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coming out to the light of day

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 “What is that?” Thire asks, wrinkling his nose as Fox marches past him. He immediately turns to open a window.

Fox snorts, lifting a boot to kick Thorn where he’s sprawled out on the couch. Thorn groans, but raises his head, and Fox jerks his head at him. “A Jedi,” he answers, and Thorn freezes, eyes widening.

“You found a Jedi? Weren’t you down in the undercity?” he demands. Fox kicks him again, lightly, mostly because anything harder makes the Jedi stir. He’s curled into Fox right now, clinging to his armor in a way that makes Fox maybe understand exactly why Cody and Bly and Wolffe are all ready to kill for their Jedi in a heartbeat. The weapon Fox had to pry out of his clenched hands left burns all across his fingers that Fox would likely kill over, if he knew who it was that needed killing.

“Yeah,” he says. “Move your shebs, I want to put him down.”

“You're not taking him to medical?” Thire asks as Thorn scrambles up. He gets the Jedi’s feet, helping Fox carefully ease him down onto the cushions, and as soon as the Jedi is settled on them he gives a great, shuddering breath and rolls over, like he’s trying to press himself into the cloth as fully as possible. Fox has no idea how far the whole empathy thing goes, but—that’s the couch where the Guard commanders relax and unwind, and he’s sure it has at least some good vibes going on.

Lightly, Fox catches a few dreadlocks, brushes them back. The Kiffar qukuuf are obvious, bright gold against dark skin, and—he’s beautiful. Fox hadn’t realized that until he’d dragged him out of the rubbish heap he was in, but it seems all too obvious right now. There's one edge of gold right at his temple, curling back into his hair, and Fox strokes his thumb there, then rises.

“If he was down in the undercity, he must be a Shadow,” Thorn offers, and sets the medkit down next to Fox. Fox lets him take over; Thorn is the one who always took the medical units on Kamino, and he’s got a lighter touch anyway.

“Perfect for the Guard,” Thire says, slanting a glance at Fox, who smirks at him.

“As soon as he wakes up, we’ll toss him in the sonics and feed him,” he says. “Incentives to stick around.”

Stone snorts, leaning around Fox to look as Thorn starts to bandage the Jedi’s hands. “Looks like we got the one that needs extra looking after,” he says, though he doesn’t precisely sound bothered by that thought.

“Good thing there are plenty of us,” Fox says, and watches the exchange of looks between Thire and Stone, then rolls his eyes. “Don’t scare him off with your kriffing fantasies, or both of you are going to be on door duty for the next three months.”

Stone winces. “Sorry, sir,” he says, looking repentant. Thire just huffs, folding his arms over his chest, but the tips of his ears are red.

Before Fox can smack either one of them, there's a raspy groan, and the Jedi stirs. Quickly, Thorn shifts back, and Fox leans over the Jedi, one hand on his shoulder to hold him steady. He grimaces, reaches up, and long fingers curl around Fox’s vambrace, tighten. There's a twitch, a low-level shudder that runs through him, and he lets go again, eyes flying open. Jerks, shoving up, and demands, “Where—”

His voice, already rough, cracks and breaks, and Fox doesn’t need to be a Jedi to see the flare of absolute panic that crosses his face. One hand flashes up to his throat, and he tries to speak, can't. Shudders, curling in on himself as his hand fists in his hair—

“Hey,” Fox says sharply, and drags him forward, right up against his chest. He seemed happy enough when Fox was carrying him, after all, and from the way he freezes, he’s caught off guard by the motion. There's no bad reaction, though, no attempt to pull away; his fingers curl against Fox’s armor again, and a shaky breath escapes him. It makes something in Fox’s chest twist, and he buries his fingers in thick hair, strokes lightly. “Settle down,” he says. “You're in the main Guard office area in the Senate building. I dug you out of a rubbish heap about twelve levels down. You were screaming. That’s how you wrecked your voice.”

The Jedi pulls back enough to look up at him, then over at Thorn, who grins at him, always the friendly one. He waves a hand, and with a flicker of bemusement clear across his face, the Jedi waves back.

“Excuse me, Commander,” Stone says, one hand on Fox’s shoulder. He leans over, offering the Jedi a stylus and a pad with the notes application already open. “Here, sir. Not sure if you know our hand signs, so this might work better.”

The Jedi takes it, half-buried relief flickering over his face, and nods his thanks. Stone smiles back, quick and warm, and asks, “Sorry, sir. What’s your name?”

“Quin,” the Jedi croaks, then pulls a frustrated face and slashes quick, surprisingly neat characters out across the pad. Quinlan Vos, Fox thinks, and glances up at him, assessing. Not a Jedi he’s heard of before, but if he’s a Shadow, that makes sense.

“General Vos,” he says, and Quinlan pulls a very deliberate face. It makes Fox want to snort, but he contains the urge and says, “There’s a fresher with a sonic over there. You need it. Come on.”

Quinlan rolls his eyes, but when Thorn catches one of his arms and Thire catches the other, he lets them help him to his feet, slanting them a look of confusion. He is, Fox thinks, going to have to adjust soon, because he’s their Jedi now and there’s no way they're letting him go. Especially when he clearly needs help.

“Stone,” he says over his shoulder. “Grab those extra robes General Skywalker left in Senator Amidala’s office.” When Quinlan plants his feet, clearly horrified, Fox snorts and pushes him back into movement. “We washed them, calm down. And those ones smell like the worst parts of the undercity.”

Quinlan huffs, shoving the pad at Fox. Fox takes a glance at the message there and raises a brow at him. “Why? Because I took the liberty of having you assigned to the Guard. You're our Jedi. Of course we’re going to make sure you’re in one piece.”

Quinlan’s face does something complicated, but it gives Thorn and Thire ample opportunity to push him straight into the fresher, so Fox will take it as a win. And—he may have been exaggerating slightly, but that’s just more reason to pull some strings, get the paperwork filed, and make it true.

“Looks like we got ourselves a Jedi,” he says, entirely pleased, and from inside the fresher there's a sound of protest, a thump, a yelp.

Fox goes to stuff their new Jedi in the sonics personally. It seems like the least he can do.