bant smiled and nodded. “I’ll always be here if you need to talk, Rex, always.”

Rex smiled at her, eyes glancing to the plate he had brought in with him. Bant followed his gaze and smiled warmly.

“I am most thankful for the kelp slice too,” she said. “I haven’t had any for a long time.”

“I hope I got the recipe right,” Rex said sheepishly. “I’ve never cooked anything like that before.”

“Well, if it’s anything like your previous baking, which I’ve heard so many compliments about, I’m sure it will be amazing.”

Bant smiled as Rex bowed his head, though she saw the blush across his cheeks.

“Rex,” Bant said gently. “Is there anything about your time with Tris that you want to talk about? How he hurt you or…?” Bant trailed off, looking to Rex.

Rex felt a lump in his throat as he thought of how Tris used him, threatened him, hurt him and humiliated him. He could feel his heart racing, his breathing becoming shallower.

Rex gave a small shake of his head and Bant nodded understandingly.

“Take your time, Rex,” she reassured him. “In time you’ll find it easier to talk about.”

“When?” Rex choked out.

“Well, there’ll be a time when you’re comfortable enough to say one thing about what happened, whether it be how he threatened you or something, and then after that you’ll find that that opens up a dam and you find it easier to talk then.”

Rex nodded once more, swallowing harshly.

“I know it’s frustrating,” Bant said softly, “but that time will come and you shouldn’t force yourself, not until you’re ready.”

Rex looked up, meeting her soft, reassuring silver eyes and nodded, relieved that Bant wouldn’t press him until he was ready.

 

Obi-Wan tiredly rubbed his eyes, sighing as he got to his feet as his door chimed. He opened the door and paused.

“Rex,” he croaked in surprise. Rex smiled softly at him.

“You look like osik, Obi-Wan,” Rex said gently before offering a plate. “You haven’t been eating, have you?”

Obi-Wan smiled weakly at Rex before stepping aside and inviting him in. Rex nodded and walked inside, placing the plate of pies on Obi-Wan’s coffee table and sitting on the couch. Obi-Wan walked over to join him.

“It is good to see you, Rex,” Obi-Wan murmured as he sat beside him, “and…and I’m sorry that I haven’t seen you since we brought you back.”

“It’s all right, Obi-Wan,” Rex soothed him. “I get it. I remind you of Cody.”

Obi-Wan winced at that and looked away. “It’s not that,” he whispered. “I am so glad we got you back but –,”

“You worry for Cody,” Rex finished. “I get it, Obi-Wan, I truly do…I miss him and am worried for him too.”

Obi-Wan reached out and squeezed Rex’s hand. Rex smiled back and squeezed his hand in return.

“You should eat,” Rex said, pointing to the plates. “Cody would be so upset to see you all skin and bones.”

Obi-Wan gave him a look and Rex just grinned, making Obi-Wan roll his eyes fondly but he still reached out and took a pie. Rex settled back, content, as he watched Obi-Wan eat. He smiled at Obi-Wan as Obi-Wan took his fourth pie.

“Hungry, Obi-Wan?” Rex pressed gently. Obi-Wan gave a small nod.

“Yeah,” he mumbled. Rex’s hand rested on his shoulder and squeezed softly.

“I am glad to hear that,” Rex said, “and I am glad to see you eat.”

Obi-Wan smiled weakly but continued to eat, though he glanced at Rex. “How are you going, Rex?” he asked softly. “I-I heard you’re seeing Bant.”

Rex nodded, giving a small smile.

“I’m trying to get better,” he admitted. “Bant’s very helpful, she isn’t pushy and doesn’t make me feel like a failure.”

“She’s good like that,” Obi-Wan smiled, “and I am glad to hear you’re talking. It doesn’t do you good to keep it bottled up like that.”

Rex nodded once again. “Yeah, I know. I-It’s still hard though. I can’t be touched if I can’t see them coming to me, like Fives can’t hug me from behind or I freak out and I keep having nightmares.”

“I understand that,” Obi-Wan murmured. Rex looked at him, meeting his gaze and thought of what Vos had told him, of how Obi-Wan had been left in a war-zone when he was just a teenager, how Obi-Wan had had his bond with his Master forcefully snapped as he watched his Master die.

“I know,” Rex said, sadly smiling at him.

“I thought you would hate me,” Obi-Wan whispered, looking away.

“Why?” Rex asked, shocked as he stared at Obi-Wan, whose shoulders had slumped.

“Because I failed to save Cody, your ori’vod…I just…I just wasn’t fast enough.”

Rex immediately turned, placing his hands on Obi-Wan’s shoulders and turning Obi-Wan to face him.

“Obi-Wan,” Rex said firmly, making Obi-Wan’s eyes reluctantly flick up to meet his. “It was not your fault. I know you and I know how much you love Cody…and I know you would have done your best and more to rescue him.”

Obi-Wan went to speak, probably to contradict Rex’s words and blame himself more, but Rex wasn’t having it.

“No, Obi-Wan, you listen to me,” he said, almost sternly. “Don’t try putting the blame onto yourself when I know you risked your life to save him by jumping onto that ship. I know that you would have killed yourself in that second attempt to jump back up if Skywalker hadn’t stopped you, but you were so desperate to try it because of how much you love Cody…and that’s how I know you did all you could. Don’t blame yourself for this, Obi-Wan, it was out of your control, it was out of everyone’s control.”

Obi-Wan looked into Rex’s sincere gold eyes before he broke down into sobs. Rex quickly gathered him into his arms and held him close. Rex ran his fingers through Obi-Wan’s hair soothingly, though it suddenly jarred how familiar it was to Cody doing this to him while they had been both been captives.

“You did good, Obi-Wan,” Rex murmured in his ear. “You did your best and I am so grateful that you did…and I’m glad Cody saw that too.”

Obi-Wan sobbed harder against Rex’s shoulder and Rex just continued to murmur reassuringly in his ear, praising him for doing his best. He knew he just had to praise Obi-Wan, to let him know that his best was good enough. He just hoped that would help with Obi-Wan’s horrible tendency to blame himself for things out of control.

Finally, Obi-Wan pulled back, sniffling as he scrubbed at his eyes.

“Sorry,” he croaked. “I shouldn’t be crying on you…you’ve got enough to worry about without me.”

Rex rolled his eyes at that and tugged Obi-Wan closer.

“You’re my vod, Obi-Wan, and I’ll worry about you, like I worry about all of my brothers, because you’re aliit,” Rex murmured softly. “You’re my ori’vod’s beloved, his cyar’ika, and I’m grateful every day that he found you.”

“I shouldn’t have let you be taken,” Obi-Wan whispered.

“That wasn’t your fault either,” Rex told him firmly. “None of us saw that happening, we weren’t expecting bounty hunters with sedative darts to be out in the battlefield.”

“I couldn’t find you.”

“Cody knew you weren’t going to give up on us, on him,” Rex murmured. “That’s what kept him going, Obi-Wan, he knew you would come for him.”

“What about you?”

Rex smiled sadly. “I had Cody and I knew you weren’t going to give up on him or me.”

“You’re one of my closest friends, Rex, I was never going to give up on you,” Obi-Wan said quietly. Rex stared at Obi-Wan in surprise. He had never thought that Obi-Wan would think of him as a close friend. A lump formed in Rex’s throat and he pulled Obi-Wan close again, hugging him tight.

“I mean it,” Obi-Wan murmured into Rex’s shoulder. “You are one of my best friends, Rex. You never judged me and you liked me for who I was, Jedi or not.”

“You’re a good man, Obi-Wan,” Rex agreed. “You treated us like individuals, always learning our names and always able to tell us apart; you encouraged us to find our individuality and to become more comfortable in ourselves…and you saved Cody from a horrible Admiral. You brought my ori’vod back to us and Wolffe, Ponds, Bly and I will always be grateful for that,” Rex told him quietly, voice fierce with emotion. “You know, growing up we were always told that we would could never find anyone or love anyone or start a family because that wasn’t what they made us for. They made us to be soldiers and they said that was our only purpose and no one would want clones anyway. They never believed that we would actually love anyone anyway, but soon brothers found others who they loved and adored more than any other, ones they gave their hearts to.”

Obi-Wan was still, listening intently to Rex’s words.

“We know some beings might see us clones being in relationships with each other as ‘gross’ or ‘weird’…but when it comes to finding someone we love, another clone, we don’t see them as another clone, as a copy of us; we see their individuality and their differences.”

“What do you see when you look at Fives?” Obi-Wan asked quietly.

Rex smiled as he thought of his beloved before answering softly, “I see his cheeky spirit and fierce gold eyes. I see his protectiveness and his determination, his drive to do the right thing even if it means going against orders. I know the angles of his face are similar to mine, almost identical, but I still find the slight differences that makes Fives his own person. I know all of his scars and all of his fears. I know what makes him laugh and what makes those golden eyes light up and I know what makes him withdraw and what makes those golden eyes darken with shadows, though I try to keep those shadows away.”

Obi-Wan nodded, shifting his head slightly so his forehead was resting against Rex’s shoulder. “You are all so different in the Force,” Obi-Wan added quietly. “You all shine so brightly but so differently. I know you look similar – and I say similar because there are differences, however minute, between you all – but I don’t see you as clones because of your Force signature. You all shine so brightly and differently to one another that that sets you apart for me, even without knowing all of your different personalities.”

“What does Cody look like in the Force?”

Obi-Wan smiled as he thought of Cody’s Force signature. “He’s a shade of gold,” Obi-Wan began to explain. “So bright and so warm like the afternoon sun on a nice, warm Summer’s day; that type of warm that’s not hot but just right, that makes you feel warm and cozy and just perfect.”

“What about me?”

Obi-Wan lifted his head at Rex’s curious question, smiling at him warmly and examining his Force signature. He knew what Rex looked like both in and out of the Force, but he wanted to be accurate as he described what he saw to Rex.

“You’re a deep ocean blue,” Obi-Wan said softly. “There’s a calmness but there’s also a hint of a storm within you. The blue is one of those deep, comforting blues that makes you feel like you’re floating on a calm, deep blue ocean…it feels like freedom.”

Obi-Wan blinked as he focused back on Rex, who was staring at him in amazement. Obi-Wan blushed slightly as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s what I see.”

“No…that…that was just –,” Rex broke off, gathering his thoughts. “I just never saw myself like that.”

Obi-Wan smiled warmly at him before leaning against his side tiredly. Rex chuckled as he wrapped his arm around Obi-Wan, feeling safe and warm next to his brother’s Jedi and cyare.

“Rex,” Obi-Wan said hesitantly.

“Mm?”

“You do know I’m here if you want to talk, about anything,” Obi-Wan said quietly. Rex gave a small nod, though he knew he couldn’t tell Obi-Wan, not yet.

How could he tell him what he had seen Tram do to Cody? How could he tell him about Cody breaking down in his arms or being covered in blood after one of Tram’s punishments?

“I know, Obi-Wan, thank you,” he murmured.

Rex knew if he had nightmares when Fives was gone he’d probably go to Ponds or Obi-Wan, just to have someone close and to chase away the fears that Tris would come for him, even though Rex knew he was dead.

“I’m just glad you’re here, Rex,” Obi-Wan said quietly. “I don’t have many friends these days.”

Rex just clutched Obi-Wan tighter and resolved to go track down Feemor when he had the chance. He knew Obi-Wan had friends, people that cared for him, but he knew Obi-Wan didn’t see that anymore. He just hoped that Feemor would be able to help right the wrongs that Qui-Gon had done to his young Padawan, Obi-Wan, that had followed him into his adult life.

Chapter Text

Ponds looked up from his datapad as he heard giggling. He had been working on some paperwork, filling out and approving requisition forms, and looking over battle plans for other battalions, sitting under a tree in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. It had become one of his favourite places to just sit, even while working on his mountains of paperwork. It was peaceful and Ponds didn’t miss being out in the barracks as much when he was sat here.

Though his brothers and men did like to come disturb his peace when he was sat there.

Ponds smiled as the giggling got louder and saw a bunch of younglings darting around, playing. Ponds glanced towards the waterfall, where he knew General Fisto was swimming, having seen him earlier. Kit had winked at him before diving into the waterfall pool. General Fisto had emerged slightly, only the top of his head and his eyes above the water, reddish-black eyes sparkling as he watched the playing younglings.

Ponds tilted his head slightly and shifted his datapad so he was recording the scene before him. He had a feeling that he would want to catch what happened next.

The younglings all gathered around the pool, not spotting Kit peeking out at them from the water. Kit slowly swam closer, the younglings still not noticing. Ponds couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face as he watched Kit sneaking up on them, his red-black eyes sparkling mischievously.

The younglings squealed as a wave of water suddenly washed over them. They quickly spun around as Kit stood up, finally revealing himself, standing there in his swim shorts, laughing heartily.

“Master Fisto!” one of the kids whined.

“Get him!” another crowed before they darted into the pool up to their ankles. They chased him around, lunging and trying to bring the laughing Nautolan down.

“Come on, younglings!” Kit laughed, sending water splashing onto the younglings with the Force. Suddenly the group of them acted at the same time, sending a large wave towards Kit, which knocked him back and sent him flying back under the water in the deeper part of the pool.

Kit popped back out of the water with a splash - which sent the younglings laughing and squealing - his grin even larger than before as his tentacles wriggled happily.

“Ah, you’re in for it now, little ones!”

The younglings all squealed in delight as Kit chased them around the pool.

Ponds grinned as he stopped the recording. He quickly sent it off to Mace to watch and review.

 

Rex managed to find his way into the lower levels, gaining odd looks from the rare Jedi he passed. Rex ignored them as he glanced at the signs above the doorways until he found the one he was looking for, the one he’d found hidden away in the Archives but had located with Bant’s help. He stepped inside the room, glancing around.

Large shelves lined the walls filled with many different items, from broken stones, to the odd coloured gem and other things that Rex couldn’t quite identify.

He walked down towards the other end of the large room, seeing a few small tables there covered with more objects and some scientific equipment. A tall human male was leaning over a stone tablet, murmuring to himself as he looked at notes on a datapad before looking back to the tablet.

“Excuse me?” Rex spoke up, startling the Jedi. The man straightened up and Rex finally got a good look at him.

He was tall with blond hair which was streaked with white; his blue eyes stared at Rex in confusion. Rex took in the pale skin, the slightly ruffled cream tunic, and the deep wrinkles around the blue eyes.

“Can I help you?” the man asked, confused.

“Are you Feemor?” Rex asked, causing the Jedi’s frown to deepen.

“Yes,” Feemor answered, “and who might you be? Did the Council send you here to get me for something?”

“I’m Rex,” Rex introduced himself, “and no, the Council didn’t send me.”

“Then why is a clone down in the research levels?”

“I came to find you.”

Confusion settled deeper in Feemor’s eyes. “For what?”

Rex hesitated for a moment, unsure of how to explain it.

“You know about us clones, right?” Rex asked slowly. Feemor tilted his head in confusion but gave a small nod, prompting Rex to continue. “We’re pretty close, especially to those in our squads and our batches, the ones we grew up with and the ones we serve with,” Rex started to explain. “Brotherhood is an important thing for us.”

“I don’t get where you’re going with this,” Feemor said softly.

“I had a brother, one of my batchmates, who I haven’t spoken to in years because he had claimed I was dead to him due to a training accident,” Rex explained, ignoring Feemor’s confused look for now. He’d understand eventually. “Recently I got him back. He looked after my men, my brothers, when I couldn’t…when I was a captive and couldn’t be home. He wanted to do that for me, to apologize, but also because that is what true brothers do.”

Feemor’s face softened slightly. “You were one of the clones who had been kidnapped, weren’t you? The one that made the Jedi go against the Senate to rescue you?”

Rex gave a small nod.

“I’m sorry,” Feemor said gently. “I did hear what had happened to you and I’m sorry.”

Rex sighed, looking at Feemor. “Do you know who rescued me? Who argued and made sure that Cody and I weren’t given up on?”

Feemor just blinked.

“It was Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Feemor sighed and turned back to the datapad at that.

“I know you know who he is,” Rex said firmly. “I know that you’re his brother-Padawan.”

“Qui-Gon refuted me,” Feemor said simply, voice emotionless. “After Xanatos, he disowned him and he disowned me.”

“Obi-Wan needed you,” Rex said quietly. “He still does.”

Feemor gave a small snort. “I doubt it.”

Rex looked at him, frowning slightly. He couldn’t tell if Feemor didn’t care…or if he just didn’t know.

“Were you in the Temple when Obi-Wan was Qui-Gon’s Padawan?”

“No,” Feemor answered, looking back up at Rex. “When I was refuted, I couldn’t stand the looks, so I wanted to get away – that’s why I joined the artifact and archive team. It allowed me to travel away from the Temple and from Qui-Gon.”

“So you didn’t hear what happened with Obi-Wan?” Rex asked, surprised.

Feemor frowned at him. “No…”

“You didn’t know that Qui-Gon let Obi-Wan get sent off to AgriCorps? That he only took Obi-Wan as a Padawan after Obi-Wan offered to blow himself up so Qui-Gon could escape?” Rex asked; from the look of horror mounting in Feemor’s blue eyes, he could tell Feemor did not know that.

“How about when Qui-Gon left Obi-Wan in the middle of a civil war and only gave him the option of staying on Melida/Daan or resigning as a Jedi?”

“Obi-Wan resigned, didn’t he?” Feemor whispered. Rex nodded.

“Qui-Gon then told the Council that Obi-Wan resigned and that was it…he didn’t try to go back for his Padawan, not until Obi-Wan requested help from the Council,” Rex spat. Feemor leaned against the table, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Obi-Wan was only fourteen when that happened.”

Feemor swore, straightening up and running his hand through his hair as he looked at Rex in disbelief.

“Why are you telling me this?!” Feemor asked agitatedly. “I can’t go back and fix that!”

“You can be there for him now,” Rex just answered calmly. “Being Qui-Gon’s apprentice left him with a lot of self-esteem and confidence issues. He blames himself for things that are out of his control.”

“From what I heard, Obi-Wan is a great Jedi Master; I mean, he's a Councillor for Force sake,” Feemor said weakly. “How does he have those issues?”

“From the fear that he was never enough for Qui-Gon, that Qui-Gon would push him aside…which he did,” Rex said bitterly. “Qui-Gon found my General, Anakin Skywalker, when he was almost ten years old and brought him before the Council.”

“The Council would have said he was too old,” Feemor murmured.

“They did, so Qui-Gon announced that he would take Anakin to be his Padawan learner, as Obi-Wan was standing beside him.”

Feemor winced at that. “But…Obi-Wan…”

“Yoda pointed that out and Qui-Gon said that Obi-Wan was ready for the trials, despite telling Windu two weeks earlier that Obi-Wan wasn’t ready,” Rex said quietly, growling slightly under his breath. "Pissed Windu off to no end."

“That was just before Qui-Gon was killed, wasn’t it?” Feemor asked quietly. "I was studying an old Temple ruins, so I didn't get back until months after Qui-Gon had been killed."

Rex nodded. “And his last words to Obi-Wan wasn’t to tell him he was proud of him or that he was sorry – his last words were to tell Obi-Wan to train Anakin.”

Sithspit, Qui-Gon!” Feemor hissed under his breath, running a hand through his hair agitatedly, before turning his attention back to Rex. “Qui-Gon wasn’t always like that. He was a good Master, but Xanatos broke him.”

Rex nodded. “That may be true, but his actions have caused Obi-Wan to suffer today.”

Feemor sighed, slumping down on a chair behind the desk, as he looked to Rex.

“Why tell me this?”

“Obi-Wan is struggling now,” Rex told him. “When they rescued me, the demagolka that had my big brother managed to get away with Cody…and Obi-Wan is struggling for that and blaming himself, despite almost killing himself in the attempt to save Cody.” Rex looked at Feemor, eyes narrowed as he considered him.

“Obi-Wan is suffering because he and Cody are in a relationship,” Rex admitted, deciding he could trust Feemor. “Cody somehow knew that he wasn’t going to be rescued and tried to give Obi-Wan his marriage vows, though Obi-Wan begged him not to…not there and not then.”

Feemor sighed heavily, meeting Rex’s gaze sadly. “You haven’t found him yet?”

Rex shook his head sadly, swallowing thickly. He was still so scared for Cody.

“What do you want me to do, Rex?” Feemor asked weakly. “I-I don’t know how I can help him or how you think I can help him. We’ve never spoken.”

“You’re still his brother in a sense,” Rex explained gently, “and Obi-Wan needs everyone that loves and supports him around him now. I hadn’t spoken to my batchmate in years but it’s been really good to have him back again. He visits me every few days to see how I’m going and just to make sure that I know he’s there for me when and if I need him.”

“I’ll…I’ll think about it, Rex,” Feemor murmured. “I just…I just need to think about it.”

Rex nodded.

He couldn’t ask more than that.

 

Ponds grinned as he read the comments on the recording he had uploaded. He had created a holo-video channel called ‘The Light Side’ – Mace had given him such a look after he had seen that title – and had finally uploaded the first video, after it had been approved, which was Kit Fisto playing around with the younglings.

The channel had quickly gone viral as people were finally able to glimpse what the daily going-ons in the Jedi Temple was like.

Ponds was scrolling through the comments, grinning and laughing at them.

-Oh my Stars, how adorable!

-So sweet to see them laughing and playing

-Damn, that Nautolan is hot!

-I’m jealous of that pool!

-Wait? So they’re actually allowed to play and be kids? I didn’t know that…thanks for showing us

-Look at those smiles! Especially Master Fisto’s!

-Soooo, can I have the Nautolan’s comm frequency?

-I didn’t know the Jedi were hiding those bodies under those robes…my Gods *fans self*

-I want this Master Fisto to have my babies

Ponds stuffed his fist into his mouth at that, unable to contain the loud snort of laughter that escaped.

“I take it you’re reading the comments?” Ponds looked up as Mace settled down to sit beside him on the grass, staring at his datapad with amusement. Ponds grinned at Mace, glancing out over the garden.

“I am.”

Mace smirked. “It seems to be going well even after the first video,” Mace said. “Kit is rather flattered by the comments.”

Ponds snorted at that again before giggling weakly, “Even the offers to have his babies?”

“He may have turned a darker shade of green at that.”

Ponds snickered once more, looking to Mace. “Well, the clones are eager now they’ve seen this,” he explained, indicating to his datapad. “I’ve got a few videos I want to review before I send them to you.”

Mace nodded, leaning back as he looked over the garden thoughtfully. “This feels right, Ponds,” he murmured, causing Ponds to look at him. “Something about this…it makes it feel like it did before, before the Battle of Naboo, before the Sith – it feels hopeful again.”

Ponds smiled, nodding at Mace.

“Good,” he said. “Because we’re all going to get through this. We’re going to find Cody and we’re going to end this blasted war.”

Mace looked back to Ponds, concerned. “How are you going with that, Ponds?” he asked gently. “With Cody still being gone?”

“I know we’re going to find him,” Ponds murmured, “but I’m still so scared for him. I know what’s happened to him, how that bastard hurts him, and I’m scared.”

“We’re not giving up on him, I promise you that,” Mace said, making Ponds smile weakly. “Have you seen Rex?”

“Yeah,” Ponds sighed. “He’s struggling. He doesn’t want to admit, the stubborn di’kut but I can see it, no matter how much he tries to hide it.”

“What can you see?” Mace asked curiously.

“He’s exhausted,” Ponds explained. “He has the dark bruises under his eyes, but it’s the fact that the light has gone from his eyes and he just radiates tiredness. I know my vod’ika, Mace, I know all of his tells from training…and he’s tired and struggling. I can see the panic flare in his eyes when someone goes to touch him, even if it’s Fives, it may be brief but I still see that flash of panic.”

“It’s not going to help that the 501st is being deployed in three days, is it?” Mace asked quietly. Ponds shook his head.

“No, it’s not,” he sighed. “But I’ll be here for Rex at least.”

Mace nodded. “Obi-Wan will be here too. We’re going to keep him grounded for a little while until he recovers.”

Ponds winced at that, knowing Obi-Wan would be struggling as well. Mace looked at Ponds, seeing the forlorn look at his face and wanted to change it.

“So, show me these videos you’ve gotten from the other battalions,” Mace said, smiling slightly as Ponds’s face lit up. He smiled as he listened to Ponds chatter as he played the videos, pointing out the different brothers and discussing whether or not it would be good to share those ones.

Mace watched Ponds’s face and was glad he broke the Code and had become attached. He couldn’t ask for a better friend than Ponds.

 

Cody watched as Jango shifted around the small kitchen, preparing dinner. He had tried to help but Jango had paused, pointing the knife at him and sternly telling him to sit down.

“Your hands are still shaking as an after-effect from the withdrawals,” Jango said, somewhat gently. “I don’t want you to cut yourself, so just sit.”

So now Cody was sitting at the small, rickety table, watching as Jango cooked. It had been a few hours since their discussion, when Jango had refused to let Cody go back to the Jedi and the GAR. Cody had been in thought from then, trying to think of ways to convince Jango, since he knew Jango would not let him go. He knew he wouldn’t be able to get to town, Jango would stop him before he got there, and there was no way he could try and find Jango’s comm without him knowing.

Jango brought the food to the table and sat down. Cody asked what he had been doing since Geonosis, so Jango told him of how he did his best to stay hidden, taking on odd jobs here and there as a masked bounty hunter, letting no one know his identity.

It was after they had finished their meal and Jango had carried the plates away that Cody finally spoke up.

“You know, I get it when you say you’ve done this to protect Boba,” Cody said, voice even. Jango looked at him curiously as he sat down across from him.

“Oh?”

Cody nodded. “When…when Rex and I were taken to Osiris by Tris and Tram and told that we would be pleasure slaves, we did our best to fight back with the shock collars,” Cody explained, eyes fixed on the gouged wood of the table top. “But then they threatened our brothers if we fought them or tried to escape. Tram threatened Rex if I didn’t obey…so I did my best to obey, I didn’t want Rex to be hurt because of me.”

“Kote,” Jango breathed.

“I still wasn’t good enough. I fought back and Rex was whipped because of it, so I vowed I wouldn’t let Rex be hurt again because of my actions, that I would sit and behave like a good Pet so Rex wasn’t hurt…though I still tried to fight whenever…whenever Tram tried to rape me.”

Cody swallowed harshly, trying to clear the lump in his throat and to hide the fact his heart was racing in his chest.

“Tram and Tris still decided we weren’t obedient enough, so they brought another factor into the situation,” Cody breathed out raggedly. “From the start they had threatened both Rex’s and my companies – Ghost and Torrent – and the men serving in it. They knew their names, they knew they could get to them and so that’s what they threatened…and we knew they could get our brothers too.”

Cody looked up at Jango, meeting his saddened gold eyes.

“They hired a bounty hunter,” he said hoarsely. “They hired a bounty hunter to get in close to the youngest vod in both Rex's and my companies.”

“Companies?” Jango asked, confused. “How young is he?”

“Well, when we talk about Torrent and Ghost Company, we’re usually referring to the Alpha squad, the leaders, within it,” Cody explained, happy to take this moment to try calm his racing heart and his twisting stomach. “Jesse, Kix, Hardcase, Echo, Fives and Tup make up Torrent Company, or the Alpha squad within it. They lead the full Torrent Company whenever we’re deployed, but they’re always Torrent, while the other men that make up the rest of Torrent are picked and rotated depending on the mission. The same goes with Ghost Company, my men, which are Waxer, Boil, Helix, Crys and Wooley.”

Jango nodded. “So, even though they’re squads, you call them by the company name because they’re the Alpha squad within it.”

Cody nodded and Jango leaned back, waiting for Cody to continue.

“Tup…Tup is the youngest between Torrent and Ghost, having just turned nineteen,” Cody continued, voice wavering. “Tram and Tris knew how much Tup means to Rex and I, how much we protect him, and so they hired a bounty hunter to get close to him and made sure he wore a camera and mic so we could see and hear everything.”

Cody closed his eyes, clearing his throat.

“He made Tup fall in love with him…and we had to see it, knowing our vod’ika was being played, but we couldn’t fight back because all they had to do was order the bounty hunter to bring Tup to them and-and we couldn’t let Tup suffer the same fate we did, we couldn’t let our sweet vod’ika be used as we were being used.”

Cody looked to Jango, seeing his horrified face. “So we let ourselves be used, we didn’t fight back or argue or embarrass them in front of their guests, because we couldn’t let them hurt Tup. I-I don't know how he's coping since we managed to warn the Jedi about the bounty hunter. It would have broken his big, caring heart.”

Jango closed his eyes, rubbing his face warily. “He’s nineteen you say?” Jango asked quietly. Cody nodded.

Kark, he’s only been alive nine and a half years,” Jango muttered. “They’re not meant to be sent out until they’re ten!”

“The Senate wants more troops, so they’re being sent out younger,” Cody said.

“He’s younger than Boba!” Jango protested, getting to his feet and pacing agitatedly.

“Tup’s physically and emotionally older than Boba.”

Jango turned his glare onto him. “You know what I mean,” he growled. “He’s only been alive nine and a half years while Boba’s been alive fourteen years.”

“Longer than I’ve been alive,” Cody muttered. Jango winced at that and sat back down.

“I forget you’re only a few months younger than Boba,” Jango murmured.

“I saw Boba not that long ago,” Cody added quietly, watching as Jango stiffened. “He and Bossk were going to be hired to get rid of the insurgent problem that Tram and Tris were having. Tram had planned to drug Boba to use him like he was using me,” Cody said bitterly. “Tram wanted Boba because he was younger version of me.”

Cody flinched as Jango swept his arm across the table, sending the glasses and few knick-knacks smashing into the floor, as Jango swore loudly. Jango turned to look at Cody, seeing him pale, staring up at him with wide amber eyes.

Jango winced as he slowly moved towards Cody, crouching next to him, seeing Cody’s flinch before he carefully took Cody’s hands in his own.

“Sorry, ad’ika,” Jango murmured. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“I just…” Cody choked before he broke off, shaking his head. Jango noticed Cody trembling and sighed softly, squeezing Cody’s hands.

“I take it Tram got angry easily?” he asked carefully. Cody gave a small nod. “And took it out on you?”

Cody nodded once more. Jango winced and squeezed Cody’s hands.

“I-I know why you want to protect Boba,” Cody said once more, voice hoarse, “and I get you want to protect me too…but I can’t stay here. I have to go home, to be with my Jedi, to be with Rex.”

“Kote, the Jedi let you be taken.”

“That wasn’t their fault,” Cody said, meeting Jango’s eyes firmly. “That wasn’t their fault…and I know they went against Senate orders when they came to rescue us. Dooku liked to gloat that the Senate had ordered the Jedi to stop searching for us, but he knew that Obi-Wan wasn’t going to listen.”

Jango sighed, closing his eyes for a moment.

“Tell me something, Kote,” Jango said finally. “Tell me a reason why I should let you go back to the Jedi.

Cody smiled at that. He wouldn’t tell Jango that he and Obi-Wan were in a relationship, he knew Jango would definitely refuse to let him go then, saying that Obi-Wan was using him and coercing him using his rank, but he did have another story that happened before they had even admitted their feelings to one another.

“I can do that,” Cody said before tapping his scar. “When I got this I could easily have died, many would have given up on me, but my Jedi, Obi-Wan, refused…even though it caused him to collapse from Force Exhaustion later.”

Jango nodded, standing up and pulling his chair closer to Cody’s so he could still grasp onto his hands.

“Tell me then.”

Chapter Text

Cody took in a deep breath before he began to tell the story.

“I had been serving as General Kenobi’s Commander for two months when this happened,” Cody said, indicating to his scar. “We were battling the Separatists on some godforsaken backwater planet that the Senate wanted to keep for some unknown reason. There was no one living on that planet, only wild animals that had evolved enough to survive its harsh conditions – but if the Senate wanted us there, that’s where we went, even though my Jedi protested against it.”

Cody frowned as memories of that battle came back to him.

“Things are a bit hazy,” Cody said quietly. “I can’t remember everything because of the head injury I received when I got this scar.”

“Just tell me what you remember,” Jango murmured, taking one of Cody’s hands in both of his and squeezing reassuringly.

Cody nodded, taking in another breath. “We had just started to push the clankers back into a retreat when one of the B2 droids sent a rocket into one of our walkers, which had previously been damaged, that we had also been using for cover. I had been close to the walker, so when the rocket hit it and made part of it explode, I was hit with a large piece of debris and shrapnel.”

Cody looked up, meeting Jango’s gaze.

“The debris hit me with enough force that it caused my helmet to buckle and cave in around my skull, digging into my skin,” Cody explained quietly. “I collapsed then and was knocked unconscious, so I only know what happened from the others telling me.”

Jango squeezed Cody’s hand, waiting for him to continue. Cody closed his eyes, remembering the footage he had watched from Crys’s helmet when he had been laid up in the medbay.

 

There had been a yell of ‘INCOMING’ before a loud explosion, not giving the clones any time to duck or throw themselves behind some sort of cover. Debris and shrapnel from the downed walker went flying, hitting the clones in its path.

“The Commander is down!” someone shouted. Crys had looked around then, spotting Cody lying on his side, back to him, and quickly darted over. Helix was already sliding to a stop next to Cody and quickly but carefully rolling him onto his back. Waxer and Boil had arrived by then, Waxer kneeling beside Cody as Boil took up a defensive position with Crys, making sure no clankers crept up on them. Helix started swearing up a storm when he finally got a good look at Cody.

“What is it, Helix?” Crys asked worriedly. “Is he okay?”

“His helmet has caved in around his face,” Helix growled. “I can’t get his helmet off.”

“Is he injured?” Waxer asked, golden eyes looking from Helix to Cody worriedly. Helix brought out his scanner, wincing at the results.

“The helmet is pressing against his skull,” Helix said. “We’ve got to find a way to get it off him to relieve the pressure so he isn’t left with permanent brain damage.”

“We’ve got to call an evac for him,” Boil spoke up, looking worried. “He’s unconscious, right?”

“Yeah, for the moment,” Helix murmured, hands pressing here and there, drifting over the rest of Cody’s armour and taking in every small crack and fracture within the plastoid.

“Helix, what’s going on?” came a sudden worried voice before, “Cody!”

Obi-Wan fell to his knees beside Cody, Waxer shifting slightly out of the way. Obi-Wan’s hands hovered over Cody’s fractured and distorted helmet.

“Helix?”

“His helmet has caved in around his skull and is pressing against it in certain spots,” Helix explained. “We’ve got to get him evac’ed, sir, so we can work on getting his helmet off.”

Obi-Wan frowned, looking at Cody worriedly.

“What’s the time frame?” he asked. “Before the pressure on his skull becomes serious?”

“Not that long,” Helix admitted quietly. Obi-Wan nodded, face becoming hard.

“Boil, Waxer, Crys, Wooley, you keep an eye out and warn me of any danger,” Obi-Wan ordered. “Boil, tell the men to make a perimeter and hold this spot.”

“Yes, sir,” Boil said before darting off.

“Crys, I need you to order an evac for everyone. Screw what the Senate wants, we’re getting off of this rock.”

“On it, sir.”

“General?” Helix asked quietly.

“Helix, I need you to keep an eye on Cody’s vitals,” Obi-Wan ordered. “I’m going to try work this helmet off of him.”

Helix nodded, shocked, watching as Obi-Wan shifted his hands to hover above Cody’s helmet.

Then Cody started writhing, waking up, before crying out in pain.

Obi-Wan quickly moved his hands to rest on Cody’s shoulders. “Cody, we’ve got you, you’re okay,” Obi-Wan soothed.

“Head…hurts…” Cody groaned out. “C-Can’t see…”

“We’re going to help with that,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “You’re safe, Cody, and I need you to sleep.”

Cody went still from the power of the Force suggestion, body relaxing. Obi-Wan sighed heavily before he shifted his hands once more and closed his eyes.

Helix kept an eye on Cody’s vitals, but watched in amazement as the parts of the helmet that had been caved in started to shift and warp, slowly pulling away from Cody’s face and head.

Helix looked up at Obi-Wan when he noticed his hands trembling above Cody’s helmet. Obi-Wan’s face was pinched, his eyes still clenched shut in concentration, his teeth gritted together.

“Helix,” Obi-Wan grunted out. “How’s his vitals?”

“Steady at the moment,” Helix answered, glancing down at his scanner. “How’s the helmet?”

“Almost got the last bits,” Obi-Wan panted. Helix nodded, watching Cody’s helmet once more.

There was a loud crack and suddenly parts of Cody’s helmets, the parts that had been crushed and warped, cracked open and fell away. Helix breathed a sigh of relief as he carefully pulled the helmet off of Cody’s head.

He swore when he saw the blood.

“General!” Helix glanced up, seeing Waxer had caught Obi-Wan as he slumped slightly to the side.

“I’m all right, Waxer,” he said shakily. “I’ve just over-exerted myself. Where’s the blood coming from, Helix? Is he okay?”

Helix gently wiped at Cody’s face with an anti-bacterial wipe, wincing as he found the source of the blood.

“There’s a deep wound around Cody’s eye, sir,” Helix explained. “That eye is slightly swollen too.”

“Will he be able to see from it?” Waxer asked worriedly as he still held Obi-Wan up, supporting him.

“I won’t know until I get him back to the medbay and clean it up so I can run tests,” Helix admitted.

“Sir, the ships to evacuate us will be here shortly,” Crys said as he came back over. “Is Cody going to be okay?”

“His vitals are good,” Helix reassured them, “but I’ll have to see about his eye when we get back to medbay.”

 

Jango blinked in surprise. “Kenobi called an evacuation because you got injured?”

“He said that was part of the reason,” Cody said with a small smile, “but when I was injured, he realised that this battle was a lost cause and men were dying over nothing and he was over that happening. He copped a lot of flak from the Senate when we returned, but he didn’t care and said he’d do it again.”

Jango lifted his hand to touch Cody’s scar. Cody’s amber eyes watched him closely.

“Clearly you didn’t lose your eye,” Jango said with a small smile, making Cody roll his eyes.

“No, but if the helmet had buckled just a hair closer to my eye, I would have been blinded,” Cody said quietly. “Obi-Wan saved me from any brain damage since he worked quickly, but carefully, to fix my helmet, using the Force to bend the pieces back away from my skull. I was still in the medbay for a week with Helix hovering me to make sure I had no permanent damage to my eye, while also healing from broken ribs and collarbone from the debris that hit me.”

Jango just blinked in surprise before leaning back. “Well, Kenobi always did seem like a good sort,” he murmured, surprising Cody. Cody smiled.

“He is a good man,” he said sincerely. “He cares of us all and does his best to keep us from harm’s way, even if it means he gets hurt in the process…which drives me crazy.”

Jango gave a small smile at that, seeing the light return to Cody’s amber eyes as he spoke of his Jedi.

“He collapsed, you said?”

“Yeah,” Cody confirmed. “He had been using the Force during the battle to keep blaster bolts from hitting him and his men, not to mention lack of food and sleep, so when he focused on using the Force on the helmet to help me, he ended up over-exerting himself, which happens occasionally with Force users if they aren’t careful.”

Jango nodded once more and Cody look at him imploringly.

“He truly does care for me,” Cody murmured. “He saved me from that abusive Admiral and encouraged me to speak up. He’s risked himself to keep me alive and has stood against the Senate to keep us all alive. I need to go back.”

Jango sighed, giving a nod.

“Fine,” he said grudgingly. “You can call him tomorrow; I need to set up the comm.”

He couldn’t help but smile at the grin that pulled at Cody’s lips, seeing the excitement in Cody’s amber eyes.

“Thank you,” Cody breathed, relieved. His heart beat hard in his chest.

He was going home!

“Go get some sleep, ad’ika,” Jango said gruffly as he stood up. “You still look like you’re going to fall asleep sitting up.”

Cody smiled at him as he stood up, walking towards the door so he could go downstairs. He paused in the doorway and Jango took a moment to examine him.

He could see himself there, especially since Cody was wearing his clothes, but there was also a softness to Cody’s posture that reminded Jango that Cody was definitely his own person.

“Thank you,” Cody murmured finally, looking back at Jango. “I-I know you don’t want me to go back…but it’s where I belong.”

“You belong somewhere safe and happy, Kote,” Jango said quietly, looking at the table.

“And I am when I’m with my men and my Jedi,” Cody replied.

Jango nodded. “Night, ad’ika.”

“Goodnight,” Cody answered, before hesitating, “Buir.”

Jango quickly looked up at that, but Cody had already gone through the doorway. Jango couldn’t help the small smile that pulled at his lips at that or the warmth that curled deep in his stomach, something he hadn’t felt since he had seen Boba grinning up at him proudly just before Geonosis.

He would watch and see who came for Cody. If it was any other Jedi besides Kenobi, he would kill them to keep Cody safe.

 

Obi-Wan groaned as the door chimed once again and he placed his datapad aside, standing up to go answer it. He blinked up at the tall, older Jedi that stood outside.

“Obi-Wan?” the blond Jedi asked.

“Uh, yes?”

“I’m Feemor,” the Jedi introduced himself. “I was Qui-Gon Jinn’s first Padawan.”

Obi-Wan stared, dumbstruck, at the tall Jedi, who was smiling nervously at him. Obi-Wan blinked, coming back to his senses, stepping aside to let Feemor into his apartment.

“Please, come in,” Obi-Wan said. Feemor smiled at him as he stepped inside, watching as Obi-Wan closed the door, before he followed Obi-Wan to the couch.

“Would you like a drink?” Obi-Wan asked. “I’ve got tea, water, juice and I might still have some caf somewhere?”

“No, I’m fine, thank you, Obi-Wan.”

Obi-Wan nodded and sat down next to Feemor, fidgeting nervously. Feemor smiled reassuringly at him.

“I am sorry that I haven’t come to speak to you before today,” Feemor started. “It’s just after Qui-Gon refuted me…I couldn’t bear it.”

“You were his first Padawan?” Obi-Wan asked quietly. “He…he didn’t speak much about you or Xanatos.”

Feemor sighed, running a hand through his blond hair. “Well, I can’t say that doesn’t hurt, but what can you do?” Feemor murmured. “But yes, I was his first Padawan. He took me on in my later years of training after my Master was killed in a dispute.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Thank you,” Feemor smiled sadly.

“How much younger than Qui-Gon were you?” Obi-Wan questioned curiously.

“I was fourteen years younger than Qui-Gon,” Feemor answered with a smile. “I was only eight years older than Xanatos as well.”

Obi-Wan nodded. “So you’re twenty years older than me.”

“You’re making me feel old, kid,” Feemor teased before he turned serious. “I am truly sorry that I wasn’t there for you, but after Qui-Gon refuted me, I couldn’t take the looks and mutters anymore, so I left to join an exploration and archival team to study an abandoned Temple.”

“It’s okay, really,” Obi-Wan said with a small smile. “I get it.”

Feemor shook his head. “You should have had some support. I-I’ve heard what happened within the first few years of your training, what it took for Qui-Gon to even take you on as a Padawan. I knew he changed after Xanatos…but I didn’t think he got that bad.”

“What do you mean?” Obi-Wan asked, heart in his throat. “W-Where did you hear that?”

“You have very worried friends, Obi-Wan,” Feemor just told him gently. “They wanted you to have more support, so they came to me.”

“Why you after all of these years?”

“Something about having brothers by your side,” Feemor said with a small chuckle, shaking his head. “I have to say, it resonated with me.”

“Rex,” Obi-Wan muttered under his breath.

Feemor smiled softly. “He’s just trying to look out for you. He really cares for you.”

“I know.”

“And really, I want to help you, Obi-Wan, despite being refuted by Qui-Gon, you are my brother-Padawan and I should have been there for you after all of these years. I should have come to see you after Qui-Gon’s death, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I thought you would hate to see me and then I heard you had a Padawan of your own, so I stayed away and I shouldn’t have,” Feemor explained. “I just hid away in the research levels when you needed someone, a brother, to help you, to show you that you truly did the best you could and screw Qui-Gon for trying to push you aside.”

Obi-Wan stared at Feemor in shock. “Q-Qui-Gon…”

“He tried to push you aside as soon as he found an apprentice he really wanted,” Feemor said firmly. “I heard what happened, Obi-Wan, and…and he pushed my Knighting up because he wanted to train Xanatos, so I get it, I really do. I mean, he pushed me aside after Xanatos fell. I had nothing to do with it, I would have supported him, but he refuted me and brushed off all of my attempts to contact him.”

“It’s fine, really,” Obi-Wan murmured. Feemor shifted closer, placing a large hand on Obi-Wan’s back.

“I know how you feel, Obi-Wan,” Feemor said quietly. “I know how hard that feeling of uselessness is to overcome; that feeling that you’ll never be good enough, I get it.”

Obi-Wan stared up at Feemor, meeting his sincere, caring blue eyes, and suddenly tears began trickling from his eyes.

“I-I tried my best!” Obi-Wan sobbed suddenly and Feemor pulled him close, rubbing his back. “I-I just wanted to make him proud, but it was never enough! I never focused on the here and now enough of him, I was never quick enough and I could never understand why he chose so many life-forms over me!”

Feemor tucked Obi-Wan’s head under his chin, cradling the short, younger Jedi close.

“I know,” he soothed. “I’m sorry, Obi-Wan, I’m sorry that you never got to see the true Qui-Gon, the one who told you he was proud of you, the person he was before Xanatos ruined him – though, I do believe some of that was still him. There was just something about him that made you feel like you could never do enough in his eyes.”

Obi-Wan sobbed against Feemor, though inside he was feeling mortified that he was crying against some Jedi’s chest who had just met – but another part of him felt a bit safer, knowing that this was his brother-Padawan and that he understood.

“I’m sorry for crying on you,” Obi-Wan hiccupped as he sat up, rubbing his eyes. “I’m a Jedi Master, I-I should have better control of my emotions.”

“That’s ridiculous and you know it,” Feemor said with a roll of his eyes. “You’re human, Obi-Wan, you’re allowed to have emotions and you’re allowed to express them.”

Obi-Wan smiled weakly at him and Feemor smiled at him reassuringly.

“You know, I’m glad I came to see you,” Feemor said suddenly. “I was so nervous, I didn’t know if you’d slam the door on me or tell me that you never wanted to speak to me, but I’m glad I came.”

“I’m glad you came too,” Obi-Wan said. “I-It feels weird to say this, but…but it feels right that you’re here.”

Feemor smiled at him, nodding in agreement. “Now, tell me about this partner of yours,” Feemor encouraged him. “Rex told me about him and I am so happy you’ve found someone, Obi-Wan, and I know it’s odd for a Jedi to say that…but I never did agree on the whole attachments thing.”

Obi-Wan gave a shaky smile and laugh at that.

“Well, that rule may be in discussion,” Obi-Wan told him, causing Feemor to raise his eyebrows in shock. “But, yes, I have someone I love very dearly and who loves me…and I can’t find him!”

Feemor pulled Obi-Wan close again. “You will,” he murmured. “If I have learnt one thing from this discussion it is that you’re determined, and I know you’ll find him.”

 

Fives was jerked from sleep by a fearful cry beside him. He bolted up right, heart racing as he looked for danger, only to look to the side and see Rex writhing in the bed, tangled in the sheets, chest heaving and his expression panicked. Fives quickly moved, kneeling beside Rex and managing to grab one of his hands.

“Rex!” he called out, placing his hand on Rex’s cheek. “Rex, wake up! It’s just a nightmare, Rex, you’re safe!”

Rex whimpered, pressing his head into Fives’s hand.

“That’s right, Rex,” Fives cooed gently. “It’s Fives, I’m here, and you’re safe. Wake up, Rex.”

Rex’s eyes finally flew open, pupils dilated, as he stared up at Fives, panting hard. Fives just smiled sadly at him, gently stroking his cheek and squeezing his hand reassuringly.

“Hello, my love,” Fives murmured. Rex slowly sat up, still breathing hard, hands trembling even within Fives’s hold. Fives just gently cupped Rex’s cheek in hand, tilting his head up slightly.

“Nightmare?”

“Memory,” Rex managed to whisper hoarsely. “Well, memory mixed with a nightmare.”

Fives winced and moved closer. He opened his arms invitingly, but made sure to allow Rex to make the decision. He knew sometimes after nightmares and flash-backs that Rex did not like to be touched.

Rex didn’t feel like that this time around. He leaned into Fives’s embrace, wrapping his arms around Fives’s middle as he rested his head on Fives’s shoulder. Fives murmured reassuringly to him as he gently rubbed his back, fingers tracing over Rex’s old scars.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Fives asked gently. Rex shook his head against Fives’s shoulder and clutched him tighter. Fives nodded in understanding, knowing Rex just wanted to be held and reassured.

“I can ask General Skywalker for more leave,” Fives murmured. “I don’t want to leave you alone, Rex’ika.”

“You have to go,” Rex replied quietly. “GAR will get suspicious, don’t want you to get in trouble for me.”

“Rex…”

“I’ll be okay,” Rex murmured. “Ponds and Obi-Wan will be here and you’ll be back soon.”

Fives just sighed, hugging Rex close.

He truly didn’t want to leave him, but he knew Rex wouldn’t let him get in trouble for him. Fives closed his eyes, resting his head against Rex’s, smiling slightly as he nuzzled into Rex’s hair, which he still hadn’t shaved off.

“Do you still want the others to come by later?” Fives asked a little later. Rex nodded against his shoulder.

“Yes, I want to see them before you head off,” Rex mumbled. “And I cooked for everyone.”

Fives chuckled at that. “They’re going to be fighting each other over the crumbs.”

He smiled as he felt Rex laugh at that.

“I think Tup might be staying behind too,” Fives mused suddenly. “I don’t think he’s transferred back to the 501st yet and the 212th are still grounded.”

“He’ll come back,” Rex said quietly, having detected the trace of guilt in Fives’s voice.

“I know, I just miss the kid,” Fives sighed.

“You can ask him when he comes over later today,” Rex added. Fives nodded, smiling as Rex yawned. Fives carefully shifted so they were both laying down, with Rex partially lying on his chest.

“Try sleep some more, Rex’ika,” Fives murmured. “I’ve got you.”

“Love you, cyare,” Rex mumbled sleepily, his exhausted golden eyes slipping close.

“Love you too, Rex,” Fives whispered, smiling as a warm feeling settled over him, his heart feeling full. He held Rex close as he let his eyes slide shut, happy to have Rex in his arms once more.

 

Jango leapt to his feet at the ragged scream. He quickly darted into the spare room, finding Cody sitting up, breathing raggedly.

“Kote,” Jango said worriedly as he hurried to his side. Cody suddenly turned to the side, vomiting over the side of the bed. Jango wrinkled his nose at that, but rubbed Cody’s back soothingly anyway. Cody soon sat upright again and Jango realised that he was trembling.

“Kote,” Jango cooed softly, gently taking Cody’s hands. Cody just collapsed against him, body trembling furiously. “Nightmare?”

Cody nodded, swallowing harshly. “I-I shouldn’t have spoken about…about him,” Cody whispered. “I-I just couldn’t keep him out of my nightmares a-and he was hurting Tup and Rex a-and I couldn’t stop it!”

Jango wrapped his arms around him, holding him close. He hoped he was doing this right, it had been so long since he last had to comfort Boba from a nightmare.

“He’s dead, Kote,” Jango murmured. “He can’t hurt you again. I put a blaster bolt through his chest…though I wish I had made his death a little longer and more painful.”

“I-I know he’s dead,” Cody choked out. “I-I just c-can’t get him out of my head. I-I just want him gone.”

“The nightmares will fade in time,” Jango murmured. “I know this for a fact.”

“H-How?” Cody stammered, still trembling. “I-I didn’t think bounty hunting would give nightmares.”

Jango chuckled emotionlessly at that. “Bounty hunting no…but being a slave, yes, that left its share of nightmares.”

Cody paused, looking up at Jango, amber eyes wide and wet from tears.

“You…?”

“Yes,” Jango confirmed softly, moving Cody so he was laying down again and pulling the covers up. “After the True Mandalorians were killed by Jedi and traitors, I was captured and sold into slavery. I was mostly used for fighting and gladiator matches, but the punishments when I failed and the blood and death left from those fights are something I never forgot – it took a while for the nightmares to stop, but they did.”

Cody nodded, still trembling. Jango stroked Cody’s sweaty hair soothingly, knowing the repeated motions would calm him, like it did with Boba, like it did with him when Jaster did it.

“We’ll call your Jedi later today,” Jango murmured to him soothingly. “You’re almost home, Kote, almost back with Rex.”

Cody looked up at him, amber eyes tired. “I can still contact you if I need you, right?” he asked, voice almost meek.

“Of course, Kote,” Jango promised. “If you need to get away, I will come and steal you away and take all of the brothers that you want.”

Cody smiled weakly at that.

“Can you go back to sleep?” Jango asked him softly. “I’ll stay by your side until you’re asleep, I promise.”

Cody nodded, sighing softly, nuzzling slightly against Jango’s hand. Jango hummed Vode An to Cody, knowing how much it used to comfort the cadets, and soon enough Cody was fast asleep, having drifted off with help from his exhaustion.

Jango soon got up, cleaning up Cody’s sick, and leaving a glass of water on the table beside the bed. He stood there for a moment, watching Cody’s sleeping face and felt a weariness wash over him.

Jango turned and left the room, going to get some more sleep before he had to set up the comm.

He was going to hate having to watch Cody leave with the Jedi.

 

As much as he hated it, he still stood by Cody’s side as he watched Cody dial in a familiar frequency code with shaking fingers.

Kenobi,” came the prim, Coruscanti accent.

“O-Obi-Wan,” Cody replied, voice shaking.

Chapter Text

Rex paused in the kitchen of his apartment, staring out into the lounge and at the scene in front of him.

Kix, Jesse, Echo, Fives, Hardcase, Puck and Tup were all sitting on the couches and on the floor, all laughing and chatting to one another. Rex just had to take a moment to drink that sight in, seeing their happy, carefree smiles and hearing their laughter and jibes at one another. It was something he thought he would never see again, that he would never be a part of again.

Kix was sitting beside Jesse on one of the couches, with Tup sitting on the floor between his legs as the medic played with his hair, braiding the long locks. Jesse was rubbing Kix’s back as he chatted to Fives. Tup was talking to Echo and Puck, laughing, as Kix braided his hair. Hardcase was grinning and nodding along to what Jesse was saying.
Rex just smiled at the sight, a warm feeling in his stomach, as he watched his brothers.

After being Tris’s prisoner for so long, after a while he had stopped believing that he would be rescued – despite what he told Cody. He never expected to have this sort of interaction with his brothers again, even if they were rescued, he had been expecting to be snatched by the GAR and sent to Kamino to be decommissioned. He had never expected the Jedi to hide him in the Temple and get him to see one of their own Mind Healers to help him get better.

“Rex?”

Rex blinked out of his musings at Kix’s concerned voice. He looked at them, seeing them all staring at him. Rex smiled weakly.

“Sorry, got lost in thought,” he said as he carried the plates over to the coffee table, setting them down.

“All good?” Fives murmured as Rex sat down beside him. Rex nodded, watching with a small smile as his brothers all dived onto the food.

“Yeah,” Rex answered quietly. “I just…I didn’t realise how much I missed this.”

Fives took Rex’s hand, squeezing softly and smiling at him. He leaned over, kissing Rex’s cheek. Rex smiled at him, leaning against his side.

“We missed you,” Fives murmured in his ear. “We haven’t been like this since you were taken from us.”

Rex couldn’t find the words, just squeezing Fives’s hand tighter.

“Rex, this is sooo good,” Hardcase moaned suddenly around a mouthful of chocolate slice. Rex chuckled as Kix flicked Hardcase’s ear.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Kix sighed reproachfully before looking to Rex. “It’s like working with children.”

Rex just laughed, happy to lean back and watch them.

“Hey, Tup,” Echo said suddenly, pausing with a cookie half-way to his mouth. “Are you being deployed with us tomorrow?”

Tup shook his head. “No, I’m still assigned to the 212th,” he answered quietly, looking at them.

“Well, you can keep me company then,” Rex said with a smile, which grew as Tup grinned at him.

“Hope I didn’t miss the food,” a voice called cheerfully as the door opened. Rex looked around, spotting Ponds and chuckled.

“There’s plenty, Ponds,” he answered as Ponds walked over. Ponds mussed up Rex’s hair as he passed, causing Rex to grumble and swat at his hands. Ponds grabbed a slice and sat on the floor next to Rex’s legs, smiling at Tup who sat opposite him.

“Are you going to cut your hair again, Rex?” Hardcase asked curiously, causing Rex to freeze.

“I…I haven’t decided yet,” Rex said quietly before smiling weakly, “I guess when I start wearing my bucket again I’ll get annoyed with it real quickly.”

“It suits you,” Kix added with a soft smile.

“Haven’t seen it like that since we were cadets,” Puck said with a sad smile. “You shaved it off when you were transferred into Officer training.”

“Bly had a thing for pulling hair during spars,” Ponds said in a loud whisper, trying to ease the tension in the room. “Best to shave it off so he couldn’t grab hold of it.”

“What about Wolffe and Cody?” Echo questioned, happy to change the topic slightly.

“You couldn’t pin them down,” Ponds chuckled, leaning against Rex’s leg. “Cody would fly at you and kick you, making you double over, before you had the chance to move…and Wolffe would bite if you pulled him close enough,” Ponds said before a sly grin appeared on his lips. “Which I’m sure you know all about, Echo.”

Echo blushed a deep red which travelled all the way up to his ears.

“You know, I haven’t heard how that happened,” Rex said with a smile.

“Not much to tell,” Echo muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. “We just sort of clicked.”

“Echo is an ARC which makes him Wolffe’s type of crazy,” Ponds added helpfully. “They kind of balance each other out actually.”

Echo’s blush actually managed to deepen at that and he reached up to rub at his collarbone through his blacks, fingers lingering at one section. Rex tilted his head curiously at that, spotting that small notion.

He decided against bringing it up, knowing Wolffe he was probably marking Echo.

The others got back to laughing and teasing Echo and Ponds looked to Rex.

“Bly is coming back to Coruscant,” Ponds told him quietly. “They took heavy losses last battle and are coming back to Coruscant to regroup.”

Rex winced at that. “How heavy?”

“Pretty bad,” Ponds admitted with a low sigh. “Though one of his men sent me through a recording of Secura giving a eulogy for the men lost. Bly approved it. It was actually pretty touching.”

Rex smiled sadly. “She’s a good General.”

“She is,” Ponds sighed.

“Is that why you were late?” Rex asked. “Putting up your new video?”

Ponds gave a small smile at that. “That might have been the reason, yes.”

“It’s a good channel, Ponds,” Rex murmured, running his free hand over Ponds’s shaved head. “I like to read the comments, it’s…it’s uplifting.”

“I’ve got to record the next time you go and deliver the sweets to the younglings,” Ponds laughed softly. “It’s the cutest kriffing thing.”

Rex gave a small smile. “Maybe.”

Ponds frowned as Rex’s expression suddenly dropped and he looked down towards his lap to hide it. He glanced at Fives, who was still clutching on tightly to Rex’s hand, but was focused on talking to Echo and Tup, so he didn’t see Rex’s expression change.

“Rex?” Ponds murmured, concerned.

Rex gave a shaky smile. “I just thought of Cody somehow seeing all of these videos,” he said quietly, “and that I hope, wherever he is, that he’s okay.”

Ponds reached up and took Rex’s free hand, squeezing that tightly.

“He’s strong, Rex’ika,” Ponds murmured. “He’ll come home to us soon.”

 

Bly sighed, dropping his head onto the tabletop.

He was so tired.

The last battle had been an absolute clusterfuck, with swamps and bugs and droids and heat exhaustion…the list just went on. So many brothers had died too; far too many.

Aayla had felt the loss too and had said a rather touching eulogy on ship once they had been evacuated, though far too many brothers were left unburied on that planet, with them having no chance to give them the burial or pyre they deserved. She had gone around to check on the men who had lost squad-mates, batch-mates or lovers and Bly retreated to the mess-hall, having already checked on those brothers but knowing they also needed space from him.

So many brothers gone, and yet their Commanding Officer survived another battle. He didn’t blame the men for feeling bitter. He knew they would soon feel guilty for feeling that way, but he understood why they felt the way they did.

A gentle hand rested on his back as someone sat beside him.

“Bly?” Aayla’s gentle voice said softly. “Are you okay?”

“We lost so many brothers, Aayla,” Bly murmured into the plastic tabletop.

“I know,” Aayla sighed regretfully. “So many good men who lost their lives needlessly.”

“Do you think Ponds is right, that the Senate doesn’t care for us?” Bly asked, turning his head so he could partially look at Aayla. “You saw the video of the Chancellor talking about the clones, you could see he doesn’t care about us, that our lives aren’t important to him.”

“Yes, I believe Ponds is right…and the Chancellor is foolish for believing that,” Aayla replied, running her fingers over Bly’s buzzed hair, knowing it comforted him. “At least now the Republic can see his true face.”

Bly nodded against the table, sighing heavily. Aayla shifted her hand to gently rub Bly’s back.

“You’ll be seeing Rex soon,” she said softly, trying to cheer the morose Commander up. “That will be good.”

Bly smiled weakly at that. “Yeah, it’ll be good to see the vod’ika again,” he murmured. “But…”

“You’re worried about Cody,” Aayla finished as Bly trailed off. Bly nodded once more before sitting up properly.

“I’m scared for him, Aayla,” Bly admitted, fidgeting with his datapad. “I’m scared we won’t get him back.”

“Cody is strong,” Aayla soothed. “He held on for six months, I am certain he will be strong for a bit longer.”

“He had Rex with him to support him last time,” Bly countered. “Now he’s with that hut’uun alone.”

“I know, my dear one, I know,” Aayla murmured, moving her hand to stroke the back of Bly’s neck comfortingly. Bly leaned against her side, exhausted.

Bly’s datapad pinged and he sighed once more, sitting up to grab it. He smiled softly as he looked at the message.

“You’re loved by the Republic, Aayla,” he said softly, showing her the datapad. Aayla frowned and took it, taking in the image.

She saw there was a video-file at the top, which had her in the preview, with the title ‘Brothers loved and lost’.

“One of the brothers recorded the eulogy you gave,” Bly explained quietly beside her, “and sent it to Ponds.”

“Oh,” Aayla murmured, scrolling down to read the comments.

- This is so sad!

- Such sweet words

- You can see how much the Jedi cares for her men, look at how upset she is

- Wait?? How many died?!!

- Oh sweet boys, may you find peace in the afterlife

- I can’t believe this…so many dead and their bodies left behind

- This is so wrong, this has to change!

- Wait, what language is she and the clones speaking?

- Note from poster: She’s speaking Mando’a, which is the language we were taught. She’s saying ‘Not gone, merely marching far away’, which is what her men echo. It’s what we say to honour our fallen brothers.

- Thank you for that explanation.

Aayla set the datapad down with shaking hands after skimming through more comments, seeing the same thing, with the different commenters saying what a waste of life it was and how sorry they were.

“They were good men,” Aayla said, voice hoarse. “All of them.”

Bly nodded in agreement as he took her hand. Aayla laced her fingers in between Bly’s and squeezed softly.

“They are right,” Aayla murmured. “This war has gone on far too long with far too many casualties. It’s time to change this.”

“We will,” Bly promised, squeezing her hand. “The Chancellor will soon find how quickly public opinion will change.”

 

Obi-Wan listened as Windu, Plo and Yoda spoke, occasionally joining in here and there when he had something to add. Windu had come to his apartment and had practically dragged him from there, stopping short of throwing Obi-Wan over his shoulder like a misbehaving child, and bringing him to one of the meditation rooms, where Yoda and Plo were sitting on meditation cushions, a tea set on a small table between them.

“You need to get out of your apartment,” Windu had said as he led Obi-Wan down the hallways. “Yes, yes, I know you’re looking over your datapads and trying to track down information, but you do need to rest, Obi-Wan.”

So now he was sitting in the meditation room with them. He reached out and took a cookie, tilting his head as he regarded it.

“Asked Rex to cook for us, I did,” Yoda said as he noticed Obi-Wan staring at the cookie.

“He’s actually really good at cooking,” Windu said with a small chuckle. “Ponds couldn’t believe it when he first tried it.”

“I believe it helps him relax,” Plo added thoughtfully. “It is good to know that he has a way to calm himself and something else to focus on. Wolffe has been quite worried about him.”

“Yes, Ponds has been quite concerned about him too,” Windu sighed, shaking his head sadly. Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow as he looked in between Plo and Windu.

“This is too strange,” Obi-Wan chuckled as he bit into the cookie. “Seeing you talking about the clones, one that you’ve adopted,” Obi-Wan said nodding to Plo, “and I have no idea what your relationship with Ponds is; sometimes I see best friends, other times I think it’s more than that.”

Windu’s eyebrows climbed upwards at that as Yoda cackled.

“Not the only one to see that, you are,” Yoda cackled. Windu looked to Yoda, who smiled at him. “Ponds has been good for you, yes, more relaxed and open you are.”

“So you believe this change is a good one?” Plo asked curiously.

Yoda sighed. “Meditated on this, I have, and though it may bring pain,” here he glanced at Obi-Wan, “it has brought happiness more.”

“Despite…despite my pain, I wouldn’t give up my time with Cody for anything,” Obi-Wan admitted. “I wouldn’t sacrifice lives for his, I know he’d hate me for it, but I would fight for him.”

Yoda nodded in understanding before looking at them all.

“Made you more relaxed and open, Ponds has,” Yoda said once more, looking at Windu. “A good change this is.”

“I agree,” Windu murmured. “I feel more at peace now.”

“More love and adoration I sense in you,” Yoda continued, now looking to Plo. “Care for your new sons, you do, and return that love they do.”

“I wouldn’t give them up for anything,” Plo said quietly. “I would fight the Senate to keep them safe.”

“Looked after you, Cody has,” Yoda started, looking to Obi-Wan. “Healthier and happier you have been since you were a youngling.”

Obi-Wan smiled sadly as he picked up his tea cup. “Cody got so annoyed when I forgot to eat or I did something life-risking in his eyes. He just wanted me to be safe.”

“He’s a good man,” Windu said, looking to Obi-Wan with a smile. “I mean, he did keep you in line, made sure you ate and managed to get you to the medbay when you insisted you weren’t injured.”

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes good-naturedly at that. He frowned as his comm chimed and dug it out of his pocket, frown deepening when it didn’t come up with a known frequency.
“Kenobi,” he answered.

O-Obi-Wan,” came the shaky reply in an all too familiar voice. Obi-Wan felt his heart skip a beat and he looked to the others in the room, who were all staring at the comm in shock.

“Cody,” Obi-Wan choked. “Cody, is that you?”

Yes, Obi-Wan,” Cody replied, voice thick with emotion. “It’s really me.

“Are you okay? Are you safe?” Obi-Wan asked quickly, wanting to ask his beloved how he truly was and to let him know how relieved he was to hear his voice, but he didn’t know how safe Cody was.

I’m safe, Obi-Wan,” Cody reassured him. “Tram is dead and…and I was rescued. He let me contact you so I can come home.”

Obi-Wan bit back a broken sob at that. Cody wanted to come home.

“Okay, Cody,” Obi-Wan said, trying to keep his voice calm but was unable to fully keep the waver from his voice. “What’s your location? I’ll come for you immediately.”

There was a pause and Obi-Wan heard someone speaking to Cody, though he couldn’t quite make out the words or any identifying feature to the being’s voice. Mace looked up from his comm, where he was ordering a ship to be made ready for departure from the hangar.

My…rescuer wants convey that only you can come for me, Obi-Wan, no other Jedi,” sighed Cody’s voice suddenly.

“Will he harm Obi-Wan?” Windu spoke up.

No, he just doesn’t trust any Jedi besides Obi-Wan…and even that is pushing it," Cody responded. There was a small, muffled snort from Cody’s end of the comm, which must have been said rescuer.

“I’ll be the only Jedi,” Obi-Wan reassured him, “but I will be bringing Ghost Company and Rex as well, you know they would kill me if I didn’t bring them with me.”

There was a familiar soft laugh which made Obi-Wan smile fondly, followed by soft, muffled conversation.

My rescuer agrees to that,” Cody said finally.

“I don’t suppose you would let us know your rescuers identity?” Plo asked gently.

No, not over comm,” Cody responded after a few moments. “Obi-Wan will see when he arrives.”

“And you trust him?” Windu asked.

Yes, I do.

“That’s good enough for me,” Obi-Wan said, who would have gone despite what anyone said. “What’s your location, Cody?”

I’m on Tatooine,” came the reply before he rattled off the exact location. Obi-Wan nodded, watching as Windu quickly typed it out.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can, Cody,” Obi-Wan promised.

I’ll see you soon,” Cody responded, voice fond. “I-I’ve missed you.”

Obi-Wan’s face softened at that quiet proclamation. “I’ve missed you too. I’m going to gather up your brothers and I’ll be on my way within the hour.”

They said their final goodbyes before disconnecting. Obi-Wan looked up at the trio in disbelief, seeing them smiling at him.

“Go get your men, Obi-Wan,” Windu told him. “I’ll make sure the ship and supplies are ready within the hour.”

Obi-Wan nodded, getting to his feet.

“Brave one, your partner is,” Yoda said, smiling. “Strong, he is.”

“He is,” Obi-Wan agreed. “Please excuse me, I’m going to go bring him home.”

“May the Force be with you,” Plo said fondly, though he was excited. He couldn’t wait to tell Wolffe.

Obi-Wan gave a quick, small bow before he hurried from the room, quickly sending out a message to Ghost Company to meet him at the Temple as he hurried through the hallways, heading to Rex’s apartment. He was glad that Anakin, Ahsoka and the 501st were on a mission as he knew Anakin would insist on coming, even if they were going to Tatooine, though Obi-Wan would have had to put his foot down, not wanting to risk Cody's safety by bringing Anakin, especially since Cody's rescuer didn't trust Jedi.

He pressed at the pad beside the door of Rex's apartment and it soon opened, a surprised Ponds standing there.

“General Kenobi,” Ponds said, surprised.

“Ponds,” Obi-Wan greeted, though somewhat hurriedly. “Is Rex here?”

“In here, Obi-Wan,” Rex’s voice called out. Ponds smiled as he stepped to the side to let Obi-Wan in. Obi-Wan quickly hurried inside, finding Rex in the kitchen. Rex smiled as he saw him and Obi-Wan couldn’t help the smile that pulled at his lips in return, especially as he saw Rex had flour across the bridge of his nose and across his right cheek.

“What brings you here?” Rex asked.

“Rex, we know where Cody is.”

Silence fell in the room at Obi-Wan’s statement. Rex quickly put down the tray he was holding, staring at Obi-Wan with wide eyes.

“W-What?” Ponds stammered from behind Obi-Wan.

“Cody just contacted me,” Obi-Wan explained, quickly but concisely. “Tram’s dead and he’s been rescued by person’s unknown at this moment – well, Cody knows who it is, he just couldn’t say,” Obi-Wan added hurriedly.

“He’s okay?” Rex croaked. “He’s safe?”

“Yes, Rex,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “He said he was safe and he sounded fine, not like he was under duress. I’m going to go get him and I thought you’d want to come along. Ghost Company are on their way to join us.”

Rex nodded, running a hand through his hair, shocked.

“Bring him home, Rex’ika,” Ponds said, smiling sadly. He wished he could go too, but he couldn’t risk leaving the Temple and with Ghost Company going as well, he didn’t want to overwhelm Cody.

“We will,” Rex said, trembling slightly.

“Come on, Rex,” Obi-Wan said. “Mace is getting the ship ready with supplies, though I’m not sure what, and we’ve got to meet Ghost Company.”

Rex nodded, quickly darting over to Ponds to hug him tightly. Ponds hugged him back just as tightly.

“I’ll see you both soon,” he murmured in Rex’s ear. Rex let go of Ponds, smiling at him shakily, before he quickly followed Obi-Wan from the apartment. Ponds leaned against the bench, heart racing.

Cody was coming home.

 

Obi-Wan and Rex quickly arrived at the hangar, finding Ghost Company hadn’t arrived yet. Windu was standing by a ship, talking to one of the workers there. He looked around as he sensed Obi-Wan’s approach. He nodded once more to the worker, who headed off, before meeting Obi-Wan and Rex.

“Obi-Wan, Rex,” he greeted, smiling at Rex, especially at the flour still dusting his face.

“Mace,” Obi-Wan returned, looking at the ship. Windu glanced back at it as well.

“Big enough for you and your men,” he explained, “Plus with a decent hyperdrive so you should get to Tatooine relatively quickly.”

“And the supplies?”

“Mostly medical since we don’t know what sort of condition Cody is in,” Windu said carefully. “I’m hoping you won’t need them but it doesn’t hurt to be sure.”

Obi-Wan gave a small nod.

“There’s also some clothes and food as well,” Windu finished.

“Thank you, Mace,” Obi-Wan said thankfully. Windu just shook his head.

“It’s nothing, Obi-Wan, really,” he insisted. “We just want you to bring Cody home.”

“Ponds knows as well,” Rex spoke up quietly. “He was in my apartment when Obi-Wan came by.”

“I’ll go see him after you leave,” Windu replied. “Thank you, Rex…also, you have flour on your face, were you cooking?”

Rex flushed and scrubbed at his face, wiping the flour off as he nodded. Windu just smiled.

“Yoda brought by some of your biscuits before, they are really good, Rex,” Windu praised, watching as Rex’s flush reached his ears.

“General!” Obi-Wan turned at the call, seeing Ghost Company, including Tup, walking towards them.

Boil glanced up at the ship as they approached, frowning somewhat. “Is everything okay?”

“I received a comm from Cody,” Obi-Wan admitted, smiling at their gasps and grins. “He’s safe and we’re going to go get him.”

“He’s safe?” Helix repeated. Obi-Wan nodded.

“Cody said that Tram was dead and that he’d been rescued,” he explained. “I knew you would all be so annoyed if I went without you, and I know Cody is looking forward to seeing you, so shall we go?”

The group all nodded, chatting excitedly as they hurried into the ship. Rex slung his arm around Tup’s shoulders as they walked up the ramp into the ship. Obi-Wan turned to Windu, who smiled and nodded.

“May the Force be with you, Obi-Wan.”

Obi-Wan smiled and inclined his head before he headed into the ship, his heart pounding.

It was time to bring Cody home.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan stared out of the cockpit, watching as the stars flew past. Wooley looked back from where he was piloting, looking at Obi-Wan’s blank face, though he could see the nervousness in Obi-Wan’s grey eyes.

“Are you okay, Obi-Wan?” Wooley asked quietly. Obi-Wan blinked, looking back at Wooley and giving a small smile.

“Yes, Wooley, thank you,” he murmured. “I was just thinking about Cody.”

Wooley nodded, looking back out of the cockpit. “At our current speed, it’ll take close to a day to travel.”

Obi-Wan nodded, sighing. “I’m going to go check on the others, comm me if there are any issues, Wooley,” he murmured, touching Wooley’s shoulder briefly.

“Sure thing.”

Obi-Wan headed out into the rest of the ship, heading towards the lounge area. Boil, Waxer and Helix were checking out the supplies in the storage room and Crys had gone to join Wooley in the cockpit. Obi-Wan paused as he entered the lounge, seeing Rex murmuring softly to Tup, who was nodding along.

Tup was the one to notice him first, looking up and smiling at him. Obi-Wan smiled back and walked in, sitting on the opposite side of Tup.

“What are you talking about?” Obi-Wan asked with a small smile. Tup hesitated, looking to Rex.

“I-I was talking about Jek,” Tup mumbled. Obi-Wan immediately put his hand on Tup’s back comfortingly.

“Oh,” he murmured, wincing. “Sorry to interrupt.”

“No, no, it’s okay,” Tup insisted. “I mean, you were there with me throughout it.”

Rex winced at that, which Tup noticed and quickly snuggled in close to him. Rex wrapped his arm around Tup’s shoulder, pulling him close.

“Are you okay, Tup?”

“Yeah, I…I just miss him,” Tup admitted quietly. “I know it’s weird, but I really miss him.”

“It’s not weird at all, Tup,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “He did care about you.”

Rex nodded in agreement. “Cody and I could see that after a while too,” Rex admitted. “The way he told you to come back safely or the food he brought for you to try, he cared for you.”

Tup nodded, sighing heavily as he sagged against Rex. Rex brought him close, tucking Tup’s head under his chin.

“I don’t know what to do,” Tup muttered. Rex rubbed Tup’s back.

“You’ll figure it out, kid, you’re smart,” Rex murmured back. Obi-Wan nodded in agreement.

“Just take your time and follow your heart,” Obi-Wan told him gently. Tup nodded, still keeping snuggled close to Rex, wrapping his arms around his ori’vod and clinging tightly. Rex looked at Obi-Wan over Tup’s head and grinned. Obi-Wan smiled back.

“Have you contacted Skywalker yet?” Rex asked, eyebrow raised. Obi-Wan shook his head.

“He’s in battle on the surface, so I don’t want to disturb him,” Obi-Wan said. “Though I’m not hearing anything to say the battle is going bad,” he added, seeing the worried look cross Rex’s face. “But I left a message for him when he gets back to the Resolute.”

Rex nodded, sighing and leaning his head back against the wall. “It feels odd not being with them,” Rex admitted with a heavy sigh. “I…I want to have their backs, I mean, I know Jesse is a great man and is a great Captain but…”

“But you wish you could be there,” Obi-Wan finished. “You’re used to looking after them on and off the battlefield.”

Rex nodded and Tup clutched Rex closer. Rex smiled at his vod’ika.

“I don’t know…” Rex swallowed harshly, clutching Tup tighter. “I don’t know what’s going to happen and it scares me, Obi-Wan.”

Obi-Wan nodded. “You will probably be off the battlefield for a while, Rex,” Obi-Wan admitted.

“Yeah, I know,” sighed Rex. “I just don’t feel useful anymore.”

“You’re still useful, Rex,” Tup said, looking up at him. “Even if you’re not fighting with us.”

“Thanks, vod’ika, but I just don’t feel it.”

“We’ll find you something to do,” Obi-Wan promised. “Like Ponds is helping to plan different battles now since he’s Temple bound. We just don’t want to risk you with the GAR. We don’t want them to find an excuse to try and take you, that’s why we’re keeping you in the Temple.”

“I guess,” Rex murmured.

“And the younglings like having you around,” Tup piped up. Rex chuckled, scuffing up Tup’s hair.

“All right, all right,” he laughed softly. Tup smiled and nuzzled his face into Rex’s shoulder, sighing contently. Obi-Wan watched as Tup drifted off to sleep as Rex stroked his hair. Obi-Wan smiled fondly at them, looking at Rex.

“You’ve softened, in a good way of course,” he added hastily, “but you seem more content to just be with your brothers and hold them close.”

Rex smiled sadly as he stroked Tup’s hair. “I thought I was never going to see them again,” he admitted. “I-I didn’t know if we would be found or if we were, I was certain the GAR was going to take me and decommission me. I just realised how much I missed them and I’ve come to appreciate them more.”

Obi-Wan nodded in understanding.

“Just seeing them, watching as Jesse and Kix lean against each other and seeing the loving look that Jesse gives Kix; watching Hardcase laugh and jostle with the others and watching Echo read his regs and recite them off the top of his head, or just watching Tup snuggle up to everyone, being his sweet self,” Rex listed with a fond smile. “I guess I just appreciate life more…since I’m not being abused anymore and I’m back home.”

“It suits you, you know,” Obi-Wan told him gently. “I do love watching you work in the kitchen, you seem at peace when you do that and it makes me realise how much we need to push the Senate to give you and your brothers rights. I want to see them relax and not be so battle-hardened, to find things they truly love doing with the people they love.”

Rex nodded. “I want to see that. I really want to see that.”

“Well, with the Chancellor’s powers being questioned, it may be easier to do so,” Obi-Wan mused. “I know Mace plans to speak to the Senate about the rules they’ve enforced on the Jedi.”

“Please tell me that’s going to be a recorded session,” Rex said with a grin. “I want to see the Chancellor’s face as Windu refuses to take his osik and tells him where to shove it.”

“Even if it meant stripping the Jedi of their General titles?”

Rex snorted. “The public would rebel if they learnt of that, so would the vode of course, but the public have more power compared to us.”

Obi-Wan smirked suddenly. “Well, worst comes to worst, we hide all of the clones in the Temple.”

“You have the room for that?”

“Rex, the Temple was built to hold tens of thousands of Jedi,” Obi-Wan explained. “There are only ten thousand of us left, and a good portion of that number are younglings, Initiates and Padawans.”

Rex stared at him in surprise as Obi-Wan smiled sadly.

“Our numbers have depleted over the years, we need to change that,” he murmured. “We need to change so many things.”

“Hey, what are you guys talking about?”

Obi-Wan looked up and smiled as Waxer, Boil and Helix all walked in, settling down around them.

“Aw, sweet vod’ika,” Waxer cooed as he saw Tup asleep, tucked up against Rex. Rex raised his eyebrow at that.

“My vod’ika,” he claimed, though the slight upturn at the edges of his lips showed he was just playing. “You’ve got Boil.”

“Trade you?” Waxer retorted, making Rex laugh. “You get Boil and I get Tup.”

“No deal,” Rex answered, shaking his head with a smile. “I’m not giving up my vod’ika.”

“I just feel the love,” Boil said, looking between the two. “I see how it is, no one wants me.”

“Come here, Grumpy,” Obi-Wan chuckled. “I wouldn’t trade you.”

Boil scooted over so he was sitting next to Obi-Wan’s leg, poking his tongue out at Waxer and making Obi-Wan laugh.

“See, at least someone loves me,” Boil said, exaggerated.

Obi-Wan laughed as he watched Boil tackle Waxer because of a jibe Waxer made, both of them wrestling each other, which Helix and Rex cheered on – Tup joining them as the racket woke him up. He smiled as he watched them, feeling that they were more relaxed and excited now that they knew Cody was safe.

He couldn’t wait to see Cody.

 

Cody smiled at Jango as he ended the call. Jango couldn’t help but chuckle at the excitement in Cody’s amber eyes.

“Come on, ad’ika, let’s make you some lunch,” Jango just chuckled. “They’re going to be a while yet.”

Cody nodded and followed Jango to the kitchen, sitting down as Jango gave him a pointed look. Cody smiled to himself as Jango busied himself preparing their lunch.

He couldn’t believe it. He just couldn’t believe that this was real and that this was happening.

After seven months he was going home.

After seven months he was going to hold Obi again.

He looked up as Jango sat across from him, sliding his plate over. Cody took it with a thankful nod.

“So Kenobi looks out for you?” Jango questioned a few moments later. Cody nodded.

“He was the one who saved me from the abusive Admiral,” Cody said, “and saved my life by over-exerting himself with the Force. He respects my opinions and encourages me to speak up. I wouldn’t be the man I was today if he hadn’t pushed and encouraged me, not after that Admiral broke me.”

Jango nodded thoughtfully.

“As much as I hate Jedi,” Jango said, “He did seem like a good one, though a little prim and proper.”

Cody snorted at that. “If you knew my Jedi, you’d know he wasn’t as prim and proper as he appears. He can drink us under the table.”

“He goes out drinking with you?” Jango asked in surprise.

“He does occasionally come to 79’s with us,” Cody admitted, “but it’s usually after a hard battle, he’ll join us for a drink and some stories. You’d think he would only drink the best wine or scotch, but he throws back the ship’s moonshine with no issue at all.”

“He’s surprising,” Jango murmured as he took a drink. “I knew he suspected me for being the bounty hunter hired to kill Amidala, but then he became certain of it. I thought he didn’t see my armour before I asked Boba to close the door to hide it.”

Cody tilted his head curiously. “Did you ask in Basic or Mando’a?”

“Mando’a,” Jango replied, giving Cody a look as Cody chuckled.

“Yeah, he knew what you said,” Cody told him. “He speaks Mando’a fluently.”

Jango just stared at him in shock and Cody smiled.

“He spent a year on Mandalore protecting Duchess Satine when he was a teenager, he learnt it then,” Cody explained. “It was good coming onto a ship where even the Jedi General was happy to use Mando’a terms or even tell us a few that we didn’t know, especially since on my last ship we were punished for speaking it.”

Jango growled under his breath at that, angered that they were punished for being themselves, for having their own culture.

“He’s been the one who has pushed the hardest for us to get rights,” Cody continued, finishing his lunch. “He pushed hard to get me to Marshal Commander, though I threatened to space his tea if he kept trying to get me promoted after that. He also witnessed Jesse’s and Kix’s marriage vows, even though we can’t legally get married.”

Jango just stared in disbelief. He never thought about them falling in love with each other, though he could see how it could happen. Jango was irritated by the fact that they couldn’t be together legally because of the Republic Senate and their ridiculous rules. He knew he should have realised that the boys would have no rights, but at the start he hadn’t cared, not until he had gotten to know them, and he had hoped that the Republic would treat them right once they had found them – though he knew in his heart that would never be the case.

“Are there a lot of you that are couples?” Jango asked instead.

“There are a few in every battalion,” Cody said. “Kix and Jesse have been together since they were cadets, Wolffe and Echo are fairly new in their relationship and I’m hoping Rex would have finally admitted his feelings to Fives and that they’re together now.”

Jango nodded. “So Wolffe has someone?” he asked, smiling fondly. He did remember the cadet prone to biting.

“Yes, he’s with Echo, one of Rex’s ARC troopers,” Cody explained with a smile. “They’re both quite different from one another with Echo being brainy and knowing the reg manuals inside and out – though he doesn’t always follow the rules – while Wolffe is, well, Wolffe.”

“And Rex has Fives, is it?”

“Fives is his other ARC trooper. Rex and I found them both on the Rishi Moon station after droids had attacked it. They were the only two of their squad to survive that invasion,” Cody murmured.

“What about Bly and Ponds?” Jango asked, eager to know of the group he came to adore so much.

Cody chuckled at that. “Ponds, I have no idea about,” he admitted with a snort. “It’s a little complicated with him.”

Such as they could never tell if Ponds actually loved Mace or was just really close with and wasn’t interested in relationships.

“Bly on the other hand cares deeply for his General,” Cody said carefully, looking at Jango to catch his reaction. He wanted to see how Jango reacted to the fact that a clone and a Jedi were close, closer than they should be, to see if there was a chance he could tell Jango about him and Obi-Wan without him trying to permanently ground Cody to keep him away from Obi-Wan.

Jango just blinked.

“Bly and his Jedi?” he asked again slowly.

Cody nodded. “Aayla Secura,” he murmured quietly. “She cares for him as deeply as he cares for her.”

Jango frowned deeply at that and Cody felt his stomach twist slightly. Jango remained quiet on that front, instead looking back at him.

“What about you, Kote?” he asked finally, carefully. “Before you were taken, did you have someone? One of the other clones?”

Cody gave a wry smile. “No, I don’t have a brother waiting for me.”

Jango sighed, leaning back in his chair. He frowned as he focused on Cody’s hands, noticing the shaking.

He would have to tell Kenobi about the after-effects of the withdrawal, make sure Kenobi got Cody a proper check up with equipment that Jango did not have access to on Tatooine. He just hoped that the spice hadn’t left any permanent damage on Cody.

Jango chuckled softly as he noticed Cody’s eyes drifting shut. He stood up and gently tugged on Cody’s arm.

“Come on, ad’ika, up you get,” he murmured before leading a grumbling Cody to a nearby couch. “Get some rest before they come.”

Cody lay down, turning on his side, as Jango pulled a thin, rather worn, blanket over him.

“Hey, Buir?” Cody asked, somewhat shyly. Jango felt the warmth in his stomach as Cody called him ‘Father’ once again.

“Yes, ad’ika?”

“Can you stay with me?”

Jango smiled as he sat on the edge of the couch, running his hand through Cody’s hair.

“Sure thing, kiddo,” Jango murmured. Cody smiled tiredly at him, allowing his eyes to slip close.

He hated sleeping alone now, being tormented by his nightmares.

Cody sighed, relaxing as he felt Jango stroke his hair, humming softly, and wondered if this is what Boba got to grow up with, to have a loving Father sit beside him while he had trouble sleeping and comfort him?

Cody pushed that thought aside as he started to drift off.

Obi-Wan would be here soon.

 

Bly smiled tiredly at Aayla as she squeezed his hand before she headed off to report to the Council. Bly sighed as he headed off into the Temple, looking for his brothers. They were the ones to find him though.

“Bly,” Ponds greeted as he pulled him in for a tight hug. Bly rested his head against Ponds’s shoulder, hugging him back tightly. Wolffe put his hand on Bly’s shoulder and squeezed tightly.

“Are you okay?” Ponds murmured. “We heard about the battle.”

Bly gave a small shrug. “It’s war, I guess,” he muttered, “but it never makes things easier.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Wolffe sighed.

“Now, where’s Rex?” Bly asked. “I need to squeeze the vod’ika.”

Ponds and Wolffe exchanged small grins before Ponds turned to a confused Bly.

“He’s not here.”

“What?” Bly asked, now very confused. “I was told he was! They wouldn't deploy him with the 501st so soon, would they?!”

“He’s gone with Obi-Wan,” Wolffe added. “To save Cody.”

Bly’s eyes widened almost comically and his mouth opened.

“WHAT?!”

“Obi-Wan got a comm from Cody, saying he was safe and to come and get him,” Ponds explained. “So Obi-Wan took Rex and Ghost Company and went to go get him.”

Wolffe checked him comm-pad. “Actually, they should almost be at Tatooine now,” he added.

“Cody…Cody is safe?” Bly choked, staring at the both of them. Ponds nodded, giving a small smile.

“Yeah, both of our baby brothers are safe now, Bly,” he murmured, watching as Bly covered his face, giving a rough sob. Ponds pulled him in close again.

“Our baby brothers will be home soon,” Wolffe said. “We’re going to have them back.”

Ponds nodded. “Come on, Bly, let’s go have a drink to celebrate, yeah? Mace gave me a good bottle of scotch as a gift for my apartment.”

“Your apartment?” Bly chuckled shakily. Ponds shrugged as he shifted so he had one arm across Bly’s shoulders as he walked him down the hallways.

“Well, I’m not going to leave the Temple any time soon by the looks of it, thanks to the Chancellor’s threats,” Ponds said, almost bitterly. “So the Jedi gave me my own apartment. Mace said it’s mine and I can decorate it however I want.”

“Rex has his own apartment too,” Wolffe added as he walked on Bly’s opposite side. “Fives stays with him when the 501st is on Coruscant, but it’s become Rex’s space. You should see all of the baking stuff in the kitchen.”

“Baking?”

“Oh yeah, Rex has gotten into baking and cooking,” Wolffe continued, answering Bly’s confused question. “It helps him relax and he’s really, really good at it.”

“It’s amazing,” Ponds agreed. “He makes the best sweets ever. I actually might have some cookies left over from his last batch, before he went with Obi-Wan.”

Bly blinked before chuckling. “Well, that’s something,” he murmured, before looking at Wolffe.

“The 501st have been deployed, haven’t they?” he asked. Wolffe sighed, giving a nod.

“Yeah, the 501st were needed, so Rex is without Fives for now and my Pup is out there as well,” Wolffe answered.

“I still can’t believe you’re with Echo,” Bly chuckled. “How long has it been now?”

“About five months,” Wolffe smiled softly. “It’s been good.”

“They’re actually really cute together,” Ponds teased as they came upon his apartment, getting smiles from the passing Jedi. “So adorable and sappy.”

Wolffe rolled his eyes. “Zip it,” he growled, shoving Ponds onto the couch as they entered his apartment. Ponds gave a ‘whoa’ as he fell onto the couch, pulling Bly with him. Ponds detangled himself from Bly and headed towards a cabinet, pulling out the scotch and some nice crystal glasses that Mace had gotten him.

“I can’t believe Cody and Rex will both be home,” Bly said longingly as he took the glass from Ponds. “I’ve missed our baby brothers.”

“Well, soon they’ll be home,” Ponds said as he sat down, “and we’ll never let them out of our sights again.”

“To our baby brothers,” Wolffe offered, holding up his glass.

“Our baby brothers,” Ponds and Bly echoed as they knocked their glasses together.

 

Cody straightened up, hearing the sounds of ships engines nearby. Jango sighed as he watched Cody leap to his feet and almost run to the door. Jango followed him, seeing a ship landing nearby.

Cody stepped outside, heart racing, as he watched the ramp lower on the ship. He saw his Obi-Wan walk down it and pause at the bottom, looking around until his grey eyes met Cody’s amber.

Cody couldn’t hold back anymore. He had gone seven months without touching his Jedi, his cyare, and the last time he had seen him hadn’t ended well. He just wanted to touch him and confirm that this was actually happening.

“Obi!” Cody cried out before he darted across the sand, practically throwing himself into Obi-Wan’s arms. Obi-Wan held him tightly, pressing kisses to his cheeks.

“Cody,” Obi-Wan sobbed. “My love, my love!”

Cody clung onto Obi-Wan tightly, nuzzling his face into Obi-Wan’s copper hair and breathing in the familiar green-tea scent that made his chest ache.

“I missed you,” Cody sobbed into his shoulder. “I missed you so much!”

“I missed you too, my cyar’ika,” Obi-Wan whispered, “and I’m never letting you go again, I promise.”

Cody didn’t want to let go of Obi-Wan, never wanting to let go of him again.

It was the first time he had felt truly safe since this had all began.

“Jango Fett,” Obi-Wan said suddenly and Cody winced, forgetting that Jango had seen this. Hesitantly, he let go of Obi-Wan and turned around, seeing Jango standing a few feet away, eyebrows raised and arms folded across chest.

Jango had to admit, seeing Cody throw himself at Kenobi and seeing Kenobi kissing Cody’s cheeks and hanging on to Cody as though he would disappear if he let go, it wasn’t something he had expected.

Then Obi-Wan had spotted him and Cody had stiffened, letting go of Obi-Wan to look at Jango, unsure.

Jango sighed, running his hand through his hair.

“A word, Kenobi, while Kote greets his brothers,” Jango said instead. Obi-Wan frowned at that, looking to Cody, who looked away towards the ramp instead.

“Rex!” Cody whispered before he hurried forward, pulling Rex into his arms and hugging his sobbing brother tightly.

Obi-Wan walked over to Jango’s side, watching as Cody and Rex clung onto each other tightly as Ghost Company all reached out, hands gently touching Cody’s shoulders and back, reassuring themselves that he was really there and safe.

“He didn’t tell me you two were in a relationship,” Jango said gruffly, pulling Obi-Wan’s attention back to the older Fett.

“Would you have let him contact me if you knew?” Obi-Wan questioned. Jango threw him a look and Obi-Wan smiled softly.

“Probably not,” Jango admitted.

“I truly do love him, Jango, whether or not you believe it,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I plan to leave the Jedi for him.”

Jango just grunted before sighing. He turned his gaze to Obi-Wan, meeting the grey gaze evenly.

“Tup!” Cody’s surprised voice carried to them suddenly. Jango looked around, seeing him hug a younger clone tightly before pulling back. “The 212th gold suits you!”

“Excuse you, he looks better in 501st blue,” Rex retorted, though he was grinning.

“Tup,” Jango murmured. “He’s the one they had the bounty hunter target, wasn’t he?”

Obi-Wan looked at him in surprise before giving a small nod. “He was, yes.”

“You let the bounty hunter get close?”

“That is something we truly didn’t know or sense,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I didn’t meet Jek until Boba brought Ponds the message and we arrested Jek.”

“So he’s in prison?”

“No,” Obi-Wan sighed. “There wasn’t enough to hold him on and the GAR wouldn’t do anything about it, other than punish Tup, which we couldn’t allow.”

Jango frowned at that, but looking at Obi-Wan and seeing the way his grey eyes softened as he looked upon the troopers, he didn’t blame him.

“Besides, Jek did help us out in the end,” Obi-Wan continued, looking back to Jango. “It seems Tup actually managed to steal his heart as well.”

Jango looked back to Obi-Wan. “You care for them,” he stated.

“I do,” Obi-Wan nodded. “I will fight to the death to keep them safe from droids and politicians alike.”

“You’ll keep Rex and Kote safe from the GAR then?” Jango pushed.

“Of course,” Obi-Wan agreed. “Rex and Cody will be Temple bound while they recover and see a Mind Healer, the GAR cannot touch them while they are under the protection of the Temple.”

Jango nodded, satisfied for now.

“Why do you call him Kote?” Obi-Wan asked suddenly.

“That’s his name,” Jango told him, eyebrow raised. “That’s what I named him when he was a cadet. You didn’t know that?”

Obi-Wan shook his head, looking to Cody sadly. “No,” he murmured. “He was Cody when I first met him.”

“If I hear that anything goes wrong, if I hear even a whisper that Kote or Rex are in danger, I will come for them,” Jango warned, turning to face Obi-Wan. “I will take all of the brothers they want as well.”

Obi-Wan met his gaze evenly. “If I believe Cody and Rex are in danger, I will contact you.”

Jango blinked in surprise and Obi-Wan gave a wry smile.

“I want them safe, Jango, and I will go to any lengths to see that they are.”

Jango gave a small nod, before frowning as he looked at Cody, seeing him sway slightly.

"Kenobi, when you get back to Coruscant, take Kote to see your healers," he said, looking to Obi-Wan, seeing him frown. "When I found Kote he had been drugged repeatedly with spice for two weeks and he went through a tough withdrawal. I am worried about the after-effects the drug has left on him, but I can't see if it's done any damage with the equipment on Tatooine."

"What after-effects has he suffered so far?" Obi-Wan asked quietly, concerned.

"Shakes, trembling hands, the occasional dizzy spell and bout of weakness," Jango listed.

"I'm taking him to the Healers the moment we're back anyway," Obi-Wan murmured. "I'll get them to do a full check and scan after they take bloods and scan for diseases and injuries."

Jango nodded and walked down to speak to Cody and the others, Obi-Wan following closely. Cody gave Jango an exasperated look before looking to Obi-Wan.

“Please tell me he didn’t threaten you,” Cody begged. Obi-Wan chuckled as he took Cody’s hand, bringing it up to his lips to place a kiss upon it.

“My love, I can handle a shovel talk,” Obi-Wan teased.

“Rex,” Jango greeted, smiling at him. Rex nodded.

“Jango,” he greeted in return. “Thank you for saving my ori’vod.”

“I wasn’t going to leave him there, Rex,” Jango said, shaking his head. “I did try to find both of you once I saw the report on the GAR network, but I didn’t have the right contacts.”

“You had access to the GAR network?” Obi-Wan asked, eyebrows raised.

“Until I was locked out two months ago. It was mostly to make sure I wasn’t anywhere near where you were,” Jango retorted, “but I also liked to keep an eye on my boys.”

Obi-Wan hummed thoughtfully but kept silent.

Jango looked around, noticing the wide-eyed looks from the other troopers.

“These are your men, right, Kote?” Jango asked.

“Yes,” Cody answered. “This is Waxer, Boil, Helix, Wooley, Crys and Tup, who is in Ghost Company for some reason.”

Jango nodded as he examined them. “Good,” he murmured. “They look like fine men, Kote, and you deserve fine men to serve by your side.”

His gaze landed on Tup, who was partially hidden behind Rex and was staring at him with large honey eyes. Jango smiled at the top-knot on top of the trooper’s head.

He had to admit, Tup was actually rather adorable. Jango had become quite clucky and paternal once he had gotten Boba. The True Mandalorians had always put family first. Family was the most important thing and Jango definitely agreed with that. He remembered how Jaster had looked after him, taking care of him yet training him to be strong. Jango had always wanted to be a Father, to have children to love and spoil; he could have easily stolen Tup to protect him and raised him as another one of his sons. Jango bit back a smile at that thought.

If he had done that, he would have close to twenty sons now.

“And you must be Tup,” he said finally, getting a nervous nod from Tup.

“Y-Yes, sir.”

“I’ve heard good things about you, Tup,” Jango continued. “It’s always good to have a large, caring heart – not many people do these days.”

“T-Thank you, sir,” Tup stammered.

“I’m also a bit jealous of your hair,” Jango laughed, seeing how nervous Tup was and hoping to calm him a bit. “My hair could never grow out like that, it’s far too curly.”

Tup smiled at that. “You and Cody have the same hair.”

Jango looked to Cody, smiling. “That we do.”

“We should go,” Obi-Wan spoke up softly. “We need to get you back to the Temple before the Chancellor finds out, and I know Ponds and Wolffe are antsy to see you again, Cody.”

Cody nodded before looking at Jango. “C-Can I comm you?”

“Of course, Kote, for anything,” Jango promised before raising an eyebrow as Obi-Wan handed over a spare comm he had had in his robe pockets.

“Have this one,” Obi-Wan told him. “It’s secure and encrypted…and I may have also written down an access code to get into the GAR network.”

Jango took it, looking at Obi-Wan in surprise.

“You’d let me into the GAR network?” he asked in disbelief.

“You want to keep an eye and ear out for your boys, correct?” Obi-Wan asked him. “Then yes, I will happily give that to you – and also to help make sure the GAR doesn’t get a hold of you. I don’t trust the Senate or Chancellor currently, especially since he wanted to arrest Boba so badly.”

Jango’s head whipped up at that. “What?!”

“Boba delivered a message to Ponds and Ponds let Boba go, not that he’d ever arrest Boba even if Boba did shoot him. The Chancellor demanded to know why Ponds didn’t arrest him and Mace covered for him, saying Ponds didn’t believe arresting a fledging bounty hunter was more important than delivering this message,” Obi-Wan explained.

Jango frowned at the comm. “Windu was happy to let Boba go, despite Boba having tried to kill him?”

“He understood it was a misguided attempt in revenge,” Obi-Wan said softly, squeezing Cody’s hand. “Though you really do need to find Boba, Jango, he does need you.”

Jango gave a jerky nod, not saying anything to that.

“Wooley, if you could prepare the ship, please?” Obi-Wan spoke softly, turning to the other clones.

“Of course, sir,” Wooley nodded, hurrying on board.

Cody let go of Obi-Wan’s hand briefly and stepped up to Jango, who looked up at him. Cody cautiously hugged him and Jango wrapped his arms around him, holding him close.

“Thank you,” Cody whispered. “For everything.”

“Any time, ad’ika,” Jango murmured. “Remember, if you need to get out, I will come to steal you, Rex and all of your brothers away.”

Cody laughed as he let go, taking Obi-Wan’s hand once again. “I know, Buir, thank you.”

“Come, Cody, it’s time to go home,” Obi-Wan whispered. Cody nodded and followed Obi-Wan, Rex and the rest of Ghost Company up the ramp.

The ramp closed and the ship took off.

 

Jango sighed as he watched it go. He would look out for them, make sure the GAR or the Senate didn't try to hurt them or recondition or decommission them (which Jango had strongly disagreed with). He frowned as a sudden thought came to him.

Kenobi had said that that bounty hunter had ended up falling in love with Tup. Perhaps it would be useful to get more help, especially one who wasn't one who would be killed on sight, who could keep an eye on them from Coruscant and swoop in if needed.

Jango hummed thoughtfully as he headed into his hut. He'd have to do some research on this Jek.

 

Obi-Wan turned to Cody as his brothers all moved off to give them some privacy. Obi-Wan gently reached up, cupping Cody’s cheek in his hand and stroking his cheek, tears filling his grey eyes.

“Oh, my love,” Obi-Wan whispered, his voice breaking. “You’re here and you’re home.”

Cody moved forward, wrapping his arms around Obi-Wan and resting his forehead against Obi-Wan’s. Obi-Wan wrapped his arms around Cody, holding him close.

“I want you to tell me if anything I do makes you feel uncomfortable,” Obi-Wan murmured to him, “but I will always be here for you, no matter what.”

“Kiss me,” Cody whispered, pleading. “I need you to kiss me.”

Obi-Wan obliged to that, pressing his lips to Cody’s. Cody melted into his kiss, feeling safe, secure and loved.

He was home.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan led Cody to his quarters, hand held in his own. Cody followed, pulling his Jedi into his arms as soon as they entered Obi-Wan’s quarters. Obi-Wan chuckled softly, wrapping his arms around Cody’s waist and holding him close. He could feel Cody trembling in his arms and he gently shushed him, leaning up slightly to kiss Cody’s forehead and cheeks gently.

“Come sit down, my love,” Obi-Wan murmured as he led Cody to the bunk, sitting him down on the edge. Cody smiled at him sadly as he rubbed his bare wrists. Jango had taken off the bands and the collar and, though Cody was relieved to finally have them off, it felt odd to have his wrists, ankles and neck bare once more.

“Are you okay, my love?” Obi-Wan asked gently. Cody gave a nod, taking in a deep, shaky breath. Tears started trickling from Cody’s eyes as he stared at Obi-Wan, meeting his eyes.

He was safe. He was home.

“Shh, Cody, it’s okay,” Obi-Wan murmured, reaching up to brush Cody’s tears away. “You’re safe now, cyar’ika. You’re safe.”

“I know,” Cody said, giving a shaky smile. “I just…I can’t believe it.”

“I know,” Obi-Wan echoed, thumbing away the fresh tears. There was a knock on the door and Obi-Wan sighed softly before he headed over to it.

“Helix,” Obi-Wan greeted as Cody wiped away the rest of his tears.

“Sorry to interrupt, General, but I wanted to check over Cody and make sure he’s okay,” Helix said. Obi-Wan looked over his shoulder at Cody, who gave a small nod. Obi-Wan nodded and stepped back, allowing Helix into the room. Helix smiled as he walked over to Cody’s side.

“Hey, Cody,” Helix greeted, reaching out to grasp Cody’s hand. Cody squeezed Helix’s hand in return.

“Hey, Helix,” Cody murmured. Helix smiled at him.

“I’m just going to give you a quick scan, okay?” Helix said softly. “I just want to make sure there’s no pressing injuries that’ll cause an issue before we get to Coruscant.”

Cody nodded. “Sure, go for it.”

Helix pulled out the med-scanner, scanning over Cody, eyes fixed to the screen and looking for anything out of the ordinary. Helix gave a content nod as he tucked the scanner away.

“Nothing pressing,” Helix told him with a smile. “The Healers will do a more thorough check-up since I don’t have a medbay on this ship.”

“Thank you, Helix,” Cody smiled at him. Helix shifted so he could press his forehead against Cody’s.

“I’m so glad you’re back, Cody,” Helix whispered. “We’ve missed you.”

Cody shifted his hand so it was across the back of Helix’s neck as he pressed his forehead more steadily against Helix’s.

“I’ve missed you too.”

Helix smiled once more. “You’ll be okay now, Cody, you’re home and we’ll all be here for you.”

Cody nodded once more and Helix stepped back, glancing at Obi-Wan, who smiled at him.

“Don’t hog him all to yourself,” Helix told Obi-Wan with a grin. “The others want to see him too.”

Obi-Wan chuckled, “I won’t hold him too much longer. I just want to speak to him some more.”

Helix nodded, smiling once more at Cody, before he headed off to reassure the others Cody was okay. Obi-Wan shifted so he was kneeling down in front of Cody, taking his hands in his own.

“When we get back to Coruscant, we’re landing directly in the Temple hangar,” Obi-Wan explained gently. “The GAR and the Senate won’t be able to touch you as long as you’re in the Temple.”

“A-And the Council?”

“This was Kit’s plan,” Obi-Wan said with a smile. “They’re concerned for your safety too. Rex and Ponds are already under the Temple’s protection, though I couldn’t keep Rex away from coming to get you.”

“Is Ponds okay?” Cody asked worriedly. Obi-Wan nodded and squeezed Cody’s hand.

“He stood up to the Chancellor,” Obi-Wan explained, “and the Chancellor threatened to have him reconditioned, which Mace would never allow, so Mace put Ponds under the Temple’s protection. He’s been keeping himself busy as well.”

Cody blinked, horrified, but Obi-Wan just smiled reassuringly at him.

“Now, when we get to the Temple, once the Healers have checked you over, we’ll get you a room,” Obi-Wan said. “You can stay with Rex in his apartment, or you can get your own apartment or…” here, Obi-Wan paused, hesitating. “You can stay with me, if you’re comfortable with that that is.”

“B-But won’t the Council be suspicious if I stay with you?” Cody asked softly. Confusion crossed Obi-Wan’s grey eyes before he smiled, squeezing Cody’s hand.

“Cody, the Council knows about us,” Obi-Wan revealed. “When you were first taken, we found out that the bounty hunter that took you was killed and their station destroyed, the Council believed you to be dead as well.”

Cody was just staring at him wide-eyed.

“Then I heard you crying for me to help you,” Obi-Wan said, voice breaking. Cody reached out to run a hand through Obi-Wan’s soft hair. Obi-Wan smiled, tilting his head slightly to press a kiss to Cody’s palm.

“I let the Council hear that cry and then I told them that I was in relationship with you, that we shared a soul-bond, and that I loved you and had planned to leave the Jedi to be with you.”

“They know?” Cody whispered. Obi-Wan shifted to sit on the bed beside Cody.

“Yes, my love, they know,” Obi-Wan confirmed. “Once I admitted my attachment, others stepped up as well, and, well, now they’re considering the attachment rule.”

“So…so I can stay with you?” Cody asked, amber eyes hopeful. “I don’t need to pretend?”

“No, my love,” Obi-Wan smiled, gently cupping Cody’s cheek in hand. “We don’t need to pretend anymore.”

Cody smiled, leaning forward to kiss Obi-Wan softly.

“So you’ll stay with me?” Obi-Wan whispered as they broke apart.

“Please,” Cody said softly. “T-Though is Rex nearby?”

“He is,” Obi-Wan reassured him, “and Fives stays with him when he’s not deployed.”

Cody nodded, leaning against Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan wrapped his arm around him and pressed a kiss to Cody’s temple.

“Cody?”

“Mmm?”

“Jango told me about your true name,” Obi-Wan said cautiously. “Why…why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because that’s not who I am anymore,” Cody said softly, looking at his lap. “I haven’t been Kote since I was assigned to Admiral Lyall.”

“What happened, my love?”

“He refused to call me by that name,” Cody said quietly. “A-And I let him beat me. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be Kote anymore. Jango named me that because he thought I would be great, but I let myself get beaten down and broken and I didn’t deserve that name anymore. So I became Cody, which Lyall did occasionally call me if he was feeling generous. It wasn’t a name of that primitive language as he called it,” Cody said bitterly.

“Cody…” Obi-Wan whispered. Cody looked at him and smiled sadly.

“Kote was long gone before you even came along, Obi,” Cody said softly. “And I don’t know if I’ll ever be called that again, so please, don’t worry about that. Jango just calls me that because, well…that’s him.”

Obi-Wan sighed, moving to rest his forehead against Cody’s and taking his hands in his own.

“If the day comes that you want to be Kote again, just let me know,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I’ll still be here.”

“Thank you,” Cody said, relieved that Obi-Wan wasn’t going to push him to take his old name, understanding that times change.

“Now, I’m going to contact the Council and prepare them for our arrival and then I need to contact Anakin,” Obi-Wan said.

“I’m surprised he didn’t try and force his way onto the ship to come,” Cody chuckled, knowing that Skywalker always followed Kenobi.

“He, Ahsoka and the 501st were deployed a few days ago,” Obi-Wan explained with a wry grin, “or yes, I would have struggled to keep him off the ship.”

Cody chuckled at that.

“Now, go see your brothers,” Obi-Wan smiled, pressing another quick kiss to Cody’s cheek. “They’ve been so worried about you.”

Cody nodded, breathing in deeply before squeezing Obi-Wan’s hands.

“I’ll be out soon, I promise,” Obi-Wan reassured him. Cody nodded.

“I-I know,” Cody murmured. Obi-Wan smiled as he stood up, gently pulling Cody up. Cody wrapped his arms around Obi-Wan, breathing in his scent and reassuring himself that Obi-Wan was still there.

“Go on, my love,” Obi-Wan told him gently. Cody nodded, taking in a deep, reassuring breath, before kissing Obi-Wan’s forehead, nuzzling into his hair. Cody reluctantly let him go, smiling once more at Obi-Wan, before he left the room, going to go find Rex and the others.

 

He came upon the lounge, seeing the others already there, minus Wooley and Crys.

“Cody,” Rex said, spotting him first. Cody smiled at him and walked in, sitting beside Rex and pressing against his side. Rex sighed, relaxing as Cody pressed against him, reassured by his body warmth.

“Are you okay?” Rex murmured in his ear. Cody turned to him and smiled weakly.

“I am now, Rex’ika.”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there,” Rex whispered as the others talked amongst themselves for now, knowing Rex and Cody needed a moment.

Cody shook his head. “It wasn’t your fault, Rex,” Cody murmured, shifting so he could run a hand through Rex’s hair. “Tris had you…and Tram got me. I was so worried about you though. I didn’t know if you had been saved or if Tris had managed to take you away.”

“At least they’re dead now,” Rex shuddered. “Tram is dead, right?”

“Yeah, Jango shot him,” Cody said before frowning. “I heard the shot and heard Tram collapse, I think.”

“You think?”

“I was drugged to the eyeballs,” Cody said, smiling weakly. “But I trust Jango, he wouldn’t have let Tram leave alive.”

“I don’t doubt that,” Rex chuckled darkly.

“What about Tris? Did they arrest him?”

“No,” Rex said, shaking his head. “He was going to kill me, but I got to him first and stabbed him in the chest.”

Cody smiled, nuzzling against Rex’s hair reassuringly. Rex sighed, leaning against Cody and wrapping one arm around him.

“Did you tell Fives?” Cody whispered in his ear before pulling back, smiling as he saw the flush on Rex’s cheeks. Rex gave a small nod.

“And?”

“He told me first actually,” Rex mumbled, embarrassed, before giving a bitter smile. “Last thing Tris saw was Fives kissing me and telling me that he loved me.”

Cody took his hand and squeezed it before looking back out at his men and brothers. His amber eyes landed on Tup, who Waxer was cuddling tightly.

“How did Waxer end up adopting you, Tup?” Cody chuckled. Tup blushed slightly and Waxer just hugged him tighter, grinning up at Cody as he squeezed the young trooper.

“I temporarily transferred into the 212th,” Tup explained as Waxer snuggled with him. “After…after the truth about Jek came about, a lot of brothers in the 501st didn’t trust me and I needed to get away.”

Cody winced at that.

“It’s only temporary and…and I think I’m ready to go back to Torrent Company again soon,” Tup said.

“Aww noooo, vod’ika,” Waxer whined as he squeezed Tup. “Who will give me cuddles?”

“Not me,” Boil snorted. Waxer pouted at him before looking at Tup and smiling.

“We’ll miss you, kid, but we’re happy for you,” Waxer said sincerely. “You’ve put up with my crazy leadership, so you’ll be fine.”

Tup smiled, leaning back against Waxer at that.

“Yes, how are you two finding being Commanders?” Cody asked, trying to ignore the small ping of hurt in his chest.

“We have no idea how you did it alone, Cody,” Boil admitted, “and we’re not even Marshal Commanders.”

“Obi-Wan refused to name anyone else Marshal Commander, said that was your role and yours alone,” Waxer added, seeing the look on Cody’s face. “I mean, we didn’t get all of the responsibilities you did, but, kark, Cody, how did you do this by yourself?! I struggle with Boil helping me!”

Cody chuckled, leaning against Rex’s side again.

“Obi-Wan was there to help,” Cody answered with a small shrug, “and I got used to doing all the paperwork in my old post, before I was Obi-Wan’s Commander. I quickly found a way to be efficient and get it done.”

“He did eventually learn not to sacrifice sleep for it either,” Rex added with a meaningful look to Cody, who smiled sheepishly. Cody glanced down as someone touched his knee, seeing Boil smiling sadly at him.

“Sorry,” he murmured. “I just…I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.”

“Boil,” Cody whispered as he slipped down to sit on the floor next to Boil, with Rex following. Boil leaned against Cody, sighing.

“We missed you, ori’vod, so much,” Boil admitted, which made a lump appear in Cody’s throat. Boil rarely voiced his emotions besides he was annoyed, so it meant a lot to hear that from his surly brother.

“I missed you all too,” Cody said, voice breaking slightly, before he pulled himself together and smiled weakly. “Now, tell me what mischief you’ve all gotten up to while I’ve been…gone.”

Rex took Cody’s hand in his own again as Cody was regaled to all of the stories, a bit of it exaggerated, from his men.

 

Obi-Wan sighed as he disconnected the call from the Council, who were relieved to know Cody had been retrieved safely, though surprised to hear his rescuer was Jango Fett. They had said nothing about why Obi-Wan didn’t bring him in and he knew they were wondering why Jango had faked his death to Boba.

Obi-Wan took in a deep breath, trying to centre himself, as he connected to Anakin’s comm.

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan greeted as the call was picked up, the blue holo forming. He smiled slightly at Anakin’s crossed arms and pointed look.

You went to get Cody without me,” Anakin said.

“You were on the ground battling, dear one,” Obi-Wan replied, “and it was a condition of Cody’s rescuer that I was the only Jedi who went.”

Anakin sighed but conceded the point. “How is he?

“He’s a bit in disbelief,” Obi-Wan admitted. “I don’t think it’s truly sunk in that he’s back with us yet.”

How did he react when he first saw you?

Obi-Wan smiled. “He ran at me and threw himself into my arms,” Obi-Wan said softly. “He begged me to kiss him when we got on board the ship.”

Anakin nodded, smiling up at Obi-Wan. “Good to hear…and how did Rex cope with that reunion?

“Oh there were tears,” Obi-Wan said with a soft, fond laugh. “They’re speaking to each other now, along with Ghost Company.”

I’ll tell Torrent the news, they’ll be so happy,” Anakin chuckled. “We’ve managed to push back the droids into retreating, so we’ve made camp for the night. We should be back to Coruscant in a couple of days.”

“Where’s Ahsoka?”

Messing around with her boys,” Anakin said fondly. “She’ll be so happy to hear about Cody, she does care for him as well.

“I know,” Obi-Wan smiled.

Have you spoken to Cody about what will happen once you get to the Temple?

“Yes, and I told him that the Council knows that he and I are together,” Obi-Wan said. “He seemed so relieved to hear that and that the Council are relatively okay with it. He doesn’t want to pretend anymore and I don’t blame him, not after this.”

It’s good you two will finally get to be together without having to hide,” Anakin agreed. “I think it’ll help Cody too, not having to stress about that, he can just focus on getting better.

“It’s going to be difficult,” Obi-Wan murmured.

If anyone can help him, Obi-Wan, it’s you,” Anakin said sincerely. “Yeah, things might get tough, but you’ll have each other…and that’s all that matters.

“Thank you, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said softly before giving a weak smile. “Well, I might go see what they’re up to. I promised Cody I wouldn’t be long.”

Anakin nodded. “Sure, I’ll see you in a few days.”

“Goodbye, Anakin.”

The holo flickered out and Obi-Wan stood, stretching out. He sighed once more before he headed out into the ship, locating Cody and the others quickly. Boil glanced up as Obi-Wan walked in and slid over so Obi-Wan could sit next to Cody.

“You don’t need to…” Obi-Wan began to say but was cut off as Boil glared at him.

“Sit next to your cyare, Kenobi,” Boil growled. Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows but acquiesced, squeezing in between Boil and Cody.

Cody rested his head against Obi-Wan’s as he took Obi-Wan’s hand, threading his fingers with Obi-Wan’s. Obi-Wan nuzzled against Cody’s hair, gently pressing a kiss to his temple.

“I’m so glad to see you two back together,” Helix said, smiling. Cody smiled at Helix.

“I’m glad I’m back too,” Cody said softly before smiling at Rex as Rex squeezed his other hand. Cody noticed that Rex still hadn’t cut his hair off.

“Decided not to cut your hair again, Rex’ika?” Cody asked gently, letting go of Rex’s hand so he could run his fingers through the soft, spiky, wavy blond hair, which was still regulation length.

“Haven’t decided yet,” Rex admitted, closing his eyes slightly at the feel of Cody’s hand petting his hair. “I’ve gotten kind of used to it.”

“It suits you,” Obi-Wan spoke up with a smile. “Though it has taken some getting used to.”

“It took me a while to get used to as well,” Rex smiled sadly.

“Hey, Cody, there are more clothes in the storage room if you’d like to change,” Helix spoke up suddenly. Cody looked down at his clothes, which had been Jango’s. They were a little baggy on him, but the fabric was light and soft to help cope with the Tatooine heat. Cody shook his head.

“I’m fine, thank you, Helix,” he murmured. Rex nodded in understanding, knowing that the light brown pants and the flowy tan shirt Cody was wearing felt secure to him, since he was covered; also not to mention it had been Jango’s clothing, which added a bit more feeling of safety.

“I’ll raid the Quartermaster’s supply when we get back to the Temple,” Obi-Wan murmured in Cody’s ear. “Get you some more comfortable clothes, like we did with Rex.”

Cody glanced at Rex, taking in his cargo pants and short sleeved, dark blue shirt, and gave a nod.

“Sounds good,” Cody yawned, suddenly feeling tired. Obi-Wan wrapped his arm around Cody’s waist, letting Cody lean against him.

“Sleep, my love,” Obi-Wan murmured. “You’re safe now.”

Cody smiled tiredly at him, resting his head against Obi-Wan’s shoulder as he cuddled close. The day had finally gotten to him and the adrenaline from waiting nervously, being so excited to see Obi and his brothers, had finally abated, leaving him tired.

“You’re home now.”

 

Windu smiled slightly as he and Plo followed the excited trio of clones towards the hangar. They had gone to retrieve Ponds, Bly and Wolffe once they had received the message from Wooley, saying they were close by and requesting permission to land in the hangar, which Windu had immediately granted.

“They’re so excited,” Plo said fondly as they followed the excited, laughing, chattering trio, who bumped and jostled each other as they walked towards the hangar.

“They’re finally getting both of their brothers back,” Windu murmured. Windu turned and smiled at Aayla as she fell into step with them.

“I haven’t seen Bly so excited for so long,” Aayla sighed sadly. “Cody’s and Rex’s abduction hurt him greatly.”

“I know,” Windu said quietly in agreement. “Ponds struggled too.”

“As did Wolffe, though I believe young Echo helped him get through the months,” Plo added. Windu chuckled to himself. He couldn’t believe they had just had that conversation, where just mere months ago he would have never had had it.

He actually quite liked the change, to be able to say that Ponds was his closest friend and that he would fight for him.

They reached the hangar and immediately the clone trio’s excitement turned to nerves and anxiousness. Windu stepped up and placed his hand on Ponds’s shoulder, gaining a nervous look from him.

“It will be fine,” Windu reassured him, spotting Plo murmuring reassuringly to Wolffe as Aayla pulled Bly close to her, hugging him tightly as she murmured in his ear.

“I-I know, it’s just…it’s just been so long, Mace,” Ponds whispered, looking back towards the entry of the hangar.

“I know,” Windu echoed, “but Cody will be so happy to see you.”

Ponds smiled shakily at that and Windu stepped back, allowing the three brothers to get close once more, talking softly to one another. Windu looked around the hangar, noticing the odd maintenance worker and clone bustling about, working on this and that. He even spotted one or two from his own battalion near a fighter, looking over it. He glanced down as he felt a familiar presence beside him, seeing Yoda standing there, serenely waiting.

“Almost home, they are,” Yoda said lightly. “Good to have them back, it will be.”

Windu nodded.

“It feels like family again,” Windu said quietly, just for Yoda to hear. “It feels right.”

“That it does,” Yoda agreed, humming thoughtfully. “That it does.”

Windu looked up at the sound of a ship’s engine, seeing Obi-Wan’s ship pulling into the hangar and landing neatly. Ponds, Bly and Wolffe quickly walked forward, almost trembling with nerves as they waited for their brothers to be revealed.

The ship ramp finally lowered with Ghost Company quickly departing, standing near the bottom of the ramp and grinning at Bly, Wolffe and Ponds.

“Rex,” Bly choked out as his blond brother walked down the ramp, soon followed by,

“Cody!” Ponds cried out in relief. Rex and Cody quickly hurried down the ramp, being pulled into a hug by the other three.

Windu approached the ramp as Obi-Wan finally descended, smiling softly at the scene in front of him, of the five squad-mates hugging each other tightly with Cody and Rex sandwiched in the middle between the three older clones.

Windu squeezed Obi-Wan’s shoulder and Obi-Wan looked back at him, smiling, as Yoda, Plo and Aayla walked over to join them.

“I knew they would be waiting for them,” Obi-Wan murmured.

“I was wondering why you weren’t clinging onto his hand,” Plo said softly, corner of his mask pulled up in a smile. “Now I know.”

Cody closed his eyes, feeling the tears starting to fall, as he was held in between his three older brothers with Rex squashed in beside him. He felt safe, he felt secure, back in his brothers arms, feeling like he would never be hurt again, not as long as they were by his side.

“Cody, Cody,” Ponds was whispering. “Rex, you’re here, you’re home!”

“Baby brothers,” Wolffe almost purred.

Bly pressed his head harder against Rex’s, body trembling as relief flowed through him. “Oh gods, baby brothers, we missed you so much,” Bly choked out.

They held each other tightly, murmuring words here and there, as tears slowly began to fall as it finally set in that Rex and Cody were here, that they were home and safe.

They didn’t care if others spotted the five Command clones crying; they were together again and that was all that mattered.

Chapter Text

Windu looked down with a frown as his datapad beeped, signalling he had a message. He tapped upon it when he saw it was from one of his troopers and smiled at the video as it started playing.

It was of Cody and Rex reuniting with their brothers in the hangar.

One of Ponds’s men had been in the hangar, Windu had noticed them working on one of their fighters, and had recorded this. Windu watched it again before he pulled up the channel for the videos and uploaded it as Ponds had taught him.

He paused for a moment as he thought of a title for it before he settled on one. It was short, but it fit the situation.

Windu smiled once more as it posted.

Cody had been taken to the Halls of Healing to be checked out, once they had been able to pry him out of his brothers’ hugs and he knew that Ponds, Bly and Wolffe had retreated to Ponds’s apartment to have a drink while Cody was getting checked over, with Rex by his side, allowing him some privacy.

Windu leaned back as the datapad beeped, signalling that the video had been uploaded, feeling some slight smugness as he thought of the Chancellor seeing this and of the public seeing this. Finally the public would see the faces of the men that the Chancellor gave up on, that he refused to help, and allowed to be hurt. Finally the Chancellor would see that the Jedi had refused to give up on them.

Windu frowned at that thought.

He truly did need to speak to Bail Organa and Padme Amidala and ask them in assisting the Jedi in setting terms for the Senate, especially since they were looking at pulling back from the Senate’s control. He just wanted to make sure they didn’t lose the clone troopers. He couldn’t bear that thought, though he knew that the Republic would be in an uproar if that were to happen; the people had warmed towards the Jedi and clones, especially after seeing all of these videos.

 

Obi-Wan stood by Cody’s side as he sat on the infirmary bed, grumbling as he ran his hands over the gown that Vokara had made him change into. Obi-Wan smiled at Cody’s grumbling, reaching out to take his hand as Rex chuckled from where he was sitting in the corner.

“Just go with it, vod,” Rex suggested with a laugh. “Trust me.”

Cody sighed and leaned back against the bed before Vokara came in, smiling at him.

“Hello, Cody,” she greeted once more. Cody smiled weakly at her.

“Healer Che,” he murmured in return. Vokara looked to Obi-Wan and Rex before turning back to Cody.

“Are you okay with these two in the room while I look you over?” Vokara asked. Cody nodded, squeezing Obi-Wan’s hand.

“They’ve both seen it all,” he joked weakly, making Rex snort. Vokara nodded.

“I’m just going to take blood first so we can run it,” Vokara started to explain calmly to which Cody nodded. Vokara quickly and carefully took the blood, heading out of the room to pass it to one of the assistant Healers. She came back to the bed, speaking to Cody gently, telling him what she was going to do be doing before she did it. Vokara continued her examination, making sure there were no broken ribs, using the Force to further reach and examine each part she was looking over, making sure she wasn’t missing anything.

She paused as she reached his ears, finding small holes.

“Did you have your ears pierced before?” she asked him. Cody shuddered and shook his head.

“No,” Cody said quietly. “Tram pierced my ears against my will. Jango must have taken them out…I-I forgot all about them.”

Vokara nodded, gently patting Cody’s knee as she looked up at Obi-Wan, seeing him looking at Cody sadly as he reached up to gently stroke the back of Cody’s head.

Vokara stepped back, looking to the door as one of her student Healers came in, holding out a datapad. She thanked them as she took it, reading over the blood results. Obi-Wan let go of Cody’s hand briefly, walking over to her side.

“Vokara,” he murmured.

“Mm?”

“Jango said that Cody was heavily dosed with spice for two weeks,” Obi-Wan explained quietly. “He still has some after-effects from it.”

Vokara frowned at that, looking back to his blood-work.

“Well, his preliminary bloods are all clean and how they should be,’ she said before looking up and fixing Obi-Wan with a look. “And you didn’t tell me this before I started his examination why?”

“Because you didn’t give me the chance to,” Obi-Wan retorted, making Vokara smile slightly. That was true, she had zeroed in on Cody the moment Obi-Wan led him into the Halls of Healing.

“I’m going to go organize the atomic scan,” Vokara said, speaking loudly enough so Cody and Rex could hear her. “If he’s having after-effects from the drugging, it’s best to make sure his brain is working right and all neurons are firing as they should be.”

Vokara quickly headed off to organize the scan as Obi-Wan walked back to Cody’s side.

“My brain might be damaged?” Cody asked quietly, worriedly. Obi-Wan gave a small shake of his head.

“No, I don’t believe it is,” Obi-Wan said softly. “It just might be your neurons are firing off incorrectly due to the spice throwing things out of balance, that doesn’t mean your brain is damaged,” Obi-Wan added, seeing Cody’s worried look. “It’ll be fine. You’ll lost the after-effects in time, Vokara just wants to make sure everything is how it should be or if she can find a way to assist to make your healing quicker.”

Cody nodded and shivered.

“Cold, my love?” Obi-Wan asked. Cody gave a small nod and Obi-Wan shifted to the end of the bed, grabbing the soft, thick blanket and pulling it up. He gently pushed Cody down, smiling, so he could tuck Cody in. Cody gave him a look before caving and smiling. Rex pulled his chair over so he was sitting beside Cody’s bed. Cody sighed and closed his eyes, relaxed and soothed as Obi-Wan gently stroked his scar.

Vokara came back in a few minutes later.

“Cody, could you come with me, please?” she asked, keeping her voice soft and gentle – a tone which Obi-Wan never got to hear from her. “Rex and Obi-Wan will have to stay here, but you’ll be back shortly, I promise.”

Cody nodded, getting out of the bed. He shivered as his feet touched the ground and Vokara frowned slightly before she grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders, pulling it close around him. Cody smiled weakly at her and she smiled back before she placed her blue hand on his arm and led him away.

Obi-Wan sighed as he sat on the edge of the bunk, tiredly rubbing his forehead.

“You okay, Obi-Wan?”

Obi-Wan glanced at Rex, giving a tired smile.

“I’m just worried about him,” Obi-Wan admitted. “I-I don’t want to do anything that makes him freak out or anything.”

Rex smiled sadly at him. “He will be jumpy for a while, I still am,” Rex admitted. “Just make sure he knows when you’re approaching or if you plan to touch him, and let him make the decision if he wants to be held or not. Some days…some days I just don’t want to be touched.”

Obi-Wan nodded in understanding.

“It’s going to be hard, Obi-Wan, I’ll admit that now,” Rex continued, though his golden eyes had darkened and he had downturned them to stare at his hands. “I still struggle with nightmares, with memories. There are times where I just want to be left alone and times when I want to hang onto someone and never let go. I flinch at sudden movements and freaked out when Fives hugged me from behind.” Rex turned his gaze back to Obi-Wan. “It’s going to be hard, but I know you’ll be fine.”

Obi-Wan smiled weakly at that. He looked up as the door open and Cody was led back in. Vokara watched as he climbed back into the bed, with Obi-Wan quickly tucking him back in.

“I’m going to look over Cody’s scans now and look over the deeper blood work,” she told them. “Stay here and I’ll let you know what’s going on when I find out the results.”

“Of course, Master Che,” Obi-Wan said, gaining rolled eyes from the Master Healer before she turned and left.

“She doesn’t like you much, does she?” Cody asked, amused.

“I think I drove her quite mad during my Padawan years,” Obi-Wan chuckled. “I was always trying to get out of visits to the Healers and check-ups, and I also became quite apt at escaping the Halls of Healing…well, until she found me and dragged me back by my Padawan braid.”

Rex snorted at that. “We’re not introducing her to Kix, are we?”

Cody shuddered at that thought. “Best to keep Helix away from her too.”

Obi-Wan chuckled as he sat on the edge of Cody’s bed, running his hand through Cody’s soft hair. He watched as Cody and Rex talked to one another, focusing on Cody’s face and the feel of his hair in between his fingers. Obi-Wan’s stomach twisted as he thought about this. He had come so close to losing Cody, to never seeing him again, never stroking his hair again…he just couldn’t believe that Cody was back with him, safe and secure.

At least now he didn’t have to pretend that Cody was just his Commander. Now they could truly be together while Obi-Wan stayed by his side.

Obi-Wan closed his eyes, examining Cody’s Force signature, revelling in its familiar warmth. Cody was still a warm gold, though there were a few small changes within the signature, Obi-Wan noticed with a small frown. There were a few patches of dark gold, which was almost like it was covered in shadow; it felt cold and empty when Obi-Wan examined those patches, as though life had been sucked from it.

Obi-Wan opened his eyes once more, looking at Cody sadly.

This experience had damaged Cody’s Force signature, his aura. Obi-Wan silently vowed to himself that he would help fix that, that he would make Cody feel warm, safe and whole once more.

Vokara suddenly came in, her dark eyes wide.

“Rex, can I borrow you, please?” she asked. Rex frowned but nodded, getting up to follow her.

“Obi?” Cody asked worriedly. Obi-Wan turned back to Cody, gently tracing his scar.

“I’m sure everything is fine, my love,” soothed Obi-Wan.

Rex came back a little while later, looking confused as he settled back down beside Cody’s bed.

“Rex? Are you okay?” Cody asked worriedly.

“Yeah, I think so,” Rex answered. “Master Che didn’t really say anything, but…but she looked concerned.”

“I-I am sure it is nothing,” Obi-Wan tried to reassure him, though he could feel a spike of uneasiness from Vokara.

Soon enough, Vokara came in, a deep furrow in between her eyebrows.

“Cody, Rex,” she started, “is there any chance that you had surgery without you knowing it?”

“From Tris and Tram?” Cody questioned, gaining a nod from Vokara. Cody looked to Rex, frowning, before shaking his head.

“I-I don’t believe so, I mean, there were no scars or times when we were unconscious long enough for something to happen,” Cody continued. “Why?”

Vokara held out a small holo-disc, activating it.

“Is that…?” Obi-Wan began to ask.

“This is Cody’s brain,” Vokara explained, eyes fixed on the slowly rotating 3d image. She carefully pointed out a spot in the right temple of the brain and with a few flicks of her fingers, changed the contrast colour of it.

Obi-Wan frowned, seeing something unusual there.

“What is that?”

“That is what I am unsure of,” Vokara answered heavily. “It looks like an organic growth, almost like a tumour…except it seems more, well, refined.”

Vokara flicked the image, pulling up another image and changing the contrast again.

“This is Rex’s brain.”

“There’s the same thing,” Cody said, looking to Rex in shock. Vokara nodded and Obi-Wan could sense her unease.

“That’s why I wanted to know if it was possible if your captors had placed these in your heads,” Vokara said quietly.

“They didn’t,” Rex said before his voice turned bitter. “They would have bragged about it if they did.”

“Vokara?” Obi-Wan questioned, seeing a thoughtful look come over her face.

“The young clone with the headaches – Tup – is he still on Coruscant?”

“Yes.”

“I need you to get him here,” Vokara said. “It’ll give me an excuse to check his brain, to see if perhaps all of the clones have these…things, and will hopefully show what’s causing his headaches.” Vokara frowned suddenly, looking to Obi-Wan in alarm.

“What if this thing is causing his headaches?” she asked, alarmed. “Kenobi, you need to get me that boy now!”

Obi-Wan nodded, quickly sending Tup a message. “What if people ask, Vokara?”

“I’m just scanning Tup to get baseline reads to compare Cody’s scan to,” Vokara said easily. “Also, Cody, despite the discovery of that unknown thing, there seems to be no permanent damage from the spice. I’ll get you on some medications that will help stop the after-effects.”

“Master Che, what are these things in our head?” Rex asked worriedly. Vokara turned her deep gaze back to the 3d holo.

“In all honesty, Rex, it reminds me of a chip,” she said quietly. “Something I’ve seen in slaves we’ve attempted to help…but I’ve never seen them so intricately meshed in the brain like this. It’s as though it was placed there when the brain was forming.”

“Can you get it out?” Cody asked, panicked. Obi-Wan gently took his hand, squeezing softly.

“Once I confirm that it’s in Tup’s brain as well, I will make sure you, Rex and Tup are the first ones to have it removed so we can study what it actually is,” Vokara promised. “Though I believe it will be best not to allow this information to leave the room until we’ve confirmed what it is.”

“Can we stay here and wait for Tup and the results?” Rex asked. Vokara nodded, giving them soft smiles.

“Of course,” she reassured them. “I will go get some food ordered for you,” here, she glanced at Cody. “You do need to put on some weight.”

Cody gave a small nod. Tram hadn’t really bothered to feed him all that often when they were on Tatooine, and the spice had seemed to speed up his metabolism even more. Jango had tried to keep him fed with good food, but he had vomited most of it back up and had struggled to eat even after coming out of his withdrawals.

“Rex can help with that,” Obi-Wan added with a smile. “He’s been cooking up quite a storm, Cody, you should see the younglings always crowding around him.”

Cody looked to Rex, smiling when he saw the flush across Rex’s cheeks.

“Really?”

Obi-Wan chuckled as he told Cody the story of how Rex had fed the younglings sugar before their lesson with Yoda, leaving them all laughing and telling more stories after that.

It helped them forget the worry, just for a little while.

 

Dooku sat back in his chair, eyes fixed on the screen in front of him.

“Rex!”

“Cody!”

He couldn’t help the small smile that pulled at his lips as he watched the two clones being pulled in and embraced by their brothers. His gaze drifted to the group in the back of the video, seeing Windu place his hand on Obi-Wan’s shoulder, with Obi-Wan looking at the group of clones fondly, with adoration in his grey-blue eyes. It was unnoticeable to those who did not know Obi-Wan, but Dooku knew his Grand-Padawan all too well.

Dooku looked at the title of the video once more.

Brothers Reunited

It was apt and fit quite well…and it was definitely pulling at the public’s heartstrings if the comments were anything to go by. Dooku smirked suddenly.

Perhaps it was time to stoke the fire a bit and cause more unease in Palpatine’s leadership.

Making sure he was unable to be detected, Dooku logged onto the dummy account he had made for purposes such as this.

How heart-warming to see, Dooku typed out, Though those names seem familiar. Weren’t they the ones that the Chancellor gave up on? The ones that he left to be hurt and raped and that he threatened the clone, Ponds, about when he spoke up about the unfairness of it?

Dooku pressed submit and leaned back, smirking to himself.

It was only mere moments before his datapad beeped, signalling a reply. He grinned smugly as he read the response.

Oh my stars, I believe you’re right! Cody was the one that was still lost, wasn’t he? So glad to see the Jedi refused to give up on him and brought him home! I cried when I saw those sweet brothers being reunited, you can see how much they care for each other

Dooku placed his datapad aside, feeling smug. He truly did undermining Palpatine, watching all those carefully laid plans being pulled apart.

It was true in the beginning that he followed the Sith Lord without question, but as time went by and the Galaxy was reduced to war, with millions of innocents dying, he began to question everything. He knew Palpatine had played him, using his pain of Qui-Gon’s loss and the distrust he had in the Jedi Council to sway him to his side.

But Dooku could never agree with the murder of the younglings. They had nothing to do with this. They were young and innocent.

And, seeing all of these videos, seeing how the Jedi were pushing back against the Senate to do what was right…Dooku could see that they were changing and he was relieved.
He wanted to give them that chance to truly prove themselves, to show they weren’t the Senate’s pawns – so he would undermine Palpatine to do so.

Besides, Dooku knew that Palpatine would kill him the first chance he got, especially if he got his claws on that infuriating Skywalker.

Dooku barely kept from startling as his comm beeped and his heart sunk as he saw who was contacting him.

He wondered if Palpatine knew how his ‘faithful’ Apprentice was undermining him. Dooku schooled his features, calming himself, before answered the call.

“My Master,” he greeted, bowing his head demurely in greeting.

Tyranus,” the hooded figure returned. “These Jedi are irritating me. They went against orders once more to rescue that blasted clone. I thought you told me they were listening to my orders?

“That was what I heard myself, Master,” Dooku said quickly but calmly. “It goes against everything the Council has ever done before, to risk war for two clones.”

Palpatine sneered, leaning back in his seat.

“Is there a way to use that treaty against them? Is there a way to show that the Lady of Osiris was coerced into signing it?”

“None, my Lord,” Dooku answered. “Lady Maia had recorded the treaty signing and showed it in the Separatist Senate.”

He failed to mention how he was the one to suggest bringing footage of the signing to the session offhandedly, saying how it would stop the others from doubting her.

“There were also other Osirian witnesses who signed the treaty and testified as well,” Dooku continued.

“Perhaps we need to get rid of her,” Palpatine sneered.

“That would inadvisable, my Lord,” Dooku said calmly. “Lady Maia is a formidable figure and is a great ally to the Separatist cause. If she was to suddenly be killed and the Republic implicated, the people would talk, knowing that none of this would add up.”

“Another leader perhaps?”

“Lady Maia is the best leader for Osiris,” Dooku continued. “I have met the other Government Officials and they would hinder our cause if they were leading Osiris.”

Especially that fat one…Urit.

Palpatine snarled under his breath before disconnecting.

Dooku leaned back in his chair, relaxing.

Palpatine would soon find himself struggling to hold onto the power and Dooku was relishing that thought.

 

Tup found himself pulled to sit on Rex’s lap as they sat in Cody’s infirmary room, waiting to hear the results of his scan.

He had been surprised to get the call but he quickly came, only to be alarmed to find out the reason why he had been called.

“You all right there, vod’ika?” Rex asked, gently bumping his head against Tup’s shoulder. Tup turned slightly so he could see Rex and nodded, giving a small smile.
They all looked up as Vokara walked in, looking more harried than before.

“What is it, Vokara?”

“Tup’s scan shows it as well,” Vokara said, voice heavy, as she activated the 3d holo of Tup’s brain. “But there’s an issue.”

“What is it?” Rex asked worried, wrapping his arms around Tup’s middle and hugging him tightly. Vokara brought up the thing in Tup’s brain.

“It looks different to ours,” Cody said, unsure.

“That’s because Tup’s one is deteriorating,” Vokara explained, looking to Tup worriedly. “That’s what’s been causing your headaches, youngling.”

“What can we do, Vokara?” Obi-Wan asked, looking to Tup and seeing how quickly the youngling had paled.

“I’m going to take Tup in for surgery, we need to that out now,” she said, “and then I’ll take out Cody’s and Rex’s so we can compare them.”

“Can you do it without shaving their hair or leaving noticeable scars?” Obi-Wan asked, causing Vokara to frown at him. Obi-Wan ran a hand through his copper hair, messing it up, as his mind quickly went through the implications.

“Somebody made sure to put those things in the clones’ heads,” Obi-Wan explained, “but we don’t know who or for what reason.”

“If the clones were seen to have shaved heads at about that area it might tip that person off,” Vokara continued.

Cody suddenly gasped, looking to Obi-Wan. “I-I almost forgot!” he yelped, “but it was Dooku!”

“What do you mean?” Obi-Wan asked worriedly.

“Jango told me that he was hired to be the template by Dooku, otherwise known as Tyranus,” Cody explained.

“A Sith name?” Vokara questioned, horrified, gaining looks from the others. "I mean, it falls within the names used: Maul, Sidious and Tyranus...all Sith names."

“That could mean the Sith…” Obi-Wan trailed off, looking to Cody, Rex and Tup with horror. “That the Sith helped to create you.”

“For what purpose though?” Vokara asked, voice shaking slightly. “I thought Sifo-Dyas was the one who ordered the clones for the Jedi and the Republic?”

“That has come up in debates,” Obi-Wan admitted. “We believe Sifo-Dyas was killed before the clones were ordered…but if Dooku truly had a hand in this, we can’t risk those things being the clones’ heads. We do know that they’re chips or inhibitors of some sort, but we don’t know for what purpose.”

“We need to get these things out and present them to the Council before we figure out how to remove them from every clone,” Vokara added.

“We need to figure out what they truly are and what its purpose is as well,” Obi-Wan sighed.

“Please, just get it out of our skulls,” Rex said, horrified. “If Dooku knew about us, had a hand in our creation, I don’t want this unknown thing in my head.”

Vokara nodded. “Tup, are you ready?”

“It won’t hurt him to remove it, will it?” Rex asked worriedly.

Vokara shook her head. “No, that mass will be easily removed. Your little brother will be perfectly safe in my hands.”

Tup gave a nod, feeling horrified himself. He just wanted this thing out of his head.

Rex gave Tup once last hug before Tup followed Vokara from the room once more.

“I-I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier,” Cody’s voice spoke up meekly. “After everything…it…it just slipped my mind.”

“It’s okay, dearest,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “You remembered at the right time.”

“Do you really think Dooku had a hand in our creation?” Rex asked worriedly. “I mean, why would he make an army for the Republic when he’s a Separatist?”

“On his Master’s orders maybe,” Obi-Wan muttered, rubbing his beard thoughtfully. “Either way, something about this is making the Force scream at me.”

Cody shuddered and Obi-Wan sat on the edge of the bed, drawing Cody into his arms.

“Jango said that he gave Dooku reports about us,” Cody mumbled. “He told Dooku about me. I-I’m scared about this, Obi.”

Obi-Wan clutched Cody tighter at that, knowing Cody rarely admitted he was scared or fearful.

“We’ll figure it out, my love,” Obi-Wan reassured him and Rex. “We’ll get those things out of your heads, study it to see what its true purpose is, and figure out how we’re going to get them out of the other’s heads or at least find a way to render it inactive.”

Cody nodded, burrowing his face into Obi-Wan’s shoulder.

Obi-Wan closed his eyes, releasing his own fears into the Force so he could remain calm for Cody and Rex.

He knew this was big and that it could change something, the Force was pushing that.

Obi-Wan suddenly got a feeling that they had just stumbled across something large, a larger plot, and felt uneasy.

He knew the true fight was about to begin.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan stared out of the window, rubbing his beard worriedly. Vokara and the other senior Healers had come in and had retrieved Rex and then Cody later on. They had finally allowed Obi-Wan to go and be by their sides in the recovery room, where they were still sleeping off the remnants of the anaesthesia.

Vokara was studying the organic masses now, trying to figure out what it truly was and how it got into the clones’ heads.

Obi-Wan turned at a low groan and saw Tup starting to wake up in the furthest bed. He quickly walked over, taking one of Tup’s hands in his own. Tup’s hair was loose, spread out across the pillow underneath him. Obi-Wan’s free hand went up to gently touch the gauze on the right side of Tup’s temple, where Vokara had cut to access the mass.

He truly hoped it didn’t scar.

Vokara did manage to get to the mass without shaving any hair, so at least that wouldn’t give anything away to the wrong person.

“Easy, Tup, easy,” Obi-Wan soothed as Tup groaned, finally opening his eyes. Tup blinked, trying to clear the slight blurriness that the anaesthesia left. Finally he did so, squinting up at Obi-Wan, even within the dimly lit room.

“Obi-Wan?” Tup mumbled.

Obi-Wan smiled, gently stroking Tup’s hair. “Yes, Tup, it’s me.”

“Everything okay?”

“As far as I know your surgery went well, as did Rex’s and Cody’s,” Obi-Wan explained gently. “They’re in the beds beside you.”

Tup rolled his head to the side, seeing that his ori’vod were indeed there – though they were still out of it – and sighed, relaxing further. Obi-Wan smiled softly as he continued to gently stroke Tup’s hair soothingly.

Obi-Wan glanced over his shoulder as the door opened, seeing Vokara standing there, looking worried.

“Kenobi, a word.”

Obi-Wan nodded at her brisk tone, looking back to Tup. “Get some more rest, Tup, I’ll be back shortly.”

Tup gave a nod, his half-closed eyes already drifting shut. Obi-Wan stroked his hair once more before he turned and left the room, meeting Vokara outside.

“What did you find?” he asked quietly. Vokara held up a small glass tube filled with thick, blue liquid, almost like a gel, that something was floating in. Obi-Wan carefully took it from her, bringing it to eye level and frowning as he scrutinized it.

“It looks almost like…” he trailed off, eyes widening as he looked back to Vokara, who nodded grimly as she took the tube from him.

“Like a chip?” she finished. “That’s what it is. I haven’t been able to figure out what it does, that needs a lot more research, but I’ve determined it’s a chip.”

“We need to convene the Council,” Obi-Wan murmured. “We need to get this chip studied so we can find a way to destroy it, hopefully without surgery.”

Vokara frowned at that. “Why without surgery?”

“These were put in the clones’ heads for a reason,” Obi-Wan explained. “We can’t let whoever ordered this find out we’re taking them out of the troopers’ brains.”

Vokara nodded in agreement, shivering at the sense of foreboding that crossed her at the mere thought of Dooku and his Master finding that out.

“There’s something else,” Vokara said before she brought out a second tube. Obi-Wan took it once more, frowning at the distorted looking chip.

“What…?”

“The first chip was from Rex’s brain,” Vokara explained before tapping the tube Obi-Wan was holding with a blue finger. “This is Tup’s chip. It was deteriorating in his brain. It’s a good thing we got it out when we did, it was close to becoming compromised.”

“Compromised?”

“I’m betting it would have set off whatever the function of this chip was…and…” Vokara hesitated briefly, “and the way it’s deteriorated, I believe that if it had deteriorated any further, any attempts to take it out would have killed him.”

Obi-Wan shuddered at thought, glancing back into the room and looking at the sleeping Tup, his face peaceful in sleep, making him look like his young age.

He couldn’t imagine losing Tup, with his giant heart, and then having to watch Rex, Cody and Torrent and Ghost Companies try and cope with that loss. He knew it would destroy them. They all loved him.

“We need to tell the Council, Obi-Wan,” Vokara said quietly. “They need to know.”

Obi-Wan nodded. “I’ll call Mace and Yoda here so they can see the evidence and also hear what Cody said about Jango and Dooku.”

Vokara gave a curt nod, tucking the glass tubes away safely in her robes.

“I’ve told my senior Healers not to talk about it for now,” she said. “We can’t have that news spread.”

“Do you trust them?”

Vokara gave him a pointed look. “I only took my most trusted Healers into the operating room with me…and the droid can be wiped, so there’s going to be no leaks on my end.”

Obi-Wan held up his hands in surrender, offering a small smile. “I was just checking.”

Vokara rolled her eyes, swatting at his arm lightly.

“Go gather the old folks then, I’ll keep an eye on these three,” Vokara said, her voice turning fond as she looked at the trio of sleeping clones.

“Vokara,” Obi-Wan exclaimed, mocked-surprised. “You’re not being gentle are you? What happened to the scary Master Healer that you don’t mess with?”

The blue Twi’lek gave him a pointed look. “Only you and that terror you called a Padawan get that side of me,” she retorted. “These lovely boys do as I say and don’t try to escape the healer’s wing.”

“Only because they know how scary medics can be,” Obi-Wan snorted.

“That reminds me,” Vokara said with a sly grin. “You should really bring by their medics, it would be helpful to have their opinions and to let them know what to look out for. Kix was the one who noticed Tup’s symptoms and figured something wasn’t right, correct?”

“Correct,” Obi-Wan said, though he was horrified to think of what would happen when Vokara and the medics finally met.

“Good, I want to meet them, Kenobi, make sure I do.”

Obi-Wan stared after her as she walked into the clones’ recovery room, checking them over, before he sighed, going to find somewhere private so he could comm Mace and Yoda.

 

An hour later, they were all standing in the recovery room, all three clones wide awake now.

Windu was staring at Obi-Wan in disbelief as Yoda sat in his hover-chair, frowning as his ears tipped forward, uneasy.

“Chips?” he repeated, looking to Vokara, who nodded and held up the glass tube once more.

“And Dooku was the one who hired Jango?” Windu asked once more, getting a small nod from Cody.

“Yes, sir,” he answered quietly. “That’s why Jango faked his death, knowing that Dooku could use Boba against him.”

Windu just rubbed his chin, unsure, before looking to Yoda. “There are chips in their brains.”

“Horrifying, this is,” Yoda agreed. “Find out their true purpose, we must.”

“I can’t get into it,” Vokara sighed. “It’s almost, well…electronic in a way.”

“How so?”

“I can see very faint, very fine circuitry,” Vokara explained, “which I believe, when activated, would send out commands or pulses that would cause the clones to react, whether they wanted to or not.”

Obi-Wan looked pale, as did the three clones. “It would override their free will?” Obi-Wan choked out. Vokara gave a grim nod in response.

“The way I can see it, just by looking at it closely, is that it would override their neurons and push that command and make them follow it.”

“Sirs, we need to get these out of my brothers’ heads,” Cody croaked.

“We will, Cody,” Windu reassured him, before looking back to Yoda. “We can’t allow them to remain in the clones’ heads.”

“Agree, I do,” Yoda sighed, “but careful, we must be.”

“I agree with that,” Obi-Wan said, carefully not looking at Cody. “We need to find a way to deactivate the chips, find a way we can stop them from working without removing them from the clones…until later of course,” he added reassuringly as he glanced at Cody, seeing the shocked look.

Windu sighed. “We can’t afford for this to spread. Dooku and his master might gain wind of it.”

“And we don’t want them to activate the chips, if that is truly their contingency plan,” Vokara agreed.

“That wasn’t my only issue with it,” Obi-Wan admitted quietly. “I know most Jedi would be horrified if they heard about this and would send their men straight to medbay to get the chips removed…but I’m worried about the Jedi who wouldn’t.”

Vokara gaped at him. “You believe some Jedi wouldn’t…?! Even if it meant saving the clones’ lives?!”

“Yes, I sadly believe that,” Obi-Wan sighed, leaning against Cody’s bed. Cody immediately intertwined his fingers with Obi-Wan’s, making Obi-Wan smile at him tiredly.

“Jedi like Krell for example,” Obi-Wan continued. “You’ve all seen his casualty numbers, I know I’ve brought it up before…but I don’t see him sending his men to medbay to have surgery since it’ll put them out of action while they recover. He wouldn’t believe it was worth it…or he might think that these chips are deserved.”

“Deserved?!” Rex exclaimed.

“I have a feeling if the Kaminoans knew we found them, they’d spin some rubbish tale about it being inhibitor chips, stopping you from doing anything bad,” Obi-Wan said tiredly.

“Make us into slaves you mean,” Rex muttered bitterly.

“I know, Rex, I know,” Obi-Wan soothed, “and we know that the chips aren’t that or it would have stopped Slick, though I still wouldn’t leave them in your brains, even if that truly was the case.”

“You deserve the right to have the right to your own thoughts, emotions and actions,” Windu added. “Even if it meant you all decided to leave once the chip was out, we wouldn’t change our minds.”

“I don’t feel any different,” Tup spoke up, before flushing when he realised the attention was on him. “I don’t feel any different, I still want to serve with my brothers and the Jedi.”

“Not feelin’ like you’re going to turn Separatist?” Rex joked darkly, making Tup smile weakly.

“No, I still feel like me.”

“Well, that just proves that the chips aren’t there to control emotions then,” Windu said. “We will get Shaak Ti to look into them, discreetly of course, we can’t tip off the Kaminoans in case they tip off their true employers.”

“We still need to find a way to deactivate the chips until we can remove them,” Vokara added, “and the deactivation needs to be permanent, so there is no way it can be reversed.”

“Obi-Wan, the 501st are due back shortly, aren’t they?” Windu asked suddenly, making Obi-Wan nod.

“Talent with machines and codes, Skywalker has,” Yoda added before smirking. “Been chased around enough by his repurposed droids, I have.”

“Anakin would definitely put all his attention into this,” Obi-Wan agreed. “H-He won’t rest until he finds a way, especially since this is so like his own situation with slave chips.”

“Get the ARC Trooper, Echo, to assist him,” Windu added. “He’s proven himself quite tech-savvy. I am sure between the two of them, they can find a way quicker than anybody else.”

Rex couldn’t help but smile with pride for Echo, hearing Windu praise his younger brother so openly.

“We’ll go inform the rest of the Council. Let us know when Skywalker is done catching up with you after he arrives,” Windu said, making Obi-Wan smirk.

“You’re not going to summon him straight away?”

“And put up with his grumpy pout? Never.”

Rex snorted with laughter at Windu’s dead-panned voice. Windu smirked slightly at Rex’s laughter.

“Rest, you should. Well, everything will be,” Yoda told the three clones gently.

“Vokara, if you need any more chip samples for Skywalker to play with, Ponds isn’t leaving the Temple anytime soon…and I know he would feel more comfortable – as would I for that fact – if the chip was removed,” Windu said quietly.

“Speak to him for me and send him my way if he’s willing,” Vokara added, patting Windu’s arm and startling him. “It’s good to see you care so much for someone, Mace.”

Windu blinked at her, before looking at Yoda, scowling slightly, as he heard Yoda cackling.

“Attached he is,” Yoda agreed gleefully, poking at Windu’s thigh with his gimer stick. “Good to see him so happy, it is. Less younglings breaking into tears around him.”

“All right, enough out of you, Troll,” Windu grumbled under his breath. “We need to go brief the Council.”

Tup stared after the two Masters as they left with Vokara following soon after them.

“I didn’t think High Generals were that…weird,” Tup said, causing Rex and Cody to snort with laughter as Obi-Wan smiled.

“They’ve become a lot more open lately,” Obi-Wan admitted. “More hopeful and more relaxed…well, as relaxed as one can be while trying to fight and stop a war.”

“They’re going to help our brothers though, right?” Cody asked quietly. Obi-Wan turned to him so he could press a kiss against Cody’s temple, avoiding the gauze bandage.

“Of course, my love,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “I won’t let your brothers be used. Anakin won’t allow that either. He’ll find a way.”

They looked to the doorway as the door opened.

Ori’vod,” Cody spoke up, smiling as Ponds came through, though he was closely followed by Wolffe and Bly.

“How are you three recovering from your impromptu surgery?” Bly asked as he settled at Rex’s side, gently stroking Rex’s hair. Rex immediately leaned against his older brother, comforted by his solid bulk.

“Fine,” Tup answered as Wolffe settled on his bunk.

“I take it Mace told you?” Obi-Wan asked as Ponds came to settle on the other side of Cody’s bunk.

“Yes,” Ponds answered. “Bly and Wolffe were with me when he came, so he told them too. They decided to come along.”

“I’m not serving with my General with this thing in my head,” Bly spoke up, shuddering. “What if it makes me hurt her? I-I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt her.”

Rex took Bly’s hand, squeezing it reassuringly at that.

“You don’t feel any different, do you?” Wolffe asked Tup.

“No, I feel fine,” Tup answered. “Master Che believes I won’t get any more headaches with that chip gone.”

“Why was it giving you headaches?” Ponds asked curiously. “I don’t think I’ve heard of any other brothers having such intense migraines like you do.”

Tup looked to Obi-Wan, who nodded.

“My chip was deteriorating and that’s what Master Che believes was causing my migraines.”

Ponds swore under his breath at that and Wolffe reached over to tuck the vod’ika close against his chest.

“Deteriorating?” Bly repeated, blinking in shock. “But…how was it doing that?!”

“The circuitry in the chip had begun to misfire as the chip deteriorated,” a voice suddenly said from the doorway. They all looked around, seeing Vokara standing there. “It was firing off and causing Tup’s neurons to misfire, which was hurting him.”

“But the vod’ika will be okay now?” Wolffe asked worriedly, knowing much his Pup adored his little brother.

Vokara smiled. “He will be just fine,” she reassured him. “Now, are all three of you volunteering to have yours removed?”

The responses came quickly.

“Absolutely.”

“Yep.”

“Let’s do it.”

Vokara smiled and nodded. “Of course, I will be taking you in one by one, just so I can oversee and so my senior Healers can learn the procedure too.”

“There’s no risk, is there?” Bly spoke up hesitantly.

“If your chip is intact – and we’ll be doing scans before I even attempt to do the surgery – then there will be no issue,” Vokara reassured him. “I’m confident in removing it with no issue to you at all. The only time that there has to be more care taken is with a case like Tup’s, when the chip is deteriorating.”

Bly, Wolffe and Ponds looked at each other and nodded.

“Well, I’m the oldest, I’ll go first,” Ponds said, standing up.

“Technically Tup went first and he’s the youngest,” Rex spoke up, grinning at Ponds. Ponds gave him a look.

“When Master Che clears you for exercise, I’m going to chase your shebs around the training salles,” Ponds promised him darkly. “Then I’m going to remind you what real sparring is like.”

“Only if you can catch me, old boy,” Rex retorted cheekily.

“Okay, okay, you lot,” Vokara laughed as they started bickering playfully. “Let’s get this started, hmm?”

Ponds nodded and followed Vokara from the room, going to get the scan and then going straight to the operating room.

Wolffe let go of Tup as his comm beeped.

Wolffe, my son,” Plo’s voice said worriedly. “Where are you? There’s something I need to tell you.”

“If it’s about what they found in Cody’s head, I already know about it, Buir,” Wolffe reassured him, though purposefully keeping it vague, not knowing if anyone could overhear it on Plo's end. “Bly, Ponds and I are in the Halls of Healing to get ours taken out. Ponds just gone in to get it out.”

Are you sure, my son?

“Yes, Buir, I don’t want this thing in my head…what if it makes me hurt you or the pack or Echo?” Wolffe murmured, fully aware the others were watching him. “I couldn’t live with myself.”

I am coming to the Halls now so I can be with you,” Plo reassured him. “Mace and Aayla are on their way as well, since the meeting was…uh, postponed after that news.

Wolffe grinned. “Buir, you didn’t make them postpone the meeting for me, did you?”

I’m not leaving you alone, Wolffe, and besides, we can’t do much more at the moment with the information we’ve got on hand. We’ll keep it quiet and wait for Skywalker and Echo to examine the, uh, objects…and then we’ll have a meeting to discuss where to go from there.”

Wolffe just smiled warmly at the comm, even though he knew Plo couldn’t see it. He knew he was lucky to have a Jedi like Plo, a father in almost all sense of the word.

“I’ll see you soon then, Buir.”

 

It was when Ponds, Bly and Wolffe safely had their chips removed and were in the recovery room with Tup, Cody and Rex, that Anakin showed up, skidding to a stop inside the room.

“Always making an entrance,” Windu spoke up from where he was sitting beside Ponds’s bunk. Anakin stared in disbelief at the six clones in bed, all of them sitting up, but reclined back on pillows.

“He can’t help it,” Obi-Wan quipped back. “He likes to be dramatic.”

“Uh…I’m missing something here,” Anakin said slowly as he saw Aayla giggling next to Bly and he could feel the amusement radiating from Plo where he was sitting next to Wolffe.

“Oh, Skywalker is here,” Vokara said as she breezed into the room. “Did you bring your and Kenobi's medic like I asked?”

“Uh…they're coming?” Anakin said, still confused. “Kix was just doing one last round to check on our wounded before he passes it onto Puck to look after them.”

“How bad?” Obi-Wan asked gently.

“No losses, but some serious injuries,” Anakin responded, glancing at Rex, who straightened up, wanting to hear about his men. “Mostly some serious broken limbs, a couple of severe concussions and injuries from debris which will require some deep bacta treatment.”

Obi-Wan nodded, squeezing Cody’s hand and catching Anakin’s gaze. Anakin smiled softly as he saw his friend smiling at Cody, adoration in his grey blue eyes, which Cody returned.

“It’s good to see you, Cody,” Anakin said finally. “We’ve all missed you.”

“It’s good to be home,” Cody responded.

“I told Ahsoka to go see her friends first, keeping her away just as you requested, Masters,” Anakin said, looking to Windu at that in particular. “But she won’t stay away for long, not since both Cody and Rex are here.”

“As soon as your medics and Echo get here, we’ll explain,” Plo spoke up finally. “Saves us having to repeat ourselves.”

“So I can’t ask why you’re all in bunks wearing the hospital pyjamas?”

“I thought they were a fashion statement,” Bly said wryly, making Anakin roll his eyes but gaining guffaws of laughter from his brothers.

“They are pretty comfortable,” Tup added as he stretched out slightly before curling back under the soft blankets.

“You’re all weird,” Anakin just said in response, moving so he could sit in between Tup’s and Rex’s bunks.

“They’re model patients, unlike you and your old Master there,” Vokara said from where she was leaning over Bly, checking the wound and his eyes. She nodded as she stepped back, content with Bly’s vitals.

“Hey, I am a great patient,” Anakin argued before sinking back in his seat as Vokara shot a dark look in his direction.

“Who always messes with my droids,” Vokara growled.

Kix, Helix and Echo chose that moment to show up, looking uncomfortable as they became the focus of everyone in the room.

“Pup!” Wolffe greeted warmly. Echo smiled before he quickly headed over to Wolffe’s side before frowning as he noticed the gauze on Wolffe’s temple.

“Wolffe, what is this?” Echo asked worriedly. “Are you okay?”

“I’m all right, Pup, I promise,” Wolffe murmured, kissing Echo’s hand.

“Why are we here?” Kix asked, brows furrowed as he looked at the different brothers in different recovery beds.

“Because while I was scanning Cody’s brain to make sure everything was functioning normally after being dosed with spice for so long, I came across something,” Vokara explained. “I scanned Rex’s and Tup’s head and found the exact same thing, so I removed them.”

“What did you find?” Anakin asked tentatively. Vokara pulled out a glass tube from her robes, holding it up so everyone could see it. Anakin stood up to get a closer look.
“W-What is that?” he asked, though by the tone of his voice, Obi-Wan guessed Anakin already had his suspicions.

“That, young Skywalker, is a chip.”

Chapter Text

Anakin stared at the vial, eerily calm, though Obi-Wan could see the storm brewing within Anakin’s blue eyes, could feel the anger emitting from him.

“Chips,” Anakin repeated, voice eerily flat. “Slave chips?”

Vokara hesitated, sensing the rising ire from Anakin. “That is pretty much the gist of them, yes.”

“Do they explode?” Anakin asked, voice shaking for the first time. All of the clones stiffened at that question.

“No, I couldn’t find a trace of explosive,” Vokara reassured him.

“Have we figured out what they do?”

“Not yet,” Vokara admitted, looking to Obi-Wan warily, unsure of how Anakin was going to react. “I have determined, with how the circuitry is within the chip, that if an order was activated it would override the clones’ thoughts and freewill, making them comply with that order without question.”

Anakin ran a shaking hand through his hair. “Slaves,” he choked out.

“Skywalker,” Windu started to say carefully.

“THEY”D BE MINDLESS SLAVES!” Anakin exploded finally. “IT’S BAD ENOUGH THEY HAVE NO RIGHTS…BUT THIS…THIS IS SOMETHING SOME SICK, TWISTED SLEEMOS WOULD DO!”

Obi-Wan looked up, startling as the glasses and vases on the bedside tables began to tremble.

“Skywalker,” Windu said once more, this time more firmly. “You need to calm down.”

“They’re slaves, Master Windu, and these chips would see their free right to choose gone!”

“I know, Skywalker,” Windu reassured him. “This is why we’re getting rid of them.”

Anakin snarled under his breath, fists clenching by his sides.

Someone had put chips in the clones’ heads, something that would override their thoughts and freewill. The clones already had so little for their own, but they could choose to fight against orders, particularly bad ones…but this would strip this away from them!

It would be like it was on Tatooine, to be broken to bend to their Master’s will, no fighting back.

“Anakin!” Obi-Wan’s sharp voice cut through his thoughts, making him blink and look around. Obi-Wan was looking worriedly at Cody, who was pale and shaking in the bed. Kix had gone to Rex’s side, seeing that he had paled as well.

Seeing the fear in Cody’s amber eyes directed at him made the anger flee Anakin immediately, and all of the glasses and vases stopped shaking.

“Cody?” Obi-Wan asked worriedly.

“S-Sorry,” Cody whispered, looking down to the blankets. “Just…anger…I can’t…I can’t…”

“When someone was that angry it meant we were going to get hurt,” Rex spoke up, voice rough. “Cody usually copped it the worst from Tram. He got angry more often and took it out on Cody.”

“Cody, Rex, I’m so sorry,” Anakin said, eyes wide. “I just…it gets me so angry that someone would do this to you.” Anakin averted his eyes, sighing heavily. “I know what it’s like to have no freedom, to have a slave chip put into you without your will. I mean, mine would have blown me up…but yours would override your free will and-and I just -,” Anakin broke off, sighing. “I’m sorry to have gotten so angry, I didn’t mean to scare you…and I would never hurt you guys, ever.”

“We know, Anakin, we do,” Rex reassured him, glancing at Cody, who had burrowed himself into Obi-Wan’s arms. “It’s just…it was a long six months.”

Anakin sighed, looking back to Windu, who had his face calm but still the sight made Anakin wince.

“I get your anger, Skywalker, but we can’t give into it,” Windu just said calmly. “We are going to figure this out, but we need to remain calm.”

Anakin nodded. “Sorry, Master.”

“We get your anger, Skywalker,” Vokara said, patting his arm. “But stop upsetting my patients. You’re not too old for me to drag out by your ear – knight or not.”

“Yes, Master Che,” Anakin mumbled, chastised.

“So, how are we going to fix this?” Kix spoke up from where he was standing beside Rex, rubbing Rex’s shoulder comfortingly.

“Anakin,” Windu spoke up once more. “We know you have some of the best tech skills in the Temple, especially when it comes to slicing and code-writing, I mean, we’ve all dealt with those droids you’ve repurposed to annoy us.”

Anakin grinned sheepishly at that.

“So we want you and Echo to do your thing and get into the chip, so we can discover what its true purpose is,” Windu continued.

“You need to find a way to permanently deactivate it as well,” Vokara added. “We can’t do mass surgeries without alerting Dooku and whoever truly ordered the clones, so we need to find another way.”

“Dooku?” Anakin asked, confused. “What has he got to do with this?”

“Dooku was the one who hired Jango to be the clone template,” Obi-Wan explained. “Jango told Cody when he rescued him, that’s why he faked his death.”

“Jango rescued Cody?” Anakin blinked, before shaking his head. “Not important…but Dooku?! Why would he want to help the Republic?”

“There’s clearly something deeper going on here,” Windu said, “and we cannot allow them to discover that we know or it could force the mastermind behind this – who we believe to be the Sith Lord – to hurry their plans.”

“Are we going to tell the Senate?” Echo asked curiously.

“No!”

“Definitely not.”

Anakin and Windu both looked at each other, slightly surprised that they had spoken up at the same time. Windu winced suddenly, putting his hand to his head.

“Mace?” Ponds asked worriedly, leaning over in his bed so he could touch Windu’s shoulder.

“I’m all right, Ponds,” Windu reassured him. “There’s just a large shatterpoint and our decision will determine the future.”

“Well, that’s terrifying,” Wolffe muttered, pulling Echo closer to him.

“I don’t trust the Senate,” Anakin added before frowning. “I don’t trust the Chancellor, not after he’s threatened Ponds and refused to rescue Cody and Rex…we all know there’s something not quite right.”

“You think he’s been compromised?” Aayla asked, surprised, before frowning thoughtfully. “It would make sense,” she said suddenly. “So many plans that only the Chancellor knew, yet the Separatists were able to surprise us.”

“Are you saying the Chancellor told them?” Vokara asked, shocked.

“Not necessarily,” Windu sighed, “but there could be a leak in his office and if he finds out that we know about the chips, he could either force us to stop – since we all know how he views the clones now – or the news gets leaked to the ones we didn’t want it to be leaked to.”

“Dooku,” Anakin growled darkly. Windu nodded.

“Exactly.”

“So we keep it quiet then,” Helix spoke up finally, catching the others attention. “No one outside the Jedi Council, Healer Che and her senior Healers, and the clones within this room will know. We won’t tell our brothers, it will cause them to panic.”

“I need you to contact the Chief Medical Officer in each battalion though,” Vokara added. “Not to tell them exactly, but tell them to keep a watch on their brothers, looking for symptoms that Tup displayed, as it will show a chance that their chip is deteriorating and we will need to have it removed immediately.”

“We can do that,” Helix agreed, looking to Kix.

“If Anakin and Echo are going to test different methods to remove the chip, shouldn’t we get more, just in case?” Rex asked. Obi-Wan smiled sadly at him.

“You want it removed from Fives especially, don’t you?”

Rex nodded. “I just…I can’t lose him,” he said weakly.

“That’s no problem,” Vokara reassured him. “It will allow me to show Kix and Helix the procedure, in case we need to move and get these chips out immediately, it’ll be better to have more hands versed in the procedure.”

“So Ghost and Torrent Companies then?” Obi-Wan asked before looking to Ponds, Bly and Wolffe. “Perhaps the Pack as well? Bly, Ponds, any of your companies you want to take it out of immediately?”

Ponds looked to Windu, eyes meeting and conveying a small, unknown conversation, before Ponds sighed, shaking his head.

“I think that will be too suspicious at the moment,” Ponds murmured. “Especially since most of my brothers spend their time on Coruscant and mingle with the Coruscant Guard quite a lot.”

Obi-Wan nodded. “When Anakin and Echo figure out how to deactivate the chip, your brothers will be some of the first, don’t worry.”

“Bly?” Aayla asked gently.

“We’re due to go out again soon, Aayla,” Bly sighed. “We can’t have too many brothers laid up…and I don’t feel right just choosing a handful.”

“If that is how you feel,” Aayla murmured, squeezing his hand reassuringly.

“I want it out of the Pack’s heads,” Wolffe said, shaking his head. “I want to make sure Buir will be safe around us.”

Obi-Wan nodded, grey eyes thoughtful. “Okay, so we have Fives, Jesse, Hardcase, Echo, Kix, Helix, Waxer, Boil, Wooley, Crys, Boost, Sinker and Comet then?”

“I’ll wait until everyone is clear,” Kix sighed. “Should we bring Puck in on this as well?”

“Perhaps not yet,” Anakin said hesitantly, looking at Rex. “Puck is ship-bound, I doubt Puck will be on the top of the list to have his chip activated by whoever. I promise as soon as I have a way I’ll make sure his chip is deactivated.”

“I think we should still bring him in though,” Kix said, rubbing the back of his neck. “Another medic will help.”

“If you trust him, Kix, I don’t see why that would be an issue,” Windu spoke up, ending the argument.

They discussed it a bit more, discussing when to tell the other men and what excuse to give to the GAR to cover their disappearance during their recovery.

“We’ll say we’ve put them on Temple duty,” Windu shrugged. “We needed to rotate our usual guard and decided to use them, since they’re on Coruscant, also using the fact that it could help with Rex and Cody’s recovery and to help them settle back into routine.” Windu gave the two clones an apologetic look at that; Rex just smiled and nodded in return.

“We’ll call them in,” Kix said, looking to Rex and Cody. “We’re their medics, we can get away with calling them in.”

“That would be most helpful, Kix, thank you,” Vokara said, before she turned to the clones in the recovery beds. “I am happy with how you’ve all recovered after the surgery,” she told them. “So I am happy for you to go recover in your own rooms, as long as you have someone with you.”

“Cody will be with me,” Obi-Wan spoke up, smiling at his beloved.

“Wolffe and Bly can stay in my apartment,” Ponds spoke up, looking to the other two.

“I’ll keep an eye on them,” Windu added, seeing Vokara’s slight worried look. “I can do paperwork in Ponds’s apartment.”

“Tup can stay with me,” Rex said, smiling at his little brother.

“I’ll watch over them while I start studying the chip,” Anakin said. “You need someone who hasn’t had surgery to look after you, Rex.”

Rex snorted, “Usually I’m the one lookin’ after you.”

“He’s not wrong,” Windu muttered under his breath. Echo looked to Wolffe, who caught the longing gaze and smiled. He lifted Echo’s hand, kissing it gently.

“I believe you’re on that list for surgery, Pup,” Wolffe murmured. “I’m sure Skywalker can handle the chips until you’re ready.”

“Absolutely, Echo,” agreed Anakin. “Get that thing out of your head and I’ll start looking into the chips.”

“I’ll stay in the Healer’s while Echo is getting his chip out,” Wolffe said, looking to Vokara, who nodded.

“Of course.”

“I’ll keep you company, my son,” Plo spoke up fondly.

Anakin went to gather up the equipment needed to look at the chips and hurried off.

Obi-Wan helped Cody to stand, smiling at him as he did so, before he assisted him in getting dressed into clothes that Jango had given him.

“Do you want Rex and Tup to come with us?” Obi-Wan asked him quietly as he buttoned up the soft cream shirt for Cody. Cody glanced over Obi-Wan’s shoulder at Tup and Rex, seeing Rex had pulled his civilian clothes back on and had gone to stand by Tup, who had pulled his blacks back on.

“I-I just want to be with you for a little bit,” Cody murmured finally, looking back to Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan nodded in understanding.

“Mace, can you take the vials to Skywalker?” Vokara asked as Ponds finished pulling on his shirt. Windu looked around from where he was talking to Aayla and Plo and nodded.

“Of course, I’ll drop it off with Rex and Tup,” he said, smiling slightly. “Aayla, are you coming?”

“Quinlan just messaged me, he wants to talk about something,” Aayla sighed, shaking her head slightly, her blue lekku bouncing with the movement.

“Hey, no need to sound so put out, my old Padawan,” a teasing voice said from the doorway. Quinlan strutted in, grinning at them all. He paused by Rex and Tup suddenly, his cheerful expression faltering into a confused one as he looked them over.

“Vos?” Windu questioned warily.

“Quin, what is it?” Obi-Wan asked.

“You feel different,” Quinlan finally answered, reaching out touch Tup’s arm hesitantly, surprising the young trooper. “What’s happened? I don’t feel so on edge around you anymore.”

“What do you mean?” Windu asked curiously.

“I always have a weird feeling around the troopers,” Quinlan admitted. “I know I should be able to trust them, they’re all good men, but something about them made me feel on edge…but I don’t feel on edge around these guys now.”

“How curious,” Plo said thoughtfully. Quinlan looked around at the clones, still frowning.

“What’s happened?” he asked once more.

“I will explain later, Quinlan,” Aayla promised after a look from Windu. “But they need to rest.”

“But…why…” Quinlan trailed off as he caught sight of Cody standing next to Obi-Wan. “Oh,” he murmured before smiling. “Good to see you back, Cody.”

“Thank you, Vos,” Cody replied, inclining his head.

“Bly, I will come see you later,” Aayla promised, leaning in to kiss Bly’s cheek and making the clone blush deeply as he nervously looked to Quinlan, catching his raised eyebrows.

“Aay-la,” Quinlan sang as she marched over to him. “Do you have something to tell me?”

“Yes, you’re irritating,” she replied as she grabbed his arm, pulling him from the room. The others could hear his laughter in response.

“Could it be he sensed the chips?” Plo asked suddenly, catching their attention.

Obi-Wan frowned. “It’s possible,” he said thoughtfully. “His psychometry can be quite powerful sometimes, sensing things he isn’t aware of.”

“I thought it was all to do with touch,” Bly said, confused.

“Not necessarily,” Windu answered. “That’s the strongest sense for him, in order to gain the feelings or a ‘look’ so to speak into a person or event, but psychometry can be fickle at times. It is possible that he sensed the chips with his psychometry bolstered by the Force, but he just didn’t know why he felt so uneasy.”

“That’s just confusing,” Wolffe grunted as he nuzzled into Echo’s neck.

“Well, that’s just Quinlan Vos,” Obi-Wan chuckled fondly.

They all headed off after that, with Windu taking Rex and Tup to Rex’s apartment with a couple of the chips for Skywalker, with Ponds and Bly following so they could head to Ponds’s apartment afterwards. Plo stayed in the Healer’s wing with Wolffe while they waited for Echo, with Kix and Helix looking in on Echo’s procedure before they contacted Ghost, Torrent and the Pack.

 

Obi-Wan walked back to his apartment with Cody by his side, constantly glancing at his beloved as Cody looked around, as though trying to take everything in to reassure himself that this was real and that he was in the Jedi Temple, safe and sound.

The Jedi who they passed in the halls either paused momentarily, as they realised who Cody was, or they smiled as they passed, greeting them both happily.

“Here we are,” Obi-Wan announced cheerfully as they came to his apartment. “Home sweet home.”

Cody smiled weakly at him as Obi-Wan opened the door, gesturing for him to go inside. Cody stepped inside the familiar apartment, breathing in deeply and relaxing at the familiar sight and smell of the apartment. It smelt like Obi-Wan, smelt like the different teas he drank and something that was uniquely Obi-Wan’s scent.

“Cody?” Obi-Wan murmured from behind him. Cody was suddenly aware of the tears trickling down his face and scrubbed at them furiously with his hand.

“Oh, cyar’ika,” Obi-Wan murmured, gently squeezing Cody’s hand.

“Sorry,” Cody sobbed. “Gods, why am I so emotional?!”

Obi-Wan hushed him as he ushered him over to sit on the couch. Cody looked at his hands, seeing the evidence of fallen tears upon them, the moisture shining across the back of his hand.

“I never used to cry,” Cody said quietly. “I-I mean, after hard battles when emotions were running high and we were all exhausted, sure…but…not like this, not so often.”

“It’s not a bad thing to cry, Cody,” Obi-Wan murmured as he gently rubbed Cody’s back.

“We were bred to be stronger.”

Obi-Wan winced at Cody’s rough voice. He continued to rub Cody’s back, pressing against his side in reassurance.

“It’s not a matter of what you were bred to be,” Obi-Wan said carefully, thinking out of what he was going to say. “You’ve been through something that not many people can say they’ve been through, you’ve been through horrors many can scarcely imagine – and I mean both on the battlefield and what you’ve just been through,” Obi-Wan explained.

“I cried so much when Tram threatened Rex, when he hurt me,” Cody said hoarsely. “I-I should have been stronger…I-I should have…”

Obi-Wan gently murmured to him as Cody broke off, biting his lip hard.

“He broke me,” Cody breathed out brokenly a few moments later.

“Oh, my love,” Obi-Wan whispered, carefully wrapping an arm around Cody so he could draw him close. “It will be okay. I will be with you every step of the way.”

“I just…I want to be strong again, Obi.”

“My love, you are one of the strongest people I know,” Obi-Wan told him firmly, but kept his voice soft. He smiled reassuringly at Cody as he reached up to wipe away a stray tear. “And crying is good, it’s healthy,” Obi-Wan said. “It helps to release the hurt, to release the emotion and make everything new again. It washes it all away. Never be ashamed to cry, my love, I think you are all the stronger for showing your emotions.”

Cody looked at Obi-Wan, his watery amber eyes meeting Obi-Wan’s loving grey eyes, before he broke down, falling against Obi-Wan and resting his head on Obi-Wan’s shoulder. Obi-Wan wrapped both of his arms around him, one hand stroking through Cody’s hair comfortingly as he kept the other arm wrapped firmly around Cody’s waist, grounding him and reassuring him that he was there.

“It will be okay, my love,” Obi-Wan murmured in his ear. “It will be okay.”

“I-I was so scared to come back,” Cody admitted, hiccuping slightly. “I thought you wouldn’t want me, not after he…he used me.”

“Cody,” Obi-Wan whispered, horrified, hand stilling momentarily in Cody’s hair. “I would never ever leave you for that, I promise! I still love and adore you just as much as I did before you were taken – actually, I love you even more.”

“How?” Cody sobbed into his shoulder, disbelieving.

“Because I realised how easily I could lose you and I never want to lose you, my love. I couldn’t bear to lose you.”

Cody sniffled slightly at that, sitting back so he could meet Obi-Wan’s grey eyes.

“Really?” he asked weakly. Obi-Wan smiled warmly at him, moving his hand so he could grab Cody’s and squeeze it gently.

“Really,” promised Obi-Wan. “Do you remember that future we spoke of that night in my bunk?”

Cody nodded, smiling weakly. “I kept thinking of it,” he admitted quietly. “It helped me stay strong for you.”

Obi-Wan smiled at that. “Good, because it’s still going to happen. We’re going to be together, okay?”

“Okay,” Cody said, voice watery. Obi-Wan settled against the couch and opened his arms once more. Cody smiled as he shifted closer, snuggling against Obi-Wan’s chest, sighing contently as he listened to his heartbeat under his ear. Obi-Wan wrapped his arms around him, one hand coming up to play with Cody’s hair.

“If you want to cry, Cody, I’ll be here to comfort you…but never be ashamed to cry,” Obi-Wan murmured to him. “It’s healthy to cry, to get your emotions out…it was something I learnt the hard way.”

“Really?”

“I cried over my Master’s body when he died in my arms, but I never grieved properly after that,” Obi-Wan admitted, before frowning slightly as he felt Cody stiffen in his arms. “Cody?”

“Sorry,” Cody mumbled. “I-It’s just Tram made me call him ‘Master’.”

“Did Tris make Rex call him that too?”

“Yes.”

“Okay,” Obi-Wan murmured, running his hand through Cody’s hair soothingly. “I won’t use that term if I can help it, but I might slip every now and again.”

“It’s okay, really,” Cody tried to insist.

“If it makes you uncomfortable, Cody, I’m not going to use it,” Obi-Wan told him. “I want to help you recover and there will be a time where you hear that word and it won’t be so bad.”

“How do you know that?” Cody asked, though not unkindly.

“Because Anakin went through the same thing after we brought him back from Tatooine,” Obi-Wan explained. “I didn’t push him to call me that title, not until he was comfortable, but some of his teachers weren’t so lenient.”

“What did he call you then?”

“Obi-Wan,” Obi-Wan chuckled. “Though I explained to him that that title didn’t mean the same, it only meant that I was his mentor and I was only here to help lead him through life, to teach him, and that it didn’t mean that I owned him.”

“That helped?”

“It did,” Obi-Wan said softly. “It took some time, but it helped him.”

“Rex had no problems calling Vokara ‘Master Che’,” Cody mumbled. “He’s always been the stronger one though.”

“You’re strong too, Cody, don’t doubt yourself,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “Others just react differently to different things, you know this. How many brothers have you seen react differently to being on the battlefield and facing different situations?”

“A lot,” Cody mumbled, looking up at Obi-Wan, seeing him smiling at him warmly. Obi-Wan gently tapped his nose.

“So you know none of you are the same and you all react in different ways, that’s all it is,” Obi-Wan soothed him. “Rex struggles with some things now that he’s back as you will struggle as well, but you will both overcome it, I know you will.”

“What if we don’t?” Cody asked him hesitantly. “What if…what if I’m jumpy forever?”

“Then we learn to live around that,” Obi-Wan just replied calmly. “It doesn’t make you less of a being, Cody. Many beings live with PTSD and have anxieties from that, it doesn’t make them any less than what they were before. It just shows that they survived.”

Cody sighed, resting against Obi-Wan’s chest once more. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “I-I just…I’m scared.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for, my love,” Obi-Wan cooed softly. “I know it’s your anxiety talking, I’ve known and loved you long enough…but I will be here to help you through it.”

“As always,” Cody said, smiling against Obi-Wan’s chest before pressing a kiss against the tunic above his heart. Obi-Wan smiled as he felt the pressure of the kiss.

“As always,” Obi-Wan promised.

They stayed there for a while, silent and content, as Obi-Wan gently stroked Cody’s hair as Cody listened to the reassuring thump-thump of Obi-Wan’s heartbeat.

“Do you think Skywalker and Echo will be able to find a way to deactivate the chips without removing them?” Cody asked a little while later.

“I do believe they can,” Obi-Wan said confidently. “We all know how stubborn Anakin is, he won’t rest until he finds a way. You saw how he reacted when he found out what the chips did.”

“I wonder what they would make us do,” Cody said before shivering. “Vokara said they’d override our free-will, but I wonder what order would be so pressing that overriding our free-will would be the only way to achieve it?”

“I shudder to think of what that could be,” Obi-Wan said before sighing, “but I have a feeling we’re going to find out sooner rather than later.”

It fell quiet between them for a few more moments as they both imagined the horrors that could have been installed on that chip.

“So, you haven’t told me what the Council’s reaction was when you told them we were involved romantically,” Cody said a few moments later, trying to lighten to mood. Obi-Wan laughed at that.

“Mace put his head in his hands and asked ‘What is with your lineage?!’, I thought Yoda was going to beat him with his gimer stick,” Obi-Wan snorted. “Then Anakin dropped the bombshell that he was married and Plo announced that he was planning on officially adopting the Wolf Pack.”

“He is?” Cody asked quietly in awe.

“Yes, but don’t tell Wolffe and the others in case they don’t know,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I think Plo wants to tell them himself.”

Cody nodded at that.

“The Council were shocked, but they agreed that you and Rex were still alive and they weren’t going to give up searching for you, though we would have to be careful about how we went about it as not to alert the Senate,” Obi-Wan continued. “The Council decided they were going to discuss the rule of Attachment and I decided to stay away from the Temple with your brothers, who needed me more.”

“So have they come to a decision about attachments?” Cody asked softly, hopefully.

“They’ve settled on the ‘watch and see’ stage,” Obi-Wan sighed. “Especially since a few more of us have come forward with attachments, like Aayla and Bly and also Mace admitted he had an attachment with Ponds.”

Cody sat up at that, staring at Obi-Wan in shock. Obi-Wan chuckled, rubbing his thumb across Cody’s cheekbone.

“It’s true,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “He called Ponds his best friend and said he would risk everything to save him.”

“Huh,” Cody murmured as he settled back down on Obi-Wan’s chest. Obi-Wan immediately resuming stroking Cody’s hair.

“Mace has never really had close friends,” Obi-Wan explained quietly. “Yes, he gets along with most of the Council and we can be classified as friends, but if we weren’t on the Council, we wouldn’t really have pushed to gotten to know him. So many Jedi treat him with great respect and trepidation because of his position and it’s isolated him from so many. Ponds has been good for him.”

“Would you have gotten to know him if he wasn’t on the Council?”

“Maybe, it’s hard to say,” Obi-Wan sighed. “He was around during my Padawan years to support me, especially with Qui-Gon, and he pushed Qui-Gon to send me to my Trials and was furious on my behalf when Qui-Gon told the Council I was ready for my Trials, when in fact he had told Mace two weeks previous that I wasn’t, just to take on a new Padawan.”

Cody could hear the slight hurt in those words and snuggled in closer, trying to reassure him.

“Mace was there for me after Qui-Gon was killed too,” Obi-Wan continued. “He was the one who cut my Padawan braid for me because Qui-Gon…couldn’t.”

“I’m sorry, Obi,” Cody mumbled.

“Thank you, my love,” Obi-Wan said fondly. “But returning to the topic of attachment, it seems to be going well since the Council hasn’t outright rejected it; I mean, even Yoda seems positive about it. He was listing the benefits and changes it has made to Mace, Plo and myself when you called me to come and get you.”

“So we can have our happy ending, right?” Cody asked once more.

“Absolutely, Cody,” Obi-Wan promised. “Like I said, you’re stuck with me now because I will never let you go.”

Cody smiled at that warm, loving promise and sighed, relaxing against Obi-Wan. He felt warm and secure, comforted by Obi-Wan’s steady heartbeat and the feeling of his hand stroking his hair. Cody let his eyes drift shut, content.

He knew that Anakin and Echo would work on the chips and they’d find a way to save all of his brothers from the chips, then they’d work on finding who ordered them to be placed inside the clones’ brains.

The war was going to end, Cody could feel it.

Obi-Wan gave a small hum as he stroked Cody’s hair, lulling him to sleep. Cody snuggled closer, wrapping his arms around Obi-Wan to hold him close.

He was home and he was safe.

Chapter Text

Anakin growled as he prodded at his datapad, trying to decipher what the code within the chip was.

“Chip not playing nice, General?” Fives asked from where he was lazing on the couch.

All of Torrent Company had converged in Rex’s apartment once their surgeries were done and Vokara had released them from medbay. Kix was frowning over his own datapad as he sent out messages to the other CMO’s of different battalions, telling them to notify him if they noticed any of their men with certain symptoms. Jesse was curled up on the floor next to Kix, head resting on Kix’s lap as he dozed. Hardcase was lying face down on the floor in front of the couch, snoring heavily as Tup used his back as a pillow, hands folded on his stomach as he dozed.

Fives had claimed the couch, sprawled out upon as it as he watched Rex move around in the kitchen, while also keeping an eye on Echo and Anakin bent over datapads spread across the table.

“It’s in a language I don’t recognize,” Anakin growled. “Echo, have you seen this before?”

Echo shook his head, sighing. “No, and I can’t seem to locate it anywhere.”

“So, where are Ghost Company staying while they heal?” Fives questioned, deciding to distract Anakin from the fact they hit a dead end for now when it came to deciphering the chips.

“Windu found them a spare apartment,” Anakin said absently before he sighed and leaned back in his chair. “It was too much to get them to squeeze in with Cody and Obi-Wan, especially since Cody wanted some space.”

Anakin frowned at that thought, looking to Rex, who was making some snacks for them all.

“Rex,” Anakin spoke up hesitantly.

“Mm?” Rex asked, not looking up from where he was slicing roasted meat.

“Do you want me to find the rest of Torrent an empty apartment nearby?” he asked. “I didn’t see if you were comfortable with everyone staying here.”

Rex paused, looking up so he could gaze upon his brothers, most of them sprawled out and asleep. Tup opened an eye to look at Rex at that question, as Kix paused in his typing and Echo turned to look at Rex.

“I-I…” Rex broke off, shivering somewhat. He wanted his brothers close by, of course he did, but he didn’t want them to hear him screaming awake from a nightmare or see as he hid himself in the bathroom to hide his shakes and the fact that he was close to having a panic attack.

“We’ll stay in a nearby apartment,” Kix spoke up, saving Rex from answering. Kix finally looked up, meeting Rex’s gaze and giving a reassuring smile. “We don’t want to get in the way of Rex and Fives being together, but we’ll still be close by.”

Rex gave Kix a thankful smile, breathing out evenly, heart calming as he didn’t have to find an answer or an excuse to give.

“So, we can’t figure out exactly what the codes on the chips mean,” Echo started once more, “but do you have an idea of how to deactivate the chips?”

Anakin sighed heavily. “Not yet,” he muttered. “Maybe a frequency or a virus that we can emit by sound? I know it sounds odd…but there has to be a way to transmit something onto those chips to make them unable to send out their codes.”

“It’s going to take a while to find the right frequency,” Echo agreed, “and then we have to figure out if the frequency will still work when its transmitted through the skull without it being distorted.”

Anakin nodded in agreement as he finished sending off a message to Windu, requesting an apartment for Torrent Company. Windu had just sent back an affirmative and an apartment number when the door to Rex’s apartment opened.

“Rexy!” Ahsoka squealed as she darted over before skidding to a stop moments before she hugged him, hesitating. Rex just smiled sadly at her before he opened his arms, allowing the Togrutan to dart forward once more, hugging him tightly.

Rex held Ahsoka close as she buried her face against his shoulder.

“Since when are you almost taller than me, little’un?” Rex asked surprised.

“Went through two growth spurts when you weren’t here,” Ahsoka mumbled against his shoulder.

“She almost ate us out of the mess on the Resolute,” Fives teased. “We made sure our growing Togrutan sister was fed.”

“You’ve got to stop growing, kid,” Rex chuckled as he let go of Ahsoka, keeping her at arm’s length so he could look her over.

He had only seen her a couple of times since he had been back. She had tried to come and see him, but between his appointments and her lessons and deployments, there just hadn’t been time. He hadn’t had the chance to fully realise how much she had grown.

“Well, I’ve got another growth spurt to grow according to Master Ti,” Ahsoka explained. “Height wise I’ve almost finished growing, but my montrals and lekku still have more growing to do.”

“Too fast, kid, too fast,” Rex chuckled fondly.

“Rex, we were grown twice as fast as her,” Kix spoke up matter-of-factly.

“Yeah, but she’s our little Commander,” Rex retorted as he let go of Ahsoka, turning back to continue slicing the meat. “It’s different.”

“Where’s Cody?” Ahsoka asked as she leaned against the bench, watching as Rex assembled different sandwiches.

“With Obi-Wan,” Anakin responded, still frowning at the datapad in front of him. “You can see him later, but he just needs time to settle back in with Obi-Wan.”

“So what are you guys all doing here then?” she asked, head tilting as she noticed all of the clones had small patches of gauze on their right temples. “What’s with the gauze?”

“We can probably take those off soon,” Kix said thoughtfully. “The bacta will have done its job by now.”

“Skyguy?”

“Sit down, Snips,” Anakin sighed. “It’s a long story, but you cannot tell anyone outside of this room about it. If it gets out…well…”

“If it gets out, we’re all in trouble,” Fives finished, looking up at Rex as Rex carried a tray of sandwiches into the living area, setting it down on the table before he settled down to sit beside Fives.

“You all right?” Fives murmured in Rex’s ear as Anakin started explaining about how they found the chips and what they were and who they believed was responsible for putting them in the clones.

“Yeah,” Rex sighed, leaning against Fives’s side. Fives wrapped his arm around Rex’s waist, holding him close.

“You look worried when Skywalker asked if you wanted the others to stay here,” Fives said quietly, hand gently rubbing Rex’s side. “Are you okay?”

Rex nodded. “Just…I just didn’t want them to see me after a nightmare or during a panic attack,” Rex mumbled. “It’s hard enough that you see it.

Cyar’ika,” Fives murmured, shocked. Rex just stared at his hands and Fives shifted closer to press a kiss against Rex’s cheek. “Cyar’ika, I don’t think any differently of you because I see the nightmares and the panic attacks,” Fives murmured in his ear. “I love you for you, no matter what we face.”

Rayshe’a,” Rex sighed, resting his head against Fives’s. Fives smiled as Rex used his Mando’a name.

“You were there for me when I thought I was going to lose Echo at the Citadel,” Fives continued. “You put up with me freaking out and constantly asking if Echo was okay. You put up with me not moving from Echo’s bacta tank, despite the duties I had to perform, you let me get away with it. Not to mention all the time you spent with me and Echo after Rishi, just making sure we were okay and reassuring us that the nightmares we had didn’t make us weak, that nightmares were a natural thing after a horrific event or battle.”

“Okay, okay,” Rex chuckled softly, turning his head so he could meet Fives’s gaze. Fives smiled at him as Rex reached up, fingers tracing Fives’s cheekbones, drifting over his small goatee, feeling the smooth hair before his fingers caught on the rough edges where Fives had just shaved to neaten up.

“I’m here,” Fives whispered to him, taking Rex’s hand and pressing a kiss to it. “I’m here, Rex.”

Rex nodded, closing his eyes as he listened to his other brothers waking up, all chattering and laughing as they ate.

He was truly home.

 

Later that night, Fives and Rex lay in bed. Fives’s hand drifted across Rex’s chest and he gave a sad chuckle.

“I didn’t realise how much I miss that soft patch of hair you used to have here,” Fives said before sitting up and drawing Rex’s legs across his lap. Rex watched him with interest. Fives ran his hands up Rex’s pyjama pant legs, feeling Rex’s smooth calves and gently massaging the muscle there.

Rex gave a small moan at the feeling, making Fives smile fondly.

“No body hair, huh?” Fives asked quietly. Rex shook his head, relaxing as Fives continued to massage his legs.

“Never again,” Rex sighed. “Some weird oil they used stopped it from growing back; apparently it was a permanent thing.”

“Well, at least you have the legs for it,” Fives teased gently. “Everyone is jealous of your muscled legs.”

Rex snorted at that, shaking his head once again. Fives moved his hands out of the bottom of Rex’s pyjama pants, instead lying beside him once more. Rex turned on his side so he could face Fives, seeing Fives smiling warmly at him. Rex smiled back tiredly.

“So, the others are in their apartment,” Fives continued. “Well, Echo went to stay with Wolffe, but the others are nearby.”

“I’m glad,” Rex murmured as he intertwined his fingers with Fives’s. “I’m glad the Jedi are keeping you safe and are trying to figure this chip thing out.”

“I’m grateful they’re keeping you protected,” Fives said quietly, reaching up to cup Rex’s cheek in his hand. “I couldn’t bear to lose you to the GAR, to see you reconditioned for no reason.”

“They’re good people,” Rex agreed.

“When’s your next appointment with Bant?”

“Two days,” Rex yawned, eyes starting to drift close. “Gotta tell Cody about Bant…tell him she’s trustworthy.”

“We’ll tell him, don’t worry,” Fives hushed him. “Cody’s home now, he’s safe…and so are you. Everything is going to be all right, Rex’ika.”

Rex smiled tiredly, shifting closer so he could rest his head on Fives’s chest. Fives wrapped his arm around him, holding him close.

“Night, Fives,” Rex mumbled sleepily.

“G’night, Rex.”

 

Obi-Wan smiled at Cody as Cody finished eating his dinner. Cody looked up, seeing Obi-Wan smiling at him and gave a weak smile back.

“Enjoy that?” Obi-Wan asked as he took the empty plates. “Vokara warned me nothing too heavy for your stomach at the moment.”

“It was fine, Obi, really,” Cody insisted. Obi-Wan nodded as he returned to the table, sitting beside Cody once more. Cody had his head turned, looking out the window over Coruscant’s rushing traffic, watching as the sun finished sinking into the horizon.

“Cody?”

Cody blinked at Obi-Wan’s soft voice, but kept his eyes on the bustling Coruscant skies.

“I just can’t believe I’m back,” Cody said quietly. “I just…I never thought I’d see the Coruscant sky again. I forgot how crazy it was.”

A gentle hand rested on his shoulder, squeezing softly. “It will take a while to get used to again, but you’re home now.”

“I know,” Cody sighed, sinking back so he was resting against Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan gently wrapped his arms around Cody, holding him upright. Cody sighed, relaxing in Obi-Wan’s warm, reassuring hold.

Cody yawned, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

“Ready for bed, my love?” Obi-Wan asked fondly. Cody gave a small nod, shifting out of Obi-Wan’s arms so he could stand. Obi-Wan stood up behind him, offering his hand as Cody turned to face him. Cody took his hand and Obi-Wan led him towards the bedroom, flicking off the lights to the rest of the apartment as they went.

Cody couldn’t help but smile as they walked into the bedroom.

It was a familiar sight, one that held so many delightful memories. Memories of them cuddling and talking about their future, laughing and joking as they wrestled playfully upon the bed, to their more soft, intimate moments, filled with passion and love.

It still looked the same, with datapads and empty teacups on the desk under the window, a robe discarded on the end of the unmade bed.

Obi-Wan let go of Cody’s hand to go digging through his drawers, pulling out a pair of sleep pants.

“These should fit you,” Obi-Wan said. “I do need to ask the Quartermaster to get you some clothes for your own.”

Cody took the pants from Obi-Wan.

“Did you want a shirt as well?” Obi-Wan asked. Cody shook his head.

“I-I think I’ll be okay,” Cody murmured. He glanced towards the bathroom and Obi-Wan smiled in understanding.

“I’ll be out here,” Obi-Wan reassured him. Cody gave a weak smile and nodded before he headed into the bathroom to get changed.

Obi-Wan sighed as he pulled off his own robes, getting changed into his own sleep pants, which were well loved and worn; the soft material thin from so many wears and washes.
He did fell saddened by the fact that Cody wanted to get changed in the bathroom, out of sight. He understood the reason why, knowing that Cody would be body shy for a while.

Cody finally came out of the bathroom as Obi-Wan settled into the bed. Obi-Wan smiled warmly at him, which Cody returned as he slowly got into the bed next to Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan turned to face him as Cody did the same, eyes meeting.

“I’ve missed you so much,” Obi-Wan whispered, reaching up to gently stroke Cody’s cheek, fingers tracing Cody’s scar lightly. Cody closed his eyes, relishing Obi-Wan’s gentle touches.

Cody’s eyes fluttered open, resting on Obi-Wan once more, filled with warmth.

“I missed you too,” Cody murmured. “So, so much.”

Obi-Wan’s fingers drifted down Cody’s face, down his neck, to rest on his arm. Obi-Wan frowned slightly before he sat up, startling Cody.

“Obi?”

“It’s okay, Cody,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “I-I just want to look over you, can I do that?”

Cody nodded, watching Obi-Wan as Obi-Wan drew back the blankets to bare Cody.

“Tell me if you’re uncomfortable at all,” Obi-Wan murmured. Cody gave a nod. Obi-Wan settled on his knees beside Cody, smiling reassuringly at him. Obi-Wan lifted his hands, gently cupping Cody’s face, thumbs rubbing circles into his cheekbones softly. Obi-Wan let his hand drift softly, tracing Cody’s scar with one as the other went down to gently touch Cody’s soft lips.

His hands softly continued exploring, finger tips barely touching Cody’s throat as he continued down.

“Okay?” Obi-Wan checked in.

“Mmhmm,” Cody hummed, feeling relaxed by Obi-Wan’s soft, gentle, loving ministrations.

Obi-Wan’s hands drifted up Cody’s arm, spreading them slightly. He ran his hands back down the strong biceps, fingers tracing his bare, smooth underarms, which gained a small raised eyebrow.

“I thought you would have grown your body hair back by now,” Obi-Wan murmured as his hands ran down Cody’s sides, feeling each small bump of his ribs as Cody breathed in and out deeply.

“The Osirians put some sort of oil on me once they shaved me,” Cody explained quietly. “It made it so I can’t grow body hair again.”

“Ah,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I was wondering where your little trail had gone.” Obi-Wan ran a finger down Cody’s bare stomach, making him shiver at the tickling sensation. Obi-Wan shifted down to Cody’s legs, rolling the sleep pants up so he could run his hands up Cody’s calves before he shifted down to Cody’s feet, gently massaging them. Cody groaned softly as Obi-Wan’s hands pressed into the soles of his feet.

“What are you doing?” Cody asked.

“Massaging your feet?”

“I mean, besides that,” Cody explained. “Why did you want to touch me?”

Obi-Wan paused for a moment before he shifted back up so he could run his hands softly across Cody’s chest, coming to rest over Cody’s heart.

“Because I missed you,” Obi-Wan said softly. “I wanted to check you over, get reacquainted with you, with the man I adore more than anything.”

“You still want to touch me?”

“Always,” Obi-Wan whispered. “Can I kiss you?”

“Always.”

Obi-Wan smiled, leaning down to kiss Cody’s lips softly. Cody sighed into the kiss, relaxing, as his hands came up to tangle within Obi-Wan’s copper hair. Obi-Wan pulled back, a soft smile on his lips. His smile faltered as Cody suddenly let go of his head, his amber eyes going blank.

“Cody?” Obi-Wan asked gently, touching Cody’s cheek. “What is wrong, my love?”

“I can’t see how you can still want me,” Cody whispered.

“Cody –,” Obi-Wan tried to say before Cody interrupted him.

“No, Obi-Wan, w-what if I can’t be intimate again? I-I don’t know w-what will happen, I can’t get Tram out of my brain…I-I’m scared.”

“Shh,” Obi-Wan hushed him gently, pressing a kiss against Cody’s brow. “I don’t love you for your body - as gorgeous as it is - or for the sex, Cody,” Obi-Wan told him firmly. “I love you for this,” here Obi-Wan tapped his chest, just above his heart, “and for this.” Obi-Wan tapped Cody’s forehead.

“I love your beautiful heart and your sharp mind. I love your caring, funny, warm soul,” Obi-Wan smiled warmly.

“But…”

“We’ll figure it out, my love,” Obi-Wan reassured him, running his hand through Cody’s hair reassuringly. “We’ll figure out what you’re comfortable with, but not now…for now, I just want you to focus on yourself.”

Obi-Wan settled on his side next to Cody once more. Cody turned over to face him again, taking Obi-Wan’s hands in his own, breathing out and trying to calm his errant thoughts.

“Don’t feel anxious about things you can’t control, my love,” Obi-Wan murmured, squeezing Cody’s hands. “I love you, do you believe me?”

Cody looked up to search Obi-Wan’s grey eyes. He could see the adoration and pure love within those grey eyes, directed at him, and he smiled.

“Yeah, I believe you,” Cody whispered, shifting forward so he could rest his head against Obi-Wan’s chest. “I love you too.”

“In the next couple of days, a Mind Healer will be coming to talk to you,” Obi-Wan murmured. “It’s okay, Cody, it’s okay,” he reassured him as he felt Cody stiffen. “Rex has been seeing her since we got him back and it’s helped him.”

“W-What if they judge me?”

“Bant is the least judgmental person I know,” Obi-Wan soothed him. “I grew up with her, you know. She’s lovely. She was Kit Fisto’s Padawan actually.”

“You grew up with her?” Cody asked, relaxing slightly. Obi-Wan smiled, nodding.

“I did,” he chuckled. “She’s always been there for me too. She was there for me when I lost Qui-Gon, as difficult as I was for her – I refused to open up…it wasn’t until I met you that I felt comfortable opening up.”

Cody smiled, nuzzling against Obi-Wan’s chest.

“I’m sure she will tell you all about the troublesome Initiate I was,” Obi-Wan chuckled as he soothingly ran his hand up and down Cody’s back. “Rex trusts her too. He’s been opening up a bit more.”

Cody nodded at that.

“Though that does remind me,” Obi-Wan murmured suddenly. “There is someone you need to comm tomorrow…only if you’re comfortable doing so, that is.”

Cody perched up, looking at Obi-Wan curiously. “Who?”

“Tali,” Obi-Wan told him. “She was so worried about you, as was Maia, Lila and Rami.”

“You met them?” Cody asked, shocked, as he sat up properly. Obi-Wan nodded as he sat up as well.

“Maia came to the estate after someone tipped her off that we were coming,” Obi-Wan explained. “She reassured the villagers and the guards that everything was okay, and she wrote up and signed a treaty so that the Separatist’s couldn’t use this to further the war.”

Cody stared in disbelief, making Obi-Wan smile fondly.

“They were extremely worried about you when they heard…when they heard…” Obi-Wan trailed off, clearing his throat and looking away. “When I failed to get to you.”

Cody shifted forward, wrapping his arms around Obi-Wan and nuzzling into his neck.

“It wasn’t your fault,” Cody whispered into his neck. “It wasn’t your fault at all, Obi. Things were just out of our control.”

Obi-Wan swallowed harshly, wrapping his arms around Cody and burying his face into Cody’s hair.

“Tali made Rex promise to get you to comm her the moment you were safe,” Obi-Wan continued. “You seemed to have made an impression on her. She called you her brother actually.”

“She’s a good kid,” Cody murmured.

“She’s lucky to have a brother like you then,” Obi-Wan smiled in Cody’s hair.

“I didn’t even think of how the Senate would have reacted when they found out you went to a Separatist planet,” Cody said quietly.

“You have a lot on your mind,” Obi-Wan murmured back. “And, well, after Maia came up with that treaty, the Senate couldn’t really do anything...as annoyed as the Chancellor was,” he finished, subtly smug.

Cody nodded, yawning slightly against Obi-Wan’s neck.

“You’re tired, my love,” Obi-Wan said softly, gently moving them so they were lying down, with Cody snuggled upon his chest. “We’ll talk more in the morning, hmm?”

“Sounds good,” yawned Cody, wrapping his arm around Obi-Wan and snuggling in closer.

“Sleep now, my cyar’ika,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I have you now, you’re safe.”

“Love you,” Cody mumbled sleepily. Lips pressed against his head.

“I love you too, Cody.”

Cody sighed, relaxing against Obi-Wan’s warm, strong body.

Obi-Wan smiled softly as he felt Cody go lax against him, his breathing evening out. He gently ran his fingers through Cody’s hair, reassuring himself that Cody was truly there and in his arms.

He knew there was still a long way to go and he knew something elusive was out there, something dark and troublesome…but he knew they’d face it when it came.

Chapter Text

Tup lay staring up at the ceiling as he lay in bed in the apartment the Jedi had given to Torrent Company to use. Kix and Jesse had taken one of the rooms while Hardcase had claimed the couch, stating he didn’t want to wake up with a mouthful of Tup’s hair.

Tup hadn’t argued with him, happy to sleep without Hardcase snoring in his ear. He was struggling to sleep though as he stared at the ceiling, watching the shadows flicker across it caused by Coruscant’s never ending traffic and sleepless nights. He could hear Kix’s and Jesse’s muffled laughter and muffled voices coming from the room next door and sighed.

Seeing Fives reunited with Rex, Obi-Wan reunited with Cody, and then there was Wolffe and Echo, and Kix and Jesse being all cute together…it made him feel alone.

He missed that feeling, of having someone to cuddle with, to laugh with, to see the adoration and love in their eyes as they looked at you…he missed it so much.

Tup rolled onto his side, pulling his hands in to tuck under the pillow as he stared at the window, the blinds mostly shuttered, but still allowing in some of the light from outside.
He knew what he was feeling, what his heart was aching from.

He missed Jek.

Tup knew that he shouldn’t miss him, and that Jek had only been hired to get close to him…but his heart told him that Jek had been telling the truth when he told Tup that he loved him. He had seen the truth shining in his eyes, begging Tup to believe him. Tup pulled out the scarf from where he had hidden it under his pillow, gently running his hand over the soft blue material.

He truly did miss Jek, missed the laughter and how Jek always tried to show him new things, whether it was with food or with experiences, and he was never frustrated when Tup was hesitant or cautious about certain things, knowing that Tup wasn’t used to having certain freedoms. Jek was always soft and gentle with him, going slowly for Tup’s benefit, to make sure he was comfortable and felt safe.

Tup closed his eyes as he heard Kix’s muffled laughter through the walls before he sighed once more, turning onto his back again to watch the shadows dance across the ceiling. He wound the scarf around one of his hands before resting his hands on his bare stomach, feeling the softness of the material there, somewhat comforting, before he closed his eyes.

Maybe…maybe it was time to go and see Jek and properly talk about what had happened.

And maybe Tup would know if there was the slightest chance that their relationship could be rekindled.

 

Echo shivered as Wolffe nipped at his neck, wrapping his arms around Wolffe’s neck and pulling Wolffe’s strong bulk down on top of himself. Wolffe paused from where he was nipping at Echo’s neck, pulling back slightly so he could meet Echo’s slightly dazed look.

“You okay there, Pup?” Wolffe murmured, feeling the heat of Echo’s bare skin pressed against his. Echo nodded, grinning weakly at him. Wolffe chuckled as Echo thrust weakly against him and bent down once more, biting down on the skin upon Echo’s heart. Echo muffled his moan against Wolffe’s shoulder, knowing that Ponds was just in the next room- thankfully Bly had snuck off to go spend the night with Aayla, but he still didn’t want Ponds to hear or they’d never hear the end of it.

Wolffe shifted suddenly, rolling them both over so Echo was lying upon Wolffe’s chest now. Echo felt his face heating as he thought of the position they were in now.
Both were naked – with Wolffe having taken great pleasure in stripping Echo of his clothes – and were lying flush, chest against chest.

He still couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, seeing Wolffe’s grin aimed at him, his one golden eye fond and dark with lust, as he rubbed at Echo’s hips with his thumbs.

If someone had told him, before the whole Rishi moon debacle, before he had become an ARC Trooper, that he would be in a relationship with one of the most fiercest Clone Commanders, that it was an actual relationship, he would have snorted and brushed it off.

He didn’t believe then that he was anything special, that he wouldn’t catch anyone’s eye…or he’d annoy them enough with his bouts of rambling that they would leave.
Hevy liked to rib him with that fact whenever they didn’t get along, which was often. It had led to quite a few fist fights with him actually.

“What’s that big brain of yours thinking of?” Wolffe asked softly, reaching a hand up to run it through Echo’s hair. Echo blinked, focusing back on Wolffe, who was smiling at him fondly.

“Just us,” Echo admitted, causing Wolffe to raise an eyebrow.

“Oh?”

“Just thinking that if anyone had told me that I’d be in a relationship, with a Commander, well…with you actually, I would have thought they were mad,” Echo smiled sadly. “I-I never thought I’d actually meet anyone, you know…everyone always said I was too weird or by the book.”

“Who said that?” Wolffe asked, a low growl in his voice.

“One of my original squadmates: Hevy,” Echo explained quietly. “We…we didn’t get along. He was all push forward and throw himself into danger and I tried to go by my orders. We got into a fair few fights, some physical, which got us punished.”

Wolffe winced as he ran his hand through Echo’s hair again soothingly. Echo turned his head to press a kiss to Wolffe’s palm.

“Little did he know you’d become an ARC Trooper,” Wolffe chuckled before turning serious. “Just because you do your best to follow orders didn’t give him the right to make fun of you. I know you, I know you’d be willing to compromise and deviate to get the job done, but there is a limit to that, isn’t there?”

Echo nodded. “I’ll deviate from my orders to save my life and the life of others if I know a plan would get us killed, but I’m not going to disregard orders to rush headfirst into a battle when I had been ordered to do something else.”

“That’s what makes you the best kind of soldier there is, Pup,” Wolffe murmured. Echo smiled, leaning down to kiss Wolffe.

“As for no one ever loving you, he was seriously wrong on that one too,” Wolffe told Echo. “I do love you and that big brain of yours.”

“Even when I ramble?” Echo mumbled shyly.

“Especially then, Pup,” Wolffe reassured him. “Your squadmate was wrong.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I did care for him and I do miss him…but I don’t miss his teasing,” Echo said quietly. “Cutup and I always copped it the worst, though I always had Fives in my corner.”

“Cutup, huh?”

“Had a weird accent,” Echo snorted. “Have no idea where he picked that one up from.”

Wolffe ran his hands down Echo’s sides, gently pressing on the bite marks he had left on Echo’s sides the last time they had been together.

“They’re almost healed,” Echo murmured as he shivered under Wolffe’s hands. Echo gave a small snort. “Never thought I’d like being marked up so much.”

“Oh really?” Wolffe purred. “Should I mark you more then, Pup?”

“Please,” Echo breathed pleadingly. Wolffe rolled them both over again, pinning Echo under him. Echo just smiled up at him, golden-brown eyes alight.

“So where should I start first, my gorgeous Pup?” Wolffe purred lowly. “Your neck?” Here, Wolffe leaned down to nip teasingly at Echo’s exposed neck. “Maybe your chest, above your heart? Your soft belly?” Wolffe nipped each place he listed, getting down lower. He smirked as he noticed Echo’s breathing getting deeper, his pupils blown out as he watched Wolffe drift down lower.

“How about your delightful thighs?” Wolffe asked, nails raking against the soft skin of Echo’s inner thighs. Wolffe paused for a moment before he leaned in and bit softly into the skin, sucking marks into the soft skin.

He truly did love Echo’s thighs, especially when they trembled under his touch.

Echo muffled a moan behind his hand, not wanting Ponds to hear.

Wolffe pulled back once he was satisfied with the marks he had left on the inners of Echo’s thighs. He smirked as he saw how excited Echo had gotten from just his small nips and bites.

“Excited, my Pup?” Wolffe purred, hand drifting up to rub at Echo’s cock. Echo’s eyes flew open at that and he lunged up and forward, pinning Wolffe to the bed. Wolffe grinned in delight as Echo straddled him, eyes full blown with lust now. Echo grinned slyly at him as he leaned down to bite at Wolffe’s neck. Wolffe gave a low moan, eyes rolling back at the sensation before he gasped as a tight heat suddenly encased his cock. He opened his eyes, looking at Echo who was smiling coyly at him.

“Cheeky Pup,” Wolffe chuckled, running his hands up Echo’s sides. He kept a grip on Echo’s hips as Echo started to shift, a small moan escaping his lips. Echo leaned down, burying his face in Wolffe’s neck as Wolffe thrust into him.

“Gods, Wolffe,” Echo moaned into Wolffe’s neck.

“Gorgeous Pup,” Wolffe crooned into Echo’s ear.

They murmured loving words to each other, hands roaming upon the other, touching as much as the hot bare skin as they could.

They lay besides each other afterwards, once they had cleaned up, with Wolffe holding Echo close, but still leaving enough space so he could see Echo’s face. He had asked Echo about the chips once they had calmed and Echo had immediately started explaining how they found a language they had never seen before launching into a description of the circuitry and ideas of how it could be interrupted without surgery.

Wolffe just watched Echo’s face closely, smiling, as Echo rambled on. He could barely understand half of the technical and scientific terms Echo was using but he didn’t care – he just loved seeing Echo getting so into a topic.

Echo suddenly paused, looking at Wolffe sheepishly. “I was rambling, wasn’t I?” he asked quietly.

Wolffe squeezed him and smiled warmly at him. “You were, Pup, but I love it,” Wolffe reassured him. “Don’t be ashamed of it, Echo, I love hearing you speak about stuff you love, even if I don’t understand half of it…so never be ashamed of it.”

Echo smiled as he snuggled in closer to Wolffe, resting his head on his shoulder.

“Thanks, cyare.”

Wolffe smiled at Echo’s soft murmur as he gently rubbed Echo’s back. He honestly couldn’t think of a life without Echo now.

Wolffe paused at that thought, looking at the top of Echo’s head in contemplation.

He would hold onto that thought for now. It was still too soon.

Wolffe hugged Echo closer as he let his eyes slip close, smiling sleepily as he felt Echo kiss his chest.

He wouldn’t ask him now…but he would ask him soon.

 

Ponds hummed as he walked into the main area of his apartment, stretching out. He was going to get Echo and Wolffe and then they were all going to go to breakfast at Rex’s. He walked over to Wolffe’s temporary room and opened the door.

“Hey, Wolf’ika, time to…oh bloody hell!” Ponds exclaimed, shaking his head in annoyance. Wolffe and Echo were both in bed, the sheet tucked up around Echo’s waist, but it seemed Wolffe had gotten too warm during the night and had shifted the sheets off of himself, leaving himself bare to the world. Ponds had just gotten an eyeful of his shebs.

“Wolffe, cover yourself up and stop mooning me,” Ponds grumbled, crossing his arms. Wolffe just grinned sleepily from where he was looking over his shoulder as Echo snorted in laughter. Wolffe didn’t move to cover himself up, not caring that his bare ass was on display to Ponds.

Ponds had seen it all growing up anyway.

“Wolffe…wait, is that a bite mark?” Ponds suddenly giggled, spotting a freshly bruising bite mark on Wolffe’s left butt cheek.

“Echo got excited,” Wolffe answered with a shrug as he rolled over, covering himself with the sheet.

“Great, you both have oral fixations,” Ponds sighed. “Echo, you’re meant to be the sensible one.”

“He is,” Wolffe insisted before grinning. “Just not in bed.”

Ponds groaned, shaking his head as he covered his eyes, hearing Wolffe’s and Echo’s laughter.

“This is my apartment, remember,” Ponds growled.

“Ah, don’t be jealous, Pon’ika,” Wolffe said, rolling his eyes as he sat up. “I know you and your right hand have a close relationship, but it wouldn’t hurt to look elsewhere to get your rocks off, ya know? I mean, there is someone in the Temple who I’m sure you like…stern, wears Jedi robes, is bald -”

“- Get up and get dressed,” Ponds just groaned, cutting Wolffe off. “Rex has invited us for breakfast.”

“Want to share a shower, Pup?” he heard Wolffe asked.

He quickly hightailed it out of there before he heard a reply.

Ponds frowned as he leaned against the table, thinking about what Wolffe had said. He and Mace were friends that was it!

Ponds looked towards the door of Wolffe’s room, sighing. He did like Mace, well, it was more of a crush, but he knew that Mace wouldn’t feel the same way or wouldn’t want those feelings to develop into something more.

He was content just having Mace as a friend for now anyway. He didn’t really have a high sex drive like some of his brothers – namely Wolffe.

Ponds just raised an eyebrow at Wolffe and Echo as they finally emerged from Wolffe’s room, giggling together.

“You two are grossly adorable and it’s sickening,” Ponds told them, before grinning. “Honestly, Wolffe, who thought you could be all gross and cuddly?”

“Ah, you’re just jealous, ori’vod,” Wolffe grumbled.

“Still gross.”

Echo just laughed quietly to himself as the two brothers bickered and teased each other as they walked to Rex’s apartment.

 

Obi-Wan quietly crept out of bed in the morning, smiling at Cody’s sleeping, peaceful face as he pulled on one of his loose tunic shirts. He was happy to just let Cody sleep, knowing he would need to rest.

He quietly left the bedroom, closing the door partway in case Cody needed him, and headed towards the kitchen to make breakfast.

Contrary to popular belief, he did know how to cook. Sure, he couldn’t cook gourmet food, but he could cook some eggs, bacon and toast without burning it. He turned on the caf machine, knowing Cody would want some when he woke up, before he turned to get breakfast ready.

He was halfway through cooking breakfast when the door opened. He looked up and smiled as Ahsoka peered inside.

“Good Morning, Ahsoka,” Obi-Wan greeted softly.

“Good Morning, Master Obi-Wan,” Ahsoka returned, glancing around. “Where’s Cody?”

“Still asleep,” Obi-Wan said with a smile, glancing towards the bedroom, reaching out with the Force to check on Cody. He nodded, content, when he found Cody was sleeping soundly. “Oh, and, Ahsoka, please drop calling me ‘Master’ for a while,” he added. “It makes Cody, and probably Rex, uncomfortable.”

Ahsoka frowned for a moment but nodded as she settled herself down on one of the stools by the bench.

“Did they have to call their captors Master?” she questioned quietly. Obi-Wan gave a small nod.

“You’re very perceptive, Padawan,” he praised, smiling softly. “Did you want some breakfast?”

“No, thank you, Rex invited me over for breakfast but I thought I’d come see Cody first.”

Obi-Wan nodded in understanding before smiling. “Well, I believe he has just woken up,” Obi-Wan said softly before looking at Ahsoka. “Just be careful with him, hmm? Take things slowly.”

Ahsoka nodded, looking towards the bedroom door as Cody came out, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

“Good morning, love,” Obi-Wan greeted, smiling warmly at him. Cody smiled back tiredly as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

“Morning,” he yawned before he paused, seeing Ahsoka sitting there. “Hello, Ahsoka.”

Ahsoka smiled as she stood up. “Hey, Cody. It’s good to see you back.”

Cody nodded, looking to Obi-Wan once more. “It’s good to be back,” he said softly. “I-I almost didn’t believe it when I woke up this morning.”

“C-Can I hug you?” Ahsoka asked hesitantly. Cody smiled and gave a nod, opening his arms. Ahsoka immediately darted forward, wrapping her arms around Cody’s chest. Cody wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly back.

“Missed you,” Ahsoka mumbled into his shoulder. “Obi-Wan was so upset and we were so worried about you.”

“I missed you too, ‘Soka,” Cody smiled fondly. “I missed seeing you and Rex spar and seeing you throw Rex on his shebs.”

Ahsoka giggled at that as she let Cody go.

“I just came to see how you were and tell you I missed you,” Ahsoka said, glancing at Obi-Wan, “and that I’ll be around if you ever need to talk or want a sparring partner.”

“Well, I do have more to teach you so you can continue wiping the mats with Rex,” Cody teased lightly. “But thank you, ‘Soka.”

“Well, I’m going to have breakfast with the boys,” she chirped. “Do you have much planned for today?”

“We need to get Cody some clothes but other than that,” Obi-Wan shrugged. “It’s up to him.”

Cody smiled weakly at Obi-Wan as Ahsoka hugged him once more before she flittered from the apartment.

“She’s sweet,” Obi-Wan chuckled. “She definitely does not get that from Anakin.”

Cody chuckled as he leaned against the bench, watching as Obi-Wan cooked.

“No, she definitely doesn’t,” he agreed. “Need a hand?”

“If you want to set the table, I won’t argue with that,” Obi-Wan said. “I’ve almost finished cooking here.”

Cody nodded, making his way around the apartment with ease to grab the necessary cutlery. He paused as he set the table, smiling to himself.

He hadn’t forgotten where everything was in Obi-Wan’s apartment.

“There’s also caf here too,” Obi-Wan’s voice broke through his thoughts.

“I’m okay,” Cody said, gaining a startled look from Obi-Wan.

“My Cody, the one who can’t function without a cup of caf in the morning, is refusing his precious nectar of life?” Obi-Wan gasped theatrically, making Cody laugh softly. Cody had called it that once after a sleepless few days and Obi-Wan had never let it go.

“It’s not something they gave me on Osiris,” Cody admitted as Obi-Wan carried their plates over, settling down in front of him. Obi-Wan pretended he didn’t see the slight flinch Cody gave as Obi-Wan’s arm reached across him, though inwardly it hurt him to see.

“I guess I got used to not having it after seventh months,” Cody finished. Obi-Wan slowly reached out, making sure Cody saw his movements and gently took Cody’s hand, squeezing it reassuringly.

“Well, if you don’t want caf, would you like some juice?” he asked, gaining a small smile and a nod from Cody. Obi-Wan quickly got up to pour them both some juice – his tea could wait – before he came back over. Cody took the juice from him gratefully.

They both ate in comfortable silence, with Cody glancing out the window at Coruscant, watching the morning traffic zoom around the skies.

“Enjoying the view, my darling?” Obi-Wan’s voice asked gently and Cody nodded. The rising sun was shining off the different buildings, the glare of it almost making the buildings invisible, while the sky’s colour changed from a purple-pink colour to a pink-orange colour.

“Did you want to do anything today, Cody?” Obi-Wan asked. “We could see your brothers or we could stay here or go for a walk around the Temple? We do need to see the Quartermaster today though.”

Cody nodded. “Quartermaster and then seeing my brothers?” Cody asked, looking to Obi-Wan, who smiled and nodded.

“That’s perfect, my love.”

“But before we go,” Cody started slowly. “I-I think I want to call Tali myself to tell her I’m okay.”

“Of course, Cody,” Obi-Wan said, nodding. “Why don’t you have a nice, relaxing shower and get dressed while I tidy up and get the comm ready?”

“I can help clean up,” Cody started before Obi-Wan shook his head, smiling.

“It’s fine, my darling, go on now.”

Cody smiled weakly at him before he got up and headed to the bathroom.

By the time he had come back out again, Obi-Wan had cleaned up and had gotten dressed for the day and was setting up the comm on the table when Cody walked back in.

“Everything is ready, cyar’ika,” Obi-Wan told Cody as Cody came to sit down. “Would you like me to leave?”

Cody shook his head, taking Obi-Wan’s hand. “Stay, please.”

Obi-Wan nodded. “I’ll just be making some tea then if you need me.”

Cody nodded, taking in a breath before he activated the comm. It chimed for a moment before it activated, a blue holo forming. Cody smiled as he recognized the figure.

“Tali,” he greeted softly.

Cody!” came the excited reply. “You’re okay! We were so worried about you! Are you okay now? Are you back with your Jedi and Rex and your brothers?

Cody went to answer when four new figures suddenly appeared in the holo. “Did I hear you say Cody?” Maia asked before she gasped. “Oh, it is! Cody, are you okay?

“I’m okay,” he reassured them, smiling at them all. “I was rescued and I’m back with my brothers and the Jedi now.”

And Tram?” Maia asked gently.

“Dead,” Cody informed them. “My rescuer killed him in order to save me. I’m not sure what Tatooine natives do to dead bodies, but I’m pretty sure he’s gone.”

Good,” Darl said with a firm nod. “Hope they left him out to be eaten by a krayt dragon. Are you eating, honey? You’re looking a bit skinnier.

Cody glanced up at Obi-Wan, seeing him leaning against the bench, cup of tea in hand as he smiled.

“My Jedi is making sure I eat,” Cody reassured them. “Apparently Rex’s baking skills have gotten quite well known within the Jedi Temple and between our brothers, Darl.”

Darl laughed softly. “He is a good boy, very talented.

Yeah, Echo said Rex had been baking,” Rami piped up suddenly, causing the others to look at him in surprise.

You never told us that,” Lila said gently. Rami gave a small shrug in reply.

We’ve only messaged each other a few times,” Rami said quietly. “I like him.

“He is a good man,” Cody smiled.

Maia turned her attention back to Cody. “Are you truly okay, sweet-heart?” she asked gently.

“I don’t know,” Cody admitted before looking back to Obi-Wan, “but I think I will be.”

Well, if you ever need to get away, you’re always welcome in our home, sweet-heart, though…though I understand if you never want to step foot on Osiris again,” Maia said gently.

But…” Tali said, eyes wide. “But we’re going to see you again, right, Cody?

“I’m going to be in the Jedi Temple for a while, Tali,” Cody explained gently. “There’s a chance that the GAR might try to take me to have me reconditioned or decommissioned, so the Jedi are keeping me safe. I don’t think I’ll get back to Osiris any time soon…but we’ll see each other again, vod’ika, I promise.”

Okay,” Tali said quietly. They spoke for a bit more and when Obi-Wan saw Cody starting to look uncomfortable, he quickly ducked in.

“Sorry to interrupt,” he said, smiling warmly at them, “but Cody has an appointment with the Healers.”

Oh, of course, Obi-Wan,” Maia said before looking back at Cody. “If you ever need to talk, sweet-heart, never hesitate to call.

“Thank you, Maia,” Cody said before hesitating. “I really appreciate you all for being there for Rex and myself. You made things a little more bearable and made us feel safe.”

I only wish we could have gotten you rescued a lot sooner, Cody,” Maia said before she gave a sly smile. “Oh, and I thought you’d want to know that Urit is no longer Mayor. Isidali is quite upset with that, losing all that wealth and jewels.

Cody smirked slightly. “Thank you, Maia.”

They said their goodbyes and cut the call. Obi-Wan squeezed Cody’s shoulder as Cody leaned back in the chair, trembling somewhat.

“Perhaps calling wasn’t such a good idea,” Obi-Wan murmured, feeling Cody’s trembling.

“No, I needed to do it,” Cody whispered. “I needed to do it.”

Obi-Wan nodded, gently squeezing Cody’s shoulder once more before he crouched beside him.

“I’m proud of you, my love,” Obi-Wan told him sincerely. “You’ve been so strong, so brave.”

“I don’t feel it,” Cody murmured. Obi-Wan smiled sadly as he took Cody’s hand. He frowned as the door chimed and sighed as he stood up to answer it.

“Feemor,” Obi-Wan greeted. Cody looked up at that. He had never heard that name before.

“Obi-Wan, I was wondering where you were,” a male voice said. “You didn’t show up for breakfast like we had planned.”

Cody frowned at that, his eyes widening as a male Jedi walked into the room, pausing as he caught sight of Cody. Cody stared back, taking in the white streaked blond hair and the light blue eyes.

He had never met or even heard of this Jedi before! Had…had Obi-Wan been moving on from him?

Cody felt his stomach twist anxiously as that thought crossed his mind. Obi-Wan had told him he loved him…he wouldn’t have lied about that would he?

“Feemor, this is Cody,” Obi-Wan introduced, though he frowned as he felt anxiety coming from Cody. “Cody, this is Feemor, my brother-Padawan.”

Cody froze at that, blinking. “What?”

Immediately understanding crossed Obi-Wan’s face and he crossed the room, crouching beside Cody. “Oh, darling,” Obi-Wan murmured sadly, gently stroking Cody’s face. “Feemor was Qui-Gon’s first Padawan.”

“You never spoke about him before,” Cody said quietly. Obi-Wan looked to Feemor and Feemor’s heart broke at the sadness in Obi-Wan’s eyes.

“I stayed away,” Feemor started to explain. “When Qui-Gon’s second Padawan, Xanatos, turned to the Dark Side, he refuted all of his Padawans – meaning Xanatos and myself.”
Cody looked up, meeting Feemor’s eyes once more and Feemor winced at the almost empty amber eyes.

“I hid myself away, joined the exploration and archival team to get away from the Temple, I was so hurt by Qui-Gon’s decision, that he just pushed me away and refused to speak to me again,” Feemor continued. “Then I heard he took a new Padawan, Obi-Wan, and I knew he was over me, that I meant nothing to him, so I stayed away.” Feemor sighed heavily. “I recently found out what a huge mistake that was, how much my brother needed me, needed support.”

“Rex found out about my early Padawan years,” Obi-Wan took over, “and decided to dig up Feemor from the Archival levels to help me because I was struggling so much without you, worrying about you.”

Cody blinked, looking at Obi-Wan.

“You’re the only I love, Cody, I promise you that,” Obi-Wan whispered.

“He struggled a lot with you being out there,” Feemor confirmed. “I just came to make sure he ate and left his room, made sure he took breaks from spending hours poring over datapads trying to find you.”

Cody smiled weakly before giving a small sob.

How could he have doubted Obi-Wan, his cyar’ika?

“I’ll leave you two be,” Feemor’s voice said softly. “I am glad you’re back, Cody, my brother truly loves you and I’m glad he’s found someone.”

Obi-Wan stood up, pulling Cody into his arms and holding him close.

“Oh, my love,” he murmured.

“I’m sorry!” Cody sobbed, clinging onto Obi-Wan’s robes tightly. “I-I know you love me but-but…” Cody broke off.

“It’s okay, my love,” Obi-Wan soothed. “It was your anxiety talking, I know, Cody, I know.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Cody whispered into Obi-Wan’s shoulder.

“Cody, my love, it’s okay,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “I promise, it’s all right.”

Obi-Wan detached Cody from him so he could wipe away Cody’s tears.

“Look at me, my darling,” Obi-Wan said, smiling when Cody’s amber eyes did meet his. “I love you and only you, but I know after everything trust is going to be hard and your anxiety will be surfacing a lot more – but we will get through it together, like we always do, right?”

Cody smiled weakly, giving a small sniffle. “Right,” he agreed, before he shifted closer, resting his head against Obi-Wan’s once more. “I love you, Ob’ika,” Cody murmured. “I-I just…it doesn’t feel real sometimes, that someone as amazing you actually loves me.”

“Oh, Cody.”

“I love you, cyar’ika.”

“I love you too, dearest,” Obi-Wan replied before pulling back. Cody smiled weakly at him once more before he scrubbed at his face, wiping away the traces of tears. “Now, why don’t we sit down for a while before we go to the Quartermasters, hmm?”

Cody nodded in agreement and they sat down, Cody immediately curling into Obi-Wan’s side. Obi-Wan wrapped his arm around him and pulled him close, murmuring loving words in his ears.

Cody calmed his breathing, feeling reassured in Obi-Wan’s arms.

He knew that out of everything in the Galaxy, Obi-Wan’s love was something he never needed to doubt.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan pulled away once Cody had calmed, smiling warmly at him.

“Are you ready to go, my dear?” he asked gently. Cody nodded and stood up, stretching as Obi-Wan stood as well. Cody went to head towards the door but Obi-Wan paused, frowning slightly.

“Where are your shoes, love?” Obi-Wan asked gently, though Cody froze anyway, looking at his bare feet.

“Oh, right,” Cody murmured, quickly heading back into the bedroom and pulling on the shoes that Jango had given him. Obi-Wan was looking worriedly at him as he emerged from the bedroom. Cody rubbed the back of his neck, unsure.

“I never got to wear shoes unless we were going out…and even then we didn’t always get shoes,” Cody admitted quietly. Obi-Wan stepped up to take Cody’s hand.

“We’ll get you some nice soft shoes to wear around the Temple,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “You don’t need these boots,” he tried to joke, lifting his own leg slightly to show off his calve hugging brown leather boots.

Cody gave a fond smile. “I like your boots,” he said, looking up to meet Obi-Wan’s gaze. “They make your legs look fantastic.”

Obi-Wan blushed and gently swatted Cody’s arm.

“Flatterer,” he teased. Cody smiled at that, pulling Obi-Wan in to hug him closely. Obi-Wan breathed out as he wrapped his arms around Cody, holding him close.

“Thank you,” Cody murmured in his ear.

"For what, dear one?”

“Just being you.”

“Oh, my love,” Obi-Wan sighed, nuzzling into Cody’s neck. Cody pressed a kiss against Obi-Wan’s temple.

“I just didn’t know how people were going to treat me after I came back,” Cody continued quietly. “I thought they’d tip-toe around me as though I would break, but you haven’t done that. You’re more careful with your movements when it comes to touching me, but you’re still touching me…and I’m grateful.”

“Oh, Cody,” Obi-Wan whispered, pulling back so he could put his hand on Cody’s cheek gently. Cody leaned his head into Obi-Wan’s hand, amber eyes meeting grey.

“You’re not made of glass, darling, you’re not going to break,” Obi-Wan told him gently. “You’re hurt and it will take time to recover, but treating you like you’re going to shatter isn’t going to help you.”

Cody shifted forward so he could rest his forehead against Obi-Wan’s, breathing in deeply and contently.

Obi-Wan and Cody left their apartment after that, heading towards the Quartermaster’s. They walked close together, hands brushing against one another’s as they walked down the hallways, being greeted by passing Jedi. Obi-Wan glanced at Cody, seeing he was examining the halls they walked down, taking in the large atriums they passed through.

“Everything okay, Cody?” Obi-Wan asked. Cody nodded, still looking around.

“Yes, just never got the time to really study the Temple before,” Cody admitted. Obi-Wan nodded as he looked up at the high roof of the atrium they walked through, seeing the carvings on the beams from their Jedi Ancestors.

“It is quite beautiful,” Obi-Wan agreed as they walked into another hallway. They finally stopped outside of a door and Obi-Wan opened it, stepping inside and smiling reassuringly at Cody over his shoulder as Cody followed closely.

“Master Skimble?” Obi-Wan called out as they approached a desk. An older Jedi walked out of a side room, dark brown eyes narrowing as he caught sight of Obi-Wan standing there. Cody examined him, taking in the ginger hair peppered with grey, and the deep laugh lines around the sharp eyes.

“You didn’t lose another robe again, did you, Obi-Wan?” Skimble asked him sternly. “I’m about ready to make you patch up your own robes!”

Obi-Wan held up his hands and shook his head sheepishly.

“No, Master Skimble, my robes are all fine, I promise,” Obi-Wan said quickly, hearing Cody snort quietly behind him. Cody had, more often than not, picked up his discarded robes on the battlefield to give back to him later.

“I’m actually here because Cody needs some clothes,” Obi-Wan continued. Skimble turned his brown eyes to Cody and smiled.

“Ah, another one of our beloved troopers,” Skimble chuckled before sighing. “I’m afraid I don’t have anything that would classify as civilian left to fit him. I’ve already given out the clothes to the other two clones who are staying in the Temple and also lost a few good clothing items when I dispensed them for undercover missions.”

“Is there anything that could fit him?” Obi-Wan asked, glancing at Cody who was fidgeting nervously. Obi-Wan placed his hand on Cody’s back, smiling reassuringly at him. “Oh, and also some sturdy but soft shoes for Temple wear as well?”

“Shoes are no issue at all,” Skimble reassured them, looking at Cody’s feet for a moment in consideration before nodding and turning to go digging in a box. He pulled out a couple of pairs of shoes, examining them for a moment before he nodded to himself once more, content.

“So, we have these slip on shoes,” Skimble explained as he set them down. “This pair is fully covered, made with soft, breathable material on top with a sturdy base.”

Cody looked at the covered shoes. They looked rather nice, just plain black with a silver trim and white base.

“Try them on,” Skimble encouraged him, smiling. Cody sat down on a nearby chair, slipping off the shoes Jango had given him and pulling on the new shoes. They fit snugly around his ankles, ensuring his feet wouldn’t slip out when he walked, and the shoes felt comfortable around his feet.

“What do you think?” Obi-Wan asked as he gently stroked the back of Cody’s neck.

“T-They really comfortable, thank you,” Cody said almost shyly, looking up at Skimble, who smiled broadly at him.

“Now, I also have these sandals as well,” Skimble continued, tapping the black synthleather shoes on the table. “Open toed, but they’d be good for just around the apartment or walking around the Room of A Thousand Fountains.”

“T-This is too much,” Cody murmured.

“Nonsense, dear boy,” Skimble hushed him. “You need a few pairs of shoes to have…and it’s no trouble of all providing clothes and shoes to the men who keep our Jedi out of trouble, especially this one,” Skimble added with a sly grin, nodding at Obi-Wan. “I also hear you’re the one to thank for stopping Obi-Wan losing so many robes.”

Cody ducked his head at the praise and Skimble exchanged a sad smile with Obi-Wan.

“Now, as for clothes,” Skimble said suddenly, turning back around and disappearing into a neighbouring room.

“They’re nice shoes,” Obi-Wan said softly as he continued to stroke the back of Cody’s neck, feeling the short bristly hairs there. “And you deserve them too, cyare,” he added, seeing the look on Cody’s face. “They’ll be nicer to walk around the Temple with instead of these clunky boots, but hang on to the boots as well. They might come in handy.”

“Here we are,” Skimble said, coming out with an armful of clothes. “Now, I don’t have any civilian clothes, but I do have a lot of under tunics, which could serve as a shirt for you,” Skimble explained, holding on up. Cody recognized the under tunic, having seen Obi-Wan wear just that after he had taken off his outer robes or just to wander around his apartment in.

“Nice and loose, but fully covers everything,” Skimble continued as he lay down the shirt. “Now, pants wise, I do only have the flowy Jedi pants like Obi-Wan here wears, though he tends to get them more form fitting.”

Cody glanced down at Obi-Wan’s legs, smiling somewhat at Obi-Wan’s splutter.

“Though I only have one in a dark colour, the others are white which I don’t think will suit you,” Skimble continued.

“I can get some blacks to wear,” Cody said with a shrug. “They’re the clothes that the GAR gives us,” he added, seeing Skimble’s confused look.

“I know you’re used to them,” Skimble said slowly, carefully, “but perhaps not the best to walk around the Temple in?”

“I’ll talk to Boil and see if he can wrangle you some,” Obi-Wan told Cody, “but I’m also going to contact Senator Amidala and ask if she could find you and Rex some clothes as well.”

“But…but…I don’t want to be a bother,” Cody said finally, looking away.

“You’re not, dear one,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “Padme will love to go shopping to get you some clothes, ask Tup how much she enjoyed towing him around different stores to buy him different outfits,” Obi-Wan finished with a chuckle. Cody smiled weakly as Skimble folded up the single pair of dark pants and a few of the under tunics. He placed the sandals on top of the pile before he walked over and handed it over to Obi-Wan, who took it while smiling thankfully at him.

“Thank you, Skimble,” Obi-Wan said, glancing at Cody. “I am most grateful for this.”

Skimble waved away his thanks, smiling.

“Anything to help these brave boys,” Skimble said, gently laying a hand on Cody’s head. Cody looked up, seeing Skimble’s warm smile aimed at him and gave a weak smile in return. Skimble patted his head once more before he shuffled off.

“Come on, my love,” Obi-Wan said softly. Cody stood up, wearing his new shoes, as he lifted up his old boots. “We’ll go put these back in the apartment and then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do for the rest of the day.”

Cody nodded in agreement and they headed back to the apartment.

They made it back to the apartment to find Rex and Fives standing outside of the door, both of them leaning against the wall as they chatted to one another.

“Rex, Fives,” Cody greeted, smiling. Rex handed off a plate to Fives before he stepped forward, pulling Cody into a tight hug. Cody hugged him back, resting his head against Rex’s shoulder.

“How are you, ori’vod?” Rex murmured in Cody’s ear.

“Still in disbelief,” Cody admitted quietly. “I-I can’t believe it’s over.” Rex nodded in understanding as he stepped back, smiling reassuringly at Cody.

“It gets easier,” Rex reassured him softly. “It takes little while, but it gets easier to believe.”

“Shall we step inside, gentlemen?” Obi-Wan asked, eyebrow raised as he smiled at them. The other three nodded and Obi-Wan opened the door, stepping inside. He went to place Cody’s new clothes and shoes in the bedroom before he returned, seeing Fives had set the plate on the bench in the kitchen.

“You two were out early,” Rex said as he sat down on the couch next to Cody.

“We went to the Quartermaster’s,” Cody explained with a small shrug. “I needed clothes.”

“Ah, I went to see him when I first got here too,” Rex said with a small smile. “Odd fellow.”

“Speaking of clothes,” Obi-Wan said thoughtfully as he reached for his comm. “I need to contact Padme.”

Cody sighed, giving a nod in agreement, before leaning back.

It would be nice to have clothes other than what the Jedi wore, though he still felt like wasn’t worth the trouble.

Obi-Wan gave him a look, as though he knew what Cody was thinking, before turning his attention back to the comm.

Hello?

“Padme, it’s Obi-Wan.”

Oh, Obi-Wan, how are you?” Padme’s voice asked. “Anakin told me you found Cody! I’m so happy for you! How is he? Is he okay?

Rex grinned fondly as he looked to Cody’s at Padme’s rapid fire, concerned questions. Cody was looking surprised as he stared at Obi-Wan.

“I’m fine and Cody…” Obi-Wan paused for a moment, meeting Cody’s eyes and giving a small smile. “Cody is being so strong and doing well.”

Rex gently nudged Cody at that, smiling proudly at him. Cody just looked away, a lump in his throat.

“Actually, I was wondering if I could ask you for a favour?”

Anything, Obi-Wan.

“Cody is staying in the Temple, along with Rex and Ponds, for the time being and we did go to the Quartermasters this morning, but unfortunately he did not have many clothes in Cody’s size,” Obi-Wan began to explain. He didn’t get the chance to finish before Padme quickly responded.

Oh, I’ll be happy to get him some clothes!” Padme said quickly and rather enthusiastically, making Cody pale slightly. “What sort of clothes were you thinking?

“Comfortable but functional,” Obi-Wan responded. “Cody, dearest, any preferences in colour or style?”

“Not really,” Cody said slowly. “Just pants and different shirts would be nice.”

Obi-Wan smiled. “I’ll leave the colour and styles up to your expertise, Padme, but don’t go over the top,” he begged. “This is just for Temple wear.”

I won’t,” Padme promised. “I’ve got a few different styles in mind that I think he’ll like and feel comfortable in.

“Let me know how I can repay you,” Obi-Wan said.

Don’t be ridiculous, Kenobi,” Padme said firmly. “It’s my pleasure to buy some clothes for Cody – Stars know they all deserve to have everyday clothes to wear.

“Thank you, Padme, I am truly grateful.”

Look after him, Obi-Wan,” Padme said softly in reply. “I’ll drop off the clothes tomorrow.

They said their goodbyes and Obi-Wan tucked his commlink away, smiling warmly at Cody. Obi-Wan settled on the couch on Cody’s free side and Cody immediately leaned into his arms. Rex smiled encouragingly at Obi-Wan over Cody’s head as Obi-Wan lifted his hand to gently stroke at Cody’s hair, his fingers tracing over his surgery site.

Thanks to Vokara using the bacta quickly and with some Force healing, the clones had all been left without scars, or in the case there was a trace of them, they looked like old, very faded scars that were near impossible to see.

Obi-Wan could tell though, he could feel a slightly difference in the feel of Cody’s skin.

“Hey, Codes,” Rex said suddenly, meeting Obi-Wan’s gaze. “Have you gotten an appointment with the Mind Healer yet?”

Cody shook his head, hesitating.

“Don’t feel ashamed, ori’vod,” Rex soothed, knowing exactly what Cody was thinking. “Bant is really great, she doesn’t push you to speak and she won’t force you to speak about things that you uncomfortable.”

Cody gave a small nod, eyes fixed on his hands. “I-I’ll give it a go.”

Rex smiled at Obi-Wan in relief. Obi-Wan nodded at him thankfully.

“I hear you’ve been keeping busy, vod’ika,” Cody said suddenly, looking up and meeting Rex’s eyes.

“Oh?” Rex asked in confusion.

“I met Obi-Wan’s brother-Padawan this morning,” Cody explained. “Apparently you have been meddling again, little brother.”

Rex gave a sheepish grin. “Obi-Wan needed someone and I know having brothers by your side helps,” Rex said quietly, glancing at Fives, who smiled reassuringly at him. “When I got back on the Resolute after Osiris, I found out a new medic had transferred into the 501st,” Rex explained, voice quiet. “It was my last batchmate; Puck.”

Cody blinked. “I’m sorry? What?”

“Puck heard about us,” Rex said. “The 501st were involved in a battle that required them to go to the medstation where Puck was stationed. H-He heard what was happening to us and transferred to the 501st to be there for my brothers until I was rescued.”

“Huh,” Cody murmured, leaning back into Obi-Wan’s hug.

“And Feemor is a good guy,” Rex said. “He’s been making sure your cyare eats and leaves his room so Windu doesn’t have to drag him out.”

Cody nodded.

“So, want to go make Torrent and Ghost run around the training salles and bark orders at them?” Rex asked, grinning. Cody gave a small snort.

“Jesse and Boil have headed back to the barracks to check on the others and give orders to the heads of squads, but everyone else is here,” Fives said. “Echo is holed up with Skywalker in Rex’s apartment, trying to hack into the chip.”

“I think that sounds like a plan,” Obi-Wan said, smiling. “What do you think, dearest?”

Cody nodded, though he wasn’t sure about the whole ‘barking orders’ thing. He didn’t feel like he could do that anymore.

He didn’t feel like a Commander anymore.

“Do you think Vokara would be angry if we run around?” Cody asked hesitantly.

“As long as you don’t overdo it, I think she’ll be happy to see you up and about with your brothers,” Obi-Wan reassured him. Cody nodded, smiling.

“It’ll be good to run around with them.”

“Then let’s go, dear one.”

 

Windu growled under his breath as he received the message from the Chancellor. The Chancellor was pushing for the Jedi to deal with different situations, as though he was baiting them to act.

Well, if he wanted them to act, then the Jedi would act.

Windu glanced at his datapad, where he had written up a rough draft of a motion to the Senate on behalf of the Jedi and clone troopers. He would need help to fine tune it though, to strengthen his argument so that Senate couldn’t take the troopers away from them.

He couldn’t bear to lose them.

Windu frowned thoughtfully. He knew Skywalker was married to a Senator, who was the most headstrong, stubborn Senator that he knew and that Kenobi was friends with another Senator.

Perhaps they would be willing to help him write up a proposal to present to the Senate.

 

Ponds hummed as he checked over his datapad, looking at the new videos sent. He frowned as one suddenly popped on his screen, the title gaining his attention. Ponds opened the message, glancing at the thumbnail of the video momentarily, seeing two smiling and laughing vode before he noticed the message from the brother who sent it.

Ponds’s golden eyes widened and he quickly scrambled for his comm.

“Monnk!” Ponds barked into the comm as soon as it was answered. “You need to get to Trigger now!”

He could hear Monnk, Fisto’s Commander, darting through the halls of the ship he was on, yelling for brothers to get out of his way. Ponds eyes drifted over to the datapad again, reading the message once more.

 

This video is of my riduur, Aurora, named for the bright lights in the sky. He was the light in my life.

This video was taken before our last battle when Aurora was killed and died in my arms.

I wanted you to see this video, to share it, to show the Republic of the unnecessary loss of life…that this war is taking away the ones we love…and we already have so little in our life to make us happy.

Tell Monnk and General Fisto I’m sorry. I know they’ll be there for me. Fisto came to me as soon as the battle was done and he had heard about Aurora…but I just can’t do it.

I can’t live without him, I’m going to go join my riduur.

 

Ponds looked back to the comm at a gasp and a curse.

“Monnk?” Ponds questioned quietly, already knowing the answer.

He’s gone,” Monnk responded, voice breaking. “Other brothers heard the blaster shot…he’s gone.

“I’m sorry, Monnk,” Ponds whispered.

How did you know, Ponds?

“He sent me a video and a message,” Ponds explained quietly.

Oh, Force, no!” Ponds winced at Kit’s shattered voice. “Oh, dear Trigger.

He wanted to join Aurora, boss,” Monnk’s voice said quietly. “Ponds, thanks for trying to warn us…but Trigger had made up his mind.

“I’m sorry,” Ponds said once more. “H-He wrote in his message to tell you and General Fisto he was sorry and that he knew you were there for him, but he just couldn’t live without Aurora.”

Thank you, Ponds.

Ponds leaned back as he disconnected the comm. He leaned forward, burying his face into his hands.

He couldn’t help the small sobs that broke free.

It always hurt to lose a brother, more so in a situation like this, knowing that a brother felt so heartbroken that he just couldn’t live anymore.

A hand rested on his shoulder.

“Ponds?” Windu’s voice asked gently. “What has happened?”

Ponds pulled his face out his hands as he scrubbed at his face. He took in a shaky breath as he looked around the Room of a Thousand Fountains. Ponds couldn’t find the words so he just handed the datapad to Windu, who took it.

“Oh,” Windu murmured a few moments later. Ponds nodded in agreement.

“We were too late,” Ponds said hoarsely. “We didn’t get to him in time.”

A heavy hand rested on Ponds’s shoulder comfortingly. “I am sorry, Ponds.”

“How do you think the Republic will act if we show them this video?” Ponds asked quietly. “What will the GAR do if they realise we’re in relationships with each other?”

“You may look similar but you are different to one another, Ponds,” Windu answered quietly. “I wish I could show the Republic how we see you, how different you all shine in the Force.”

Ponds looked at the datapad, seeing the two laughing faces in the thumbnail, seeing the adoration in their eyes as they looked at one another.

“Can I play the video?” Windu asked. Ponds nodded. He watched as Windu played the video.

 

A grinning face appeared in the screen. Trigger looked like a vod with the sharp cheekbones and golden eyes, but the lip piercing and blond tipped hair set him apart.

“Okay, so here we are,” Trigger sang, grinning. “We’re on our way to…wait, where are we off to this time, Aurora?”

Another face appeared in the screen as Trigger collapsed onto a bunk. Aurora had bright hair, dyed in greens, blues and purples, his dark green eyes sparkling fondly as Trigger snuggled in close.

“I believe we’re off to another small planet which requires our help,” Aurora answered. Trigger rolled over so he could press a kiss against Aurora’s star tattooed cheek.

“So, in case you missed it, this is Aurora,” Trigger said, looking back to the camera. “He is the love of my life and my riduur. Want to explain what riduur means to the Galaxy, love?”

Aurora chuckled at Trigger’s antics. “Riduur is a Mandalorian word which means ‘Spouse’,” Aurora explained. “Trigger here proposed to me as soon as we got off of Kamino and we took our marriage vows.”

“Even though it’s not legally recognized, I don’t care,” Trigger smirked. “I know you are my husband, babe.”

“You better,” Aurora teased. “I still remember that sappy smile on your face, tough guy.”

“Hey, I got the best looking vod with a mischievous streak…I’m damn lucky,” Trigger retorted, shifting around so he snuggling closer to Aurora.

“So, why are you making this video, Trig?” Aurora asked, amused, as he pressed a kiss against Trigger’s forehead, running his hand through Trigger’s hair.

“So I can show the Republic that we’re human,” Trigger said. “We fall in love and want to get married and have a future together. I want to show we have hearts and souls, despite what the propaganda paints us as.”

“Oh, cyar’ika,” Aurora whispered, nuzzling against Trigger’s forehead. “You have the most loving heart I know.”

Trigger smiled fondly, kissing Aurora’s cheek once more.

“So this is my husband everyone and we’re about to get ready for our next battle so we can get it over and done with.”

“Yes, you still owe me a date when we’re back on Coruscant,” Aurora teased. “I’m thinking fancy food and then a nice walk.”

“Anything for you, love,” Trigger chuckled. “A great dinner, a nice walk, maybe we can finish getting our rings tattooed?”

Aurora held up a hand, showing an intricate blue and green band, lined with thin, delicate black lining, tattooed around his ring finger.

“What’s left on it?” Aurora asked.

“Our initials,” Trigger answered, tapping on Aurora’s tattoo. “Right here.”

“So, A & T?”

“Yep, then everyone will know that we belong to each other,” Trigger answered.

“I love you, you sap,” Aurora murmured fondly, “but we need to get prepared.”

“Yes!” Trigger grinned as he sat up. “Let’s get this done with so we can get back to Coruscant, huh? Or do you think we beg General Fisto to make a detour to a nice beach planet? He can go swimming while we have our date on the beach with cocktails and nice food.”

“Ask him after the battle,” Aurora laughed.

“Deal,” Trigger said before turning his attention back to the camera. “So, Republic, I know some of you might think this is weird…but to us we aren’t identical, we’re all different to one another, and yes, we fall in love. We live, we fight and we die together…so we fall in love with each other too. Aurora is the love of my life and I really hope you see this, because I want to get married for real one day, to have Aurora recognized as my partner.”

“Oh love,” Aurora’s voice whispered. Trigger smiled back at them.

“So, that’s all for now, Republic,” Trigger said. “This is Aurora, my husband and love of my life, and he is the world to me…and we will never let each other go, despite what the GAR or Senate may say.”

 

Windu looked at Ponds, who was staring at the screen sadly.

“They were soul-mates,” Ponds murmured. “They were lucky to have each other.”

“They were,” Windu agreed quietly. “How about we sit on this video for a day or so? I want to talk to Senators Amidala and Organa about a proposal we’re giving to the Senate, perhaps they can give their opinion about this as well.”

“We’re going to hide it?” Ponds asked, somewhat bitterly.

“That’s not my intention, Ponds,” Windu reassured him. “We will show this to honour Trigger and Aurora, but I fear that without taking over of the clones care from the GAR and Senate that couples may be punished and that’s something we can’t allow.”

Ponds nodded in agreement.

“I also want to discuss the video with Kit, just so he knows about it as well.”

Ponds nodded again, sighing heavily. Windu wrapped his arm around Ponds, drawing him close.

“Things are going to change, Ponds,” Windu swore. “No more riduurs broken apart or separated…no more reconditioning or decommissioning. We’re going to make sure you’re taken care of with your mental and physical health.”

“You do so much for us, Mace,” Ponds said quietly, chuckling sadly. “So much.”

“And you deserve every bit of it,” Windu told him firmly. “You deserve the right to choose whether or not to fight without being killed or punished for it. You deserve to choose your own life.”

Windu looked at Ponds as Ponds nodded silently. He knew how much this had shaken him. Windu had seen how Ponds had struggled – and he had struggled himself – when they had lost men to self-inflicted wounds as they found themselves unable to cope with the horror of war and the loss of their batchmates, their best friends and their lovers.

It was mostly the newer Shinies, being thrown into this war so unprepared and younger than ever…and it hurt them to see such young lives, so full of promise, being cut so short.

Windu had also had to deal with a few young Jedi Knights taking their own lives, unable to cope with the death and the pain and the darkness.

It never got easier…and in a way, he hoped it never would get easier. He never wanted to be desensitized to death, to just accept it as a day to day happening. He never wanted to become used to death.

Windu knew things had to be changed and he was determined to do it, screw the Senate. He was going to fight tooth and nail for these men, for the Jedi being forced to fight wars, to live and fight alongside men who would more than likely die beside them.

It was time for things to change.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan chuckled as he watched Cody and Rex ran around the training salle, laughing along with their brothers. Wolffe and his pack were there, laughing as kept on the heels of Ghost and Torrent Company.

He glanced to his side as someone stopped beside him, seeing Plo standing there, feeling serene in the Force as he watched his sons chase after their brothers.

“It’s good to see them all laughing again,” Plo said quietly. Obi-Wan nodded in agreement, eyes focused on Cody’s grin as he joked around with Rex, teasing Boil and Waxer.

“Come, let’s sit here,” Plo said suddenly, shifting towards one of the benches, where they could sit and still keep an eye on their boys but still be out of the way. They settled down, leaning back against the wall.

“How is Cody going?” Plo asked quietly, turning his head to look at Obi-Wan. “I know he’s only been back two days, but how is he?”

“He’s trying to be strong,” Obi-Wan admitted quietly. “I think he still struggles to believe that he’s finally home.”

“He will for a while,” Plo said, before tilting his head in a way that Obi-Wan knew conveyed Plo’s fondness. “Thankfully he has you to be beside him.”

Obi-Wan smiled thankfully at him, glancing back to the clones at loud laughter, seeing they had collapsed on a pile on the floor – though he realised that Cody and Rex were placed near the outer so they could move away if they were uncomfortable.

“Have you told Wolffe, Boost, Comet and Sinker about your plans to adopt them yet?” Obi-Wan asked quietly. Plo gave a small shake of his head.

“No,” he said regretfully. “I don’t want to give them false hope and then have the Senate and GAR stonewall me. I would try and take them anyway, but for now…for now all I can do is wait.”

“Well, Mace is planning on fighting the Senate to get the clones transferred to under our care,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “I also know a few Senators who would support us and would fight to get the clones rights so they could be adopted.”

“I just hope it doesn’t take too long,” Plo sighed. “I’ve almost lost them too many times.”

“I know,” Obi-Wan agreed before frowning. “The Force feels different, have you noticed?” he asked. “I-I know that this war will end soon…but something else is coming, it’s elusive but dangerous.”

Plo nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, I’ve sensed that too.”

They went quiet for a little while, watching as the clones all sat up finally, leaning against each other and laughing and chatting tiredly.

“Well, shall we wrangle them to go get lunch so Vokara doesn’t yell at us?” Obi-Wan questioned, smirking. Plo chuckled.

“I believe that would be most wise,” he said, amused. “Though I should probably comm Ahsoka to drag Skywalker and Echo down as well.”

“Wolffe doesn’t want to go grab him?” Obi-Wan teased as he stood, stretching out. Plo chuckled once more as he stood.

“I don’t believe they’d come back down for lunch,” Plo just said so casually that it made Obi-Wan snort with laughter. They walked over to the clones sprawled out over the mats as Master Drallig walked in, eyebrows rising as he saw the clones all sitting there, still breathing heavily from their exercise.

“Well you all seem exhausted,” Drallig said, walking over to stand beside Obi-Wan and Plo, arms folded behind his back.

“They needed to run around,” Obi-Wan chuckled, glancing at Drallig. “Do you have a class in here soon?”

“It’s a little while away,” Drallig said, waving away his concerns. “Just a technique class…though,” Drallig said, giving a small laugh, “seeing how exhausted you all are, I might get you to chase around my Initiates when they have one of those days.”

“Those days, sir?” Fives questioned curiously.

“When they’re full of energy and struggling to focus on anything,” the dark blond Jedi smirked. “Those days when you can’t teach them anything, at least I can make sure they’re run ragged.”

“Always a task-master,” Plo said, shaking his head in amusement. Drallig laughed softly at that.

“How has the teaching been?” Obi-Wan asked curiously. “I know you don’t teach as often anymore due to being Head of Security. Also, how is everything with that going?” he asked meaningfully, not wanting to worry the clones.

“I still keep an eye on everything; everything is secure as it could be,” Drallig answered easily, making Obi-Wan relax at his answer, knowing the Guards wouldn't let Cody and Rex, or any of the clones in the Temple for that matter, come to any harm. “Though I do need to get things set up for my class.”

“Of course,” Obi-Wan said. “We were about to head to lunch anyway.”

He laughed as he noticed the clones perk up at the mention of food.

“C-Can we eat here? I-I mean, is it okay for us to eat with the Jedi in the Temple?” Wooley asked, eyes wide.

“The commissary will love to have you, as will the Jedi,” Drallig reassured them. “You’d be the first not to fuss over the food.”

Obi-Wan nodded thankfully to Drallig as the clones all climbed to their feet, laughing and jostling one another. Cody stepped close to Obi-Wan’s side and Obi-Wan smiled warmly at him.

“Enjoy that?” Obi-Wan asked gently as they left the training salles and headed towards the commissary. Cody smiled as he nodded.

“It felt…normal,” Cody admitted. “Master Drallig didn’t mind that we were using the training rooms?”

“No, that’s just his usual grumpy expression,” Obi-Wan reassured him. Cody nodded and Obi-Wan gently nudged him with his shoulder, smiling. Cody smiled back as they entered the commissary.

The Jedi already in there looked up from their lunches and conversations as they entered, most of them smiling as they met the clones’ gazes.

“Get what you want, Cody,” Obi-Wan murmured as they lined up. Rex grinned at Obi-Wan as he loaded his plate, with Fives sneaking on some extra fruit to Rex's plate when Rex looked away.

They had gathered their food and had sat down by the time Echo, Anakin and Ahsoka joined them.

Wolffe immediately shoved Comet over so there was space for Echo to sit down beside him. Comet rolled his eyes and scooted over, grinning at Echo as Echo shot him an apologetic smile.

“How is it going, Anakin?” Obi-Wan asked as Anakin sat down heavily next to Rex, glaring at his food.

“We can’t decipher it,” Anakin grumbled. “No program is showing what the language it is.”

“You’ll figure it out,” Obi-Wan reassured him, smiling at Mace and Ponds as they settled in on their table.

They settled back, laughing at the stories and teasing between the clones.

“Oh, you think that’s bad?” Ponds asked, rolling his eyes. “You know what I walked in on this morning?”

“Do we want to know?” Windu snorted.

“Yep,” Ponds said, grinning, and Windu relaxed, seeing Ponds smiling again after that heart-breaking video and message from earlier.

“So, I walked in to wake Wolffe and Echo up so we can have breakfast at Rex’s – which was great by the way, little brother,” Ponds said, looking to Rex. “Anyway, went to wake them up and opened the door to be flashed by Wolffe’s shebs.”

Wolffe snorted. “You’ve it all before, Ponds,” he reminded him.

“Yeah, but not with a bite mark adorning your ass cheek.”

The clones howled with laughter at that as Echo went bright red and hid his face. Comet patted Echo’s back as he giggled to himself.

Plo was shaking his head and Obi-Wan couldn’t help the smile that pulled at his lips, knowing Plo was feeling like an embarrassed parent.

Wolffe just shrugged, looking smug as he wrapped his arm around Echo’s waist.

“Don’t be jealous, Pon’ika,” Wolffe said, giving him a pointed look. “We spoke about that this morning, hmm? Should we bring it up with the others?”

Ponds growled at him, “Don’t you dare, Wolffe.”

Wolffe smirked smugly and nuzzled into Echo’s hair.

Obi-Wan’s attention was pulled to Cody as Cody leaned against his side, yawning largely behind his hand.

“Want to go back to the apartment, dear one?” Obi-Wan asked quietly. Cody gave a small nod, rubbing at his eyes tiredly.

They both stood up, chatting a bit more to the others, with Anakin and Echo planning to come up to Obi-Wan’s apartment so they could look over the information they had on the chips already.

Cody and Obi-Wan had just left the commissary when someone called Obi-Wan’s name. Obi-Wan turned, seeing Windu walking out from the commissary to catch up with them.

“Can I help you with something, Mace?”

“I was wondering if you could put me in contact with your Senator friends?” Windu asked. “I was thinking another set of eyes, especially by those who look over Senate motions and contracts, would be helpful to look over the motion I’ve written up to present to the Senate about Jedi involvement and about the clones’ rights.”

Obi-Wan nodded. “Of course, Mace,” Obi-Wan said eagerly. “Padme is coming by tomorrow, I’ll comm Bail and see if he’s happy to tag along.”

“Thank you, Obi-Wan,” Windu said, inclining his head. “I won’t keep you,” he added, seeing Cody swaying slightly. Obi-Wan glanced at Cody and gave a small smile, nodding once more to Windu before he led Cody away.

 

They got back to the apartment and Cody was yawning.

“Hang on, dear one,” Obi-Wan said as he headed into the kitchen area, grabbing a glass of water and some of the pills Vokara had given him. “You need to have these before you go and rest.”

“Really?” Cody sighed, looking at the pills in distaste.

“They’ll help with your shakes, Cody,” Obi-Wan explained. “They’re to help stop the after-effects of the spice…plus, Vokara would kill me if she found out you weren’t taking them.”

Cody rolled his eyes, snorting slightly, but took the pills and swallowed them.

He did want the shakes to stop…he just hated taking medications, especially after being forced to be stoic and push aside any illness or injury (unless it was major and required attention) on Kamino in fear of being reconditioned or decommissioned.

“I can’t believe I’m so tired,” Cody grumbled as he rubbed at his eyes. There was a soft laugh from Obi-Wan.

“It’s all right, Cody,” Obi-Wan said. “You did just run around with all of your brothers and you did have surgery yesterday.”

Cody nodded and Obi-Wan’s hand rested reassuringly on his shoulder, squeezing softly.

“It’s okay to be tired, love,” Obi-Wan murmured softly. “Come now, let’s get you to bed.”

Cody smiled at him, threading his fingers with Obi-Wan’s, heart thumping at the warmth and adoration that appeared in Obi-Wan’s grey eyes as Obi-Wan looked at him, before they headed to the bedroom.

Obi-Wan released Cody’s hand so he could dim the shades, casing the room in a soft darkness. Cody glanced around before freezing, spotting something on Obi-Wan’s desk that he had failed to spot the night before or this morning.

Obi-Wan glanced at Cody when he felt Cody’s shock radiate through the Force.

“Cody?” he murmured worriedly. Cody just stepped towards the desk, eyes fixed on the object, before he lifted his hand and placed it upon the object, feeling the smooth plastoid under his fingers.

“My helmet,” Cody croaked out as he lifted it, examining the heart-achingly familiar 212th gold colour that he had painstakingly painted on there with such care. “I-I didn’t see it last night.”

“It was late,” Obi-Wan said quietly. “But, yes, I kept it…I-I just wanted the reminder of you, a silent promise to give it back to you.”

“I didn’t know what happened to it or my armour,” Cody admitted as he placed his helmet back down carefully.

He knew it was his helmet and his heart ached at the sight of it. It just didn’t feel like his anymore, though he spent so many days, so many months, looking through that visor, reading the HUD and using it to keep an eye on his men…but now it felt like something that was no longer his, as though it belonged to a past life.

“We found yours and Rex’s helmets – which I believe Fives has now – where you had been abducted,” Obi-Wan explained. “I broke down when I saw your helmet but found no trace of you…I just knew I should have never let you leave my sight and I’m so sorry, Cody.”

Cody turned and walked to Obi-Wan, pulling him in close and nuzzling his face into Obi-Wan’s hair.

“It wasn’t your fault, Obi-Wan,” Cody told him firmly. “It wasn’t your fault.”

Obi-Wan trembled in Cody’s arms as he wrapped his arms around Cody, clinging to him tightly.

They held each other tightly, not needing to speak, for a while before Obi-Wan pulled away, smiling shakily at Cody as Cody stifled a yawn.

“You need to rest, my love,” Obi-Wan told him, squeezing Cody’s hands as he smiled at him.

“Lay with me?” Cody asked quietly. Obi-Wan nodded, smiling once more. They headed towards the bed, both laying on their sides so they could look at each other. Obi-Wan drew the thick, soft blanket up around them, both of them snuggling close underneath it.

Obi-Wan reached out to gently stroke Cody’s cheek, watching as Cody relaxed, his eyes fluttering shut. Cody carefully moved closer so he could rest his forehead against Obi-Wan’s, breathing in Obi-Wan’s green tea scent. Obi-Wan could feel Cody relaxing, sinking deeper into his doze and heading towards a deep sleep.

He stayed curled up with Cody for a while, content to just listen to Cody’s steady breaths as Cody slept deeply; his grey eyes flicking about Cody’s face, examining every millimetre of him, taking in every freckle, faint across the bridge of his nose; taking in the way his scar dipped deep around his eye, the edges rather smooth now, yet still a bit raised where the helmet had dug into his skin the most.

Obi-Wan’s gaze traced Cody’s rather long eyelashes from where they rested lightly against his cheeks, to his soft lips slightly parted as he dreamed.

Obi-Wan always knew Cody was rather handsome, though Cody didn’t see himself as anything special since his face was shared by a million others – but Obi-Wan saw the differences, saw the beauty of him, both in and out.

Soon Obi-Wan carefully shifted out of the blankets, tucking Cody back in and smiling fondly as he watched Cody curl around a pillow, mumbling to himself.

He headed out into the main apartment to let Cody sleep for a while. Obi-Wan sighed as he settled down on the couch, picking up his datapad.

He really needed to catch up on that paperwork.

 

Obi-Wan had just started to make a dent in his paperwork when the door chimed. Sighing, Obi-Wan stood up, placing the datapad aside. He walked to the door and opened it, smiling when he saw who was standing there.

“Tup,” he greeted softly. “Please come in.”

Tup smiled as he walked in, following Obi-Wan to the couch.

“Did you want a drink of anything?” Obi-Wan asked. “Rex and Fives brought some slice over earlier if you’d like some of that?”

Tup shook his head. “No, I’m fine, Obi-Wan, thank you.”

Obi-Wan settled down beside Tup, smiling at him warmly. Tup glanced around, fingers tapping nervously against his thighs.

“Where’s Cody?”

“He’s sleeping,” Obi-Wan answered, head tilting slightly as his sharp grey eyes caught sight of Tup’s fidgeting fingers, knowing Tup was being cautious and hesitant about something. “What’s wrong, Tup?”

Tup sighed, knowing Obi-Wan knew him better than most.

“Well, I wanted to ask you if I could be assigned to the 501st again,” Tup said slowly, looking up and meeting his gaze. “I think I’m ready to be back with my brothers.”

Obi-Wan smiled and nodded. “I’m happy for you, Tup,” he said, reaching out to pat Tup’s knee. Tup gave a weak smile and Obi-Wan sighed.

“What else is on your mind, youngling?” he asked gently.

Tup swallowed, looking away and down at his knees, staring as he flexed his hands against the thighs of his black pants.

“I-I’ve been thinking,” Tup started before swallowing harshly once more, nervous.

“You can tell me anything, Tup,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “I won’t judge you.”

“I-I know you won’t,” Tup said, glancing up to meet Obi-Wan’s concerned gaze briefly. “That’s why I wanted to ask your advice.”

Obi-Wan nodded, waiting for Tup to continue. Tup sighed and swallowed once more, knowing it was just easier to just say it.

“I want to see Jek again,” Tup managed to get out. He cautiously looked to Obi-Wan again, relaxing when he saw Obi-Wan nodding understandingly.

“I mean, I know after everything I shouldn’t…but…but I want to talk to him and see if what he said about him truly loving me is true,” Tup continued. “I-I just miss him.”

Obi-Wan reached out again as he saw Tup’s shoulders trembling and pulled the youngster close. Tup went with him, immediately burying his face into Obi-Wan’s shoulder as he clung onto him, seeking his reassurance.

“It’s not wrong to want that, Tup,” Obi-Wan murmured in his ear. “And I could see that he did truly care for you if that helps, but we all knew you needed time to know what your own heart thought about it, how you truly felt after everything came to light.”

“I-I just don’t know Cody and Rex will react – or how any of my brothers will react really – if they find out I want to talk to the man who was employed by the men who kidnapped and abused Rex and Cody, just so I can see if he really loves me and-and if we can move on from there and perhaps be together,” Tup said nervously.

“You know Rex has already told you that he and Cody could see that Jek truly cared for you in the footage they say,” Obi-Wan said, choosing his words carefully. “Jek truly didn’t know that his faceless employers were the ones who had your brothers, he had no idea what was happening to them, so I doubt Rex and Cody would blame him for that.” Obi-Wan paused for a moment, lifting a hand to stroke the back of Tup’s neck comfortingly.

“I think your brothers would just want you to be happy, Tup’ika,” Obi-Wan said finally. “Yes, they may be more protective and overbearing if you and Jek do get back together, but they’ll get over it if it means you’re happy.”

Tup nodded against Obi-Wan’s shoulder, breathing in deeply.

“I-I might just think about it some more,” Tup said. “I don’t know what I’d say or do if I saw him and-and I just need to get the nerve,” Tup’s voice trailed off in a mumble at that, but Obi-Wan heard and just stroked the back of his neck reassuringly once more.

“Take your time, Tup,” Obi-Wan soothed him. “You need to be comfortable with seeing him, don’t push yourself if you don’t feel ready.”

Tup nodded and sat up, smiling a weak, thankful smile at Obi-Wan, who smiled back as he inclined his head slightly.

“I’ll get started on the paperwork to transfer you back to Torrent,” Obi-Wan told him. “I’ve got your armour stored in Anakin’s old room there if you wanted to retrieve it now?”

Tup gave a small shake of his head. “I-I might just leave it here for now, if that’s okay?”

“That’s fine,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “Just make sure you grab it before you’re deployed next or you’ll stand out in your gold armour amongst your blue brothers.”

Tup laughed softly at that and Obi-Wan smiled once more as he heard the youngster laugh.

“I promised Rex I’d go help him out some sweets to the younglings,” Tup said suddenly, looking to Obi-Wan. “Thank you for everything, Obi-Wan.”

“Any time, Tup, and for anything, I mean it,” Obi-Wan told him firmly. “Though seeing the younglings will be good for you, I think they’ll like you.”

Obi-Wan smiled slightly as he noticed Tup fidgeting, shy once more.

“A-Are you sure?”

“You’re a sweet, kind young man, Tup, they’ll adore you,” Obi-Wan promised. “Now go on, don’t keep Rex waiting.”

Tup smiled once more as he got to his feet.

“Thanks again, Obi-Wan,” Tup said before glancing towards Obi-Wan’s bedroom. “I’m glad you’ve got Cody back a-and can you tell him I look forward to just spending time with him again? I've missed my ori'vod.”

Obi-Wan smiled. “Of course, Tup.”

Tup smiled back and headed towards the door.

“Oh, Tup, how are the headaches and nightmares?” Obi-Wan asked, hoping for the best answer. Tup paused as he reached the door before he looked over his shoulder at Obi-Wan, smiling.

“Nightmares haven’t been so bad and they’ve changed slightly, and there have been no more headaches,” Tup reassured him. Obi-Wan noticed what Tup had said about the nightmares but decided to leave that for now, he didn’t want to keep Tup away from the younglings, especially since he knew the younglings would just adore Tup – and he had a feeling they would be good for him as well.

Obi-Wan turned and picked up his datapad once more, filling in the proper transfer papers for Tup.

Fives, Jesse, Kix, Echo and Hardcase would be so thrilled to have their little brother back, though he knew Ghost Company would be disappointed to lose him, even though they knew Tup wasn’t theirs to keep.

He also hoped that Tup wouldn’t be hurt again. He knew how much Tup had hurt after the truth about Jek had been revealed, about how he swore to Jesse and Kix that he would never love or care for anyone again.

Thankfully, Tup hadn’t seemed to have held onto that promise.

Obi-Wan had seen so much lost in this war: lives, trust, limbs, sanity, love…but what he hated the most was seeing the innocence of beings being lost; whether it be a child whose planet was war torn, forced to see horrors beyond their years, to the new Padawans thrust into a war filled with death, as they watched their friends to die around them, to the clone trooper who still held onto that innocence and awe they had for the Galaxy until the war and death and hate took it from them.

Tup was one of the rare few that held onto that innocence, who tried to see the best in everyone and the beauty in everything.

While others looked at war-torn planets and saw death, destruction and hopelessness, Tup would look upon it and see small trees beginning to bloom, showing new life, or he would notice how the people of the planet came together to help each other, to rebuild their lives.

Tup still saw hope where others saw none.

Obi-Wan just hoped he never lost that part of him, that thing that made Tup Tup.

He knew how devastated Jesse and Kix had been when Tup had claimed that he would never care again as his heart shattered, but getting Rex and Cody back and speaking and making things up with Fives seemed to have helped stall that.

It spoke measures that Tup was willing to speak to Jek, showing that he still cared at least.

He hoped that Jek wasn’t foolish, that he wouldn’t go around and break Tup’s heart again.

He didn’t think Tup and his brothers, especially Cody and Rex, could bear seeing Tup’s heart being broken again.

Obi-Wan sighed at that thought and leaned back against the couch, tilting his head back to stare at the ceiling.

Hope was in short supply these days but seeing Tup with his giant, caring heart, it made them all try harder, to see what Tup saw, to preserve Tup’s heart.

Obi-Wan gave a small, somewhat sad smile.

If only all beings could all be like Tup, then there would be no problems in the Galaxy.

 

Dooku frowned as he stared out of the window of his estate, over Serenno.

Things were changing, he knew Sidious was getting more and more frustrated as the Republic called for him to step down and as Skywalker apparently turned further away for him.

Dooku smirked at that.

He never thought Skywalker would have the brains to truly realise what Sidious was, but even he knew something was wrong and was distancing himself from Sidious and his influence.

Dooku wouldn’t kid himself though, he knew this war was going to end sooner than Sidious had planned and he knew, the visions pushed, that the Jedi would win this – so the question was, how could he survive this himself?

He knew the Jedi would have a price on his head after the war…but what if he showed them that he had turned against Sidious and that he wanted to help them stop the Sith Lord.

Dooku frowned, rubbing at his chin in thought.

After all, when Sidious was killed – because that was truly the only way to get the war to stop – he would step in as the leader of the Separatists to work out treaties with the new Chancellor, who would hopefully have some sort of brains to leave the planets and systems who wanted to remain out of the Republic alone.

If the Jedi saw that he no longer followed Sidious, that he was no longer a Sith, then they’d have to just accept him as the leader of the Separatists and he would tell them everything about how Sidious orchestrated both sides of the war, how he was forced to lead the Separatists into war.

They’d sign treaties and go their separate ways, keeping a civil relationship between the Separatists, the Republic and the Neutral Systems.

The only question was how to convince the Jedi that he wanted to assist them, to end this war, so when the war did end he didn’t end up locked in a cell deep within the Jedi Temple.

What could he do?

Chapter Text

Cody was curled up on the couch, a soft, warm blanket wrapped around him courtesy of Obi-Wan, with a cup of hot chocolate clasped in his hands, filling him with a soft warmth as he listened to his brothers chat and laugh from where they were sprawled around Obi-Wan’s apartment.

Obi-Wan himself was sitting at the table, frowning at a datapad, but he kept throwing witty comments and sassy comebacks back towards the men sprawled across his lounge.
Rex yawned as he leaned against Cody, rubbing his cheek against the soft blanket wrapped around Cody. Fives was sitting by Rex’s feet, head resting against Rex’s knee as he spoke to the other members of Torrent Company sprawled beside him, all intermingled with the members of Ghost Company.

Obi-Wan stood up as the door chimed, going to answer it, aware that all of the clones in his apartment had turned to watch.

“Nosey,” he said airily as he walked past them, smirking as he did so.

“Hey, we gotta watch your back, vod,” Boil answered, returning the smirk.

“In the Temple?”

“You find trouble wherever you go,” Waxer retorted, causing a round of laughter from the others. Obi-Wan just rolled his eyes as he answered the door.

“Padme, Bail, how good to see you!” Obi-Wan greeted as he saw them there, his smile faltering somewhat as he saw how ladened with bags they were. Bail gave him a commiserating grin as he saw Obi-Wan had noticed the bags.

“Padme roped me into being her bag-boy,” Bail chuckled, shaking his head. Obi-Wan chuckled as he stepped aside, inviting them in. They both stepped inside and paused as they caught sight of all of the clones sprawled across Obi-Wan’s lounge, both on the furniture and the floor.

“Obi-Wan, you need more couches,” Bail joked, trying to break the ice. Obi-Wan laughed, nodding in agreement as he came to stand beside them.

“I certainly do,” he agreed, looking over the clones with fondness.

“Cody, Rex, it is so good to see you,” Padme told them, spotting the two sitting on the couch. She couldn’t help the smile when she saw Cody snuggled up in a soft blanket with a mug in his hands.

“Thank you, Senator,” Rex said, inclining his head. “It’s good to be home.”

“We were all so worried about you,” Padme continued, “and, Rex, please call me Padme.”

“Bail is fine as well,” Bail spoke up, smiling at them all. “For all of you, please.”

“Cody, I’ve brought you some outfits,” Padme continued, nodding to Bail, who placed the bags down on the floor. Cody stared at the numerous, overflowing bags with large, almost horrified, eyes.

“They aren’t all for you, don’t worry,” Padme reassured him, seeing the expression on his face. “I also bought some clothes for Rex and Ponds.”

Rex startled at hearing his name and looked at Padme in shock. Padme just smiled at him and started to sort out the bags, handing them to Cody and Rex respectively.

“Ooh, show us your new clothes,” Waxer grinned cheekily.

“Waxer, don’t make me throw you out of the apartment,” Cody just growled in response. Fives looked through Rex’s bags with him, grinning as he pulled out a dark blue shirt.

“I’m liking these,” Fives said, shooting a grin to Padme. “Gonna have the best dressed cyare out of all of the vode.”

Rex smiled and gently cuffed Fives around the back of his head as Fives placed the shirt back in the bag.

Obi-Wan was similarly peering into the bags Padme had placed in front of Cody, smiling as he caught sight of dark gold material within it. He did love that colour, it brought out the amber of Cody’s eyes.

Bail just smiled as he took in all of the clones sprawled across the lounge. If only the Republic could see this picture, see how relaxed they all were around one another. He knew that they had relaxed further since Rex and Cody had been rescued; Bail still remembered seeing how tired and defeated they had looked in the times he had seen them after Cody and Rex had been kidnapped.

“So, what does cyare mean?” Bail asked curiously, carefully stepping closer to the men. One of them vacated an armchair for him. Bail shook his head, smiling at him, but the clone just gestured to the chair.

“It’s fine, sir, really,” he said. Bail smiled as he sat down.

“Thank you, it’s Jesse, isn’t it?” Bail asked, seeing the Republic Cog tattooed. He did remember him slightly, only from what Obi-Wan and Padme had told him.

Jesse blinked, surprised at being recognized by a Senator, and glanced at Kix, who smiled up at him.

“Uh, yes, sir,” Jesse replied.

“Just call me Bail, please,” Bail said, smiling reassuringly at him. Jesse nodded as he settled down next to Kix on the floor, who immediately curled into his side.

“And cyare means beloved,” Jesse said carefully. Bail nodded thoughtfully, looking to Fives and Rex.

“So you two are a couple then?” Bail asked gently, smiling reassuringly as he saw Rex stiffen slightly. “Like Wolffe and Echo?”

Rex startled and looked to Bail in surprise. “You know about them?”

Bail nodded, looking to Padme. “Oh yes, we went to meet Duchess Kryze when the 501st brought her in with Obi-Wan and the members of the 212th here,” Bail explained, looking over the clones grinning at each other smugly.

“Masters Plo and Windu were there with us and they brought Ponds and Wolffe with them. Wolffe was very excited to see Echo, his Pup as he fondly called him,” Bail continued. “It’s good to know you’re finding some sort of happiness. Love is one of the most special things in the universe, it truly changes your life when you find your soul-mate, your heart-mate, your other half.”

“You have a wife, don’t you, sir…Bail?” Waxer asked, quickly calling Bail by his name as Bail gave him a small look.

“I do,” Bail said, smiling fondly as he thought of his wife. “Breha is the light of my Galaxy, I don’t know how I would get past my darkest days without her.”

“I know what you mean,” Kix murmured, looking to Jesse. Bail blinked as he saw that look, knowing it was one he gave Breha every time he saw her.

“And you two?” Bail asked gently. Kix nodded as Jesse turned his head to look at Kix, smiling fondly at his fussy medic.

“Kix has been my partner since we were on Kamino,” Jesse said, reaching his hand up to run his fingers over Kix’s buzzed hair. “He became my riduur about a year ago.”

Riduur?” Bail questioned curiously.

“It means spouse in Mando'a, I witnessed their vows,” Obi-Wan spoke up from where he was standing behind Cody now, running his fingers soothingly through Cody’s hair as Cody sat there, eyes half-closed, calmed by Obi-Wan’s ministrations.

“Married?” Bail asked softly.

“Well, as married as we can get,” Jesse said somewhat bitterly. “We’re not legally recognized.”

“I’m sorry, Jesse,” Padme whispered. Kix just shook his head, taking Jesse’s hands in his own.

“We’ll get there one day,” Kix said, smiling hopefully, “but at least we can be together now, right, Jess?”

Jesse smiled fondly at Kix. “Right, Kixystix.”

“Well, you lot look like you’re having a good time here, so we won’t encroach on you anymore,” Bail said as he stood up.

“Yes, we should get these clothes to Ponds,” Padme said. “And do you know where Anakin is, Obi-Wan?”

There was soft snickers and giggles as the clones all looked away, making Bail raise an eyebrow and look to Padme.

“He’s trying to figure something out with Echo, they’re getting quite into it,” Obi-Wan answered.

“Okay, Padme,” Bail sighed. “I’ve known you long enough, we’ve been friends since I was elected, and you know everything about me, isn’t it time you returned the favour?”
Padme stared at Bail, wide-eyed.

“Bail,” she breathed.

Bail sighed once more, “I have an idea what it is but it would be nice if you actually told me.”

“You can trust him, Padme,” Obi-Wan said, still carding his fingers through Cody’s hair. “He won’t judge you; he never judged me for loving Cody.”

“I know, Obi-Wan, and I truly do trust you, Bail, I do…it’s just…if this got out,” Padme said quietly.

“We’ll protect you, Senator,” Hardcase piped up. “Promise we won’t let anyone hurt you.”

Padme smiled softly at the tattooed trooper.

“Thank you, Hardcase,” Padme murmured before she sighed, steeling herself and looking to Bail, who was looking at her, brown eyes gentle.

“I’m married, Bail,” Padme said, “to Anakin Skywalker.”

Bail gave a small snort, rubbing his chin. “Well, I had a suspicion that you two were involved, but I never thought you were married! For how long?”

“Since Geonosis, when the war began,” Padme admitted. Bail grinned, shaking his head.

“You never do anything by halves, do you, Padme?” Bail chuckled. Padme smiled before it faltered.

“You won’t tell anyone, will you, Bail?” Padme asked somewhat worriedly.

“Of course not, Padme,” Bail reassured her. “I know what some of the Senators are like and I’d rather not give them something to use on you.”

Padme smiled, relieved. She knew she could trust Bail.

“What does the Jedi think of this?” Bail asked, glancing at Obi-Wan and Cody. “What about you and Cody, Obi-Wan?”

Cody glanced up at Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan smiled down warmly at him.

“The Jedi are reconsidering the rules on Attachments,” Obi-Wan said, hands gently resting on Cody’s shoulder, making sure to keep it light so Cody didn’t feel trapped. “It’s in the watch and see stage, but they’re allowing it.”

“Good,” Bail sighed. “I don’t want to see you punished for love – it just isn’t right.”

“We should get going Bail, we still need to meet Master Windu,” Padme said gently, “and I should deliver Ponds his clothes.”

“Mace should be with Ponds,” Obi-Wan said. “They’ve been going over battle plans since Ponds is Temple bound.”

“I’ll take you,” Rex said as he stood up.

“We don’t want to put you out,” Bail said quickly. “We don’t want to take you away from spending time with your brothers.”

Rex just smiled. “It’s fine,” he reassured them. “I have an appointment with Bant soon anyway.”

“Bant?”

“She’s a Mind Healer,” Rex said calmly. He knew he had to say it, that he shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

“I also grew up with her,” Obi-Wan added, chuckling.

“Well, if she tells you stories about him as a kid, let me know,” Bail said with a grin. “I could use the blackmailing material.”

“That’s just rude,” Obi-Wan said, shaking his head, though he was smiling.

“It is good to know you’re talking to someone, Rex,” Padme said, gently reaching out to squeeze Rex’s hand. Rex looked down at the petite Senator, giving a weak smile.

“See you back at the apartment tonight, cyare,” Fives said. “We need to head back to the barracks for a bit so the Admirals don’t get suspicious.”

“We have put you on Temple Guard Duty,” Obi-Wan said. "They shouldn't be getting suspicious."

“Yeah, we know, but you know how some of these Admirals are, they’re a suspicious bunch that keep waiting for us to turn on them.”

“I know,” Obi-Wan sighed. “I have gone up against quite a few Admirals who were out of line.”

“I’ll see you soon, Obi-Wan,” Padme said quickly. “If you see Anakin, tell him I’ll talk to him later?”

“Of course.”

Obi-Wan watched as Padme and Bail left, escorted by Rex, before the clones soon trickled out, having to go back to the barracks or going to talk to the Temple Guards so they could find something to do.

Soon, it was just Cody and Obi-Wan in the apartment. Obi-Wan sighed as he settled down beside Cody on the couch. Cody smiled as he leaned against Obi-Wan’s side, sighing.

“I do love seeing my brothers, but I forgot how exhausting they could be,” Cody laughed softly. “I wouldn’t trade them for the world though.”

“I know, love, I know,” Obi-Wan murmured reassuringly. “Are you ready for your appointment with Bant tomorrow?”

“I don’t know,” Cody mumbled. “It’s just going…I’ve never spoken about stuff like this except for with the vode and with you. I mean, talking about this to the wrong people and we got reconditioned or decommissioned.”

“I know, dear one, but Bant won’t judge you for anything nor will she push you,” Obi-Wan reassured him. “We’re going to send Mind Healers out to rotate between battalions to help your brothers so we don’t lose any more of them. We want you to be able to speak freely, to tell us when you’re struggling or know that you’re not going to be decommissioned or reconditioned for having emotions.”

Cody smiled sadly at Obi-Wan. “This is why we adore our Jedi – you always see us as human and not as lab experiments.”

“Oh, Cody,” Obi-Wan breathed sadly. Cody just smiled sadly once more before he curled up with Obi-Wan.

“I-I’ll talk to Bant but…but I don’t how it’ll go,” Cody said quietly.

“That’s all I could ask of you, my love, just do your best but don’t feel pressured to talk if you’re not ready,” Obi-Wan murmured, gently stroking Cody’s back.

 

Mace glanced up from where he was reading his datapad when his door chimed. He stood up and opened it, giving a small smile when he saw who was standing there.

“Senator Amidala, Senator Organa, thank you for coming,” Windu said, inviting them into his apartment.

“Master Windu,” Bail greeted as he passed him, stepping into the apartment.

“Is Ponds around?” Padme asked once she had greeted Windu. “I brought him some clothes.”

Windu blinked in surprise, seeing the bags Padme was toting about on her arms.

“He’s just gone down to the Room of a Thousand Fountains,” Windu explained as they sat down at the table. “He finds it soothing there…but thank you, Senator, for the clothes. He’ll be quite overwhelmed, I believe.”

“He – and the others of course – deserve the simple things like different changes of clothes, things we take for granted,” Bail sighed. Windu nodded in agreement.

“Now, Obi-Wan said you had a proposal written up to present to the Senate?” Padme asked.

“Yes, well…it’s more a speech really,” Windu admitted. “It’s going to outline how the Jedi plan to shift slightly from Senate control so we can further help the Republic, including the many systems that form it, in ways we couldn’t before.”

Bail nodded, rubbing his chin thoughtfully once more.

“There’s also a proposal about the Jedi taking control of the clones care,” Windu continued. “I’ve written the arguments about why we should be able to take over their care.”
Bail took the offered datapad, scanning over the points, nodding thoughtfully before he handed it over to Padme.

“You seem to make good points,” Bail agreed. “We should work on the proposal more so others won’t be able to rip it to shreds.”

“I believe the holo channel is helping to show the clones and the Jedi in a new light and it’s definitely turning the public opinion to your side,” Padme added. “So that will definitely help with your proposals.”

“Do you believe it is a good idea for the Jedi to pull back from Senate control?” Windu questioned.

“Oh, definitely, especially for the reasons you’ve said,” Bail said, tapping the datapad. “You want to help the Republic more than you’ve been able to; to help the systems who may be overlooked for the, well, ‘richer’ or more influential ones.”

“That’s definitely a reason we want to pull back,” Windu explained. “What happened to Cody and Rex, being ordered not to look for them, to save them from the horrors they were facing, it just made us realise how bound by the Senate we were. We just want to do more, to help, to be Guardians of the Peace like we’re meant to be.”

“Well, we’ll definitely help with that,” Bail smiled.

“And you believe the recordings will help turn the tide in our favour?” Windu asked. “So we should keep releasing them?”

“Of course,” Padme said before smiling. “I absolutely adore watching them, to see the different sides of the clones and the Jedi.”

Windu hesitated for a moment before he reached for his datapad, bringing up the video.

“Ponds was sent this yesterday,” Windu said quietly. “We are unsure of how to proceed with it.”

He handed the datapad over, watching as Padme shifted closer to Bail so they could both watch the recording. Once it was done, they both looked up in confusion.

“Why are you unsure of how to proceed?” Bail asked.

“Aurora was killed in the battle they were talking about,” Windu explained. “Trigger took his own life so he could be reunited with him.”

Padme’s brown eyes widened in shock, looking to Bail, who was shaking his head sadly.

“We are also unsure of how the Republic, the GAR and the Senate will react to the news of the clones being in relationships with each other,” Windu said carefully. “We Jedi see no issue, we can see how different they all are, but some species are more…conservative compared to others.”

“What are you worried about most with this?” Bail asked.

“That the GAR splits up the couples, takes them to be reconditioned or decommissioned. It would kill them both,” Windu admitted. “They’re already forced to follow so many rules, already have so much freedom and their rights stripped from them…if they lost this, one of their only freedoms, one of the only things that gives them true happiness…well, there’d be more Trigger’s occurring, with them taking their own lives, heartbroken and alone.”

“I see your point,” Bail murmured.

“I think this will gain sympathy for the clones, especially if you share the fates of Aurora and Trigger,” Padme said, “but perhaps it’s best to keep it until we’re almost ready to present to the Senate, that way the GAR won’t have time to react to tear the couples apart.”

Windu nodded, agreeing with that.

They spent the next hour going over the proposal, discussing the points, before Bail looked at his chrono and sighed.

“I have to go,” he said apologetically. “I have a holo meeting with Alderaan’s ministers.”

Windu nodded, standing up. “Of course, thank you both for your help today.”

Padme smiled as she stood up as well. “It was our pleasure, Master Windu, we do want to see the clones get the rights they deserve and to see the Jedi doing what the Senate refuses to do.”

“I think we’re to the point where you can just call me Mace, Senators,” Windu smiled slightly. “You are helping us here, I do hope that makes us friendly at least.”

“As long as you drop the ‘Senator’ and start calling me Bail, I have no problem with that,” Bail laughed.

“Well, you already know I’m married to Anakin and didn’t throw him out, so Padme is fine,” Padme smirked slightly.

“Wait, he knew before I did?” Bail asked, shocked. Padme giggled slightly as Windu smirked.

“Yes, I believe he said…now, what was it? Ah, yes, ‘What is with your lineage?’ to Master Yoda about both Obi-Wan and Anakin,” Padme laughed. Windu inclined his head.

“His lineage is the one who are the most troublesome,” Windu smirked. “They do like to be mavericks and pull us along for the ride.”

Padme paused at the door as Windu opened it, looking thoughtful.

“We need to get Senators on your side, Mace,” Padme said thoughtfully. "Bail and I will talk to the Senators we know and trust, but you should invite Senators to the Temple to tour it, show them around and explain your teachings, make them your allies so you can get the votes.”

“I will bring that suggestion to the Council,” Windu said, inclining his head. “Thank you once again for the clothes for Ponds and for assisting me.”

“Any time,” Padme said.

“Shall we meet again in a few days to discuss this more?” Bail asked. “Missions and Senate sessions permitting of course?”

“That sounds fine,” Windu agreed.

Once the Senators had headed off with a passing Initiate offering to walk them through the Temple, Windu collapsed on his couch, sighing tiredly.

They had gotten through a third of his points, strengthening his arguments about the Jedi and the clones, but there was still so much he wanted to do.

Windu wanted to make sure everything had a rock solid argument, not wanting the opposition to rip holes into his proposal. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing the clones, of losing Ponds.

He had to chase up a few things, some evidence to present to the Senate of Admirals abusing clones. He knew there were a few instances, but he hoped that there would solid evidence somewhere.

Then he had to tell Ponds that they were going to hold that video back of Aurora and Trigger and he had no idea how Ponds was going to take that, but he had a suspicion that he wouldn’t take it well.

Sighing, Windu twisted so he was laying down on his couch, resting his head on a soft fluffy pillow that was his secret pleasure. He smirked to himself at that.

No one knew that the ex-Head of the Order loved soft things, but there was just something comforting about it; the soft pillows and blankets reminding him of his time in the crèche when life was simple and happy, and reminding him of a distant memory, almost like a wisp of smoke that he couldn’t catch, but he knew came from his time with his family before they gave him to the Jedi.

Windu closed his eyes.

He really hoped Ponds would be okay after he told him about holding the video back for now. He couldn’t bear to lose him.

Chapter Text

Windu stood by the window, staring out over the Coruscant skies, deep in thought. He turned when he heard the door open, seeing Ponds walk in. Ponds gave him a tired smile as he sat at the table, stretching his arms.

“How was the Room of A Thousand Fountains?” Windu asked as he came to sit beside Ponds.

“Good,” Ponds said. “One of the crèche masters was teaching the younglings to meditate and was telling them a story and invited me to listen in.”

Windu smiled at that. Ponds tapped at the datapad on the table.

“I heard Amidala and Organa were here,” Ponds said, glancing up at Windu. “How’d that go?”

Windu nodded. “We went over a lot of the points I want to present to the Senate,” he explained, “and they helped strengthen the arguments and gave me ideas of how to gain allies within the Senate.”

“So, it’s looking good then?” Ponds asked cautiously. “We have their support?”

“They’ve been some of the biggest supporters for your rights, Ponds,” Windu reassured him. “Amidala even brought you some clothes.”

Ponds startled, looking at the few large bags sitting in front of the couch that Windu indicated to.

“For me?”

“She brought some for you, Rex and Cody,” Windu reassured him. “She wanted you to have your own clothes, a freedom most take for granted.”

Ponds nodded absently, fiddling with the datapad. Windu took that moment to examine him, steeling himself for the conversation he knew they had to have. Ponds was looking more relaxed than Windu had seen him in a while, the tenseness gone from his shoulders and the dark smudges having disappeared from under his eyes; the tight lines gone from his eyes as well. Ponds shifted his head, glancing out the window, the sun then catching on Ponds’s face, the shadow sharpening Ponds’s already sharp and angular jawline.
Ponds ran a hand over his smooth, bald head, yawning slightly as he turned his head back around, before he paused, his brown-gold eyes meeting Windu’s gaze.

“Mace?” Ponds questioned. “Are you okay?”

Windu gave a small smile and a nod. “I am fine, Ponds.”

Ponds raised a disbelieving eyebrow, his brown-gold eyes examining Windu closely.

“I know you,” Ponds just said finally. “Something is on your mind, Mace.”

Windu sighed finally, giving a small nod.

“I asked Amidala and Organa their opinion on the video you received yesterday,” Windu explained gently, his brown eyes meeting Ponds’s. Ponds gave a sharp intake of breath but nodded, waiting for Windu to continue.

“They agree that it’s best that we hold off on sharing this particular video,” he finished. He winced as Ponds snapped to his feet, chair being knocked over in his rush to stand.

“Why?!” Ponds demanded to know. “Why don’t you want Aurora’s and Trigger’s story being told?! Do you want us to hide who we are?!”

Windu got to his feet at that. “Ponds, you know that isn’t true,” he said firmly.

“Then why, Mace?! Why not let the Senate and the Republic see that we do love and, yes, some of us fall in love with each other?!”

“Because we’re not ready to present to the Senate yet,” Windu tried to explain. Ponds just shook his head, stalking away, snarling.

“So you’re going to use them as a sympathy vote then?” Ponds spat.

“That isn’t true, Ponds, you’re twisting my words,” Windu said calmly, though he was alarmed at how Ponds was acting. He knew Ponds adored his brothers, but there was something else going on here.

“No matter if we release it now or later on, the Republic would still feel the same amount of sympathy for you,” Windu continued calmly. “I just don’t want to release now, before we’re ready, because I’m scared of how the GAR will react.”

Ponds paused at that, looking over his shoulder at Windu, brow furrowed slightly.

“You…scared, sir?” Ponds questioned quietly. Windu sighed, rubbing his own head warily.

“Of how the GAR would react, yes,” Windu admitted. “If we show this before the Jedi can get a chance to take over the care of the clones – as terrible as it sounds that we need to take over your care – then the GAR could react and the Jedi might not be able to stop them.”

“But - ,” Ponds began to say before Windu shook his head, cutting him off.

“You know they will separate all of the couples,” Windu said heavily, wanting to grab a drink for this hard discussion. “Do you want to see them separated? To see Wolffe and Echo forced away from each other? To see Jesse and Kix sent to different battalions? To have Rags taken away from Jad?” Windu asked, knowing how much it would hurt Ponds to see Rags and Jad separated, one of the couples in his battalion. “And that’s only if they’re separated. We don’t know if the GAR would send them to reconditioning, to take away all that they are. How would you react if they took Echo away to be reconditioned and then see him walk past Wolffe, not remembering him? Could you imagine how it would break Wolffe?”

Ponds froze, pain radiating through his brown-gold eyes as he thought of the pain that would cause Wolffe, to see the one he loved not know who he is, to not remember the love shared between them.

It would kill Wolffe and it would kill Ponds to see his little brother hurting so much.

“Oh,” Ponds murmured finally, turning to look back out the window. Windu walked to his side, frowning at the turmoil coming off Ponds in waves.

“Ponds?” he questioned softly. “What’s truly troubling you?”

“I just…I was scared,” Ponds admitted. “I didn’t…I didn’t know…”

“Ponds?”

“I didn’t know why you’d stop the video,” Ponds continued, choosing his words carefully. “I know Jedi had rules about attachment and I didn’t know…I thought…I was scared that you thought that it was a distraction.”

“Ponds,” Windu said, shocked. “I would never try and stop any of your relationships, unless there was a reason for me to step in.”

“I-I know,” Ponds muttered, running a hand over his head nervously. “I just…I don’t know why I thought that.”

“As for the Jedi and attachment, we are looking into that,” Windu admitted, gaining a surprised look from Ponds that made him smile. “What? Did you forget about that conversation we had in this very apartment when Cody and Rex were first taken?”

Ponds gave a sheepish smile. “It’s been a long seven months, Mace.”

Windu chuckled sadly. “That it has.”

“I also didn’t know what you thought,” Ponds admitted, looking away again. “I know Obi-Wan is different compared to some of the others on the Council.”

Windu gave a small nod. “He is a bit of a maverick,” Windu agreed, “but change can be good.”

Ponds gave him a look and Windu smiled slightly.

“Yes, we all can change,” Windu told him. “I had to admit to myself that I was attached.”

Ponds turned at that, giving Windu his full attention now, his brown-gold eyes wide. Windu sighed and indicated to the table. Ponds nodded, walking back over, picking up his fallen chair as he did so, before they both sat down once more.

“After our conversation that night, after Obi-Wan had dropped the bombshell that he and Cody were in a romantic relationship, Skywalker admitted he was married and Plo decided to announce he wanted to adopt the Wolf Pack, well, it left me thinking,” Windu began to explain. “I thought about when Boba came seeking revenge and you were caught in the crossfire, when I thought he had killed you at Aurra Sing’s demands, and I remembered how much it hurt to think that you had been killed.”

Ponds was just staring at Windu with wide eyes.

“I remember the absolute relief that flooded through me the moment when I saw you walking down that ramp with Plo, injured but alive,” Windu continued, “and that’s when I realised I was attached because I couldn’t fathom losing you and it hurt when I believed that you had been killed because of me. I didn’t want to lose you…I still don’t ever want to lose you.”

Ponds just stared at Windu, hands beginning to tremble. Windu tilted his head slightly, feeling the tumultuous emotions roiling off of Pond’s now.

“Ponds?” he questioned gently. Ponds swallowed harshly, turning his gaze to the table top.

“I don’t want to lose you either,” Ponds admitted quietly. “I-I do care for you, Mace, more than I should.”

It was Windu’s turn to stare at Ponds in shock.

“Mace?” Ponds whispered, lifting his gaze to meet Windu’s worriedly. Windu stood up, going to stand by the window, staring out.

“I’m not like Obi-Wan, Ponds,” Windu said quietly, still staring out the window. “I’m not affectionate and I’m not…I’m not interested in being physical.”

Ponds stood up, going to stand by Windu’s side.

“I’m not like my brothers, Mace,” Ponds murmured. “I’m not sex driven like a lot of them. It’s not important to me.”

“You deserve someone who…who can love you as freely as you deserve,” Windu said, glancing at Ponds. “I’ve never done this before and you deserve more.”

“I just want you, Mace,” Ponds said desperately. “Our relationship now doesn’t have to change much, it just becomes something more.”

“Something more?”

“It doesn’t have to be sex and pet-names or overly gross affectionate stuff like Obi-Wan and Cody do,” Ponds said, smiling weakly. “It can just be that you know I’m here for you in a deeper way if you need me. If you want to vent or just watch crappy holo films or just sleep beside someone, I’ll be here. I’ll be here waiting for you to get back from missions, to see you off, to make sure you’re okay.”

Windu turned to look at Ponds fully now.

“We can move slow, Mace,” Ponds said. “I-I just want something more with you, to know that I have someone.”

Windu frowned slightly, deep brown eyes thoughtful. “Something more,” he murmured once again. “Not sexual but more like soul mates?”

“Soul mates?” Ponds questioned softly.

“It’s like two halves of a soul in different bodies,” Windu explained, giving a small smile. “A deeper understanding, a deeper connection between them than anybody could ever have.”

“Is that how Obi-Wan and Cody formed their soul bond?” Ponds asked curiously, quite pleased with how Mace was taking this and how he saw the relationship between them.

“Yes,” Windu sighed, finally moving to sit on the couch with Ponds following closely. Ponds sat beside him, watching him closely but not pushing him. Windu hesitated somewhat as he looked to Ponds, brown eyes still unsure.

“Are you sure you want to waste your time on me?” Windu asked quietly. “I’ve never done this, never had a physical relationship, even when my age mates went into the city to get that need met, I never felt the urge.”

“Sex isn’t important to me, Mace,” Ponds reassured him, knowing Windu was nervous, having never been in a relationship and not used to having someone’s attention on him in such a way.

“Our relationship won’t change,” Ponds continued gently. “We’re still going to be close; we’re still going to be best friends, but this is just something more…something we’ll take slowly and take it as it comes.” Ponds gave a small smile, gently touching Windu’s shoulder. “But I just want you, Mace, there’s no one else I’ve ever cared for more.”

Windu gave a nod, taking in a deep breath.

Well, he did say he wanted to try to change things, to change the Jedi for the better, and seeing how happy and light Obi-Wan was since he had formed a relationship with Cody…well, it couldn’t be too bad.

Windu’s eyes drifted to Ponds once more. Ponds had been so understanding and so willing to go slow for him, even when knowing that Mace had no interest in sex.
Ponds just smiled warmly and reassuringly at him.

Ponds had said their relationship would still, more or less, be the same…just something more.

He wouldn’t mind trying it for Ponds.

 

Rex smiled warmly back at Bant as she settled down on the cushions, smiling warmly back at him.

“So how have you been, Rex?” Bant asked. “How has it been having Cody back?”

“It’s been good,” Rex said, smiling slightly before he hesitated, “but it brings back memories as well.”

Bant nodded in understanding. “Of course, he went through the worst of times with you and you’ll remember that when you see him…it’s not all bad,” Bant reassured him quickly. “I mean, you and Cody will be closer than ever, since you went fought and protected each other, but there’s still that lingering thought of what you actually went through when you look at him…am I correct?”

Rex gave a small nod, fidgeting.

“Cody saw me at my worst,” he said, voice hoarse. “He saw the first time Tris…” Rex broke off, horrified that he almost came out with that. Bant just tilted her head gently.

“The first time Tris hurt you?” she asked gently. Rex’s bottom lip trembled as he fisted his hands against his leg.

He gave a small nod, a hoarse sob breaking free of his control as he remembered that first time; the first time Tris raped him as Cody was forced to watch on, horrified.

“They made Cody watch,” Rex said, voice cracking. “Cody looked away at first but Tris started to get rough, started to hurt me and make me cry out in pain, just to force Cody to watch. Every time he closed his eyes or looked away, he hurt me more until Cody looked back.”

Rex swallowed harshly, not able to meet Bant’s gaze.

“I still remembered seeing how horrified Cody was, to see the pain in his eyes as he watched me get hurt…to see the fear cross his face as Tram told him what was going to happen to us,” Rex gave another rough sob, scrubbing at his face roughly. “I think that’s when it really hit me.”

“What did, Rex?” Bant asked gently.

“The pain that Tris caused me, I-I could get over it,” Rex said carefully. “We were trained on Kamino to push aside our pain, a-and I think I could have pushed that pain, that memory aside,” Rex took in a breath, not catching the look of worry that flashed across Bant’s face at that admission.

“The worst part was seeing Cody’s eyes, to see the horror and the fear as Tram told him our fate – that was when I knew we were in trouble,” Rex whispered, shuddering. “Cody doesn’t get scared and to see him so horrified…I knew we were in trouble.”

Bant just stared at him for a moment, gathering her thoughts.

“You’d push aside that pain?” she repeated gently. “How would you have coped with it, with the memory?”

Rex gave a jerky shrug. “We went through torture training on Kamino, we learnt quickly that if we didn’t find ways to cope, we wouldn’t survive – so many brothers didn’t survive.”

“Rex,” Bant whispered, somewhat horrified. “I know you believe that you should be able to just push this aside, but you went through severe trauma and it was continuous for several months. You’re coping a lot better than I believed you would, than a lot of people would have if they had been in the same situation…but this isn’t something you should push aside, it will fester otherwise.”

Rex nodded, shivering somewhat.

“I am very proud of you though, Rex,” Bant said gently, surprising Rex. She smiled sadly as he looked up, meeting her gaze with a surprised look across his face.

“I’m proud that you’re willing to talk about this, to help yourself overcome the trauma,” she continued, knowing she needed to praise Rex, knowing he and the other clones needed that positive affirmation. “I am so proud of the admission you made today, that you took that step to talk about it, despite the pain it brought you.”

“I-I feel scared,” Rex whispered. Bant shifted slowly, gently reaching her webbed hand out, though she held back, waiting for Rex to nod and give her permission before she finally rested her hand on his knee.

“I know, Rex,” Bant reassured him gently. “It takes a while for the fear to dissipate, but talking does help, though you may find yourselves with nightmares or flashbacks within the coming days. Sadly, whenever you try to overcome the trauma, it always tries to dig its hooks into you by making you relive it…but by talking, it does help, it may not seem like that at first but don’t give up on hope, don’t give up on yourself or your brothers.”

“I won’t,” Rex promised. Bant smiled at him warmly, patting his knee.

“We’ll leave it at that today, if you don’t want to talk anymore that is,” Bant said, tilting her head slightly. Rex shook his head, feeling exhausted.

“I-I think that’s enough,” he murmured. Bant nodded in understanding.

“Can I ask one final thing before we finish?” she asked. “You can refuse to answer me, you always have that right.”

Rex gave a nod.

“You said you knew it was bad when you saw the fear in Cody’s eyes,” Bant said carefully. “I take it Cody was always your rock?”

“Cody has always been brave,” Rex said, smiling slightly. “He doesn’t get scared easily, even on Kamino, even through torture training, Cody remained strong. I mean, you can tell when he’s worried when a battle is going wrong and his men and his Jedi were in danger, he had this worry in his eyes…but he was never fearful, not like he was then when Tram was whispering in his ear.”

Bant nodded thoughtfully. “Thank you, Rex, that will help when I talk to Cody tomorrow.”

Rex nodded again, smiling weakly.

“It does make me happy to see how close you are,” Bant told him as they stood up, stretching out. “There’s just something so pure about the love and adoration between you two.”

 

Fives slowly woke up, hearing water running. Yawning, he sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes tiredly as he looked around, fumbling for the chrono.

He sighed when he saw how early it was, looking around at the pitch black room. Fives’s eyes rested on the door to the ‘fresher, seeing light emitting from under the door. He stood up, carefully walking over.

“Rex?” he called gently as stood outside the door. He knew Rex was a little shaky after his appointment with Bant today. Rex had told him that he had told Bant about something that happened, something that he didn’t elaborate to Fives – Fives understood that Rex wasn’t comfortable talking about what happened and probably more so to Fives since Fives was his cyare, so he wasn’t going to push, not until Rex was ready.

Fives finally opened the door when he heard a choked sob.

His heart broke when he saw the scene in front of him.

Rex was sitting curled up on the bottom of the shower, hugging his knees close as the water rushed over him.

Cyar’ika,” Fives cooed softly as he knelt beside the shower, next to Rex. He didn’t reach out, allowing Rex to make the first move. He knew in situations like this sometimes Rex didn’t like to be touched, so allowing Rex to make the first move was always the best option.

“I-I need him off me,” Rex whimpered, curling up tighter. “I can still feel him on me.”

“Oh, Rex,” Fives murmured, heartbroken, before he moved onto reassuring Rex. “You’re safe, love,” Fives crooned gently. “He’s gone and can’t hurt you again.”

“I-I know, but I can still feel him on me,” Rex said, frustrated. Fives gave a small nod, though he couldn’t fully understand the sentiment. Fives just sat beside Rex, watching him quietly.

“Do you want me to sit with you, Rex?” Fives asked softly. Rex shook his head, glancing at Fives sadly.

“I-I just don’t want to be touched, Fives, I’m sorry.”

“Never apologize for that, cyar’ika,” Fives hushed him gently. “It’s okay to feel like that, you don’t need to apologize.”

Fives did take action though when he noticed Rex start to shiver. He reached into the shower, wincing as he felt the ice cold water that was hitting Rex’s skin like ice bullets. He stood up and turned the water off before reaching around and grabbing a large towel, draping it around Rex.

“Can you stand up, Rex?” Fives asked. “We need to get you dried off so you don’t get sick.”

Rex gave a shaky nod, standing up. Rex’s hands were shaking as he clutched at the towel around him, shivering quite madly. Fives watched as he struggled to hold onto the towel with his shaking and cold fingers.

“Can I help you?” Fives asked carefully. Rex glanced at Fives, his golden eyes looking over Fives warmly before he gave a shaky nod.

Fives carefully reached out, making sure his movements were slow so he didn’t startle Rex and so Rex could watch his every move, and gently took the towel. He gently dried Rex off, talking soothingly to him as he did, just trying to distract Rex as he dried him off.

“There we go,” Fives said, smiling warmly at Rex once he had him appropriately dried. “Let me get you your sleepwear, huh? The nice, cosy, warm set.”

Rex nodded and Fives quickly hurried out, grabbing the sleepwear set and coming back into the bathroom. Rex quickly dressed and Fives grabbed the towel again, rubbing it through Rex’s hair to dry it properly, making it soft and fluffy.

Fives looked over Rex now that he was dressed. He was wearing soft black sleepwear that Padme had brought him. The sleepwear was a pair of soft, almost fluffy, black pants and a long sleeve, button up black sleep shirt.

He looked nice and cosy and safe.

“Do you think you can come back to bed?” Fives asked instead, turning his gaze up to meet Rex’s, though Rex averted his eyes. Rex gave a small nod and Fives held out his hand. Rex gave a small, weak smile as he took Fives’s warm hand, grasping it tightly.

Fives let go once they got to the bed, climbing in. Rex hesitated for a moment before he climbed in as well.

Rex sat up for a moment, seeming hesitant, before he quickly shifted so he could curl up with Fives, shivering slightly. Fives wrapped an arm around him, though he kept it loose for Rex to pull back or away if he wanted to.

“Are you okay, Rex?” Fives asked gently as Rex buried his face into Fives’s chest.

“J-Just memories,” Rex mumbled, trembling. “B-Bant said t-that talking would bring back flashbacks b-but i-in the end, talking will be more helpful to overcome it.”

Fives nodded as he rubbed Rex’s back comfortingly.

“It will get better,” Fives said, voice quiet but promising. “You’re so brave, Rex, so brave.”

“D-Doesn’t feel like it,” Rex mumbled against Fives’s chest, nuzzling into his warm, bare skin.

“I know it doesn’t, but you are,” Fives promised. “You’re talking to someone so you can get better – I mean, how many of us are so scared of talking, to the point that brothers would rather take their own lives, but you’re talking so you can get better. Besides everything you just lived through, everything you survived, you’re talking about it despite the pain and memories it brings.”

Rex just remained silent, but he curled up tighter with Fives. Fives turned his head, pressing a kiss against Rex’s temple.

“You’re safe now, Rex,” Fives reassured him. “I’ve got your back and I’ll always be here for you.”

“I love you, Rayshe’a,’ Rex whispered against Fives’s skin. Fives startled slightly before he smiled warmly and loving at Rex as Rex peeked up at him.

“I love you too, Rex, always,” Fives promised him. He held Rex close as he felt Rex drift off to sleep against his chest, lulled to sleep by Fives’s heart beat and comforting warmth.
He stared at Rex’s blond hair, watching as Rex’s back rose and fell steadily as he slept.

Fives truly did love him and he knew, no matter how hard things got, no matter how bad the flashbacks and nightmares became as Rex opened up more about the horrors he went through as a pleasure slave, he knew that he would never leave Rex’s side.

He would never give up on him, never let Rex feel like he was alone or unloved.

He loved him too much, no matter what Rex was forced to go through, he would never think less of him for that.

Fives thought Rex was one of the bravest, strongest men he had ever met…and he felt so lucky to have him in his life, so that was why he would stay by Rex’s side, through the best times and through the worst times.

It was what love was about.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan hummed to himself as he made breakfast for himself and Cody, looking up and smiling warmly at Cody as he appeared from the bedroom, groggily rubbing his eyes.

“Morning, love,” Obi-Wan greeted softly. “How did you sleep?”

Cody sat down heavily at the table, yawning as he nodded, his hand scratching sleepily at the soft sleep shirt he was wearing.

“Fine,” Cody said, voice still heavy with sleep. Obi-Wan carried over their breakfast, placing the plate in front of Cody before he went back to the kitchen to grab the glasses of juice. Cody smiled thankfully as he took the glass from Obi-Wan.

“Are you ready for your session with Bant today?” Obi-Wan asked as he started his breakfast. Cody gave a small shrug.

“I guess,” he sighed. “I’m just nervous.”

“I know, love, I know,” Obi-Wan smiled warmly at him. “Are you okay to do this though? I don’t want to force you if you’re not ready.”

“No, I want to try it,” Cody said, giving a shaky smile. “Rex says she’s helping, so I want to try it.”

Obi-Wan nodded, both of them lapsing into easy conversation as they finished their breakfast. Obi-Wan tidied up as Cody went to shower and get dressed for the day. He could feel Cody’s nervousness through their bond – which he had reopened as soon as he had received the call from Cody – and smiled sadly, glancing at the door to their bedroom.

He knew Cody was nervous about talking about what happened and he didn’t blame him. He struggled to talk about Melida/Daan for months afterwards, he struggled to talk about what happened to Qui-Gon for years afterwards. Obi-Wan couldn’t even begin to think about the horror Cody went through, to even comprehend what he had suffered and he would never try to pretend that he knew what Cody went through.

“You all right, Obi?”

Obi-Wan turned at the soft voice, seeing Cody standing there, looking concerned.

“You had that look on your face,” Cody continued as he came to stand beside Obi-Wan, leaning against the bench. “What were you thinking?”

“Just about you,” Obi-Wan said, smiling at him, before he turned to him. “I just wanted you to know that you don’t need to feel pressured to talk, that you have the right to say no whenever you want.”

Cody smiled warmly at him, taking Obi-Wan’s and interlacing his fingers with his.

“Thanks, Obi,” Cody murmured.

“Do you want me to walk you to your appointment?” Obi-Wan asked. Cody gave a small nod.

“Please,” Cody said quietly, giving a shiver. Obi-Wan squeezed his hand reassuringly, smiling at him.

“Let’s go, dear one.”

They walked down the hallways of the Temple, heading towards the room Bant had booked for her sessions with Cody and Rex.

“I heard Tup has become popular amongst the younglings,” Obi-Wan told Cody, chuckling fondly. “They love playing with his hair apparently.”

“He’s a good kid,” Cody agreed. “It’s hard not to love him.”

They stopped outside of the room, with Obi-Wan turning to Cody.

“Are you going to stay with me?” Cody asked quietly. Obi-Wan shook his head.

“No, this is something you need to do without me,” Obi-Wan told him. “Bant is lovely, she’ll take care of you.”

“What will you do?”

“Go check on Anakin, see how he’s going,” Obi-Wan said. “I understand if you want some time after the session to decompress, so just let me know when you’re ready for me to come back.”

Cody gave a small nod, both of them turning at the sound of footsteps.

“Bant,” Obi-Wan greeted the Mon Calamari warmly as she stopped beside them.

“Stubborn nerf,” Bant greeted back fondly before she turned her attention to Cody. “And you must be Cody.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Bant smiled at him. “Just call me Bant, Cody, please.”

“I’ll leave you two to it,” Obi-Wan said, gently touching Cody’s back. “Let me know when you’re done, love.”

“Sure,” Cody said, nodding. Obi-Wan smiled once more before he left, knowing Cody was in good hands with Bant.

“Come on in, Cody,” Bant said as she opened the door. “Get comfortable.”

Cody walked into the room, blinking at the soft piles of cushions and small water fountain in the corner that was trickling along soothingly.

“Rex was surprised by the room as well,” Bant laughed softly as she walked around Cody to settle on her own pile of cushions. “He was expecting white walls and hard furniture.”

“I was expecting that too,” Cody admitted as he lowered himself on a pile of cushions, getting comfortable.

“I prefer using the meditation rooms,” Bant said. “They’re more comforting and soothing.”

Cody nodded, trying to calm his nervous beating heart.

Bant smiled reassuringly at him. “I know this is new for you, so we’re going to take it nice and slowly.”

“Y-Yeah, Rex said you don’t push,” Cody said quietly. Bant nodded.

“I don’t believe in pushing you if I can tell you’re not ready,” Bant reassured him. “Making you speak and relive events before you’re ready causes more harm than good, so we’ll go at your pace.”

Cody nodded, swallowing nervously.

“So how are you going, Cody?” Bant asked. “How have you found being back with Obi-Wan and your brothers?”

“It’s taking some getting used to,” Cody admitted, “but I’m glad I’m home.”

Bant nodded thoughtfully.

“I-It’s hard though,” Cody continued, heart thumping madly as he just wanted to get this out. “It doesn’t…it doesn’t feel real, like I’m going to wake up and I’ll be back there.”

“You’ve been away for so long, it will take a while for you to get used to being back, to get back into the groove of things, but you will,” Bant reassured him. “How is your recovery from the spice going?”

Cody stiffened at that, looking at Bant with wide-eyes.

“I am a Healer, Cody, I’ve read your file so I could see how your health is,” Bant said softly. “I won’t pry into the reason why you were given the spice, I just want to know how you’re coping with the after-effects.”

“I still have shakes,” Cody admitted, staring at his hands as he flexed them, “but the medication that Healer Che gave me is helping.”

Bant nodded once more, seeming to gather her thoughts before she met Cody’s gaze once more.

“Can you tell me what makes you uncomfortable at the moment?” Bant asked him gently. “It’s just so I know what to be careful of.”

Cody hesitated for a moment before breathing in deeply and looking at Bant. “People being angry and yelling,” Cody started to list quietly.

“Why does that scare you?”

“Because that’s when I got hurt,” whispered Cody. Bant nodded, not pushing that further.

“Anything else? Being touched or certain words?”

“I think I’m okay with touch as long as I know it’s coming,” Cody said carefully. “I-I don’t like the word ‘Master’.”

Bant nodded once again.

“Okay, so with touch,” she started, “you’re okay as long as no one touches you without you seeing them so you can be prepared for it?”

Cody nodded.

“Well, that helps greatly, Cody, thank you,” Bant said, voice praising. “How have you been sleeping?”

 

Obi-Wan smiled at Fives as Fives opened the door, smiling tiredly back.

“Skywalker and Echo aren’t here,” Fives told him, stepping aside to let Obi-Wan in. “Rex…Rex had a tough night.”

Obi-Wan looked to Fives in concern. “Is he okay? Where is he?”

“He’s sleeping,” Fives said quietly. “He opened up to Bant yesterday and it left him with nightmares and flashbacks. I woke up to him sitting in the shower, not wanting to be touched.”

Obi-Wan frowned at that, rubbing his beard. “He doesn’t like to be held after nightmares?”

“He does occasionally, but there are times he just doesn’t want to be touched,” Fives said, cocking his head slightly. “Doesn’t Cody do that? I-I mean, I kinda expect it after everything they’ve gone through. Sometimes Rex doesn't want to be touched, other times he's very clingy.”

Obi-Wan gave a small shake of his head. “Cody has never said anything about not wanting to be touched,” he said slowly. “I do make sure he sees me moving towards him or I ask him beforehand just so he knows it’s me.”

Fives shrugged as he sat down.

“I guess everyone reacts differently to different things,” Fives said, prompting Obi-Wan to nod thoughtfully, though he was still concerned about Cody now.

He resolved to speak about it with Cody once they were back in the apartment.

“Do you know where Anakin and Echo are then?” Obi-Wan asked, changing the subject.

“Yeah, they’re in Skywalker’s apartment,” Fives answered with a sad smile. “Torrent decided to go visit the barracks since Rex isn’t up for visitors today.”

Obi-Wan nodded, reaching out with the Force to check on Rex. Rex felt uneasy, even as he dreamed, so Obi-Wan sent a calming wave to him, hoping to ease his discomfort and fear.

“He seems to be sleeping deeply,” Obi-Wan said, watching as Fives’s eyebrows raised in surprise before he smirked, chuckling softly as he muttered, “Force things.”

“Though he does feel a little uneasy and a bit fearful,” Obi-Wan continued, watching as Fives glanced over his shoulder towards the bedroom door, frowning worriedly. Obi-Wan’s heart warmed at the pure look of concern in Fives’s golden eyes, knowing just how much Fives loved and adored Rex. He stepped forward and placed his hand on Fives’s shoulder.

“I’ll leave you to take care of him,” Obi-Wan said, smiling reassuringly. Fives nodded, smiling back at Obi-Wan as Obi-Wan turned and quietly left. Fives sighed once the door closed behind him.

He got to his feet and walked into the bedroom, seeing Rex curled around the pillow, the blankets tangled around his legs as though he had been tossing and turning. Fives toed his shoes off before he carefully climbed into the bed, resting his head on the pillow beside Rex’s. Rex’s nose scrunched up slightly as he felt movement, but otherwise stayed fast asleep.

Fives smiled softly as he examined Rex’s face, taking in the sharp cheekbones and the ridiculously long eyelashes resting against his cheeks as he slept. Rex was one of the few vode who ended up with long, dark eyelashes compared to the others. They framed his golden-brown eyes, making the colour within them seem deeper.

Fives’s eyes continued their journey as he took in each small, faint freckle sporadically placed across Rex’s face, though there were a few across the bridge of his nose. His gaze drifted to Rex’s soft lips which were parted slightly as he dreamed before he traced the faint scar across Rex’s chin with his finger.

Rex snuffled slightly, twitching as Fives’s finger lightly traced his scar, his golden-brown eyes tiredly blinking open. He smiled tiredly at Fives, shifting closer so he could rest his forehead against Fives’s, sighing contently.

“You okay, Rex’ika?” Fives murmured gently as he shifted his hand to gently rub up and down Rex’s arm. Rex gave a tired hum, nodding slightly.

“Yeah, tired,” Rex mumbled, eyes fluttering shut. “Stay with me?”

Fives smiled at him, snuggling closer. Rex hummed contently at that, wriggling closer so he was held closely and comfortingly in Fives’s arms.

“I’ve got you,” Fives promised quietly, smiling as Rex gently pressed a quick kiss to his mouth. “I’ve always got you.”

 

Obi-Wan soon found himself in Anakin’s apartment, watching as Anakin and Echo poured over the datapads, grumbling to each other as they jabbed at the screens. He shook his head fondly as he went to open the door when it chimed. Mace was standing there, feeling oddly at ease in the Force, as he smiled in greeting at Obi-Wan.

“Both of them still attached to the datapads?” Mace asked as he followed Obi-Wan inside.

“Of course.”

Windu paused by the table, looking over their work.

“How is it going?” he asked.

“We’re trying to figure out frequencies to use to make the chip breakdown, but there’s so many we have to test,” Echo sighed heavily, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

“And we haven’t gotten any further in decoding this language!” Anakin growled, frustrated. “No programs recognize it!”

Windu gave a nod. “You two need to have a break,” he said.

“But, Master!” Anakin started to protest when Windu held up his hand, giving a small shake of his head.

“You’re both tired and frustrated and that makes it easy to miss things,” Windu said carefully. “I know this is important, but you do need to take a break every now and again so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.”

“He’s right, you know,” Obi-Wan added, voice soothing.

“Also, I thought it’d be a good time to have a break since Wolffe is being deployed tomorrow, Echo, so I thought you’d want to spend some time with him,” Windu said. Echo’s eyes widened and he gave a nod, looking to Anakin who smiled at him.

“Have fun, Echo,” Anakin murmured, watching as Echo quickly got to his feet, smiling shyly at Windu and Obi-Wan before he hurried off to find Wolffe. Anakin sighed as he leaned back in his chair, stretching out his long limbs.

“And I have a plan for you and Obi-Wan, Skywalker,” Windu said, smirking slightly. Anakin exchanged a look with Obi-Wan.

“Should I be scared?” Anakin joked, feeling more at ease with Windu knowing that the man didn’t hate him.

Windu’s smirk grew. “A little,” he said. “Since we’re lying to the Chancellor about why you can’t go see him…and for good reason,” Windu added, seeing Anakin’s unease. “I thought we’d actually make truth of the lie and have you and Obi-Wan do a sparring demonstration for the Initiates.”

“So…not teaching?”

Windu snorted. “A bit of teaching while you spar each other.”

“That sounds perfect,” Obi-Wan said, smiling.

“You’re only saying that because they like you,” Anakin said with a grin.

“All the Initiates can’t stop talking about either of you,” Windu grumbled. “Always wanting to be ‘The Negotiator’ or the ‘Hero with No Fear’,” he teased.

“Hey, don’t diss the name,” Anakin laughed. “I didn’t choose it!”

“Ah, pity the public didn’t see you as a youngling,” Windu smirked, a teasing grin pulling at the corner of his lips. “I lost count of how many times I found you asleep or stuck in weird places.”

“Far too many,” Obi-Wan agreed, shaking his head. Anakin rolled his eyes as he stood up.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, now are we going to show these Initiates how it’s done or not?” Anakin said, hands on hips.

“They’ll be in Training Salle C, enjoy yourselves,” Windu said, grinning.

Obi-Wan and Anakin left soon after that, leaving Windu to have a look at the datapads himself.

“Is it just me or is he a lot more easy going?” Anakin asked as they walked down the hallways.

“That’s pretty much what Mace is actually like with his close friends,” Obi-Wan told him. “Though he does seem more at ease, happier to joke and tease. I’m curious as to what’s happened.”

“You don’t think he and Ponds, ya know…?” Anakin said, waggling his eyebrows as he elbowed Obi-Wan in the side.

“Anakin!” Obi-Wan groaned, shaking his head and elbowing Anakin back. “Mace isn’t like that. He’s not interested in having sex.”

“Ugh, that’s a mental image that I could have done without,” Anakin said, shuddering. Obi-Wan looked to Anakin, eyebrow raised, chuckling with mirth.

“Are you imagining Mace having sex with Ponds?”

“Urghhh, Obi-Wan, stop putting the images in my head!” Anakin groaned, pressing the heels of the palms of his hands against his eyes as though that would drive the images out. Obi-Wan laughed at his brother’s horror.

“So, did you go see Padme last night?” Obi-Wan asked, sparing his brother from any more teasing.

“Yeah, she said she’d been here earlier but that was when Echo and I were testing frequencies,” Anakin said, happy for the change of subject. “I didn’t tell her what we were doing,” Anakin said carefully. “I trust her, I mean, I trust her with my life and I’d trust her to keep this a secret…but I don’t want it being used against her or her becoming involved if the, uh, mastermind behind this all senses something is up,” Anakin finished, keeping everything vague as they were walking through the Temple with the chance of being overheard by gossips.

Obi-Wan nodded in understanding. “I get that,” he agreed. “I’d trust Bail as well, but we don’t want to put them in danger and the slightest wrong wording or slip up could tip off whoever is behind this.”

They cut off talk about the chips as they approached the training salle, already hearing the chatter of excited Initiates within.

“Hey, Skyguy, Obi-Wan!” a cheerful voice greeted. Anakin turned to Obi-Wan in surprise as Ahsoka approached.

“She’s calling you ‘Obi-Wan’?” he asked, surprised.

“The term Master is making Cody uneasy, so I’ve asked Ahsoka to just call me by my name,” Obi-Wan explained as Ahsoka and Barriss Offee approached, with Barriss staring at Ahsoka in horror that she had called a Council Member by his name.

“Ah, I see,” Anakin murmured. “I understand that.”

Obi-Wan rested a hand on Anakin’s shoulder briefly as a dark look passed over Anakin’s blue eyes. He understood that Anakin’s past was still a hard issue for him, not that Obi-Wan blamed him, it was actually something he truly understood.

“You can’t call a Council Member by his name!” Barriss was hissing at Ahsoka as they got closer.

“I asked her to, Padawan Offee,” Obi-Wan said with a smile. “It is quite all right.”

“What are you doing here, Snips?” Anakin asked, diverting that topic for now. Ahsoka grinned.

“I heard you and Obi-Wan were giving a sparring demonstration and we couldn’t miss that,” Ahsoka said.

“Well, we mustn’t keep the Initiates waiting if you’re going to watch,” Obi-Wan said, leading them into the room. The room immediately fell into silence as Obi-Wan and Anakin walked onto the mats, with Ahsoka and Barriss scrambling to the viewing area with the Initiates.

“Good afternoon, Initiates,” Obi-Wan greeted. “As you have been told, myself and Master Skywalker will be giving a sparring demonstration today. We’ll be telling you about the different forms we use and how to defend yourself against lightsaber wielding opponents.”

“Like Count Dooku?” a shy voice asked.

“Well, hopefully you never meet him, but yes, like him,” Obi-Wan said reassuringly.

“We’ll show how it’s done,” Anakin said, grinning at them all.

“All right, Anakin, all right,” Obi-Wan chuckled. “Training lightsabers?”

“I’d rather not lose another limb,” Anakin retorted. Obi-Wan rolled his eyes but grabbed his own lightsaber off his belt and held out his hand for Anakin’s.

“Ahsoka, could you hold these, please?” Obi-Wan asked before floating the lightsabers to her. “Nobody tell Master Yoda I did that, I’d rather not be whacked across the shins.”

Anakin gave a theatrical gasp as the Initiates all giggled to another, “But, Master Obi-Wan, that was a blatant misuse of the Force.”

Obi-Wan gave him an unimpressed look. “Shall we list all the times you did that then, my old Padawan?”

“Yeah, perhaps not.”

“That’s what I thought,” Obi-Wan smirked. “For that you can go over and grab the training sabers.”

Anakin poked his tongue out at Obi-Wan, gaining giggles from the Initiates.

“Which ones do you want?” he called out once he reached the wall. “Numbing or stinging?”

“Go with stinging,” Obi-Wan called back as he shrugged his outer robe off, floating that over to one of the Initiates who grabbed it and hugged it tightly. Anakin walked over with two training sabers he knew would fit Obi-Wan and himself, knowing the type of weight and grip Obi-Wan preferred.

“Catch,” Anakin called, tossing the lightsaber he had chosen for Obi-Wan over. Obi-Wan caught it easily, activating it. He twirled it around a bit, getting a feel for it, as he checked his bond with Cody just to make sure he was okay.

Cody was feeling a bit nervous and unsure, but he seemed to be okay, sending out reassurance to him back across their bond.

Obi-Wan turned his focus back on Anakin, who was watching him closely. Obi-Wan nodded to him as he focused his attention on the upcoming spar.

It would be good to stop him worrying about Cody for a little while at least.

“So here is when you get into your opening posture for an upcoming fight,” Obi-Wan started. “I know it sounds odd since you’ll be fighting against someone who probably wants to kill you, but even they will do it. It’s good for centering yourself but it also allows you to observe for your opponent for however brief a time.”

“Both yourself and your opponent will use this brief moment to measure each other up,” Anakin continued. “It’s then when you decide whether you go on the offense or defense.”

“I tend to favour defensive when I start so I can get a measure of my opponent,” Obi-Wan explained. “This is why I choose Soresu as my opening form.”

“I’m more of an attack now ask questions later kind of person,” Anakin joked. “That is why I use Djem So.”

“What do you think, Anakin?” Obi-Wan asked as they circled each other on the mat. “First to ten hits or first to tap out?”

“First to tap out,” Anakin grinned.

And with that they both flew at each other to the gasps of the Initiates.

They both teased each other as they continued to spar, blocking each other’s attacks, trying to be the one who refused to tap out.

“You don’t need to stick to one form while you fight,” Obi-Wan continued to lecture as he effortlessly countered against Anakin’s attacks. “You will mix and match different forms and different moves to suit the fight, the terrain and your opponent.”

Obi-Wan leapt over Anakin at that, spinning in mid-air to land a hit against Anakin’s rear, sending him jumping forward with a yelp. Obi-Wan grinned, lazily twirling his lightsaber as Anakin turned to face him, scowling playfully as he rubbed his stinging rump.

“Oh, it’s on, old man.”

Anakin flew at Obi-Wan and the fight was on once again.

“This is a reason why it’s good to be open with your forms,” Obi-Wan spoke up, making Anakin groan as he deflected another hit. “If you stick with just one your movements become predictable…,” Obi-Wan hissed slightly as Anakin managed to glance a blow against Obi-Wan’s bicep. “Good hit, Anakin.”

The spar continued in the same fashion, getting quicker and more fierce with every passing moment, with Obi-Wan and Anakin trying to one-up the other while throwing kid-friendly jibes and teasing each other, while teaching the Initiates at the same time.

It was Obi-Wan who made the winning move, managing to hit Anakin’s wrist and leaping up to kick the lightsaber hilt out of Anakin’s hand as the sting of the training saber loosened his grip.

“Solah,” Anakin sighed as the tip of Obi-Wan’s lightsaber rested at his throat. Obi-Wan pulled back, panting, grinning at Anakin, who was breathing heavily as well.

“Good spar, Anakin,” Obi-Wan praised. “I thought you had me at a few points.”

“I’ll get you one day,” Anakin promised with a grin. Obi-Wan chuckled as he turned to the wide-eyed Initiates.

“Anakin and I used different forms and different variations today,” Obi-Wan told them. “Even though we’ve fought and trained side-by-side for years now, with different forms to call upon, you can never quite tell what the other will do or what they’ll choose to use next.”

“All great Knights and Masters won’t rely on just one form,” Anakin agreed. “We have our chosen base form, of course, but we adapt and grow and mix our forms from there to find what suits us best, what suits that situation best.”

“Very sound advice.”

“Master Drallig,” Obi-Wan greeted, giving a small bow. Drallig gave a small bow back.

“You have several forms to use,” Drallig continued. “Each form has their own unique movements and manoeuvres, using a mixture of these keeps you more open to adapt…however that does not mean that you should try use all of these movements in one battle, there are forms that some of you won’t be able to master due to numerous reasons, but learn the forms you can master well, to the point of perfection if you can. It will keep you alive.”

“Very ominous,” Anakin muttered to Obi-Wan, who bit back a smile.

“Why shouldn’t we aim to master them all?” an Initiate piped up.

“There are some forms that don’t suit you and would cause you more liabilities if you tried,” Drallig explained. “Yes, you should try every single one of them so you can use them if need be, but at the end of the day mastering three to four of the forms to switch between is the best option.”

“Why won’t some forms suit us?”

“Let’s take Jar’kai for example,” Drallig spoke up. “Young Ahsoka here uses Jar’kai while many Knights would struggle, despite them having mastered Ataru. She finds having two lightsabers suits her better, while others struggle with that, preferring just the one. It is wise to learn how to use two lightsabers though, you never know when that situation will arise, though very few will master that ability.”

Anakin smiled at Ahsoka as she flushed under Drallig’s subtle praise.

“I believe you’re taking over this class now, Master Drallig?” Obi-Wan asked.

“Yes, they are my next class, thank you for that demonstration.”

“Any time,” Obi-Wan said, giving the training sabers to Anakin to put away as he went to retrieve his robe and their lightsabers.

Ahsoka and Barriss quickly scrambled to them as they left the training salle.

“That was so cool!” Ahsoka laughed. “You should have heard some of the Initiates, they were amazed at how fast you two move!”

“Yes, they were quite taken aback at how hard you went at each other too,” Barriss agreed. “I believe they are a little awestruck.”

“We aim to please,” Anakin grinned as he took his lightsaber back from Ahsoka, hanging it onto his belt.

They split up shortly after with Ahsoka dragging Barriss off to get something to eat while Anakin decided to go back to his apartment to take another look at the chips.

 

Obi-Wan headed back to his apartment, smiling as opened the door to find Cody sitting on the couch. Cody smiled weakly at him as Obi-Wan came to sit beside him.

“How was your session?” he asked gently.

“It was different,” Cody admitted, “but Bant is nice.”

“She definitely is,” Obi-Wan murmured in agreement. Cody leaned against Obi-Wan’s side, sighing.

“Cody,” Obi-Wan started hesitantly.

“Mm?”

“Are you okay with me touching you?”

Cody pulled back at that question, looking at Obi-Wan in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“I spoke to Fives earlier and he told me that Rex had a bad night and just didn’t want to be touched,” Obi-Wan explained carefully, grey eyes watching Cody’s expressions. “Y-You’d tell me if you didn’t want me to touch you, right? You don’t let me touch you when you’re uncomfortable because you don’t think you have a choice, do you?”

Cody shook his head vehemently, grabbing Obi-Wan’s hands tightly.

“Obi-Wan, I’m fine with you touching me,” Cody told him firmly. “I know that if I wasn’t comfortable, you wouldn’t force it. I see it every time you move your hand towards mine slowly so I have a chance to pull away if I want; I know it when you ask my permission through our bond for you to touch my hair. You’re not forcing me, Obi-Wan, I promise.”

Obi-Wan sighed, relieved. “I was just worried,” he admitted. “Rex doesn’t want to be touched a bit and I was worried that I was forcing you.”

“You’re not forcing me, Obi,” Cody reassured him. “I-I feel reassured when you touch me, just to hold my hand or stroke my hair, b-because it just reaffirms that you still want me…and I want that to continue because you’re the only one who doesn’t treat me like I’m going to break,” Cody rushed on as he saw Obi-Wan open his mouth. “I know you said you’d never leave me, but just feeling the small touches, so simple and innocent, it makes me feel loved, and it makes me feel safe because I know it’s you.”

“I was scared I was pushing you too soon.”

“We all heal differently,” Cody murmured, giving a weak smile. “You taught me that, remember, when you compared Wolffe losing his eye to Anakin losing his arm? Rex and I just have different ways of coping. He doesn’t want to be touched while I want to be held and reassured that I’m safe and I’m loved. He bakes when I just want to curl up under blankets and not move. We cope in different ways.”

Obi-Wan smiled at him, reaching up to gently cup Cody’s cheek in his hand. Cody nuzzled his face into Obi-Wan’s warm, calloused palm, pressing a kiss to his palm.

“Promise me you’ll let me know if anything makes you uncomfortable,” Obi-Wan asked him quietly.

“I promise, Obi, no matter what,” Cody promised. Obi-Wan smiled warmly at him as his thumb gently rubbed against Cody’s cheekbone.

“Kiss me?” Cody asked.

“Always,” Obi-Wan promised, leaning forward to press his lips against Cody’s, feeling Cody relax.

Chapter Text

Mace smiled to himself as he uploaded the recording to the holo page. He had given a recording device to one of the Initiates who were watching Anakin’s and Obi-Wan’s sparring lesson just to catch this sort of footage.

Obi-Wan and Anakin were beloved by the Republic, mostly, and it was good to just see them banter and laugh as they sparred one another, while also simultaneously teaching the Initiates. It would be good for the Republic to see them like this, especially when the footage was paired with the awed, hushed commentary of the Initiates.

“What’s got you smiling?” Ponds asked as he settled down beside him on the couch, yawning. Mace shifted the datapad so Ponds could see the video. Ponds snorted as he watched the two figures sparring on the screen.

“Nice,” Ponds snorted, shaking his head.

“I thought it’d be good,” Mace said, finishing up the upload of the video. “It showcases what some of our training is like, but it also gives Skywalker a solid alibi if Palpatine becomes suspicious.”

“What do you mean?” Ponds asked curiously.

“Skywalker hasn’t felt comfortable around the Chancellor for some months now and has tried to limit the time he’s alone with that man,” Mace explained. “Lately if he hasn’t been able to come up with an excuse, Ahsoka has been accompanying under the guise of learning more about politics – though we haven’t told her the real reason either. Amidala has also been making excuses to steal Skywalker away or to integrate herself into the conversation.”

“How does the teaching help?” Ponds asked.

“One of Skywalker’s excuses to the Chancellor was that he was teaching classes or helping demonstrate in classes with Obi-Wan,” Mace continued. “I don’t blame Skywalker for trying to distance himself either, that man feels more colder and condescending every time I see him.”

Ponds nodded in agreement, shuddering slightly. “S-Something about him puts me on edge,” Ponds admitted. “Even before he threatened to have me reconditioned. A lot of the vode, even on the Coruscant Guard, feel the same. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Fox and Thorn say how uneasy they’ve felt when they were assigned to guard him…and Fox is a hard-ass.”

Mace nodded contemplatively.

“What does Skywalker sense when he’s near the Chancellor?” Ponds asked curiously. “What’s made him pull back from him? I mean, Skywalker used to always go to the Chancellor for everything, all the vode knew that.” Ponds hesitated slightly and Mace tilted his head, catching the slight hesitation across Ponds’s face.

“Ponds?” he questioned gently.

“There were whispered, hushed discussions amongst some of the vode, namely between the Coruscant Guard and some of the Commanders less likely to blab about the nature of the relationship between the Chancellor and Skywalker,” Ponds admitted carefully. “There were concerns with the Chancellor’s interests with Skywalker, I mean, we all heard about how he took interest in him from a young age, then we saw Skywalker literally drop whatever he was doing to go to the Chancellor when he called.”

Mace frowned. “What are you trying to say, Ponds? What were you all concerned about?”

“There were trainers on Kamino who…who took an interest in some of us when we were cadets,” Ponds explained carefully, looking at his hands. “We didn’t know what was truly happening until Jango found out what was happening and stormed into one of our joint training sessions and executed the trainers where they stood.”

“Ponds,” Mace whispered, horrified.

“They were grooming cadets,” Ponds said hoarsely. “They didn’t count on Jango caring as much as he did, to getting that cadet to open up and reassure him that he hadn’t done anything wrong, that he wasn’t in trouble.”

“T-They groomed you?” Mace said, eyes wide. Ponds blinked, looking up to see Mace had paled as he stared at Ponds with large brown eyes. Ponds reached out to squeeze Mace’s large hand reassuringly.

“Not me, Mace,” Ponds murmured. “I was one of Jango’s brood, they wouldn’t risk it with one of us…but there were a few of the other command clones they started to groom.”

“How did Jango find out? Are your brothers okay?”

“They didn’t get as far as you feared, Mace,” Ponds reassured him, “they had only really started, making the cadets touch them…but Jango had a suspicion about them and started talking to one of the vode, just reassuring him that he wasn’t in trouble and that he shouldn’t be afraid to speak up if something didn’t feel right.”

Mace swore under his breath, running his hand over his head in shock.

Kark,” Mace whispered, voice shaking with horror.

“Jango stopped it before anything truly bad happened,” Ponds reassured him, “but you get why the vode were worried when they heard about this relationship between Skywalker and Palpatine.”

“We never wanted to allow it,” Mace admitted, “but he was the Chancellor and we couldn’t refuse his order, so we kept a close eye on them in the beginning, for the first year or so, just to make sure nothing untoward was happening. It just seemed that Palpatine wanted to mentor the young hero that saved his planet.”

“And he was, until recently,” Ponds murmured. Mace gave a small nod.

“Skywalker went to talk to him shortly after Rex and Cody was kidnapped,” Mace explained quietly. “Palpatine kept brushing Anakin’s concerns asides and blamed Rex for getting himself captured.”

Ponds snarled under his breath at that and Mace gently grabbed his shoulder, squeezing reassuringly.

“Skywalker sensed something wasn’t right and pulled up his shields,” Mace continued. “He then managed to override Skywalker’s comm to contact him and was bad mouthing Obi-Wan to him.”

“Something’s gotta be done about him, Mace,” Ponds said, shaking his head in disgust.

“Let us get you all safe first before we look into him,” Mace told him, glancing at the datapad as it beeped, signalling the upload had finished.

“Things are going to change, Ponds,” Mace said, a small thoughtful frown on his face. Ponds smiled as he saw the somewhat blank gaze, knowing Mace had sunk into the Force and was seeing something that Ponds couldn’t begin to comprehend.

“Something’s about to change.”

 

Palpatine snarled as he watched the recording on that blasted Jedi and Clone holo channel.

It had only been uploaded an hour ago but already had millions of views and that number was steadily increasing with every passing second.

It was infuriating to watch, to see Skywalker laughing with Kenobi, a look of deep trust in his eyes as he and Kenobi stared at each other as they sparred, bantering playfully.

He needed to get them separated. He was losing his grip on Skywalker, who was constantly making excuses or when he did finally manage to get Skywalker into the Senate building, someone always interrupted.

Palpatine growled as he watched the comments appear on the video, all positive and gushing over Skywalker and Kenobi, before he angrily exited the page.

He needed to get them back out on the front, somewhere where he could arrange an accident for Kenobi. That would surely rip Skywalker into pieces.

And then, of course, there was the issue of the clones.

Palpatine leaned back thoughtfully.

He knew Skywalker cared for his ex-Captain. Skywalker used the clone as an excuse, saying that he wanted to be there for him, to help him settle back into his life of freedom.
Palpatine sneered at that.

If only Skywalker knew what was lurking in the clones’ brains.

Palpatine shook his head, ridding himself of that thought. That would come when it was time, but he needed to get Skywalker back on his side.

So, a plan to get Kenobi killed was definitely on the cards, but Kenobi was so damn slippery, it was maddening!

There was also the clone that Skywalker cared for.

If something were to happen to him, maybe if he was taken by the GAR, deemed compromised, and decommissioned, it was cause Skywalker to give into his anger as his ‘friend’ was taken from him.

Palpatine smirked.

Yes, that would do.

Now the only question was how to get his hands on that blond clone as the Jedi were keeping him in the Temple. Palpatine pressed the commlink on his desk.

Let him be the kindly old man just wanting to check on the wellbeing of the clone.

“Commander Fox,” Palpatine said once it was answered. “I have a job for you.”

 

Drallig stood by the Temple Guards, arms crossed as he considered the red painted clone in front of him.

“No,” Drallig said simply.

“But, sir, the Chancellor requests…” the clone began to say.

“Commander Fox,” Drallig interrupted him. “Rex and Cody are under the protection of the Jedi Temple. They are both recovering from a traumatic experience and they are not leaving until they are cleared by the Healers.”

Fox sighed as he took off his helmet, running a hand through his hair.

“I know, sir, but I had to pass on this request,” Fox told him. Drallig nodded.

“You know the Jedi Temple is considered a religious place by the Republic,” Drallig continued. “Rex and Cody are under the protection of Sanctuary, meaning the GAR can’t harm them nor can the Chancellor demand they be dragged in front of him. It’s even a law, so he cannot take them by force and he knows this.”

“The Chancellor…”

“You know as I well as I do, Fox, that this so called ‘request’ is an order for Rex and Cody to appear in front of him,” Drallig answered. Fox gave a small nod, glancing around.

“I will relay that information to the Chancellor,” Fox said, before glancing around furtively once more, leaning in a bit closer to Drallig. “The Chancellor is angry,” Fox murmured to him. “Take care of them.”

“They will be well protected with us,” Drallig promised. Fox nodded once more, straightening up. He gave a curt nod before he jammed his helmet on and marched off, steeling himself to face the Chancellor.

Though as Drallig said, the Temple was under a law of Protection, the Chancellor could not break the law for his own whims.

 

Jek leaned over the walkway, watching his target closely. He sighed as his comm chimed, thinking it was another spam call from people trying to waste his time.

“What?” he growled into it, eyes still glued to his target as he walked, following them closely.

Jekhart, right?

Jek froze at that. He went by an alias as he applied for bounty jobs, only giving his nickname in the rare cases. Only a handful of people knew his true name and he knew he hadn't told whoever this caller was.

“Who is this?” Jek asked, though he kept his eyes on his target.

A friend,” answered a voice that seemed familiar to him, though he couldn’t quite place it. “I know of your last job and what occurred there. I know you fell in love with your target.

“What is this about?!” Jek demanded. “Stop talking in riddles!”

I know you want to protect him and I’m in need of your services,” the voice said calmly.

“What’s the job?”

Comms aren’t safe,” came the reply. “I want to talk to you face to face, to see if you truly care about Tup or if it’s an act.

“How do you know his name!?”

I know many things, Jek, but believe me when I say that I am an ally, a friend, and all I want to do is protect the clones from those wanting to hurt them. What do you say, Jek? Do you want to protect Tup?

Jek looked back over the street, looking at the group he was following.

Tup was there, laughing, as he walked along with his brothers. He looked happy and relaxed as he joked with his brothers, greeting the citizens who greeted them happily and kindly, having warmed to them thanks to the new holo channel.

Jek had kept an eye on him whenever Tup was on Coruscant, missing that caring, sweet boy with the big heart.

He would do anything to protect him. Anything.

“Where do you want me to meet you?” Jek asked, finally tearing his gaze away from Tup as he walked away, needing to get ready.

Tup frowned suddenly, glancing over his shoulder and up towards one of the walkways.

He could have sworn someone was watching him.

 

Obi-Wan smiled as Feemor puttered around the apartment, carrying their dinner dishes away. Feemor had joined Obi-Wan, Cody, Rex, Fives and Anakin for dinner, which had been a relatively relaxed affair.

Cody was curled up on the couch now with Rex snuggled close into Cody’s arms. Fives was sitting on a nearby armchair, smiling softly as he watched Rex and Cody talking softly.
He understood that Rex needed Cody’s reassurance, especially after they spent months relying on each other.

Obi-Wan met Fives’s gaze and gave a smile back. Fives settled back in his armchair, knowing Obi-Wan understood that as well. He felt closer to Obi-Wan than he had ever been, knowing that Obi-Wan understood what Fives was going through, trying to be there and reassure his love while trying to not be overbearing and smothering.

“Who wants tea?” Feemor asked from the kitchen, smiling at them all.

Fives stared at the tall Archivist Jedi as he bustled around the kitchen, making tea and some hot chocolate. Despite Feemor’s impressive and somewhat imposing height, Fives felt calm in his presence, knowing Feemor was a gentle, bookish sort of Jedi.

“So, is Echo still with Wolffe?” Obi-Wan asked as Anakin pulled out his datapad.

“Yeah, told him he needed to stay with Wolffe,” Anakin said absently. “Who knows when Plo and the Wolf Pack will be back next.”

Fives smiled at Feemor as he accepted a mug of hot chocolate, grinning as he saw Feemor had added small marshmallows. Feemor winked before he went to give the other mugs to Cody and Rex.

Feemor went back to the kitchen area to grab Anakin’s as Obi-Wan stood leaning against the bench, drinking his own tea.

“Here, you odd being,” Feemor teased. “Your disgusting sludge of caf.”

“You’re awesome, Feemor,” Anakin said, grinning up at Feemor.

“Where did he get the caf habit from, Obi-Wan?” Feemor asked, chuckling. “None of us ever liked that gross sludge.”

Obi-Wan shook his head, smirking. “He’s an odd one.”

Anakin rolled his eyes again, taking a sip of his caf and looking back to his datapad. Feemor frowned as he caught sight of it, leaning over slightly to look at the screen.

“Where did you get that?” Feemor asked, an odd look on his face. Anakin glanced at Feemor, to the screen showing the odd glyphs, and then back again.

“Do you know what this is?” Anakin asked, eyes widening. Feemor gave a small nod, leaning forward to examine the screen more. Anakin shot Obi-Wan a shocked, but hopeful look, before looking back to Feemor.

“I’ve seen a few of these glyphs before,” Feemor admitted, “but this isn’t right.”

“What do you mean?” Obi-Wan asked as he walked over.

“This is the language of the Sith,” Feemor explained, “but these glyphs are all mixed up. Sith languages have many different variations,” Feemor explained, seeing their confused looks. “Much like planets have different dialects, it’s the same for Sith languages. I’ve seen these markings from a Temple ruin on Datree and this one from an artefact retrieved from Iridonia.”

“Can you understand what it says?” Anakin asked hopefully. Feemor shook his head sadly.

“No, we haven’t been able to decipher most of it since we don’t have a reference to go by,” Feemor said regretfully, “and the way that these dialects are mixed, I would guarantee that this is encoded to whoever wrote it.”

Anakin swore under his breath, hands gripping his curls angrily. Obi-Wan walked over to place his hand on Anakin’s back reassuringly. Feemor frowned as he looked at the two of them, glancing at the clones who were all staring, wide-eyed.

“Where did you find this?” Feemor asked carefully.

Obi-Wan sighed, looking at his brother Padawan. “This was pulled off a chip found in the clones’ brains,” Obi-Wan admitted, not wanting to lie to his brother, and also knowing Feemor could be trusted. Feemor’s eyes widened in horror.

“Sith writing on a chip in the clones’ brains?” Feemor whispered. Obi-Wan nodded. Feemor ran a hand through his blond hair, shaking his head.

“Is there any hope of decrypting that?” Rex asked. “I-I mean, how is the programming on the chip meant to work if it’s encrypted with Sith language?”

“Well,” Feemor said thoughtfully as he rubbed at his chin. Fives bit back a smile, seeing how similar that action was to what Obi-Wan did.

“I highly doubt that the program was written in a Sith language,” Feemor said finally. “I mean, the Kaminoans wouldn’t be able to program it in a Sith language since they wouldn’t speak it.”

“You believe that the program was originally written in Basic while the chip was programmed and then encrypted into a Sith language?” Obi-Wan asked in surprise. Feemor nodded.

“That’s how I would do it,” he said. “It would have to be written in Basic, but if it’s encrypted later it would mean that if the chip was found, like it has been, the true functions on it wouldn’t be able to be deciphered.”

It was silent as that sunk in.

“I’m a little scared that you could think like that,” Fives said, seeing Feemor in a new light. Feemor gave a tired smile.

“I work with artefacts, a number of them were Sith Holocrons, trust me, when you speak with them enough, you learn to think like them.”

“You’re not going to go Sith on us, are you?” Rex asked, eyebrows raised.

Feemor chuckled. “No, I learn to think like them so they can’t trick me when I stumble upon a holocron.”

“What are we going to do, Obi-Wan?” Anakin asked, head in hands.

“We concentrate on finding a way to disable the chips,” Obi-Wan told him, squeezing his shoulders. “We concentrate on destroying them so the Sith can’t activate them; that will keep the clones safe.”

Obi-Wan frowned as his commlink chimed and he went to read it.

Anakin lifted his head as he felt Obi-Wan’s turmoil radiate through their old training bond.

“Obi-Wan?” Anakin asked, worried.

“We’re being deployed,” Obi-Wan said heavily, looking to Cody, his gaze sad. Cody stiffened, staring at Obi-Wan with wide eyes.

“When?” Anakin asked, voice hoarse.

“Three days,” Obi-Wan muttered. “They’ve given us three days to get the ships and battalions ready to go.”

“Do we know where we’re going?”

Obi-Wan frowned, tilting his head. “Orders for missions to be given,” he read before sighing. “Missions.”

“Plural,” Feemor muttered.

“They’re sending us to separate locations,” Anakin grumbled. “Why now?! They know we’re working on the chips and that you and Fives are here for Cody and Rex!”

Obi-Wan frowned thoughtfully as he looked at the message.

“I don’t think it’s the Council’s decision,” he murmured. “We will find out when we attend the briefing tomorrow morning, dear one.”

They all decided to go back to their apartments after that, needing time.

 

Fives looked to Rex once they got back to their apartment.

“Rex,” Fives whispered. Rex turned and looked at him, smiling weakly.

“I’ll be okay, Fives,” Rex promised as he walked up to Fives, wrapping his arms around him tightly. Fives hugged him back just as tightly. “You’ve gone away before.”

“I know, but I hate leaving you.”

“We still have three days before you need to go,” Rex murmured. “Let’s just make the most of it.”

 

Cody curled up to Obi-Wan as they lay in bed. Obi-Wan gently ran his hand through Cody’s hair.

“I don’t want to leave you,” Obi-Wan murmured.

“We knew it was going to happen eventually,” Cody said quietly, “and you know I’ll be here waiting for you. I have Rex and Ponds here too, so I won't be alone.”

“Still doesn’t make it easier to leave,” Obi-Wan said. Cody ran his fingers over Obi-Wan’s chest, tracing patterns.

“Just comm me when you get the chance to let me know you’re all right,” Cody said.

“Every chance I get,” he promised.

They lay curled together, not knowing the plans being laid in place.

 

Tup laid in his bed that night, listening to Hardcase snoring from the main apartment. He knew they were being deployed again, sooner than he thought they’d be. Tup sighed as he played with the soft blue scarf, wrapping it around his hands.

He needed to stop making excuses and just pluck up the courage.

It was time to see Jek.

 

Dooku tapped his fingers on the desk, deep in thought. He had received the plans from Sidious, knowing that he planned to split up Skywalker and Obi-Wan so he could plan to kill Kenobi…for the umpteenth time. Dooku was going to go meet Obi-Wan as Sidious had ordered him to kill Obi-Wan once and for all.

Dooku planned to meet Kenobi, but not to kill him.

It was time to make his move, to show Obi-Wan that he was no longer on Sidious’s side, and that he planned to kill the Sith Lord. He needed to get Obi-Wan on his side so the Jedi didn’t kill him when all of this was said and done.

He leaned back, folding his arms across his chest.

Sidious still had no idea that Dooku had turned from the Sith path. Sure, Sidious always knew that Dooku would probably attempt to kill him as was the Sith way, but Sidious would never consider that Dooku would ally himself with the Jedi once more.

Sure, Dooku may not consider himself a Jedi anymore, but he knew he wasn’t a Sith anymore. He was more of a Grey Jedi these days, balanced between the light and the dark.
Dooku unclipped his lightsaber, considering it for a moment, before he reached out to connect to the Kyber crystal within it.

He could hear it screaming in pain. It had been screaming since Dooku had bled it to get the red blade.

Dooku shivered. It never bothered him before, but he could feel the pain of it now; the crystal that had chosen him, that he had darkened and hurt, making it bleed red, making it scream.

He had to change it back, he had to heal it. Dooku closed his eyes as he put the lightsaber away. He didn’t know if that was even possible, but he couldn’t begin to heal it yet, it would tip Sidious off.

Dooku cleared his mind, thinking of his upcoming meeting with Obi-Wan. He would need to get him away from his troopers, away from any surveillance, somewhere where they wouldn’t be interrupted while Dooku spoke to Obi-Wan. They needed to have that conversation, he only hoped Obi-Wan would listen, but even if Obi-Wan refused to believe him he had an idea, something he could use to prove to Obi-Wan that he wanted to be an ally.

He only hoped it worked.

Chapter Text

Tup hesitated as he watched Obi-Wan and Anakin speak to Jesse, Waxer and Boil, giving them instructions about their mission and prepping the equipment and the men. The three clones nodded and hurried off. Obi-Wan sighed, looking back to Anakin as they discussed their separate missions.

The 501st was being sent to Ryloth while the 212th was being sent to Balmorra where tensions were rising between the planet’s occupants and the Republic, which in turn had caught the Separatist’s attention and caused them to invade the planet.

Tup sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. It was going to be his first mission back with the 501st and it felt a bit odd to be wearing blue again, he had gotten used to the gold within those couple of months.

Obi-Wan glanced over, catching sight of Tup standing there, hesitating.

“Tup?” Obi-Wan spoke up worriedly. He hoped Tup wasn’t worried about going back to the 501st; his brothers were so happy to have him back.

Tup stepped up, smiling weakly.

“What’s wrong, Tup?” Obi-Wan asked, glancing to Anakin, who stared at the youngest of Torrent worriedly.

“I-I was wondering if I could take off for an hour, sirs,” Tup answered, not quite meeting their eyes.

“Why, Tup?” Anakin asked gently.

“I-I don’t know when we’re going to be back next a-and I wanted to talk to Jek,” Tup rushed out before hesitantly looking up to meet their eyes. Anakin was looking surprised while Obi-Wan looked at him with understanding.

“Tup…” Anakin started to say but Obi-Wan carefully touched Anakin’s upper arm, giving a small shake of his head. Anakin closed his mouth as Obi-Wan looked back to Tup.

“You listened to your heart?” Obi-Wan asked him gently. Tup nodded.

“Yes, sir, I-I’ve decided I want to talk to him and see…and see what happens from there,” Tup answered. Obi-Wan nodded thoughtfully.

“We’ve got things handled here,” Obi-Wan told him. “If any Admirals stop you, you’re running an errand for myself. If they question you further you tell them to contact me directly.”

Tup smiled broadly, making Obi-Wan and Anakin smile back in return.

“Go on now,” Obi-Wan shooed him with a smile. Tup gave them a final, thankful smile before he hurried off.

“Is that the best idea, Obi-Wan?” Anakin asked quietly as they watched Tup dart around his brothers milling about.

“Tup has been thinking about this for months now,” Obi-Wan told him as he turned back to his datapad, looking over the supplies list. “It’s something he needs to face.”

“Yeah, but what if the bounty hunter hurts him?”

“Jek won’t hurt him,” Obi-Wan murmured. “He truly does love Tup.”

Anakin sighed, letting that go for now.

“I can’t believe the Chancellor ordered us back to the front,” he grumbled instead.

“Can you really not believe it?” Obi-Wan asked mildly, glancing up from his datapad, eyebrow raised. Anakin sighed, leaning against a large crate.

“No, I can believe it,” Anakin admitted bitterly. “It’s just…Cody needs you, you shouldn’t have to go out so soon, not after we just got Cody back.”

“The Council tried to argue against it,” Obi-Wan murmured. “Said they’d send another Jedi to take the 212th but the Chancellor demanded that I take care of this.”

“Still ridiculous,” Anakin grumbled.

“I know, Anakin, I know,” Obi-Wan sighed. Anakin nodded, looking up as Kix and Puck walked towards them, Puck’s limp more pronounced as he hurried to keep up with Kix.

“What’s the rush, Kix?” Anakin asked before sighing as Kix smirked as he handed over a datapad.

“Supplies that need to be restocked before we ship out,” Kix answered easily. Obi-Wan glanced at the datapad, giving a nod.

“I guess I will be expecting Helix to come up any moment then,” Obi-Wan chuckled as he went back to looking over inventory. Kix looked at Obi-Wan as Anakin looked over the list, approving the items.

“Sir, i-is it necessary for you to go?” Kix asked Obi-Wan quietly. “I mean, we only got Cody back a few days ago!”

“I know, Kix,” Obi-Wan sighed, “but we can’t refuse the Chancellor’s orders on this.”

Kix nodded, sighing, looking to Puck who smiled weakly at him.

“Well, at least Cody and Rex have each other still, right?” Puck said, trying to be positive. He had yet to see Cody after he had been rescued and he wasn’t sure about that meeting, especially after everything that had happened between him and Rex when they were cadets.

Obi-Wan smiled at the medic who was trying to remain positive.

“That is true, Puck,” Obi-Wan said as Anakin handed back the datapad with the approved supplies. The two medics quickly hurried off to get their medbay prepared and restocked and Obi-Wan leaned against the crate Anakin was also leaning on, sighing heavily.

“We’ll do our missions and be back to Coruscant as soon as we can,” Anakin promised quietly. “You and Cody will be reunited in no time.”

Obi-Wan smiled weakly at him before sighing and pushing off the crate. “Let’s get these ships loaded so we can go spend the night with our loved ones,” he murmured. “We’ve got an early start tomorrow.”

 

Tup could feel his hands shaking as he got closer to Jek’s building. He didn’t know how this was going to go. He didn’t know what Jek would say or how they would react; Tup didn’t know how he was going to react himself when he saw Jek for the first time since that night in the cell in the Jedi Temple.

Tup leaned his head back against the wall of the train, sighing.

He was so unsure of how this would go.

“E-Excuse me?”

Tup blinked, coming back to the present and away from his tumultuous thoughts, and focusing on a woman standing in front of him, looking at him worriedly.

“Yes, ma’am?” Tup answered, hand resting on the helmet hooked to his belt. She smiled at him, hand running through her black hair nervously.

“I-I just wanted to say thank you, for serving the Republic,” she stammered. “I’ve been watching that video channel you and the Jedi have made, ‘The Light Side’, and it’s shown us a side of you all that we never knew about.”

Tup inclined his head. “Thank you,” he said quietly.

“Are you okay?” she asked. “You look a little bit nervous…?” she trailed off, waiting for his name.

“It’s Tup, ma’am,” Tup answered, “and I’m fine, thank you. Just lost in thought.”

The woman nodded, looking unconvinced, but letting it be. “Well, I hope you have a good day, Trooper Tup, and do be safe. We are all grateful for what you and your brothers sacrifice for us.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

The woman smiled once more before she went and sat back down to complete her trip. Tup looked away, though catching a few more gazes and getting some smiles and nods.
Tup smiled to himself, glancing out the window as he watched Coruscant rush by.

Things had certainly changed. No longer were they spat on and sworn at as they walked down the streets, now they were smiled at and greeted as they passed, now they were welcomed into restaurants and cafes.

Ponds had certainly changed things with his idea and most certainly for the better.

Soon enough he was at his stop and his nerves had returned.

Taking in a deep breath, Tup left the train, readjusting the helmet clipped to his belt before he walked towards Jek’s apartment building.

He stopped in front of the door, glancing at his gloved hands which were trembling with nerves.

“C’mon, Tup,” he muttered to himself. “Stop being so nervous! You’ve fought against people who’ve wanted to kill you! This shouldn’t be so hard!”

Steeling himself, Tup walked into the apartment building, looking around the main foyer.

“Ah, young sir, you’re back,” the doorman greeted as Tup walked over to the desk. “I wasn’t sure I’d see you again after the Jedi came by.”

“Things got complicated,” Tup said vaguely. “Is…is Jek here?”

The doorman shook his head sadly. “Sorry, but he left yesterday,” he said regretfully. “However,” he murmured before he went digging in a drawer, pulling out an envelope. “He did leave this and it’s addressed to you.”

Tup blinked in surprise as he took the envelope with shaking hands.

“He’s left it every time he’s had to go away,” the doorman continued thoughtfully. “I don’t believe he’s lost hope that you’d come back.”

“T-Thank you,” Tup murmured, giving a weak smile before he turned and left the building. He stopped outside the door, stepping to the side so he could open the envelope with trembling fingers, pulling out the piece of flimsi within.


Tup,

I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but I’m holding out hope that you will. I know it’s probably stupid of me to expect you’ll ever want to talk to me again, but I can’t help but hope. I am sorry for everything that happened and I wish it could have been different.
I wish I had had the courage to tell you when I realised that I fell in love with you; to tell you what my mission was, to keep you safe.
I never wanted to hurt you. I only wanted to protect you…but I was also selfish and didn’t want to lose you, that’s why I didn’t tell you the truth until it was too late.
If you’re reading this, it means I’m not here…and I desperately wish I was.
Please don’t give up on me because I’m not here. If you wish to talk to me so I can apologize and grovel, please leave a message with Jacque and I’ll contact you as soon as I’m back.
I miss you so much, Tup. I never thought I’d fall in love, but I did…and I wouldn’t give up the time I had with you for anything.
I love you, Tup, so much…and I’m so sorry for hurting you.

Yours always,
Jek.

 

Tup leaned his head back against the wall, hand falling limp against his side.

Jek still loved him and wanted to be with him still.

Tup swallowed harshly, tilting his head up to stare at the blue sky and watching the speeders zoom by above them, his stomach was twisting nervously as he thought.
He had come here to talk to Jek again, but reading this letter…could he deal with Jek contacting him?

Tup brought the letter back up, reading over it once more before he sighed.

Yes, he still loved Jek and he wanted to talk to him, to see if he still loved him or did he just love the memories they shared?

Sighing once more, Tup made up his mind, heading back into the apartment building and asking Jacque for some flimsi and an envelope. Jacque smiled as he handed it over.


Jek,

Yes, I want to talk.
I’m being deployed and don’t know when I’ll be back, but I want to talk to you when I am. I just need to know.

Tup.

 

Tup sealed up the envelope and handed it to Jacque, giving a small smile.

“Take care, young sir,” Jacque murmured. Tup smiled at him before he headed back, needing to get back to his battalion.

 

Obi-Wan sighed as he walked back into the Temple, rolling his shoulders tiredly.

Almost everything was ready, now they would just leave earlier tomorrow which he wasn’t looking forward to. He didn’t want to leave Cody.

“Hey, Kenobi,” came a far too cheerful voice which made Obi-Wan shudder.

“Quinlan,” he replied tiredly, pausing to face the grinning Kiffar, though said Kiffar’s grin was fading slightly.

“You all right, Obes?” Quinlan asked quietly, pulling Obi-Wan to the side of the hall, into a small classroom. “I thought you’d be all happy since Cody’s back, I mean, besides the usual worry about Cody.”

“I’m being deployed tomorrow,” Obi-Wan answered, running a hand through his hair wearily.

“What?!” Quinlan hissed. “How could the Council send you away?!”

“It was out of their hands,” Obi-Wan set as he sat on the edge of a desk. “The Chancellor ordered it and we can’t disobey.”

“Screw him, Obi-Wan!” Quinlan snarled, pacing agitatedly. “You shouldn’t have to go!”

“I don’t want to, Quin,” Obi-Wan said, leaning back on his arms tiredly, “but we have no choice…and Cody will be safe here, and he’ll have Rex and Ponds here with him as well, so I know he’s in good hands.”

Quinlan folded his arms across his broad chest, tilting his head slightly. “You still don’t want to go though, do you?”

“Of course not, Quin,” Obi-Wan sighed. “I want to be here with him…but what can I do? I can’t protest, I can’t get Cody in trouble with my refusal to leave for him. You know how the Chancellor has been lately, do you think he’d allow that? What do you think he’d do to Cody?”

Quinlan sighed, sitting heavily in a chair. “Yeah, yeah, I know,” he muttered. “This just sucks, I mean, you were happy again and less stressed, well…as less stressed as you can get.”

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, smiling slightly. “I am still happy, Quin, how could I not be? Cody’s home and safe, what more could I want?”

“To be here beside him.”

“Well, that’s true,” Obi-Wan admitted, “but I will fight to get back to him as soon as I can.”

“Well, I won’t hold you back from him anymore then,” Quinlan said, before hesitating. “Have you found out any more about the, uh, chips?”

“Nothing good,” Obi-Wan said with a heavy sigh, feeling out with the Force to make sure no one was listening nearby before continuing. “There’s been a block in figuring out what demands are actually on the chips since it’s been encoded with Sith language, a mix of several dialects apparently.”

Quinlan gave a low whistle. “They really don’t want us to know what’s on that chip, do they?”

Obi-Wan shook his head. “No,” he said bitterly, “but they didn’t plan for Anakin and Echo working together on finding a way to shut down the chip.”

“Well, if anyone can figure it out, it’s your Padawan, Obes,” Quinlan smirked. “I’ve heard the grumbled tales of the droids he repurposed to annoy the Council, which I totally love by the way.”

“Of course you do,” Obi-Wan laughed, shaking his head.

“It’ll be all right, Obi-Wan,” Quinlan promised, turning serious once more. “You’ll be back before you know it.”

Obi-Wan nodded, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Can you check in on him every now and again?” Obi-Wan asked quietly. “I’m just worried about him.”

Quinlan gave a nod. “Sure, happy to,” Quinlan told him sincerely.

Obi-Wan nodded as he stood. “I should get back to Cody,” he murmured. “I have to leave early tomorrow morning and want to spend what time I have left in the Temple with him.”

“May the Force be with you, Obes,” Quinlan said, smiling sadly. “And come back soon, yeah?”

“Thank you, Quin, and I’ll do my best,” Obi-Wan replied, inclining his head, before he left to head back to his apartment.

 

Fives leaned on the bench as he watched Rex cook, smiling sadly.

He was going to miss watching this while he was away. Rex glanced up, catching his eyes and gave a small smile.

“What are you baking this time?” Fives asked as he settled down to watch.

“Some of your favourite biscuits to take away with you,” Rex replied, smiling softly at him. “Also some extra cookies for the men and some slices too.”

“You spoil us, cyar’ika,” Fives grinned. “Is that Tup’s favourite slice there?” he asked, pointing to a slice with a chocolate biscuit base and a purple, creamy top.

“Yes, a quint-berry slice,” Rex said, glancing at it. “He’s been a little distracted lately, have you noticed?”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed, but he's deflected every time someone asks him what's wrong,” Fives sighed before tilting his head. “You know, I can’t quite remember when he had a quint-berry or when that became his favourite fruit.”

“I’m not sure either,” Rex said, though he was quite certain it was something to do with Jek, though he didn’t tell Fives that. Fives just shrugged, going back to watching Rex cook, though he snagged a freshly baked cookie as Rex placed the tray down, gaining a familiar, reprimanding look from him. Fives just grinned at him before he bit into the warm, gooey cookie. Rex just rolled his eyes fondly in response, going back to baking.

Fives stood up after a while, pacing around the apartment. He paused at a framed holo on a nearby table and picked it up, smiling at it.

The picture had been taken shortly after he and Echo had come back from ARC training and had had their first joint mission with the 501st and 212th. Cody and Rex had been so proud of them, of the two Shinies they had taken under their wing after the Rishi fiasco, to watching them becoming ARC Troopers. Rex had gotten one of their brothers to take the holo of the four of them. They had stood all straight backed and proud, helmets tucked under their arms…and then Rex plopped an arm on Fives’s shoulder, smiling slightly as he pointed at Fives as though saying ‘See this guy?’

Fives tilted his head at that as he regarded the photo. He wondered if that was when Rex had realised that he felt something for Fives or if he had known by then.

“What are you looking at?” Rex’s voice asked quietly from behind him. Fives turned to show him the picture.

“Ah,” Rex said with a smile. “I remember that day.”

“Did you know then?” Fives asked him as he leaned against Rex’s side as they both looked at the photo. “That you liked me?”

Rex hummed thoughtfully. “I didn’t full realise it then,” Rex said slowly. “Though I knew I was fond of you, more so than others, but I hadn’t truly realised the reason why yet.”

“I’m going to miss you,” Fives said as he placed the frame down, turning around to carefully wrap his arms around Rex’s waist. Rex wrapped his arms around Fives as well, smiling sadly.

“I’ll miss you too,” Rex murmured as he nuzzled his face into Fives’s hair, sighing as he inhaled Fives’s scent which smelt like regulation soap and a spicy cologne that Fives favoured.

“I’ll comm you whenever I can,” Fives promised. “You and Cody take care of each other, huh?”

“Of course,” Rex chuckled gently. “Come on, we should get to bed, you’ve got to get up early tomorrow.”

Fives sighed, burying his face in Rex’s neck. “All right,” he mumbled, “as long as I can hold you all night.”

Rex smiled against Fives’s hair. “Of course.”

 

Cody stood by the window, staring out over Coruscant as the rain fell and lightning flashed over the large city.

He couldn’t sleep, feeling his stomach twist as he thought of Obi-Wan leaving in a few hours. He was so worried, not knowing if he was strong enough for Obi-Wan to leave.

So now he stood by the window, wearing just his sleep pants and feeling a small chill run across his arms as the cold weather from outside permeated the window.

There was a small nudge on the bond he shared with Obi-Wan, a small whisper in his thoughts. Cody gave a small incline of his head to the question asked before arms wrapped around his middle, a kiss being pressed to the back of his shoulder.

“You okay, my love?” Obi-Wan’s voice asked gently. Cody gave a small nod, eyes fixed on the rain droplets running down the window.

“Yes, just lost in thought,” Cody murmured. There was a warm gush of breath against his shoulder as Obi-Wan sighed.

“Dearest, I can feel your turmoil across our bond,” Obi-Wan told him gently. Cody closed his eyes for a moment before opening them once more, watching as lightning arced across the sky.

“I’m scared,” Cody finally admitted. “W-With you leaving later this morning, I’m scared I won’t be strong enough without you a-and you’ll realise how broken I really am.”

“Oh, Cody,” Obi-Wan whispered, gently turning Cody around so he could face him. “I will always love you, no matter what, and it’s okay to be scared…but I also know you, I know your heart and soul, and I know you’ll be fine without me. You’re so much stronger than you believe you are.”

Cody closed his eyes, resting his head against Obi-Wan’s.

“How can you still love me?” Cody whispered brokenly.

“I’ve always loved you and I always will,” Obi-Wan reminded him. “I fell in love with this, remember?” he asked, tapping Cody’s chest above his heart. “No matter what happens, through all the tears and all the smiles, I will always love you.”

Cody gave a weak nod and Obi-Wan knew he didn’t quite believe it, so he wanted to show him.

Obi-Wan let go of Cody, heading back to the bedroom, digging through his drawers for the object he had bought close to a year ago now but had hidden away, too afraid.

Taking the box he headed back to the main room of the apartment, seeing Cody had turned back to the window, watching as the lightning flashed, lighting up the sky.

“Cody,” Obi-Wan said, getting his attention. Cody turned back to look at him, arms wrapped around his middle and looking vulnerable. “I’ve…there’s something I want to ask you.”

Cody’s head tilted slightly as he heard Obi-Wan’s voice waver nervously.

“I’ve loved you in a way I’ve never loved anyone before,” Obi-Wan said, choosing his words carefully. “I will never love anyone the way I love you. I’m so lucky to have you, so lucky to be loved by you…and I never want to lose you, ever.”

Obi-Wan lifted up the box, opening it and showing the contents. Cody’s eyes widened as he saw the pure silver ring.

“I wanted to ask you when the time was right,” Obi-Wan said, smiling at Cody’s wide amber eyes. “And, well, recent events showed me that holding out may mean I might miss my chance…so, Cody, my love, my dearest, my cyar’ika, will you marry me?”

Cody gave a small sob as he nodded his head.

“Yes,” Cody whispered, voice choked with emotion. “Yes!”

Obi-Wan grinned, pulling the ring out of the box, also revealing it was on a sturdy silver chain.

“I-I thought since you wouldn’t be able to wear it on your finger because of the GAR, that you could still wear it around your neck under your blacks,” Obi-Wan explained. “It’s also engraved.”

Cody took the ring with shaking fingers, lifting it so he could examine the engraving within. He smiled when he saw it was the Mando’a wedding vow.

“You know we could have just said the vows,” Cody said with a smile. Obi-Wan gave a small hum.

“Yes, I know, but I also want to do it right,” he told him. “I know we can say our vows and it would count for us – and that means the most – but it also wouldn’t be recognized because you don’t have rights,” Obi-Wan explained quietly. “I want to be engaged to you and I will fight to get you legally recognized so we can get married legally.”

“Why does legally matter?” Cody asked as he held the ring, feeling it warm up to his skin temperature.

“Because if something happened, I wouldn’t have any say even as a Jedi,” Obi-Wan said, rubbing the back of his neck. “But as your spouse, I could, so if the GAR tried to hurt you in anyway, I could fight back with spousal rights…which is also another reason why I wanted to hold off, in case the GAR found out; you’d be punished and I wouldn’t be able to stop it. I mean, I’d fight and fight until they took me down, but ultimately I wouldn’t be able to stop it.”

Cody nodded, looking at the ring once more.

“We can still say our vows,” Obi-Wan said, “but I also want to do another ceremony in the future, once you have rights so it can be legally recognized.”

Cody smiled, looking at him. “Will you put it on me?”

“Did you still want to wear it around your neck?” Obi-Wan asked as he took it.

“Yes,” Cody answered. “That way it’s near my heart and if any non-Jedi see it, they won’t know what it truly is.”

Cody turned so Obi-Wan could put it on properly.

“This is my promise, Cody,” Obi-Wan murmured as he latched the necklace. “My promise that I will love you and fight for you and with you always. We are one whether we are together or apart. Never forget that I am always with you.”

Cody turned so he could press his forehead against Obi-Wan’s.

Mhi solus tome,” Cody murmured. “We are one.”

 

Obi-Wan chased after Dooku, mere days after proposing to Cody. It was such a change of situations, from talks of love and marriage one day to chasing a Sith Lord across a war torn planet on another day. He could hear members of Ghost running after him as they chased Dooku down into a tunnel.

Suddenly Dooku turned as they got further down into the tunnel and into a cavern, the sounds of fighting long gone silent. Obi-Wan barely managed to brace himself as Dooku sent out a Force push, sending Waxer, Wooley and Helix into the hard stone walls, the clones slumping on the floor as they fell. Obi-Wan snarled as he caught sight of Waxer, whose helmet had come off when he had collided hard with the wall, face lax in unconsciousness, slumped against the wall. Obi-Wan held up his lightsaber, ready to fight, but froze when Dooku disengaged his lightsaber, carefully attaching it to his belt. Dooku carefully lifted his palms up, showing a jammer in one of his thin hands, which he activated with his thumb. Obi-Wan blinked, confused.

“What is this?” he asked suspiciously.

Dooku looked at him before glancing at the unconscious troopers. Obi-Wan steeled himself at that glance.

“Don’t you dare touch them!” he snarled. Dooku shook his head.

“I have no plan to harm them, Obi-Wan,” Dooku reassured them. “I needed to get you away from anyone who could hear this. I know you trust these men, but for now, it’s best if they are unconscious.”

“What is this all about?” Obi-Wan asked, eyebrow raised. “I thought you were here to try and kill me again.”

“No, Grand-Padawan, I’m not...though I can be killed for doing this” Dooku muttered the end under his breath before he sighed. “We need to talk.”

Chapter Text

Cody sighed as Ponds dragged him from his and Obi-Wan’s apartment, all the while grinning. Cody just rubbed his eyes tiredly with his free hand as Ponds had a firm, but comforting, grip on the other as he led Cody down the hallways.

“What is this about?” Cody asked him, sighing once again. He had been content to just lay curled up in bed all day, surrounded by Obi-Wan’s scent, but Ponds had burst in and had thrown clothes at him, telling him to get dressed. Cody had reluctantly done so, watching as Ponds turned around first, but was still bouncing on his heels as he faced the wall. Ponds had turned back as soon as Cody was dressed, taking his hand and pulling him from the apartment.

“Well, I know you’re missing Obi-Wan,” Ponds said as they continued to walk down the many hallways, “and Obi-Wan wanted you to try and leave the apartment while he was gone, so he spoke to me.”

“Really?” Cody asked in disbelief.

“Mmhmm,” Ponds answered, shooting a grin back at him. “He was planning to do this with you, but he thought you might need this while he was gone.”

“Which is?” Cody asked tiredly.

“We’re going to the crèche,” Ponds answered cheerfully. “I was going to bring Rex but he was in the middle of baking sugar-ladened treats for the Initiates.”

Cody paused at the word ‘crèche’, looking to Ponds, who stopped when Cody did.

“The crèche?” he questioned quietly. Ponds smiled gently as he turned to look at Cody.

“There’s a fuzzy little kid who’s been missing you,” Ponds told him, voice soft.

Cody knew exactly who he was talking about, remembering the large grin and grasping hands as soon had walked into the crèche, hearing the happy squeal of “Cowy!”

“Dinui,” Cody choked out. Ponds pulled his trembling brother into his arms, holding him close.

“You okay, vod’ika?” Ponds murmured concernedly in his ear. “We don’t need to do this.”

“No, no, I’m fine,” Cody said, pulling back and smiling at Ponds weakly. “I-I just didn’t realise that he’d miss me…or how much I missed him.”

Ponds smiled once more, squeezing his hand. “Then let’s go, huh, Cod’ika? I’m sure he’ll be excited to see you.”

“So why are you coming then?” Cody asked as he and Ponds continued their trek to the crèche.

“Well, I wanted to ask you if I could record your reunion,” Ponds said hesitantly, glancing at Cody. “I thought it’d be cute and emotional and show the Republic that we do actually have feelings.”

Cody gave a small smile and nodded. “Sure, why not?”

“I’m sure Obi-Wan will love to see it,” Ponds said as they arrived at the crèche. Cody nodded in agreement.

“I’m sure he will,” he murmured as they entered. A large, towering man stood near the front entry of the crèche, looking up as they walked in. He smiled broadly as he saw the two of them.

“Cody!” he greeted, walking over. “It is good to see you back.”

Cody inclined his head. “Thank you…” Cody trailed off, unable to call him Master, feeling that word stuck in his throat, but not wanting to be rude and call him by just his name either.

Hzaark seemed to sense his predicament, smiling reassuringly at him. “Just call me Hzaark or Ark, Cody, please.”

Cody smiled gratefully at him and Hzaark gestured for them to follow him.

“That man is a giant,” Ponds muttered into Cody’s ear, making Cody snort with laughter. Hzaark led them to a room, asking them to wait there while he went and retrieved Dinui. Cody looked around at the finger paintings tacked onto the wall as Ponds set up his recording device, also having gotten permission from Hzaark to record, since Hzaark knew that Windu would see it and approve it before it was uploaded.

Cody turned as he heard footsteps approaching.

“Dinui, someone very special is here to see you,” he heard Hzaark say. “You must be gentle with him, okay?”

“Okay,” Dinui’s voice chirped back and Cody felt an ache in his heart at the sound of that voice. Hzaark stepped into the room, smiling at Cody, before stepping aside. Cody’s amber eyes widened when he saw the small, furry blue child standing beside Hzaark, clutching at Hzaark’s leg.

Dinui’s purple eyes widened when he saw who was standing there before crying out, “Cowy!” and rushing over.

“Oh, Dinui, you’ve gotten so big!” Cody said, falling to his knees, scooping Dinui up as soon as he was close enough. Dinui wrapped his arms around Cody’s neck, the almost three year old clutching onto Cody tightly, never wanting to let go. Cody hugged him back, holding him close.

“Missed you so much!” Dinui wailed. “Why you not here?”

“I’m sorry, Dinui,” Cody whispered, glancing at Ponds, who was looking at him sadly. “I-I couldn’t come home though I really wanted to.”

“You were so sad,” Dinui hiccupped. “You wanted ta come home!”

Cody startled, looking at Hzaark who smiled sadly in return.

“Dinui showed his Force sensitivity,” Hzaark explained. “He showed us by telling us about you, telling us that you were sad and wanted to come home.”

“Oh, Dinui,” Cody murmured, stroking the child’s back.

“I’ll leave you to catch up,” Hzaark said softly before he quietly left, knowing Dinui was in good hands. Cody shifted slightly, feeling awkward on his knees.

He hated being on his knees now, far too many bad memories.

He glanced around, catching sight of the large armchair the Crèche Masters sit in with the younglings surrounding them as they told stories.

Cody got to his feet, still clutching onto Dinui, who still clung onto Cody, burying his face into Cody’s neck, and walked over to sit in the armchair. He sighed as he settled down, Dinui snuggling in closer.

“Missed you,” Dinui whimpered once more. “Cowy not leave again?”

“I’m not leaving again,” Cody told him. “I’m going to be here in the Temple for a while.”

“Good,” Dinui said firmly, nuzzling against Cody’s cheek. “Scared.”

“Why are you scared, Dinui?” Cody asked worriedly as he rubbed Dinui’s back.

“Don’ wan’ you to get hurt,” Dinui said. “Don’ wan’ you to leave Dinui.”

“Oh, Dinui,” Cody sighed, hugging him tightly. “I’m not going to leave.”

“You hurting though,” Dinui whimpered, pulling back slightly. “You hurt here.”

Cody winced as Dinui put his small blue hand over Cody’s heart. Cody smiled sadly at him, pulling Dinui back close. Dinui buried his face into Cody’s neck again, nuzzling against him and purring softly.

“I was hurt, Dinui, but I’ll be okay,” Cody murmured as he rubbed Dinui’s back, soothing him.

Ponds watched as Dinui settled down on Cody’s chest, calming against Cody as he nuzzled against the pulse point in Cody’s neck, his eyes drifting closed.

“How did you meet Dinui, Cody?” Ponds asked quietly, glancing to the holo recorder. Cody glanced at it as well before giving a fond smile as he gently nuzzled against Dinui’s soft blue fur.

“Dinui was given to me by a woman who I believe was his mother,” Cody explained. “We were sent to a planet to assist with rescue and rebuild after a combined Separatist attack and natural disaster, so the cities were pretty much demolished and the people…well, it was hard to see,” Cody murmured. “They all looked dazed and broken, struggling to get back on their feet, which is why we were sent to assist with helping with rescue and getting triages and medical buildings set up and supplied for them…but there’s only so much we could do with the supplies we were given and in the small time frame we were given.”

Ponds winced at that. “You being rushed back out again?”

“Rushed back to Coruscant so we could resupply for the next battle,” Cody said, leaning back. “We were getting ready to leave when this furry blue woman walked up to me, carrying a small baby in her arms. Next thing I knew the baby was in my arms and she was hurrying off and disappearing within the crowd and the rubble.”

“You couldn’t find her?”

“No, we looked but she had disappeared,” Cody sighed, gently nuzzling Dinui once again. “I think she knew his best chance was with us.”

“No one would take him in?” Ponds asked, glancing at the recorder once again.

“No,” Cody answered. “They were struggling to rebuild, struggling with resources, Dinui would have gotten lost in all of that commotion, so we brought him back to the Temple. Obi-Wan knew it was in Dinui’s best interest to bring him here, he would be looked after even if he didn’t show any Force sensitivity. Dinui would have been sent to a local school and then taught a trade with on the Corps the Jedi run, so he could have learnt farming with the AgriCorp or learnt to be a Healer’s assistant, so if he chose to leave when he came of age, he would have skills to use out in the Galaxy.”

“But he showed Force sensitivity,” Ponds said, smiling.

“Yes, so he’ll be trained to control it, but he can still choose his path afterwards if he doesn’t want to be a Jedi,” Cody murmured, smiling at Dinui as the child slept against him. “I think he’d make a good teacher, he has a big heart.”

“I also heard you named him,” Ponds said. Cody chuckled softly.

“I did,” Cody confirmed, smiling up at Ponds. “His mother didn’t tell me his name and he needed one…everyone deserves a name,” Cody added quietly, Ponds nodding in agreement. “So I named him ‘Dinui’ which means Gift in Mando’a. He’s been a gift to us, to me. I come to see him every time I’m on Coruscant, he helps me forget the war for a while, seeing his big smile and being around his innocent heart. It’s comforting and I missed him so much.”

“We all missed you, Codes,” Ponds murmured. “We’re just glad you’re home.”

Cody smiled up at him before smiling at Dinui as Dinui mumbled sleepily, nuzzling closer to Cody.

“I’m glad I’m home too.”

 

Obi-Wan stared at Dooku in disbelief. “You’re kidding.”

Dooku gave a small shake of his head. “No, Grand-Padawan, I am not,” Dooku said. “I need your help.”

“You’ve tried to kill me!” Obi-Wan snarled. “You held Cody’s safety above my head to get me to join you! Why in Sith’s Hells do you think I’d help you?!”

“I have to admit, I have made mistakes,” Dooku said calmly. “I wanted to get you on my side, so we could defeat the Sith Master together, I thought using Cody would be my best option but I miscalculated.”

“You think?”

“Sarcasm is very unbecoming of you, Obi-Wan, but I understand your frustration,” Dooku said evenly. Obi-Wan sighed and disengaged his lightsaber.

The low lights fastened around the cavern roof cast the cavern in a dim light, but Obi-Wan could see that Dooku relaxed minutely.

“If he finds out I spoke to you, my life is forfeit,” Dooku continued, “but I cannot defeat him alone.”

“Why do you want to defeat him?” Obi-Wan asked. “I thought you were his apprentice.”

“I was,” Dooku admitted, “but lately…lately things have changed. At the start he knew what to say to get me to join him, but now, as the time goes by, he’s told me more of his plan…and I simply can’t allow it.”

“What do you mean?”

Dooku looked up, his dark golden brown eyes meeting Obi-Wan’s grey ones. “He plans to wipe out the Jedi.”

“Yes, I understand he’d want to do that as that’s the Sith’s main goal,” Obi-Wan said impatiently.

“No, you don’t understand, Obi-Wan, he wants to wipe out all Jedi,” Dooku emphasised. “He wants to kill you all and that includes the younglings, that includes the babies in the cribs. They don’t deserve that, Obi-Wan, they could have been given to families who would have loved them…but he wants to kill them all…and I can’t…I just can’t allow that. I’ve seen that latest recording that was uploaded, the one of your beloved and that innocent child. How could I allow such an innocent to be murdered in the name of one man’s power?”

Obi-Wan stared at Dooku in horror, but he saw the truth shining in Dooku’s eyes. He swallowed his horror down, breathing in deeply as he looked at Dooku.

“Why change your mind now? Why turn against him now?”

“Because of you,” Dooku answered, surprising Obi-Wan. “Because of Cody. You two are changing the Jedi. No longer are they caving to the Senate’s every whims, no longer becoming stagnate. The Jedi are changing, even the most stubborn of you. The Jedi have a chance now and…and I can’t watch you be destroyed when you’re going to change.”

“How can I help? Why talk to me? Why not just take him out by yourself?” Obi-Wan asked.

“Because I’m not strong enough and he’ll expect it from me,” Dooku said simply. “It’s a Sith thing. The Apprentice kills the Master, though I do believe he plans to replace me with a new one…but we’re getting off topic,” Dooku said, waving his free hand. “I wanted to tell you that I’m no longer part of the Sith. I may be leader of the Separatists still, but I am not a Sith nor am I Jedi, I am in between. I want you to believe me which I know after everything will be difficult…but I do need your trust, Obi-Wan, at least when it comes to you believing that I want to end the Sith Master.”

“How do you plan to prove it, Dooku?” Obi-Wan just asked. Dooku ran a hand over his hair, startling Obi-Wan slightly, seeing Dooku make such a human move to mess up his hair with nervousness.

“Can you tell me who he is?” Obi-Wan asked.

“No,” Dooku said firmly. “You aren’t ready, he has too many plans in place and there are things that need to be taken care of before you learn of his identity or he will defeat you all. I’ve already been plucking apart his plans but there’s still more to do.”

“What have you done?” Obi-Wan asked, frustrated that Dooku wouldn’t just tell him who the Sith Master was so they could end this.

“Well, for one I have not revealed your relationship with Cody,” Dooku said, eyebrow raised. “I also helped Maia to push Mina into telling Duchess Kryze about Cody and Rex. Who do you think tipped Maia off that you would be rescuing Cody and Rex that day? Who do you think told Maia to share the signed Treaty with the Separatist Senate so that Sidious couldn’t use this as an excuse to further the war?”

Obi-Wan stared at Dooku in disbelief as Dooku paced slightly in front of him.

“I’ve been moving against him, but I still need him to believe I am his loyal servant though I know he plans to have me killed so he take on his chosen one,” Dooku spat. “I need you to trust me, Obi-Wan. I need the Jedi to trust me, to help me take down the Sith Master.”

“The Council will question me,” Obi-Wan murmured. “They’d want proof, something to show that this isn’t an elaborate plot.”

“I understand your hesitance,” Dooku said calmly. “One, I haven’t killed your men even though I would have in the past, though I have scrambled their helmets so none of this is being recorded, in case the footage got leaked and found its way into the wrong hands. Secondly, there is something else I wanted to tell you, a peace offering in a way.”

“I’m listening.”

“There is a Separatist prison,” Dooku told him. “It’s located on a small moon, you might want to remember these co-ordinates.” Dooku listed them and listened to Obi-Wan recite them, giving a nod once Obi-Wan repeated it back to him. “You always did have a good memory.”

“What’s so important about this prison?” Obi-Wan asked instead.

“There’s a prisoner that you might want back, level five, cell fifty-two,” Dooku said. “It isn’t much, but it’s a token of how I want to help you undermine the Sith, to get rid of him.”
Dooku sighed suddenly, rubbing his forehead and looking older as he looked back to Obi-Wan.

“I truly miss Qui-Gon in times like these,” he murmured, shocking Obi-Wan. “He was a voice of reason, though he could be a maverick at times.” Dooku pulled out his lightsaber, considering it.

“You know, when I first became Sidious’s apprentice, he made me do things to make my crystal bleed,” Dooku said. “At first the screaming and the pain didn’t bother me, I thought I was doing the Galaxy a favour…but now, now I can hear my crystal screaming in anguish and all I want to do is heal it, but I can’t…not yet.”

Dooku turned his focus back to Obi-Wan.

“This needs to end, Obi-Wan, but he’s stronger than anyone realises which is why we need to do this together.”

“I will tell the Council,” Obi-Wan replied, “but I will also head to that prison.”

Dooku inclined his head. He turned to leave, walking towards a tunnel that he knew led to an exit when he paused by Waxer suddenly. Dooku turned towards him, eyes narrowing as he crouched down beside the stirring clone.

“Don’t touch him!” Obi-Wan warned, eyes flashing dangerously. Dooku just reached up with a careful finger, tracing a very faint scar on the clone’s temple.

Obi-Wan felt his heart sink.

Dooku stood up, turning to face Obi-Wan, a smirk on his face. “You found them, didn’t you?” he asked. “You found the chips?”

Obi-Wan remained quiet and Dooku smiled, giving a nod.

“Good,” he stated. “This will make his plans so much harder.”

“We don’t know what the chips do,” Obi-Wan admitted quietly. “The ones we have –,”

“– are all encrypted?” Dooku finished, gaining a small nod from Obi-Wan. “Well, it’s a good thing I planned for Sidious’s betrayal.”

Dooku chuckled slightly at Obi-Wan’s confused look.

“Tell your Jedi on Kamino that they want to find file 272-872B, the password is Jinn,” Dooku explained. “Though I don’t believe I need to relay the importance of keeping this discovery and investigation as discreet and quiet as possible. Do not trust anyone outside of the Jedi, Obi-Wan, and even then use caution. Do not trust the Senate.”

Obi-Wan tilted his head, a memory stirring. “You told me that the Sith control that Senate when you had captured me on Geonosis,” Obi-Wan said carefully. “It’s true, isn’t it? The Sith Master has influence in the Senate.”

Dooku inclined his head. “Wise boy.”

Dooku nodded at him once more, keeping the jammer on as he quickly headed off before the clones fully woke up.

Obi-Wan stared down the dark tunnel where Dooku had disappeared into, deep in thought.

“Urgh, sir?” Waxer groaned as he opened his eyes, wincing slightly at the aches through his body. “What happened? Where’s Dooku?”

“Gone,” Obi-Wan murmured, shaking his head, before he headed over to help Waxer up, checking him over before going to check on Helix and Wooley as they both stood up.
Once he was satisfied they were okay, they exited the tunnel, hearing Boil’s worried voice demanding they reply through their comms.

They finished up with the battle soon after, with the droids mysteriously retreating – though Obi-Wan had a suspicion of who ordered that, though he hoped that wouldn’t make Dooku’s ex-Sith Master suspicious.

 

Obi-Wan stood in the comm room, speaking on an encrypted line with Yoda and Windu.

“I’ve changed my course to make a detour to this prison,” Obi-Wan finished his explanation to the two Masters. Windu frowned, looking at Yoda, who was looking pensive.

I don’t like this,” Windu said.

“I know what you mean, Mace,” Obi-Wan sighed, “but you didn’t see him. He genuinely wants to stop Sidious I believe. You should have seen his eyes when he spoke of the plan to kill the younglings, he was truly disgusted by it.”

This could be a trap,” Windu replied.

“I don’t believe it is,” Obi-Wan said quietly, “but I do think we need to confirm the tip.”

Go to the prison moon, you will,” Yoda said. “Contact Shaak we will, get her to investigate the hidden file discreetly she will.”

We will expect constant check-ins,” Windu warned Obi-Wan. “If we go four hours without hearing from you, we will send someone after you.” Windu gave Obi-Wan a firm look. “Don’t do anything foolish, Obi-Wan, I don’t want to tell Cody that you’ve been captured.”

“I’ll be careful,” Obi-Wan promised. “How is he?”

He’s going well,” Windu reassured him. “He went to visit Dinui in the crèche and Ponds has been checking in on him.

Obi-Wan nodded. “I’ll comm him as we travel to the prison,” Obi-Wan said. “I will keep you informed on what we find.”

May the Force be with you,” Yoda said before the holo fizzled out.

Obi-Wan headed to his quarters before he commed Cody. He smiled when the small blue holo pops up.

“Hello, my love,” he greeted warmly. “How are you?”

Cody smiled back, curling up further into his bundle of blankets. “Hello, cyar’ika, I’m doing okay – missing you though.”

“I miss you too, my dear one,” Obi-Wan said. “I saw the recording with you and Dinui, was it good to see him?” Obi-Wan’s heart had melted when he saw the video of that reunion, seeing the pure joy in Dinui’s eyes – and going by the comments, all of the watchers had their hearts melted too.

It was good to see him again, thanks for getting Ponds to drag me down there,” Cody said, smiling playfully at him. Obi-Wan could see Cody was playing with his engagement ring, sliding it about on the chain, which made him smile.

“Well, I might be home sooner than expected,” Obi-Wan told him. “I have something to check and then we’ll probably be back to Coruscant.”

Cody smiled broadly at that. “Good, at least I know you’re safe here,” he teased, though Obi-Wan could detect a sad edge to the words. He knew Cody was worried about him especially since he wasn’t Obi-Wan’s Commander and watching his back – and Obi-Wan missed him being there with him, but this was something that they couldn’t change. Cody was safer back at the Temple.

They spoke for a while longer until Obi-Wan had to go prepare his men.

 

The infiltration into the prison went better than expected. There was no ambush waiting for them and the guards had become complacent, so they were easy to stun with no fuss.

“Found it, boss,” Waxer called to him as they searched the prison data-base. There had been a few bounty hunters and crime lords in there, no-one who Obi-Wan would call ‘interesting’ but the cell that Dooku had said didn’t have much information…or any really.

Obi-Wan nodded and he and Ghost Company quickly headed to find the correct cell.

“Found it!” Crys called as he worked on getting the cell open.

The door soon opened and Boil and Waxer headed in first, Obi-Wan following close behind.

A lone male was sitting on the edge of the cot, arms leaning on knees as the long hair hung around his face. He looked up, golden brown eyes widening slightly as he saw who was standing there.

“You’re a clone,” Waxer breathed, taking in the familiar face that was hidden behind a beard. The clone nodded and Obi-Wan could feel the disbelief radiating from him.

“Who are you?” Boil asked.

“CT-782,” the clone responded, his eyes landing on Obi-Wan. “But my brothers called me ‘Hevy’.”