Chapter 1: Defensive
Crosshair had a headache.
He had a headache for the past few months.
But this was different.
It was a groggy feeling. Not the usually splitting pain he got on the side of his head when he was given an order. That was gone and replaced by this aching feeling in his head.
Though still hurt, it was better than the other option.
Crosshair let out a groan, not even meaning to as he sat up and heard muffled voices from the other room and a shuffle from next to him.
Footsteps immediately bolted in. “Omega, I told you to keep your distance.”
There was a huff as Crosshair’s eyes quickly focused to their normal vision. “I wanted to make sure he was okay.” The higher pitched voice said.
Crosshair’s gaze first met Wrecker’s, who looked a mixture of nervous and concerned as he stood at the foot of the table he was on. “H-how you feelin’, bud?” He asked and Crosshair could see from the corner of his eyes the tenseness from his other brothers.
He grumbled, swinging his legs over the table. “Not like I want to kill you guys, if that’s the answer you’re looking for.” He hissed as his hand went to the spot on his head that was aching.
“I would advise you to stay where you are.” Tech appeared in Crosshair’s direct line of sight, pulling out his scanner. The sniper shot him a look. “And since when have I listened to your advice?” He growled and Tech looked unamused.
“The means to get you on the ship we’re unethical. Do not think for a second I would hesitate to do something of those means again if you refuse to cooperate so I can inspect your health.” The engineer threatened. Crosshair glared at him but didn’t stop him as he scanned him over.
There was a silence for a brief moment before Hunter quietly told Omega to go to the cockpit. She opened her mouth to protest but the look that Echo shot her made her shut up and quietly slip out.
Hunter appeared next to Wrecker, his arms crossing. “What do you remember?” He asked his brother. Crosshair’s eyes flickered to meet his eldest brothers.
“Everything. Sorry to disappoint.” He seethed. Hunter’s eyes looked away for a moment with a guilt in them before he breathed in. “Tech could tell you were lying in the training facility. That’s why when you refused to come with us on the platform, he told Wrecked to knock you out.”
“Sorry.” Wrecker rubbed the back of his neck with the quiet apology. Crosshair didn’t care. That wasn’t what they should apologize for. His eyes still remained hard, angry stare at Hunter’s.
“Your chip has been removed, if you did not connect the dots.” Tech told him bluntly as he set his scanner off to the side and crossed his arms. Crosshair’s eyes scanned all four of them.
“What do you want me to do? Sink to my knees and progress my gratitude to my saviors?” Crosshair said bluntly and Hunter sighed. “No. We just wanna make sure you’re okay.”
“No, you just wanna make sure I’m not a murderous manic anymore.” The sniper snarled as he stood up. Tech out a hand on his shoulder. “Did I clear you?”
“Did I fucking ask you to?”
“Let him go, Tech.” Hunter ordered and the engineer hesitated before taking his hand of the sniper’s shoulder.
“Not so hard following orders.” Crosshair snarled, making all them tense up as he stalked toward the familiar bunkroom with a scowl.
“Lighten up, will you?”
Hunter sighed as he heard the door shut, rubbing his eyes. “That could have gone worse.” Tech said simply, but you could tell he was annoyed as he picked up his scanner.
“He’ll be on defense. Just let him cool down and heal first and maybe we’ll be able to talk.” Hunter said, scratching his beard out of nervous habit. Echo raised his eyebrows.
“And if he doesn’t?”
The other three looked in confusion. “I’m not saying he’ll go back to the empire, but on that platform, with him talking about not joining us again…you guys have to prepare that that might’ve been the real Crosshair talking.” Echo told them.
There was no response before the silence became too much and Hunter stalked off to the cockpit and was met with an Omega leaning against the door.
She jumped, eyes wide. “Is Crosshair okay?” She asked quietly. Hunter sighed, hand rubbing down his face.
“He’s fine, kiddo.”
“He didn’t sound fine.”
“Cross is just…upset. And he had a right to be. So just let him be for now, okay? I don’t want you bothering him.” Omega nodded as he picked her up.
“Cmon, let’s get you to bed.”
And through the door of the quiet bunkroom was the sniper laying in his bunk, listening to the others finally lighten up again and he could finally see just how they were without him there.
They’re completely normal routine that he once knew was easily recognizable.
Meaning there was no need for him in this group of misfits any longer.
Chapter 2: Silence
After being in his bunk for well past a day, other than to use the refresher, somebody finally came to do something about it.
Crosshair felt the presence of somebody behind him but he did not turn or acknowledge them as he laid there. “I believe you should get some food. I’m sure you have to eaten in at least two days.” Tech’s voice was soft, which surprised Crosshair since last time it was so gruff and sharp.
But still, the sniper did not respond. He simply laid there and waited for his brother to either keep talking for a bit or get the message and get off his ass.
He heard the engineer sigh and walk out for just a moment before returning. Crosshair listened to him shuffle behind him quietly before a hand rested on his arm, making him flinch in the slightest way possible. He hoped Tech didn’t notice.
The engineer most definitely did.
Short, simple. The way Crosshair used to wish Tech always answered to them, but after leaving for so long, he realized how much he missed his brothers complicated answers to simple questions that him and the others asked.
Crosshair still was silent as he heard him walk out, giving a minute to pass before rolling over and seeing a tray sat next to his bunk, on the small table that was still there after his months of absence.
And he sat up, staring at the food as if it was going to lunge out and bite him. After a pause, he finally leant over to grab the fork that was next to the tray and took a small bite, finally realizing just how much his stomach was hurting from having nothing for, just as Tech had predicted, two days.
He ate slowly, listening to make sure nobody was coming in to disturb him. He was able to finish about half before he felt satisfied and left the tray on the table.
Before he went back to his usual position, Crosshair gazed around the bunk room to see what had changed.
Everything seemed about the same. Wrecker’s bunk was trashed, Tech’s was a mess but without anything actually rotting, and Echo seemed to have his hammock still up.
Hunter’s was the only one with a change that only Crosshair could identify.
Usually Hunter’s was always the perfect inspection standard area. Bed tucked in tight, chest container stored neatly as well as everything inside, boots placed to the side. But Crosshair could tell he had been slacking, or just outright not caring.
He didn’t blame him. If Crosshair hadn’t been controlled and abused and had actually gone with them then he would’ve done the same thing.
But what surprised Crosshair the most is recalling when he had already walked in the bunkroom the first time after storming away from his brothers.
He expected his bunk to be a mess. He presumed that they had immediately turned and given the kid the bunk because who in their right mind would let a kid sleep on the floor?
But it was clean. Just how he left it it seemed. Untouched by anyone.
It made his heart ache.
Hunter had a headache.
He was used to them. His senses loved to beat the hell out of him then proceed to kick him when he was down. He could handle them most of the time.
But right now, he wanted nothing more for it to leave him alone.
He knew what it was from, that was the only difference in this headache. He knew the stress of his brother being back, the anger he was feeling, was what was getting to him.
But he knew it was going to be a process. But he also knew that he had to take in the possibility that Crosshair was still true to his word and wanted out of Clone Force 99.
And no matter how much Hunter didn’t want that, he knew he would have to respect his choice.
Because there was nothing more in than galaxy that he wanted then for his brother to finally be at peace, wether it be with or without them.
Hunter sighed, clenching his bandana that was in his lap and the hair in front of his forehead. His eyes shut in both pain and thought, trying to calm down with a deep breath.
“Do you need a sedative?”
Hunter opened his eyes at Tech’s voice and crossed his arms, gazing out at the hyperspace view. “No.” He mumbled simply, slouching in the chair as his leg bounced anxiously.
Tech didn’t look convinced but didn’t pry as he turned. “Crosshair ate finally.” Tech said, setting his scanner down and folding his hands in each other. “That’s good.” Hunter mumbled, trying to sound enthusiastic but failing from the pounding his head. Tech turned his chair to face his. “I would say give him a bit before you talk to him. Perhaps even let him come to you.” Tech advised his brother.
Hunter nodded, rubbing his eyes in attempt to relieve them of the stress from the bright lights of the cockpit. When he opened his eyes, it was darker, but he could see that Tech had gotten up and turned the lights completely off.
“Thanks.” He mumbled, going back to his slouching. “Are you sure you do not want a sedative? It will not put you to sleep but merely—“
“I know what it does, Tech. But no.” Hunter cut his brother off and there was now silence. Hunter sat there for a moment, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose before he sighed as he could feel the weight of everything coming to his shoulders.
Tech shot Wrecker a look as he appeared in the doorway of the cockpit. Wrecker covered his mouth, eyes flickering between Tech and Hunter, who’s eyes scrunched shut at Wrecker’s loud voice.
“Oh, sorry.” Wrecker whispered the best he could, fingers fiddling with each other. “Where’s Cross’s kit?” He asked quietly. Tech raised his eyebrows.
“Wrecker, I do not think it would be a good idea to bother Crosshair at all.” Tech said in a low voice for both Hunter and for Crosshair not to hear them. Wrecker scratched the back of his head.
“Yea, but he’s cooped up in there like he used to do, ya know? Thought he would like to have something to do. Plus I’m sure he missed Sylvie.”
Sylvie. The beloved Firepuncher that Crosshair loved so much. He named it as soon as he got it and it just seemed right.
Tech saw the kindness that Wrecker was trying to show but was still weary.
“Okay. But if he wants to be left alone, leave him alone, alright?”
Wrecker bobbed his head up and down and Tech pointed to where the kit was that held the sniper. Wrecker disappeared to go get it.
“I am sure it is still just as clean as it always is.” Tech said with a small chuckle. Hunter, who’s hand was still in his hair as he was leaning back in his chair, mumbled a “it is.”
Tech raised his eyebrows, which Hunter could see through the darkness of the room. “I kept it clean while he was gone. If he didn’t kill me for being a traitor, I knew he’d kill me for leaving the damn thing dirty.”
Tech simply chuckled as he turned back to quietly continue his work with Hunter drifting off peacefully behind him.
Chapter 3: Peace
No matter how much Crosshair wanted to be mad at all of his brothers, he couldn’t. There was one he had to spare. He didn’t know if he felt her had to because he thought he was too stupid to understand or too innocent to understand.
Either way, he needed to start talking again so he could lay out what was on his mind.
And Wrecker was the easiest start.
“I, uh, I brought you Sylvie.”
This caught Crosshair’s attention. He twisted his torso and met Wrecker’s gaze, a soft smile appearing on his face as he motioned the sniper kit out.
Crosshair sat up, bringing is legs out to drape then over the edge and press his feet to the cold floor. Crosshair held out his hands and Wrecker, for the first time in his life, gently put the kit in his brothers hands.
Crosshair flipped it around and flicked the clips holding it shut up with a ‘snap!’. He slowly opened it and his eyes gazed longingly at the weapon he missed so much.
The one the empire gave him just always felt so wrong. Like Crosshair couldn’t perform at his best with it.
Being reunited with Sylvie was something he had been waiting for.
“I don’t know if this is what you wanna hear but, uh, I heard Hunter mention that he had been keeping her clean. Probably not as much as you did, but I think it’s probably better than her being left for a few months.” Wrecker said, scratching the back of his neck.
Crosshair didn’t care to or know how to respond for a moment, simply staring at his sniper for another moment, seeing how it had been kept quite clean. Not as good as he did it, but better than nothing.
Wrecker was surprised but covered it with a soft smile. “Of course.” He said before his gaze went to Crosshair’s scar.
“You still feeling alright? Tech’s worried about you but we figured you wanted to be left alone.”
“It’s fine. I’ve had worse.” Crosshair said simply. “Yea, but getting the chips out kinda sucks. I had a headache for like two weeks. Guess that’s what Hunter feels like all the time.” Wrecker joked. Crosshair raised his eyebrows.
“So, you all got your chip out?”
Wrecker nodded, hand dropping from his neck to his side. “Yea. Rex found us and when he found out we still had our chips in, he helped us get them out. But—“ Wrecker paused, Crosshair seeing he was hesitating to say something.
“I-I dunno if I’m supposed to say this, but my chip activated too. Except fully.”
That caught Crosshair by surprise.
“I almost killed all of them. Being under that thing was…awful. So, uh, if you wanna talk about…I’m here, ya know?”
Crosshair didn’t say anything. He simply gazed back down at his gun and let his finger clench a bit as Wrecker stood for another moment in front of him before getting the message and leaving him alone.
And that was just what Crosshair needed after news like that.
Hunter slept, but he still didn’t feel better.
In fact, he felt worse. His eye sight was more intense than usual, it felt like, due to his pounding headache. Breathing in felt like flames in his nostrils. Listening to Tech mumble was even almost too much.
Hunter had slept in the chair behind the copilot’s, which now seemed to be a bad idea due to his aching back now on top of everything else. He sat up, slouching over miserably as he breathed in deeply.
“You do not seem better.”
Tech found amusement when it came to his eldest being snappy with him, since normally it was the others. The engineer approached next to his brother and pressed a hand to his forehead. Hunter slowly batted it away after a moment, the thought of somebody touching him making him want to barf.
“You are quite warm.”
“I always run warm.”
“Can it, Tech.”
“You have not had this type of reaction since we were young.”
“I don’t need you to tell me how my senses work, Tech.” Hunter mumbled aggressively, eyes looking up tiredly at his brother. Tech hummed, pulling his scanner out and crossing his arms as he taped on it.
“Well, do you not want to know why they are acting out of the ordinary?”
Hunter huffed, blinking slowly. “Tech, it’s probably just from the battle. A lot happened and they’re probably just going into overload from it.” Hunter tried to tell his brother but Tech hummed.
“A seemingly plausible assumption, but none the less, wrong.”
Hunter looked up in surprise. “And you know that, how?” He asked, his face dropping to an expression of unconvinced. Tech cleared his throat, adjusting his glasses in the process and Hunter knew he was in for it.
“Well, ever since we were cadets, I have been keeping track of our emotions and your senses for enough time to calculate the data and use it for extensive research. With that data, I noticed that our emotions openly correlate to those of your senses, which I found odd and decided to research more and found that your senses seem to have an effect that senses our emotions and bases how they will effect your performance and feelings.”
Hunter just stared at him for a moment. “Tech…basic, please.” He asked quietly. Tech grinned.
“In summary, you are a mother hen.”
Hunter stared at him again before scoffing. “That’s—no, Tech. I’m not a ‘mother hen’. I’m just being a leader.” Tech was grinning, which Hunter wanted to wipe off his face.
“You should not be in denial.”
“I’m not in denial when it’s not true!” Hunter exclaimed as loud as he could, which still wasn’t above his regular voice. Tech raised his eyebrows.
“When Omega arrived, do you not realize how worried you were?”
“Yes, I was worried! She’s a kid, who’s never been anywhere before! Of course I’m gonna be worried!”
“I noticed you always kept looking around. And I now how your senses work. No matter what, you were always looking for her presence. If she was on the ship—“
“—Okay, I get it—“
“—getting supplies with Echo—“
“—Tech, can you just tell me how this correlates to the present situation before I strangle you.” Tech’s expression dropped a bit.
“Well, again, in short, I would say your senses are acting up in such a way because of Crosshair.”
Hunter shut his eyes, thinking about it for a moment. He could sense Crosshair in the bunkroom, asleep by the feeling of his steady heartbeat and soft breathing.
And he could feel the anger, the sadness the betrayal. He knew how upset Crosshair was and he felt utterly sick to his stomach.
And with a slump against Tech’s torso, feeling Tech hesitate for a moment before a hand rested on his hair and give his fingers a loving run through.
“Yea…I think you’re right.”
There was a moment of silence before he heard Tech whisper quietly,
“Of course I am.”
That earned him a smack.
Chapter 4: Long Talks
“Cross talked to me.”
Hunter looked up in surprise at Wrecker. “Really?” He asked, a warm feeling in him. The giant clone nodded. “It wasn’t much, but he thanked me for bringing him Sylvie. I, uh, also told him about my inhibitor chip activating and said if he wanted to talk about it I was here.”
Wrecker was scratching his neck again. A nervous habit he had since the Batch could remember. It was usually how they knew he was anxious, embarrassed, shy, or lying.
Hunter nodded, happy and surprised that Crosshair had talked and that Wrecker had also mentioned his chip activating. Even after it happened, the giant clone had the toughest time overcoming his anxiousness and nightmares about it.
Wrecker gazed into the mirror of the refresher, watching for a brief moment as water dripped down him face. His prosthetic eye whirled as he focused on the scar on the right side of his skull for just a brief moment before he tore his gaze and grabbed a towel.
He wiped his face clean and exited, about to make a beeline to hide in his bunk when a voice from the entrance of the cockpit stopped him.
The giant clone turned, seeing his eldest batch mate standing in the doorway. His eyebrows raised, the bandana moving as well. “You okay, bud?” Hunter asked with concern laced in his voice.
Wrecker scratched the back of his neck, eyes gazing off for a split moment. “Y-yea. I’m just…tired.” He said, mentally cursing himself. He knew Hunter knew better. His senses probably already picked up on his racing heart and nervous shakes.
But Hunter simply nodded. “If you need anything, Tech and I will be up here. Okay?”
Wrecker nodded, turning to head to his bunk. “Night, Wreck.”
But Wrecker did not sleep. He hadn’t gotten more than two hours of sleep in the past two day from the nightmares of the chip activating.
The guilt causing his stomach to turn and his head to be filled with images of him nearly strangling his brothers, tossing them like rag dolls and nearly shooting his sister like she was just another battle droid.
Wrecker clutched Lula tighter. Omega had given her back just a short bit after the incident. He wasn’t sure if she could tell by his body language or if Hunter had told her and she’d went off that.
The giant clone let out a huff before the door opened from behind his back. He stiffened, doing his best to act asleep to whoever was intruding and was beginning to think it was working until he heard the person slump behind him and a light tap to his back.
Wrecker twisted his torso enough to see Hunter, his eyes soft as he folded him arms on the edge of Wrecker’s bunk to look at him. “You sure you’re okay, bud?”
“You wanna talk about it? You haven’t slept since we got Omega back.”<\em>
Maker, how could he forget about that? Almost killing his brothers, then Crosshair almost killing them again, then Omega being taken by a bounty hunter? They were getting kicked while they were down at this point.
It made Wrecker furious about the Kaminoans putting a bounty on the kid. He didn’t understand why or how they could be so cruel as to do something as that, wether she was important to them or not.
With the anger of almost losing his sister and the fear of almost killing his family mixing together, Wrecker just felt…numb. All he knew was that he couldn’t eat, sleep, or talk as much as he used to.
And he didn’t like it one bit.
“Yea…” Was all Wrecker said as he finally turned his body to his other side so he could face Hunter fully. A hand rested on his face and gave gentle strokes along his cheek as Hunter rested his chin on his folded arm on the bunk.
“Yea, you wanna talk about or yea, you haven’t slept much?”
Wrecker was quiet for a moment. “Both.” He mumbled, eyes flickering down in sadness. Hunter hand rest lovingly on his brothers face, waiting for him to find the courage to say what was on his mind.
Wrecker took his time and Hunter let him. He knew his brother well, he knew he struggled with his emotions more than Hunter and the others did. But that’s what made Wrecker Wrecker.
When you needed a shoulder to cry on, he would sit next to you and offer comforting words. When you needed to let out some anger, he’d match it and make you yell with him or even let you punch him in the gut just to feel something.
If you were just feeling glum, he’d cheer you up with that big, pearly smile of his and beg you to play a game with him, or sing obnoxiously until you had to smile.
Seeing him so down made Hunter’s heart ache.
“I wish things were like they used to be.”
Hunter nodded understandingly. “Yea. Me too.” He mumbled. Wrecker huffed. “‘s not fair.” He breathed out, his eyes flickering to the floor.
“I know. But we’re tough. We’ll get through it.”
“Yea, but…it’s not fair to Omega.”
Oh Wrecker. Sweet, compassionate, Wrecker.
Always thinking above himself. In order to protect the ones he loved.
“I know…it’s not. But she’s one of us. She’s a tough kid. You’ve seen she can handle her own.”
Hunter could see the self doubt that Wrecker was having. He knew why he was worried about their sister, and it wasn’t because of some stupid bounty hunters.
He was scared of hurting her again.
“You don’t have to worry, Wrecker. Nothings gonna happen to Omega, or us.” Hunter reassured. Wrecker’s eyes flickered to his for a moment, letting out a soft sigh before Hunter stood up.
“Okay?” Hunter’s eyebrows raised as he waited for his brothers response, his hand running along Wrecker’s head lovingly. Wrecker nodded, eyes dropping with a soft gaze.
“Okay.” He whispered with a choke to his voice and Hunter gave his a playful shake before leaving the room.
Leaving Wrecker to sulk alone.
None of the others ever brought up the chip activation after that. They knew how Wrecker worked, and trying to pry it out of him when he didn’t want to speak of it would just make it worse.
Tech wanted to get information about it. While he wished it hadn’t been his own kin suffering at the hands of the damn chip, what was done was done, and there was no reversing it.
Hunter told him to leave it and to much dismay, Tech did. While he didn’t want his brother to suffer, thousands of others were still actively suffering at the hands of the chip, and getting a better understanding of the chip might help in their battle of reversing the effects on their brothers.
But Tech understood what Hunter meant. He knew he meant well, and he had to respect that. Wrecker was not going to speak of something so lightly.
But perhaps his twin would.
Chapter 5: Routines
The Bad Batch was used to routine.
They always had one, no matter what.
When it was just four of them, it was wake up, get their assignment, eat as they fly, do whatever they needed to do, report back, organize their reports or the ship, eat, then sleep and repeat.
Every once in a blue moon they got a days rest that let them cat nap throughout the day, but with the war raging it was hard.
When Echo joined, it took him a bit to fit into the routine. Especially with how small the ship seemed now with five of them. But they made do, and Echo got the basics of it eventually.
When Crosshair left and Omega joined though was when it was thrown into chaos.
Having a kid changed the routine a whole 180. Hunter was always the one to make sure Omega was eating, playing and sleeping enough. Growing up with such careless caretakers made him realize how much Omega needed one now, and he prided himself on making sure this kid had a good life.
After another two days of being cooped up in the bunk room, Crosshair was spotted in the kitchen by Echo passing through in search of his spare scomp link.
He barely made eye contact, he wasn’t even sure if Crosshair was meaning to look at him but their pupils dilated at the sight of each other and the sniper quickly averted his eyes and continued munching on a bowl of something he held, staring out the small window in the kitchen.
Echo told Tech, who simply nodded but said nothing of the progress. Tech knew it was a start, but knew there were days ahead before anything was near as normal as before. Especially with six people on the ship now.
The next day, Crosshair took a shower finally after managing to find his toiletries, still unused from the last time he was on the ship.
He breathed in deeply the scent of the bathroom, happy to have the familiar smell of his home, his family, rather than the metallic scent of Kamino and the Empire.
In the cockpit, Hunter shut his eyes when a familiar smell came to his nostrils. He breathed in, sighing almost happily when he smelt the familiarity of his brothers cologne that he always loved so damn much.
It smelt like the forest and the morning sun, but more importantly, it smelt like his kin. His brother.
And it reminded him that he was finally home.
As he should’ve been all along.
Crosshair was standing at the bottom of the Marauder steps, shoes dragging along the step he was on. He missed the familiarity on the bottom of his feet, the creaking of the steps despite it not being an old ship but just from the amount of abuse it went through (mostly due to Wrecker’s weight).
His pale eyes gazed up to finally looked at the city that Tech had mentioned while examining him one day they stayed at and got jobs at so they could make money.
‘What a shithole.’ He thought to himself with an eye roll. ‘I can’t believe they thought a kid growing up here would be better than under the Empire. At least she’d be somewhat protected there.’
Crosshair heard Wrecker before his heavy weight sunk the steps down a decent amount and made the sniper almost lose his balance. He cursed and shot a look to his giant of a brother, who smiled sheepishly.
“Sorry.” He said, hoping off the steps before he got to the bottom. “Tech and I are going to talk to Cid to get a job. Wanna come with us?” Crosshair’s head turned slightly when he saw Tech in the corner of his eye come down the steps.
“Who’s Cid?” He asked, eyebrows raising. Tech stopped behind him. It was the first time the engineer had heard him talk since when he first woke, so he was taking advantage to see if he would finally open up a bit more.
“She is the woman we work for. She once worked with the Jedi and used them as a source to collect bounties so she may stay in business but after the termination of them, her business slowed.” Tech explained and began nudging his brother along, not giving him a choice in the matter despite a scowl in the sniper’s face.
“Until we showed up! We’re her best clients!” Wrecker said excitedly. Crosshair rolled his eyes. “I’m sure.” He drawled as his eyes wandered the streets, grimacing at the state they were in.
Wrecker began telling of the different bounties they had been after as they walked. Crosshair didn’t say much, but Tech could tell he was more at ease with Wrecker as the one he was speaking with.
If any of the others tried to talk to him, especially Hunter, the sniper got defensive, or just flat out told them to not nicely go away.
Omega had listened to Hunter’s advice and stayed away luckily, because Tech wasn’t sure what Hunter would do if he caught Crosshair snapping at her.
They entered Cid’s bar and Crosshair seemed intrigued, especially by the alcohol. “I would not test your luck yet. Hunter would not approve.” Tech advised him and Crosshair rolled his eyes and his arms folded.
“Hunter can kiss my ass.”
Tech gave a look as Wrecker rubbed the back of his neck, sighing. Two men playing a game of sabacc turned and frowned.
“Who’s the new recruit, fellas?” One asked and Crosshair narrowed his eyes. Wrecker hit him in the shoulder.
“Ease up. Bolo and Ketch, this is our brother, Crosshair.”
“Oh! The one you mentioned!” Ketch said in surprise, leaning back in his chair. “Didn’t imagine you’d look like that.” Bolo commented and Crosshair scoffed.
“I’d love to imagine what you thought I’d look like.”
“Shorter, like tiny.” Crosshair assumed they were talking about Omega and rolled his eyes as the two snickered as they walked away.
The door to the office opened and Crosshair was surprised to see a walking lizard pacing back to the desk in the room. “About time you boys came back. I was losing money without you.”
“Yes, well, Hunter thought it was best to—“ The lizard lady gave Tech a look as they approached her desk and he shut his mouth immediately. “Apologies.” He said and Crosshair was even more surprised that that shut his brother up.
The woman met Crosshair’s eyes. “Oh, another clone. Splendid.” She mumbled and Crosshair was about to make a snarky comment when she said— “At least this ones handsome.”
Tech and Wrecker’s mouths opened like a couple of fishes as the tiniest smirk appeared on the sniper’s face. “Crosshair.” He said, stretching out his hand and the woman shook it.
“A pleasure.” He snickered as Wrecker nudged his shoulder with a grumble. Cid handed Tech a file with a nod. “Everything you need is in there. Simple grab and go. Stealth mission.”
Wrecker whined and Cid waved her hand. “I don’t wanna hear it. Scram.” She said and they thanked her before going back to the ship.
“I’m glad somebody recognized it finally.” Crosshair said snarkily to Wrecker, who rolled his eyes.
“I think Cid’s blind as a bat.”
“Or you’re just too dense to see it.”
“Hey, I’m the one with the cybernetic eye!”
“And it still does you no good.”
This was the Crosshair he missed.
This was the Crosshair he loved.
This was the part of the routine they were missing.
Crosshair stuck beside Wrecker as Tech went to hand Hunter the mission details. Omega came running out of the cockpit to tell Wrecker something when her eyes briefly met Crosshair’s and she seemed startled by his presence as she stopped next to the giant clone.
Wrecker raised his eyebrows. “What’s up, kid?” He asked, trying to boost her confidence to show she had nothing to worry about.
Wrecker knew his twin more than anybody. He was (typically)the definition of all bark, no bite. Especially to a kid.
Omega steered her eyes to meet Wrecker’s and grinned. “Echo said he would try and convince Tech to let me land today.” She said and her brother grinned. “That’s great, kid. Go give him those puppy dog eyes I showed you and they’ll work for sure.”
Omega nodded as he nudged her back to the cockpit, heading Tech already arguing with Echo about the idea. The man got very testy about who piloted the ship.
Wrecker was grinning still until he saw the look on Crosshair’s face. A look of…sadness.
“What’s wrong?” He asked and Crosshair quickly wiped the look of his face in an instant. “Nothing.” He snapped and Wrecker raised his eyebrows.
“I know you don’t like kids…but she’s a lot of fun if you get to know her.” Wrecker told his brother, who shook his head. “I’m not getting attached to some kid.” He mumbled and Wrecker now shook his head.
“She’s not some kid. She’s your sister and ours too.” Wrecker told him. Crosshair didn’t respond, simply scoffing and crossing his arms as he went to the kitchen.
“You know she asked about you.”
Crosshair stopped for a moment and glanced back at his brother.
“Always wished that you were here too…felt guilty about you not being here.” Wrecker told him. Crosshair snarled.
“She’s not the one that should be guilty.”
And with that, he stalked off to be alone.
Chapter 6: Defenses
Tech was about to follow the others off the ship when Hunter stopped him on the bottom of the steps of the Marauder as the others began walking a bit.
“Stay on the ship for this one, Tech.”
It wasn’t uncommon for Hunter to have somebody stay back, which most of the time it was Wrecker and Omega if it was a quick in and out. But he rarely ever asked Tech to.
The engineer looked confused.
Hunter glanced into the ship, sighing. “I…want you to try and get to Crosshair. I know he’s been talking to Wrecker but if we’re gonna get him to open up, I think you’re the one who can talk some sense it I him.” The sergeant told his brother.
Tech placed his hands on his hips. “Oh goody. Throwing me under the bus.” He grumbled and Hunter held his shoulder. “Please, Tech. You know the logical way to approach this. I want…Cross back, okay? For good. I’m not saying convince him but…”
Hunter swallowed. “If he is gonna leave, I at least want everything to be the same as before…so that he knows he always has a place in case he ever needs it.”
Tech sighed and nodded, adjusting his goggles up his nose. “Very well.” He said and Hunter gave him and small smile, squeezing his shoulder before he went to catch up with the others.
Tech huffed, shutting his eyes for a moment as he mentally prepared himself before entering the ship once again.
Crosshair was eating in the kitchen when he heard somebody come back up the steps. Not thinking much of it and also just not caring at this point who saw him, he continued eating as he watched out of the window and thought to himself.
The sniper was caught off guard when he heard somebody plop down in the seat across from him as somebody slapped against the table.
Crosshair turned his head and raised an annoyed eyebrow at the pilot of the Marauder as he pulled his data pad to his knee that was propped up against his other knee.
“Name?” He said simply and Crosshair looked bewildered. “You’re not serious right now?” He grumbled and Tech gave him a look.
“Tech, cut that shit out. You know my fucking name.”
“Yes. But getting you to talk will go either one of two ways. As a patient, or as your brother. You can decide, or let me.” Tech said simply. Crosshair and him stared at each other for a moment before the sniper huffed angrily and looked away.
Tech looked satisfied as he sat up straighter. “Number?” He said and Crosshair growled. “CT-9904.” He grumbled.
“When did your inhibitor chip start acting out?”
“Take a wild guess, Tech.” Crosshair growled. Tech simply glanced up at him, an unimpressed look on his face. Crosshair scoffed. “When Order 66 was executed.” He said simply.
Tech taped on his data pad for a moment. “Why do you think it did not activate like the regs did?” He asked and Crosshair glared at his brother.
“I don’t know and I don’t like to think about it. Isn’t that your job to figure it out?”
Tech took Crosshair’s words into account. ‘He didn’t want to think about it?’ Tech thought to himself. “So, you had a conscious mind during your chips activation?” He asked and Crosshair sighed angrily as he put his bowl down.
“Of course I did, you idiot. It’s the only reason you’re still living. You think I’d miss those shots on accident?”
Tech realized he was right. He had never taken into account about how many times Crosshair had shot at them and missed. Crosshair never missed.
Tech looked surprised, eyebrows raising. “What do you remember of it?” Crosshair gave him a look, one that said he already answered that question.
“I mean, if you still had a conscious mind, what do you remember about the chip when it was activated. How did it affect you?”
Crosshair suddenly looked away, his gaze softening and so did Tech’s. Crosshair clasped his hands together and rested his elbows on his knees as Tech saw his legs began to bounce.
“It was…confusing…I knew what I was doing, and I would follow orders, ones to go after you guys, but as soon as the mission was over…I wondered why I did it and tried to go against it but then another order would come through and it was like…a sick, vicious cycle of execute the order, then regret it.”
“Even orders not including us?” Tech asked and it took Crosshair a moment to respond before the engineer saw him nod his head.
Tech typed into his data pad for a moment before closing it and setting it down, leg dropping to the floor.
“If you knew it was your chip doing this when we were on Kamino, why did you lie and say it was taken out?”
Crosshair glanced at Tech, who had his arms crossed now. “And I know it was not the empire lying. Because I know you. When you lie, your trigger finger twitches.”
Crosshair didn’t even know that, but it wasn’t something he was concerned about at the moment. His eyes suddenly looked sad and Tech could see it. The sniper swallowed, glancing away.
“Because I thought it was for the best.”
“What was for the best?”
“Leaving the squad. I do nothing but cause trouble, start arguments, and pick fights. You’re better off with her here anyways.” Crosshair snapped. “And you came up with that conclusion yourself?” Tech said, a sad look in his eyes but he tried to remain straight.
“I came up with it by looking around for once. And after we went back for the kid and you guys were already fixing to leave, I could only assume—“
“You thought we were leaving without you?” Tech cut in suddenly, a confused look in his face. Crosshair beared his eyes at him. “Weren’t you? The ship was already getting started up and you all had your gear, about to go!” Crosshair exclaimed.
“I was preparing the ship for their return after getting you!” Tech exclaimed back and Crosshair looked confused. “We had to go get our gear! We would have been beaten in an instant if we went in just our blacks!”
Crosshair’s eyes tore away. It made sense. It made so much sense that his head hurt again, much like it did when he had watched their ship leave without him.
“You truly believe we would leave you? After everything we had been through together? Hunter took the barrel of a blaster to his stomach after you had just berated him in his leadership skills, and you truly thought we wanted to leave you behind?”
“You still did!” Crosshair snapped, eyes tearing to meet Tech’s where he realized both of them had unused tears.
“You think you are the only one who questioned Hunter for his choices? After that stunt, I was rethinking everything. I did not speak to him for days before I had to realize that we had to wait until the right moment to go back off you, even if it meant years. I didn’t want to, but it was logical. Trying to get you while you had orders to execute us with a death squad and the entire empire backing you up would be suicide.”
“That’s why I lied!” Crosshair yelled, standing up suddenly. Tech’s eyes followed his as the sniper huffed angrily. “I wanted you to forgot about me. I knew you trying to come back for me would be stupid thing to do so I wanted you to think that I was telling the truth so you’d forget about me and let me die!.”
Tech swallowed the lump in his throat, staring up at his brother who had his arm stretched out angrily, huffing.
“You think you’re that replaceable? That one sentence could make us believe that it is the right thing to leave you for scum like the empire and move on? As if we did not fight a war together? As if we did not grow up and fight together? You think it is that simple?”
“Seemed like it.” Crosshair whispered. Tech shook his head. “Then you are even more stupid than I remember if you think it is that simple.” The engineer whispered and Crosshair didn’t looked phased.
“Just…stop caring, Tech. Let me go.” Crosshair whispered and Tech shook his head.
“I cannot and I will not.”
“Why? Because’s it’s not logical?” Crosshair said staley. Tech shook his head.
“There is no logic or statistics when it comes to my family…only what I think is right.”
Crosshair glanced at him and could see both him and his brother had shed a few tears. “And that is?” He said quietly.
“You are my brother…your place is with us if you choose it to be…you are always welcome here, vod’ika.“
Crosshair’s eyes widened a bit before he glanced away and thought for a moment. Turning, he huffed and stalked past Tech, not saying a word as he went back to the bunk room.
And Tech sat there for a moment before taking off his goggles and drying his eyes as he stood up and went to sulk in the cockpit before the others return.
Hunter opened the door to the cockpit. He hadn’t seen Tech since they arrived back, only a glance of the engineer peaking out the door to see if they had loaded everything before taking off. The door closed behind him with a hiss and Hunter gazed around.
The hyperspace scene outside drew the sergeants attention for a moment before he went up behind Tech’s chair, who had the autopilot on and was slumped down in the chair.
When Hunter had entered the ship, it smelt salty. It was unusual, so he searched for his two brothers auras and could sense Crosshair fast asleep in the bunk room while Tech was in the cockpit, dazing off.
“Hey.” He said softly and Tech sat up a bit, nodding in greeting. “It go good? Did he talk?” Hunter asked and Tech nodded again, flicking a few switches on the dash. Hunter noticed his hands trembling a bit and he looked concerned.
“…what’s wrong, Tech?” He asked quietly, kneeling down next to the chair. Tech let out a quiet, shakey breath.
“Is it about Cross? I’m sorry, I should’ve stayed myself and—“ Hunter was cut off when Tech’s head suddenly slouched against his shoulder and he could feel his brothers body shake. The sergeant was shocked. Tech never acted like this, not since they were kids.
“Tech?” He said quietly, bringing a hand up to place on his brothers curls, rubbing his head comfortingly as the engineers hands found his forearms to cling to.
Hunter could tell he wasn’t going to talk, and that was fine. He simply sat there and let his brother get it all out, whispering comforting words as he held his shaking body.
“Relax, vod’ika. He’s safe. He’s home.“
Chapter 7: Experience
Crosshair turned, meeting his twins gaze. Wrecker didn’t have his normal smile on his face. Instead, he had a softened experience, one that showed sympathy.
Something Crosshair hated.
Sympathy made him feel weak.
And weak was one thing Crosshair couldn’t be.
“What?” He asked, slightly irritated. Wrecker rubbed his neck, eyes tearing away nervously. “Tech mentioned you guys talked…didn’t say about much except that you talked about your chip…”
Crosshair blinked. “Yea…” He said simply as Wrecker motioned to sit on the end of his bunk. Crosshair hesitated but eventually pulled his legs up, fully turning his body so he could look at Wrecker’s face as he sat at his feet.
“D-do you wanna talk about it?”
Crosshair didn’t know.
One part of him wanted to sulk, as he always did before.
But the other part of him wanted to scream, cry, and rage about what he had gone through.
The sniper sighed, bringing his knees up so he could rest his elbows on and let his chin rest in his palm. “Yea.” He mumbled quietly, making Wrecker perk up in surprise.
“Wh-what was yours like?” The giant clone asked hesitantly. Crosshair huffed as he thought for a moment.
“Lonely…and cold.” He said and Wrecker nodded. “Yea…that’s a good way of describing it.” The giant clone agreed.
“I…when my chip activated, I grabbed Tech by the throat and threw him across the room—“ Crosshair listened, a bit of a surprised look in his eye. “—in my head, before it happened, I had a voice telling me to do it but I was trying to fight it. I-it was my voice but like…not. I dunno. But I ended up losing to it…”
Wrecker fiddled with his fingers in his lap. “I launched Echo into Rex, and about strangled Hunter before…before Omega distracted me and lured me away…but then I almost shot her and Rex stunned me before I could.”
Wrecker huffed, shutting his eyes for a moment. “I was a second away from pulling the trigger…and that’s something I never would’ve lived with myself, had it happened.”
“I know…I get it…” Crosshair said, trying to distract Wrecker from thinking about it anymore, seeing how shaky he was just speaking of it.
“Every time after there was a run in with you guys…I just felt so empty…like I wondered why I did it but then when I got another order, it made sense but then afterward it didn’t…and every time I could’ve been your downfall…” Crosshair now shut his eyes, trying not to think about the guilt he would’ve felt if he hadn’t missed his shots.
“Tech says it’s not either of our faults…but I think it’s something you don’t understand unless it happens to you.” Wrecker said quietly, dropping his hands in between his legs. Crosshair nodded, sighing as a moment of silence fell between the two.
The mattress space that was open next to Crosshair sunk and he opened his eyes, turning to see Wrecker lying down on his back next to him. Crosshair gave a look and Wrecker simply smiled the innocent grin he gave.
“Was my vulnerability an invitation to lay down?”
“In my book, yes!” Wrecker chirped, snuggling up to Crosshair’s side. The sniper just sighed and rolled his eyes but didn’t do anything to move his brother. Instead, he shifted until he was also laying down and his head was leaning on Wrecker’s shoulder.
The giant clone leaned his head on top of his brothers and they sat there in silence for a beat before Wrecker cleared his throat quietly, head nuzzling against his twins.
“It’s good to have you back, Cross. I missed ya.”
Crosshair was silent for a moment before he shared the head nudge back.
“I missed you too.”
And Wrecker smiled his goofy smiled. Crosshair could feel it on his head and it made him smirk every so slightly.
Wrecker saw it and peacefully fell asleep with his twin safe and sound next to him.
Tech had calmed down by the time Hunter had come back from giving Cid what they collected. It took a second of Hunter convincing Tech he would be back in a bit and that he wasn’t leaving him for good.
Something about the conversation had shaken Tech, the man who could see the logic in almost everything so his emotions wouldn’t get the best of him, and Hunter wanted to know so he could help him.
But Tech wouldn’t budge. He babbled on about something, saying it was for Crosshair to tell him and not him. That he didn’t even wanna talk about it. So, Hunter dropped it and simply comforted his little brother with his forehead resting against his as his hand ran through the engineers curls on top of his head.
With his goggles abandoned on the dash of the Marauder, Tech felt less confined as he breathed out to ease his nerves. Hunter’s hand was still running through his hair, the sergeant humming softly to help Tech relax.
It was time from when they were young. Space shanties, as Wrecker liked to call them. The regs also sang some, but not as much as Wrecker did.
Crosshair always said he hated them, but that was a lie. The tunes were catchy, you couldn’t deny that. Tech had even caught him humming along once and was threatened with a blaster to the face if he ever spoke a word.
Oh well. Been there, done that.
“Cross liked that one.” Tech said quietly. Hunter opened his eyes, meeting his brothers. “I think he hated those songs more than he hated the regs.” The sergeant joked and Tech shook his head.
“Caught him singing along one time when he thought nobody was around.” Tech said and Hunter grinned. “You’re lying.” He said and Tech shook his head again. “He threatened to shoot me if I told anyone.”
The sergeant chuckled, even though he felt like he shouldn’t. The irony was too much.
“Maybe you’re lucky that chip isn’t in, then.”
“I think he might still live up to that when he does find out.”
“Maybe. But i’ll let Wrecker tease him about that.” Hunter hummed before standing up. Tech watched him before Hunter stood in front of the chair and made grabby motions with his hand. Tech shook his head.
“I can sleep here tonight as I regularly d—HMPH.” Hunter cut the engineer off by dipping down and grabbing him by the waist before throwing him over his shoulder.
Tech didn’t even fight back. He was exhausted, and simply hung over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes as his big brother carried him to the bunk room.
Echo was checking over inventory and glanced up for a second before looking back down and then doing a double take. “I’m not even gonna ask.” He mumbled as he followed the two going down the hall. Tech waved to him from where he hung and he waved back.
“Goodnight bud.” Echo chuckled, shaking his head before they disappeared into the bunk room.
“Oh.” Hunter whispered quietly, making Tech perk up. “What?” He asked and Hunter shushed him before turning around so Tech could see what he was seeing.
“Oh.” Tech said as well upon seeing Crosshair and Wrecker laying next to each other in the same bunk, fast asleep.
“I am surprised they both fit.” Tech whispered before Hunter took him to his own bunk and flopped him down. Tech had to admit, being in his own blankets did feel better than the cold chair.
Hunter watched his brother scoot over and pat next to him, making the sergeant smile with a roll of his eyes before laying down.
Tech huddled up to his twin and Hunter simply leaned his head against the engineers. Silence ensued for a moment.
“Goodnight vod’ika.” Tech whispered and Hunter grinned tiredly, rolling his eyes once again.
“Whatever you would like to believe.”
Chapter 8: Gestures
Crosshair sat at the bottom of the steps of the Marauder, blowing smoke out of his mouth as he watched the streets of Ord Mantell.
He had to admit, it was kind of a nice city once you got used to it. While it didn’t look the cleanest or friendliest, the people were the opposite of what you’d expect and there wasn’t much to expect other than light chatter and bantering about trades and buying and selling.
The sniper felt the steps of the Marauder shift behind him. It wasn’t heavy, like Wreckers, and it also didn’t sound like the regular GAR issued boots, so as he ruled those two factors out, he pinned down to the reg they called brother.
“Hey.” Echo said softly behind him. Crosshair turned, eyes glancing up to meet the half humans. His pale eyes were soft, almost nervous.
“Didn’t see you in your bunk. So, I wanted to make sure you were okay. Thought you had gone off.”
Crosshair didn’t say anything, more because he wasn’t sure what to say.
The reg never bothered him. It took Crosshair awhile to start talking to him more when he first joined, but eventually the two became close and bonded over their knowledge of military weapons.
“I…wanted to ask how you’re doing. I know it’s a stupid question, but…I can’t imagine what you’re feeling about the…the anger you must feel but I know being alone for so long must’ve been hard.” Echo explained, feet shifting against the metal of the steps below him.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. I’ll go if you want me to.” Echo quickly added. Crosshair hesitated a moment before he motioned with the hand holding his cigarette to the spot he opened up next to him as he shifted.
Echo’s eyes lit up and he took the spot, eyes wandering to the lights of the city as he waited for Crosshair to speak.
The sniper finished his cigarette and put it out with a stomp of his foot before sighing.
“You’ll be honest with me, right?”
Echo looked surprised. “Y-yea. Of course I will.” He told his brother. Crosshair glanced away as he pulled out another cigarette, hesitating before lighting it.
He let out a breath of smoke.
“What changed when I left?”
Echo thought. “Well…there wasn’t as much arguing. For the longest time before you were gone, sometimes I wished you would stop picking fights but after you left…I realized I missed it.”
Crosshair listened, eyes staring hard at the ground. “On our missions, it was hard not to have eyes in the sky, but I think we managed to adjust for the most part…the first few times, Hunter kept giving orders to you, despite you not being there.”
This surprised Crosshair, his eyes glancing over to Echo for a moment. The half humans eyes looked…sad, adding to Crosshair’s surprised look even more.
“I think Tech had been worried ever since then…more about your health and well-being. I’d catch him mumbling about ways he could find a report in the Empire’s system but I don’t think he wanted to risk being spotted in the system and tracked down.”
Echo leant against his flesh hand, motioning with his scomp link. “I thought Wrecker was fine for awhile, until I caught him a few times staring at your bunk, or staring at your seat in the cockpit, or at Sylvie, sometimes crying.” Crosshair tore his gaze away as he breathed in his cigarette smoke.
“I sometimes found myself waiting for a snarky comment or an insult to be thrown, but it never came of course…and it kind of sucked having to clean my own blaster.” Crosshair chuckled, and Echo couldn’t hide his smile.
“Omega asked about you a few times…asked what you were like, what you liked to do, if you were actually a good shot…”
“And you told her—?” Crosshair drawled, eyebrows raising. “Tech said you were a pain in the ass—“ Echo chuckled, Crosshair smirking. “—and Wrecker said our pain in the ass—“
“—but Hunter showed her some combat footage of you.” Crosshair’s smirked faded into a expression of pain. “Kid was amazed by it. Asked if she could be as good of a shot one day. Went on about how when you came back that she wanted you to teach her.” Crosshair’s eyes flickered down.
Echo shook his head. “No, brother. When.“ Echo rested a hand on the sniper’s forearm.
“It was always when.”
Crosshair met the half humans pale eyes before pulling his arm away from him.
“Thank you, Echo.”
Echo stood up, heading a faint rustle inside the ship but ignoring it as he looked down at Crosshair.
“Hunter really wants to talk to you, but I think he’s scared.”
“Of what?” Crosshair asked bluntly.
“Making it worse.” Echo told him and the sniper cocked his eyebrow. “I-if you were really telling the truth on the platform, that you still wanted out of Clone Force 99, I think he’s scared he’ll push you away for good.”
Echo sighed. “You want the truth so i’ll tell you the truth. We want you to stay. We’ve missed you, Crosshair. Hunter didn’t show it for awhile, but I saw the signs that he really was feeling guilty about his mistake. Confused, even.”
Crosshair shook his head, as if he didn’t believe him. “I’m serious. He would clean Sylvie every other day, because he knew how much you cleaned her to keep her in top shape. If your bunk was messed up, he’d fix it like you always did. For the longest time, nobody sat in your seat. And for hours on his night watch, Hunter skimmed through old combat videos of you guys. Something I rarely saw him do before.”
Crosshair put out his cigarette with a huff, swallowing the lump in his throat.
“Believe me or not, you’re place is with us. Come home, Crosshair…” Echo said quietly as the sniper looked at him with sad eyes.
Crosshair tore his gaze away and Echo took that as a sign to leave. As he turned, he saw a hint of blonde peaking out from the door of the Marauder.
“Omega, how long have you been there?”
The girl jumped, tearing her gaze away from the back of Crosshair’s head, fiddling with the sleeves of her pajamas. “I-I could feel a draft. So I came to see what was causing it…I’m sorry.” She said quietly as the half human scooped her up.
“It’s okay, just…don’t ease drop. It’s not polite.” Omega nodded as she leaned her head over Echo’s shoulder tiredly, her eyes gazing down the steps and meeting the dark ones of her grey haired brother.
And he turned away, seeming to light another cigarette before Echo turned the corner down the hall and the sniper was out of sight.
“Can I sleep with you?” Omega asked her brother. Echo sighed. “Sure kid. But I’m not the most comfortable.”
“That’s okay. I’ve been squished by Wrecker a time or two now.” Echo chuckled quietly as they entered the bunk room. He saw Wrecker taking up Crosshair’s bunk while Tech and Hunter were passed out in Tech’s bunk, both of them snuggled up against each other without a care in the world.
Being extra quiet so he wouldn’t wake Hunter, Echo went to Wrecker bunk, figuring he would care if they snagged it for the night.
After clearing away some of the mess, Echo laid his sister down next to the wall before crawling in next to her.
“Do you think Crosshair will stay?” Omega whispered and that answered Echo’s previous question on how long Omega had been listening. Echo swallowed as she cuddled up against his side.
“I dunno, kid.”
Omega began drifting off, yawning tiredly. “I hope so.” She whispered as Echo began drifting off too.
“Me too, kid. Me too.”
Crosshair found his way back to the bunk room and blinked in irritation as he looked at his sleeping options.
Wrecker had taken up his entire bunk now, a risk he had put into consideration when he got up for a smoke. Echo and Omega had Wrecker’s bunk while Tech was in his bunk alone now, which Wrecker could assume he stole the blankets as usual and Hunter moved back to his own bunk so he could have some warmth.
Crosshair sighed in defeat, turning around to go find a nice spot in the cockpit before he heard somebody shift in the bunks behind him.
He turned his head and saw that Hunter had shifted to where he was facing the wall with his back to everybody else. Something Hunter never did unless…
He was offering Crosshair the spot in his bunk. Hunter, with all his senses, hated having his back to the room. It was something that made him antsy, since he always wanted to make sure he had eyes on exits and on people, while also being able to make a move if everything did happen.
There was very few people that Hunter trust to cover his back, and Crosshair had always been his number one. It was the reason he had always been the ‘eyes in the sky’.
The back turn that Hunter was doing now was something he always did growing up when Crosshair had a bad day and wouldn’t admit to his emotions.
Hunter would make room next to him, as an offering that he was there if Crosshair needed comfort but didn’t want to admit it out loud.
With slight hesitation, Crosshair slowly padded over. He gently crawled in the spot next to him, at first making sure that their backs didn’t touch as he pulled the extra blanket over himself.
And after a heartbeat, he could hear Hunter softly breath out, as if he had been holding his breath and their backs touched.
Crosshair breathed out as well, steadying his racing heart that Hunter could surely sense, their backs completely against each other now, sharing each other’s warmth.
And no words were spoken, but none had to be. Hunter’s breathing evened out and Crosshair’s heart slowed comfortingly right before they both slowly drifted off.
Finally having peace for the first time in months.
Chapter 9: Confrontation
Days passed and Crosshair still had his barriers up quite a way.
He hadn’t spoken to Hunter still, but the sergeant noted the progress of sharing a bunk with him. If Crosshair spoke to anybody, it was typically Wrecker or Tech, and usually they had to initiate it.
The sniper was still angry. He didn’t want to be, but every time he thought about it, his blood boiled.
They had chosen the kid over him. A girl they had barely spoken a word to over the brother they had grown up with.
He wasn’t angry with her. He could care less about her at the moment. She didn’t speak to him and he didn’t speak to her. He was sure it was a mutual understanding, but also that she was either told to not talk to him or too scared to talk to him.
Every time she entered the room to get somebody and Crosshair was also in there, she got tense and shuffled behind one of her other brother before quietly telling them what she wanted to tell them.
Crosshair could care less but yet…why did his heart drop a little each time she did it?
Well, he finally got an answer one day, after an accidental argument.
Crosshair was sitting at the steps of the Marauder once again. Even before he had left, he was usually found on them smoking a cigarette or simply sitting and staring off at the sky or city they were in.
“You know, you should really stop smoking those.”
Crosshair let out a noise that showed he didn’t care as he took a breath in. Tech rolled his eyes. “You were doing much less before you left.”
“Well, things happen. Stress happens.” Crosshair shot back as he put out his cigarette angrily. “All I am saying is there are better solutions. I could give you stuff to help wean off of them and you could—“
“I don’t want your damn alternatives.” Crosshair snapped to him, clenching his fist. Tech’s hands dropped his side as he breathed out and tried to keep his composure.
Crosshair was just about the only one that could push his buttons. Typically, Tech knew when Crosshair was just talking to bug him as brothers do, but there were some days, typically after a long mission during the war, that Crosshair went after Tech until Tech came back at him and they pointlessly argued until Hunter separated or until somebody threw a punch.
They very rarely happened, and hadn’t happened in a long, long time. But Crosshair was pushing his limit.
With the stress of missions, credits, fixing the Marauder, and Crosshair still refusing to barely even speak to anybody, Tech was reaching his limit. A limit that barely anybody could make him reach.
“Crosshair, I am going to lay it out to you flat—“ Tech said bluntly. “I am trying to help you—we are trying to help you. I have already told you how I feel about this whole situation. I cannot change or tell you how the others feel, but I have a general idea that I can go behind.”
Crosshair’s fist clenched as his brother continued.
“I know you are hurting. I cannot tell you I know how you feel because I have never experienced such a thing, but that does not mean I will allow you to wallow like a child and refuse to let us try to come to some solution before you make up your mind on leaving us.”
Crosshair stood up abruptly and spun around, eyes narrowing. “You don’t get to tell me how I’m supposed to feel or ‘wallow’ in my emotions.” He snarled as Tech came down the steps to match his gaze.
“All I am saying is let us talk about this. I refuse to let you walk away before talking with us! All of us!”
“Like you refused to leave any of us behind? Was that just for you five? Did I not get the fucking memo?” Crosshair yelled, stretching out his arms.
Both him and Tech’s raised voice caught the attention of Hunter inside, who sat up when he heard them suddenly. Echo frowned as he watched the sergeant get up quickly and go toward the noise, the half human soon following him.
“I cannot give any excuses to that. But we can move past it if you talk to us.” Tech said, eyes narrowing. “It’s not that simple, asshole.” Crosshair spat before he saw just past Tech’s head two figures appear in the doorway of the Marauder and he scowled.
He hadn’t realized they had been so loud, and was now thankful they land the Marauder away from the city so that nobody could hear them fight like a pack of dogs.
“What’s going on?” Hunter asked, eyebrows furrowing. “I am making Crosshair talk.” Tech snapped, not breaking eye contact with the grey haired man in front of him.
Crosshair snarled and stepped back, feet landing on the ground of Ord Mantell. “Fine, you want me to talk? Let’s talk.”
Omega and Wrecker had been playing on the other side of the Marauder and the yelling caught their attention, making the two appear from the side of the ship. The two approached and the sniper’s twin caught his eye.
“Let’s start with the fact that my chip barely activated and I went to complete hell to fight off any urges and orders to execute you on sight, only to be left for months while Wrecker’s fully activated and he nearly—“
“Stow it, Cross.” Echo snarled but the sniper continued.
“—strangled Tech and Hunter—“
“Shut up, Crosshair!” Tech now said.
“—hurled Rex and Echo as if they were nothing—“
“That’s not fair, Cross!”
“—and nearly shot the fucking kid!” The sniper finished with a snarl and Hunter’s eyes darkened. “Don’t bring her into this.” The sergeant told him as he went down the steps to stand next to Tech.
“I’m not bringing her into this. I’m simply stating a fact.” Crosshair snapped. Omega shifted and looked up, seeing Wrecker with an insane amount of guilt on his face. She reached up and held his hand, but could tell damage had been done and simply squeezed his hand comfortingly to tell him she was there for him.
“It was different, Cross. You weren’t—“
“Weren’t there. What-fucking-ever. No shit I wasn’t there, I was too busy getting sent off by the Empire to god knows where everyday!” Crosshair exclaimed, waving his arm. Hunter sighed, eyes dropping.
“Cross, I never wanted to leave you on Kamino. But—“ Hunter choked on his words, swallowing the lump in his throat.
“But what? You made your choice, Hunter. And in the end, maybe it was the right one.” Crosshair said, voice fading ever so slightly as he gazed at the ground.
“The kid.” The sniper said, eyes flickering the Omega. She tensed up, hand dropping from Wrecker’s rub her arm self consciously.
“You chose her over me.”
“I said don’t bring her into this.” Hunter snapped and Crosshair glared. “It’s the truth. There’s no avoiding it.” The sniper told the sergeant. Hunter huffed angrily.
“We had to do what we needed to survive! I didn’t know about the chips until it was too late! If I knew, I wouldn’t of—“
“Abandoned me?” Crosshair said, eyes narrowing as Hunter stepped in front of him, eyes shutting. “Yes. I wouldn’t have abandoned you.”
“You didn’t even try.”
“It wasn’t that simple, Crosshair! We had the entire empire against us as well, we couldn’t just—“
Crosshair decided in that moment the brother in front of him deserved to be knocked onto his ass. Something in his brain clicked, all the anger and sadness and fear he had experienced in the past few months built up all in one moment, his fist clenching and he swung without even thinking.
But what the sniper’s enhanced eyesight failed to see while blinded by his fury, was the patch of blonde that appeared just next to him that was going for comfort in her big brother, right in the line for fire.
And his fist collided with her face.
The silence that followed the thump of Omega’s body to the ground was like the inside of a grave. The young girl held her cheek and nose for a moment, her eyes wide with shock as she took a moment to register what just happened as blood slowly began to leave from her nose and the gash on her cheek.
Crosshair blinked, his expression dropped. He hadn’t meant to bring her into this. He truly didn’t. None of this was the kids fault.
And she just paid the price.
Echo was the first to break out of their shocked trance and went to his sister in an instant, scooping her up and quickly going into the Marauder.
Tech was stunned, his eyes flickering to meet Crosshair’s for a moment before Echo bellowed “TECH!” from inside the Marauder and the engineer snapped out of the stare and scrambled back into the ship.
Hunter’s eyes looked up slowly from the blood that was on the ground, his cold stare meeting Crosshair’s. For once, the sniper looked remorseful. But the rage that Hunter felt didn’t care about that.
“I didn’t mean to.”
A fist swung and Crosshair dodged it, connecting his own fist, the one that just struck another person down, to Hunter’s face. The sergeant stumbled back for a second, panting angrily.
“What do you want me to say, Cross?” The sergeant snarled angrily as Wrecker held him back, the giant clone still looking shaken from seeing his sister punched by his own brother.
“I want you to admit you were wrong! I don’t want some stupid fucking excuse about leaving your own brother behind for dead!” The sniper yelled, arms stretching in anger.
Hunter relaxed, almost slumping against Wrecker’s arm, looking utterly defeated for the first time in his life. The giant clone took his arm away, believing no more fist would be swung and went up to go check on his sister, hearing her faint sobs as he went up the steps.
“I know I was wrong.”
Hunter’s words were barely above a whisper. Crosshair relaxed, fist unclenching and dropping to his side. “I knew I was wrong the second we flew away. But I was so confused.” The sergeant trembled, his fist clenching at his sides.
“I know you said stuff just to push our buttons so I tried to convince myself that’s what it was after Order 66. But when you kept going, I thought maybe this was just your excuse to change units, leave us for good. I thought maybe that’s what you wanted and this was the opportunity to do it.”
Crosshair stared at him, an unsure look in his eyes as Hunter licked his bleeding lip. “But I was wrong. I was so fucking wrong and you paid the price. I’m the leader, the sergeant,—“ Hunter choked on his words, faint tears coming to his eyes.
“—your brother, and I should’ve done more. I should’ve tried to get you back and I didn’t and I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.” Hunter said, tears coming down his face as he angrily wiped them away while lifting his head up.
Tears were coming down Crosshair’s face as he tried to keep a scowl to his trembling lips. “I’m sorry, vod’ika. I’m sorry you suffered. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you…I should have been but I wasn’t…I failed you and I’m sorry.” Hunter bite his lip.
Crosshair angrily wiped his tears and crossed his arms, swallowing the lump in his throat. “I wanna forgive you…” He whispered and Hunter’s eyes softened.
“But I just don’t know…I don’t know.”
Hunter looked at the ground for a moment, huffing when his ears picked up Omega’s crying from inside. And he turned and went inside, wiping his tears away as he entered and leaving his brother outside.
And Crosshair fell to the ground, not even carrying who saw at this point as he put his head in his hands…
Chapter 10: Guilt
Echo placed Omega on the table by the navigation system as she sobbed. He quickly went to get the med kit from the cockpit and saw Tech had beaten him to it and turned heel to go back to his sister.
Tech came up to his sister and his heart broke at the sight of her tears, watching for a moment of uncertainty as she hiccuped and rubbed her eyes.
“Omega, it’s okay. You’re okay. You gotta calm down so Tech can help you.” Echo said, rubbing her arm comfortingly. Tech quickly turned after snapping out of his gaze and pulled gauze out of the med kit and reached for his sisters nose.
He gently pressed the gauze to the blood and wiped up what had dripped down her face. Omega sniffled and tried to get his hands away by pulling back but Echo held her forward.
“It’s okay, ad’ika. Tech’s just trying to get you cleaned up. You’re okay. You’re okay.” The half human soothed, voice quiet to try and bring down her cries.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Omega hiccuped suddenly, tears seeming not ready to stop anytime soon. “You have nothing to be sorry for. You didn’t know Crosshair would—“
“N-no! I’m sorry!” Omega wailed, slumping against Echo and muffling her sobs into his shirt. The half human looked at Tech with the same amount of confusion that the engineer had on his face.
Not even caring that the blood would stain his civvie shirt, Echo hoisted his sister back up into his arms and whispered to her, trying to calm her down still.
“I’m sorry! I-I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” She said, tiny fist gripping onto the fabric of Echo’s shirt as he gently swayed with her. Tech came around to try and clean up her face some more as Wrecker suddenly appeared in the doorway, face softening when he saw the scene in front of him.
Tech gently lifted her head enough to wipe more of the blood, but some still leaked out and he propped her head in a way to continue wiping it. “Hand me more gauze.” He said to Wrecker and the giant clone quickly grabbed what he needed.
Tech wiped what blood was coming from the gash, making Omega whimper and try to push him away. “Tech.” Echo said, quietly but sharp. Tech sighed and complied to the unsaid request.
He would have time to clean it once she calmed down. They needed to do that first.
“I’m sorry, i’m sorry.” Omega still cried, muffled into Echo’s shirt. Wrecker looked just as confused as Echo and Tech did.
“Omega—“ Tech gently rubbed her back, his voice whispering. His sister sniffed harshly, eyes lifting to meet his matching ones.
“What are you sorry for?”
The young girl hiccuped violently, the question making more tears fall down her face as she shook her head. “F-for making you ch-oose! I didn’t wanna replace C-Crosshair! I d-d-didn’t mean for th-is to happen! I’m s-sorry! I’m sorry!” I’m sorry!” She wailed and Echo shushed her, rocking her gently to calm her down.
Tech blinked in realization. He wasn’t sure if Crosshair ever blamed Omega for them leaving him. He knew Crosshair was smart, so he assumed there were no hard feelings, simply just Crosshair being distant. Wrecker had mentioned Crosshair was choosing to not get close to her.
But it had never occurred to either of them if Omega still lived with that guilt.
And now, they knew just how she felt about the matter.
Tech rubbed her back as Wrecker went past him toward the gunners mount and climbed up, disappearing for a moment before reappearing with Lula.
“Hey kid.” He whispered and she opened her eyes enough to see the stuffed toy and hugged it with her arms still around Echo’s neck, burying her nose into Lula’s stomach.
Tech mentally noted they’d have to wash the blood from her but Wrecker could seem to care less, gently rubbing his sisters arm with a sad look on his face.
Hunter appeared in the doorway as his tongue flicked across the gash on his lip and his brothers knew he also got the end of Crosshair’s fist.
The sergeant softened, swallowing the lump in his throat as he stopped in the doorway and stared at the sight in front of him.
Omega was calming down, but tears still ran and hiccups still erupted from her throat. She had stopped apologizing and simply muffled her quiet sobs into Echo’s shoulder.
His brothers gave him a look, one that showed pity and sorrow. Toward him or his sister, he wasn’t sure but the sergeant snapped out of his thoughts and went to Omega.
“‘Mega.” He said softly and the girls eyes opened and met his peering from beside Tech and Wrecker standing behind Echo.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered and Hunter shushed her, bringing his hand to her hair. “I’m sorry…you shouldn’t of been caught in the middle of that…you have nothing to apologize for.” He said quietly, pressing a kiss to her forehead and holding there.
“I’m sorry.” She simply whispered again, the exhaustion coming down at her at once at the presence of all almost all her brothers comforting her.
“Shhh.” Hunter whispered and they watched as she gently began to drift off, the tears finally stopping and she rested her uninjured cheek against Echo’s shoulder.
Tech retracted his hand and quickly got his supplies to clean her up. He wiped the blood off her cheek and around her nose, mouth, and chin, even some that trailed down her neck before examining her nose with gentle fingers.
“Well—?” Hunter asked quietly. “It is not broken. Bruised, but none the less, better than the other option.” Tech said, his voice low. Omega watched him with tired, red eyes; sniffling.
Tech applied a bacta patch to her cheek, making her wince. “I know, ad’ika. I know.” He said and she whimpered as it stung as it was being applied. “You’re doin’ great, kid.” Wrecker whispered, a faint smile of his face as he gave her arm an encouraging squeeze.
“There. I shall change it tomorrow and after that it should be healed enough to be on its own.” Tech said, stepping back. Omega sat up a bit, rubbing one of her eyes.
“Can I go to bed?”
All of them cracked a smile. “Never thought I’d see the day you asked to go to bed.” Hunter joked, rubbing her head. That got a tiny smile out of his sister before he nodded and took her from Echo.
She slumped against her brother and before he could even get to the hallway, he could tell she was out.
And once she was put to bed, he gazed toward the door of the Marauder and breathed in before going to the bunk room to sulk in what he had caused.
Chapter 11: Unshed Tears
Hunter woke Omega up after a bit to quickly change her shirt, taking the one she had on with crusted blood and tossing it to the side to clean later before giving her a kiss to the head and leaving her to sleep again.
Hunter climbed down the gunners mount and turned to be met with Tech standing behind him. The engineer motioned for him to follow and the sergeant didn’t argue, simply following his brother to the navigation room.
He glanced over into the cockpit and could see the door to the Marauder still open, assuming Crosshair was still out there. Wrecker was in the navi room, face stained with old tears. Hunter even noticed Tech’s red eyes but he didn’t say anything.
Tech wordlessly cleaned his brothers face before examine the gash. It was bigger than the one on Omega, most likely due to the fact that Omega didn’t get the full impact, simply the mid collision. While Hunter, most likely got the end of it, and having his teeth on the other side didn’t help.
“I am going to put at least two stitches in.” Tech told him and Hunter simply nodded and waited as Tech gathered his supplies.
Hunter gazed over at Wrecker, who was fiddling with his fingers with faint sniffles coming from him. “I’m sorry, Wreck.” He whispered and the giant clone gazed up, blinking.
“For not defending you enough.” Hunter said, eyes flickering to the floor. Wrecker shook his head. “No…no, it’s okay. Crosshair was right…it wasn’t fair that—that he was left behind because of the affects of his chip and I wasn’t…he had a right to be angry.” Wrecker said, voice trailing off as his gaze went over toward the door.
Hunter didn’t say anything as Tech came back in and got situated. Not even bothering to numb it, since he knew Hunter could handle it, he quickly put two stitches in the gash before closing it and finishing it up.
“Done.” Tech said simply but didn’t immediately go to put his supplies away. Instead, he leant against the spot open next Hunter, head dipping down as he let out a deep breath.
“I am sorry to have caused this.” Tech said quietly, eyes flickering up to Hunter’s. The sergeant looked confused. “Wh-what? Tech, you have nothing to be sorry about.”
“I should not of pushed Crosshair to talk. I should have waited.”
“One way or another, that conversation was going to happen and I don’t think it wouldn’t of ended pretty either way. I’m sorry this happened.”
“Will you guys shut up with the sorrys?” Wrecker exclaimed suddenly and both his brothers looked at him with wide eyes at the sudden outburst.
“Everybody’s sorry! Everybody feels bad! Everybody’s mad! It was all our fault. Not just yours, Hunter, or yours Tech. We all made the call! We all left him there! We all need to own up to ours mistake with him, not each other!” Wrecker exclaimed, hands stretching out as he stood up.
Echo appeared from the cockpit, catching every word Wrecker had said. His eyes soft, sad. There was a silence as Wrecker’s arms dropped and he huffed angrily, a few tears of frustration falling from his eyes.
Echo rested a hand on the giant clones biceps, giving it a comforting rub with a nod of agreement. Wrecker dropped his head a bit and the cyborg pressed his our side own his head to his brothers.
Tech hesitated before turning and joining with his head pressed on Wrecker’s other side. They all side glanced Hunter, who looked away for a moment before slowly getting up and join in the last spot.
And they stayed like that for an unknown amount of time, simply basking in what they had and forever would have.
The next morning, Tech realized Crosshair had slept outside. He wasn’t too worried, since the sniper had been created to be able to rest anywhere he could, but it still made him ache with guilt.
Omega found her way down when she woke up, rubbing her eyes tiredly. She had a faint headache, but decided to ignore it as she went to go find food from the kitchen.
Echo was in there, slowly managing to make some toast when the small blonde blur out of the corner of his eye made him turn.
“H-hey kiddo! How you feeling?” He asked, dropping his food back in his plate and crouching to the young girl. Omega rubbed her eye. “My face hurts.” She mumbled quietly.
“I know, i’m sorry ad’ika.”
“It’s okay. It’s not your fault…or Crosshairs.” She mumbled. Echo’s eyes softened. “Yea.” He said quietly as he stood up straighter. “You hungry? I’m making breakfast.” Omega lit up and nodded, padding past him to look at what he had.
Echo chuckled. She definitely had Wrecker’s appetite.
Hunter heard the commotion and popped in the doorway. “Hey kid.” He said, going over to his sister. Her innocent eyes looked up at him as she munched on the piece of toast Echo gave her. “Hi.” She said, leaning her head against the sergeants side.
“How’re you feeling?”
She shrugged, continuing to quietly chew her food. Hunter rested a hand on top of her blonde curls as let the topic be by that response. “Cmon. Let’s have Tech check you out just to make sure.”
The engineer was in the cockpit, mumbling to himself with Wrecker sitting in the seat next to him. The giant clone followed him around all night like a lost puppy, looking for comfort in the presence of his brother. Tech didn’t mind though. He actually welcomed it.
Wrecker perked up hearing the soft footsteps of his sister and turned. “Hey kid! You bring me something to eat?” The giant clone asked in a teasing voice as he reached for her toast. The young girl swiped it away defensively and huffed, making a chuckle come from her brothers.
Wrecker sighed dramatically and stood up to go to the kitchen. “Guess I gotta go fend for myself!” He huffed and the young girl grinned as she finished her food.
“How do they feel?” Tech asked as he turned around and held her tiny face in his hands, slowly turning her face to examine the damage.
He could see bruising come from both places on her nose and cheek, but luckily nothing too bad. Omega winced.
“It’s sore.” She mumbled as she gazed up at Hunter. “Is this how you guys feel after getting tossed around?” She asked and Hunter cracked a small smile.
Tech quickly replaced the bacta patch before sending the young girl on her way. He took Lula from her and she frowned. “I am going to have Echo wash her.” He told her and she nodded before going off.
Hunter stayed next to Tech, watching Omega go find Wrecker, disappearing into the bunk room.
“Last night, Omega kept apologizing before you got in there.” Tech said suddenly in a low voice. Hunter turned and frowned. “When I asked her what she had to be sorry for, she said she was sorry that we had to choose. That she made us choose. And that she accidentally replaced Crosshair.”
Hunter’s eyes widened a bit and he flickered them to the floor as his shoulders slumped. “She feels guilty about it. I should have noticed it early on, but I failed to and I never asked. It did not even cross my mind that she had any guilt to begin with.”
Hunter sighed, rubbing a hand down his face. “Me neither…maker…” He murmured quietly as he took a seat. “I would advise talking to her…I would but I do not believe I am the best suited for that task.” Tech said, leaning down to check on Hunter’s stitches.
The sergeant huffed and nodded and no more words were exchanged as the engineer walked out, leaving his brother to think about what was happening on his ship.
Crosshair hurt all over.
He had barely moved from his spot outside except to use the refresher and stretch his legs. He hadn’t eaten or drank since the previous morning he realized when the sun of Ord Mantell began to sink again.
Nobody had come out to check on him and he was fine with it. He didn’t deserve, he told himself as he dipped his head, his chin pressing against his chest.
He’d hit the kid.
That was the guilt he was sulking in.
Part of his sniper training made him numb to any order of kill on sight. If he saw somebody so much as graze a blaster while he was overlooking his brothers down below, he had to shoot them.
Somebody going toward live bombs. Shoot.
Somebody fighting one of his brothers.
As a sniper, he had to make the call himself. But if he so much as hesitated and somebody else died for his mistake, he’d had been stripped and decommissioned in a heartbeat.
But one thing he struggled with was the young ones.
Part of his training included the possibility that his enemies could come in all shapes and sizes. Including children. Kids brainwashed into believing what they’re doing is right or forced into it and paying the price.
The sins of his past haunted Crosshair, and he felt sick thinking about when Tarkin sent them to kill innocent ones. And he almost pulled the trigger.
And now another innocent one got hurt because of his blinded rage? He could barely look at himself.
Crosshair jolted when somebody appeared beside him. The person jumped as well, hoping back a bit in the step.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!”
He blinked, eyes glazing over at the cheek that sustained the damage. There was a decent size purple and yellow bruise there, mostly covered by a bacta patch. Her nose looked pretty okay other than the fact that the bruise also covered a good portion of it.
He was thankful he didn’t catch her eye.
But he’d of rather not caught her midswing at all.
“C-can I sit with you?” She asked quietly, almost nervous. Crosshair’s eyes flickered down to the empty spot next to him.
“You should go inside, kid. It gets cold out here.”
There was a pause before Omega went back up the steps and Crosshair relaxed, thinking she had left him. Until he heard the pitter patter of her tiny steps again and she appeared next to him, wrapped in a giant blanket and holding another one.
“Here. So you’re not cold either.” She said, holding out the blanket. He wanted to bitterly comment that he slept outside just fine the night before without one but he had already upset her enough.
The sniper hesitantly took it and draped it over his legs, his elbows propping up in his knee so he could rest his chin on his palm.
A beat of silence past before Omega slowly sat in the spot next to him, pulling her blanket over her shoulders some more.
Crosshair was irritated over the fact that she was acting like nothing had happened the night before. She should be scared of him, avoiding him even more than she did before and here she is sitting next to him without a care in the world.
“I-I’m sorry.” The young girl blurted out suddenly. The sniper looked at her and squinted his eyes. “What in the tatooine suns do you have to be sorry for?” He said, a bit too harsh. Omega fiddled with her blanket, eyes flickering up nervously.
“For causing all of this! Y-you said it yourself, they chose m-me over you! A-and they shouldn’t have!” Omega explained, biting her lip. Crosshair sighed, dipping his head down.
“No, kid. They made the right choice.” He said. Omega’s head dropped. “But you’re their—“
“I know…I know…but i’ve seen how you are with them…how you keep their spirits up, like there isn’t anything wrong with this damn galaxy…and that’s what they need in times like this…not somebody that is as bitter as me.” Crosshair said, trailing off at the end.
“B-but it’s not what they want.!” Omega exclaimed suddenly, eyes faint with tears. Crosshair blinked, eyes still filled with surprise and confusion.
“I used to h-hear them talking about you. It would be small thing l-like wishing you were here to clean their blasters because they couldn’t get them spotless like you did, or T-Tech wishing he had your steady heads to help with the Marauder, or Wrecker sad about not having you in your bunk to throw food in his mouth! Echo missing your insults that he said he would write down in a book to use for himself a-and—“ Omega swallowed, eyes flickering up to him.
“Hunter cried. I don’t know if the others knew, but I went to find him one night and I found him crying in the cockpit. I-I left him alone but I stayed long enough to see he was looking at the picture of the five of you…”
A single year escaped from the sniper’s eye and he looked away, fist clenching lightly. “I know I don’t mean anything to you, but I want you to know that you mean everything them…a-and that I want you to stay too. Because I think you belong with them.” The young girl pleaded, hand coming up to rest on her brothers forearm.
Crosshair was silent for a moment before he turned to glance at her. “Are you just saying that because you want me to teach you to shoot?”
Omega giggled. “Noooo.” She said quietly and that earned a soft smirk from the sniper. “You should get to bed.” Crosshair said and the young girl pouted, dropping her hand from his arm.
“Tech was right. You do sound like Hunter.”
Crosshair rolled his eyes before the sound of a throat clearing came from behind them. “‘Mega.” Hunter’s voice said and she giggled as she stood up.
“I was going! I was going!” She said as the sniper smirked as he watched her bolt up the stairs.
Crosshair sighed when he heard her stop, waiting for him to respond.
Her tiny steps faded off but Crosshair could feel the eyes on the back of his head.
Finally, footsteps came back down the steps and a quiet voice from behind asked “Can I sit?”
And with a slight hesitation, the sniper scooted over and allowed space for his eldest to stay.
Chapter 12: Home
There was a silence for a few minutes and Crosshair could see Hunter fiddling with his thumbs, assuming he was trying to collect his thoughts.
“You were right.” Hunter suddenly said. Crosshair raised his eyebrows, staring off into the tree line. “About what? Joining the empire?”
Hunter managed to crack a small smile. This was the brother he remembered.
“If you’re so insistent…”
Crosshair smirked, but couldn’t help the sad feeling in his chest still when talking to his brother. Hunter softened though and swallowed.
“About leaving you…” He said quietly before sighing.
“I shouldn’t of left you. And there was no excuse. You’re my brother and I swore to protect all of you, but…I failed.” Hunter hung his head. “I should’ve seen it wasn’t you…I should’ve seen you were being used and I didn’t and I’m so sorry that this all happened to you…”
Hunter huffed, faint tears in his eyes that he tried to hide with his hair hanging in his face. “If I could go back…and change it, hell, even take your place I would.”
“I guess you’re still as dumb as I remember you being.”
Hunter blinked and glanced over at Crosshair, who had his chin on his palm and was looking over at him with a sorrow expression.
“Do you know how fast this squad would’ve fallen apart if Tech took your place? It would’ve been a miracle if we had gotten off Kamino.”
Hunter chuckled dryly, hand running through his hair and Crosshair smiled faintly.
“I can’t apologize enough Crosshair…but if there’s anything to—“
Suddenly, Crosshair leaned over and his forehead pressed against the side of Hunter’s, catching the sergeant off guard.
“Just…shut up, and that will be enough.”
Hunter smiled, a few tears escaping from his and his brothers eyes as he turned and pressed his forehead back against the sniper’s, a hand reaching out to hold onto Crosshair’s forearm.
After a moment, the sound of footsteps coming down the Marauder’s steps echoed through their ears and another forehead pressed against theirs.
The two opened their eyes and saw Tech, who had his goggles off and could see his faint red eyes. “I do not know what this is about…but I would hope something good.” He whispered, his arms coming around his brothers shoulders.
Echo wasn’t far behind and the cyborg smiled when he joined in, a hand rubbing Crosshair’s arm. And they stayed like that until a pair of louder footsteps came down the steps.
“Whoa, whoa! Hugging without me?” Wrecker exclaimed and the four tried to break apart but were grabbed by the giant clone as they protested loudly.
“Ow! Wrecker!” Tech yelped as him and his brothers were squeezed. Echo pleaded that his prosthetics would break if Wrecker squeezed any harder while Crosshair groaned in both pain and anger. Hunter simply smiled, though he knew he would feel the pain later on.
Omega’s giggling came from behind and that’s when they knew who set them up as they were finally set down with Wrecker’s grinning.
“You’re gonna pay for that, kid.” Crosshair grumbled, rotating his arm. Omega narrowed her eyes challengingly.
“What’re you gonna do? Punch me again?”
Everybody’s mouth dropped.
Chapter 13: A Drink
After finally going back into the Marauder, Crosshair showered before finding his way into the kitchen to eat for the first time in nearly two days.
He chugged some water as he heard Hunter trying to get Omega to bed. “Can’t Wrecker and I just watch some holomovies until I fall asleep?” The young girl whined as Hunter urged her up the ladder of the gunners mount.
“No, kiddo. Cid’s been itching to get us back lately so we might have a mission tomorrow and I don’t wanna hear you whining about being tired.” Hunter told her and nudged her up the ladder. Omega huffed when she got to the top and crossed her arms.
“I don’t whine!” She exclaimed and Hunter raised his eyebrows. “What’re you doing right now?” He asked and the young girl stuck her tongue out at him. Hunter chuckled.
“Goodnight.” She grumbled before disappearing into her curtains. Crosshair smirked at the conversation before Wrecker suddenly appeared in the doorway.
“What’re you smiling about?”
The sniper’s expression dropped as he grabbed his food out of the microwave. “Nothing.” He grumbled and the giant clone grinned. “Uh huh.” Wrecker said as he tried to snag a piece of food off of his brothers plate.
Without looking, the sniper smacked Wrecker’s hand and he yelped, drawing his large hand back. “That hurt!”
“Then get your own food.”
“I just want a bite!”
“It’s never a bite with you!”
The two bickered and from the cockpit, Tech smiled faintly at the familiar sound. Hunter entered and nudged his brother from behind.
“Cmon. Bed for you too. Or I’ll drag you there.”
Tech listened for once and followed his sergeant into the bunk room, glancing into the kitchen as he passed and could see Crosshair holding Wrecker’s hand by his pressure point as the giant clone begged for him to let go.
Crosshair chewed on his food, seeming unfazed by his twins pleads. “If you touch my food, I’m going to throw you off the ship next flight.” The sniper threatened before letting go of the giant clones hand.
Wrecker rubbed the spot that Crosshair was holding with a grumble before beginning to dig through the cabinets and a silence settled between the two.
And Crosshair finally felt like he could breath.
That everything might just finally be behind them.
And they could finally be brothers again.
Crosshair followed Tech at the back of their little line they had to go to Cid’s parlor.
He was still unfamiliar with Ord Mantell but Tech’s small briefing on it to him made him a bit more relaxed while walking the streets.
According to Tech, while Ord Mantell may not look the best, the people are quite easy to come by, and most don’t bat an eye in your direction unless you decide to do it in theirs.
Cid was behind the bar, wiping it down with a rag when they entered and her forehead raised slightly. “I was worried I lost you guys for good.” She said as they set their helmets down on the bar. Cid grimaced and shooed them off.
“I just wiped this down! Keep your grubby armor off!”
Crosshair smirked, still holding his on his hip. He liked this woman already, and not just because she complimented him.
“What do you have for us?” Hunter asked, shaking his head slightly. “‘Oh sure, Cid. We missed you too. I’m sorry we kept you waiting.’” Cid mocked and the clones looked unimpressed before she rolled her eyes.
“Tough crowd.” She grumbled before holding out a small chip. “Simple weapons exchange just a way from here. I have some speeders out back if you don’t want to waste fuel.”
“Two. They’ll fit two each, and the crates in the back.” Cid told them. Hunter looked at his team. “Who wants to stay behind?”
The clones exchanged a few glances before Crosshair shrugged. “I’ll explore a bit.” He said simply and Hunter nodded, a bit sad that his brother wasn’t joining them yet.
Omega lit up. “Can I stay with Cross?” She asked excitedly. Hunter glanced up at his brother. “If he’s okay with it.” He said and Omega looked at the sniper with a giddy look. He folded his arms as Wrecker elbowed him in his side with a look in his eyes.
Crosshair sighed. “I don’t care.” He said simply and Omega lit up. “Then stay close to Cid or Cross, got it? I don’t want you running off on your own.” Hunter told the young girl with a nudge to the side of her head.
“I will!” Omega said before her brother bid them farewell and went off to the mission. Omega turned as Crosshair went to the bar to sit down where Cid stood.
“Wow. It’s still morning and you’re wanting a drink?” Cid hummed when Crosshair motioned for a glass. “Been a rough couple of months.” He mumbled and Omega got a sad feeling in her as she went up next to him.
“I thought you were gonna go explore.” Omega pouted with a tug to his sleeve. Crosshair glanced down at her. “After a drink.” He said blankly, looking at the glass that Cid took out.
“Well, can I come with you when you do?” Omega asked with a gleam in her eyes. Crosshair huffed. “If you promise to behave.” He said simply, taking the full glass that Cid poured.
“I always am!”
“Mmh.” Cid said from behind the counter, giving an unconvinced look to the young girl. Omega huffed. “I am!” She tried to sound convincing.
“From what goggles has told me, I’m not so sure about that.” Cid said, watching Omega climb up the stool to sit. Omega crossed her arms and pouted, her lip sticking out.
Crosshair smirked slightly as Cid chuckled. “So, what made you show up all of a sudden?” She turned to Crosshair, who gave her a look.
“I gave you a drink on the house, the least you can do is tell me what your story is.” Cid waved her hand. Crosshair sighed.
“So it all started with an inhibitor chip…”
Chapter 14: Sightseeing
Crosshair explained what inhibitor chips were, with Omega also chipping in with what she knew and also offering some reassuring words that what Crosshair did was not his fault.
Cid seemed intrigued by the fact, while also a bit disgusted.
“I’ve met quite a few clones over the years. Some of them good, some of them annoying. But still, I don’t think I’d wish that upon my worst enemy.” She mumbled as Crosshair finished the last drop of his drink and gave a slight nod of agreement.
“Your brothers mentioned your name here and there but I never asked. Thought maybe it would be best to not, ever since the Jedi being executed. I didn’t know what was happening with clones, but I’m glad I found your bunch.”
“Actually, we came to you.” Omega pointed out and Cid covered her mouth. “Hush, Tiny.” She said with a teasing smirk as Omega huffed.
“Either way, I’m glad to have you here to. Maybe it’ll help these missions go by faster. These boy really can keep name waiting.”
Crosshair smirked. They were known for their speed during their days in the republic. It was clear that not having him there and having a child in his place threw them into a loop and they had lost their touch.
Crosshair would have to scold them for that.
“Can we go walk around now?” Omega asked, tugging on Crosshair’s arm. The sniper gave her a look as she pouted.
“Pleaseeeee? I can show you around! Hunter and I do supply runs all the time around here!” The young clone said with excitement in her voice. Crosshair sighed.
“Cmon, you womp rat.”
Cid chuckled watching Omega jump off the stool with a grin and tug her brothers arm along as he stood up.
The sniper shook his head with a sigh as Cid saluted him a goodbye, and him and his sister disappeared into the streets of Ord Mantell.
Omega happily showed Crosshair where all the best food stands were, as long as where they got supplies for the ship. Crosshair followed the excited girl along with his hands against his sides, gazing around while also keeping an eye on Omega.
The sun began to set and Crosshair whistled toward Omega at a fruit stand, clearly trying to bargain for a snack. She perked up and Crosshair motioned with his head to come back to him.
The young girl jogged up to him as he began the trek back.
“So, do you like it?” His sister asked with a grin. Crosshair shrugged as he pulled out a cigarette and his lighter. “It’s better than the empire.” He grumbled as he lit his cigarette.
Omega seemed weary of his actions as he breathed in the smoke. “Hunter says that’s bad for you.” The young girl said and Crosshair shrugged.
“And that you shouldn’t do it.”
“I’ve done this long before you showed up, kid.”
“Why?” Omega frowned and Crosshair huffed out his smoke with his own frown. “Do you always ask so many questions?”
“Yes. Echo says I get it from Tech.”
Crosshair let out a breathy laugh. “And he’s right. At least Tech gives up after awhile.” Omega puffed out her cheeks with a pout.
“When are you gonna join us on a mission?” Omega changed the subject as the sniper breathed in his smoke. Crosshair let the smoke out slowly as he glanced over at her.
“Either when I feel like or when Tech clears me.” Crosshair answered and Omega seemed to think some more before perking up.
“So…will you teach me how to shoot?” She asked, going up to his side as he tossed his cigarette to the ground and stomped on it. The sniper glanced at his sister as she grabbed ahold of his hand and shook it.
“Pleaseeee?” She asked with a sweet smile. “Not with my rifle.” He said and Omega huffed. “Why not?” She asked as they continued walking.
Crosshair wanted to wiggle his hand on his her grip, but her hold on his hand was so tight he wasn’t gonna bother. He looked up and could see Cid’s parlor coming up.
“Because you’re too small.”
“I’m not that small!” The young clone exclaimed with a huff. Crosshair smirked. “You look like a baby womp rat.”
“Hey! That’s not true!”
“Huh?” Omega looked confused before she processed what her brother said as a slow grin appeared on his face. Her cheeks puffed up again.
“That was mean!” She said and tried to poke him in the side with both her hands as payback. But, the sniper was quick and dodged her attack.
Omega continued trying, giggling quietly as Crosshair dodged her tiny hands with a sigh. “Omega, don’t—“
“I haven’t touched you—!”
“I’m warning you!”
“But I haven’t done anyth—AHH!” The young clone yelled as she was grabbed by her brother and held under his arm like a clutch. She laughed loudly, drawing attention from people who passed but not caring as she hit Crosshair’s back in protest.
“Put me down!”
“See? As light as one too!”
“Where’s Omega and Crosshair?” Hunter asked after receiving the credits from Cid. She shrugged.
“They went exploring awhile ago. Tiny wanted to show Handsome around.”
Echo looked bewildered, as well as Hunter. “Handsome?” The cyborg repeated and Cid smirked. “A whole army of you and he was the only one that came out looking good. A shame.” Cid said as she wiped her glasses.
Echo made a fake gagging noise as he looked at Wrecker, who grinned as Hunter simply shook his head before the sound of faint gigging caught their attention.
Omega’s laughs grew louder and the Batch and Cid couldn’t resist the smiles on their faces at the sound of it; it was simply contagious (despite Tech saying it was impossible for it to be).
Crosshair appeared through the doorway, carrying Omega under his arm with her laughing loudly, hitting his back as she begged to be put down.
It surprised Hunter, but he didn’t say anything as his brother came up to them.
“I have a womp rat for you.” He said simply and handed Omega clumsily to the sergeant as she still giggled. “I’m not a womp rat!” She exclaimed as Hunter placed her on her feet.
“You’re right, sorry. Baby womp rat.” Crosshair said with the slightest smirk and Omega stuck her tongue out at him.
“How was sightseeing?” The sergeant asked, glancing up at his brother. Crosshair shrugged. “Not a complete dump here, I guess.” He said.
Omega tugged on Hunter’s sleeve at his wrist. “Crosshair said he would teach me how to shoot!” She said excitedly and Crosshair gave her a look.
“I never agreed to it.”
“But you didn’t say no!” Omega pointed out and Echo chuckled as her argument. Crosshair narrowed his eyes at his sister as she now tugged on his arm with him being unfazed.
“Besides, you can’t say no to this cute face.”
The rest of the Batch rolled their eyes, as did Crosshair. “Yes, I can. Baby womp rats aren’t cute.”
Omega giggled as she shook his arm. “I’m not a baby womp rat!” She exclaimed and the sniper grinned.
“Really? Cause all I hear is squeaking right now.”
Omega hit his side, but the sniper seemed unfazed as he shook her hand off his arm. “I’ll think about it.” He told her before turning to go to the ship.
Omega turned and grinned excitedly at Hunter, who smiled with a happy sigh as he could finally relax having his family whole again.
Chapter 15: Stay
Omega flopped down next to Crosshair, who was sitting in his bunk cleaning Sylvie. The sniper glanced at his sister.
“Can I help you?”
“I’m hiding from Hunter so he doesn’t realize it’s my bed time.”
Crosshair smirked slightly, amused by her actions. “And what do you want me to do about it?” He hummed as he turned his attention back to his rifle. Omega hugged Lula tighter and pulled her legs into his bunk, sitting sideways on her knees.
“I found old videos of yours and the others missions, even before Echo joined.” Omega said and Crosshair raised his eyebrows without looking at her. “Is that so?” He mumbled.
“Are you really that good of a shot? Or is it edited?”
Crosshair stopped cleaning and gave her a look. “I would hope my nearly 7 years of sniper training didn’t go to waste.” He said, shaking his head slightly. Omega huffed as she thought for a moment.
“What’s the longest shot you’ve taken?”
Crosshair sighed. “Are you going to sit here and ask me every question on your mind?” He asked and without hesitation, Omega nodded happily.
Crosshair sighed again. “You get 20 questions. That counts as one.” Crosshair thought for a moment.
“Around 13 klicks.”
Omega looked amazed, eyes shining in admiration. “Whoa.” She whispered and Crosshair couldn’t hide the small smirk that tugged at his lips. Omega thought for a moment.
“How many droids have you killed?”
Crosshair clicked in tongue, thinking. “I dunno. Probably in the ten thousands.” Omega looked in awe.
“How good is your eyesight?”
“Better than Tech’s.”
Omega giggled and Crosshair almost smiled but stopped himself, cursing mentally. “It’s five times better than the average clone.” He said and Omega hummed in thought.
“Why do you clean Sylvie so much?”
“So she can shoot just as good every time.”
“Tech says you do it when you’re stressed or anxious or mad though.”
Crosshair rolled his eyes. “Maybe I do.” Omega huffed.
“16 more left, kid.”
“Nuh uh! 17! That comment didn’t count!” Omega argued and Crosshair rolled his eyes.
“Did you mean to punch me?”
Crosshair looked flabbergasted. “No! Of course not. Your big noggin got in the way.” Omega gasped. “I don’t have a big head!” She said, lip pouting.
“Maybe your eyesight is as bad as Tech’s.” Crosshair hummed as he began putting Sylvie away and Omega hit his side.
“Will you pleaseeee teach me to shoot? I have my own bow!” Omega said excitedly and Crosshair glanced at her as he clicked his rifles case closed. “Tomorrow i’ll look at it and see. Besides, make sure it’s okay with Hunter first.”
Omega nodded eagerly before she thought for a moment. “What do you like to do besides clean Sylvie?” Crosshair looked at her again before sighing and thinking for a moment.
“Read…and shoot…” He mumbled and Omega lit up. “You like to read? What kind of book?” She asked, pressing up against his side suddenly. Crosshair shifted his arm a bit in surprising, raising it slightly.
“Adult stuff, kid.” He said and Omega huffed once again. “Technically I’m older than you.” She said and Crosshair raised his eyebrows as his sister raised her eyebrows.
“Did they not tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“I was there when you guys were created. That’s why I knew who you were. Technically I’m older than you!” Omega said proudly and Crosshair looked unconvinced, almost shocked.
“You guys are 9, right? Because your defectiveness made you also age even faster than the regs?” Crosshair nodded and Omega beamed. “I’m 10! Therefore, I’m your big sister.”
“Well, until you start growing, baby womp rat, you’ll be little sister.”
Omega giggled as Crosshair poked her side teasingly before cuddling up to his side. Once again, Crosshair shifted his arm up a little, almost unsure what to do.
Omega didn’t seem to notice and simply stared up at him with curiosity in her bright eyes.
“Who’s the oldest to youngest? They won’t tell me and I wasn’t there when they first started creating you. Only near the middle.” Omega asked and Crosshair hesitated before answering.
“Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, then me. Echo is technically the oldest of all of us, but Hunter was created first of our batch.” Omega nodded.
“Why do you smoke?”
Crosshair shifted a bit again but Omega followed him, still pressed up against his side. “Because…it helps ease my nerves.”
“But it’s bad for your health.”
“If it helps calm me in the few minutes it happens, I don’t really care about the long term effects.”
Omega dropped the subject and thought again before the door to the bunk room opened.
Omega clung to Crosshair suddenly, who looked surprised. “He found me.” She whispered as Hunter shook his head in the doorway.
“Cmon. Bed time, kiddo.”
“But I was talking to Cross!” She whined, lip sticking out in a pout. “And you can talk to him in the morning. Cmon. Brush your teeth, say goodnight to everybody, then go to bed.” Hunter said and Omega huffed.
Crosshair had a small smile of amusement as she pulled away from the sniper and he finally seemed to relax. Hunter smirked as she came over with an annoyed look on her face.
“I still have 12 questions.” Omega said as she looked back over to Crosshair, who rolled his eyes and laid down on his bunk.
“Whatever you say, kid.”
“Goodnight baby womp rat.”
Crosshair smirked when he heard her huff before walking out with Hunter. The sergeant smiled slightly as he glanced at the back of Crosshair’s head before turning and following to ensure his little sister was following his orders.
Crosshair moved to the cockpit when his brothers had started to go to their bunks to sleep, plopping down in the copilot chair as he stared off at the sight of Ord Mantell lit up at night.
His mind raced with nervous thoughts and flashbacks of his time in the Empire and it made his fist clench out of frustration.
He was startled out of his thoughts when somebody touched his shoulder. The sniper jumped slightly and turned, meeting the eldest of the batchers gaze.
“Can’t sleep?” The sergeant asked with the hint of a smile. Crosshair blinked, giving him a look. “You know the answer to that.”
Hunter chuckled and dropped his arm before padding over to the pilot seat and flopping down in it. “I guess some things don’t change.”
“Mm.” The sniper said, glancing off awkwardly out of the windshield of the Marauder. “What was Omega asking about?”
“Just about everything that came to her mind.” Crosshair answered, glancing back over at his brother. Hunter chuckled again, running a hand through his hair falling in his face. “She does that. She’s curious.”
“In a good way. She means no harm.”
“I’m glad you’re getting along though.”
“I’m tolerating her.” Crosshair tried to sound convincing with his cold mask he always had, but Hunter shook his head with a small smile. “I haven’t seen you smile this much in ages. I think that’s more than tolerating.”
Crosshair scowled and Hunter raised his hands in defeat. “I wanted to ask how you were doing…recovering from the inhibitor chip and all.” The sergeant changed the subject, a soft look in his eyes.
“Don’t get all mushy with me like you do to her.” Crosshair said, slightly joking but not really showing it in his tone. Hunter sighed. “I just wanna make sure you’re—“
“Hunter—“ Crosshair stopped his brother and the sergeant softened, ready to listen to what the youngest had to say.
“I know you’re trying to mend things between us. But you know how I am with being…babied…we overcame something, and I want to leave it at that…you don’t need to do all this checking up on me. Just leave it.”
Hunter relaxed a bit, his eyes flickering away for a moment before meeting the sniper’s pale eyes once more.
“Are you sure?”
“Sure as Wrecker going for seconds.”
Hunter chuckled and sighed, letting there be silence for a moment.
“Okay…but you have to promise me one thing then—“
Crosshair tilted his head slightly, eyeing his brother as he stood up. The sergeants hand rested gently on his shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze.
“You’re here to stay, vod’ika?”
Crosshair swallowed, eyes flickering away for a moment as he thought about his brothers words.
And he slowly met his gaze again and his pale hand rested on his kins, giving a reassuring squeeze back with a nod.
“Of course, ori’vod.”
Chapter 16: Fruits
Crosshair felt a tug on his sleeve, making him look down. Omega blinked up at him with innocent eyes, rocking on the balls of her feet.
“What’s your favorite food?”
Crosshair let out a quiet sigh with the shake of his head as Omega grinned.
“Really? I’ve never tried that! Do you think they have it here?”
“Maybe. But they’re native to Naboo. They may not be transporting them across galaxy now that the Empire is taking over.” Crosshair said as he crossed his arms.
Omega nodded before scurrying off as the sniper watched her with weary eyes. Tech appeared next to his brother with an amused smile.
“I see you are warming up to Omega.”
“Hmm. She’s not bad.”
“Oh, I am sure.” Tech hummed as he went to check over the controls of the Maraduer. Hunter peaked into the cockpit.
“We’re going on a short supply run. You guys need anything?” The sergeant asked and Tech perked up. “Actually, yes! I have a list.” Tech rummaged through one of the drawers to find a notepad as Hunter sighed and shook his head.
“Need anything Cross?”
The sniper shook his head, watching Tech scribble down quickly in paper as he mumbled to himself. He rolled his eyes. “Can’t believe I was gone for months and you still haven’t been able to fix this shit ship. I told you we should’ve gotten a new ship when we could.”
Tech narrowed his eyes at his brother as Hunter chuckled from the doorway. “The Marauder is still in perfect condition after all these years! It is pointless to scrap her when patching her up is more ideal.” Tech argued and Crosshair clicked his tongue with a shake of his head.
“Whatever you say, shiteyes.”
Tech hit his brother in the side whilst handing his list to Hunter, who shook his head with a smile. Omega appeared behind Hunter with a grin, tugging on his sleeve.
“Can I come with you?” She asked nicely and Hunter rested his hand on the back of her head, nudging her along toward the ship entrance.
“If you promise to behave.”
“I always do!”
“Mmh.” Tech hummed from behind and Omega shot him a look before her and Hunter disappeared. Crosshair chuckled as Echo appeared in the room, smirking slightly and motioned a wave with his hand.
“Crosshair, c’mere. Wrecker and I found something.”
“Mmh?” The sergeant hummed as he examined the scrap parts, looking for anything Tech needed. “Can we go by the fruit stands?” Omega asked and Hunter shook his head.
“We already have enough food on the ship, kiddo. No snacks this time.” Omega huffed. “It’s not for me, though. It’s for Crosshair.” Hunter looked at her with raised eyebrows, seeing her pouting with her bottom lip out.
“He told me his favorite food is comet fruit. I wanted to see if they had some here…to cheer him up!” The young clone chirped, eyes big and shining with the innocent kindness she radiated.
Hunter softened and a small smile appeared on his face. “We can look. But only for comet fruit, okay?” Omega nodded happily before grabbing onto his hand as they continued browsing.
Nearing the afternoon, Omega and Hunter started heading back with packs full of parts and a basket full of fruit.
“I wish they had comet fruit for Crosshair.” Omega said with a hint of sadness in her voice as she popped a berry in her mouth. Hunter smiled and patted her head.
“It’s okay, kiddo. I’m sure he’ll appreciate the gesture.” Omega nodded as they approached the ships steps. Omega bounded up there, happily going to Tech who was in the cockpit to show him the berries they got and offering him one.
Tech took some with a small smile, pressing a kiss to his sisters forehead as a thank you before she went off to offer some to the others.
“I thought you said you were gonna stop letting her get something each trip.”
“You try saying no.” Hunter mumbled to his brother, giving him joking rustle of his curly hair. Tech batted his hand away, huffing before grabbing the pack from Hunter as his brother handed it to him.
Omega walked down the halls of the ship until she found Wrecker and Echo in the common room, playing a game.
“Hey kid! What’d you bring us?” Wrecker asked, eyes lighting up at the fruit. “Hunter let me get berries!” Omega chirped, holding the basket up to her brothers.
Echo took a few while Wrecker took a handful, shockingly a good amount in his mouth, humming at the taste.
“Taste great kid!”
Omega beamed before glancing around. “Where’s Crosshair?” She asked and Echo motioned to the refresher. “He’ll be out in a bit.” The cyborg said with a small smile.
Omega waited next to them and when the refresher door opened she lit up.
“How’s it fit?” Echo asked and Omega’s eyes gazed in wonder as her brother came out of the refresher in a familiar black armor.
Crosshair rotated his shoulders and hips, grumbling. “It’s fine.” He mumbled, seeming a bit annoyed but his siblings didn’t question it.
“Whoa! You found your armor!” His sister beamed and went up to him. Crosshair shifted his torso armor, grumbling.
“Yea…” The sniper said simply before dropping his arms. Omega tugged on his hand. “I-I tried to find comet fruit in the market but they didn’t have any.” Omega pouted and Crosshairs eyebrows raised in surprise.
“‘s fine, kid. Not a big deal.” The sniper played it off cooly as his sister pulled him toward the table. “I got these berries though! I convinced Hunter to get them!” Omega told him and Echo chuckled.
“How’d you do that?”
“I can’t tell you my secret.” Omega whispered to him and her brothers each let out small chuckles as they snacked on the fruit.
After getting bored of watching Wrecker lose each round of the game, Crosshair stalked out of the room quietly. Omega watched him, a bit sad but didn’t say anything.
Crosshair found his way back to the cockpit where he saw Hunter and Tech talking quietly to each other. Hunter picked up on Crosshair’s steps and turned, seeming surprised.
“Oh! You guys found it.”
“Echo did.” Crosshair said, rotating the armor on his forearm as it slid a bit, huffing in frustration. “Wrecker rearranged back there one day and misplaced it. I don’t know how exactly but I’m glad they found it.”
Tech perked up to look at Crosshair’s armor, pulling himself out from underneath the dash. He stood up and squinted his eyes as he stepped forward and examined his brother.
Crosshair gave the engineer a look as he pulled at some places in his armor. “What’re you doing, shiteyes?” Crosshair asked, smacking his hand away.
“Your armor doesn’t fit anymore.”
“Okay, and?” The sniper grumbled, eyes flickering away for a brief moment. Tech examined him a bit more until Crosshair grew irritated and punched him in the side.
“Stop doing that, Tech.”
“I believe I should perform a physical on you. Once I finish with the Marauder tomorrow, I shall perform one.”
Crosshair opened his mouth to protest but Tech held up his hand. “It is not up for debate. I do not want to hear it.” The two stared at each other for a moment before Crosshair scoffed and rolled his eyes.
Tech looked pleased and went back to fixing the Marauder as Crosshair crossed his arms. Hunter chuckled softly at their banter before going off toward the kitchen to start dinner.
Chapter 17: Lessons
Crosshair heard quiet footsteps from behind him, softer than normal and he listened as they stopped just inches away from him.
“How did you know?” Omega whispered as she came up next to him and sat down. Crosshair looked at her. “Because your footsteps sounds like a pebble falling on the ground.”
Omega huffed, cheeks puffing out before she seemed to think for a moment.
“What other things are part of your enhancements?” Omega asked and Crosshair seemed a bit surprise by the question before he hummed in thought.
“Well, my eyes, of course. My reflexes—“
“Whoa, really?” Omega asked with wide eyes. Crosshair nodded. “I sleep very light so that I can keep watch…I’m good at math…” Omega looked confused about that.
“Math? Isn’t that Tech’s expertise?” She asked and Crosshair rolled his eyes. “He helps me sometimes but I don’t usually need it.”
“What do you need math for?”
Crosshair pulled out the mirrors on his belt and handed them to his sister. She took them and gazed in awe at them.
“What are these for?”
Crosshair assumed she had never seen videos of him using the mirrors, though he knew he didn’t use them that often so there was most likely not many videos of him using them in combat.
“They reflect blaster shots. I have to calculate the angle that I need to hit to get them to reflect off of each other and I use them to take out multiple targets with one shot.”
Omega looked amazed. “Can I learn to use them?” She asked excitedly, turning and grabbing onto his arm, shaking it lightly. Crosshair gave her a look with his arm tensing slightly as he tried to wiggle it to get her to let go.
Omega held on and Crosshair decided to leave it. “You have to learn to actually shoot first.” He said and suddenly Omega lit up.
“Oh! That reminds me!” She said, letting go of her brother and dashing inside for a moment before coming back out with her bow.
“Please, please, pleaseeeee?” Omega begged, pulling on his hand to get him to stand up. Crosshair sighed and stood up, making his sister light up and hand him her bow.
The sniper took it and examined it. “‘s not bad.” He mumbled before extending it, the now lighting up before he took a shot to a tree. It hit right in the middle of the wood and Omega’s mouth opened in amazement.
“Teach me to do that!” Omega pleaded as Crosshair handed her the bow back. The sniper rolled his eyes.
“Tech was right. You are persistent.”
Omega huffed, hands on her hips and Crosshair smirked before motioning her to take aim. The young clone grinned and turned, pulling her bow back and holding her stance.
Crosshair nudged her feet a bit wider with his own and nudged her elbow higher. He knelt behind her, eyes gazing over her shoulder.
“Hold it. Line it up with the hole I made and shoot when you’re ready.”
Omega’s hand wavered a bit before she let go and watched at it wizzed past the tree. Omega huffed as he shoulders slumped. Crosshair let out a whistle.
“What’ve these idiots been teaching you?” He grumbled before motioning for Omega to do it again. Omega pulled the bow out again and Crosshair corrected her form before he went behind her again.
“Try holding your breath before you let go.” Crosshair mumbled in her ear and she nodded before lining up her shot. He saw he visibly still for a moment before letting go.
The shot hit the tree, but still a good amount above Crosshair’s hole.
Omega huffed again and Crosshair patted her shoulder. “Again.”
Echo found his way to the cockpit, passing the entrance of the Marauder. He stopped and backed up when he heard the familiar shot of his sisters bow.
His eyes widened in surprise when he saw his sister take a shot with Crosshair kneeling behind her, watching her moves. The cyborg watched as she pulled back again and the sniper adjusted her arms and feet before letting her shoot again.
Hunter and Wrecker were in the navi room, talking quietly to each other when they noticed Echo staring off out the door.
They exchanged confused looks and got up to go check out what their brother was staring off at. Now it was their turn for their eyes to widen when they saw Crosshair helping their sister.
Tech appeared from the back of the ship, mumbling something as he looked down at his data pad and made his way to the cockpit.
As he entered through the door, he was grabbed by somebody and he yelped. “Wrecker! What are you—?” His head was turned to face out the door and he stopped when he could see what his brother was grabbing him about.
Now, all four of the brothers were watching as Crosshair help adjust Omega and help her line up her shots.
Crosshair kicked her feet apart again a bit and went to stand behind her when out of the corner of his eye he saw a blur of figures.
He looked over into the ship and saw his brothers staring at them with smiles on their faces. Crosshair scowled and rolled his eyes before kneeling next to Omega.
Omega took the shot and hit just above Crosshair’s mark, immediately getting a grin on her face. “I did it!” She said and the sniper raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“Well, not an exact mark, but better.” He mumbled before somebody cleared their throat from the Marauder.
“Crosshair.” Tech motioned for him to follow him when he turned and the sniper sighed. Omega looked sad and let out a huff.
“Can we do more tomorrow?” She asked and the sniper looked down at her. He hummed. “Sure, kid. If we have time.” He said and Omega grinned before hugging Crosshair’s waist.
Her brother held up his arms in surprise, eyes flickering uneasily. “Yay! Thank you!” She said before letting go and running up the steps of the Marauder to excitedly tell her brothers about her training.
Crosshair followed up and was met with the smirks of his brothers and he glared at them. “Stuff it.” He grumbled, pushing through them to follow Tech into the common room.
Chapter 18: Trauma
Tech hummed as he typed on his data pad as Crosshair sat on the table of the common room, looking at his brother in annoyance.
“Are we done?”
“Yes.” Tech muttered without looking up. “Are you satisfied with what you found?” Crosshair mumbled as he went to put on his shirt.
“Mostly. But there is one thing. Something I noticed even before I gave you a once over.” Tech said, setting down his data pad. Crosshair raised his eyebrows.
“You’ve lost 25 pounds since the last time you were here.”
Crosshairs eyes flicked away, not giving a response as he swallowed hard. Tech stared at him for a moment, eyeing the way his brothers hands twitched as he grabbed his shirt next to him.
“I want you eating three meals a day, a snack in between both. You were underweight before, but not by much so I let it slide. But this is unhealthy.” Tech told him, arms folding. Crosshairs eyes flickered to his brothers, a sad look in his eyes.
“You need to be up 30 to 35 pounds, just for safe measure. No skipping meals. Under any circumstances.”
The sniper didn’t say anything, just gave a simple nod as he sat there on the table still. Tech noticed his grim expression as his brother wrapped his arms around himself.
“Is there something on your mind?”
Crosshair gave a grumble, saying words in it that Tech didn’t catch. “Pardon?” He asked with raised eyebrows.
“It’s not my fault.”
“What is not your fault?”
“Being…skinny.” The sniper mumbled bitterly and Tech adjusted his glasses. “Well, yes. I know. You were engineered quite lean for your enhancements.”
“I mean…being even skinnier…than before.” Crosshairs words trailed off slightly as he glanced away, suddenly feeling vulnerable. Tech suddenly understood what he meant and tensed.
The engineer could tell that his brother was struggling with what happened during his time in the Empire, and while he knew getting him to talk about it would be nearly impossible, times like this where Crosshair was voluntarily talking about what bothered him was the time when whoever was talking to him needed to listen.
“How so?” Tech asked, trying to keep him talking. Crosshairs eyes were still looking away when he took a moment to answer.
“It was…apart of the inhibitor chip process for my time in the Empire…they weren’t sure if I would follow orders all the way through, or if I was to be trusted, so they’d…keep me from eating until I carried out an order.”
Tech was gonna kill them.
Rampart, Tarkin, everyone who was apart of it.
“Most the time it’d be…days before I got even a ration bar…I just grew used to it.”
‘So that’s why he hasn’t been eating much around here.’ Tech thought to himself as his fist clenched in the pure anger he felt.
Tech relaxed his fists after a moment when he could see the anger and sadness in his brothers eyes and he placed a hand on his head.
“I assure you, Crosshair—“
The sniper glanced up at him. “We have plenty around here. You will not have to worry about that ever again…well, unless Wrecker gets to it first.”
Crosshair let out a quiet snicker, as did Tech as he dropped his hand. “Speaking of, I am sure Hunter is starting something at the moment.” The engineer hummed as he grabbed his items.
“I’ll be out in a bit.” Crosshair mumbled as he went to grab his armor to put away. Tech nodded and went out, stalking toward the cockpit.
The rest of his brothers were in there, bickering about something. Tech ignored them and plopped down in his seat, glancing around.
“Where is Omega?”
“Taking a nap before dinner. She practiced a bit more after you grabbed Crosshair.” Hunter answered as he was trying to grab something from Echo. The cyborg held it out of reach, grinning.
“I’m not afraid to hit an old man.”
Wrecker laughed at that comment as Echo’s mouth dropped. “That’s it.” He said and grabbed Hunter, throwing him into a head lock. The sergeant grunted and tried to free himself but was held right.
“How’s this for a old man?”
“I’ve had worse.” Hunter rasped out and Wrecker giggled, watching him get let go of. “Yea, from me.” The giant clone said as Hunter panted and took the item from Echo’s hand, who was grinning.
“So, how’s Crosshair looking?” Hunter asked Tech quietly and the other two also listened in. Tech hummed.
“He is alright, other than severely underweight.”
“He’s always been on the lean side.” Echo pointed out and Tech shook his head. “30 pounds underweight is not his normal lean.” Tech said and his brothers gaped.
“That’s why his armor wasn’t as snug as before.” Echo said with a hand going over his head. “How’d he lose that much—“ Hunter stopped himself as he thought about it.
Looking at Tech, his grim expression answered what he was thinking and Hunter got his own expression of anger.
“They were…starving him?” Echo asked slowly and Tech nodded. “He told me himself, though I would not talk about it with him. He is to have three meals a day, with snacks in between. Do not let him skip them.”
The brothers nodded as Wrecker grabbed Tech’s notepad and began writing something down. Tech glared at him.
“What are you writing down?”
Wrecker ripped the page off and slapped it against the wall right next to the Marauder controls. “There.” He said simply.
On the note read:
Any Long Neck Bastards
That One Lady On Raxus
Wrecker’s brothers could help but chuckle reading the list.
“I think we’re all in agreement.” Wrecker said proudly as Crosshair entered the room. “Agreement about what?” He grumbled.
“Oh, just what to eat for dinner. Cmon.” Hunter nudged his brother back toward the kitchen. The sniper scowled thinking about actually having to eat dinner; he wasn’t hungry.
Hunter made dinner as Crosshair sat at the kitchen table, fiddling with the scope of his rifle in his hand, trying to make adjustments.
A blur of blonde appeared in the doorway and Hunter smiled, turning.
“Hey kid, you have a good nap?” The sergeant asked as the young clone came up to him, rubbing her eyes with Lula clutched to her chest.
“Mmh, still tired though.”
“Well, dinners almost ready, so you can go back to sleep after dinner. Sound good?” Omega nodded as her brother ruffled her hair as she walked past him toward Crosshair, who had set his scope down after finishing the adjustments and propped his feet on the table.
Without asking or warning, Omega began climbing up into the sniper’s lap, making him jump a bit.
His hand raised slightly as she plopped down into his lap, laying against his chest. Crosshair glanced at Hunter, who chuckled quietly and went back to the food he was preparing.
“Did I say you could do this?”
“You haven’t moved me.” Omega mumbled against his chest, eyes closing tiredly. Crosshair grumbled and after a moment, his hands came to rest with one on her back and one on her arm.
After a moment, Crosshair could hear quiet snoring and he looked down to see his sisters mouth slightly open as she slept soundly.
“You gotta be kidding me.” He grumbled as Hunter looked and smiled again. “Didn’t know you grew soft, Cross.”
Crosshair narrowed his eyes.
“I will beat you once she’s off my lap.”
Chapter 19: Soft
During dinner, Crosshair was slowly picking at his food.
He had taken a decent sized portion, well, one for him when Tech grabbed the plate from him and scooped more onto the plate and handed back to him.
Crosshair grumbled, eyes flickering in annoyance at his brother as he grabbed the plate back from this and went to the table.
The others eventually sat down and by the time Crosshair managed to get a fourth of his plate down, Wrecker was already going back for seconds.
By the time everybody was getting close to finishing, Crosshair was still trying to eat more of his food while barely getting halfway.
His stomach didn’t feel full, but it also didn’t feel like he could put more food down. He huffed, listening to Echo tell about his ARC days to Omega, who was wrapped in a blanket while clutching Lula still.
Crosshair slowly chewed, eyes staring down at his plate.
This was gonna be hell.
Eventually, Wrecker went off to take a nap while Hunter started cleaning up as Echo and Omega went to the cockpit to find Tech’s data pad to find some videos of their missions.
Tech was still seated next to Crosshair, who after thirty minutes barely managed to get past half of his plate.
His food was cold at this point, but Tech kept glancing at him. “Are you gonna watch me eat every meal?” He mumbled, angrily taking a bite of his mashed potato’s.
“No. But I do want to check that you finish your plates. I will dig through the trash if I think you’re not putting on any pounds.” Tech told him brother, who glared at him.
After another moment, Crosshair pushed his plate away. “I’m done. I’m not eating anymore.” He growled and Tech glanced at the plate with still a good amount of food on it. The engineer was about to say something when Hunter grabbed Crosshair’s plate.
“‘s fine, Cross. Good job.” The sergeant said simply and Crosshair felt kiddish to have to be praised for such a simple task. Tech huffed, giving Hunter a look as he smiled lightly and almost tossed the plate before stopping himself.
“I’ll keep it in case you get hungry later…or if Wrecker wants it.”
Crosshair didn’t say anything, simply got up and stalked off. The sniper found his way to the cockpit where he saw Echo and Omega sitting next to each other, watching on Tech’s data pad.
The young clone’s eyes were dropping by the minute, but both her brothers could tell she was trying to stay awake. Echo chuckled as Crosshair sat down in the seat behind the copilots.
After a bit, Echo got up and went to grab Omega to take her to bed. He picked her up and the young girl mumbled something quietly.
Echo’s eyebrows raised in surprise and a slow smirk appeared on his face. “You wanna stay with Cross?”
The sniper’s eyes widened.
“Sure kid.” Echo said and leant down, bringing his sister down to place her in his lap.
“Don’t you dare.” Crosshair mouthed to his brother but it was too late, the young clone plopped down in his lap and snuggled up to him in an instant.
Crosshair’s hands were raised slightly as Echo stood up straight and chuckled. “Goodnight.” The cyborg said and Crosshair glared as Omega mumbled a goodnight before she dozed off.
After a beat, Crosshair sighed and slowly let his hands down to rest on his sisters back. She stirred in her sleep, bringing her blanket up more around her as she opened her mouth in a quiet snore.
Crosshair almost chuckled when he heard the quiet click of a camera and his head shot over to the door to see Tech quickly scurrying away.
His eyes narrowed and he got up slowly, going down the hall toward Omega’s room.
She stirred again in his arms. “Can I sleep with you?” The young clone mumbled and Crosshair sighed. “I’m not going to bed yet.” He grumbled.
“I can wait.”
This kid was so persistent.
Crosshair grumbled and turned to head to the bunk room instead. Upon entering, he saw Wrecker snoring in his bunk, hanging partially off. The sniper went to his bunk and gently set her down in it.
Omega curled up against the wall, bringing her blanket over her body before she seemed to already be fast asleep.
The sniper huffed before storming back out to pick a bone with his goggled brother.
Looking into the common room, his eyes narrowed at the back facing him that was showing his data pad to his brothers with a grin on his face.
Both Echo and Hunter glanced past him with small smiles as Crosshair glided across the floor in long steps and grabbed Tech in a headlock.
“Delete it, Tech.” He growled as they wrestled to the floor, the engineer holding the data pad out of reach from his brother.
“I’m ten seconds away from crushing your windpipe to shut you up for good! Delete it!” Crosshair exclaimed as Tech tried to pull his head from his brothers hold.
“Crosshair, we need him.” Echo said and the sniper began rubbing his knuckles against the top of Tech’s head. “We’ll manage.” He said before Tech punched him in the side, finally getting free from his brothers grip.
Crosshair grumbled, rubbing his side as Tech looked at him with a huff and adjusted his goggles.
“Osi’kovid.” Tech snarled and Crosshair punched him in the side. Hunter chuckled. “Break it up, you two.”
“I just did not know you became soft. I did not believe Hunter when he told me.”
Crosshair’s head snapped to the sergeant. “You told him about that?” He growled and Hunter scratched the back of his head.
“It was cute!”
“I was not cute!” Crosshair exclaimed, crossing his arms as he stood up. “I’ve never seen you so gentle with kids.” Echo commented how and Crosshair glared at him.
“I’m not afraid to hit a cripple.”
“Hit me, shabuir.”
“I’m thinking about it.” Echo chuckled, knowing the sniper’s words were empty. “I just didn’t want to hear the kid cry about it.”
“Cry about what?” Wrecker’s voice came from the doorway and they turned to see him rubbing his eyes tiredly. “About Cross not being soft on Omega.” Tech chirped and that earned him another hit in the side once he stood up.
“Where is she anyway? Wasn’t in her bunk.” Wrecker asked and Crosshair rolled his eyes, huffing quietly as he watched his brothers suddenly looked worried.
“What? I thought you put her up? Where did she—“
“Relax! She’s asleep.” Crosshair told them and they looked confused before he sighed quietly, glancing away.
“She’s in my bunk.” He mumbled quietly and it took a moment for the Batchers to process it before busting out laughing.
Crosshair turned bright red as he mumbled “shebs’palon’s.” And stalked out of the room.
He quickly changed to his civvie pajamas that the Batch had gotten awhile back during the war before finishing up his nightly routine.
The sniper went into the bunk room and saw Omega still cuddled up in his bed, barely visible in the bundle of her blanket.
Crosshair slipped in, pulling his own blanket over him and jumped a bit when Omega’s sleeping form cuddle up to him, wrapping her arm over his chest and burying her face into his side.
The sniper glanced at her for a moment before sighing to himself as he wrapped his body around her form in a protective manner and shut his eyes.
‘Haar’chak, I am soft.’
Chapter 20: Calm
I imagine these boys definitely pass around a newspaper to each other at breakfast, while Omega and Wrecker wait for them to give them the comic section.
Crosshair woke to the feeling of shifting in the crook of his arm where he had last left his sister. He ignored it until after another moment, more shifting occurred. His lips twitched in slight irritation.
“Crosshair—?” A quiet voice whispered next to him. “I’m asleep.” He deadpanned back and Omega giggled, muffling it with her blanket.
“No you’re not!”
“Yes I am. Quiet baby womp rat.”
Omega giggled quietly again and suddenly Crosshair let out an ‘oof’ as the young girl plopped onto his chest.
Crosshairs eyes finally opened with a glare as Omega stared down at him. “Will you come watch the sunrise with me?” She whispered and the sniper huffed.
“That’s what you woke me for?”
“Well, I didn’t mean to. But then I saw you twitch so I thought I’d ask.” His sister said as she fiddled with his fingers that had come to a rest on his chest.
“I’ll join you another time.”
“Pleaseeee?” Omega whispered pleadingly. Crosshair closed his eyes. “I’m already asleep again, sorry.” Omega giggled and tugged his hand, pouting slightly.
“Omega!” He mocked back as he opened his eyes and sat up. “You’re gonna wake the others, hush.” He told the girl quietly as she fell into his lap. Omega huffed, crossing her arms as she stared her brother down.
“Please?” She got a wide eyed look with a pouty lip and Crosshair sighed before standing up and bringing her with him. Omega giggled in success as she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged her brother tight.
Crosshair padded through the ship with his sister in his arms, hissing at the cold floor against his feet. “Shab, it’s freezing.”
Omega looked confused, eyes flickering up at her brothers with a frown. “What’s shab mean?” She asked and Crosshair looked alarmed.
“No, nonono. Don’t repeat that. It slipped out.”
“Because it’s a bad word. An adult word.”
Omega huffed, hands going to her hips. “I’m older than you so…” She said and grinned when the sniper rolled his eyes as they opened the ships hatch.
“Just don’t repeat it. Hunter’ll have my head.” Crosshair mumbled as he put tried to set Omega down but she hung onto his neck. “Omega.” He growled and she giggled innocently.
“You might get cold! We need to huddle for warmth.” Omega told her brother. Crosshair grumbled as he stood up straight and walked with her down the steps.
“You are a complete spoiled brat.”
“No I’m not!” Omega argued as he sat down with her on the steps of the Marauder. Crosshair rolled his eyes but the young girl didn’t see it as she looked off when the sun began peaking out past the horizon.
Crosshair had to admit, it was a beautiful sight.
After awhile, the sun was coming up and Crosshair watched Omega yawn tiredly in his arms.
“Regretting the early rise?” He asked and Omega shook her head. “Not for another few hours at least.” Crosshair huffed a small laugh before he stood up and set her down.
Omega pouted and Crosshair rolled his eyes before finding his way back through the Marauder, into the kitchen with Omega following.
Echo was already up and he perked up at the sight of the two with a big smile as he sipped his caf. “Hey! Where’ve you two been?” He asked as Crosshair grabbed caf.
“Watching the sunrise!” Omega chirped as she tugged on Crosshair’s arm to pour her some caf. Crosshair did and Echo gave him a look.
“Hunter’s not gonna like her drinking that.”
“He’ll get over it.”
Echo rolled his eyes but couldn’t help but feel a bit giddy about that Crosshair was finally getting to be his regular, buttons pushing self that he was before Order 66.
Omega watched Crosshair with big eyes as he poured milk and dropped four sugars into his caf. “Can you do that to mine?” She asked, looking up at her brother. Crosshair eyed her.
“Have you even tried caf?”
She shook her head. “Hunter never let me after Tech said it wouldn’t be good for me.” She explained and Crosshair handed her his mug to give it a try. She sipped it and immediately got a happy look on her face.
“‘s good!” She said and nudged her mug to him while standing on her tippy toes. Crosshair sighed and did the same routine to her caf as he did with his before giving it a good stir.
“Thank you!” She chirped when he nudged the mug back and grabbed the steaming caf with her two hands before going to sit next to Echo. Crosshair didn’t respond, simply began making his own eggs as Tech appeared it the doorway with his hair all over the place.
“And where have you been?” Echo asked with his eyebrows raised. Tech rubbed his eyes and tiredly poured his own cad.
“Working on the gunners mount.” He mumbled as he slumped down in the chair next to Omega’s, noticing her cup of caf she was sipping on. His eyebrows furrowed.
“Who gave you that?”
Omega giggled quietly. “Crosshair.” She said and Tech sighed. “Do not make a habit of it.” He told her while also shooting Crosshair a look, who shrugged.
“Didn’t wanna hear her whine.”
“I don’t whine!” Omega argued and the sniper raised his eyebrows. “Uh huh.” He said, unconvinced and his sister huffed and turned back around.
“What else are you eating?” Tech asked his brother as he watched him scrape his eggs onto a plate. “This is it.” Crosshair mumbled.
“No, it’s not.”
The sniper grumbled. “There is some meat and fruit in the fridge. Grab either of those.” Tech told his brother and Crosshair was hesitant before begrudgingly going to the fridge and grabbed two fruits.
“Shut up.” Echo rolled his eyes at the brotherly banter as Crosshair sat down next to Tech and began poking at his food.
Hunter appeared a few minutes later, noticing Omega drinking the caf as he walked in. He smiled a bit and poked her side, causing her to giggle and pulled away.
“Whatcha got there?” He asked with his eyebrows raised. “Crosshair made me some.” The sergeants heart swelled a bit to see his brother growing to get used to Omega and despite not wanting Omega to get addicted to the drink, he glanced in the sniper’s direction, who was slowly eating his food.
“How sweet of him.”
“We watched the sunrise too!” Omega chirped and now his brothers seemed intrigued. Crosshair cursed under his breath. Tech and Hunter grinned.
“She woke me up whining.” Crosshair mumbled in defense and Omega huffed. “I don’t whine!” She argued once again as she trudged over to the sink to put her mug away.
“Mmh.” Her brother said, unconvinced. Omega pouted as Hunter nudged her. “Go shower. You’re smelling up the ship.” He said and Omega hit him in the side before walking off, grumbling to herself.
After a moment, Wrecker appeared, rubbing his eyes. Echo chuckled. “Morning sleeping beauty.” He hummed and Wrecked grunted in reply and walked behind Crosshair to make himself some food.
Crosshair annoyingly picked at his food, feeling his stomach almost full but Tech kept glancing over at him. Hunter reached over him and snagged a piece of fruit, but his brother didn’t care. If anything, he wanted him to eat the rest. But Hunter simply stood next to his chair and grabbed about three slices before Crosshair had finished the rest.
He put his plate in the sink before going off to get dressed for the day. Tech shot Hunter a look.
“You should not be eating his meals.”
Hunter shot a look back at Tech. “You can’t force him these big meals all of a sudden, Tech. He’s gotta grow used to them. Let him ease into it just a bit, okay? But if he doesn’t start showing any progress for about two weeks, then you can step in, okay?” Tech huffed but realized Hunter had some truth in his words.
Chapter 21: Fitting In
Crosshair was walking in the back of his squad as he had done all his life, glancing at his surroundings. It was something he grew used to, watching their backs, and it just made him feel a tad bit more relaxed when they were in places that looked as sketchy as Ord Mantell.
“Oh, look what the Loth cat dragged in.” Cid placed her hands on her hips with her eyes raised. “About time you boys came back for a job. I’ve been quite backed up.”
“What’ve you got?” Hunter asked with his eyebrows raised. Cid plopped down a few chips with details on them and pointed at the one to the far left.
“Bounty for transporting a family safely from Coruscant to Tatooine,—“ Cid went down to the line to the next one. “—weapons drop off, smuggling a data chip to somebody across galaxy and a warrant for an arrest.” Cid explained before looking up at them.
“Take your pick.”
Hunter looked at his team. “So?” He asked as Omega peaked over the counter to look at the chips. Surprisingly, she didn’t have much an opinion as she usually did. Hunter didn’t question it at the moment as he watched his team think.
“All of them.” Wrecker answered and they all gave him a look. “What? We got Cross back now! We can handle ‘em!” He said defensively. Hunter’s eyebrows raised as he turned his attention to the sniper.
“Cross, are you ready to join us?”
He shrugged. “Better than staying in this dump.” Cid pointed a finger. “Watch it mister, or i’ll revoke your drinking privileges.” Crosshair smirked and Wrecker suddenly looked offended.
“Whoa, whoa! He gets free drinks? How is that fair?” He exclaimed and Cid pointed her finger at him now. “Well for one, he most definitely doesn’t take two whole bottles to get tipsy!” Wrecker grumbled.
“And two, it’s the least I could do after that whole…chip deal.” Cid said and Wrecker extended his arms.
“My chip activated!”
“Sorry. Only valid through the first month.” Cid smirked and Wrecker huffed.
“This ain’t fair.” He mumbled, turning to walk out. Hunter couldn’t contain the smirk as he grabbed the chips.
“And don’t get captured this time! I’ve already had enough replacements as is!” Cid called and they all gave her sideways saluted before leaving.
“What are these?” Omega asked, digging through the cases of weapons. Tech didn’t look up from his data pad.
Omega huffed. “I know that. But what kind of blasters?” Crosshair smirked at the kids expression as she went to pull one out. The sniper stopped her hand.
“Don’t be grabbing what you don’t know about. It’s not safe.”
Tech smiled at his brothers already protectiveness over their sister. If it had been Wrecker, Crosshair would’ve been betting which finger gets blasted off.
“Besides, they are also not ours. So let’s leave them be.” Tech said, slowly shutting the case. Omega nodded understanding before noticing Crosshair walking off toward the ship.
Omega ran after him, grabbing ahold of his hand. Crosshair glanced down at her as she grinned.
“What’s your favorite weapon?”
“My firepuncher.” Crosshair answered almost immediately. Omega frowned. “Your rifle?” She asked and he nodded.
“Do you have a name for it? The others name their weapons!” Omega chirped. Crosshair nodded.
“Sylvie.” He answered and she gushed. “That’s a pretty name!” His sister said as they went up the ship steps. Omega seemed to think again as the sniper sat down in his usual chair and grumbled when Omega crawled into his lap but did nothing to move her.
“Have you ever had a girlfriend?”
Crosshair scoffed as his sister giggled. “What does my love life have to do with learning about me?” He grumbled. “It shows me that you do care! You just don’t want to admit it!” Omega exclaimed and her brother rolled his eyes.
“I’ve had…people in my life that I’ve went to for stuff related to that.”
“What does that mean?”
“Ask when you’re older.” Omega huffed before thinking again.
“What’s your favorite drink?”
“You know you really have the most random questions.”
“Answer the damn question.”
Crosshair snorted, covering his sisters mouth as she huffed. “Don’t—don’t let Hunter here you say that.” Omega shrugged.
“It’s okay! I just say I learned it from whoever I’m mad at.”
Crosshair patted her arm. “Atta girl.” He thought for a moment.
“What’s that?” Omega asked, frowning. “It’s a…bitter drink. It’s something that seems like it should be sweet but isn’t. It’s good.” The sniper explained and Omega nodded.
“Who’s your favorite sibling?”
“I don’t like any of them.” Crosshair rolled his eyes as Hunter walked in. Omega huffed as she could tell he was trying not to smirk.
“That’s a lie!”
“I will say you’re at the very bottom of my list.” Omega hit him and Hunter huffed a chuckle at their playful banter as he flicked some switches. Omega lit up and jumped off of Crosshair’s lap.
“Can I pilot today?” She asked and Hunter turned to her with raised eyebrows. “You gotta ask Tech.” Omega pouted.
“But he’ll say no!”
“Well, next time you’ll think twice before stealing a ship from an imperial refinery.”
It took a second before the gears shift in Crosshair’s head and he looked at his sister.
“That was you?”
Omega giggled sheepishly. “Technically it was Hera.” She said as Hunter shook his head. “Tech ripped her a new one after that stunt and she hasn’t been able to pilot since. Except for on Daro.”
“Why were you even on Daro?” Crosshair asked as he recalled getting the comm that they had captured Hunter there. The sergeant shrugged.
“A reg named Gregor needed saving. Rex asked and little miss and cyborg were very adamant that that was more important than our mission for Cid, so we went.”
“I hope you learned your lesson then in rescuing regs.” Crosshair said with a slight disgust in his voice. “Well, it went pretty well till I fell out of the ship.” Hunter said with another shrug and Omega looked a bit guilty but the two brothers didn’t notice.
The sniper snorted.
Omega looked bewildered. “Again?” She questioned and Hunter nodded. “This isn’t the first time Tech’s had to pull away. I think that’s the farthest i’ve fallen though. That one hurt for a bit.” Hunter subconsciously rubbed his arm with a grimace.
Before Omega could ask anymore questions to her two brothers, Tech entered and she lit up, opening her mouth to ask him a question. Before she even said anything, he mumbled a “no.” and plopped down in the pilot seat.
Omega huffed, looking at Hunter.
“Hunter, guess what word Tech taught me?”
Chapter 22: Loth Cats
Omega was sitting on the steps of the Marauder, hands on her cheeks as she watched the client dig through the crates of weapons. Her brothers were all standing side by side, watching with patience.
It was weird having Crosshair next to them. He seemed so calm just standing there at the end of all his brothers and it was strange to see five of them instead of four like Omega was used to.
But her brothers didn’t seemed bothered, and that’s what mattered. She was happy everything seemed to be going back to their normal and she was excited to see what it was like.
So far, Omega loved Crosshair. He was just as her brothers described him; a semi loner but with a heart of gold.
Crosshair typically spent time in his room when it was late but during the day, he was found lingering around at least one of his brothers, even if they weren’t talking. He would simply be reading, cleaning his rifle, or nodding off until his brother moved and he’d follow them.
Omega never asked him himself why he did that, but Tech seemed to notice her expression of confusion and explained it the best way he theorized it.
In basic words, Crosshair was a loth cat. Didn’t like attention that much, spat emotionless insults at them to mess with them and gave a few swats of his paw to be annoying, but he enjoyed being around them. Something about having the presence of somebody next to him made him feel comfortable, even if they weren’t paying attention to each other.
Tech also explained that he most likely got this habit from his years of sniper training and of service. Crosshair was the only one to ever get pulled out of the group multiple times to go on solo missions and he would come back and not let himself go without at least one person next to him for days.
Tech didn’t tell Omega, but the missions alone were definitely hard on the sniper. Most the time they were assassinations of separatists, or a bounty that the republic didn’t want to deal with.
In other words, they used Crosshair as the back up plan. In case it did get traced to who it was, they would simply say he was a defective clone and terminate him and the problem would be solved.
Tech knew it scared his brother, but he never admitted it and he knew he didn’t have a choice. Get caught, get blamed, terminated. Refuse to do the mission, get blamed, terminated.
The lesser of two evils was better for Crosshair.
Omega found it fascinating about Crosshair’s behavior while also saddened by it. She wondered if the republic hadn’t pushed him so hard if he would have such a yielding personality. Then again, maybe he wouldn’t be the best sniper in the galaxy were it not for that.
Omega’s brothers approached the steps, making her snap out of her thoughts. “Cmon kiddo. We got bounties to collect.” Hunter scooped his sister up and threw her over his shoulder, making her giggle as they went into the ship.
“Where to next?” Tech hummed, plopping down in the pilot ship, flicking switches on the dash of the Marauder. Hunter thought to himself for a moment as he set Omega down.
“Coruscant. I think getting that family out safe will take a bit and I’d rather not keep them waiting any longer.” Hunter hummed as he plopped down in copilot seat. Echo looked annoyed but was too busy doing something in the back to say anything.
Omega rested her elbows on the arm rest of Crosshair’s chair, placing her chin in her hands. He glanced at her as he took off his helmet and set it aside.
“You never answered my last question.”
“I don’t have an answer for it.”
“How do you know?”
“Tech says when you lie, your trigger finger twitches.”
The sniper swore under his breath, stuffing his right hand into his armpit angrily as Hunter gave him a look. Omega grinned.
“Who do you think?”
“I dunno. ‘s hard to tell.” Omega mumbled and the sniper smirked. “Good. You might get your feelings hurt if I tell you.” Omega hit him in the arm before she thought again.
“What’s your favorite animal?” She asked and the sniper rolled his eyes as he scoffed.
“I don’t really…like animals.”
“Why not? And that doesn’t count as a question!”
Wrecker giggled from behind and Crosshair gave him a look. “Cross’s had bad run ins with wildlife.” His brother giggled and the sniper rolled his eyes again.
“Really?” Omega asked, a twinkle in her eye. Crosshair nodded with a grumble. “They’re always crawling over me and stuff when I’m trying to shoot…it’s annoying. I had some stupid lizard attack me at one point to. Messed up my shot.” He grumbled and Omega giggled.
“Well, if you had to pick a species—?” Omega urged and he thought.
“Really?” His sister lit up. “They quiet and mind their business. Much like somebody here should.”
Omega hit him again and Crosshair smirked. She pouted. “You’d be bored if I wasn’t bugging you.”
“I lasted just fine before you were here.”
“Yea, but I add spice here!” Omega defended and her brothers chuckled. Tech got up once they were in hyperspace, telling them it would be a few hours and everybody nodded before going off to do their own thing.
Hunter remained in the cockpit, messing with the controls for a bit and Crosshair decided to stick around with him for the moment. He was nodding off in the chair until somebody nudged his shoulder.
The sniper looked at the person in annoyance. Tech rolled his eyes and handed him a snack bar. Crosshair grumbled and took it, not opening it immediately. Tech raised his eyebrows and motioned to it.
“I’ll eat it in a moment, shiteyes.” He mumbled, leaning back in his chair. Tech hit his arm in retaliation before going back to the pilot seat. Hunter turned his chair with a small smile and propped his feet on the control center in the middle.
“No. Off.” Tech smacked his brothers legs and the sergeant huffed. “I’m not gonna hit it.” He argued and the engineer glared at him. “I do not care for your dirty ass footprints to be on my ship and the last time you promised that, we abruptly came out of hyperspace when you kicked it in your sleep.”
“He did get thrown into the windshield tho. That was worth it.” Crosshair commented and smirked when Hunter glared at him.
“And he deserved it.”
“Whatever.” Hunter grumbled and plopped his feet down to the floor. Crosshair watched as Tech fiddled with the ship before finally deciding to eat the snack Tech gave him.
He took a bite a grimaced. “This taste like ass.” He said bluntly and Hunter chuckled. Tech looked at him. “They are meant to help you gain weight faster. Besides, I quite like them.” Tech mumbled and Crosshair grumbled, taking another bite.
“Well, you have shit taste.”
“I do not.”
“Your favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin. Who the fuck likes that?” Crosshair exclaimed and Tech glared at him. Hunter shook his head with a smile, crossing his arms and leaning back.
“Will you shut up and eat? They are fruit flavored, I do not see the problem. I eat them everyday.”
“Is that why you’re bursting through your blacks?” Crosshair motioned to Tech’s stomach with raised eyebrows. Hunter snorted at Tech’s expression before the engineer huffed and crossed his arms.
“I am not.” He mumbled and Crosshair grinned.
“Big gut and big and white armor? Whatever you say humpty dumpty.”
That earned Crosshair a boot to the head.
Chapter 23: New Allies
Crosshair was positioned on the rooftop of a building just down the street from where their meet up point with the client was. Omega was laying under his left arm, watching with wide eyes.
She had asked to go with him. If it was a more serious mission, Crosshair would’ve said no. But the kid gave the puppy dog eyes she most definitely learned from Wrecker and he sighed before telling her she better not get in the way.
The group was still making their way carefully down the street from what Crosshair could see and he pulled away from his scope, still gazing at the streets. He could see fine with his normal eyesight still and figured it’d be fine to relax for a minute or two until the squad makes it to the coordinates.
Omega was looking up at his scope when he glanced at her. “You wanna take a look?” He asked and her eyes went so wide the sniper thought they’d pop out of her head.
He scooted back a bit to let her stick her head up and look through it. Crosshair made sure to hold her so she wouldn’t accidentally knock into it and mess up his adjustments as she gazed through the scope.
“Can I shoot it one day?” She asked and Crosshair grumbled something as he nudged her aside. Omega went back down to the ground and watched her brother look through his scope.
“You got a few regs coming back around. They don’t seem very interested in anything though.”
“Copy that, we just made it to the rendezvous.”
“Copy that.” Crosshair muttered before shutting off his comm. Omega squinted toward the city streets before pouting.
“I should’ve gone down there. Coruscant looks fun.” She huffed and Crosshair smirked.
“Well, now you’re stuck with me.” He said and Omega placed her chin in her hands. “I don’t mind. I like spending time with you.”
“That’s one thing we don’t have in common.”
Omega hit him in the chest as she rolled onto her back underneath him, pouting. “Why do you act mean?” She asked and Crosshair gave her a look.
“I am mean.”
“No. If you were mean, you’d still be with the empire.”
Crosshair snorted at that. “The empire is a little more than just ‘mean’.” He mumbled and Omega crossed her arms. “I know that! I’m just saying, if you didn’t like us, you wouldn’t have stuck around.” Omega pointed out and Crosshair glanced at her.
“So tell me, who’s your favorite?” Omega asked and the sniper rolled his eyes as she tugged on his free arm.
“Really?” Omega exclaimed and he shushed her. “Don’t go telling him that! He’ll never let it go!” Crosshair hissed and Omega nodded with a grin.
“I won’t! I just…didn’t expect it.”
“Who did you expect?”
Crosshair scoffed. “Bastard talks too much.” Omega giggled at that. “Well, I didn’t think Echo because he’s a reg, or Wrecker because you’re always picking on him, and Hunter because you’re always making comments at him.” Omega pointed out and Crosshair huffed.
“Well…it’s not like I have ranking for them…I…think of them all equally.” Crosshair mumbled and Omega raised her eyebrows. “What do you mean?” She asked as Crosshair checked his scope again.
He seemed to think for a moment, almost hesitating before breathing out.
“Well…Echo’s the first reg to treat me like…like I’m something…and not just a science experiment…” Omega listened, rolling over on her stomach again so Crosshair didn’t feel uncomfortable with her looking at him as he spoke.
“And for that, I respect him the most. Tech is…Tech and while sometimes that big brain of his needs to shut up…I’d feel lost if I didn’t constantly hear him mumbling to himself as I’m trying to sleep…or having him help me calculate shots or modify my equipment.”
Crosshair eyed his scope, clutching around the trigger as he saw his squad began to leave with two hooded figures.
“Hunter and I have gone at each other ever since we were kids but…it’s not like I don’t respect him…we just like to push each other’s buttons, and it’s something I found myself…missing when I was with the Empire.”
Omega glanced up and could see a sad look in her brothers face.
“And I guess why I would choose Wrecker as the favorite is cause…he can always get me to smile and he doesn’t care for the reason, just as long as I’m smiling…it could be him getting a concussion on the head and if I give the tightest bit of teeth, he’s happy as a bantha with food…”
“And now, it’s something I don’t wanna lose again.”
Crosshair lifted his rifle, suddenly snapping back into the mission. Omega looked at him funny and he motioned for her to get up.
“Cmon. They made it out.”
Omega gasped when the Batch appeared in the ship with the cloaked figures behind them. Peaking through the large cloaks of the two people, were tiny hands.
“Actually, more than just one baby.” Tech cleared his throat.
The people pulled down their hoods to reveal themselves and Omega gushed. “You’re very pretty.” She said to the female Togruta. She smiled as she sat down on the bench of the navi room.
“You’re very sweet, sweetheart.” She said as she pulled two identical babies out of her cloak. Omega lit up with a gasp and her brothers thought she was going to pass out when two others identical ones were pulled out from the male Togruta next to the female.
“They’re so cute!” Omega gushed as she went to approach them but Hunter stopped her with a look on his face. “Hey, manners.” He warned and Omega looked sheepishly at the women with her foot dragging across the floor.
The woman smiled. “It’s alright, sweetheart. You can come see them.” Omega lit up and went to them, mouth open in awe as she gently put her finger out to one of the babies.
“Omega, Crosshair, this is Evesh and Saha Rollala.” Hunter motioned to the two Togrutas. They gave gentle smiles. Hunter motioned to his brother and sister.
“This is our brother Crosshair and sister Omega.” He introduced and Evesh liked at Omega with surprise.
“A girl clone? I have never heard of one.” She said with a hint of a smile. Hunter patted his sisters head. “Don’t let her looks fool you. She’s just as troublesome as her two million brothers.”
Evesh chuckled as Omega huffed, swatting her brothers hand away. “Are these both of your children?” Omega asked as one of the babies played with her finger.
Saha snorted and Evesh smiled gently. “This is my brother. But he helps me raise my kids.” She pulled the two she had farther up her arms.
“So they’re—?” Hunter asked with a surprised look, motioning to the babies. Evesh nodded.
Hunter looked impressed as Wrecker let out a whistle.
“I’m so sorry you had to go through that.” Hunter said with a hint of a smile. Evesh laughed as her brother did too.
“She was bigger than a bantha.” Saha giggled and Evesh glared at him. “While the in between was not what I had in mind, I couldn’t ask for anything more.” Evesh said as one of her babies cooed and reached for her.
“What in between?” Omega asked, confused. Crosshair snorted, leaning against the wall. Evesh smiled.
“Pregnancy.” She answered and Omega still looked confused as Hunter tried to shut his sister up by grabbing her shoulder.
“When a mommy and a daddy love each other—“ Wrecker hit Crosshair, who giggled as Hunter pushed Omega toward the cockpit, mumbling a “go help Tech.”
Hunter turned around and sighed, rubbing his face in embarrassment. “I’m sorry. She doesn’t know that and also doesn’t know when to be quiet sometimes.”
Saha chuckled as his sister simply smiled. “Children are always nosey. There is no harm in it.” She said.
“So, Tattooine? What’s so special there to be dropped off at, if you don’t mind me asking?” Hunter asked. All he had heard about the sandy place was that it was such a backwater planet that most people didn’t stick around for long.
Evesh shrugged. “The empire won’t care for it as much as some of these planets. We figured it would be a nice place to lay low. We were trying to leave before I gave birth, but the Empire moved in quicker than we expected and the father of these just…left.” The Togruta looked a bit hurt, glancing off.
Hunter nodded sympathetically. “I’m sorry to hear that.” He said and Evesh sighed. “Thank you. Though I never would’ve expected clones to be saving us from clones.” She said with raised eyebrows.
“It’s a long story.” Hunter said with a quiet sigh and Saha leant back on the bench, crossing his legs with a smile.
“We have plenty of time.”
Chapter 24: Getting To Know
“I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”
Evesh eyes looked full of sorrow, as did Saha’s. Hunter nodded his head in thanks.
“We grew up practically surrounded by clones. They were so kind to us and when the Empire came into power, it seemed they had forgotten everything about the people they swore to protest. I knew something wasn’t right.” Saha swore with his fist clenched.
Crosshair almost scoffed in disbelief at the thought of regs being nice but Wrecker gave him a nudge to keep him in check.
Once in hyperspace and talking about Order 66 to the Togrutas, Evesh had let her children on the ground of the ship with Hunter’s permission so they could play and calm down.
One of her children had found its way to Hunter’s feet and babbled as she grabbed his ankle. The sergeant looked down and gave a smile as he leant down.
“May I—?” He asked hesitantly and Evesh smiled and nodded. The sergeant scooped the small child up and it giggled happily, grabbing at the scruff on his face.
The other three children had found their way to Wrecker, who had laid on his back on the ground so that they could crawl all over him as he giggled happily.
The clones could now see the similarities of the brother and sister Togruta in front of them after they had told them of them being kin: both were a light pink and had longer lekku’s without similar patterns on them, except Saha had red and white while Evesh had a green and white.
The one in Hunter’s arm had a lighter green and white on it’s lekku and was a light pink like its mother and uncle.
“That is my daughter, Deshi. Happiest thing in the galaxy. She has yet to cry for this universe.”
“I can totally see that.” Hunter said as he let her yank at his hair. Wrecker was giggling and hugging the kids against his chest as they babbled with delight.
Evesh point to one in the crook of Wrecker’s arm that had light green skin with a matching green and white on its lekku.
“My daughter, Casse.”
The Togruta woman pointed to one on Wrecker chest that had light pink skin and an all white lekku. “My daughter, Canvas.”
She pointed to the last one. One with light pink skin and green and white lekku patterns. “And my only son, Olash.”
“Poor little guy. Stuck with all girls.” Wrecker said as he gently pinched the tiny boys cheek. He giggled and grabbed at Wrecked’s giant hand. Wrecker gushed.
“They’re so tiny!”
“I think you’re just freakishly huge, Wrecker.” Crosshair rolled his eyes and the giant clone shrugged. “More room in my arms to hold these little guys.” He giggled and hugged them gently.
Hunter looked at Evesh. “I don’t think you’re getting three fourths of your kids back.” He said and Evesh chuckled with a wave of her hand. “Keep them.” She winked and Wrecked giggled.
Hunter stroked the back of the lekku on Deshi when she rested her cheek on his chest and within seconds, she was fast asleep.
Saha looked surprised.
“If I had known better, it seems like you already know your way around Togrutas.” The man said with a wink and Evesh hit him in the side when Hunter blushed.
“N-no, I just…we had a person growing up who helped us all the time…she was a togruta and I was very…fond of the lekku when I was little.” Hunter explained, trying to defend himself but could feel Crosshair smirking at the side of his head.
“Oh?” Saha rasied his eyes. “Apparently I used to yank on them in a…not so nice way to play with them until she taught me how to nicely play with them.” Hunter mumbled.
Omega appeared and luckily changed the subject by gushing at the sleeping Togruta in his arms.
“I thought you said you didn’t know anything about kids.”
His brothers chuckled and Hunter gave her a look as she copied what Hunter had been doing to Deshi’s lekku. “A baby and a spoiled brat are two different things to take care of.”
Omega dropped her hand and glared at him before turning to Evesh.
“Are you looking to adopt another child?”
Wrecker laughed as Hunter looked bewildered. Evesh laughed, covering her mouth. “I’ll trade.” She gave a grin to the sergeant.
“Deal!” Wrecker answered and Omega how glared at him. “You guys are mean.” She mumbled with a roll of her eyes before sitting down next to Wrecker to play with the kids.
Hunter chuckled softly as he went and handed Deshi to Evesh.
“Cmon, i’ll show you where you guys will sleep.”
“The hammock would be the safest for the kids if you think the bunks too risky of a fall. It sink down a lot but had a lot of space so that they can’t crawl out and they can lay comfortably with each other. Plus we have some pillows we can set below in case they do manage to spy baby out of there.”
Evesh smiled at the sergeants words. “Thank you. You guys are very kind to people you escort.”
Hunter shrugged as Saha appeared next to him, leaning against the wall. “There’s a lot going on in this galaxy. It’s the least I can do after everything’s that’s been happening.” He said and Evesh nodded a thanks before going to set her children down for a nap.
Saha turned to Hunter, a slight frown on his face.
“I don’t wish to steal your beds.”
Hunter shrugged again. “It’s just until we get you guys safely to tattooine. Besides, I’ve slept in worse places than the couch of the navi room.” The sergeant told the Togruta.
Saha propped himself on the doorway using his forearm, a smirk appearing on his face.
“So, you’re giving up your bunk to my sister?”
Hunter could feel the panic. “W-well, if she wants. But I figured she would want Tech’s since his is the closest to the hammock and you could…have mine.” Hunter explained and Saha grinned, his fangs popping out.
“Mm, even better idea—“
Hunter thanked the maker that he was the only one that could detect heartbeats.
“—we could always…double up.”
“Y-yea, that’s a possibility.”
Saha chuckled before standing up straight with a shrug. “Offers always there…sarge.”
Hunter watched Saha go over to help his sister as he swallowed. He jumped when somebody appeared next to him.
Crosshair looked at him and frowned.
“What’s gotten into you? Why’re you red?”
“I’m not.” Hunter grumbled as the sniper looked at the male Togruta that smirked in Hunter’s direction before looking back at his brother.
Hunter tried to shush him but the sniper already bolted to the cockpit.
“WRECKER, GUESS WHO HAS A CRUSH?”
Chapter 25: Tagging Along
Crosshair was smirking when Hunter appeared in the cockpit, glaring at him. Wrecker was grinning and gave the sergeant a nudge.
“I don’t blame you, sarge.”
Hunter hit his brother with a roll of his eyes as he went to Tech.
“So, what’s up? How come we’re landing?” He asked, placing a hand on his hip. Tech turned in the pilot chair as Echo took over controls.
“Well, for one thing, we need fuel. We should be good for one tank for the rest of the trip. But also, it occurred to be that crossing through hyperspace for such a long distance is going to draw attention if we go too fast. It will look suspicious and possibility get us spotted.” Tech flicked some controls as he spoke.
“Granted, if it was just us I would not care so much but I do not wish to put our guest in danger. I can talk to Cid and explain our situation. I’m sure she can go without getting one of her cases of credits immediately.”
Hunter nodded and thumbed to the bunk room. “Let me go talk to them really quick and explain the situation. If they don’t agree, we’ll see about finding a safe place to keep them with one of us looking after them until we finish our other missions.”
Tech nodded before turning back to begin to land as Hunter went back to talk to their guest.
Omega gushed at the three sleeping togruta’s in the hammock. Evesh smiled lightly as she held Canvas, who was happily sucking at the milk her mother provided.
“So…babies don’t all come from tubes?”
Evesh shook her head. “Typically, a man and a woman create one together. Ask your brothers how it works when your older, okay?” Evesh winked at the young girl and she nodded.
“And you can…feed them yourself?” Omega glanced at the woman. Evesh nodded, carefully maneuvering her daughter off her nipple and covering herself before holding her daughter to burp her.
“Huh.” Omega mumbled in fascination as the door to the bunk room opened. Tech walked in, mumbling to himself for a moment.
“I am assuming Hunter explained to you everything?”
Evesh nodded with a smile. “I’m sure we can deal with a little detour. Only because you guys risked much to help us.”
“Well statistically speaking, the objective itself was not—“ Omega tugged her brothers.
“Tech, no offense, I think she’s too tired to head the statistics.” Omega said and Tech looked guilty. “Apologies.” He said to the female Togruta and she huffed a laugh.
“No worries, Tech. Though I do have to ask if it’s okay that I’m stealing your bunk? I don’t wish to interrupt what routine you boys have.” Evesh said with a sheepish smile.
“No worries at all, I assure you.”
“Tech barely sleeps anyways! And if he does, it’s either in the pilot chair or the floor of the cockpit!” Omega chirped with a grin and Tech looked a bit embarrassed.
“Yes, well…” Tech mumbled and Evesh huffed a laugh of entertainment.
“We shall be leaving shortly after refueling completely to deliver a chip just a jump away and then should be able to make the trip to Tattooine smoothly from there.” Tech informed the two and they nodded before watching the engineer disappear from the room.
“Do you like kids?” Omega chirped to Crosshair as she picked up Casse, who had wandered over to them after her mother finishing dressing her.
“I…tolerate them.” He mumbled, looking down at Canvas, who was tugging at his ankle, pouting for attention.
Omega rolled her eyes. “You can admit you like kids.” She said as she bounced the tiny Togruta on her hip, making her giggle. Crosshair gave her a look but didn’t say anything as he watched Canvas tug harder at his armor.
Evesh came in, smiling when she saw her other two kids with the clones. “I take it you guys don’t see babies often?” She asked, setting down Deshi and Olash on the floor to let them roam the navi room.
“I haven’t seen babies since being on Kamino. But even then, i’ve only seen clone babies.” Omega said as she wiggled Casse’s hand, making her giggle and grip the young clones finger.
Crosshair picked up Canvas and set her on his knee. She smiled happily and reached to play with his scruff but he didn’t make any attempt to let her.
Omega glanced over and smiled but said nothing.
Hunter walked in the room, looking a bit annoyed. Omega noticed and frowned.
“What’s wrong?” She asked. They had just taken off after managing to get the next bounty complete and only had left was to go after a man with a warrant on him, as well as drop off Saha and Evesh safely of Tatooine.
“Well, I wish I could say I have good news but I don’t really…” Hunter mumbled as he turned to Evesh, who’s expression dropped.
“Tech scanned over near Tatooine just as a precaution and found Imperials all over there scouting around…it seems with not having to worry about Kamino and production of clones, they’re expanding even faster than anticipated.”
Evesh nodded, seeming to think for a moment before Hunter continued.
“I would say…it ain’t safe over there for you. I know that’s where you wanted us to take you and we can but frankly, I don’t want to because I don’t think i’d sleep well knowing there’s a chance something might happen to innocent people.” Hunter cleared his throat and Evesh hummed in thought.
“I want to heed your advice sergeant and avoid Tatooine…but I don’t know where else I’d take my family.”
“Well, we can do our best helping you find a safe option; Tech’s good at scanning and looking out for the best low run places to hide—“ Hunter explained as the Togruta listened.
“—we have some people we can contact to help you out, or, if you trust us…Ord Mantell’s been a pretty safe haven for us so far if you want to know more.” Evesh seemed to soak in the sergeants words for a moment.
“I will speak to my brother…and then decide what to do after that.” Evesh stood up, turning to Omega before she left with a smile.
“I think I can trust you to watch the little ones?”
Omega grinned and nodded.
“Crosshair and I will watch them!”
The sniper gave his sister a look but said nothing as he began to bounce Canvas on his knee.
Chapter 26: Plans
Canvas already took a liking to Crosshair and had fallen asleep against his chest moments after he leant back against the couch and let her crawl up him.
The sniper had given up on caring and simply sat there with the tiny Togruta in his arms as Omega and Wrecker were on the ground playing with the other three Togrutas.
Wrecker held Deshi and Casse in his hands and were slowly benching them while lying on his back. The two giggled happily, simply waving their tiny arms in excitement.
Omega had Olash in her lap as he was beginning to fall asleep in her arms. The young clone got up and went up to her brother on the couch. He raised his eyebrows as she gently placed the tiny male Togruta in the crook of Crosshair’s arm that was extended.
“No, don’t put him—“
“Cmon! You’re already watching Canvas!” Omega said before going back to play with Deshi and Casse. Crosshair huffed and begrudgingly brought the tiny Togruta to his hip. And after a moment, Olash was passed out against the snipers hip.
Hunter walked into the room and smiled at the scene. Crosshair narrowed his eyes. “I’ll kill you.”
“I didn’t say anything!”
“I know what you were thinking.”
Hunter rolled his eyes as Tech appeared next to him, grinning. “My, my. How returning from the empire has changed you, Crosshair.”
The sniper glanced around and found one of the kids shoes, grabbing it and chucking it at his brother, hitting him square in the face.
Tech glared as Wrecker let out a laugh. Crosshair smirked as the engineer mumbled something before going back to the cockpit.
Evesh and Saha entered the room. “So…? What’s the plan?” Hunter asked and Evesh gave a tiny smile.
“Well, considering we haven’t spent much time off world before…I would know where to begin…so I suppose we’ll follow your lead.”
Hunter seemed to smile a bit with a nod before going to notify Tech.
Evesh noticed her sleeping children on Crosshair, who didn’t seem as annoyed as before. She went over and smiled as she began to take the two.
“Thank you for watching them.”
Crosshair gave a small nod, still clearly getting used to the two Togrutas on the ship.
“‘s no problem.”
Omega smiled as she stood up, taking Casse with her. Evesh turned to her. “Want to help me tuck them in for a nap?” She asked, going to take Deshi from Wrecker, who pouted.
Omega nodded eagerly. Deshi huffed as she was taken from Wrecker. “You can play later.” Evesh said to her daughter and Wrecker grinned, waving a bye to the kids before Omega and Evesh disappeared to go to the bunkroom.
Wrecker sat up and glanced into the cockpit, grinning and nudging Crosshair on the couch. The sniper frowned and his brother pointed into the cockpit, making him lean over so he could see around the corner.
The two hadn’t even noticed Saha sneaking past them to go into the cockpit and was now settled next to Hunter’s chair, arm leaning on the head rest as he stood over the sergeant.
The two couldn’t hear what both of them were talking about, but based off the smirk that Saha had and the pleading look Tech was giving to his brothers from the pilot chair, they knew it wasn’t a normal conversation.
Tech signed something and Wrecker looked at Crosshair for translation. The sniper grinned.
“He says Saha is definitely flirting.”
Wrecker snorted and Tech sighed some more. “But Hunter sucks at flirting back.” Crosshair looked at Hunter again and could see his eyes flickering to Tech’s hands, looking annoyed that they were talking about him in front of him but continued speaking to Saha.
Echo appeared from the kitchen and frowned. “What’re you doing?” He asked and glanced at Tech signing.
“Gossiping.” Wrecker grinned.
“A sergeant making heart eyes at a Togruta.”
Echo glanced to the side of the cockpit and saw what was happening, snapping back up out of sight. “Oh. I did not see that coming.”
“Please. Hunter had people flirting with him all the time back in the day.”
“I mean, that makes sense. Clearly he got the best gene pool.” Wrecker and Crosshair protested and Echo grinned. “Yea, but he never made any moves.” Wrecker grumbled.
“Always said how ‘he’s a soldier. He’s not supposed to do serious stuff. blah, blah.’” Crosshair mocked with a roll of his eyes.
“Well, have you guys had a partner?”
They shook their heads and Echo raised his eyebrows. “So, how’s this any different?” He hummed and Crosshair raised a finger.
“The different is we never wanted a relationship! Only hook ups. Hunter clearly wanted one, but just never acted upon it for ‘professional reasons’.” The sniper explained and Echo snorted with a roll of his eyes.
“Professional reasons…we’re clones of the republic.”
“But! Not anymore!” Wrecker pointed out and Crosshair nodded in agreement as Tech appeared. “I couldn’t take it anymore. Listening to them is—“ Tech shuddered, shaking his head.
“Well, Hunter will learn that he can settle down if he truly wants to. Cut did it in the middle of a war!” Echo pointed out and Crosshair shook his head.
“Not trying to pin any blame, but with Omega and us, I don’t think super dads gonna wanna make anybody else a priority to him.”
“He shouldn’t have to worry about us.” Echo argued, clearly getting to into wanting Hunter the chance to be happy in a relationship without any worries.
“Big brother genes. They happened wether you want them to or not.” Wrecker said with a shrug of his arms. Echo raised his eyebrows.
“Hunter’s the oldest?”
“Yea. Who’d you think was?”
“I dunno. Probably Wrecker.” Wrecker beamed. “Second youngest.” Tech thumbed to the giant. “Where does that place you?” Echo asked the engineer.
Echo nodded before processing it for a moment. He grinned and slowly turned to Crosshair, who read his mind and huffed, crossing his arms. “That makes you the baby!”
“Technically Omega’s the baby.”
“Technically Omega is older than us.”
“Looks wise, i’ll argue that.” Crosshair said and grimaced when Echo teasingly pinched his cheek. “Awww. Baby Crosshair.”
The sniper swatted his hand away with a glare. Echo chuckled as Omega came back into the room.
Crosshair motioned for her to come closer to him and she did and he whispered something in her ear. The young clone grinned and she nodded before going into the cockpit.
Omega appeared next to Saha and both men gave her a smile. She motioned for Hunter to come lean closer to her and he did before she whispered something in his ear.
Hunter suddenly got a bit red and stood up, politely excusing himself as he scooped up Omega, who grinned.
Hunter entered the room and everybody acted normal as he glared immediately at Crosshair.
Crosshair faked innocence. “Why’re you blaming me?” He asked and Hunter shook his head as he set their sister down. “Who else would send a child to do their dirty work?”
Crosshair gave a thumbs up to his sister and she returned it, making everybody but Hunter giggle.
“Would you guys stay out of my love life?”
Wrecker made a noise and pointed at his brother. “See? He admits there is a love life?”
“No, I’m just saying doing all this extra stuff is not going to help.”
“Aw, cmon Hunter. Let loose a little.” Echo nudged the sergeant, who looked annoyed.
“I don’t have time to ‘let loose’.”
Everybody groaned at that and Hunter raised his eyebrows in confusion, as well as Omega.
“Did I miss something?”
Chapter 27: Opportunities
Once returned to Ord Mantell, Hunter, Tech, and Echo and to deliver what they had of Cid’s credits to her as the others waited on by the ship.
Evesh and Saha gazed around at the city as Omega approached next to them, carrying Olash who cooed and made grabby motions to his mother.
Evesh smiled and took her son, kissing his cheek lovingly and he giggled happily.
“So, do you like it?” Omega chirped and Saha looked around, hands on his hips. “Looks old.” He commented and Omega shrugged.
“It gets better once you get into the city.”
Eventually, the three brothers returned and Hunter seemed pretty upbeat when he got to the ship.
“So—?” Saha asked slowly. Hunter turned to the brother and sister as Deshi found her way to Hunter’s ankle while Canvas found her way to Echo’s.
“I asked Cid if she knew of any place around here to lay low and when I explained the situation, she had some opportunities else where but she also had an offer herself.” Hunter explained and Evesh and Saha seemed to perk up.
The sergeant picked up the tiny Togruta at his feet as he continued, letting her play with his scruff. “Cid said she has some bartending positions open, or if not that a janitor as well. She had some other places but when I told her you had kids, she did around here would be your safest bet. Apparently the deeper you go south, the more it gets…fuzzy.” Hunter explained.
Echo next to him had knelt down and let Canvas play with his scomp link as he grinned. Eventually though, she grew bored and crawled over to Tech and began tugging at his ankles for attention.
“That…would not be a bad option.” Saha scratched his jawline. Evesh seemed to be contemplating it.
“I can show you to her place if you want so you can discuss it.” Hunter offered. The siblings Togruta’s smiled.
“That would be lovely.”
Evesh was about to grab Canvas and round up her other two when Echo stopped her.
“We can watch them! If you’re…comfortable with that.” He offered, a small smile. Evesh looked surprise.
“Are you sure? They can get quite cranky without me here.” She said and Saha seemed to roll his eyes. Echo chuckled.
“We handle Crosshair everyday. I’m sure we can handle this.”
Evesh smiled and nodded with a thanks as Hunter handed Deshi to Echo. The tiny Togruta protested for a bit, already attached to the sergeant but a few minutes after they left she settled down.
Tech had been ignoring Canvas tugging at his ankles, who now was beginning to pout at the fact she was getting no attention. The engineer didn’t seem to notice and continued tapping away on his data pad.
Echo gave him a look. “Pick her up.” He said and Tech looked at him before down to the Togruta at his feet.
“Oh…I do not do babies.” He mumbled as Canvas’s lip quivered. “Tech, cmon. She clearly wants your attention.” Echo said, eyebrows raised.
“It is not that I don’t…want to not give it to her. I just don’t…know how.” Tech mumbled and Echo motioned to Deshi on his torso.
“Just like this. I would carry her but I don’t think my scomp link will be comfortable for her to lean on.” He said as Tech tucked his data pad on his belt.
Hesitating, the engineer knelt down and hoisted the young Togruta up by her armpits before gently settling her against his torso and she immediately calmed down and began reaching for his goggles.
“See? You’re engineered to learn quick, i dunno why you doubt yourself.”
“Well, yes, but I was more engineered for combat situations involving—“
“Tech, just play with the baby.”
Wrecker was taking a nap on the floor next to Omega in Tech’s bunk and the other two babies in the hammock, looking like a guard dog protecting his family.
Echo smiled and placed a passed out Deshi in the hammock and saw that Casse was now awake and swapped the two out.
Casse fiddled with Echo’s scomp as he walked out and saw Crosshair sitting next to Tech on the couch; Canvas still on his lap.
The young Togruta was messing with his goggles that he took off and allowed her to take, placing them on her head and every once in awhile trying to gum the bands but was always stopped by Tech.
At one point, she huffed and smacked his hand when he tried to stop him and that made Crosshair laugh and Tech look surprised before he took them away.
Canvas immediately regretted her decision and began huffing, reaching for them. “No. No more.” Tech said and Canvas’s little lip quivered as she tried to crawl up the engineer’s chest to grab them. Crosshair got up to do something real quick.
Tech shook his head, pulling his goggles up his head out of reach. “No.” He said sternly as Echo sat next to him.
Canvas’s tears eventually started going down her face out of frustration of not getting what she wants and Tech looked a bit panicked.
Crosshair sat back down next to Tech and gave Canvas one of his mirrors. Almost immediately, the tears stopped and Canvas took ahold of the mirror, gazing at it like it was a million dollars before beginning to gum at it.
“Don’t let her—“
“Relax, I just washed it. It’s fine.” Crosshair said and Echo huffed but left it at that as the three played with the babies.
“I never thought years ago I’d be sitting here playing with a baby.” Echo mumbled and Crosshair smirked.
“Well I’m sure you also didn’t think you’d be alive.”
Tech hit his brother with a look but Echo just rolled his eyes. “That too, I suppose.”
Another silence settled before Echo broke it again.
“You guys ever think about settling down?”
Tech and Crosshair looked at him.
“I mean, I’m not asking if you ever expected it. I’m just saying…did you ever think about pulling a Cut?” Echo rephrased and the two brothers thought for a moment.
“Though the chances were slim, there were times I pondered on the ‘what if’ of that scenario.” Tech hummed in response and Crosshair shrugged.
“Not really, if I’m being honest.”
“Well, if you had the chance now…would you?”
The two brothers thought for a moment. “If the opportunity presents itself, I suppose. Though I don’t believe it is something I would actively seek out.” Tech answered as Canvas was now slumping against his torso with the mirrors hugged against her chest.
Crosshair just simply shrugged again and Echo left it at that as he looked down at the Togruta gnawing on the hem of his blacks,—
longing for something more.
“I’m glad you guys decided to stay.” Hunter commented to Saha once they had returned to the Marauder, approaching from the opposite side and having to duck underneath the belly. Evesh had already gone ahead to make sure that her babies were alright, even after it was only a short amount of time they were gone.
Saha smiled. “Well, we do have you guys to thank for solving our little problem.”
“Well, considering the empires a big problem, it’s the least we can do.”
“Still. I don’t believe we would’ve gotten so lucky if somebody else had come to our aide. You have shown us a kindness despite barely knowing us. Such kindness cannot go unpaid.” Saha hummed as they approached the stairs of the Marauder from underneath it.
“Well, maybe you’ll just have to be clever with our…reward.”
Saha turned abruptly once they were out from underneath the belly, making Hunter stop in his tracks and his heart could be heard pounding in his ears as the Togruta leaned over the sergeant, placing his forearm against the cool metal above Hunter’s head.
“I already have an idea of one…but I don’t think I can extend the offer to the others.”
Hunter was going to faint.
Maker, he was wishing he had a mirror right now so he can slap himself to try and get a grip.
What kind of engineered clone was her to have some Togruta he's known for a few days cancel all that he had learned before he was really good at flirting?
Hunter hummed. “Hmm. That’s a shame for them, I suppose.”
Saha snuck a hand to his waist.
Hunter’s knees almost buckled.
“It truly is.” The Togruta murmured and their faces were almost touching when Evesh called from inside the ship for her brother to help with the babies and Saha pulled away but not before giving the sergeants waist one last squeeze with a smirk.
Hunter stood there for a moment after Saha disappeared into the ship, trying to level out his heart rate as he ran a hand down his face.
The sergeant went into the ship and saw his brothers standing in the navi room, looking as he came in.
“Somebody slap me.”
They looked confused, Echo protesting.
“We’re not gonna—“
“Thank you, Cross.”
Chapter 28: New Words
The next morning, Tech was helping the sibling Togruta’s find a place where they could start staying with the money they had before they began working for Cid.
Crosshair was watching Wrecker and Omega play with the kids whilst sitting in his usual chair behind the pilot chair.
Echo was looking at him and the sniper glanced out of the corner of his eye.
“Can I help you?”
“Sorry. I was just wondering if you wanted to do something with your hair?”
“Oh, the bald one had room to talk.” Echo scoffed, coming over to him and he ran a hand through Crosshair’s hair, messing it up. The sniper rolled his eyes.
‘What a mom.’
“I’m just saying, it’s growing a little weird. Maybe we can a haircut that suites you.”
The thought had crossed the snipers mind here and there but the thought of having anything else than the regular cut he always had growing up made him queasy.
He was so used to the short cut he had, parting with it made him a bit saddened, even if it indeed was growing out a bit weird with the burn mark on the side of his head.
Karma for trying to kill his brothers.
Crosshair subconsciously scratched the scar, making Echo drop his hand with a frown.
Evesh butted in the conversation from next to the pilot chair.
“I can help with that!” She chirped and the two soldiers looked at her. “I used to be a stylist when I was younger! I can do as much of the complicated stuff as I used to but if you just want something simple, I can do it!”
The idea wasn’t bad. Plus, even if she did mess up his head, he could just shave it again. Wouldn’t be the first or last time having to shave his head he figured.
Crosshair gave a simple nod. “Perhaps.” He mumbled and Evesh smiled before turning back. Echo gave a small smile to his brother before going to help with the kids in the navi room.
“It’s pretty roomy and it’s close by so if you need some help, just holler.” Hunter said as the siblings gazed around the dirty home. It had been abandoned for a awhile it seemed and according to the person who owned it, they just wanted it gone and took the cheap offer they had.
It wasn’t close to the markets, but that wasn’t something that bothered the siblings. In fact, it made them feel a bit safer.
“It’s perfect.” Evesh said with a smile to the sergeant. He gave one back before clearing his throat.
“Once we’re back from our mission, we’d be happy to help clean up and find some stuff to make it more…homey. Might even have some stuff in the Marauder you can have. It’s getting kinda cramped in there with all our junk.”
The siblings chuckled. “I might take that hammock now that you mention it. That is the best the kids have been sleeping for awhile.”
Hunter chuckled. “I’m sure we can find one in town for them.” He said before he bid them and the kids a good day before making his way back to the ship.
As the sergeant found his way up the steps of the ship he called home, he frowned at the giggling he heard from the cockpit. He entered and saw all his siblings gathered around Tech, who was holding up his data pad to them.
“What’re you guys doing?”
All heads snapped to Hunter and by the look of the smirk on Crosshair’s face, he knew it was no good.
“Oh, just a cute parallel Tech pointed out.”
Hunter gazed at the screened and smiled a bit at the picture of him holding Deshi against his torso as she had her head rested on his shoulder, gazing off at something else. The sergeant couldn’t even remember when he saw Tech taking the photo but didn’t ask.
It was when Tech swiped right on the picture and it went to a different one that Hunter turned a bit red and everybody laughed.
It was one of the sergeants favorite photos (though he would never admit it). It was back in his cadet days when they spent most their time with Shaak Ti, who fought for them to stay in the army in the first place when they weren’t showing the results the kaminoans wanted right away.
Shaak Ti was holding onto a tiny Hunter in her arms, smiling lightly with her head leant onto his that was laying against her shoulder and he was always smiling a bit.
“I really need to take away this stupid data pad.” Hunter mumbled and tried to grab it from Tech but it got jerked out of reach with Tech huffing.
“You were so tiny!” Omega chirped with a grin and Hunter rolled his eyes. “We all were.” He tried to argue. Crosshair raised his fingers, shaking his head.
“Nuh uh, sarge. You were tiny tot back in the day and don’t try to deny it.”
“Really?” Omega asked and Crosshair nodded. “Shortest of all of us and still is.” The sniper smirked. Hunter huffed.
“I dunno when this turned into the bully Hunter ship.”
“I was always on board for it to be that ship!” Crosshair stated and got a punch to the side by the sergeant. “At least you weren’t chonky mcchonkster over here.” Crosshair pointed at Wrecker, who placed his hands on his hips.
“The bigger, the better, don’t’cha know?” The giant clone beamed and Crosshair shook his head.
“Oh yea, I just love it when I get squished in my sleep trying to peacefully share a bunk.”
Omega found herself not able to sleep after the mission. They had put a hold on the warrant for an arrest on a male human since they didn’t want the Togruta’s to have to be on the same ship on them.
They had finished it rather quickly, surprisingly, after Wrecker managed to stun the guy when he tried to bolt out the back door after the group busted down the door of his hideout.
Omega found her way to where the guy was cuffed on the ground of the common room, knowing there was at least one of her brothers awake to watch him.
She found Crosshair there and he perked up at the sight of her.
“You should be in bed.”
“I couldn’t sleep.”
“Something keeping you up?” Omega pulled her blanket around her shoulders and shrugged. “Not really.” A lie, but if Crosshair knew he didn’t saw anything as she leant against his arm.
Crosshair lifted his arm to wrap it around her and she snuggled up to his side, smiling with her eyes closed.
“Do you like hugs?”
“I think you’re lying.”
Crosshair rolled his eyes, pinching her cheek and she giggled. “Well, if I am, you’ll never know.” Omega huffed and thought for a moment.
“What’s your favorite word?”
“Word? You’re just milking it at this point.”
Omega crossed her arms, giving her brother a look and he sighed. “It’s not a nice word.”
“I won’t tell.”
Crosshair grinned, shaking his head.
“What’s it mean?”
“It’s mando’a for ‘motherfucker’.”
Crosshair snorted, covering his sisters mouth and glancing out the door out of fear of Hunter hearing.
“A very bad word. Do not let Hunter hear you say it.”
Omega nodded. “It’s just an insult to somebody you don’t like. It’s a swear word.”
“Why can’t I use swear words?” Omega asked and Crosshair snorted again. “You can, Hunter just doesn’t want you to till you’re older.”
“Why does it matter?”
“I dunno, truthfully. I’ve been using them since I was little. I think it’s because kids are supposed to be portrayed as ‘cute little innocent things’. Plus some people think low of people who curse just because its ‘dirty’ and ‘ghetto’.”
“Huh.” Omega hummed. “I will say this. Use it when you think it’s appropriate.” Omega frowned.
“When would that be?”
Crosshair hummed. “Like if somebody grabbed you, call them a motherfucker as loud as you can. People’s heads will turn at the sight of a child yelling a curse word.” The sniper explained and Omega nodded, thinking that that made sense.
“What are some other curse words?”
Chapter 29: Confession
The Batch had collected their money from Cid, surprised when Cid slid the whole case of credits from the bounty over to them with a smirk.
“Don’t get too crazy. Come back in two days and i’ll have more for you.”
After that, Hunter decided it was time for a detox of the ship since they had the free time. Not only to find stuff to either get rid of or see if the Togrutas want them, but also to thoroughly give the ship a wipe down.
Omega tried to sneak off to the Rollala’s when Hunter caught her arm with a look. She smiled sheepishly.
“Nuh uh, little miss. You gotta help too.”
Omega huffed and begrudgingly went to help Wrecker clean the bunk room while Echo and Tech were trying to organize the engineers tools somehow.
Crosshair was organizing the back of the ship, shifting around crates and digging through the junk piles to see what they had with Tech yelling at him from the cockpit to not throw anything out until he saw what they had.
Hunter went back to help him after cleaning up the navi room and common room, rounding the corner to see that Crosshair was kicking a crate into a corner with an annoyed look on his face.
The sniper had taken his shirt off, since it was pretty humid in the back of the ship and moving around a hundred pound crates didn’t help either.
Hunter knew Tech had been monitoring Crosshair’s eating habits, making sure he was eating some of the bars to help him gain weight, but even then it seemed to be a slow process.
The sniper was bred to be able to fit in most places so he could do his job, so growing up he was always slim. Shaak Ti used to be worried he wasn’t eating enough.
But Hunter hadn’t seen Crosshair with his shirt off since he got back. It took him by surprise to see what was underneath.
The sniper’s ribs were definitely showing when the sniper was still, more than Hunter had ever seen in their entire lifetime. There was a few new scars on his right arm and a few scattered on his torso and back.
But the few that definitely got Hunter’s attention were the thin lines across his brothers back. Hunter’s blood boiled.
Hunter snapped his head up to Crosshair’s face, his eyebrows raised with a frown. “Nothing…just came to see if you needed any help.” The sergeant said, gazing around the room.
“I’m almost done. I’d go make sure chunky and tater tot are doing the bunk room. I keep hearing their giggling.”
Hunter smiled. “I know. They’re having fun though, so you can’t be mad.” Crosshair rolled his eyes.
“Easy for you to say.”
Hunter just shook his head and walked off. But instead of going to the bunk room where he indeed head quiet giggles, he went to the cockpit where there was just about every tool imaginable scattered across the deck.
Echo had his shirt off, something that surprised Hunter. The cyborg had always been very insecure about his parts of his body that were machine now and even in the hottest weather he was usually still in a tshirt and pants while the others usually stripped to their underwear.
The cyborg was standing over the engineer with a scowl on his face and turned when Hunter appeared next to him.
“I’m gonna hit him.”
Hunter grinned as he looked at Tech mumbling to himself and checking to see if the tools work as he put them away.
“Bastard won’t let me help. It’ll take him ages!”
Hunter held up a hand real quick and turned to Tech. “Tech, I need you to do something real quick.”
“I am a bit busy.” The engineer mumbled. Hunter grabbed his data pad off the shelf nearby and put it in front of his brothers face. Tech looked up at him with raised eyebrows before slowly grabbing it.
Hunter’s voice got low. “Is there any way you can hack into the archived imperial files of a kamino?”
“What ones specifically?”
Hunter raised his eyebrows and Tech seemed to understand immediately and gave a nod as he fixed his goggles.
“I shall do my best.”
Echo and Hunter took over organizing the cockpit once Tech walk off to the common room to quietly mess around on his data pad to see what he could find.
It was silent for a bit and Echo kept glancing over at Hunter, who had a bitter look on his face as he tested the tools and put them in a bin that was for ones up to standard or ones needed to be worked on or scrapped.
“What peaked your interest all of sudden…in finding Crosshair’s files?”
Hunter was quiet for a moment before he sighed dropped his hands to his side.
“I had thought about it for awhile…but I decided against it for a bit because of our bounties and taking care of Omega and also just trying to make sure Cross is okay…but I was back there, about to help him and—“
Hunter swallowed, shutting his eyes for a moment.
“All the new scars that I hadn’t seen yet…I don’t even wanna imagine but I—I have to know what bastards did it to him.”
Echo understood, not saying anything in return but gave a nod, fiddling with one of the tools.
“I hope you’re not doing this because you feel…guilty?”
Hunter huffed. “How can I not?” He whispered, rubbing his eye in frustration. Echo dropped his hands, looking at his brother.
“Hunter, Crosshair’s already forgiven you…there’s no need for heroics or revenge—“
“I know, I know. I wouldn’t try to do some revenge plot or whatever…but if we just happen to come across the ones who did this…I’m taking my chance…” Hunter glanced at his brother.
“And it ain’t gonna be pretty.”
After a moment of silence as Hunter and Echo went back to checking the tools, a knock on the doorway caught their attention and they turned.
“Hope we’re not too late.” Evesh smiled, holding Olash on her hip. Hunter gave a smile as he stood up, tossing the tool he had in his hand into one of the bins.
“Not like we have anything to do.” Hunter said and Evesh followed him as he lead her outside where they had taken out everything they deemed ‘useless’ to be on the ship.
“Feel free to dig through whatever and take it, or else it’s going to the trash. Wrecker and Crosshair can help you guys carry it to your place whenever you’re ready.” Hunter told her and she smiled.
“Thank you. You guys have truly been too kind to us.”
“Best we can do in such a fucked up galaxy. And if it keeps these cuties around, you can have the damn ship if you want.” Hunter joked, pinching Olash’s cheek and he giggled.
Evesh smiled and thanked him before he went off to find his brothers. Hunter walked up into the ship and went to the bunk room to see the rest of the Togruta babies in there playing on Wrecker’s chest, the room still a mess from everything being pulled out to be reorganized.
Hunter placed his hands on his hips as Wrecker noticed him and his expression dropped. “Uh—“
“You’re supposed to be cleaning.” The sergeant said, eyebrows raised and Wrecker whined.
“But I wanna play with the babies—!”
“And you can once you’re done.” Hunter said, grabbing two of them off his chest and Wrecker pouted.
A few seconds later, the young clone appeared with a grin on her face. “Yea?” She asked and Hunter motioned to Casse still sitting on Wrecker’s chest as Crosshair appeared next to their sister.
“Grab Casse. You guys have babysitting duty.”
Crosshair scowled and Omega nodded as she grabbed the tiny Togruta as Wrecker whined about it being unfair.
Hunter motioned for Crosshair to grab the two from him and the sniper gave him a look before grabbing the two kids, holding them against his torso.
Deshi protested, wanting back to Hunter but the sniper walked away before she could start crying about it as Hunter waved to her.
As Hunter was about to start hounding Wrecker to start cleaning, Saha appeared in the doorway. Hunter gave a small smile as the Togruta smirked, leaning against the doorway.
“I didn’t think I’d get a show outta this.”
Wrecker made a fake gagging noise behind Hunter and the sergeant hit him without looking, blushing a bit as he scratched the back of his neck.
“It gets pretty hot on the ship from time to time.”
Saha looked him up and down, humming.
“I’m sure it does.”
And with a wink, the Togruta walked off out of the ship. Hunter sighed and Wrecker grunted behind him.
“Almost lost my lunch there.”
That earned the giant clone another hit.
Chapter 30: Dinner and A Haircut
Saha had disappeared for awhile after Hunter began helping Wrecker clean up the bunk room, much to his disappointment. Once it was clean, the sergeant found his way to where everybody was sitting in the common room, taking a break to have some water and talk.
Evesh appeared in the doorway after they were talking for a bit, a smile appearing on her face when she saw her other three kids playing with the siblings.
Hunter perked up. “Hey, find some stuff that looks interesting?” He cocked an eyebrow and Evesh nodded. “Plenty. Thank you, again.”
“It’s really no problem.”
“Still. My brother and I would like to repay you in some way, if it’s possible.”
Hunter shook his head, as did the others. “Seriously, Evesh—“
“At least let us make you dinner.” Evesh interrupted and Hunter opened his mouth. “Evesh, you really don’t—“
“Uh, he does not speak for us!” Crosshair held up his finger from behind his brother and the others nodded in agreement. Hunter sighed as Evesh smiled.
“Good. I already sent Saha to the market already.” She chirped before beginning to round up her kids for a snack and then a nap before they had to move everything to her and her brothers new home.
Hunter just simply smiled and relaxed before they had to get up again.
Wrecker and Crosshair were helping Saha move the stuff Evesh had picked out back to their new house as the others began finishing up around the Marauder.
It was growing dark as they finished and everybody began showering to get off all the gunk from the ship. Hunter was helping Omega brush and dry her hair after her shower as she talked about spending time with the babies and how happy she was to have them around now.
“They are pretty cute.” Hunter hummed as he stood up, giving Omega’s hair a run through with his hand to toddle it up a bit. Omega grinned at him.
“Not as cute as me.”
Hunter smiled and pressed a kiss to her cheek that made her giggle.
“Hmm, I suppose.”
Saha came up into the ship after they had finished moving everything to tell them dinner would be ready in awhile and to come over once they were cleaned up.
“You guys really didn’t have to do this.” Hunter said as the two stood in the common room. Saha smiled, his canines poking out as they always did with his wolffish grin.
“What about a nice dinner is so bad to treat nice people to?”
“Well, there’s just so many of us and foods expensive as is…plus Wrecker basically eats as much as three people.”
Saha chuckled, leaning closer to Hunter. “So, say there was no…family dinner—?” Hunter raised his eyebrows.
“Then what about…a date? Hmm?”
Hunter leaned closer, eyelids dropping as Saha’a did as well, their pupils wide.
“That…would be a little less of stretch.”
The two men snapped away from each other as Tech suddenly came in but saw what had been happening and stuttered.
“Apologies—I didn’t—I was trying—I’m just going to—“ The engineer turned and slammed into the doorway, cursing and apologizing before dashing through the actual doorway.
Hunter sighed, placing his head in his palms as Saha grinned, listening to Tech not so quietly going “Crosshair! Crosshair! You owe me five credits!”
“Siblings. I know.” Saha took Hunter’s hand on his face, grasping them in his own and giving a squeeze. Hunter gave a nervous chuckle.
Saha pressed a kiss to the sergeants knuckles with a wink before letting go and leaving to make his way back to his new home.
Hunter sighed, almost like a love struck teen before Crosshair poked his head in.
“You get cock blocked?”
Hunter had never seen the sniper bolt so fast after he saw the sergeant step toward him.
As they found their way to the Rollala’s new home, Omega dashed ahead out of excitement, despite Hunter’s plea. He sighed and shook his head, Echo grinning next to him and nudging the sergeant.
“I know.” Hunter shook his head.
The dinner was the most relaxed Hunter had seen everyone.
Saha had found a big table while scrounging for more furniture for their new home and it mostly fit everyone (aside from Wrecker, who had to sit in a separate chair next to Omega).
Evesh was at the end of the table with Saha at her left. The other had managed to get to the table first as Hunter was helping Evesh with the food and when he came time to find a place to sit, there was an empty spot in between Saha and Crosshair.
The sniper smirked at his brother but didn’t say much and Hunter narrowed his eyes at him before taking the seat. Saha seemed to smirk in his direction.
Hunter was able to breath for once as he gazed around at everybody talking and laughing.
Compared to months ago, this was a dream to him. Never would he had imagined his life would’ve been this relaxed after the hell that the empire out him and his brothers through.
Saha pulled out a bottle that looked unfamiliar but when he clarified that it was alcohol, the others were whopping and hollering in excitement as he poured them glasses.
“I know i’m gonna regret letting you guys do this.” Hunter mumbled as he swirled the liquid in his glass and smelt it. Crosshair didn’t even think, just took a big gulp.
“That’s fucking good.”
Hunter just put his hand on his forehead, rubbing it and rolling his eyes as Crosshair took another big gulp.
“Our family had its own line. We took what we could as a memory so I have very limited, but if I can manage to find the ingredients and tools to make it here, perhaps you’ll get some more as gifts.”
Crosshair motioned for some more, reaching across Hunter and the sergeant gave him a look. “It has been months since i’ve gotten a drink.” The sniper defended himself as he pulled away once his glass was filled.
Omega was looking curiously at the drink and Crosshair handed it to her.
“Take a sip.”
Hunter just rolled his eyes as everybody watched the young girl take a tiny sip.
Her eyes squinted and she suppressed a cough that made everyone laugh.
“I’m sure.” Crosshair smirked, taking the drink back from her as Saha raised his glass.
“To new allies…and a friends.”
Crosshair raised his glass.
“And fuck the empire!”
Everybody busted into laughter as Hunter just placed his head in his hands again. “I dunno how much alcohol is in that, but damn.” Hunter mumbled as everybody raised and clinked their glasses.
“Fuck the empire!”
In there, Hunter definitely heard a tiny voice repeating them and slowly turned to his sister on the other side of Crosshair, who grinned and hid behind the sniper.
“You said right time, right place would matter to him!” Omega hissed to Crosshair and the sniper shook his head, whispering back.
“Obviously you don’t know what that means!”
“This is your fault!”
Hunter just simply shook his head with a smile as he continued eating his meal as he listened and talked to the people he loved.
The Batch made it a goal to not let Saha and Evesh do the dishes, having Wrecker block them from the kitchen when they tried to help and grinning when Evesh looked annoyed.
“If you don’t let me through, mister, you’re gonna lose babysitting privileges!” Evesh threatened, hands on her hips. Wrecker looked scared and Echo called from behind him.
“Don’t cave, Wrecker! She’s bluffing.”
Evesh raised her eyebrows and Wrecker huffed before stepping aside, motioning for her to go past. Evesh looked pleased, a smile appearing on her face as she went to go by.
Wrecker was caught off guard when the Togruta leant up and pressed a kiss to his cheek, winking before she walked off. The giant was bright red as Crosshair appeared next to him with dishes, looking at Wrecker who was watching the Togruta try to get Tech to make room for her at the sink.
“Gross.” The sniper mumbled and Wrecker shot him a look.
Evesh was finishing up in the kitchen as Crosshair came back in, leaving the others in the living room talking to each other.
Evesh gave him a smile as she turned. “Hey! I wanted to tell you Saha found me some clippers if you want to give that hair a cut.”
Crosshair hummed, thinking for a moment before he gave a tiny shrug of his shoulders. “Sure.” He said and Evesh smiled.
“Great! Just go to the porch and i’ll be out there in a moment.”
Crosshair took a smoke as he was out there, sitting in one of the small chairs that he figured Saha had found in the market. For only having the house for a short time, they had found a good amount of furniture. Crosshair would have to ask how he managed to do it.
Evesh appeared with a pair of scissors in her hand and some clippers, a smile on her face. “You smoke?” She chirped and the sniper nodded.
“When you grow up with two millions brothers, you pick up a bad habit or two.” Evesh chuckled as she plugged in the clippers and watched the sniper stomp out his cigarette.
“I used to back in the day, but once I was pregnant obviously I had to stop. I just never got back into the habit because I never felt like it but also because I just never had time while watching my babies.”
Crosshair nodded understandingly before Evesh’s hand rested on his head and positioned it so she could begin his haircut.
“I have an idea for a good one for you…if you trust me?”
Crosshair shrugged. “Can always go bald again if it is bad.” Evesh huffed a laugh. “You can take off your shirt, so you don’t have hair going down your back and everything.”
Crosshair nodded and shedded his shirt before the Togruta began. Of course, she couldn’t help but notice the scattered scars across his back and debated making a comment.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what was your time like in the war?”
There was a pause and Evesh was afraid she overstepped.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t of—your brothers talk about it but I shouldn’t of assumed—“
“No…it’s okay. I just normally don’t get asked.”
Evesh hummed and gave a nod as she worked.
“I was—am a sniper. My brothers and I were an elite squad that took on missions the regs couldn't.” Crosshair explained. “Really? That sounds impressive.”
Crosshair hummed. “What made you guys an elite squad?” Evesh asked. “Well, if you haven’t noticed, we’re not really like the regs—“ Crosshair said and Evesh chuckled.
“We were a lab experiment that enhanced wanted traits in a shoulder. Tech’s really smart, Wrecker’s really strong, Hunter’s really good at tracking and I’m really good at aiming.”
“Wow. That’s…pretty neat.” Evesh commented, shifting his head as she trimmed his head. Crosshair didn’t say anything, simply hummed again as she worked.
“I hope I hadn’t done anything to offend you before.” Crosshair perked up in surprise. “You seemed very quiet until recently. I was very scared we had overstepped a boundary.”
“No, it wasn’t you. I just…tend to be weary of new people. It comes with my training and it’s a habit I am trying to shake.” Evesh hummed in response, nodding.
“Well, I’m glad to hear that. Your brothers have been wonderful to us. I’m glad to have decided to stick around.”
“Are you saying that about all of us or just about Wrecker?”
Evesh hit him in the head and the sniper smirked. “I’m the one cutting your hair. You better watch yourself.” She warned and Crosshair huffed a laugh.
They were silent for a few more minutes as the Togruta finished up before stepping back, giving his hair a tousle.
“There! Go look in the mirror in the bathroom.”
Crosshair out his shirt back on after brushing the hair off his shoulders before going inside and finding his way to the bathroom.
Gazing in the mirror, Crosshair felt his confidence soar a bit seeing the cut. Evesh had shaved off the sides a did a nice fade down the side so that all the hair was on top but it didn’t abruptly dropped off into a shaved cut.
Crosshair ran a hand through his hair, leaning toward the mirror as Evesh appeared next to him, clasping her hands and giving a nervous smile.
“Do you like it?”
Crosshair gave the tiniest smile that he didn’t even mean to show and nodded. “Yes. Thank you.” Evesh beamed and gave a nod before going to clean up the mess outside.
Crosshair went back to the living room to join the conversation, seeing Wrecker and Omega playing with the babies on the floor and the others were on the couch and on the floor next to the couch talking.
Crosshair took a spot next to Echo sitting on the couch and the cyborg noticed him.
“Hey! That looks good.” His brother ran his hand through his hair in a mom like way. Crosshair rolled his eyes as his brothers look.
Hunter smiled. “It looks good, Cross.” He said and the others nodded. Echo now ran a hand through Hunter’s hair.
“Now get your brother to get a trim too.”
That earned Echo a smack on the hand.
Chapter 31: Vulnerability
The Batch managed to stumble their way back to the Marauder once it got late. They bid farewell and took off with Wrecker carrying Omega, who was on the verge of passing out against his shoulder, Echo holding Hunter up with the sergeants arm around his shoulder and Tech and Crosshair holding each other up by hugging with their cheeks pressed against one another’s.
“I’m not!” Tech whined, huffing and glaring over at his brother. Crosshair pulled away and took his hand to Tech’s stomach, pinching his side.
“Look at alllll of that fat! That was not there when I left!”
Tech huffed and pushed his brother away, pouting and crossing his arms as he stumbled. “I’m just kidding, Tech!” Crosshair tried to get his brother to hug him again but the engineer held him away at arms length.
“I’m just teasing you!”
Echo rolled his eyes at their banter, turning.
“Crosshair, take your brother.” Echo motioned to Hunter and was surprised when he actually did. Echo held Tech now, who was still pouting and glaring at the sniper.
“I’m not fat.”
Tech was hugging Echo’s torso as they walked and the cyborg chuckled, patting his back. “I know, bud.”
Echo could really see how the Batch acted their age from time to time. Though when they were sober, it was harder to catch besides the siblings banter they always had.
But the times Echo had seen them drunk, he could now see that they truly were younger than most of their brothers.
In summary, the Batch gets cuddly. Echo first noticed it when they got drunk after completing ten missions in a row; Their new record.
Echo had already subconsciously taken on the mother roll at that point, scowling them for forgetting to eat or drink or shower and it seemed to be something the Batch got used to.
Tech was pretty plastered that night and he ended up crawling up like a loth cat next to Echo on the couch and hugging his torso, dozing off.
Echo was a bit surprised but soon relaxed and apparently that was enough for Hunter to join in, just as plastered even though he didn’t have as much to drink.
Echo eventually saw that Crosshair and Wrecker shared a bunk that night, though he wasn’t sure how due to Wrecker’s size but he never questioned it. From then on, the Batch got clingy to the cyborg when they needed it most.
Echo watched Crosshair try to keep Hunter up as they went up the stairs, grunting. Echo pulled Tech along, huffing a chuckle as Crosshair let Hunter fall onto the couch of the navi room and was pulled down with him.
Omega was passed out on Wrecker’s shoulder so the giant clone went to go put her to her room as Echo took Tech to his bunk.
Tech had always been an emotional drunk. He had a hard time expressing his love and alcohol always made him very clingy and very ‘I want you to know I would die for you’.
But Echo had never seen the engineer lose his cool, even in the most stressful situations. Sure, he got annoyed if things didn’t go as he planned but he had never once yelled or cried after heat of battle.
So for Echo to hear quiet hiccups and sniffles behind him as he pulled the blankets back on the engineer’s bunk, it took him by surprise.
The cyborg turned around, looking confused as he saw Tech’s shoulders slumped, his chin to his chest as his body shook with every sniffle and hiccup.
“Tech, maker, what’s wrong?” Echo asked, alarmed. He took his brothers chin in his flesh hand but the engineer batted it away.
“Tech, what’s wrong?”
“I just—I dunno—I was holding it—holding it back so good and I just—“ Tech’s cheek huffed out as he was visibly trying to stop the tears.
“Tech, you don’t have to hold it back, but just sit down and tell me what’s wrong.”
The engineer stood there for a moment until Echo took his forearm in his hand and guided him to sit down. Tech hiccuped as Echo rubbed his back, waiting for him to calm down.
Wrecker appeared in the doorway, looking happy until his gaze found the scene on Tech’s bed and his smile dropped.
“What happened?” He asked, striding over and standing next to the bunk. Echo shrugged, running a hand through Tech’s curls.
“Will you go get him some water?”
“Y-yea! I can do that!”
Wrecker disappeared for a bit before returning with a bottle of water and handed it to Tech. Tech mumbled a thank you and took a few sips as he calmed down.
“You wanna tell us what this is about?” Echo asked again, glancing at the engineer’s face that was red. Tech mumbled something but neither of his brothers caught it.
“It’s about Crosshair.”
“Crosshair? Wh-why? Is this about guilt or—“
Tech shook his head, shoulders slouching a bit more. “I found the files Hunter wanted me to find.” Tech told them and Wrecker looked confused.
“What files?” The giant clone asked. “The files of everything they did to Crosshair…and who did it.”
Wrecker’s expression darkened and he swallowed, not being able to form a sentence.
“Cmon bud. Let’s get you to bed.”
Echo helped Tech take off his shirt and goggles before tucking him in.
“Thanks mom.” Tech mumbled drunkly. Echo smiled and gave his hair a tousle.
Tech was out in a few seconds and Echo and Wrecker stood there watching their brother for a moment.
“I’ve never seen him so emotional before…it scared me.”
“Yea. Tech sometimes tends to bottle up his emotions. Most the time though it’s anger so he’d usually just explode on us one day then go back to like nothin’ happened.” Wrecker shrugged.
“I’m gonna ask him about those files in the morning. Once I know he’s calmed down.”
Wrecker gave a nod before bidding him a goodnight and climbing into his own bunk as Echo went to go check on his other two brothers.
Echo smiled when he found them on the couch, barely being able to fit two people so they were both smooshed together, clinging to each other.
The cyborg quickly went and grabbed Tech’s data pad and snapped a few pics, mumbling to himself with a smirk.
Echo grabbed a blanket from their blanket basket and draped it over the two, managing to gently take of Hunter’s bandana and take out the toothpick in Crosshair’s mouth.
The eldest brother finally climbed up into the gunners mount and peaked inside to see Omega sprawled out on her mattress with her pillows all around. He smiled and hoisted himself up quietly so he could pull her blanket over her and place Lula in her arms.
The sleeping Omega curled up against the stuffed animal and the cyborg heart melted. (And he definitely took a few more pictures)
Satisfied, Echo finally went to go finish his nightly routine before he crawled into bed for the time.
Not hearing the beeping of being hailed from the cockpit.
Chapter 32: Grudges
The morning rolled around and Echo was, as always, the first one up. He started to coffee before going out to grab a newspaper from one of stands nearby, making sure to bid a good morning to the man who ran it that was used to the Batch by now.
Echo went back into the Marauder, glancing over to see Crosshair and Hunter still snuggled up to each other without a care in the world.
The blanket had been discarded to the floor and Echo could’ve sworn he heard the two bickering about wether they could last with just their body heat as Hunter’s reasoning was that Crosshair was a ‘human furnace’.
Echo sipped his coffee as he read the newspaper, putting aside the comic and joke section for Wrecker and Omega.
Eventually, Tech appeared in the doorway, rubbing his eyes and Echo smirked. “Good morning.” He chirped and Tech held up a hand that made Echo raised his eyebrows.
The cyborg chuckled and continued reading as the engineer made his coffee.
“You know, they say if you put a shot in it, it’ll help cure a hangover.” Echo said and just got a scowl in return from Tech, making Echo chuckle.
Omega was next, climbing into Echo’s lap to have some morning snuggles as she always nonverbally requested. Echo was happy to provide them, holding her with his arm until he had to turn the page on the table.
Crosshair could be heard swearing from the navi room with Hunter whining.
“Let go! I’m hungry.”
“But then I’m gonna be cold!”
Echo smiled and stood up, passing Omega to Tech so he could start breakfast as Crosshair walked in.
“You guys all sleep well?”
“I did until Mr clingy kept kicking me in my sleep.” Crosshair grumbled and they heard Hunter protest from the other room. “I didn’t!”
Echo made them a simple breakfast and handed them out on plates as Hunter walked in, combing his hair with his hands. Echo handed him a mug of coffee how he liked it, as well as Crosshair.
The sniper snorted. “Thanks mom.” Echo shot him a look that made Hunter smirk.
The Batch still had the day off and knew it’d be back to collecting bounties in the morning so Hunter told them to take it easy but to do basically whatever they want.
Wrecker slept till midday so he didn’t get the memo till later. Omega went back to bed and Echo decided to do some reading in the common room as Tech tinkered.
Hunter decided to go back to sleep and Crosshair decided to go shoot for a bit, but eventually grew bored and the semi hangover he had didn’t help and he found himself flopping down next to Hunter.
“Don’t put the blanket on.” Hunter mumbled and Crosshair huffed.
“You’ll warm up!”
“Well when I do, you can throw it off!”
“I’m gonna overheat!”
Crosshair scoffed and pulled the blanket over them and Hunter pouted, pressing his cheek into his brothers shoulder. Silence settled between the two and they eventually drifted off again.
Echo looked up after a bit of reading to watch Tech work on AZI, who they still couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t turning on.
It had been a bit since they had left Kamino, but between making amends with Crosshair and trying to get back on track with money, they hadn’t had much free time to look more into what exactly was wrong.
“Hmm.” Tech hummed and Echo raised his eyebrows.
“I believe I have figured out how to recharge AZI.”
“How?” The cyborg asked, leaning forward.
“His primary battery seemed to have sustained quite a bit of water damage. Normally, I’d be able to clear it but because of Kamino’s high levels of salt in their water, I believe it needs to be replaced. Though, such battery might be hard to find in these times as medical droids are expensive to come by.”
Echo nodded. “Then we’ll be on the lookout.”
Crosshair opened his eyes a few hours later and yawned. The urge to use the refresher and smoke hit him and he carefully slipped out of Hunter’s clinging form, rolling his eyes as the sergeant shuffled back into his pillow with a mumble.
After using the refresher, Crosshair went to go outside and saw Hunter sit up, rubbing his eyes. Crosshair stopped at the entrance of the Marauder.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to wake you.”
Hunter shrugged. “It happens. Where’re you going?”
Sometimes Crosshair wasn’t sure if his brother asked that all the time now because he was scared Crosshair would leave again or if he was genuinely curious.
“Take a smoke.”
Hunter gave him a look, hauling himself to his feet to stand in front of his brother. “You know…Tech had some alternatives other than the toothpicks.”
“I know.” Crosshair narrowed his eyes a bit.
The sergeant sighed. “I don’t wanna argue, I just really wish you wouldn’t do those.”
“If this is about Omega, i’ve already told her to not—“
“No, it’s not. Omega’s smart enough to know. I just—“ Hunter sighed. “I just wish after all these years you’d stop beating yourself up. Even if you wouldn’t admit it, it’s a form of self harm in my opinion.”
Crosshair didn’t respond for a moment, simply putting one of them between his mouth and beginning to pull out his lighter he kept in his back pocket.
“I know. Just give it about—“ Crosshair didn’t get to finish as a blaster shot suddenly whirred past in between both the brothers heads.
The two hit the deck behind the walls in a flash, shooting each other an alarmed look before Hunter managed to snag his blaster and a spare one where he had stored them in the navi room.
He slid one to Crosshair as Tech and Echo appeared, looking confused.
“What the hell happened?” Echo hissed and soon Omega and Wrecker appeared, looking dazed and confused.
“Omega, stay in the bunk room.”
Omega obeyed and Wrecker guided her to it, standing protectively in front of the door.
Hunter glanced past the walls to find where the shot originated from and was suddenly surprised to see a familiar blue and white armor scheme. He dropped his blaster to his knees, spurting a “captain?”
“Rex?” Tech, Echo, and Wrecker said in unison. Rex perked up at his name and began to lower his blaster.
Crosshair dropped his hands, professing what he just said before anger bubbled in him and he abruptly stood up. Hunter tried to stop him as he stood awhile but the sniper brushed his hand off his shoulder.
“What the fuck was that about?” The sniper snarled and Rex looked a mixture of confused and alarmed as Crosshair strode up to him, blaster at his side.
“You trying to take off our fucking heads? That was they teach you fucking regs in basic training?” Crosshair got in the Captains face. Rex glared.
“Get out of my face.”
“You almost just shot off my face! Why should I?”
Hunter managed to snag Crosshair’s arm, yanking him away as he panted. Rex glanced at the sergeant and Hunter sighed.
“I think we need to start with some explanations.”
Crosshair glared at Rex from across the table. Omega had been sent to her room, despite protest, but Hunter knew this conversation was not going to be pretty and didn’t want the to head the language that would ensue.
“So, his chip is out?”
“How many times do you need clarification? Are your ears as faulty as us, reg?” Crosshair growled. Normally, Crosshair had a respect for Rex, he was never this hostile. But after getting his hair singed by a blaster shot in his own home, the sniper was a bit pissed to say the least.
Rex glared back. “Sorry I’m a bit weary after being in the scopes of the best shot in the galaxy.”
“You’re lucky I wasn’t all there, or else you would’ve been dead.” Crosshair growled. “Enough.” Hunter interrupted and the two shut up for the time being.
“I really am sorry. From the looks of it, it didn’t seem good…you didn’t answer being hailed and when you weren’t at Cid’s and then you two looked like you were arguing—“ Rex sighed. “I should’ve approached the situation different. It was not my best call.”
Hunter shot his brother a look, not wanting to escalate the situation before turning back to the captain.
“What were you hailing us for?”
“Well…you never comm’d after Daro and I got worried but I didn’t have the chance to call sooner until yesterday. I knew you had taken a fall from what Gregor told me but he didn’t know anything else after that.”
Hunter subconsciously rubbed his side but gave a nod. “I got captured and Crosshair eventually showed up to take me back to Kamino to get the rest of them to come after me. But while we were there, the Empire opened fire on the city and we got stuck at the bottom of the ocean.”
Rex looked surprised, even a bit saddened. “They…destroyed Kamino?” The Bad Batch nodded. Rex sighed, rubbing his blonde hair.
“We managed to make it out with the help of a droid named AZI—“
“AZI?” Rex looked confused and they nodded. “What’s his number?” Hunter was about to say he didn’t know until Tech recited it from memory. Echo rolled his eyes.
“Why? What’s important about that droid?” Echo asked and Rex looked away. “I—I’ll talk about it later—“
The others looked a bit confused but Hunter continued. “AZI helped up out and we made it back to the Marauder. Crosshair had tried to lie and saw the chip was out but we called his bluff, Wrecker knocked him out and now…we’re here.” Hunter gave the run down and Rex nodded.
“I’m glad it worked out in the end.”
Crosshair scoffed and stood up, brushing by his brothers and disappearing outside. The others sighed and simply tuned back to Rex.
“How come you guys never comm’d to tell me you were at least okay?” Rex asked with furrowed eyebrows. “We had to…take some time off to adjust to having Crosshair back.” Hunter said slowly, trying to avoid revealing they had a lot of family problems.
“Cid said you’d just got into bounties again.”
“Yea. Once Cross was ready again, we took some recently to get some credits to earn some days rest.” Hunter explained, growing a bit annoyed. Rex simply nodded, not pushing the subject anymore.
“What’d you come here for anyway?” Hunter asked, raising his eyebrows. Rex sat back in his chair. “I just wanted to make sure you guys were okay for one and also to see if you guys would be able to pull of a few more favors.”
Echo swallowed nervously when he saw Hunter grip the edge of the table.
“I don’t know.” Hunter simply answered and the captain raised his eyebrows. “You don’t know if you’re okay or—“
“I don’t know if we can do anymore favors?”
Rex looked a bit annoyed.
“Did you forget suddenly I fell out of a ship on your last favor?”
“Yes. I know. I owe you guys big for that one, and all future ones, but—“
Hunter leant down, a dark look in his eyes. “Rex, I want you to tell me exactly what kind of payment we expect back. Other favors? Because doing favors in return is not going to keep my siblings alive.”
Rex stared at the sergeant as he continued.
“I am glad to assist you when it lines up but to have you trying to pull us from what we are doing to survive is not helping our case. You can’t expect us to keep giving up credits just because you need assistance.”
Echo glanced in between the two.
“Something I didn’t listen to before, but I definitely am now, is that I don’t doubt that the people fighting for what’s right is gone. But as far as I’m concerned—“
Hunter leant up.
“The republic is gone, and I have to focus on protecting my family.”
Hunter angrily pushed himself off the table and stormed off, Tech and Wrecker soon following him and leaving the old ARC trooper and captain.
Echo gave him a sympathetic look before disappearing to leave the captain to ponder on the sergeants words.
Chapter 33: Understandings
Rex didn’t leave the room for awhile and Hunter was glad because he wasn’t ready to argue anymore just yet.
Hunter checked in Crosshair, who was sitting outside taking his smoke finally, and left him alone for the time being to cool down.
Echo came into the cockpit to talk to the sergeant. Hunter glanced at him before looking away, clearly not going to start a conversation.
“I just want to say, I am on your side.”
Hunter’s eyes flickered to his brothers. “Really?” He murmured, almost in a way that said he needed to be convinced he was. Echo nodded.
After the whole situation in Daro and Kamino, Hunter and Echo never spoke of the situation but it was clear that the sergeant wasn’t happy about it. Echo didn’t blame him. It was his fault, since he voted that they abandoned the bounty Cid gave them to take their chance in Gregor.
When Echo had admitted this to Tech awhile back, the engineer tried to argue that it was mostly Omega’s influence over Hunter that caused them to change course but Echo denied that statement.
“It was a stupid call. Though it did work out in the end, you still could’ve paid a bigger price than you had, which was a risk we should’ve of taken. And i’ve got to start realizing now that I’m not apart of the 501st anymore…I have to start looking for you guys as you do with me.”
Hunter gave a nod, looking a bit proud of what Echo said. “It was more Omega that convinced me, i’ll admit.” The sergeant admitted and Echo gave a shake of his head.
“Omega’s young and naive. She didn’t know better. I’m experienced, and I should’ve known to think about the outcome before acting on my opinion.”
“Experienced and old.”
Echo smacked the sergeant upside the head as he grinned. The cyborg rolled his eyes.
“Omega’s still learning. You just need to teach her how to not be brass with her decisions and she’ll come around to realizing that you’re right.”
Hunter sighed, rubbing his eyes. “I just know it’s gonna be hard. It’s not like I don’t want to help Rex but…republic or not, I still have to look after you guys.”
“Hunter, I’m gonna be real with you—“
The sergeant raised his eyebrows.
“When it comes to getting bounties, sure, you’re helping take care of us. But you don’t have to take all the pressure.”
Hunter’s eyes trailed away guiltily.
“Your brothers and I are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves. I’m not saying get off of our backs and stop caring about us, but you don’t need to be going around coddling everybody and making sure everybody’s happy with a decision. Especially Omega. We’re here to help, you don’t need to take all the weight on your shoulders every time.”
Hunter gave a simple nod and Echo relaxed. The topic was changed as Crosshair came back aboard the ship, still looking annoyed.
“You done being mad?”
“Does it look like I am?”
“You look as happy as the day you came out of the tube.” Echo gave a grin and Crosshair flicked his forehead.
“What’d the reg want anyway?”
“Some more favors.”
Crosshair scoffed, rolling his eyes. “Typical.” Echo looked a bit confused and Hunter noticed. “I’m not trying to pin all the blame on Rex, but back in the day, we were always sent when regs couldn’t handle whatever front they were on. We were the back up plan and they treated us like shit until we actually mattered. Some even still treated us like dirt.”
“Another of the ten million reasons to hate regs.” Crosshair grumbled and Echo gave him a look. The sniper smirked.
“Especially the bald ones.”
That earned him a smack.
Crosshair was cooped up in his bunk later in the evening when Rex appeared from the common room finally. The sniper gave him a sneer before settling into his bunk to clean his rifle.
Once that was finished, the sniper decided to simply just lay there and relax. Though he wasn’t tired, his body still felt exhausted from the hangover and simply wanted to lay there.
After a few moment of having his eyes closed, the sniper felt a presence of somebody next to him and he opened his eyes to see his sister.
“I didn’t know if you were asleep.”
“I’m not, obviously.”
Omega huffed before beginning to climb up onto his bunk, going to the side that was against the wall. Crosshair watched her, shifting his arm so she could snuggle into the crook of it.
She was already dressed for bed he realized and Crosshair raised his eyebrow.
“You hiding again?”
She giggled, cuddling up to her brother. “Maybe.” The young clone whispered mischievously. Crosshair smirked.
“Can I ask my last question?” Omega suddenly asked and her brother glanced down at her.
“I don’t see why not.”
“Well…it might not be something you want to answer.” Omega admitted and the sniper raised his eyebrows.
“If I don’t want to, then how about i’ll let you redo the question if that’s the case?” Omega nodded and fiddled with her fingers nervously. Her brother watched her, shifting so he could lay down a bit more and bringing her with him.
“What was the empire like?”
Crosshair froze for a moment, the question catching him off guard.
“I’m sorry…if I overstepped…but I keep hearing the others wanting to ask or look more into it but…I dunno…” Omega mumbled. Crosshair was silent for a bit and Omega just assumed he wasn’t going to answer and simply rested her head on his shoulder to drift off when he finally spoke.
Omega looked up at him. “It was lonely.” The sniper repeated in confirmation. Omega nodded, hesitantly moving up to hug her brothers neck.
“Well, now you’ll never be lonely again!”
Crosshair was glad that she had her face buried in his neck so that she didn’t see the faint, genuine tears that emerged in his eyes as he rested his cheek on her head and listened to her slowly drift off.
It was later on when Crosshair was still up, simply holding his sister as she slept did Rex enter the bunk room. He looked a bit surprised at the scene and the sniper scowled.
“They told me you went soft but I didn’t think this soft!”
Crosshair rolled his eyes as the captain approached him. “I just wanted to say I was sorry. For the bad call, and for what you went through. Hunter gave me the run down and I can’t imagine what that must’ve been like.”
Crosshair listened to Rex’s words as the captain rubbed his arm self consciously.
“I’m glad you’re back with your brothers. They really missed you.”
Crosshair gave a nod of thanks and Rex offered him a warrior handshake as a sign of respect. The sniper gave it a look before looking the captain in the eyes and locking arms.
A small smile appeared on Rex’s face and the faintest smirk on the snipers as a mutual understanding settled between the two.
Chapter 34: Tears of Memories
Hunter blinked when Rex appeared in the room. The captain shifted, clasping his hands together as he glanced away.
Hunter’s eyebrows raised.
“It was selfish of me to do that to you. I’m very thankful that you got Gregor out, but I won’t come asking for anymore favors.”
The captain glanced up. “I told you on Bracca that if you’re ever tied up somewhere, you know you can reach out…I won’t ever take that back but I can’t be risking my siblings lives when we’re just trying to get by.”
It was weird to hear Hunter say that and by how easy he said it, Rex realized he must be pretty used to it by now. It was still strange for the captain to realize that they had a sister.
“Yes. I understand.” Rex said with a nod and Hunter gave a small smile as he stood up.
“I’d go apologize to Crosshair while he’s tired…he’ll be in a better mood.”
Rex gave a smile and nodded before going off toward the bunk room.
After making amends with the Batch again, Rex found Echo, Hunter, and Tech in the common room, working on AZI.
“What’s so special about this droid?” Echo grumbled and Rex’s expression softened.
“This is the droid that helped…Fives escape off of Kamino.” Echo’s heart sunk as he tore his gaze to the droid.
“I thought, maybe if Tech gets him up and running…maybe he’ll have some data from when he was with Fives.”
Echo was still for a beat before he simply nodded, standing up and stalking off as his brothers watched him.
Echo hadn’t spoken of fives much except for the select few times his emotions made him vulnerable.
The first time was when Wrecker asked who the fourth guy in the photo of him, Cody, and Rex was when they saw him looking at it. Echo told him it was his batch twin, Fives, that had perished awhile before they found him.
The Batch gave sympathy to him, after all, they themselves were two pairs of batch twins. And they couldn’t imagine life without the other.
The second time was when Hunter and Tech found Echo drinking alone in the common room. He was plastered, but he wasn’t a light tipsy either. And as they helped the cyborg to bed, he drunkly told them about a time at 79’s when him and Fives both took the same girl back to their room and how he could give them pointers, to which the two carrying him simply smiled and shook their heads.
And the third and most recent time was when Hunter found Echo drunk again. Echo played a great mom role and so he never drank whenever they were in a group setting so he could take care of the others and make sure they didn’t get into any trouble.
Hunter figured every man could use a drink every once in awhile and Echo wasn’t much of one, but when he finally would be coming around to have one, he’d go full force with it.
Hunter at first was going to take him back to his bunk but Echo sweetly asked if they could stay there on the floor of the cockpit for a moment and the sergeants agreed and sat, listening to Echo mumble and go on about stories of his days before he wasn’t fully human anymore.
And for the first time, Hunter saw Echo cry. It took him by surprise, as he heard Echo trail off for a moment and thought he just drunkenly lost his train of though but when he heard a sniffle, his head perked up.
Echo’s tears flowed slowly and silently and Hunter just simply leaned over and placed a hand on his shoulder; a simple gesture to let him know he was here.
Hunter didn’t know what it was like to lose a brother. When they had lost 99, it felt like they had no parental figure left except for Shaak Ti, but she had jedi business.
But Hunter couldn’t imagine losing his brothers. And Echo being one of them now, he felt his heart ache and he slowly wrapped his arms around the cyborgs head and brought it down to his shoulder to cradle it.
And the sergeant held the former ARC’s shaking form until he was sure he was asleep. But even then, he still stayed.
And Hunter got up from the common room in present time and trailed after his brother.
Hunter found Echo in the back of the ship where typically Crosshair perched up on the crates. His prosthetics were dangling and he was staring at them with the familiar look of hatred that he usually had for them.
“You okay?” The sergeant asked softly. Echo sighed, shutting his eyes before nodding. “Yea…I just…there’s barely anything I have left of Fives…I just—I just don’t wanna get my hopes up of finding something else to remember him and to just be disappointed.” Echo explained, turning his head away and opening his pale eyes.
“Have you tried finding others things to remember him?”
“I did, and we found out his armor is still in Coruscant. Rex asked Fox to pull a few strings to get it for me but Fox refused and didn’t contact us again…at the time, I was devastated and angry at Fox for being so cold but now…I’m one to believe it was his chip addressing the matter.” Echo huffed.
Hunter seemed to think for a moment before giving a nod. “Do you want me to stay with you?”
“No. I’m okay. You can go talk to Rex and catch him up on everything, i’ll be out there in a minute.”
Hunter nodded before disappearing out of the room with a lightbulb going off in his head.
Chapter 35: A Favor In Return
“Rex, have you heard anything about the Coruscant guard since Order 66?”
Rex shook his head. “Last I heard, they were on strict lockdown but I haven’t heard any news about, y’know…the chips over there. I thought about contacting Fox but after what happened with Fives, I assumed his chip was still intact and didn’t want to risk it.”
Hunter nodded, thinking for a moment as Rex furrowed his eyebrows. “Why do you ask?” The captain questioned.
“With the Empire coming into power, I can only assume that their going to be clearing old files from the Coruscant guard, including case files. Which means the possibility of destroying evidence.”
Rex stared at him for a moment before his eyes lit up when he realized what he meant. “You want to get Fives’s things?” He asked and Hunter nodded.
“Echo’s been through a lot, and done a lot for this squad…he deserves to have some closure about his brother.”
Rex nodded. “I wouldn’t know where to start.” He murmured and Tech cleared his throat. “Well, I would assume the guard would still be on their regular schedule of shifts, given that the empire is still using them. Though i’ll have to take into account that there may be new recruits which means an increase in squad numbers.”
“Can you hack into the city cameras or something to see?”
“I can, but it is a possible risk. Coruscant had more security so there’s a higher possibility of being detected.” Tech explained and Hunter thought for a moment before his thoughts lit up.
“I think I may know how to solve our little problem.”
Hunter knocked on the door, standing back with his hands at his sides. Rex and Tech were next to him and the captain looked a bit puzzled as the door opened.
Evesh rolled her eyes. “You know you can just come in.”
“Please.” She gave a small smile as Deshi lit up at the sight of her favorite clone, reaching for him. Hunter gladly took her and she cooed happily and reached for his hair.
“Oh! Is this another one of your brothers?” Evesh asked, looking past Hunter at Rex, who gave a polite nod.
“Evesh, this is Captain Rex. Rex, this is Evesh Rollala. We escorted her and her family off of Coruscant a bit ago and helped them here to settle.”
“It’s a pleasure.” Rex and the Togruta shook hands and she smiled wide. “Come in! Please!” She walked back toward the kitchen and the three men followed.
Saha was sitting at the dining table, ignoring the other three kids that were at his feet and practically begging for a bite of the foot her ate. The Togrutas eyes lit up at the sight of the men.
“A shame, I’m just about to leave for my first shift.”
“Good luck.” Tech rolled his eyes and Hunter gave him a look. “Cid is not that bad. She just gets snippy.” The sergeant said and Tech shook his head.
“That is enough to push my buttons.”
Hunter rolled his eyes before turning to Saha. “Saha, this is Rex. Rex, this is Saha—Evesh’s brother, as well as her four children.” Rex’s eyes widened a bit.
“All four of these are yours?” He asked the female Togruta and she gave a nod. “Wow.” He said and she laughed. “I get that a lot.”
“I have not seen a baby in a long while.” Rex said as Canvas found her way to his foot and looked up at him with curious eyes.
“Trust me. The boys and I have been getting our serotonin fix while being here.” Hunter snorted as he watched Deshi try to chew on his hair.
Hunter turned to the Togruta siblings.
“We actually came to ask some questions about Coruscant, if that’s okay?”
Rex was already under the baby Togruta spell, sitting on the couch with Olash and Casse playing with his armor. He had the faintest smile on his face as he wiggled his fingers to Olash, who giggled and hid into Tech’s side. The engineer didn’t seem to mind.
“I used to deliver orders to the guard when I could, as a thank you for what they did. We were also some of the very, very few businesses that served to clones so the guard knew me pretty well.” Saha explained after explaining what shifted in the guard after order 66.
“Were there any enlisted troopers already patrolling before you left?” Tech asked and Saha thought before Evesh spoke up from where she stood with Canvas on her hip.
“Last I saw, they were still in training under the clones. They were always being escorted by them. I couldn’t tell you the exact routine though.” The female Togruta explained.
Saha hummed. “The last delivery I made was just two weeks shy of when we left.” He told them and Hunter raised his eyebrows. “Really?” He asked, genuinely a little concerned.
Saha nodded. “We did not want to draw attention by stopping orders and deliveries, so we continued as usual until you came to pick us up.” He explained and Hunter thought that made sense.
“The delivery station was just down the hall from the evidence lockers. One of the clones had given me a short tour as we walked to store the alcohol where it needed to be. Last I remember, it didn’t seem as guarded as it was before. There may be a possibility it is already cleared out.”
Hunter nodded, thinking for a moment. Deshi was trying to pick up his helmet that he had set next to him but was getting frustrated that she wasn’t strong enough.
“I want to do this covertly, without Echo.”
Rex and Tech looked a bit confused.
“I don’t…I don’t want him to be disappointed again if we can’t find Fives’s things…I don’t want to get his hopes up again. I’ll get a short bounty from Cid that we can also do along the way and order him to stay behind with Omega.”
“You know she is going to throw a fit.”
“That’s why i’ll explain to her the importance of her staying behind, so I don’t have to deal with that.” Hunter said, standing up. Deshi huffed and reached to him but the sergeant didn’t see it.
“We’ll go to Cid right now then leave in the morning.”
“Why wait?” Rex asked and his brothers turned to him. “I mean, it’s almost night there on coruscant. Why wait when we can have some cover from that?” The captain asked and Tech and Hunter looked at each other. The engineer shrugged as he stood up, as well as the captain.
Hunter sighed. “Alright. Let’s go find Cid.”
Tech and Rex began walking to the door as Hunter turned to the Togruta siblings.
“Thanks for the intel.”
The two gave smiles.
“Anytime. Be safe.” Evesh said as she began rounding up her babies, who seemed sad at the fact that their clones were leaving.
Deshi let out a whine and Hunter looked at her. Petting her Lekku, he smiled. “I’ll be back kiddo.” The young Togruta didn't seem satisfied but didn’t make much noise as Hunter left after Tech and Rex bid their goodbyes to the Togrutas.
Chapter 36: Distraction
A whistle through the air caught Omega’s attention as she sat next to Wrecker, who was trying to find a piece for their puzzle.
Omega turned and Hunter motioned with his head to the young clone and her stomach sank a bit as she got up and went to her big brother, following him into the storage room.
“Am I in trouble?”
Hunter seemed surprised as he knelt to his sister, eyebrows raising. “No. Why? Do something wrong?” Omega seemed alarmed.
“N-nope. Definitely not. I’m a golden child.”
Hunter grinned and gave a shake of his head. “You get your lying skills from Wrecker.” Omega huffed, cheeks puffing out.
“I need you to stay behind on this mission.”
Omega looked pissed.
“What? No! You said I could—“
“Omega, listen before you get fired up.” Hunter stopped her, resting his hands on the young clones shoulders. Omega huffed again but was silent, waiting for him to continue.
“I don’t want you telling Echo any of what I’m about to say. As far as he knows, Rex is aiding us with this mission and Cid asked him to stay here to help fix some of her machines for some extra credits and I offered you as an extra set of hands.”
Omega looked confused. “Are we…lying to Echo?”
“Well, yes. But let me explain—“
Omega looked weary.
“You remember Fives? Echo’s twin that passed away awhile ago before he was found on Skako Minor?” Omega nodded.
“We’re trying to see if we can find some of his old stuff for Echo to hold onto before the Coruscant guard trashes it. But, I don’t want to get his hopes up and disappoint him if things get hairy. So, don’t say anything to him until we get back.”
“What if you don’t get them? Will you still tell him you tried?”
Hunter sighed. “I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.” Omega nodded before giving a grin. “I’ll do my best.”
Hunter pressed a kiss to her temple, smiling against her skin as he held the back of her head in his hand.
“I know, kiddo.”
Cid’s excuse that she needed Echo to help fix her machines wasn’t completely untrue. When Hunter asked if there was something she could come up with, she jumped on the spot and told him her arcade machines that helped her reel in more money were acting up.
Echo was twiddling with one of them, listening to Bolo and Ketch argue, as always, about some game they were playing.
“You two fight like a married couple.” Echo mumbled and the two glared at him before turning back to bickering with one another.
The young clone perked up from where she sat next to him, simply waiting like a kid holding the flashlight for their dad. Echo pointed to a spot in the machine.
“Hold that there.”
Omega obeyed and as she held her finger on the spot while Echo tried to reconnect two wires, a question popped in the young girls head.
“Can you tell me about Fives?”
Echo froze for a bit. “Why do you ask that all of a sudden?” He mumbled, continuing his work after a moment. Omega panicked a bit. Shit. She wasn’t supposed to say anything.
“Oh, uh, I just…Hunter’s mentioned that you had talked about him at one point so I just…was curious…I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize…it’s not your fault, I just—“ Echo stopped again for a moment, sighing. “It’s hard to talk about.” He explained and Omega nodded, a silence coming over them and she thought that it wouldn’t get brought up again.
“Have I told you about when we became ARC troopers?”
Omega lit up, her eyes gleaming with wonder and she almost let go of what he had asked her to hold out of excitement.
The cyborg gave her a smile before he continued with the memory of him and his lost twin.
“Shut it, bonehead.”
“I’m being as quiet as possible!”
“This is why we don’t bring you in stealth missions!” Crosshair hissed to his batch twin and Wrecker narrowed his eyes with a huff.
“We’re about to come out. No signs of guards yet and nothing out of the ordinary.”
“I mean, no guards is out of the ordinary.”
“Shut up shiteyes.”
After a few beats, Crosshair spotted his brothers exiting the way they came into the Coruscant guard headquarters, moving quickly and quietly while Hunter and Rex carried a large crate.
“I think they’re in the clear.”
“I wouldn’t speak too soon.” Crosshair mumbled, eyeing through his scope as he spotted a patrol heading toward where they climbed down the wall.
“Regs headed your way.”
No response, but the twins weren’t worried. Most likely their brothers were still trying to keep quiet.
In just a few minutes, the brothers appeared, panting. Wrecker and Crosshair stood up, the sniper cocking his eyebrow.
“Damn. I didn’t know you guys were this out of shape.”
Once back on the ship, everybody was putting up their things as Tech got them into hyperspace. Crosshair sat in his usual seat, crossing his arms over his chest.
“That was easier than I thought.”
“The guards gotten sloppy because of these recruits.” Hunter mumbled, turning in the copilot seat. Crosshair rolled his eyes. “Like they weren’t sloppy in the first place.”
“They weren’t sloppy, just lazy. They were pretty capable of dealing with fucked up shit but when you have to also deal with stupid, false complaints and politics at the same time, you’d get a bit annoyed too.” Rex said as he sat down.
Crosshair shrugged before looking at the crate. “So, what all did they have in it?” Rex shrugged, looking at it. “I opened it just to make sure and all I saw was his helmet. That’s what mattered the most and staying there any longer was risking being caught so we bolted.”
Crosshair nodded as he placed a toothpick between his lips before standing.
“Wake me when we get back.”
Chapter 37: Valuables
Omega was slumped against Echo’s shoulder, dozing off as he finished up the last machine. He turned and gave a smile, maneuvering so that he could stand and take her with him.
Omega buried her face in the crook of her brothers neck, letting him carry her as he went to tell Cid he was finished.
“Thank the maker. Those things were a pain in my ass.” Cid mumbled, digging through one of her drawers before pulling out a small bag and tossed it at Echo.
He caught it skillfully while still holding Omega, looking surprised when he saw the credits inside. Cid smirked.
“Don’t tell the others. They’ll get jealous.” Echo grinned and nodded before bidding her a goodnight and going back out to the parlor.
Saha was there, cleaning up the bar as Echo came around the corner and gave a smile to the clone.
“Finished for the night?”
“I was going to ask the same for you.” Echo said, stopping in front of the bar. “Just got to clean a few more glasses and drain the sink and I will be good. Why don’t you two come stay with us tonight? The couch will be better than those beds you have and the others said they wouldn’t be back till morning.”
Echo raised an eyebrow. “I guess the sergeants been telling you our business now?” He asked and Saha chuckled, giving a wink. “Only if I ask politely. But they actually came to my sister and I asking about stuff.”
Echo looked a bit confused, repositioning the young clone in his arms. “Really?” They never mentioned that to him.
“Asking something about Coruscant and the guard now that the Empire is in power. Wanted to know their new rotations and everything with the enlisted recruits.”
Echo was thoroughly confused but didn’t ask anymore, not wanting to pester Saha before bed but mentally noting to rip Hunter a new one. He never mentioned anything about Coruscant.
Echo waited for Saha to finish before they went back to the Togruta’s house. Evesh was awake giving Canvas a late night snack and gave a smile to the two as she asked how the night was.
As Saha settled to bed, Evesh gave Echo two blankets for him and Omega, as well as an oversized shirt for her to sleep in. Echo thanked her, urging Omega to wake for the split second to go into the bathroom to change.
The young clone looked like a zombie coming back out, slumping into her brothers open arms. Echo pressed a kiss the her head as he brought her over to the couch, carefully laying down with her and settling her in the crook of his arm.
Saha was right about the couch being way more comfortable than the GAR issued bunks, because Echo was out like a light as his head hit the couch pillow.
Hunter was a bit panicked when they returned and Echo wasn’t in the back room of Cid’s parlor where she said they could room in whenever they needed it. It was a small room that was originally rented out to a business partner that Cid worked with for awhile until they moved on.
The Batch had used it a time or two when somebody was either pissed off in the ship and needed to cool off away from everybody or Omega napped in there with Wrecker when they waited for the others to finish negotiations with Cid about their pay cut.
“Oh, you looking for cyborg?”
Hunter nodded to the lizard woman. “He and tiny went home with the Togruta.” She told him and the sergeant seemed to relax before thanking her and he took off toward the Togrutas house.
Hunter was about to knock but remembered what Evesh said and stopped himself for a beat before giving the door one simple tap and letting himself in.
Evesh was in the kitchen, sipping some coffee she had made in the stove and smiled when she saw the sergeant. Hunter opened his mouth to say something when the Togruta held a finger to her lips and pointed at the couch.
Hunter leaned over to look at it and saw his brother and sister curled up on it, still snoozing away without a care in the world. He smiled, turning to go into the kitchen fully.
“Thanks for letting them stay.” Hunter whispered and Evesh nodded. “Anytime. You’re all welcome here for a more comfortable place.” She said quietly before setting down her mug.
“Would you like some coffee?”
“If you don’t mind.”
Evesh poured the sergeant some and motioned to the milk and sugar on the counter so he could make it how he liked. She was surprised when he started drinking it straight black and gave a look of disgust.
“You are really just like my brother.”
Hunter gave a chuckle. “We never had time on Kamino to actually mix stuff together so we either dealt with it or didn’t drink any at all. I was the only one who liked it.”
“For heightened senses, you really don’t know how to whisper.” Echo’s voice came from the couch. Hunter and Evesh chuckled. Omega let out a yawn.
“Move, you little womp rat.”
But Omega hopped up off the couch, rubbing her eyes and giving Echo a punch to the shoulder before she strode over to Hunter, urging him to pick her up.
The sergeant scooped her up, skillfully managing to drink his coffee and hold his sister at the same time as he watched Echo get up and nicely fold the blanket over the couch.
“You can leave them.” Evesh told him and Echo shrugged. “Least I can do for letting us crash here.”
Evesh didn’t say anything back, only rolling her eyes with a smile. Echo didn’t say anything else to Hunter as he waited for him to finish his coffee.
Saha hadn’t gotten up yet and Hunter was a bit saddened to leave without talking to him but he was also excited to show Echo what they had found. Evesh smiled and bid them a good day as they went out the door.
As soon as the door shut, Echo spun around to face Hunter. “Coruscant?” He said with a slight anger to his voice. Both Hunter and Omega were taken back.
“You never mentioned anything about Coruscant!” Echo said as they started walking. Hunter looked down at his sister as Omega looked up at her brother. “I didn’t say anything, I swear.”
“You were in on this?” Echo asked, suddenly even more annoyed. “Echo, just hold on—“ Hunter began and the cyborg huffed, crossing his arms as he glanced off.
Hunter felt guilty now. He knew how Echo must feel about it with how it was looking. Getting replaced by Rex for a mission they didn’t tell him about? That made his self confidence drop to the floor.
“We did go on a bounty for Cid like we said, but we also went to Coruscant to get something.”
Echo still looked annoyed.
“Just—i’ll explain everything at the ship, okay? Please vod.”
Echo glanced at Hunter and could tell he had sympathy toward the cyborg as well as a guilt, making him nod as they continued their walk in silence.
Once back at the ship, Echo followed behind Hunter and watched as he set Omega down inside.
“Okay, so what exactly did you guys—?”
Echo stopped when he looked past Hunter to see Rex and the rest of his brother sitting in the navi room with a crate in the middle.
Echo looked confused, looking at Hunter who had the faintest, softest smile on his face as he motioned for Echo to go to it.
Echo approached it, staring at the crate to study it. It had a number that was a date across the top, not one he recognized, and it looked decently good for the date it was marked for.
Echo looked at his brothers, still confused and Rex motioned to it. The cyborg knelt to it and unlatched it slowly, as if something alive was inside and he slowly opened it.
His pale eyes widened and he let the lid fall open to its full length, his hand coming to drop on the edge of the crate as he stared down into it.
Fives’s helmet stared at him and for a moment Echo could picture it was actually on his brother like he was still with them.
Echo’s hand grazed the bottom of it, touching it like it would break under his touch before gently pulling it up to look at it, his scomp coming to support the back.
Even if he tried, the tears wouldn’t of stopped if he wanted them to as the former ARC let out a quiet sob, bringing the helmet of his lost twin to press against his forehead.
Hunter motioned to the rest of his brothers to clear the room so that Echo could have a moment and they quietly went out (with Wrecker most definitely shedding a few tears and hugging his own vod despite their protests).
Rex stayed by Echo’s side as he let out quiet sobs, hugging his brothers helmet like it would be taken at any moment.
There were no words spoken between the two as they stayed there with Rex knelt beside his brother who was shaking uncontrollably and sobbing, his tears dripping down his face and onto the dusty helmet.
“I’m sorry.” Echo said after an unknown amount of time, wiping his eyes. Rex gave his shoulder a squeeze.
“No need to apologize, Echo. You needed this.”
“H-how did you guys get it?” Echo asked, finally peaking into the rest of the crate to see the rest of his brothers armor and other valuables.
“After seeing the Empire wiped and trashed most of what was on Kamino clone related, we thought they’d do the same to Coruscant eventually. And with the Empire being easier to get past while they have clones training the recruits, we took a shot. Hunter thought it’d be good closure for you.”
This was Hunter’s idea?
Echo blinked, looking at Rex, who have a tiny smile. “I’ll let you sort through them. Take your time, okay?”
Echo nodded and the captain left him to quietly search through his lost brothers belongings, smiling to himself as the quiet settled around him like a hug he so desperately needed.
Chapter 38: Nerves
Crosshair was slowly picking at the plate in front of him. He had taken all but two bites of the plate that Hunter had set down in front of him of the food he cooked for dinner.
Hunter was more laid back than Tech when it came to getting the sniper to eat, but he could see that he was starting to up to portions little by little since the few weeks he had been on watch for his weight.
“What’s wrong?” Omega asked from next to him, frowning. Crosshair glanced at her. “Nothing.” He mumbled, stabbing a vegetable but yet not bring it to his mouth. Omega didn’t push and simply went to take her last few bites before going to ask Hunter for seconds.
Crosshair felt a bit insecure that a little girl was eating more than him, his hand twitching anxiously as he slowly put a bite of the vegetable on his fork in his mouth, chewing slowly.
The sniper had been pretty good lately about eating what Tech was prescribing him, which included the snacks in between that helped him gain weight. The engineer had already seen him gain five pounds since finding out his eating disorder.
But something about Rex being there eating with them made Crosshair shift in his seat, glancing around a bit before deciding to skip the meal for tonight and deal with the lecture from Tech later.
The sniper got up and he could feel Tech watching him as he set his plate by the sink before walking out of the room. The engineer almost said something but Hunter shot him a look.
Rex noticed and once Crosshair was out of the room, his eyebrows raised.
“Am I missing something?”
“Crosshair hasn’t been eating well since he got back from the Empire. He’s severely underweight.” Hunter explained shortly as Tech huffed.
“Letting him skip meals is not going to help his case.”
“Leave it, Tech. He’s been doing good. He’s probably just having a bad night.” Tech huffed and didn’t say anything else. Omega looked a bit confused. She hadn’t heard about this but didn’t get to hear the rest as Wrecker urged her to finally go outside a play.
“I thought Cross has always been that skinny? That was one of the first things I asked Cody when I saw him.” The captain chuckled a bit and his brothers smiled slightly.
“While true, there is more to this. Crosshair reveled the Empire used…unethical methods in keeping him in order with his time there.” Tech explained, adjusting his goggles. Rex eyes trailed off in shock. “Oh.”
And a silence fell over them as they finished their meal.
What Hunter had revealed to Rex about Crosshair bothered the reg.
He had been thinking about it since the sergeant mentioned it and was staring off as he sat on the steps of the marauder outside, gazing around Ord Mantell.
Rex heard footsteps behind him and Hunter appeared, taking a seat next to him.
“What was the favor you were going to ask us anyway?”
“It was…another rescue.”
Hunter gave him a look. “This one is more planned…and I think…I think Crosshair might be able to help…if you’re up to it.”
Hunter stared for a moment before he gave his head a nod and the captain relaxed into a soft smile before the two got up and went inside.
Echo had migrated to the bunkroom when everybody else went to eat dinner, Fives’s helmet now resting on Tech’s bed as he dug through the chest. There were photos, the rest of his armor, even battle plans that Echo didn’t recognize all in the trunk.
The door opened and Hunter appeared in the doorway, leaning against it. Echo gave the tiniest smile, one that was trying to hide just how happy he was but the way his eyes twinkled gave away his emotions.
“Is it—is it good? We grabbed it so fast, we just checked for the helmet. We didn’t get a chance to—“
“Hunter—“ The sergeant stopped rambling as he approached his brother. Echo motioned for him to sit next to him and Hunter slumped onto his genius brothers bed.
Echo held a few photos in his hand, ones of him and Fives, the domino squad and a few clones Echo didn’t recognize.
“Is that you?” Hunter pointed at one of him and Fives standing next to each other during a debriefing. Echo grinned, giving a nod. Hunter whistled.
“I thought you were ugly now.”
Echo hit the sergeant in the side, making him jolt away. The cyborg rolled his eyes, putting the photos back in the trunk.
“Rex told me it was your idea.”
“We all wanted you to have closure.”
Echo breathed out shakily, trying to hold back the water works.
“I’ve never said this but…I didn’t think I’d make it off Kamino when I returned…I really thought they used me then were going to decommission me.” Echo admired, slumping his shoulders. Hunter listened quietly, swallowing hard.
“I never thought I’d stick out in a army of everybody who looks alike…until I joined you guys.”
“You get used to it.” Hunter grinned and Echo did too. “I don’t think I will.” The cyborg murmured and Hunter gave his brother a nudge.
“Echo, I think I know what you’re trying to say…and i’ll say this in return: you are my brother—“ Echo blinked. “—and you always will be. Nothing is going to change that. I will always fight for you and what you deserve and this—“ Hunter motioned to the trunk of Fives’s things.
“—is what you deserved.”
Echo blinked again before slowly slumping against the sergeant shoulder. Hunter chuckled and wrapped his arms around his brother and Echo returned the motion.
“Who knows? If Fives’s was alive, maybe he’d be on our team.”
“Oh he would. Except Crosshair probably would’ve killed him by now.”
Echo sat down next to Rex, who gave him a smile and he returned it. Hunter sat down next to Crosshair, who had his arms crossed with a toothpick in his mouth. He had just gotten back from smoking a cigarette so Tech was next to him but leaning back a distance.
“I wish you would stop smoking those stupid, no good—“ Crosshair covered his brothers mouth before looking at Rex.
“What did you need me for?”
“You were on Ryloth for a few rotations, right?”
Crosshair nodded, resting his ankle on his knee and leaning back, toothpick flicking to the other side of his mouth.
“Do you remember Captain Howzer?”
“You mean playboy?”
Wrecker choked in his drink, giggling and Tech glared at him for spilling some of the floor of his ship.
“Preppy haircut, turquoise armor, scar right here—?” Crosshair pointed to his left side of his cheek. Rex nodded.
“Do you know exactly what cell he was put in on Ryloth?”
Crosshair nodded, giving a weary look. “Why?” He asked and Rex raised his eyebrows. “Take a wild guess.”
An uneasy feeling washed over Crosshair as he rubbed his arm out of nervous habit. “I dunno.” He mumbled and Rex sighed.
“I know it’s a lot to ask, but Howzer’s good man. And he and his squad could be valuable to the rebellion.”
Hunter glanced over at Crosshair, not saying anything yet. Crosshair grumbled, trying to hide his nervousness. “I’d rather not have to rescues a reg.” He mumbled before sighing.
“But sure. I’ll help.”
Rex gave a soft smile.
“Thank you, Crosshair.”
Chapter 39: Paranoid
“Who’s Captain Howzer?”
Omega walked next to Crosshair as they roamed Ord Mantell’s market for supplies. “He was a clone I served alongside on Ryloth. He was the guardian of the Syndulla’s.” Omega lit up.
“Do you think I’d see Hera again?”
The Batch had told Crosshair about the two girls adventure in the refinery with Chopper alongside them, and he was quite impressed to say the least.
Crosshair had only met Hera a handful of times but he remembered she was very curious and always asking about the ships. While he never personally spoke with her, she seemed like a sweet kid and he did his best to avoid her so he wouldn’t do something he regretted.
Crosshair shrugged. “Big galaxy. It’d be hard in times like this.” The sniper immediately noticed his sisters expression drop and he softened.
“But, I’m sure she’ll be causing trouble somewhere we’ll have to go help.”
Omega lit up. “I hope so!”
Once back at the ship, Crosshair noticed Saha at the doorway of the ship, leaning on the frame whilst talking to Hunter, both smiling like idiots.
“Excuse us, coming through. No need to flaunt the flirting in everybody’s face.” Crosshair obnoxiously said as he nudged through the doorway with Omega following as she giggled.
Hunter glared as Saha simply chuckled before bidding a goodbye and going home.
“What’d he need anyway?” Crosshair asked as he pulled out some supplies onto the table. Hunter hesitated.
The sniper glanced up at his brother but didn’t call him out on his lie since he didn’t know if Omega was supposed to hear it. He mentally noted to ask about it later.
Omega watched Crosshair organize the supplies. Hunter went over to help as they waited for Tech to give the ready to go signal.
Crosshair slung his rifle back over his shoulder to check it one more time. Once he took it apart a bit, with Omega watching, he glanced at her as he put it back together before holding it out to her.
Omega looked starry eyed as she carefully grabbed it, grunting when her brother let go as she received the full weight of the weapon. But none the less, Omega was almost as still as a statue holding Crosshair’s prized sniper, apparently too afraid to barely even breath while she held it.
Hunter was surprised to say the least. Even growing up, Crosshair was testy about who held the firepuncher. The only one completely banned from touching it was Wrecker after he almost snapped it in half at one point.
Crosshair took it back after a moment, mumbling a “thanks.” Omega beamed. “You’re welcome!” She chirped before going off to find Wrecker. Hunter gave a gentle smile and Crosshair looked at him.
Crosshair managed to convince them to let him stay behind and watch from the sky, saying he could guide them by memory and Tech also backed him up by saying that as long as he can get them inside, the genius should be able to hack into the system and find Howzer’s cell.
Crosshair watched from the cliff side with an unusual sense of anxiousness running through him that made him check his surroundings more often. He tried to shake it off but then would catch himself glancing at every little sound and sight that was slightly different, cursing to himself.
Of course the one time nobody seemed to want to stick around to watch his back, and his pride was too big to ask somebody to. Though he was sure Hunter already sensed his nervousness, the sergeant hadn’t said anything and Crosshair was sure he wouldn’t unless he caught it again.
Crosshair shifted his focus back to the way that the team went and waited. He wasn’t sure how much time passed, due to the fact he zoned out.
The sniper jumped when he heard his brother yelling slightly through the comm.
The sniper blinked. “Yea?” He asked, a bit of an annoyed voice. “Everything alright in your end?” Hunter asked, edge on his voice. Crosshair huffed.
“Yes. Quiet. Why?”
“You weren’t responding. I got worried. We need you to confirm the coast is clear.”
He had been calling his comm? How did he not hear it?
Crosshair checked his scope. “All clear.”
Crosshair watched his teammates come outside, frowning when he counted the same amount that had went in but simply sat back and waited for them to meet back up with him.
How long had Hunter been calling his name? Crosshair never zoned out on missions! He couldn’t afford to, his team needed him as the eyes in the sky!
The thoughts bugged Crosshair and he simply sat up as he saw his teammates nearing closer, out of range for any imperials to catch them at this point.
Crosshair was quiet as they approached him, out of breath.
“They moved him to a different facility.” Rex explained, a hard expression on his face as he sighed. Crosshair frowned. “What facility?”
“One in the mid rim, from what i’ve gathered.” Tech said as he walked to the ship. Crosshair scoffed. “That’ll be crawling with even more imps than Daro.”
Rex sighed, rubbing a hand through his hair. “I know.” He grumbled and brushed past the Bad Batch members. Hunter followed him, clearly going to discuss what would happen now as Wrecker and Echo trailed after them.
Omega bounded up next to Crosshair. “How was the view?” The sniper gave a smirk. “Of watching you struggle to keep up with the rest of these idiots? Good.” Omega hit him in the arm and glared.
Chapter 40: Torture
“The mid rim is far.”
“I am aware.” Tech hummed and was calculating how much fuel and firepower it would take to grab Howzer from the facility.
Rex sighed. “I can’t ask you guys to go there. It’s too risky. I’ll get some of my guys to do it.”
Crosshair didn’t mean to scoff, but he did. While the thought of being surrounded by imperials again made him queasy, he knew Rex couldn’t get Howzer without them.
“You think regs could pull this off?”
The captain almost rolled his eyes but stopped himself.
“Don’t really have any other options.”
Crosshair gave a look but didn’t say anything else before stalking off. Omega watched him for a moment before going after him. Hunter turned to Rex.
“I’ll have Tech investigate around that area. If it seems pretty set, then we’ll go off it, if not…like I said, I can’t be risking my families lives anymore than I have to.” Rex nodded.
“I understand, sergeant.”
Hunter nodded before going to Tech to help him with finding information on the planet in the mid rim.
It had been a few hours after investigating the planet in the mid rim and Tech deemed it a decent shot to grab Howzer. If things got hairy, they could pull out before they even touched the ground if they were spotted on the sensors.
Hunter was watching hyperspace whilst on his shift watch. He had offered to take it since everybody seemed pretty tired and knew it was going to be a bit before they arrived.
The sergeant heard his genius brothers footsteps approach, making him perk up and turn his chair slightly to greet him.
Tech looked exhausted, to say the least. He clearly hadn’t been sleeping well for most of the nights, even though Hunter would make him go to bed but clearly the engineer was getting good at sneaking out of bed without waking the sergeant.
Tech didn’t say anything, simply wordlessly handing his data pad to his brother. Hunter looked at bit confused until he looked at the lit up screen and his heard sank.
Hunter swallowed and looked up at Tech, blinking. The engineer gave a sad look, eyes glancing away for a moment.
Echo had told Hunter of the engineer’s outburst when he was drunk and the sergeant made a mental note to ask about it, but never got the chance when Rex showed up.
Hunter set the data pad down and stood up, coaxing his brother into a brotherly hug, gently wrapping his arms around his neck and running his fingers through the curls of the engineer’s hair.
Tech hugged him back, breathing in deeply. The engineer normally wasn’t one for affection, but this was something he needed after witnessing what was in the files for their brothers time with the imperials.
For the first time since they were kids, Hunter felt at ease hugging his batch twin. Before they were out together with Crosshair and Wrecker, he could remember being scared about what would happen if one of them was decommissioned.
Though every clone was scared of decommissioning, the Bad Batch had a particular fear of even the word. Growing up, they were constantly told if they didn’t cooperate or pass the test presented, they’d be tossed instantly.
There had only been one time they got a really good scare that made them snap into the reality that this was what Kaminoans expected out of them. To follow orders and to be what they wanted them to be.
And of course, that one scare was from Crosshair’s foolishness.
Hunter couldn’t imagine loosing one of his brothers ever. They had had so many blaster shots and knives whiz by their faces and major arteries, they barely blinked. But thinking about the times when something did go wrong, he felt sick.
But thinking about if it were him dying instead of one of his brothers, Hunter felt a bit at peace. Because he knew, the more he thought about, that if something were to happen to him, they’d be alright. They’d survive fine without him.
If he died, he’d know he did his job.
But thinking about his brother being at the mercy of the empire, he’d had nightmares at night imagining that one day they weren’t being hunted down by him.
Though facing their brother when it clearly wasn’t him was hard, not facing him would be harder.
Because they knew if he had stopped at any point, they’d know that something terrible had happened.
And Hunter would’ve had to keep living whilst knowing he failed his baby brother.
Hunter breathed out and pulled away, pressing a kiss to his brothers temple.
“Go to bed.”
Tech gave a tiny smile and turned, heading to the bunkroom but definitely not going to his bunk tonight.
Hunter sat down and looked at the data pad, noticing his hands shaking slightly. He scrolled through the file, looking at the descriptions of the experiments and photos that Crosshair had endured.
Hunter’s blood boiled, breathing out angrily before stopping when he saw files for multiple videos, ones already been played. He knew this was what Tech must’ve been upset about.
Hunter glanced around, beginning to dig through drawers until he found the headphones that Echo used to watch his holo films and hooked them up to the data pad.
Hunter hesitantly clicked on one of the videos and was met with Crosshair laying on a table, in his blacks, blankly staring up in the tube he was in.
Hunter looked at the date and his eyes widened, seeing this was the day that they had went back to Omega.
And the day they left their brother at the mercy of the empire.
Suddenly, the machine whirred up and began sending electrical shocks into the snipers temple. Hunter could see his brothers face shift in pain but he didn’t make any noise until it stopped after a few minutes.
Crosshair looked exhausted sitting up as Rampart came in, looking smug. Hunter’s hands clenched.
The next few videos were simply chip enhancements, and the more Hunter looked at them the more he could see how used to the treatments Crosshair got; eventually just laying there with a hard expression and taking it, not even flinching.
The last video wasn’t the standard medical video set up. Instead, it was in what seemed to be an interrogation room and the camera seemed to almost be hidden.
Suddenly, Crosshair was dragged into the room after the door slammed open, getting thrown to the floor. He coughed, blood erupting from his mouth. Rampart followed through the door, signaling the unknown troopers that threw him in to leave.
“You know you’re really getting to be a pain in my ass.”
“Good.” Crosshair snarled, looking up at the imperial officer only to getting kneed in the face. Crosshair couched again, slouching back onto the floor, panting.
Rampart pulled something from his belt. “I’d hate to demote you, Commander. You’ve been so useful…but if you keep acting like this, it’s either clean up duty—“
Rampart kicked the sniper in the side and he yelped, falling to his side. With an object Hunter couldn’t identify because he was too blinded by his anger, Rampart beat Crosshair with it.
The sniper was clearly trying to hold back his pain, simply grunting so the officer wouldn’t feel the satisfaction but eventually had to let out a little more, getting louder yelps and growls.
Hunter blinked, eyes filled with pure rage as his fist clenched the data pad, dangerously close to snapping it in ha—
The sergeant snapped out of his thoughts, shutting off the data pad and spinning his chair to meet his baby brothers pale eyes.
“Yea?” Hunter did his best to act like nothing was wrong. Crosshair raised his eyebrows.
“Nothing. I was just…go through inventory and stuff.” Hunter said, waving the shut off data pad before pulling out the earbuds and tossing both onto the dash of the marauder.
Crosshair looked a bit weary, like he didn’t quite believe his brother. Hunter couldn’t help his eyes trailing to where he had seen Crosshair get beat on the video and glanced at his temple where the chin had been.
The sniper frowned. “What?”
“You’re acting weird!”
“I’m not. I’m just…tired.” Hunter mumbled, slouching back in the chair. “Why’re you up anyway? I thought Rex was gonna come switch with me?” Crosshair scoffed.
“Of course he is. I wasn’t gonna switch shifts with a reg. I got kicked out of my own bunk by shiteyes because he decided to crawl in and then once he was asleep, he kept kicking me until I fell!”
Hunter gave a small smile, chuckling lightly. Crosshair looked annoyed as Hunter picked yo footsteps behind his brother. Rex appeared, giving a tiny smile.
“Forgot just how lovely the GAR bunks are.”
“Like sleeping on a semi flat boulder.” Hunter said, standing up with a grin. Rex chuckled and took his spot. “How much longer?” The captain asked and Hunter checked the navigation system.
“Still a few hours.”
“Alright. I wake you guys when we’re a bit out.”
The two brothers nodded and bid goodnight to the captain before leaving the cockpit. Crosshair went to the couch of the navi room and Hunter frowned.
“You can just sleep in my bunk with me.”
Crosshairs eyes narrowed. “I don’t cuddle when I’m sober.”
“You and your damn pride.” Hunter rolled his eyes. Crosshair scoffed. “Cmon. Like when we were kids.”
“I think you remember when we were kids very differently.”
“You weren’t the one getting squished by Wrecker all the time.”
Hunter chuckled and pulled his brother along to the bunkroom. “Whatever. Just come to bed.”
“Fine, but if you kick me at all, I’m kicking you out of your own bunk.”
Hunter rolled his eyes.
Crosshair crawled into Hunter’s bunk as the sergeant went to get ready for bed, stripping and changing into his pajamas before brushing his hair and teeth before finding his way back to the bunkroom.
Crosshair was glaring at their sleeping brother across the room, who was snoring like a bantha. Hunter grinned as he crawled in.
“You could just sleep in Tech’s bunk if you really don’t want to share.”
Crosshair was silent for a moment.
“No. Fucker keep it so cluttered and he’ll be whining in the morning if I move anything.”
Hunter grinned, adjusting himself under the covers. “Are you sure you’re just not making excuses to cuddle?”
Hunter was shoved out of the bed and landed with a ‘oof!’ on the floor, glaring up at the sniper who grinned. “Rude.” Hunter mumbled and climbed back in, throwing an arm over his brother.
Crosshair snickered, rolling over to put his own arm around his brother and the two fell silent.
After a bit, Hunter could hear and feel his brothers heartbeat and breathes even out and knew he was asleep. The sergeant stayed awake for just a bit longer to look at his brother, thanking the maker he was here with them.
He looked so peaceful, and Hunter’s heart ached thinking about what Crosshair had went through, on and off camera.
But the sergeant shook his thoughts away and tucked himself under his brothers chin, eyes slowly shutting as he tried to get some decent sleep for the first time in many nights.
Later in the night, Crosshair woke up to a slightly jolt under his arm. Hunter had rolled over, his back facing him with his arm still slung over his torso.
Crosshair lifted his head, watching his brothers form for a moment before seeing another jolt and he sighed.
Hunter suffered from nightmares the most since they were kids, mostly due to his senses messing with him. He always said he was getting better, which at one point he was, but ever since Shaak Ti had to start turning her attention to cadets and jedi business, he still struggled to contain them.
Crosshair didn’t knew most of what happened in between him leaving, but he knew it must’ve not been easy. And he knew Hunter still lived with guilt, even if Crosshair had truly forgiven him.
The sniper simply leaned forward and wrapped his arm around his brother so he could gently pulled him into his chest and hold him, the jolts eventually calming down and Crosshair listened to his heartbeat steady as he rested his head on his brothers back.
And finally, the two seemed to finally sleep well after that.
Chapter 41: Ground
When Crosshair woke up to a kick to his leg, he was about ready to throw Hunter off the bed like he promised if he did it one more time.
The sniper opened his eyes and lifted his head, seeing that the lights were still dim in the room but Tech was gone from the bunk he had stolen, indicating Rex must’ve woken him or he woke on his own to check their journey.
Crosshair tensed when he suddenly felt somebody wrap an arm around his middle from behind him and he slowly turned his head, relaxing when he saw who was the culprit.
Omega was squished against his back, hugging him like her life depended on it with one of her legs thrown over his stomach. Crosshair wondered how she managed to sneak over him without waking him, frowning as he shifted so she could be more comfortable with her head using him as a pillow.
Omega’s sleeping form shifted and she snuggled up to the sniper, mumbling something in her sleep as she kicked him lightly again. Crosshair rolled his eyes to himself, noting another thing she got from her brothers as he looked at Hunter, who had his other arm trapped underneath his body as he slept soundly.
Crosshair brought his arm around his sister, pulling her up farther so she could settle properly and he relaxed once she did, simply laying there for a moment as the door to the bunk room opened.
Tech appeared, holding his data pad that Hunter had been using earlier as he rubbed his eye, meeting Crosshair’s gaze with his other. Tech dropped his hand and smirked, making the snipers scowl.
“Don’t.” He hissed as Tech tossed his data pad onto his own bunk before striding over. The engineer huffed. “Why not?” He whispered and Crosshair glared at him.
“There’s no room.”
“I see a spot.”
“You’ll kick us off!”
“I will not!”
Crosshair stared at him for a moment before scoffing. “Whatever. But one move, and you’re gone.” Tech rolled his eyes and immediately went for the small spot in between Hunter and Crosshair.
The sergeant shifted, but if he was awake he didn’t say anything as Tech wrapped an arm around his stomach and squished his face against his brothers back.
“Maker, you’re taking up as much room as Wrecker does.” Tech shot Crosshair a glare, huffing.
No more words were spoke after that as the two drifted back off.
And later on when he went to wake them up, Rex definitely questioned how in the universe they managed to all squeeze on one bunk.
“We are approaching the planet.”
Crosshair gazed out the window, frowning. “What planet is this anyway?”
Tech flicked a few switches as he began to make their descent, trying to stay under the radar as they went down.
Omega watched from behind the pilot chair until Hunter motioned for her to go sit with Wrecker, making her pout before going over to her brother. The giant clone grinned as she rested her head against his side, crossing her arms in annoyance.
“‘s okay, kid. Just for your safety.”
Omega didn’t respond, glancing over at Crosshair when he appeared next to them, still looking out the window.
As they touched down on the planet, everybody visibly relaxed as Tech stood up, grabbing his data pad. Hunter stood, walking to the door.
“Ready?” He asked, mostly questioning Tech to make sure they could get to where they needed safely. Everybody nodded and he opened the door, stepping out slowly and breathing in the new smells.
“Welcome to Wayland.”
Chapter 42: Familiar Faces
Omega stayed behind with Wrecker again on the ship, despite her protests. She didn’t put up as much of a fight, but Hunter knew it was because Rex was present and she didn’t want to make a scene.
He knew he wouldn’t hear the end of it later though.
Omega was sitting in the copilot seat, hugging Lula to her chest as she stared out the windshield of the ship. Wrecker was rummaging around behind her for something in the closest that was between the navi room and the cockpit, but she paid no attention to him until he called her name.
Omega hopped up out of the chair and went to her brother, frowning when he motioned to the crate in front of him.
“Look! You’ll like what’s in this.”
Omega sat down and gazed into the crate, reaching her hand to grab a small piece of film and turning it over.
“We were cute, huh?”
The picture was of the Batch as cadets, lined up next to each other and looking off at something else.
Hunter and Crosshair were tattooless, while Wrecker was scarless and also had hair on top of his head, making Omega’s eyes widen in surprise.
“You had hair?”
Wrecker chuckled, rubbing his head. “Yea. Kinda miss it, but after I got this—“ Wrecker pointed to his scar. “—it grew weird and I just decided to keep it shaved. Easier that way.” Omega nodded as Wrecker handed her a photo of them in their teenage years, this time with Hunter and Crosshair tattooed and Wrecker had bandages around his face, his head shaved.
“Did Crosshair and Hunter get their tattoos together?” Omega asked and Wrecker grinned. “Yes. But they didn’t even plan on it.” Omega frowned.
“The idiots did it on a dare while they were drunk.” Wrecker explained and Omega’s eyebrows raised. “Really?” She asked and her brother nodded. “There were credits also on the line and the regs said whoever got the biggest one got the most credits. Hunter won, obviously.”
Omega grinned, thinking about if she ever pulled something like that Hunter would probably pass out. “Shaak Ti hadn’t seen us for only a bit and when we returned to Kamino, I think they about gave her a heart attack. I had also just gotten my head wound, so that didn’t help the case either.” Wrecker chuckled.
“Did Shaak Ti take care of you guys a lot?” Omega asked. “She raised us, practically. Also argued heavily for us to not be decommissioned when we weren’t being very compliant for a majority of our trainin’. Shaak also fought alongside us for some of the war, since none of the other jedi wanted to work with us in fear of ‘ruinin’ their image’.” Wrecker explained and Omega frowned.
“Why would that ruin their image? I thought you guys had a hundred percent success rate.”
Omega could tell Wrecker was thinking about his words, obviously trying to not say too much on what went down on their missions. “Yea, but our methods were seen as…what’s a Tech word? Unorthodox?” Omega glanced at the ground for a moment and Wrecker could tell she was still a bit confused.
“Now, don’t go tellin’ Hunter I told you this, because he’ll rip me a new one, but back in the war we were kind of a…last resort squad.” Omega listened, still an uneasy look in her face.
“Basically they called us in when regs couldn’t succeed and asked us to do whatever means necessary to complete our objective. And if we got caught, they’d simply say we’re defective as a cover up and—“ Wrecker motioned being thrown away and Omega looked upset.
“That’s not fair though!”
“I know it wasn’t, but there wasn’t much we could do. Shaak helped with our trainin’ though. I’d credit her for makin’ us into our success.” Wrecker said as he stood up. Omega frowned, still not seeming to like what Wrecker had told her but didn’t say anything else as the comms beeped.
“Heads up. We’re about to head back.”
Once inside the facility, Tech quickly located Howzer’s location and they used the vents to find their way to his hallway, dropping down quickly to grab him.
Crosshair, Echo, and Hunter stayed in the vents as they watched Tech and Rex quickly go to Howzer’s cell to free him.
“Alright, when we get everybody up here, remember—no falling off ships this time.” Echo said with a shit eating grin. Hunter hit him, rolling his eyes as Crosshair smirked.
“I’d of loved to see that drop.”
“Of course you would.” Hunter mumbled.
Rex stood in front of the doorway, staring through at the clone slumped against the wall with his eyes closed, breathing slow.
The clones eyes snapped open and he jerked his head to the doorway, immediately going to stand up.
Tech got the door open and Rex stepped in, smiling as he offered a hand to help Howzer walk.
“Cmon brother. Let’s get you out of here.”
“How did you find me? Why did you find me?” Howzer asked as they quickly went toward the vent they came in from.
“You think we’d leave you at the mercy to the empire?” Rex asked and Howzer swallowed. “My squad?…I can’t leave them here.” He said and Tech turned to him.
“I looked through their files. There are no other clones locked up here.”
Howzer swallowed hard and nodded, not looking happy about that answer as they arrived at the vent door, seeing Hunter’s helmet gazing down at them.
“Oh…it’s you again.” Howzer mumbled as Hunter offered a hand.
“Not the welcome party you wanted, huh?”
Howzer smiled, taking his head as Rex helped boost him up.
“Better than none.”
Once inside the vent, they began army crawling through. Howzer recognized another clones armor but there was one at the front that he didn’t know.
“Crosshair, turn left.”
“We came from the other direction.”
“This will be an easier and quieter route out to the ship.” Tech said and the sniper huffed before turning left.
Eventually, they reached the end of the vent and Crosshair dropped down, gazing around as the others dropped.
It was some sort of lab, luckily empty. The sniper suppressed a shudder as he turned to his brothers.
“There should be an exit just right outside these doors. We can navigate back to the marauder from there.”
Hunter comm’d the ship to notify Omega and Wrecker as Tech went to go to the doors when they suddenly heard voices outside.
Everybody began snapping their heads for a hiding spot when Hunter pointed at a room to the side and they bolted for it, all crouching down together to hide out of sight from the door.
Their breathing was quiet as they heard the voices talk to each other. Hunter could tell they were talking about an alarm going off and that they needed to investigate, his breathing hitching as footsteps went past the door and relaxing when they stopped a bit away.
The door to the room suddenly opened and everybody silently and quickly raised their blasters, the figure in the door looking surprised.
Hunter and Nala Se’s eyes met and the kaminoan swallowed as she heard Omega’s voice faintly from Hunter’s comm, asking something she couldn’t understand.
“Like I said…it was a false alarm.” Nala Se said to whoever was with her as she turned and walked away, the door shutting behind her and everybody physically relaxed.
A few moments passed before Hunter got up, nodding when he knew it was safe.
“Let’s her the hell out of here.”
Chapter 43: Proper Introductions
When they got back to the ship, Hunter was surprised to see Omega was nowhere to be found when they entered. Wrecker informed him she was in the bunk room after noticing the worried look on his face when he took off his helmet and the sergeant relaxed.
Howzer looked surprised as he sat down in one of seats in the navi room as Tech began to check him over once he also removed his helmet, Echo piloting up front.
“Are you guys TK troopers?”
Rex stifled a laugh as Wrecker, Hunter, and Tech looked bewildered, almost offended and Crosshair scoffed whilst taking off his helmet.
“Oh…it’s you!” Howzer said once again in surprise and Crosshair gave a look. “TK troopers…the disrespect.” Tech mumbled as he scanned over Howzer, who looked confused as Rex chuckled.
“They’re clones, Howzer. CT-99’s.”
Howzer looked surprised, looking at the Bad Batch again. “Oh…I’m sorry, you just…don’t really look like clones.”
Hunter gave a smile. “We get that a lot.”
“Better looking than the regs anyway.”
Rex rolled his eyes at Crosshair’s comment as the other captain turned to Crosshair. “When did you even get off Ryloth?…and why? I thought you were pretty gun-ho on sticking with the empire.” The captain asked and Crosshair smirked.
“Why? Still petty about me arresting you?”
Howzer shook his head. “A little. But I’m genuinely curious.”
“It was his inhibitor chip, to save the story.” Hunter butted in and Crosshair looked annoyed that he spoiled his fun of messing with Howzer. The captain looking confused.
All of them sighed, sitting down to prepare for the story they needed to tell.
“So…can I get my chip out?”
Tech hummed. “Though I was able to take Crosshair’s out myself, it was a very risky procedure I would rather not do again unless absolutely necessary. I will scan your chip and conclude wether or not we can manage to wait and find proper equipment or do it soon.”
Howzer nodded, watching as Tech got up to go find the chip scanner before he turned back to the Bad Batch.
“So, uh, names? Didn’t really catch them while escaping.”
Rex smiled, chuckling. “This is clone force 99, aka the Bad Batch.” Howzer seemed to be amused by the name.
“Long locks over there is Hunter and next to him is Wrecker.” The two brothers gave two fingers saluted with small smiles. Rex pointed to Crosshair, who leant back on the couch.
“You’ve already met Crosshair it seems.”
“Crosshair? I guess that makes sense now.” Howzer mumbled and the sniper gave him a look.
“I never knew your name. They only referred to you as the commander.” Howzer shrugged and Crosshair rolled his eyes.
Tech walked back in, mumbling to himself. “This is Tech, the brains of just about everything.”
“He doesn’t shut up, so you better get used to hearing him.” Crosshair said and Tech shot him a glare. Howzer smiled at the brotherly banter.
“Piloting is Echo. He’s a reg that—“
“The one from Skako Minor?” Howzer asked in surprise and the Bad Batch looked offended.
“Oh, so you hear about the one that got blown up once and not the ones that have been blown up multiple times?” Crosshair asked and a piece of something nailed him in the head from the cockpit.
“I heard that, jackass.”
Crosshair smirked and chuckled the object back and cursing was heard from the cockpit.
“And—“ Rex glanced at Hunter. “Wanna go grab Omega?” Hunter realized he’d forgotten about his sister, surprised she hadn’t come out to greet the knew clone yet. He nodded and got up to go find her, making his way to the bunk room.
As he entered the bunk room, Hunter saw his sisters figure laying on his bunk and he smiled, going to her.
Her heartbeat was slow and her breathing even and he knew she was asleep as he sat down on the edge of the bed, brushing some strands of hair out of her face as she shifted under Hunter’s blankets.
On the floor next to her was a crate Hunter recognized from the closest by the cockpit, one he knew held memories as he began to dig through it, looking at all the old pictures.
He figured she must have found it or Wrecker showed her it as he let out a tiny, happy sighed and began putting everything back.
Hunter sat back and looked at Omega for a few moments before noticing a picture hanging out from between her fingertips underneath the blanket and he gently took it from her grasp, turning it over to look at it.
His heart melted as he saw it was a picture from the most recent weeks that he figured Tech must’ve taken a picture of.
It was outside the Marauder when Tech was doing repairs, holding Omega in his arms as the two were looking over at Wrecker and Crosshair, who looked to be wrestling each other as Hunter and Echo were sitting on some crates in the background, smiling and enjoying the scene.
Hunter put the picture away into the crate as Omega stirred and opened her eyes, blinking tiredly.
“Hey kiddo, how was your nap?”
“Fine.” Judging by her tone, she was still slightly upset at her brother as she tried to roll over. Hunter thought to himself the nerve of this girl to be pissed at him and yet still try to innocently steal his bunk.
Hell, he’d still give it to her if she asked.
“Cmon. I know you’re upset with me, but at least come meet Howzer.” Hunter urged and Omega was silent for a moment before sitting up and getting out of bed.
“Okay!” She chirped happily and bounded off to meet the clone. Hunter shook his head with a smile before following and found Omega already introducing herself to the new captain with Tech looking annoyed she interrupted his scans.
“Hi! I’m Omega!”
Howzer smiled. “Well Omega, I’m Howzer. It’s nice to meet you.” Rex could tell Howzer was a bit confused as to why these group of rogues had a kid with them and the captain smile gently.
“Omega’s a clone, like us.”
Howzer looked surprised. “Really?” He asked and Omega nodded. Crosshair smirked.
“Brattiest clone to exist, too.” Omega shot her brother a look and Howzer ruffled her hair.
“Cutest one too.” Omega beamed happily and Crosshair rolled his eyes.
“If you find baby womp rats cute.”
Omega definitely tried to fight him later on for that comment.
Let’s just say, it ended with two new rules on the ship:
No fighting with guests on the ship.
No threatening to sell your siblings to the empire.
Chapter 44: Late Nights
Omega was asking every question she had in the book whenever she met a new clone, sitting next to Howzer as he answered them patiently.
“Cmo pipsqueak. It’s your bedtime, and I’m sure Howzer’s tired too.” Hunter nudged his sister. Howzer grinned when Omega pouted, shoulders slumping.
“I can tell you more once we’re planetside, that sound good?” Omega looked up and nodded, hopping up. “Cmon. Pajamas and teeth, now.” Hunter pointed to the bathroom and Omega gave him a look before following his orders.
“She’s a character.” Howzer chuckled, standing up. Hunter smiled and nodded. “Trust me. You ain’t seen her other side yet.” Hunter snickered, beginning to walk to show Howzer where he could sleep.
“She reminds me of somebody I know.”
Howzer looked surprised as Hunter turned with a smirk. “She’s the reason we were on Ryloth rescuing Cham and Eleni. Her and Omega caused some…trouble at the refinery with Chopper.”
Howzer’s eyes widened in surprise. “That was them?” He said and Hunter nodded.
“Hera’s piloting skills definitely need some work, to say the least.” Howzer rubbed his face in frustration, nodding at Hunter grinned.
“Oh, I know.”
Hunter showed Howzer his bunk and saw Rex was already passed out in Crosshair’s bunk, which surprised the sergeant. Howzer thanked him as Hunter gave him some extra pair of blacks to change into and pointed out the refresher as Omega came down the hallway from it.
“Ready, kiddo?” Hunter asked and she nodded, looking at Howzer.
The captain gave a smile. “Night kid.” He said as Hunter took her away toward her room. Looking down at her, the sergeant could tell his sister was still upset at him as she didn’t try to make conversation as they walked.
Hunter sighed, coming up behind Omega and scooping her up, making her squirm.
“Cmon kiddo. No going to bed upset, that’s the deal.”
“And our deal was no leaving me behind on missions.” Omega crossed her arms and looked away. Hunter sighed, beginning to climb up the ladder to the gunners mount and setting her down on the top of the ladder.
“Im sorry, Omega. I am. I want to take you on every mission, but just…some of these are really dangerous…and now that…that—“ Hunter paused, swallowing and Omega turned with a frown.
“In that facility, we ran into Nala Se—“
Hunter ran a hand through his hair.
“—and there’s only one reason she’d be there.” He mumbled, glancing away. Omega’s body slumped over as she realized what he meant and she looked at the ground.
“That they’re still using cloning technology.”
Hunter nodded and looked up at his sister, who was looking at the ground, her fingernails scratching the floor. Hunter sighed and held out his arms, the young clone immediately crawling back to him to snuggle into his arms.
“I’m just worried, kid, okay? It’s not that I don’t trust you…I just don’t trust people out there, especially Nala Se.”
Omega nodded. “Do you think she’ll tell the empire that we’re alive?”
“Well, as far as she knows, you might not be alive so she can assume but they might never find out…but to be honest, I’m not sure if she will. She let us go after I guess we sounded silent alarm, covered our tracks for us basically.”
Omega nodded, fiddling with the hem of her brothers sleeve.
“I trust her.”
Hunter’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “I know that’s not a reason you should trust her, but growing up she was nice to me, even when I was getting into trouble.” Omega explained and Hunter nodded.
“That’s okay. You can trust people differently from us, but Nala Se’s been known to put her job before everything else. That’s why I don’t trust her. She was good to us, until we were a liability, and that’s when she became tricky.” Hunter told her, his eyes looking sad and Omega nodded understandingly.
“Alright kiddo. Bed.” Hunter nudged her toward her bed. Omega smiled and hugged her brother with his returning it. “Goodnight Hunter! I love you!” Hunter smiled, kissing the top of her head.
“I love you too, kid.”
Hunter went down the ladder, pulling her curtain closed but not before one more smile to Omega snuggling into her blankets with Lula by her side.
Hunter found his way to the navi room couch and saw Crosshair already laying on it but the sergeant could tell her wasn’t asleep yet.
“Scoot.” Hunter nudged him and Crosshair scowled, wiggling closer to the back of the couch.
Hunter laid down in front of him, propping his hand under his head as Crosshair’s eyes opened.
“You gave Rex your bunk?”
“Well, Wrecker and Tech’s are too damn messy, so I figured you’d sacrifice the bunk anyway for him. Figured I’d beat you to the punch.”
Hunter chuckled. “I think you’re just looking for excuses to cuddle.” Crosshair hit him and the sergeant rolled his eyes.
“Empire really did make you soft, I think.”
“I am not soft.”
“Oh really? Omega told me you’re a real cuddle bug most nights.”
“I’m gonna hurt that kid.” Hunter chuckled again, rolling onto his back on the couch. A silence fell over them for a moment before Crosshair spoke again.
“You still have nightmares?”
The question caught the sergeant off guard and he tensed a bit. “More or less.” He answered, shrugging. Crosshair frowned.
“I thought Tech had been giving you stuff to help with them.”
“Yea, well it’s been the least of our worries for the past few months. ‘s nothing I can’t handle.” Crosshair gave a look.
“You spend all your time gripping at us to take care of ourselves. The least we can do is find some drugs to help with sleeping.”
Hunter shook his head. “I use those damn meditation techniques Shaak taught me every once in awhile and they help a good amount. I just gotta get into a routine with them.”
Crosshair blinked. “You think Shaak is still alive?” Hunter sighed. “I dunno…we tried to find where she was stationed before Order 66 but…we couldn’t locate her. I hope she is.” Hunter answered and Crosshair nodded, eyes dropping.
“I miss her.”
Hunter was always surprised, yet happy when Crosshair willingly let his vulnerability show. Ever since he returned from the Empire, it had been showing more and more everyday (no doubt with Omega’s help) and Hunter couldn’t be happier to finally know what was bothering Crosshair when he seemed down.
“Think that’s the first time you’ve admitted to missing somebody.” The sergeant joked but Crosshair didn’t say anything in response for a moment as he shifted and his head came to rest on his big brothers shoulder, sighing.
“Yea, I know.”
“So you never admitted to anybody about missing us?”
“Not out loud.”
“So you have missed us?”
Crosshair swallowed, eyes shutting.
“Of course I did…everyday.”
Hunter’s body relaxed and shifted down to have his head rest on top of his baby brothers and he shut his eyes, both of their breathing matching up as they drifted off.
“Feeling was mutual, vod’ika.”
Chapter 45: Armor
“Maker have mercy. You fellas keep bringing in handsome ones, and I’m gonna have to start keeping them.”
The Bad Batch shook their head in disgust, minus Crosshair who smirked, while Rex and Howzer just looked confused.
“What happened to keeping professionalism around clients?” Hunter grumbled, leaning against the bar. Cid gave him a look.
“I keep my professionalism around the ones who don’t keep me waiting most days.”
The sergeant rolled his eyes and motioned the Howzer.
“Howzer, meet Cid. She’s been our…boss for the past few months.”
“Please. If I was your boss, you’d be fired already. They just keep comin’ back for some reason. They’re like leeches.” Cid said, drawing her head to Howzer who gave an amused smile.
“We were wondering if you had some people for a safe passage off world for Howzer, maybe even some that can locate Cham Syndulla.”
“Syndulla? I ain’t heard his name in awhile.” Cid hummed, beginning to make her way toward the office, telling Bolo and Ketch to keep it down on her way to it.
Omega decided to stay upstairs with the two, as well as Crosshair. He watched as Omega instantly began to whoop Bolo and Ketch’s butts, even with the two working together.
“Ugh! This ain’t fair!” Ketch grumbled after their third match lost. Bolo looked determined to try one more time, regretting it when they ended up cashing out at the end with Omega earning about 60 credits.
She smirked and pocketed the money as the two grumbled about needing to stop gambling with her before they bid the two clones farewell and went off for the evening.
“Where’d you learn that kid?” Crosshair asked, raising his eyebrows. Omega shrugged. “I used to watch other clones strategy test and Nala Se let me test when I wanted to. Cid says I’m a natural.” Omega explained.
Crosshair looked impressed, nudging her toward the door to go back to the ship. “They ever teach you how to play Chess?” Omega shook her head, looking intrigued.
“Cmon. I’ll show you.”
The Bad Batch and the captains returned to the ship after about an hour of talking with Cid and watching her contact clients in attempt to help the boys out.
So far, nothing.
“I’ll keep calling people I know. We’ll get you back to them, Howzer.” Rex smiled and the other captain nodded.
Once onto the ship, they all began to relax and Hunter was surprised to find Crosshair and Omega in the common room, sitting across from each other on the table playing chess with Crosshair looking pissed.
“What’s going on here?”
“Crosshair taught me how to play chess.”
“I shouldn’t have.” He mumbled, angrily moving a piece only for Omega to stare at the bored for a moment and block the next move he had planned.
Crosshair narrowed his eyes at his sister and she simply smiled innocently. Hunter smiled, shaking his head as he sat down to watch.
Howzer glanced in the mirror after showing in the refresher of the Marauder, rubbing his scar self consciously before sighing and exiting as he slipped the spare shirt Hunter had given him on.
Rex was sitting talking to Echo in the cockpit while Tech and Wrecker were discussing the cargo load on the ship and Howzer would be lying if he said he didn’t feel out of place.
While he had known Rex for awhile, compared to the others it seemed not as long. Howzer simply turned and went to go to the bunk room to relax for a bit before he was stopped as Hunter appeared from a different room a gave a smile.
“Do you know where they put your armor?” Howzer shook his head, looking a bit sad. “They stripped me of it on Ryloth. Maybe Crosshair will know.” Howzer suggested and Hunter nodded, turning back into the room.
“Do you recall where they put Howzer’s armor?”
Crosshair thought for a moment. “Last I knew, they put it in a case trunk and sent it to Coruscant.” Hunter sighed, rubbing his face. “Of course they did.” He mumbled and Howzer raised his eyebrows questioningly.
“We just made a trip to coruscant for a case trunk. They’ve been slacking on their patrols, but with the stunt we just pulled, it’d be a risk. I don’t know if Nala Se will rat us out eventually.” Hunter explained, scratching his chin in thought.
“I won’t ask you to do it if it’s a high risk.” Howzer said and Hunter crossed his arms. “Your comms with your suit, right?” Howzer nodded.
“Then maybe that’s our way to locate Cham. The only reason we didn’t stay in touch was for safety purposes. We’re more wanted then them back in the empire at the time, and we couldn’t risk them getting exposed by comm frequency if the empire captured us.” Hunter explained and Howzer nodded understandingly.
“Then let me grab it. Drop me off and i’ll get it myself.”
Crosshair scoffed, leaning back. “With those tactics I saw, you wouldn’t make it past the guards.”
Hunter hit his brother, giving him a look that said ‘be nice’ as the sniper scowled. Howzer cracked a gentle smile, finally catching on to Crosshair’s teasing though he was still on the bank on wether or not he was joking or not.
“It’s a risk I think we’ll have to take. If things get hairy, we can have Tech stay behind for a fast getaway.” Hunter said and Howzer nodded, quietly thanking them and the sergeant smiled.
“Let us rack up some money over the next few days. Then, we’ll make another pit stop on coruscant.”
Chapter 46: Fox Trail
SUICIDE ATTEMPT WARNING
Omega had been hounding questions from Howzer like no tomorrow every time of day. Hunter had apologized multiple times on behalf of their sister being nosey but Howzer smiled with a shake of his head.
“You should see the kids on Ryloth. They’d have a field day harassing you lot.”
When going on bounties, Howzer typically stayed behind on the ship alone unless Omega wasn’t finished asking her questions. Hunter would just shake his head and leave with the group, letting her figure out that they left her behind.
With having Rex with them for the time being, they were able to get through a few bounties quicker than normal and had enough credits for fuel and other necessities with money to spare and they began mapping out the plan for Coruscant using the one they used to get Fives’s trunk.
“I wonder how Fox is doing.” Echo mumbled and Hunter perked up. “You knew Fox personally?”
“We worked with him a few times alongside the Wolfpack as well. They were good men… I just hope nothing bad has happened to them.” Echo said, eyes looking up at his brother.
“Fox was one of the very few regs to train us. Him and Wolffe taught us our typical breach protocol and defense mechanisms.” Wrecker snorted from next to him.
“We put them through hell and back.” The giant clone giggled and Echo raised his eyebrows. Hunter sighed, rubbing his eyes. “They got us when Cross and Wrecker were in their…rebellious phase.” Hunter mumbled and Crosshair smirked from the couch across the room.
“While Wrecker just obnoxiously did what they told him, he still followed orders. Crosshair on the other hand…” Tech butted in from piloting. Howzer was sitting next to him in the copilot seat, where he was found multiple times while flying after finding comfort in Tech and his conversations.
“He refused to follow orders. I don’t think we had been disciplined that much since our cadet days.” Hunter mumbled. Echo looked at Crosshair.
“You did that just to annoy the commanders or your brothers?”
“A little bit of both.”
“Why did you all get disciplined if just Crosshair wasn’t following orders?” Omega asked from sitting next to Crosshair, her mouth turning to a frown.
“It’s just a rule. One person doesn’t cooperate, the whole squad gets a punishment. Even platoon or company if you’re really unlucky.” Hunter explained and Omega still looked confused.
“That doesn’t seem fair.”
“Trust me. We know.”
Omega didn’t seem convinced or happy about the answer but didn’t say anything else as Tech called out they were approaching Coruscant.
They landed at a spot just a bit off from the first place they landed and Tech got up and began briefing them on the plan just one more time as everybody began getting ready.
Howzer had armor on his chest and legs, some old armor they found on the Marauder that most definitely didn’t fit the reg right but a bit of armor was better than none. He was also given a blaster from Tech, since he was going to stay on the ship for this mission.
“I shall be waiting here in case anything goes south. I will disable the cameras momentarily to avoid anybody spotting you. If you need to take a different route out, notify me and I will change the guards positions.” Tech said and Hunter nodded, slipping his helmet on.
“Sounds good, Tech. Cmon guys.”
Getting into the case room was easy as the first time, the guards being too caught up in other things to notice a random squeak of a door from down the hall as they moved their rotation somewhere else.
“Do you know the case number?” Rex asked Crosshair and he shook his head. The reg grumbled and began searching through the files on the computer nearby for any indication of a case that could be Howzer’s while Hunter commed Tech to look too.
Omega was gazing around at the cases, her eyes wide. “What are all these?” She asked. “They’re case trunks. Basically an upgraded evidence locker. When somebodies trial is done, the person either gets it back with all the items used for the investigation or it gets burned.” Echo explained to the girl and she nodded.
“I’m surprised we got to Fives in time. No telling what they were still discussing about his case when he’s dead.” Rex mumbled and Echo seemed to nod in agreement as he went quiet in thought.
“Found it.” Hunter received the case number from Tech and thanked him as they began searching for it.
“There!” Omega pointed at the second to last row at the top of the ceiling. Echo scomped in to the panel next to the wall and quickly programmed the lift to go up and grab the case trunk.
Howzer looked giddy as it came down and the group quickly dragged it off the lift onto the ground so that the reg could open it.
“Oh, thank the maker.” Howzer mumbled as he quickly began putting his armor on once he opened the trunk.
“Awful colors, Captain. Turquoise? Egh.” Crosshair gave a snarky look and Howzer rolled his eyes.
“Your comm link in there?” Hunter asked and Howzer glanced around in the trunk while he put on his boots.
“I see it.”
“Good. We’ll try to locate the Syndulla’s as soon as we get back to Ord Mantell. We gotta make sure these guards don’t catch us leaving the—“
Everybody spun around to the back of the room, just at the end of the aisle of trunks was a tall, red and white figure, clutching their helmet on their head as they shook ever so slightly.
Everybody’s blasters were raised, aside from Howzer, who was frozen mid-clip of his chest piece, and Omega, who was behind Wrecker’s leg.
Hunter’s eyes stared hard at the figure, a look that wanted to lower his blaster but knew he couldn’t.
Fox stepped forward, slowly taking off his helmet, his hand shaking. He was panting, grimacing with his eyes shutting harshly. “You gotta…you have to listen to me…” He said, his body shaking.
His helmet fell out of his hand and everybody flinched as the commander dropped to one knee, his right hand coming up to clutch his head as he let out a growl.
“Fox…let us help you.” Rex stepped forward and the commander put up his free hand and the captain stopped.
“Listen…listen to me…I don’t—don’t have much time…” Fox breathed in shakily, clearly fighting every ounce to stop the chip from taking over, though none of them were sure how he was doing it.
But they all listened, blasters still raised as Howzer finally finished putting his armor on and joined in aiming his blaster.
Fox took a moment before his eyes faded up, blinking heavily as he met Echo’s pale eyes.
Echo looked confused just before Fox’s eyes blinked quickly and he stood to his feet in a flash, reaching for his blaster.
Everybody bolted aside, Wrecker taking his sister with her and she squealed in surprise as blaster shots whizzed by them.
Fox panted, wincing as he clutched his head again, still trying to fight the chip.
Crosshair made his way around the aisle to the opposite side of his brother, peaking around the corner and watching as Fox struggled to fight against the chip before he suddenly began raising his own blaster against him and the snipers eyes widened.
The metal barely grazed the commanders chin before Crosshair stunned him and he fell to the floor, out cold for the amount of time they needed to leave.
Crosshair breathed heavily from the adrenaline as he went up to Fox and rolled him over as his squad approached as well.
“Wrecker, grab Fox.”
Nobody questioned the order as the giant clone grabbed the commander and they immediately began hauling ass to the exit.
“Tech, we’re gonna need a different exit out of here.”
Chapter 47: Feeling Blue
Hunter was leading his squad down the new route out that Tech had talked him through, turning corners so fast that Echo had to tell him to slow down.
Omega was in the middle of the pack and she kept nervously glancing up at Fox’s limp body, her face looking pale but nobody seemed to notice it at the moment.
They slowed at an intersections of halls and Hunter peaked around the corners to make sure nobody was coming before they bolted to the exit just across the way.
Everybody slid to a stop, turning with their blasters raised and were surprised to see a woman standing there in a dress, a pleading look in her eyes as she stepped forward.
“Where’re you taking him?” She asked and they all looked confused until Hunter saw she was looking at Fox’s body over Wrecker’s shoulders.
The woman nodded, stepping forward again. “Fox needs help.” Echo said, lowering his blaster. The woman swallowed, eyes meeting his.
“What kind of help?”
“It’s hard to explain.” Rex said, lowering his blaster. This woman was clearly not a threat; at least, not yet.
“I think…I think I know what you mean…or the basic idea…he’s hasn’t been the same since—since the war ended.” The woman said and fiddled with her hands.
“Let me come with you. Please. He’s—he’s all I have.” She said and everybody looked at Hunter. He raised his eyebrows.
“You’d risk going with a bunch of rogue clones rather than staying on coruscant?”
The woman shook her head. “It’s nothing like before. I can’t trust people here anymore…but I can always trust Fox.” She said, her voice hushed. Hunter sighed and rolled his head back.
“Follow us, ma’am.”
“Senator Chuchi?” Tech exclaimed and the woman gave a small smile at the shocked expressions that the statement caused.
“Senator?” Wrecker said loudly and Riyo huffed a laugh.
“I’m sorry. It sounds very cocky but I assumed you knew who I was.”
“I’m sorry. I’m just more shocked a senator was willing to risk her life to make sure this idiot was okay.” Crosshair pointed at Fox’s sleeping form. Riyo smiled sadly and rested a hand on Fox’s hair, brushing through it.
“That would be understandable.”
“We gotta get the chip out now, Tech. He was fighting it hard.” Hunter said and the engineer sighed as he motioned for Echo to go pilot, who nodded and went to the cockpit with Crosshair following to help.
“Prep the table. I shall gather my tools.”
“Uhm, I’m sorry. Can you explain what you’re gonna do to him?” Riyo asked suddenly, looking confused. Rex offered for her to sit down on the couch of the navi room.
“I’ll explain everything while they work, ma'am.”
Riyo hesitated leaving Fox’s side, giving him one last look before convincing herself he was in safe hands; after all, these were his brothers.
After helping Tech prep some of his tools to help get Fox’s chip out, Omega wandered over to where Riyo was talking to Rex, asking questions about the inhibitor chip.
“I knew something was wrong as soon as they announced the war ended. When they said they killed the jedi I—I couldn’t believe it. The jedi would’ve never betrayed us.” Riyo said and Rex sighed.
“I know. It’s all a lot to take in, but we’ve been trying to help any clones that need it. Fox is smart, and clearly has been fighting the chip.” Riyo nodded.
“He’d fade in and out ever once in awhile. When he was in his…chip state, I’d do my best to avoid him but it’s—it was hard.” Riyo wrapped her arms around her self, turning her head and finally noticing Omega.
“Well, aren’t you a cute sight for sore eyes?”
Omega giggled as Rex rolled his eyes. “This is Omega. She’s a clone, like us.” He said and Riyo looked surprised. “I never would’ve guessed that.”
Hunter appeared in the room, followed by Crosshair. Riyo looked at them and squinted a bit.
“I take it you guys are also clones?”
“What gave it away?” Hunter gave an amused grin and Riyo huffed a chuckle. “Who else would have the balls to break into the coruscant guard building and kidnap their commander?”
Crosshair grinned, already noting he liked this woman. “The names Hunter.” The sergeant held out his hand and Riyo shook it.
“Riyo Chuchi. But you can call me Riyo. No ‘senator’ or ‘ma’am’ stuff, alright?” The former senator said and Crosshair smirked.
“Yes ma’am.” Riyo shot the sniper a look and Hunter thumbed to his brother. “This is Crosshair, my obnoxious brother. Get used to snarky comments if you’re gonna be here for a bit.”
Riyo smirked. “That’s alright. I’m used to Fox already.” Crosshair rolled his eyes.
“Fox ain’t got nothing on me.”
“Funny. You sound just like him.”
“Now I’m just offended.”
Riyo smirked in victory and Crosshair scoffed. Hunter looked at Omega. “I assume you already met Omega?” He said and Riyo nodded as Omega smiled.
“The one operating on Fox is Tech and the big one that was carrying him is Wrecker. Howzer and Echo are the ones piloting in the cockpit so you can go meet them in a bit.” Riyo nodded.
“Where are we heading?”
“Right now, to Ord Mantell. That’s where we’ve been staying for awhile.” Hunter told the former senator and she nodded.
“Will Fox be okay?”
“Truthfully, this is only the second time Tech has had to do this, but Tech is very, very skilled with his hands in the medical sense and the operation was a success the first time.” Hunter explained and Riyo looked a bit nervous.
“Who was the first operation?”
Crosshair raised his hand and Riyo looked surprised before she nodded her head a bit, as if she understood that Fox would be fine.
“I don’t mean to come off as berating your brothers skills, I’m just…worried.” Riyo said and winced a bit, her hands resting on her stomach. Rex looked concerned and sat up.
“Are you injured?”
“Oh! No, no! I’m just—uh—I’m sorry. I thought it was obvious because I feel like it is but I’m—uh—“ Riyo pulled the back of her shirt a bit to stretch it across the medium size bump on her stomach and all of them looked surprised, besides Omega who looked confused.
“You’re pregnant?” Riyo smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. I feel huge so I thought it was noticeable.” She said and rubbed her belly a bit. Rex smiled softly, as did Hunter and even Crosshair had the faintest smirk.
“Congrats. I’m gonna just assume it’s—“ Rex thumbed to the common room where Fox was being operated on and Riyo nodded.
“He doesn’t know…I found out before the end of the war but he was off world and I wanted to wait to tell him in person but then when he came back…I knew something was wrong and I was scared to tell him out of fear of somebody finding out and just—“ Riyo sighed and the clones around her gave understanding nods.
Omega tugged on Hunter’s sleeve and he looked down at her. “Pregnant? That’s what Evesh said she had for her kids right?” Crosshair held back a short of laughter as Hunter grimaced.
“So…how do you become pre—“
“I think your brothers need help in the cockpit, Omega.” Hunter turned her around by her head and nudged her out the door. Crosshair was holding back giggled as Omega turned and shot Hunter a look before going off toward Echo and Howzer at the front of the ship.
Riyo chuckled as Hunter rubbed his face. “She doesn’t know when to ask right questions at the right time.” He mumbled and the former senator laughed.
“Well, if you’re not ready to have the conversation yet, give me a holler. Woman are easy to talk to about those things.” Riyo winked at the sergeant as he grumbled.
“Pussy.” Hunter simply shot Crosshair a look as Rex and Riyo chuckled before the sergeant walked out to go check on his brothers.
Chapter 48: Confessions
Mentions of suicidal thoughts!
Hunter checked on Tech first and the engineer was nearly finished with removing the chip from Fox’s head. Hunter grimaced but gave a nod before slipping out to go to the cockpit where he found his other siblings talking as they navigated.
Riyo and Rex were still talking in the navi room and that made Wrecker being the last one to check on.
Hunter stood in front of the bunk room door, expecting to hear his brothers loud snores and slowed heartbeat that always told him he was dead asleep.
But it was quiet to normal ears.
Hunter picked up his brothers heartbeat, faster than normal and could hear shallow, labored breathing coming from the room. The sergeant frowned and opened the door, peaking in to see Wrecker sitting sideways on his bunk with his legs hanging off the side, still in his armor.
The giant clone looked at his brother, eyebrows raising a bit questionably. “Hey…you okay?” Hunter asked and Wrecker nodded. His silence was Hunter’s answer enough; Wrecked always verbally answered, if he didn’t it was either cause he’s too tired or he’s upset.
Wrecker shifted a bit. “Not really.” Strike two. Hunter stepped in the room, hands dropping to his side.
“What’s wrong, bud?”
“Nothing.” Strike three. Wrecker was awful at lying.
Hunter sighed and went to Wrecker’s bunk, motioning with his hand as a request to sit down. Wrecker moved over a bit and the sergeant sat down, letting there be silence for a bit as a way to let Wrecker find the words he needed to say.
“I, uh, when Fox tried to…tried to—“ Wrecker made a little motion with his hands, Hunter nodded, telling him he understood what he was referring to.
“—I tried to cover the kids eyes but…she saw it. I’m just glad he didn’t actually…y’know…” Hunter’s expression dropped a bit. He hadn’t even thought Omega witnessing that.
It hurt to admit, but Hunter was used to death. With people outside of his squad, it was barely a blink of an eye. Sure, he was upset about them but it was something he had to get used to in war.
And while he would’ve been devastated about Fox if he had pulled the trigger, none the less, he had to keep moving on for his family.
“It’s not your fault, Wrecker. Nobody could’ve predicted Fox would’ve tried to do that to himself!” Hunter told his brother and while he nodded, Wrecker didn’t seem convinced. The giant clone slumped his chin in his palm and glanced off.
Hunter could feel his brothers emotions vibrating off him and his stomach turned. He could tell something else was bothering Wrecker and it was so bad it was affecting him just as Crosshair’s emotions had when he returned.
“What else is it, Wrecker? Something else is bothering you.”
Wrecker shook his head.
“Wreck, cmon. You don’t have to bottle up your—“
“Drop it, Hunter!”
The sergeant flinched at his brothers tone just from the shock of Wrecker raising his voice. While Wrecker was loud, he was never loud when it came to serious topics. He never raised his voice at his brothers with intent to hurt and Hunter knew he was upset based off that alone.
Wrecker looked guilty as soon as he did it and rubbed his face before leaning his head over to rest in against Hunter’s shoulder. “I’m sorry.” He whispered and Hunter wrapped as arm around his neck, bringing his forehead against his own.
“It’s fine, Wreck…I’m just worried about you.”
Wrecker didn’t say anything for a bit, simply sitting there with their heads pressed against each other’s. The giant clone let out a shaky breath.
“I don’t know how—how Fox fought it…when mine activated…I could just…watch and do nothing…” He whispered and Hunter hugged him tighter.
“The whole time I was in there…I was just…beggin’ for one of you guys to…to…” Hunter’s eyes widened as he processed what his brother meant.
“I know…you guys wouldn’t deserve to live with that guilt…but if I had done anythin’ to you guys and had to continue livin’ with that while also workin’ for the empire…I would’ve…would’ve done the same.”
Hunter didn’t say anything for a moment, swallowing hard as he felt the few tears from Wrecker’s eyes falling onto his shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Wreck…you didn’t deserve any of that.”
Wrecker didn’t say anything, but the way he nudged his face farther into his brothers shoulder showed he appreciated Hunter’s words.
After a bit, Hunter could tell Wrecker was tried and told him to take a nap. The giant clone argued for a moment before giving in and stripping just to his blacks.
Hunter went to check on everybody else one more time before returning to the bunk room and going to Wrecker’s bunk.
The giant clone was nearly asleep when he opened his eyes in surprise as Hunter crawled in and plopped down in between Wrecker’s body and the wall.
While Wrecker was a huge cuddler, he had to accept that he was simply too big to have anybody (other than Omega) snuggle in any bed that was a full or less basically.
Hunter knew he’d probably have sore limps in the morning from being squished by his brother but he didn’t care at the moment as he slung an arm over Wrecker’s neck and plopped his head on the giant pillow.
“Love you too, bud.”
Wrecker smiled to himself and so did Hunter before the two drifted off until they got back to Ord Mantell.
And no, Crosshair was definitely not jealous when he came across the two. Definitely not!
Chapter 49: Coma
Tech finished stitching Fox up and sprayed bacta on the wound with a sigh.
For the first time since he met Fox, the commander looked peaceful.
Fox was a busy man, so Tech never blamed him for never being able to hide the resting bitch face he usually had. It was something he respected about Fox.
Even though he was a war torn, politics hassling, senator escorting commander, he still knew his place while also respecting and helping those around him. And on top of that, Fox was patient.
When they had been trained by him, the Bad Batch were annoyed with him for awhile. He was so…boring. All they did for awhile was help escort a few senators around, watch some crowds, make the very few arrest of said crowds, and do so much paperwork.
It took a bit to click when Fox finally began their actual training, which involved cross planet escorts, warrant arrests, and hunting down criminals, that Tech realized Fox had been waiting. Waiting for them to be patient.
Tech cursed himself for not figuring out sooner. Every time Fox heard them complaining, they were given a boring task or simply waited while Fox finished up.
Eventually, they just stopped complaining. They knew the routine mostly and when Fox saw they were finally ready to accept that not everything in a war was action and adventure, he let their training start.
That was what helped the Bad Batch become as successful as they had been during the war. Despite not every mission being the action they wanted, they took them without complaint and complete them, because they knew in times like then it wasn’t about what they wanted, it was about what the people needed.
Tech washed his hands before coming out of the room and was greeted by almost all his siblings and as well as Riyo.
“How is he?”
“The commander will be alright, but for now I put him in a medically induced coma.” Tech explained as he wiped his hands. Echo looked confused.
“You can do that?”
“Of course I can.” Tech said and his brothers rolled their eyes at his confidence. “It is the same thing I did to Crosshair, just for a few days longer. His chip leaked more radiation than Crosshair’s did, most likely due to either an injury to his head or him fighting control over it and causing stress to it. Either way, he’ll be monitored for a week in his coma to make sure none of it spreads to any other part of his body now that the chip is put.”
Riyo sighed, mostly out of relief and nodded. “Can I see him?” She asked and Tech nodded. Riyo disappeared into the room and Tech turned to his brothers.
“Fox was holding this in his hand—“ Tech pulled something out of his pocket and tossed it to Hunter. He looked confused as he stared at it, tilting it around. It look similar to one of Crosshair’s mirrors for reflecting blaster shots, except it had a screen on it. The screen buzzed to life in Hunter’s hand and showed some numbers on the screen, as well as a heartbeat monitor.
“What is it?”
“It seems to be a set of coordinates, as well as a monitor of somebody in this galaxy’s heart.” Tech explained as he pushed his goggles up. “Who’s heart?” Hunter asked and Tech shrugged.
“I do not know. I gave it a once over, but that seems to be the only thing it displays.”
Tech turned to look at Echo. “Fox was talking to you.” The cyborg looked confused. “No he wasn’t.”
“It was as clear as day. He was saying it specifically to you. He waited to look at you to say it.”
“Okay, so what if he did? I don’t have anything at any set of coordinates unless you found my legs and arm.” Crosshair snorted a laugh, covering his mouth.
Tech rolled his eyes. “Clearly, this is worth investigating. I am going to go import the coordinates and locate the planet it is on.” Tech took back the device and went to the computer.
Echo huffed and stood up, going outside to stretch his legs and enjoy the sunlight. Hunter stood, deciding he was going to take a trip to the Rollala’s now that they were planetside again.
He told his brothers where he was going as he was about to go talk to Riyo before he left when Crosshair smirked.
“Tell your boyfriend I said hi.”
Rex looked surprised. “Boyfriend?” He questioned and Hunter glared at Crosshair. “I don’t have a boyfriend.” The sniper rolled his eyes.
“Whatever you say, you simp.”
Hunter shook his head in disgust as he disappeared into the common room and Rex looked at Crosshair.
“I didn’t know Hunter was…” Rex motioned his head a bit and Crosshair chuckled. “Really? Thought we gave it away at this point.” Crosshair said and Rex raised his eyebrows.
“You guys too?”
“i’ll fuck anything that moves, captain.”
“You’re disgusting.” Tech said from the computer, shaking his head. Crosshair smirked. “Now, Tech on the other hand—“
The engineer spun around, glaring daggers at his brother from the chair in front of their computer.
“I would prefer it if you did not share my sex life with every single one of our two million brothers!”
“Tech—is a twi’lek twink.”
Rex snorted and Tech looked ready to snap Crosshair’s neck.
“No shame in preference, Tech.” Rex said with a grin and Tech shook his head in disgust. “It is not a preference! Crosshair catches me once with a twi’lek and he never lets me live it down!”
“First of all, shiteyes, it was two twi’leks, two male twi’leks! And second of all, if you’re going to do it in our shared area, then it’s going to be my business to share it!” Crosshair crossed his arms with a smirk.
“Do I even wanna ask what shared space?” Rex shook his head and Crosshair looked at the captain. “Take a wild guess.”
Rex glanced at the cockpit and Tech looked away quickly, letting the reg shake us head. Crosshair grinned.
“Oh trust me, cap. I’ve done it in worse spots.”
Chapter 50: Worries
References to sex happening but only just heavy making out. If y’all want me to do sex scenes, now and in the future, lemme know and I will happily provide for y’all 👀
Hunter had asked Riyo if she’d like to join him in visiting the Rollala’s, explaining how her and Fox will most likely be staying there once Fox wakes up and if Evesh and Saha are fine with it, adding that Evesh might be helpful with her pregnancy.
“It’s nice that you happen to know people with kids. This whole time being pregnant and having to hide it hasn’t been easy.”
Hunter felt sympathy, after all, this was obviously one of his future sister in laws. The sergeant gave a nod. “Yea. Though I know it’s a bit different, I know what it feels like to get thrown into something you definitely weren’t expecting.”
Riyo looked at him questionably and Hunter sighed. “We never expected to have a kid with us, but when we found out Omega was a clone like us, we took her with us. Having to basically be a parent has been…hard.” Riyo smiled.
“Well, she’s a fine young lady from what i’ve seen, so I think you’re doing good so far, Hunter.”
“Thanks.” The sergeant replied with a smile as they approached the Rollala’s door. He gave it a simple knock before letting himself in and could hear music playing faintly from the living room.
Upon entering the kitchen that bled into the living room, Hunter was greeted by Deshi, who most likely heard his voice and came crawling to find him.
“Hey kid, you’ve gotten fast.” He said and scooped her up. “Oh my goodness. You are just the cutest.” Riyo gushed and pinched Deshi’s cheek, making the young Togruta giggle and hide against Hunter’s chest.
“About time you came back around! I worry about you boys, y’know?” Evesh appeared from her bedroom with a smile, holding Olash and Canvas in her arms.
Casse was already at Hunter’s feet, babbling up at him and Riyo gazed at the babies.
“Oh my. Are these all yours?” She asked and Evesh nodded. “Pardon the mess, but Saha and I worked the graveyard shift the last two nights so both of us haven’t had time to clean.”
“You’ve seen our ship. This is nothing compared to that.” Hunter grinned before he motioned to Riyo.
“Riyo, this is Evesh Rollala and her four kids: Deshi, Olash, Canvas, and Casse. Evesh, this is former senator of Pantora, Riyo Chuchi.”
“A senator? Hunter, if you keep bringing important people into my house when I look like shit, I’m gonna hurt you.”
Hunter grinned as he watched Riyo pick up Casse. “They are just darling.” She said and Evesh smiled. “Take your pick. Seriously.” She joked before motioning for them to come to the couch.
“What’s brings you over here?”
“I was actually wondering for a favor.” Hunter said as he sat down and let Deshi play with his armor. Evesh nodded. “Anything for you boys.”
“We have our brother, Fox, on board right now. He’s in a medically induced coma for about a week and before he was under, he gave us a set of coordinates we need to check out. Do you think him and Riyo can crash here for a bit until Fox wakes up?”
“Okay, so normally I’d say yes but I feel a bit uneasy letting a man in a coma just…lay in my house.”
“Oh, Tech can be here too. He can monitor him so you wouldn’t have to worry about anything happening.” Evesh nodded and Hunter cleared his throat, motioning to Riyo.
“Riyo here is also—“ Hunter’s eyebrows raised and Riyo smiled sheepishly, pulling her shirt back to show her belly and Evesh lit up.
“Congratulations! That’s amazing!”
Riyo thanked her, smiling. “I figured you could help her navigate a bit through the whole thing, give her some pointers.”
“I’d be happy to! Just pray you don’t have anymore than one. I was bigger than a bantha with my pregnancy.” Riyo let out a chuckle, looking pleased with the offer.
“I’ll make a deal. I’ll handle this whole thing, if you send Omega over as well to babysit while we work. Deal?”
Hunter nodded before remembering something and he sighed. “Also…I’ve been meaning to ask you to do this—“ Hunter pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Please…please have the birds and the bees talk with that girl…I can’t do it.”
Riyo and Evesh let out loud laughs and Hunter turned red. “Hunter…a heightened soldier, built to win wars and you can’t tell your sister what sex is.” Evesh giggled and Hunter covered his face with his hand in embarrassment.
“I’ve tried! But just every time I go to open my mouth to explain…she’s just look too innocent to know and I can’t do it…and Crosshair and Wrecker are too childish to explain it right, Tech would get to technical and Echo told me it’s my responsibility.”
Evesh laughed and shook her head. “Don’t worry about it, Hunter. I’ll handle it.” Hunter dropped his hand, smiling sheepishly.
Tech pinpointed the coordinates back to Hoth and after scanning the planet, he found still nothing of great interest that could be a reason to follow these coordinates.
But Hunter insisted that Fox knew something was there they needed to see and told him to prep the ship to leave in the morning.
They had moved Fox’s body to the Rollala’s, laying in on Saha’s bed. Hunter questioned where Saha would sleep then and Evesh said he’d be on the couch.
Evesh had enough room on her bed for her and Riyo and even had some pregnancy pillows for her to use which made the Pantorian get excited as she flopped onto a pillow made to lay on her belly.
“Oh, I missed this.” She groaned with her face in the pillow and Evesh grinned in amusement.
Wrecker insisted on staying behind to help the ladies if they needed anything else in rearranging for the guests but nobody bought his excuse and simply told him to make sure he got enough sleep.
Hunter was surprised to return to the ship and find Saha talking to Crosshair, who smirked when Saha’s back turned to greet Hunter.
“Your brother was very kind to offer a spot on the ship.” Saha said with a faint smile and Hunter let out a breathy chuckle.
“Oh. That’s great! I just don’t know if these bunks are that comfortable.”
Crosshair rolled his eyes as Howzer appeared next to him, watching Saha and Hunter talk to one another, giving googoo eyes to each other.
“That his boyfriend you were talking about?” Howzer whispered, forgetting Hunter had heightened senses and was surprised to see the sergeant send a sneaky glare to both of them.
“Yea. But he’s too shy to admit it.”
Howzer grinned. He missed being able to poke at his brothers in the same way.
“You have somebody waiting on Ryloth? Oh! Are you a twi’lek twink too?”
Howzer pursed his lips, a faint smile on his face. “You could say that.” Crosshair spun around.
“See Tech? He embraces his twinki-ness!”
That definitely earned a long line of swears coming from the engineer trying to prep his ship in peace.
When it came time for bed, Hunter exited the cockpit and found Tech and Crosshair snuggled up on the couch, about to drift off.
Hunter frowned. “Who’s got your guys bunk?” He asked and the two smirked.
“Oh, we thought Rex could take mine this time and Howzer take Tech’s. We politely offered Saha your bed. We figured you wouldn’t mind.”
Hunter glared down at his brothers.
“Nope! No room, brother.” Crosshair said and pulled Tech against him as a partial blanket. Hunter huffed and turned to get ready for bed, deciding he was sleeping in the common room tonight.
As he was getting ready those, his nerves bubbled thinking about if he did go along with the obvious plan his brothers set up for him to finally make a move on Saha.
He sighed, staring at himself in the mirror.
Why did the Togruta like this? Hunter wondered it to himself bitterly.
He was a clone, a defective one no less, and Saha was either really good at pretending it didn’t matter or truly didn’t care, but Hunter couldn’t bring himself to believe it.
All his life, he had learned to shut up and use not looking like his two million brothers to an advantage. They got into more stores, bars, and into more pants than any of the regs based off the fact that they didn’t look like clones so nobody ever asked so long as they weren’t in their armor.
Hunter wondered to himself if it was even worth it. He couldn’t even promise he’d be back the next day for a simple date if Saha wanted one.
He was a soldier, not a stay at home boyfriend that he knew the natborns would love to have. And there were so many things that somebody else could give Saha that Hunter couldn’t?
So why was he so persistent for Hunter?
“Will you please just go cuddle or fuck him?”
Hunter jumped at the sound of Crosshair’s voice and snapped his head to the doorway next to him at the bathroom sink. Crosshair grinned.
“Scared ya. I’ll put that one on the board.”
Hunter rolled his eyes.
“But seriously, go.” Crosshair motioned to the bunk room and Hunter sighed. “I dunno, Cross. It’s not a—“
“Hunter, I’m gonna need you to shut up and listen for a second, okay?”
The sergeant gave his brother an unamused look, but none the less, leaned against the sink and motioned for Crosshair to continue.
“First off, I wanna say if you ever tell anybody that I gave you a heart to heart, I will make sure this ship reeks of garlic for the next few cycles.” Hunter grinned.
“Second of all, what is stopping you from doing this? You are clearly interested in this man, he is clearly interested in you. What is holding you back? Is it us?”
Hunter glanced away for a brief moment and it confirmed Crosshair’s suspicions.
“I don’t need to be getting in a relationship when I have you guys to worry about.”
“That’s the thing, Hunter. You don’t have to worry about us. I get that Omega is young and brash, but she has literally four other brothers to watch her all the time and at the moment two extra while they’re staying.”
Hunter blinked, soaking in his brothers words.
“I get it, you’ve been worrying the day we all were out together. The war is done though. The empire thinks we’re dead! I know that doesn’t mean we’re entirely out of the woods yet but you don’t need to coddle us just because you’re worried! You can be worried and still do you’re own thing to be happy!”
Hunter blinked and cracked a grin.
“Boy, the empire did make you soft, huh?”
Crosshair punched in the shoulder and Hunter winced but still grinned.
“My point is, stop worrying about us…we’re not going anywhere, okay? After all we’ve been through, we better die together! All guts and glory too!”
Hunter chuckled before his gaze fell to the floor.
“Okay?” Crosshair raised his eyebrows.
Hunter looked up at him and let out a breath from his nostrils, shutting his eyes.
The sergeant felt his brother arms around his shoulders and he returned the hug for a brief moment.
“Don’t mention it…and I’m serious about that.”
Hunter chuckled and patted his back as he pulled away, nudging him out of the doorway.
“Whatever you say, vod’ika.”
“Did you know that when you look at something you love your pupils dilate like…really really big—and yours always went—WHOOSH!” Tech tiredly said from the couch and motioned with his thumb and pointer finger over his eyes. Hunter rolled his eyes as he watched Crosshair plop back next to Tech and get comfortable.
“Goodnight.” The two mumbled back tiredly before nodding off.
Hunter breathed in in front of the bunk room door before entering, landing his gaze on his bunk where he saw the Togruta he was looking for, sensing he was nodding off slowly.
Hunter approached the bunk and Saha slowly opened his eyes, blinking up at Hunter before a faint smile appeared on his face.
It felt hot and Hunter knew he was red, thanking the maker it was dark in the room so that Saha couldn’t see it. The sergeant scratched the back of his neck, glancing away.
“You have room for one more?”
“Are you really asking that for your own bunk?” Saha raised his eyes and Hunter smiled sheepishly as the Togruta lifted the covers.
The sergeant slipped in, pressing his back to Saha’s chest as the Togruta’s arms slipped under and around him, hugging him and pulling him farther into him.
Hunter meant his head up a bit to slip off his bandana and toss it on top of his trunk as he did every night before plopping his head into the pillow.
Hunter laid there for a moment, trying to control himself but feeling like a giddy teenager as he felt Saha’s breath creeping down his neck.
The hand around his waist gripped tighter on his stomach, making it flutter and Hunter swallowed, trying to get himself to get a grip.
He was definitely harder than a rock right now.
Luckily, Saha wouldn’t notice until he was looking right at it but still, Hunter felt embarrassed that it had been so long since something like this he could barely control himself.
It was then he noticed Saha wasn’t drifting off like before, instead he kept shifting and repositioning his arms to hold Hunter tighter, burying his face into his hair. Maybe he was thinking the same?
Hunter glanced up and noticed some of Saha’s lekku laying above his head, hesitating as he shifted his hand up a bit. If this wasn’t what the Togruta was thinking, Hunter was going to put himself in front of a firing squad.
Saha stilled when Hunter’s finger tips grazed his lekku and the sergeant stopped for a moment with his fingers resting there. Saha breathed out when he began stroking it, eventually putting his full hand on it to let it run through his hand.
The arm around Hunter tightened and he almost squeaked in surprise when he could feel Saha’s mouth and breath against the curve of his neck on his left shoulder.
Hunter stopped playing with the lekku when a hand ran down his torso and he shuddered, leaning his head to silently grant access to the Togruta.
Hunter clamped a hand over his own mouth when Saha swiped his tongue against the available area and smirked, sitting up. Hunter looked embarrassed, rolling onto his back to face the Togruta leaning over him.
“Cid told me about the room that she offers to you guys…said I have the same offer if I ever…need it.” Saha whispered quietly. Hunter stared up at him and for a moment Saha looked nervous like he read the situation wrong.
The Togruta blinked in surprise when Hunter rolled from underneath him and stood to his feet, offering him his hands with a teenager grin. Saha grinned and shot up as silently as he grabbed Hunter’s hands and they bolted as quietly as they could out of the ship with Hunter in the lead.
“You’re not at least going to grab shoes?” Saha teased as they went down the Marauder steps.
Hunter turned to him, pressing a long awaited yet short kiss to his lips. “They’ll come off anyway.” Saha noticed that the sergeants voice got huskier, but he wasn’t sure if it was because of his tiredness or hornyness but what he did know was that it was a turn on.
Saha grinned and pressed another kiss, and another, and another until Hunter whispered they should probably get to the room in the parlor before trying anything and Saha nodded as Hunter took his hand again.
The bad was empty and Hunter listened for a moment for any movement or heartbeats in Cid’s office but found nothing and he nodded to Saha to say it was clear and the Togruta bolted to him from the doorway, picking him up and carrying him to the room located behind the bar.
Hunter laughed, wiggling in Saha’s arms in attempt to be put down but the Togruta didn’t budge until they got to the bed and the sergeant was plopped down.
“I’m glad you came to join me.” Saha said as he stripped himself of his shirt and Hunter joined him.
“I’m glad this was your grand plan.”
Saha climbed on top of the sergeant, smirking as he gave a quick kiss.
“What can I say? I’m a man who gets what I want.”
Hunter rolled his eyes.
“And i’m a man that plays hard to get.”
“Funny. Those are my favorite.” Saha said with a grin before dipping down to give another long kiss and Hunter finally let go of his worries.
Chapter 51: Coordinates
Hunter blinked tiredly as the sun peaked through the tiny window in the upper right corner behind him, reflecting off the walls and lighting up the room faintly.
The sergeant lifted his head to look at the sleeping Togruta next to him that had his arms wrapped around him tight. Hunter admired him for a moment, huffing softly as he thought about the night before, turning a bit pink when he could see faint red marks peaking over Saha’s shoulder.
Hunter freed his hands from where they were squished against the Togruta’s chest and brought them up to the lekku that rest next to his face, beginning to caress it in a loving way rather than a sexual way. Or so he thought.
“Keep doing that, we’re going another round.”
Hunter huffed a chuckle as Saha opened his eyes, tiredly smiling. The sergeant continued caressing it, knowing the Togruta was just messing with him by his tone, (Though Hunter wanted to bite back and ask if he’d stay true to his word).
“I’d hope last night was up to your expectations.” Hunter murmured and Saha hummed, shutting his eyes.
“All of them and more.”
Hunter chuckled, dropping his hands to prop himself up on his elbow. Saha opened his eyes and gave a pout that Hunter rolled his eyes at and brought his other hand to continue playing with lekku to satisfy the Togruta.
“What made you change your mind on me?”
Hunter sighed, fiddling with the end of the lekku. “I never changed my mind. I was just…nervous.” Hunter said and Saha grinned.
“A soldier? Nervous over little old me?”
Hunter turned pink and shook his head. “I like you…I really do but I just…I wanna be honest—“ Saha sat up, propping himself on his elbows so that he could play with Hunter’s hair as the sergeant spoke.
“I was nervous about…about giving you what you deserve…I’m a soldier, i’ll be going off to find bounties and what not, as well as if the Empire catches wind of us still being alive then…I don’t want to risk your family being in danger…it’s not something I could live with.”
Saha listened, nodding his head slightly.
“Like I said…I really, really like you, so with that those things in mind…I really want you to think about it…okay?” Hunter raised his eyebrows. Saha gave a nod.
“You swear? And don’t just think with your dick.”
Saha let out a breathy laugh and grab Hunter’s hand playing with his own lekku, bringing it to his lips to press a kiss into the sergeants palm before hugging it to his chest. Hunter smiled sheepishly and Saha gave one back.
Hunter looked satisfied and Saha plopped back down on the pillows, trying to coax Hunter to join him. “I would totally do it any other day, but I gotta get back to the ship. Especially before Omega wakes up. She’s ask too many damn questions just like her other brother.” Hunter grumbled and Saha gave a sad nod.
“I’ll have an answer for you tonight…okay? A true, thought out answer.” Saha said to him and Hunter hesitated before nodding.
“I’ll comm you if we don’t get back tonight.” Hunter told him, beginning to put on his clothes.
“Sounds good.” Saha said and watched as the sergeant got dressed. Hunter looked at him and gave a small smile before leaning down to press a kiss to his lips. Saha smiled into the kiss before they pulled away.
“See you tonight…maybe.” Saha said as he watched Hunter go to the window rather than the door and he frowned.
“The doors over there.”
“Cid’s probably awake and I don’t need her knowing we fucked in her parlor. I’ll never hear the end of it.” Hunter said as he opened the window after checking for anybody and hoisted himself up.
Saha stood, slipping on his pants before going to the window once Hunter was out in the alley way.
Saha peaked his head out and grinned, Hunter returning it before leaning down to kiss him.
It was interrupted when a hard object hit Hunter in the head with a sharp ‘thwack!’ and the sergeant yelped in surprise and pulled away.
Saha busted out laughing as Hunter looked up to meet a disgusted Cid’s face with her cane next to her.
“In my parlor? Unbelievable! You damn clones thinking you run everywhere around here!” Cid grumbled as she made her way back into her parlor from the back entrance.
Hunter rubbed his head as he turned back to Saha, who was trying to silence his giggles.
“I owe you for that one.”
“Damn right you do.” Hunter couldn’t hide his smile, giving one last kiss before taking off with the Togruta watching him with a happy sigh before going to face his boss and give an explanation to their shenanigans in her back room.
Crosshair smirked at Hunter when he appeared in the Marauder, leaning back on the couch with his caf in one hand and the other running through a sleeping Tech’s hair on his lap.
“Wow. Lost your shoes it was that good!”
Hunter rolled his eyes and quickly made a beeline for the refresher to clean up before everybody woke up.
Upon exiting after his shower, Hunter saw everybody was awake besides Wrecker but that was normal.
Tech was still half slumped over across Crosshairs lap, scrolling lazily through his data pad. Hunter nudged him. “Cmon. You gotta go check on Fox. I also want you to give Riyo a check up, make sure everything with the baby’s okay.”
Tech grumbled something in response before pushing himself up and going to get his armor just as Wrecker bounded up the ship steps, a big grin on his face.
“Wow. First time i’ve seen you with a smile that wide on his face.” Echo commented as he sipped his caf. Crosshair snickered, setting his mug aside.
“Good pussy will do that to you.”
Hunter shot his brother a look but luckily Omega was too distracted showing Howzer her clone trooper doll to hear it.
“Good dick too.”
Hunter’s head slowly turned to Wrecker, who had the biggest shit eating grin on his face and he could hear Crosshair holding back laughter from the couch.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Oh, you know. Just…just trying to be inclusive.” Wrecker said, stifling giggles, not even being able to look at Crosshair or he would lose it.
Hunter spun around and jammed a finger in the snipers face.
“You fucking bastard!”
Omega definitely caught that sentence as she turned in confusion as Crosshair and Wrecker busted out laughing, both bringing tears to their eyes as they clutched their stomachs.
“It wasn’t me! I swear I didn’t say anything!” Crosshair explained and Hunter was confused as he looked at Wrecker, who was trying to talk in between giggles to explain when Hunter recalled suddenly in the middle of his and Saha’s…night, he swore he heard a pair of footsteps inside the parlor but brushed it off as people in the alley way behind them.
Hunter shook his head in disgust before going to the cockpit to start the ship up.
The others all exchanged looks of confusions.
“Did we miss something?”
Tech bid Saha and Evesh a good morning upon entering their home, immediately going to check on Fox. Omega bounded up, grinning ear to ear as Saha picked her up.
“Saha and I only have our shifts till around 8 this evening, but don’t worry, you’ll get paid.” Evesh winked at the young girl and Omega lit up and gave a nod as Saha took her to wake up the quadruplets.
Tech nodded in satisfaction after checking Fox over, already seeing some of radiation gone down from the detox. He shut the door to the bedroom and saw that Riyo was up, munching on some sweets.
“Good morning Tech.” She chirped and he returned it as he tapped on his data pad.
“If you do not mind, at some point today I would like to check you over for a physical. Nothing serious, just Hunter asked if I would so I can give you and your baby a clean bill of health.” Riyo nodded, a small smile on her face.
“You know a lot about medical stuff.”
“But you’re not a medic?”
Tech shook his head. “I was trained by a medic named Kix during the war for general stuff so I can take care of my squad, but for the most part wherever we went there was always a clone medic present, so to spare one to have with our squad at all times would be pointless.” Tech explained and Riyo nodded understandingly.
Evesh appeared from her bedroom, dressed for work and Saha eventually appeared with Omega and his nieces and nephews, setting them on the living room floor for Omega to watch them before going to change.
I hate to be a bother, but can you check over Olash? He’s feeling a little under the weather. I just wanna make sure it’s nothing too serious.”
“No problem at all.”
Evesh gave Tech a thankful smile as Saha appeared dressed for work and the two Togruta’s bid a good day, kissing the kids on the forehead as a goodbye before disappearing out the door.
Tech picked up Olash, who indeed wasn’t as energetic as normal, simply slumping against Tech’s torso as he held him in his arms and scanned him over.
“You ever thought about having kids, Tech?”
Tech froze a bit at the question from Riyo as he was looking at his data pad.
“The possibility never crossed my mind until about a few months ago.”
Omega grinned, poking her own cheeks. “Until this cute face showed up?” Tech smirked a bit.
“If anything, that drove me away from that possibility.”
Omega pouted. “You’re mean.” She huffed and her brother ruffled her hair teasingly before going to set Olash in the couch so he could examine him.
Tech was caught off guard when the young child started huffing with tears coming down his face, seemingly out of nowhere and the engineer blinked in confusion.
“Why’s he crying? What’d you do?” Omega asked and went over to the two. “Nothing! I put him down on the couch!” Tech argued and Omega rolled her eyes.
“Then he clearly wants you to hold him.” Riyo smiled in amusement at this child telling a (technically) adult soldier how to take care of a baby.
Tech huffed and complied to what his sister suggested, scooping Olash up into his arms again and the baby calmed down. Tech huffed and Omega smiled before going back to the other babies.
The engineer looked down at the baby in his arms and sighed as he proceeded to try to examine the young Togruta while also providing the comfort he needed.
“We’re approaching Hoth.”
Hunter went up to the cockpit, standing behind the copilot chair where Rex was sitting, avoiding Crosshair and Wrecker’s smirks that they still had plastered on their face from earlier.
Howzer didn’t look happy as he looked out the windshield at the planet and Crosshair noticed.
“What’s got your panties in a bundle?”
“I hate snow planets…and the cold in general.”
“Makes sense. Ryloth was pretty warm.” Crosshair said with a shrug and Howzer nodded.
“I remember when we had to do our snow training, just to be shipped to Ryloth. I was pissed we did that stupid course for nothing.” Rex grinned at Howzer.
“Be lucky you didn’t have to put that training to the test. Snow planets are the worst to have to scavenge on.”
Howzer nodded his head. “Trust me, after awhile I learned how lucky I was. I can successfully say I went an entire war without losing a finger or toe to frostbite.” The reg said as he wiggled his fingers and the squad chuckled.
“No signs of any imperials yet…I’m still going in low just in case.”
Echo swung the Marauder down, gazing at his screen.
“Approaching the coordinates.”
He landed just a few klicks south of the coordinates, breathing out when the ship touched the ground.
“Thank the maker Tech wasn’t here for that. He probably would’ve thrown up seeing the way you pilot this piece of garbage.” Echo rolled his eyes at Crosshair.
“We landed in one piece, didn’t we?”
“Echo, you can’t afford to lose anymore pieces so I would hope you try your best in piloting.”
Crosshair grinned as the former ARC punched his arm and brushed past him. Rex rolled his eyes, following his brother before the rest of them tailed them.
“I don’t see anything.” Hunter said as they walked for a bit with Wrecker complaining about the cold.
“You got all that fat! How are you cold?” Crosshair exclaimed to his brother, which earned him another hit of the day.
“Wait—“ Hunter stopped, holding up his fist and squinting.
Echo squinted as well.
Hunter stared, long and hard.
“I think…it’s a base.”
The sounds of blasters lifting made the squad whip out their blasters in a flash.
“Drop your weapons!”
Chapter 52: Awakening
After checking over Riyo and giving her a clean bill of health, Tech spend his time laying across the couch with Olash sleeping on him.
At the moment, the young Togruta had a slight fever. Tech searched for more natural remedies to avoid worrying Evesh once he told her and for the moment Olash was comfortable simply snoozing away on Tech’s chest.
The other children had been put to sleep by Omega for a midday nap with Riyo’s help, as she wanted to start to get the hang of taking care of children before she popped.
Tech had predicted she was about 8 months along and was right upon asking Riyo herself.
“I’m honestly just ready to get it over with at this point.” Riyo grumbled, flopping onto her bed with a huff. Tech smiled in amusement.
“I could only imagine so.”
“You have no idea.”
Tech looked down at Olash, admiring the young Togruta sleeping. He was being honest earlier when he said he had never thought about children until recently. He was always awkward around them in the war and usually let Hunter and Wrecker deal with them if they had to transport or stay with children.
But holding Olash as he slept soundly, Tech felt content. He felt at peace for the rare moment and he allowed himself to start nodding off alongside Olash when he heard a sudden groan from the other room and his eyes shot awake.
Tech thought maybe he’d imagine it. Maybe it was something outside that he mistook for being in the other room.
But the shifting of a bed, followed by another groan made Tech sit up quickly, startling Olash awake and he whimpered.
“Omega!” Tech hissed quickly as he stood up, pulling his blaster out with his free hand as he shifted Olash to his hip farthest from Saha’s room where the noise came from.
After a second, Omega appeared, blinking tiredly until she saw Tech on full alert with his blaster aimed at the door. The young clone went to him and Tech silently motioned for her to take Olash, who was on the verge of crying.
Omega shushed the baby as Tech pushed her behind him, giving her a look that told her to stay put. The engineer inched toward Saha’s door, blaster raised before nudging it open with the end of it.
Fox clutched his head, grimacing. Tech’s eyes squinted wearily.
Fox turned his head and blinked in confusion.
“How do you feel about Order 66?” Tech asked quickly, blaster still raised at his commander. Omega was watching behind him, a nervous look on her face as she bounced Olash in her arms to calm him but it didn’t seem to be working.
“I—I’m not…I don’t care about it…I’m not going to hurt you.” Fox said and placed his hand back on his head, wincing in pain. Tech slowly lowered his blaster, eyes darting as he examined Fox’s body.
“How the hell are you awake?”
“What do you mean?”
“I put you in a medically induced coma to help you heal while also getting rid of any radiation from your chip. You should be under for a few more days.”
Fox blinked in surprise but didn’t have an answer to Tech’s question. “What is the last thing you remember?”
“I remember…most of after the war…but there are some foggy bits here and there.” Fox said as Tech approached him and examined his wound. Fox winced as the engineer touched it lightly.
“That must be due to you fighting against the chip. Do you have a headache, I presume?”
“Still better than that damn thing in my head.” Fox mumbled, dropping his hand and Tech smiled as the familiar grouchy behavior he was used to with Fox.
“That is normal. Crosshair had one for about two days, though yours might be longer since you were under different circumstances.”
Fox looked a bit confused and Tech sighed.
“Perhaps it would be wise to catch you up to detail.” Fox nodded and Tech dropped his hands from examining the commander.
Tech looked to Omega, who had finally calmed Olash down and she looked a bit excited as she came in. Fox blinked in surprise and looked up at Tech.
“I figured Crosshair would’ve been the first one to knock up a girl.”
Tech rolled his eyes. “This is Omega. She is a clone like us, making her our sister.” That really took Fox by surprise as he looked at the young clone and she grinned.
“Hey.” Fox returned a small smile. Olash was looking at him with interest as Tech took him from Omega.
“You are in our good friends allies home. Evesh and Saha Rollala are brother and sisters we have known for a bit and a very trusted friends of ours. This is one of Evesh’s four children. They were going to let you two stay for awhile until you woke up, but I suppose we’ll cut it a bit short.”
“Us two?” Fox blinked in confusion and Tech realized the commander obviously wasn’t awake when Riyo decided to come with them.
“One moment, if you will.”
Tech motioned for Omega to follow him and the two disappeared and Fox turned his back to the door to hold his head.
The commander spun his head around in an instant, getting a wave of dizziness but not even caring as a blue pantoran stepped toward him.
“Riyo.” He breathed out and stood. In just a few short strides, they met half way and hugged, Fox’s nose burying in his wife’s hair as she stuffed her face into her husbands chest.
“I missed you.” Riyo whispered, looking up at him. Fox caressed her cheek. “I missed you too, baby.”
Riyo smiled, letting out a breathy laugh. “I, uh, it’s funny you say that because I’m…uh—“ Riyo stepped out of Fox’s arms and pulled her shirt to show her stomach and the commanders eyes widened.
Riyo bit her lip and nodded, a faint nervousness in her stomach from finally telling her lover. Fox blinked, still staring at her stomach before he gently placed his hands on the bump.
Riyo nodded and yelped when she was picked up in an instant and hugged tight, Fox burying his face into her neck.
“Oh, maker. Maker, I love you so much.” He murmured into her neck and Riyo gently tapped his shoulder.
“Fox…I love you too but if you don’t put me down I’m going to hurl.”
“Oh, oh sorry.” Fox gently set his wife down, still grinning as he placed his hands on her cheeks. “I can’t believe it. How far along are you?”
Fox’s expression dropped. “Really?” He whispered, a sadness laced in his voice. Riyo looked a bit confused. She knew it must’ve been a bit shocking, as she was definitely smaller than what a normal woman would be.
“I missed…all of it? You had to do this alone?”
Riyo placed her hands over her lovers, kissing his palms. “I had help, Fox. I had people to help guide me. You had no control over your situation, I knew that then and I know it now. Rex explained everything.”
“Everything…of what exactly?”
Riyo placed a kiss on Fox’s forehead.
“There’s a lot of explaining to do, my love.”
Chapter 53: Twin
Fox was staring at Tech as he watched the engineer help Omega fix a few bottles for the Togruta children. The engineer frowned but didn’t look up.
“Why are you staring at me?”
“Sorry! I just, you’ve grown a lot since the last few times I saw you.”
Tech hummed, repositioning Olash in his arms. “Yes. It has been quite some time I believe.” Tech said as he made his way over to the couch.
“How tall were you the last time you met?” Omega asked and Fox grinned. “Probably just about a foot taller than you, little lady.”
“Whoa. You guys used to be short?”
“Actually, Hunter still is.” Tech snorted as he plopped onto the couch and let Olash drink from his bottle.
“I can’t believe I’m watching a soldier, a defective one bred to outsmart any opponents, take care of a baby.” Fox said with a shake of his head.
“You should see the others. The Jango genes really show when the kids are around.”
“What does that mean?” Omega asked, screwing on the caps of the bottles. “It was known that Jango wanted a son, which would be Boba Fett, your counter part. People joked it ran in the genes that all the clones loved babies and wanted kids because of him.” Tech explained.
Fox looked a bit confused. “Counter part?”
Tech blinked. “Right. I forgot to mention that. Omega is also a pure genetic replica of our host. Boba Fett’s code name in Kaminoan files was Alpha, thus explaining how Omega got her name.”
Fox looked genuinely surprised. “Wow.” He breathed out and looked at the young clone in the kitchen.
“Yep! I’m special!” Omega grinned as she took the bottles to go feed the kids. Fox chuckled as Tech shook his head with a faint smile.
Riyo was sitting next to Fox, clutching his arm like he would disappear at any moment. Fox turned back to Tech and sat up, leaning his elbows in his knees.
“Now, start from the beginning…please.”
The squad of clones whipped their heads around as blasters aimed at them. Hunter’s senses went wild trying to wrap his head around what was happening, about to yell something when someone yelled.
“Hold your fire!”
Hunter’s squad looked annoyed and angry at the same time, especially Crosshair, who had a snarl on his face. Hunter nudged him, giving him a look but the sniper just scowled.
Footsteps in the snow behind them caught their attention as somebody chuckled.
“Well, well. If it isn’t my favorite squad of defects.”
The Bad Batch turned and lit up.
The commander chuckled, but was cut into a sharp breathe out when Wrecker clamped his arms around the reg.
“Haha! Where’ve you been, you old dog?”
“Wrecker, drop him before you crush him!” Crosshair said and the giant clone set the commander down. “Sorry.” Wrecker giggled as Wolffe rubbed his arms.
“Sorry for the rude welcome party. Can’t take our risks here too lightly.”
Hunter grinned and clasped Wolffe’s forearm as a greeting. “I knew you wouldn’t be out of the fight so easily.”
“Believe me, it’s been some long battles.”
“Well, we’ve got time to hear them. This planet was our destination, specially that over there.” Hunter pointed to the base in the distance.
Wolffe frowned. “Echo base?” He asked and Hunter shrugged. “If that’s what it’s called. We just followed these coordinates that Fox gave us.” Hunter held out the device.
“Fox gave you this? For what?”
“Well, we think he was giving it to Echo, but we’re not entirely sure. He was partially under the chips control but—“
“Echo?” Wolffe cut the sergeant off and Hunter nodded, turning to look at Echo. The former ARC nodded his head.
“As in, ARC trooper Echo?”
“Former.” Echo looked weary.
“What? You never heard the story of the clone who got blown up and turned into the tin man?” Crosshair smirked, earning a punch to the arm by Echo.
“The wolfpack, amongst other squads, got cut off communications near the end of the war. Plo Koon was the only one allowed near comms, so we never got to hear any gossip. I never heard anything about this.” Wolffe explained.
“Why’s it matter?” Echo seemed a bit annoyed, as he usually did when they talked about his trauma for longer than he liked.
Wolffe blinked before a faint smile came to his face.
“I think you need to follow me real quick. There’s somebody who would really want to see you.”
Echo was a bit weary as he gazed around the base. There were many different faces around, not just clones. Wolffe explained that the base was built to house people believed to be dead by the empire, either by choice or by accident.
Most people were innocent civilians and the clones here were helping protect them. The snow planet made it perfect to keep the empire mostly at bay, as their technology didn’t typically cooperate in sub zeros temperatures.
So while most people here lived like cave men, it was better than life on the run for them. And for that, they were happy.
Howzer looked quite unhappy still and Rex nudged him in amusement as the captain huffed and wrapped his arms around himself.
“I can’t wait to go back in the Ord Mantell sun after this.” Howzer mumbled and Rex chuckled.
They approached a door and Wolffe made a small motion to the others to hang back, giving them a look that said he would explain in a bit.
Echo glanced at Wolffe as he gave a knock to the door before opening and leaning against the wall outside the door.
“Got somebody who wanted to see you.”
“Oh, just some street rat I picked up off the—“
The former ARC sitting at a desk across the room shot his head up and blinked. His hand slowly set down the data pad in his hand and he stood to his feet.
Chapter 54: The Only Option
long talks of suicidal attempt/thoughts
Fox was passed out in Saha’s room with Riyo curled up against him after Tech explained everything that had happened since the end of the war and then scanned him over one more time, finding the radiation was still going down and should be gone in a few days if he took it easy.
Fox expressed he knew something wasn’t right after shooting Fives and coming out of there like he hadn’t been in his own body doing it, but didn’t have evidence to back it and didn’t want to say anything after what Fives had been through to prove something similar.
Tech was sitting in the living room, scanning Olash’s forehead as Canvas tried to chew on his hand that was holding her brother. Tech was letting it happen until a sharp object stabbed into his finger and he flinched, startling Olash in the process and he began crying.
“No! No, no.” Tech hushed the baby as he glared at Canvas, who babbled like she did nothing wrong.
“Seems somebody is teething.”
Tech leaned to her, pulling her lip up to reveal the tiny white spot in her gums. Canvas bless a raspberry and Tech sighed, letting her go as he calmed down Olash.
The engineer stood up, grabbing Canvas in the process and taking her to take another nap. She protested a bit, pushing away from Tech but the clone plopped her in the crib she shared with Casse.
Omega was watching Deshi sleep as Tech approached her and Olash’s shared crib, placing him down and handing him the little blanket he had. Olash babbled for a bit, chewing on it before he began to drift off.
Tech nudged Omega to leave them be, guiding her out of the room with his hand on her back. “Tech.” Omega said quietly as he shut the door behind them, leaving it a crack open.
“I have a question.” Omega turned to her brother, stopping him in his tracks. Tech was surprised to see Omega seemed a bit in the serious side, raising his eyebrows.
“Alright.” He said and picked her up. Omega slumped against his shoulder, growing tired herself from taking care of the babies for most the day.
“When Fox’s chip took over…he was just going to stun himself…right?”
Tech froze. He still walked to the couch, but his mind went blank at the question.
He had an answer. He knew the answer.
The answer was no, Fox was not just going to stun himself. He was doing what he thought he had to do to prevent himself from hurting the people he cared about.
But Tech couldn’t tell that to his sister, even if he assumed she knew the answer but wanted a false reassurance that Fox was just going to stun himself, nothing more.
Tech swallowed. “Omega, I don’t believe it is a topic to be spoken about.”
“But…why would he want to do that?”
Tech swore he felt his heart shatter hearing his sisters tone.
Just like his giant of a brother, Omega was clearly too passionate to show love and tenderness to everybody she meets, and clearly her mind was still innocent, untouched by the harshness and nightmares of war that plagued her brothers almost nightly.
Tech sighed as he set his sister down on the couch, sitting next to her after laying her down.
The young clone looked up at him with wide, innocent eyes.
“Fox suffered a lot…under the chip. Stuff that I am sure haunts him in nightmares or in his reality he has to face. Sometimes…people think the only option is doing something irreversible.” Tech explained and Omega frowned.
“Because they believe it is a way to protect themselves, and others, from getting hurt more…mentally or physically. Fox believed he was going to hurt us…and thought it was his only option.”
Omega was silent for a moment before she nodded. “Do…do you guys feel that way?”
Tech was taken back by the question but he straightened up a bit.
“At one point in our lives, yes. Presently? I do not believe so.”
“Why did you think that was you’re only option?” Omega asked and Tech sighed.
“Being bred to be not only a soldier, but an incredibly intelligent one none the less, had more downs than ups…and sometimes it was hard to feel useful or important in such a busy war.”
Omega ndoded again, silent for a bit before she scooted over and motioned for Tech to lay with her.
The engineer smiled softly and laid down, inviting her to lay on his chest and she did, crawling and plopping on top of her brother with his arms around her, grabbing the blanket on top of the couch and pulling it over them.
“Can I ask something again?”
“Well…it’s actually more a promise.”
Tech looked down at his sister to meet her eyes and he nodded.
“Will you promise to tell me if you ever feel like that again?”
Tech brought his hand up to caress her head, leaning to press a kiss into her hair before burying his nose in it and shutting his eyes.
“I promise, ad’ika.”
Chapter 55: Dead Faces
Echo and Fives didn’t move for what seemed like an eternity.
Hell, it felt like an eternity being apart from each other.
Behind the cyborg, Rex was just as confused. He too was mentally jumping with glee, but while he was close to Fives, he wasn’t his batch twin. He would catch up with the former ARC later and get an explanation as to what happened that lead to him surviving.
The Bad Batch was confused as well, but yet they were all smiling a bit from the happiness they felt that Echo had a part of himself back. After everything he’d been through, this is what he deserved.
Wolffe motioned for the rest of them to the other room to give Echo and Fives some time alone to process what was happening and the group followed, ready for Wolffe to explain to them the story of how exactly Fives was alive after all this time.
At the same time, the ARC twin strode across the room and crashed into each other’s embrace, ugly sobbing and falling to their knees with each other.
“I thought you were dead!”
“I thought you were dead!” Fives exclaimed, pulling away to wipe his eyes. Echo let out a mixture of a laugh and sob, holding Fives’s face in his hands.
“Rex told me you got shot after trying to prove the inhibitor chip existence.” Echo said and Fives blinked. “I watched you get blown up!”
Echo let out a breathy laugh. “I got captured by separatist. That’s why I—“ Echo motioned to his body. “—look like this now.” He explained and Fives scanned his body over.
“Why would they do this?”
“I mean, technically they saved my life, just to use me as a tactical advantage against our allies and also be a prisoner of war.” Echo shrugged like it was no big deal.
Fives shook his head as Echo blinked at him. “How did you live? Rex said Fox shot you.”
“Well, Fox also saved me. After it happened, I woke up in a medbay in the outskirts of coruscant and Fox explained he was under orders from the chancellor to shoot me, and that’s when I knew it was his chip. I didn’t say anything and Fox helped me leave coruscant and hide out here where we began letting others believed to be dead in the empires eyes live.” Fives explained before squinting at his brother.
“How did you find me?”
“We we’re on coruscant when we ran into Fox. He fought his chip and gave us some device with coordinates and a heart rate monitor on it. Looked me dead in the eye and told me to ‘find him’…I didn’t know what it meant but now—“ Echo smiled and the two pressed their foreheads together.
“What happened to Fox?” Fives eyes met his twins with pulling away. “Tech took his chip out and he’s recovering on Ord Mantell at the moment in a coma.”
“Tech?” Fives looked a bit confused and Echo lit up.
“Oh, right. Cmon! Let me introduce you to some people.”
Tech woke up to the sound of the door opening and he opened his tired eyes. He tilted his head up, peering over the couch to see Saha and Evesh coming in, smiling upon meeting his eyes.
Omega shifted in the crook of her brothers arm, snoring softly. Tech pulled her closer against him and leant his head on hers, sighing.
Evesh peered over the couch, leaning against it. “Were they good for you?” Tech nodded tiredly. “Olash has a slight fever, but nothing to worry about. Give him what is on the counter and he should be find in the morning.”
Evesh ruffled the engineer’s hair. “You’re the best.”
Saha appeared once Evesh went to check in her babies and he crossed his arms. “Anything from your brothers yet?” Tech shook his head.
“Why? Wanting to spend another night with the sergeant?”
“But of course.” Saha grinned and Tech scoffed in disgust. “Although I would rather not think about what ensues when my brothers and I are not around you two, I am happy he has finally let himself relax. He worries too much about us to of ever had such a relationship.”
Saha raised his eyes. “Really?” Tech nodded. “Hunter gets cold feet thinking about relationships, at least in the past. Not only does us being allies, friends, or lovers to people put them at high risk of targets, there is also the possibility of us to be disposed of in battle.” Saha frowned.
“I don’t like how you worded that.”
“My apologies…I believe Crosshair also uses the words ‘fuck buddies’?” Saha rolled his eyes. “Not that. I don’t mind being labeled as ‘lovers’. The fact you said being ‘disposed’ of in battle and not passing.”
Tech frowned now. “It is simply the way we were raised to believe. Either be disposed of for not following orders, for charging into battle, or for not performing at our full extent. It would be a miracle if a clone died from natural causes.” The engineer explained like it wasn’t a big deal.
Saha looked upset. “I think that’s stupid.” Tech raised his eyebrows. “You aren’t just ‘clones that are disposable’. You’re living, breathing beings that should have the right to live your life how you want.”
Tech huffed. “As simple as it sounds, it is most likely not ever going to be ideal for many. For one, we were bred to be soldiers, that includes our build, how we were raised, and our thought process. Transitioning to civilian life was hard as is here, I could not imagine fully settling down with a real job.”
Tech scratched his head. “Another is that now the empire is wanting to clear clones entirely. Any form of the republic that is still there, they want gone. And I know they will not stop until it is done.”
Saha shook his head. “The clones did everything for this galaxy, and this is the payment you get?” Tech shrugged. “Though I wish the outcome was different, I cannot control something out of my reach.”
Saha played with the end of his lekku. “Hunter said just about the same thing as you did about clones not being able to live a normal life. He was worried about taking us a step further and asked me to think about it, saying he didn’t want to put my family in danger.” The Togruta explained.
Tech blinked with a nod. “And I would have to agree with that. The empire shows no mercy to those housing ‘traitors’. While being allies, or friends, is one thing, to be in a relationship with a clone is risky.” Tech cleared his throat.
“I cannot speak on my brothers behalf of his feelings, nor yours, but it is something that needs to be taken into a very well thought out situation. Hunter clearly trust you, I’m afraid it is himself he’s not so sure about.”
Saha processed what the engineered clone said for a moment before nodding.
“Thank you, Tech.”
“I am not sure exactly for what, but you are welcome.”
Saha grinned and was about to leave before he turned back to Tech.
“Also…I have a few twi’lek friends if you’re interested.”
Tech slunk down on the couch, turning bright red as he mumbled something as Saha laughed and went to go clean himself up.
Chapter 56: Static
“I’m glad Fives is alive. Echo clearly has been missing him since he found out about what supposedly happened after Skako Minor.” Hunter hummed as Wolffe leaned back in the couch of the large room they were in.
“Yea. Thankfully after the whole ordeal, Fox was back in his right mind for the time being and they somehow found a faint heartbeat on the mad lad and they kept him alive, gave him a new heart for safe measure. That’s what this is for—“ Wolffe held up the device they had used to find the base, motioning to the heart monitor on it.
“That’s Fives’s heartbeat.”
“Yea. For awhile, it was just Fives here, until before the war ended we had a lot of people being misplaced and apparently they had been helping them here to hide. Once the galaxy shifted though, it’s been hard to locate our people to help them.” Wolffe explained.
Hunter gave an understanding nod.
After a moment, Wolffe excused himself to go help out with something in their hanger and left the Bad Batch and the two captains to wait.
The captain perked up.
“While we’re here, try to get ahold of Cham. If it’s possible, we can see where he is and on the way back, try to get you back to them.” Hunter explained and Howzer nodded.
“Omega’s gonna be mad if she finds out we saw Hera without her.” Wrecker commented and Hunter shook his head. “She’ll deal with it.”
“Wow, super sad. I didn’t know you’d be so content with your baby being upset with you.”
Hunter hit Crosshair as the door opened, glaring up him.
Crosshair smirked at his brother, crossing his arms before turning his head to the two former ARCs that entered the room, looking giddy as hell. Fives lit up at the sight of Rex as the captain stood.
“Oh, how I missed you blondie.”
Rex chuckled, hugging his brother. “Wolffe told us what happened. I’m still just confused in general.”
“Trust me, getting woken up to Fox trying to quickly explain that I have a metal heart after getting shot and am getting sent off world to protect myself is still confusing as is.” Fives grinned.
Echo gave a bit of a confused look and Fives pulled down his shirt, showing a small, metal disk indented into his skin that blinked to the beat of his heart.
“That explains the heart monitor on this thing.” Hunter held up the device before tossing it to Echo. Fives looked confused.
“You guys are clones?”
The Bad Batch nodded. “Do we really look that different from the regs?” Wrecker questioned and Echo smirked. “Ugliest clones i’ve seen in my life.”
Crosshair flipped him off as the other two scowled, rolling their eyes. “This is the Bad Batch, aka Clone Force 99. I’ve been running with them since they saved me from Skako Minor.” Echo introduced and Fives looked at him.
“Oh, that’s a story and a half.”
Hunter grumbled and stood up. “I’m going to comm Tech, tell him we probably won’t be back for a bit.” He told them before walking out. Rex watched the sergeant and could see there was another emotion written on his face he couldn’t quite pinpoint that made him frown.
And after a moment of Hunter disappearing, Rex excused himself and followed the sergeant out the door.
Tech woke up, blinking as he realized it was dark outside. He looked down and saw Omega tucked in the crook of his arm, sandwiched between his body and the back of the couch, snoring quietly without a care in the world.
Tech slowly maneuvered her so he could slip off the couch and stand to his feet, sighing happily when his sister simply rolled over onto her belly and kept sleeping. The engineer placed the blanket over her before he looked at the clock in the kitchen, frowning when he saw it was nearly midnight.
The night air was cool on Tech’s skin. He was wearing his civvie clothes, as he had been growing used to while being out of the army.
“Fancy seeing you up.”
Tech jumped and Evesh giggled from the chair on her porch, crossing her legs as she leaned back in the chair and inhaled smoke from the cigarette she held.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. Thought you would notice me.”
“Mmh. I’m sure.” Tech drawled out teasingly and Evesh smirked. “You engineered clones are so jumpy. I get Wrecker all the time for little things when he’s over.”
“Perhaps it is because you’re at the right height to be in his blind spot.”
Evesh narrowed her eyes and Tech now smirked in victory. “You sound like Crosshair.” She scoffed and Tech now rolled his eyes.
“Only when the time is right. I did not know you smoked.”
“Ironically, Crosshair got me back in the habit. I haven’t been doing it as much as I nearly did before, but these damn customers at Cid’s can be a real hassle sometimes.” Evesh said before inhaling her cigarette. Tech hummed.
“Wrecker would happily come sit and take care of them for you.”
“Trust me, i’ve thought about it. But Cid’s just as dangerous with that cane of hers. Speaking of—!” Evesh lit up and giggled.
“Said she caught your brother sneaking out of her room behind the bar through the window. Acted disgusted but I heard her mumble something about ‘young love’ as she wandered off.” Evesh explained and Tech furrowed his eyebrows in confusion before he connected the dots.
“Did you not know? Oh kriff, I thought Hunter would have told you!” Evesh slapped a hand over her mouth as she put out her cigarette. Tech chuckled. “I knew he went off in the middle of the night but I thought it was perhaps to explain his thought process to Saha…he told me they talked but he did not mention…” Tech let out another chuckled, as did Evesh.
“He’s gonna kill me.” The Togruta said as she stood up. Tech smiled. “Keep feeding us and giving us the babies, and I’m sure amends will be made.” Evesh smiled, giggling before she patted Tech on the shoulder.
“Will you check on Olash before you go back to bed?”
“Thanks. He seemed better when I checked on him earlier but…I worry.”
Evesh smiled. “Get some sleep.” She said before going toward the door.
The door shut and Tech pulled out his comm and turned it on.
“Hunter…do you copy?”
Tech frowned. “Hunter, Crosshair, Wrecker, Echo…does anybody read?”
Tech swore to him and shut his end off, making sure to turn it up so he could hear if they tried to contact him back.
The engineer went back inside and found his way to the babies room when he felt Olash’s forehead for a moment, nodding in satisfaction before he went back to the couch and carefully slipped back onto it with his sister.
He set his comm on the coffee table before pulling Omega close to him a draping the blanket over his legs and closing his eyes, drifting off once again for the rest of the night.
Chapter 57: Names
Fox winced, bringing his hand up to rub his covered wound. Riyo looked down at her husband, frowning and bringing her hand to caress the other side of his head.
“Are you okay?”
“Yea. It’s just sore.” Fox mumbled, dropping his hand back around Riyo’s stomach and burying his face into it, breathing in deeply. Riyo smiled.
The past few hours, Fox hadn’t let go of her, specifically her bump. To Riyo’s surprise, he was over ecstatic about having a baby, but she couldn’t be happier.
The months where Fox was under the inhibitor chips control, she thought about how he would react, fearing the worst at the time due to how he was acting.
Riyo sighed and Fox glanced up at her.
“I just missed you.” She whispered and Fox sighed happily, shutting his eyes as his wife’s fingers combed through his hair.
“I missed you too…I’m sorry about these last few months…I wish I could’ve been there for you.” Fox pressed a kiss to Riyo’s stomach and she shook her head.
“It’s not your fault. There was nothing you could’ve done.”
“Still…I’m just—“ Fox sighed. “—I wish I could’ve been there, doing stupid natborn stuff that they do when they find out their pregnant.” Riyo raised her eyebrows.
Fox shrugged. “I dunno. Things like this, dumb pregnancy exercise stuff, telling the guard and your girlfriends, finding godparents, baby reveal party, or whatever those are called.”
“Gender reveal party?” Riyo raised her eyebrows more and Fox nodded. “Yea, just those silly things.” Riyo grinned.
“I didn’t know you’d be into that kind of stuff.”
Fox turned a bit red. “Well, I thought you might one day, so I always had it in mind.”
Riyo sat up, still naked from their time they had been spending together after Fox woke up from his long nap.
“You had thought about those before?”
Fox nodded. “I dunno. I never brought up kids cause I never knew how you felt about them, but I always imagined it. Just dumb dreams about us settling down, forgetting politics, having a family and living our lives in peace.” The commander shrugged innocently and Riyo could’ve sworn she felt tears in her eyes.
“That sounds amazing.” She whispered, resting her hand on his back. Fox breathed in.
“I imagined you like this. Didn’t realize just how sexy it’d until now though.”
“It’s the truth! I just wanna—“ Fox began trailing kisses up her exposed body and Riyo giggled. “I feel gross and huge.”
“Well, you look sexy and good enough to eat…again.” Riyo hit him on the good side of his head as he grinned before trailing his kisses up the valley between her swollen breast and the former senator sighed, bringing her finger to lace into the hair on the back of his head.
“I love you.” Fox murmured into her neck and Riyo sighed as he pulled the covers fully off, the cool night air hitting their naked bodies.
“I love you too.” Riyo whispered before capturing her husbands lips into her and he smiled into it, truly happy with what he thought he lost so many months ago.
“Do you know the gender of your baby?”
Riyo shook her head, sipping her coffee as she sat in one of the chair of the dining table across the kitchen. “I never was able to. I had a friend who was a doctor check up on me when we visited but if anybody caught wind of me being pregnant while I wasn’t in a relationship, I’d be practically shunned by the other senators and possibly my people. It would ruin my reputation.”
Evesh nodded as she watched Omega stand in her tiptoes to grab the coffee pot. The Togruta smirked and nudged it to her. Omega smiled a thanks as she poured herself a mug.
“Why would it ruin your reputation?” Omega asked curiously. “Some people believe you should be married, or at least in a relationship to have a baby since it’s such a big step. But sometimes, it just happens, and for I admire people taking responsibility for their actions rather than judging how it came to be.”
“How do you have a baby?”
Tech coughed awkwardly from where he sat on the couch, standing up with his coffee in his hand. “I’m just, uh, going to check on Fox.” He mumbled and the two woman in the kitchen grinned in amusement as they watched the engineered clone disappear into Saha’s room where Fox was resting.
“To have a baby, you have to have both a man and a woman. Together, naturally, they’re able to make a baby together.” Omega seemed a bit confused. “They do this through a process called sex.” Evesh explained.
Omega opened her mouth to ask a bit more, the two woman happily answering her questions as they prepared for their day.
Tech shook his head as he entered Saha’s room, seeing Fox sitting on the edge of the bed, rubbing his covered wound.
“What?” Fox asked, noticing Tech’s look on his face. “Omega is a very persistent girl. After meeting the Togruta children and now having Riyo around, she’s been asking…questions relating to the creation of natborn children.”
Fox chuckled. “She’s a cute kid. I’m really surprised she’s a clone.” The commander commented as Tech pulled his bacta patch off the wound on his head and began scanning him over.
“As were we. She has proven herself to be one of us though. I was skeptical of having her aboard at first, believing it would be more of babysitting than another sibling of ours, but she has shown she wants to be apart of our squad all the time. You should hear her when Hunter tells her to stay behind in a bounty; it is like listening to a group of jawa’s.” Fox chuckled.
There was a silence that fell over them for a moment as Tech began to patch him up again. “Have you…thought of any names for your child?” Fox was a bit surprised by the question.
“Huh. I never would’ve expected that question from you.” Fox said and Tech nodded. “Yes, well, a lot has changed since the last we saw each other. Being around all these children has truly changed my train of thought, along with my emotions of asking people about their lives.”
Fox chuckled. “So, empathy?”
“Hmm, yes, I supposed something along those lines.”
Fox sighed. “As far as I know, we don’t have a name. I think Riyo was hanging onto the fact that I might still of come back to her, so it stopped her from thinking anything like that. Besides, we don’t even know the gender yet.”
Tech nodded. “Something to keep in mind then.” Tech playfully patted his wound and Fox batted his hand away with a smile.
Chapter 58: Different Paths
Hunter growled as he smacked his comm off, glancing off into the setting sun of the snow planet. He’d have to try and see if they had something to boost his signal when he went back inside.
For the time being, Hunter stood outside, simply enjoying the cold air with his hands dropped to his side.
“Need a buddy?”
Hunter turned, giving an amused smirk at Rex who approached next to him. The captain motioned to Hunter’s comm.
Hunter shook his head. “Can’t seem to get a signal. Must be something in this base blocking it. I was gonna ask Wolffe when I came back in.” Rex looked at Hunter for a moment, studying his face.
“Somethings bothering you.”
“Is that obvious?” Hunter ran a hand through his hair, grumbling. “What is it?” The captain asked and Hunter sighed.
“Echo deserves to be happy…and having Fives back is something I think he really needed. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried I’d be down a man after this trip.” Hunter explained and Rex softened.
“Echo really put up an argument when you left, saying we should’ve gone with you. Before, I would’ve probably. But at the time, with Crosshair gunning for us and having Omega…i just didn’t think it was a good idea.” Hunter explained and Rex gave an understanding nod.
“As much as I want Echo to stay with us, it’d be selfish to ask him to…I have to prepare if Echo decides to leave, even if I don’t like it.” Rex hummed.
“Well…there is always…another option…”
Hunter raised his eyebrow.
“So, you guys have enhanced features? What the hell? Why didn’t we get something like that?” Fives exclaimed with a huff. Echo grinned, shaking his head.
Crosshair wasn’t saying much, most likely not used to a reg being fascinated by their features, but Wrecker was chatting away, immediately getting along with the former ARC.
“Echo talked about you all the time, ya know.” Wrecker commented and Fives raised his eyebrow. “Really? I sure hope nothing bad.” Echo rolled his eyes.
“Just things that happened in our ARC days, vod.”
“That’s even worse!” Fives mumbled, rolling his eyes and Wrecker laughed.
Howzer had walked off, activating his comm device once he was alone. He held it up, breathing in.
“Cham?…Eleni?” He said and clicked it off, waiting for a response.
He sighed and brought it to his mouth again.
Howzer grinned. “Hera!” He exclaimed, sighing in relief. “Where are you?” Hera asked, sounding excited.
“I’m on Hoth. Are your parents there?”
“Oh, yea! Hold on!”
Howzer could hear Hera run to find her parents, hearing their voices faintly in the background.
“Hera, can it wait? We’re in the midd—”
“It’s Howzer, dad!”
“Howzer?” The captain heard both Syndulla parents exclaimed before the comm could be heard getting grabbed.
The captain grinned.
“Good to hear you, general.”
The night was settling in the base and Hunter was waiting for Wolffe to return with his comm, hopefully able to get a signal with it.
He was laying across the couch of the room they were given, listening to Wrecker’s obnoxious snoring.
“Will you go to sleep and stop thinking?” Hunter tilted his head up to see Crosshair laying on the other couch, one arm hanging off with the other hugging his pillow, jokingly glaring at his eldest batch mate.
“Easier said than done, Crossy.”
The sniper rolled his eyes. “What’re you so worried about? We’ve gone commless before.” Crosshair pointed out and Hunter shook his head.
“I’m not worried about that…Tech’ll be fine. I’m just worried about this whole…situation with Echo.”
Crosshair sat up, getting to his feet and walking over, plopping next to Hunter in the couch. The sergeant looked at him.
“You didn’t have to move.”
“I can tell this is gonna be a long conversation.” He mumbled and shuffled down, getting comfortable.
“What situation?” Crosshair asked once settled. Hunter sighed. “Having Fives back is something Echo’s dreamed of…and now I think he’ll probably be parting ways. I couldn’t think of any scenario where he’d choose us over his twin. I couldn’t think of any situation where I’d do that to you guys.”
“I could.” Crosshair said and Hunter hit him with a roll of his eyes, making the sniper smirk. “I just…I’d be a little sad to see him go, if I’m being honest. He’s not just a good soldier, he’s a good brother.”
Crosshair was quiet for a moment, which is how Hunter knew he agreed but was trying to find the words that wouldn’t make him seem soft.
Crosshair hummed. “I’d hate to start being copilot again.” There it was. Hunter smiled with a shake of his head. The sniper raised an eyebrow.
It was quiet for a moment before Hunter sighed again.
“But, if Echo’s happy, then I’m happy. And that’s what matters.”
“Sounds good to me. But after this, no more taking in strays, okay?” Hunter rolled his eyes and shuffled to lay down fully on his back next to his brother.
“Whatever you say, Cross.”
They had spent the evening getting to know Fives, and could tell he was just how Echo described him. Hunter enjoyed his company, swapping a few war stories that made Fives jaw drop a few times in disbelief.
Hunter told his whole squad that they’d try to leave by morning and he could tell Echo had a look on his face but he didn’t say anything, he figured he’d discuss it later.
The gear shifted in Hunter’s head and he abruptly got up, nearly throwing Crosshair off the couch.
“Bastard. Where’re you going?”
Hunter ran a hand through his hair.
“Take a wild guess.”
Chapter 59: Author Note
hey guys, I just wanted to post this real quick and explain that I recently haven’t been doing well mentally and haven’t had the motivation to write as much, so updates will be kind of slow but I am not abandoning this story, it’s one of my favorites i’ve written!
I also wanted to post my other social media on here because I also wanted to tell y’all I also do edits and post random shit about the bad batch :). i’ve been having a boost of confidence to at least put myself more out in the community rather than hang back bc I legit have no one to talk to about bad batch and it’s driving me nuts.
here’s one of my other socials, feel free to chat me up about anything bad batch :) I love talking about it
thank you guys for the feedback, I love seeing comments!
Chapter 60: The General
Hunter was about to go into Fives’s room that he knew Echo was staying in with his twin, raising his hand to knock on the door but he stopped before he could.
He could sense Echo’s heartbeat, along with Fives’s more metallic one and he realized just how in sync they were as they slept. It was similar to when his brothers shared beds, and he could feel just how at peace they were.
Hunter lowered his hand and sighed softly, shutting his eyes as he fought in his head what he should do, not being able to bring himself to break apart something Echo’s yearned for back for so long.
“Why don’t you leave it till morning?”
Hunter jumped, realizing he didn’t even pick up on footsteps or a heartbeat. And it hit him why when he recognized the voice and spun around.
Shaak Ti smiled softly and Hunter strode across the hall in a few strides, engulfing her in a hug. “Your hairs gotten very long.” Shaak’s voice was muffled in his shoulder and Hunter chuckled quietly.
“Thought maybe I’d pull off your look.”
“Oh my, I hope not.”
Hunter pulled away, not being able to resist the urge to share a keldabe kiss with the woman who raised him. Shaak smiled, bringing her hand to run it through the sergeants hair when he pulled away.
“I thought…with order 66, you’d had…” Hunter trailed off, eyes looking off sadly and Shaak shook her head, holding his face in her hand.
“I escaped Kamino after sensing something in the force just before it happened. Kamino went into a lockdown just before the order, and I knew something was wrong and had to get out of there.” Shaak explained, dropping her hand to clasp it to her other in her sleeve.
“How’d you end up here?”
“I was there when Fives tried to prove the existence of the inhibitor chip. After I escaped, I searched and tried to help those I found along the way until I ran into commander Fox. He was fighting the inhibitor chip and I wanted to help him, but he instructed me to come here.”
“Really? And he didn’t rat you out once his chip went into effect again?”
Shaak shook her head. “As far as I know, no. Perhaps he did not remember.” Hunter hummed at the thought, mentally noting to talk to Tech about it when they got back.
Shaak smiled. “Enough about that. I heard your brothers are here too?” Hunter smiled. “Crosshair and Wrecker are here too, but Tech’s on Ord Mantell. I can’t get ahold of him right now, but he’ll be happy to hear you survived at least.”
Shaak’s eyes softened as they began walking.
“Actually, I was hoping to get of this freezing planet, if you’d be willing to help me. The colds never been right for us Togruta’s anyway and I hope to lay low a little better and i don’t think I can do that in a base.” Shaak explained and Hunter nodded.
“Of course, Shaak. You know we’d do anything for you.”
Shaak shook her head as they approached the room the Bad Batch was given.
“I am very happy I raised you boys right.”
Hunter opened the door and could see Crosshair leaning on the couch, smoking a cigarette. Hunter’s nose scrunched in annoyance and Shaak shook her head.
“I thought I told you not to get into the habit of those?”
Crosshair spun around in a flash, instantly putting his cigarette out and chucking it on the table before he fell over the back of the couch to get to the Togruta.
Shaak laughed as he hugged her, burying his face into her lekku. “I think you got quite a bit taller.” Shaak hummed before pulling away. She pinched his stomach. “And skinnier.”
Crosshair shared a keldabe kiss, smirking. “I think you just got shorter.”
Shaak smacked his shoulder and the sniper grinned. The former jedi reached her hand up to the scar on the side of his face, looking concerned.
Crosshair gently pushed her hand away, taking it into his as Hunter sighed. “A bit of a story, that we’ll be happy to tell you.” The sergeant said and Shaak nodded before looking at a sleeping Wrecker and smiling.
“I did not think it could get any louder.”
“Tell us about it.” Crosshair rolled his eyes and went back to the couch to sit down. Shaak went over to Wrecker, stroking his head and the giant clone shifted before his snores fell silent.
“Jedi.” Crosshair mumbled with a roll of his eyes as Shaak sat down in the spot that was in front of Wrecker on the couch. Hunter sat down next to the sniper, leaning back into the cushions as Shaak motioned with her hands.
“Where do we start?”
Shaak was stroking her lekku, something that Hunter knew she did when she was stressed. After listening to the events they went through since order 66, she was visibly distraught about thinking what had happened to them.
“I wish I had listened to Fives so long ago…but I couldn’t believe it. I never would’ve—“ Shaak stopped with a sigh. Hunter shook his head.
“None of us could have predicted this would’ve happened. There’s nothing you could’ve done.” Hunter said and Shaak sighed, dropping her hands.
“I’m truly sorry you experienced those things. The empire is…” Shaak shook her head in disgust.
“We know. Luckily, we’re labeled as dead in their eyes, so we haven’t had to worry about them in awhile.” Hunter explained and Shaak gave a nod before noticing Wrecker stirring next to her.
The giant clone blinked, yawning. They hadn’t even realized it was morning and Hunter mentally noted to make sure they switched piloting during their flight back so they wouldn’t crash the ship, knowing they would never hear the end of it from Tech if anything happened to the Marauder.
Shaak gently smiled as Wrecker shifted his head down and his eyes widened in realization before engulfing the former jedi in a hug.
“Don’t crush her, Wrecker!” Crosshair snapped and Shaak held up a hand to tell him to be nice. Wrecker laughed, shaking her slightly.
“We’ve missed you, Shaak!”
“I’ve missed you guys too. You boys have definitely grown a bit since the last I saw you.” Shaak now pinched Wrecker’s stomach and he giggled. Crosshair smirked.
“That’s what happens when he eats everything in sight.”
Shaak gave the sniper another look as she stood. “I am going to go inform the others of my departure and gather my things.” She told them and Hunter nodded while Wrecker and Crosshair looked confused.
“Where’re you goin’?” Wrecker asked, sadness in his voice and Shaak gave him a smile. “With you guys, silly.” She said and the twins lit up and gave big nods as she disappeared out the door.
Hunter stood, yawning.
“I’m going to grab my comm before talking to Echo. We’ll try to leave before midday.” His brothers nodded as the sergeant went out the door, sighing to himself as he found his way through the base, a million thoughts racing through his head about the outcome of this one simple trip.
Echo was shuffling through the things Fives’s had in his room, memories flooding his head as he recognized the few items that his twin had managed to take with him. He smiled to himself before hearing a throat clear behind him.
Echo turned, eyes brightening in surprise when he saw a familiar Togruta standing in the doorway.
“General?” He said in surprise and stood, straightening a bit. Shaak Ti smiled and approached the former ARC. “No need for formalities, Echo.” She said and Echo relaxed a bit.
“No harm done. I wished to see you. You look different from the last time we saw each other.” Shaak said, looking the former ARC up and down. Echo shifted a bit, giving a tiny grin.
“Yea, I guess that’s what happens when you go here and there, get blown up a time or two.” Shaak chuckled, shaking her head.
“I hear you’ve been traveling with clone force 99.” The former jedi hummed and Echo nodded. “They saved me from Skako Minor where I was held by separatist. I’d still be stuck in there if it weren’t for them.” Echo said with a sort of pride of his voice.
“Hunter offered me a spot in the squad afterward and i’ve been stuck with them since.” Echo explained, a grin in his voice. Shaak smiled, sighing.
“Very noble and mature of Hunter.”
Echo raised his eyebrows a bit. “You know him well?” He asked and Shaak rolled her eyes with a tiny smile. “Oh, they never mentioned me? I’ll have to scold them for that.” She said and Echo smiled lightly.
“I helped clone force 99 with their training, as well as went with them on quite a few missions when I could.” Echo gave a nod.
“They were lucky to have you.” Echo said and Shaak shook her head, grinning. “You’re too kind, Echo. I actually came here to ask you about your decision.”
Echo looked a bit confused. “My decision?” He questioned, shifting himself a bit.
“Hunter has been nervous i believe about wether or not you will join them again or stay with Fives…though I’m sure he would respect your decision, I believe he’s come to respect and care for you as if you were one of his batchmates.”
Echo’s eyes looked away. He hadn’t thought about that and now he realized he had to make a choice.
Join the brother he thought was dead for so long,
Or stay with the brothers who took them under their wing.
Echo blinked and sighed as Shaak gave his shoulder a comforting squeeze.
“I will leave you be. I wish you a well evening.”
Echo gave a tiny bow of his head as he watched the Togruta leave before he sunk down onto the couch of Fives’s room, placing his hands in one another and going into deep thought about the decision that would once again change his life.
Chapter 61: Separate Ways
Hunter turned to the sound of Howzer’s footsteps approaching behind him, giving a tiny smirk.
“I never did properly thank you for pulling me out of that cell. I owe you one.” Howzer held out his hand and Hunter shook it. “I’ll keep that in mind. Sounds like you located the Syndulla’s?” Hunter raised his eyebrows and Howzer nodded.
“Should be here any minute. Rex will be hitching a ride with them to be joined on the front lines of the rebel alliance somewhere closer to the mid rim, so i’d say goodbye whenever you see him.” Howzer said, switching his helmet to his other hand after letting go of Hunter’s hand.
Hunter nodded before he remembered something and he lowered his voice as he spoke. “Hey, I meant to ask, did you ever know what happened to Crosshairs, y’know—“ Hunter motioned to the right side of his head and Howzer hummed.
“I dunno. He had it still partially wrapped when he arrived at Ryloth I heard his squad mention something about some engine—“ Hunter’s heart dropped. “—but I never asked. Best not to sometimes, y’know?” Hunter gave a glum nod.
The sound of a ship engine grew closer and they both turned, seeing an unfamiliar ship land near them.
The stairs were barely down before a familiar green twi’lek was throwing herself down the steps, yelling “HOWZER!” and crossed the landing bay in record time to launch herself into the captain’s arms.
Howzer laughed and hugged Hera. “Good to see you too, kid.” He said before putting her down. Hera grinned up at him before turning to Hunter and hugging him as well. Hunter shifted a bit uncomfortably but patted her head.
“You been practicing those piloting skills?” Hunter asked with his eyebrows raised and Hera nodded. “I can show Tech if we have enough time!” She said excitedly and Hunter smiled slightly.
“Sorry kid. Tech ain’t here this time. But I think he’s still a little traumatized about that refinery scene as is.” Hunter winked at her and Hera giggled.
“Is Omega here?” Hunter shook his head and Hera looked sad again before her head snapped a bit more to the right and she stepped back a bit.
“Hera! Wait for the steps to come down next time before you do that!” Eleni scolded as she approached, giving Howzer a smile as she told her daughter off. Hera grumbled something as she glanced over to watch her father approach as well and lock arms with Howzer, grinning.
“I am happy to see you in one piece.” Cham said and Howzer nodded his head to Hunter. “Thank the Bad Batch.” Cham looked at the sergeant and nodded.
“Perhaps you’ll take that payment this time?”
Hunter shook his head. “We’re doing fine on our own, but thanks.”
Now it was Cham and Eleni’s turn to shift uncomfortably as they looked past the two clones, stepping back a bit.
Hunter looked a bit confused and turned to see Crosshair and Wrecker approaching. Wrecker grinned. “Hey kid! How ya been?” Hera grinned. “Good! I can do take offs now!” She said and Wrecker laughed.
“That’s good! I’m sure the imperials will be happy to here that so they don’t lose some more ships!”
Crosshair crossed his arms as Cham stared him down. “Problem?”
“I do not know. Last time you weren’t exactly a trusted individual.” Cham said blankly. Hunter tapped his brother on the arm gently, a silent way to tell him to soften up and the sniper did just a bit.
“Howzer can fill you in on the details, but Crosshair was under imperial control against his will. He had no choice.” Hunter explained and while the Syndulla’s looked a bit confused, they didn’t question anymore.
“Can I see your rifle?” Hera asked, going in front of Crosshair, already trusting of the sniper if his brother said so.
“Hera!” Eleni scolded. Hunter chuckled, thinking Crosshair was either going to ignore her or say something snarky, but to his surprise his brother slung his firepuncher from over his shoulder, crouching on his feet and holding it in front of the young twi’lek.
“Whoa!” She gushed and reached out to it. Crosshair brought it back for a moment. “Don’t touch the scope.” Hera nodded and Crosshair handed it back out to her.
Hunter smiled softly, noting to mention the change in his brother to Tech, most definitely caused by Omega.
“Can I hold it?” Hera whispered, trying to keep it from her parents hearing. They heard but simply shook their heads as Crosshair handed it to her.
Hera took it with a ‘oof’ as she struggled to hold it up despite Crosshair still holding some of its weight.
The sniper smirked, taking it back from Hera and standing to his feet. “I want something like that!” Hera told her parents and they shook their heads. “Grow a bit and we shall talk about it.” Cham said with a roll of his eyes.
The Syndulla’s and Howzer bid the Bad Batch as farewell before going to their ship but not before Hera handed Hunter a piece of paper.
“It’s my comm link frequency!…can you give it to Omega?” She whispered. Hunter smiled and nodded, making twi’lek grin as he patted her head.
“Stay out of trouble, kid.”
“I will! Bye!”
The Bad Batch watched the go to their ship, looking a bit confused when they watched Eleni and Cham wrapped their arms around Howzer as they walked.
Crosshair suddenly clapped a hand over his mouth.
“Oh my fucking maker.”
Howzer stopped at the top of the steps after Eleni and Cham let go and went into the shop, turning back to give a two fingered salute to the sniper and winking just before boarding.
“Oh, I can’t wait to tell Tech!” Crosshair said giddily, turning and bolting to the Marauder as an effort to get them finally going back to Ord Mantell.
Hunter shook his head but seemed a bit impressed at the thought of a clone captain pulling a known war general and his beautiful wife as his partners. Wrecker grinned and nudged the sergeant before following Crosshair to the ship.
Hunter turned around and saw Rex approaching and he gave a small smile.
“Heard you were hitching a ride.” He said and the two locked forearms.
“Something like that. I’m sure you’ll see me around.” The captain said with a nod. Hunter rolled his eyes. “Sure hope not.”
Rex punched his shoulder before patting it as he walked by.
“Tell your brothers I said bye…oh yea, and your sister and boyfriend.” Hunter now punched Rex in the side and the captain laughed before saluting to him as he walked away.
Hunter returned it before he turned to go to his ship, seeing Shaak was waiting at the top of the steps with a gentle smile.
“Hopefully once we’re out of this base, we’ll get a signal to tell Tech we’re on our way back. He’s probably worrying right now.” Hunter said as he went up the steps of the ship. Shaak chuckled.
“Oh yes, I’m sure he is.”
Tech blew a raspberry at Canvas in his lap and she squealed in delight. The engineer grinned before placing her on the floor and standing as Evesh entered the room.
“I’m running to the market for some groceries and supplies. Do you want to come with me? I didn’t know if you boys would need anything.” Evesh offered and Tech nodded.
“There is a few things on my list, though I’m not sure if some of it will be available where we’re looking.” Tech said and Evesh nodded.
“Olash and Casse are down for their naps. Fox and Riyo said they’d watch them so we’ll take Canvas and Deshi with us. Omega said she wanted to come to.” At hearing her name, Omega appeared with a grin and Tech gave her a look.
“No begging for items this time, alright?”
“I won’t, I swear!” Omega said and Tech gave a satisfied nod before grabbing Canvas off the floor and Deshi off the couch, motioning for Evesh to lead the way.
Tech looked unhappy as he watched Omega happily trot along with a bag clutched in her hand, looking pleased with herself. Evesh grinned from next to him, transferring Deshi to her left hip.
“What happened to ‘no, we can bring Omega. I will not cave under her pressure’?” Tech rolled his eyes. “Hunter was right about those…’puppy dog eyes’.” Tech said with slight disgust in his voice and Evesh giggled.
Canvas was playing with Tech’s armor, babbling to herself as she tried to chew on it but Tech kept shooeing her off of it.
“So, Hunter has enhanced senses, right?” Evesh asked suddenly. Tech nodded, looking at her. “Funny. He really reminds me of a Togruta everyday.” She said and Tech adjusted his goggles with his free hand.
“Actually, it is quite funny you mention that. When Clone Force 99 enhancements were being processed, it was documented that Hunter’s were exceptionally harder to enhance then ours, being as senses are not something most humans can experience enhancements in. After that, it is documented that some different species DNA was brought in to be mixed with Hunter’s, thus technically making him a mixture of species.”
Tech cleared his throat, seeming surprised that Evesh looked fascinated. “Though we do not know specifically which ones, I have theorized a few, one of them being Togruta’s due to your heightened hearing from your lekku’s, as well as the ability to mimic more animalistic noises.” Evesh looked a bit confused.
“What does that mean?”
“While Hunter usually lets me do most of our translating, he is quite good at the harder to pronounce languages that humans have a hard time being able to mimic.” Evesh raised her eyebrows.
Tech grinned suddenly, giggling a bit. “Do not tell him I told you this but…the wookie language.” Evesh’s eyes widened and she grinned. “You’re joking.” She said and Tech shook his head.
“Trust me, Crosshair had not let him live it down when we had to use it. Though we picked on him for it, he was quite fluent in it. But as I was saying earlier, growing up around the Togruta we mentioned awhile back, he's come to share many personality traits of Togruta naturally it appears.”
“Well, one of your languages of love, or comfort around a trusted individual, would be purring, correct?” Evesh nodded. “Hunter every once in awhile does it. Though I’m sure it slips, he has admitted that sometimes it feels more ‘natural’ to let it out, as it feels constricting to leave it in his throat.”
Evesh smiled. “That’s cute. I’ve never seen a human purr. Maybe i’ll have to get it out of him one day.” She said and Tech smirked.
“Ask Saha, I’m sure it’ll happen naturally.” Evesh grinned and hit Tech on the shoulder playfully.
“Smart idea, Tech.”
Hunter stepped out of the ship as he picked up his older brothers footsteps coming into the hangar. He turned and saw Echo approaching, his head looking down a bit.
Echo looked up in surprise, blinking at the sergeant. “Hey.” He said softly and could tell Hunter was already observing his body language, as well as his looks to know what was about to happen.
Hunter already knew what the answer was going to be when he saw Echo didn’t have most of his gear on, and the glum look on his face gave it all away.
Hunter suppressed the sad sigh and held out his hand as he stepped down the stairs. Echo took it and shook it before holding it even after they were done.
“Don’t be, Echo. You deserve this…if this is what will make you happy, we’re not ones who need to be getting in the way.”
After all, they were just a bunch of defective clones.
Hunter shook away his thoughts as he let go of Echo’s hand. The former ARC swallowed, surpassing the tears that definitely wanted to emerge as he looked Hunter in the eyes.
“Thank you…for taking me in…for making me feel human again…thank you for giving me a place in this galaxy.”
Hunter smiled gently. “Of course, vod…you’re always welcome back here.”
“Uh, that was not my vote.” Crosshair peaked his head out from the doorway and Echo rolled his eyes as he saw Wrecker also appeared with tears in his eyes.
“Try not to kill each other while I’m gone, make sure you’re eating and sleeping well, please do laundry more often and wash your armor—“ Echo listed off on his fingers and the Bad Batch rolled their eyes.
“Got it, mom.” Crosshair said with a smirk and Echo sighed as he dropped his hands.
“Tell Tech and Omega I said goodbye…and that i’ll miss them…and try not to drift the Marauder anymore, that was terrible for its engine.” The Bad Batch chuckled as Echo stepped off the stairs, breathing in.
“Bye boys…i’ll see you around.”
The Bad Batch waved their goodbyes as they watched Echo back off so they could take off, a sad look in his eyes as he watched the ship, a brothers, he once called home leave him behind.
And the former ARC turned to see his twin standing off to the side waiting for him with a smile, returning it as he turned to go toward him, forcing himself to walk away to a new path of life.
Chapter 62: Confusion
Hunter was honestly happy to have touched down on Ord Mantell soil for the first time since arriving there. He breathed in, setting the comm device he had had on his belt in one of the drawers of the Maruader.
Wolffe had given it to him when he went to say goodbye, telling the sergeant that if they ever needed help to just give him a call and Hunter said the same to him.
Hunter was happy to see the commander after so long, noting he seemed happier now that they were out of the war. Wolffe was somebody the rebel alliance needed; he had faith the commander would do his duty.
Hunter stood at the bottom of the Marauder steps, waiting for his brothers when Shaak appeared next to him, gazing around.
“Charming.” She said simply, crossing her arms and Hunter grinned. “Did the best we could with what we had.” He said with a shrug and Shaak dropped her arms.
“I’m sure you did.”
Wrecker and Crosshair appeared, both looking a bit glum. “What’s wrong?” Hunter frowned and Wrecker looked ready to cry again.
“I miss Echo!”
Shaak rubbed the giant clones arm comfortably as Crosshair rolled his eyes. “Pussy.” He said and Shaak smacked his arm, making the sniper huff as he waved a finger in his face.
“You be nice.” She scolded and Crosshair grumbled something.
The former Jedi now rolled her eyes as she watched Crosshair take the lead toward somewhere she didn’t know.
“I think he’s upset about Echo too. I’m sure he’d rather get decommissioned before he admits it though.” Hunter said with a tiny smile and Shaak could tell her was upset too.
“You didn’t like Echo’s decision?” Shaak asked and Hunter sighed. “I respected it, but I wish he had stayed…he’s been very useful this squad, as well as been a good brother…he's one of the very few regs to treat us like one of our own.” Hunter shut his eyes for a moment.
Wrecker sniffles. “Omega’s gonna be upset.” He mumbled and Shaak looked confused.
Tech was standing in the kitchen, munching on something Evesh had him try. It turned out to be quite good, surprisingly. Tech had always bed picky with his foods. Not quite because of the tastes, but because of the textures, but this seemed to be durable.
He heard the front door open and heard the quiet murmur of his brothers speaking.
“Was your comm not working?” Tech called without looking up from his data pad that sat in the counter.
“No! Something was blocking it. It should be fine now.”
“What were at the coordinates?”
“A base.” Tech saw Hunter appear in the corner of his eye, followed by what he assumed was the rest of his brothers.
“What kind of base?”
“They had refugees that they had been taking in throughout the war and even now—“ Tech could hear a bit of stifled laughter from his brothers but paid no attention to it, simply listening to Hunter give a run down of what happened.
“Of what importance was that to us?”
“Quite a bit, I hope.” Tech spun around to the familiar voice, practically tossing his bowl onto the counter before he crossed the kitchen to engulf Shaak in a hug.
Shaak chuckled, stroking Tech’s hair. “I’ve missed this big brain of yours.” She playfully said with a ruffle of his hair. Tech smiled as he pulled away, pressing his goggles up to his face.
“Truly a sight for sore eyes, Shaak.”
“Oh hush. I know you boys were doing fine without be.” Shaak rolled her eyes and the Bad Batch smiled.
Hunter walked toward the kids bedroom where he sensed Omega’s heartbeat, cracking open the door to see her passed out in the tiny couch in there with the baby Togruta’s asleep in their cribs.
Hunter went over to his sister, crouching down to her level and nudging her. Omega stirred, mumbling something and Hunter chuckled.
“Cmon, kid. There’s somebody I want you to meet.” Omega opened her eyes, blinking tiredly before she sat up. Hunter stood and held out his hands to her and she happily took them, allowing her brother to hoist her into his arms.
“Been a long night?” Hunter asked with a faint smile and Omega nodded wordlessly as they walked out.
Shaak looked a bit surprised at the young girl in Hunter’s arms, but she had a soft smile on her face as the sergeant set her down.
“Omega, this is Shaak Ti, our jedi general back during the war. She helped raise and train us.” Hunter said, turning Omega around by her head so she could greet the Togruta. Omega looked surprised.
“Oh, I remember you.” She said and Shaak smiled as she crouched to Omega’s height. “You do?” She asked and Omega nodded. Hunter looked confused.
“I thought you said you didn’t meet any jedi on Kamino?”
“Well, I never met her, I just saw her every once in awhile.” Omega said in a matter of fact tone that made Crosshair snicker as Hunter rolled his eyes.
“Shaak, this is Omega. She’s also a clone.” Shaak looked even more surprised.
“Most adorable clone I have ever seen.”
The Bad Batch looked offended.
“You said that about us!” Crosshair pointed out and Shaak rolled her eyes and winked at Omega, making her giggle.
Evesh suddenly opened her door just across the living room, immediately pointing at Hunter with a glare on her face.
“You. Come here. Now.”
“Ohhh, somebodies in trouble.” Crosshair said just to make Hunter annoyed. The sergeant strode across the room and the door shut behind the two, a faint conversation being heard that they only picked up on a few sentences such as “we talked about this.” and “A JEDI?” and “you have to warn me when important people are stopping by.”
The door opened and Evesh nudged past Hunter, greeting Shaak in what Tech recognized as Togruti, both smiling and shaking each other’s hands.
Omega was still standing by the kitchen as Hunter went back to her and she suddenly looked past her brothers standing across the room.
“Where’re Howzer and Rex?” She asked and Hunter softened.
“Rex is going back to the front of the rebellion and Howzer is back with the Syndulla’s right now.”
Omega’s eyes widened. “Don’t tell me Hera was there!” She exclaimed and Hunter sighed. “Omega—“
Omega went past him, mumbling something about going to the ship to help Echo as she went past her brothers who all looked at Hunter nervously.
The sergeant was about to follow when Crosshair stopped him.
“Stay here and i’ll go talk to her.” Hunter raised his eyebrows. “She should hear it from me.” Crosshair shook his head and dropped his hand.
“She’s not gonna be happy about it. Let me let her get her anger out and then you can talk to her later, okay?”
Never in a million years would Hunter of thought Crosshair would volunteer to do something like this to help a kid deal with their emotions. Every time they had to work with kids during the war, Crosshair was distant and short handed with them, wanting to keep his distance.
Omega had truly changed the sniper, Hunter believed that. But he would never say it out loud.
Hunter nodded and watched as Crosshair took off after their sister.
“Omega.” Crosshair called into the Marauder, stepping in and gazing around.
Omega appeared, looking confused. “Where’s Echo?” She asked quietly and suddenly Crosshair was regretting volunteering to break the news to her.
She already looked so turned around that Echo hadn’t come in with them and finding out he wasn’t on the ship, how was he going to manage to tell her he left them?
Crosshair sighed and knelt down, Omega watching him with weary eyes.
“Omega…when we were on Hoth, we found a base…a base that held refugees of people thought to be dead in the eyes of the empire—“ Crosshair explained, his fingers flexing out of nervous habit.
“One of them was Echo’s twin, Fives. The one he thought died trying to reveal what the inhibitor chip was…and when it came time to leave, Echo—“ Crosshair swallowed.
“Echo decided to stay with Fives.”
Omega’s breath hitched for a moment. “And you let him?…just like that?” She asked, her voice quiet and wavery.
“It would be selfish to ask him otherwise, Omega. Echo deserved to choose his own path.” Crosshair tried to tell her but Omega shook her head, her tiny fist clenching as her chin dropped to her chest.
“You guys just let him go! Like you didn’t even care about him!”
“Omega, we did. You don’t think I was upset to see him make his choice?” Crosshair asked her but Omega was too blinded by her emotions to listen to the sniper.
Crosshair was caught off guard when Omega advanced toward him and swung a punch, hitting him in the arm. It didn’t hurt, but it definitely could’ve done some damage to her fist and he caught the other one that came at him.
“Omega—!” He said and she tried to swing another only for her brother to catch that one. Crosshair held onto them, trying to calm his sister down as she still wiggled to hit him with tears running down her face.
“You let him go and you don’t even care! You let him go! You let him—“ Omega sobbed before Crosshair pulled her into a hug, taking the tiny punches that she attempted while being squeezed against the snipers body until she gave up and sobbed into his shoulder.
“We did care, kid…we cared so much, we had to let him go.” Crosshair whispered to her, holding back his own tears as he listened to hers quiet down until she was passed out in his arms and he simply held her until the time was right to let go.
Chapter 63: Pity
“What was that about?”
Hunter turned to looked at Tech and he could see Shaak giving a sympathetic look before she motioned for Evesh to go to another room so they could get to know each other and let the boys have a private moment.
“The reason Fox sent us there was because on of the refugees there thought to be dead in the empires eyes was Fives, Echo’s batch twin.” Tech seemed surprised but didn’t say anything as he leaned against the counter and listened.
“I knew he’d make the choice he thought he needed, and we had to respect that. I couldn’t tell him otherwise, or else it’d be selfish of me.”
Tech looked confused.
“What do you mean? What choice?”
Hunter clenched his fist a bit. Tech was smart, and him not connecting the dots either meant he was in denial, or he was waiting for Hunter to confirm what he thought was true.
“Echo stayed with Fives. He didn’t come back with us.”
Tech didn’t say anything. He simply stared at his eldest brother for a moment before his gazed dropped to the floor and his knee bounced a bit.
Wrecker and Hunter exchanged worried looks. “That’s it?” Wrecker asked and Tech shrugged, turning to grab his bowl he had in his hands earlier. “No way to change his mind. Best not to dwell in it.” Tech slammed his bowl in the sink just a bit too aggressively for Hunter’s reassurance that he was ‘alright’ from this situation.
“I do not need your pity, nor do I want it. Leave it. If Echo does not want to be with us, why attempt to bargain the different outcomes?” Tech snapped as Hunter tried to rest a hand on his shoulder as he walked by.
The engineer brushed past them, going out the door and most likely to the Marauder to distract himself in his work; work that should’ve had a certain somebody’s help.
Hunter sighed and slumped his shoulders. Wrecker looked sad too, sitting down on one of the counter top chairs.
“I’m just going to leave him be for now. Hopefully he’ll cheer up in a few days.” Hunter sighed and sat down as well.
The door to Saha’s room opened and Hunter looked, surprised to see a certain commanders face appear with a faint, tired smile.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to be awake for a bit longer.” Hunter said and stood back up as Fox approached. The commander shrugged.
“Felt like stretching my legs now that I’m out of coruscant.”
Riyo appeared behind him, waddling her way into the kitchen to find something to eat.
“We went to those coordinates you gave us.” Hunter informed Fox as he also went into the kitchen to find food.
“What was at it?”
Hunter and Wrecker looked bewildered and Fox shrugged. “I have very, very hazy memory from anything involving the chip when I was fighting for control. Any times where I gained control, I don’t remember most of. I knew I had given you guys a device with coordinates but I couldn’t for the life of me remember why.”
Hunter nodded understandingly. “It was a base for refugees thought to be dead in the eyes of the Empire.” Fox nodded. “Sounds familiar.” He hummed and took a bite of something he had grabbed.
“Echo found his lost Batch twin, Fives. I had never seen him so happy before than seeing he was alive.” Hunter smiled faintly and Fox looked at the sergeant’s expression.
“He stayed with him?”
Hunter nodded and Fox didn’t say anything for a moment before clearing you lot. “I guess I should thank you lot for saving me, and my girl.” He said, glancing at Riyo who was standing next to him with a tiny smile.
Hunter returned it. “It was no problem, commander. You’d of done the same for us.”
“Hmm, you guys? Maybe. Crosshair. I’d have to ponder it.”
Wrecker giggled as Hunter rolled his eyes. “I can’t even argue with that one.” He said as Shaak appeared from Evesh’s room and Fox’s eyes lit up.
“I see you don’t remember our last meeting.” Shaak smiled gently at Fox and he shook his head as he watched her standing next to Hunter.
“Shaak was at the base too and hitched a ride with us. Commander Wolffe was there too, but he has people to look after there. I think he has too much fight left in him to settle to just bounty hunting.” Fox chuckled with a nod.
“Do you know of any other jedi still alive?” Fox asked and Shaak shook her head, looking sad. “It was too much of a risk to try to use comms and I reached out in the force, but nobody has responded yet. I have not tried since then, as it pains me to think of it.” Shaak explained with her hand clutching her left arm.
Fox nodded understandingly, straightening up a bit as he chucked his food in the trash.
“Well, Tech suggested it’d be best to lay low while Riyo’s in her last month of pregnancy, so you’ll be seeing us around here for awhile. Might even join you boys for a bounty or two.” Wrecker looked a bit confused.
“What else would you do?”
“I dunno, but Evesh and Saha have said bartending has its perks.” Hunter and Wrecker sniffled their laughs at imagining a hard gazed commander working behind a bar for bratty customers and Shaak hit both of them upside the head.
“Be nice! He is providing for his family!” She scolded and Fox grinned as Hunter and Wrecker looking defeated by the former jedi. Shaak turned to Riyo and smiled.
“Congratulations. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this in such hard times.”
Riyo gave a tiny smile and nodded. “I’ve managed. Even better now thanks to these outlaws.” Hunter grinned at the former senator as Fox rolled his eyes and went back toward Saha’s room.
“I’m heading back to bed. These headaches have been whooping my ass lately.” The group bid Fox goodnight as Hunter stood up.
“Cmon Shaak. I’ll show you something you’ll love.”
Hunter turned on the lights to the kids room and Shaak lit up as she followed him to a crib.
“Oh my.” She whispered as Deshi and Olash opened their eyes to look up at them. Hunter grinned and wiggled his fingers above Deshi and she giggled, kicking her tiny feet as she reached to them.
“They’re adorable! Are they—“ Shaak whispered and looked at Hunter. He looked embarrassed and rubbed his face.
“No, Shaak. They’re none of ours!”
“I was just asking! I don’t know what you boys have been up to!” The former jedi said defensively as she reached out to Olash. “I’m glad you think so low of us.” Hunter teased.
“I do not! Well, if any of you to pull something like this, it would be Crosshair…” Shaak said with a slight smirk and Hunter chuckled.
“This is Evesh’s quadruplets. This is Olash, her only son, and Deshi. In the other crib is Canvas and Casse.” Hunter told the former jedi and she gushed at them.
“It is a sight for sore eyes to see children in a time like this. Have you thought about having some?”
Hunter looked at the woman who raised him. “Maker, Shaak.” He rubbed his eyebrows and Shaak rolled her eyes.
“It was a simple question!”
“I dunno. Never thought about it till Omega and these gremlins came along.” Hunter poked Deshi’s belly and she giggled.
“But I don’t think I’d mind, maybe if things settle down.”
“Ah, I see…Crosshair told me you had a boyfriend anyway.”
Hunter put his face in his hands and groaned. “I’m gonna strangle him.” Shaak grinned and ran a hand through his hair.
“Tell me about him.”
“Okay, well one, he’s not my boyfriend—“
Hunter gave Shaak a look and she looked defensive. “You can’t get one talking like that!” She said and the sergeant rolled his eyes.
“His name is Saha. He’s Evesh’s brother, so he’s also a Togruta. He should be coming in soon since Evesh looked ready to go to work so late in the evening, so do not call him my boyfriend.” Hunter pointed a finger and Shaak rolled her eyes, dropping her hand.
Hunter shook his head and picked up Deshi and Olash since they were awake now, no doubt ready for dinner. Hunter motioned with his head to the other crib.
“Grab the other two, will ya?”
Chapter 64: Coping
Evesh was about to leave as Hunter and Shaak appeared with her children and she smiled.
“Your children are beautiful.” Shaak said as Evesh kissed them on their heads.
“Thank you, but don’t let their looks fool you. They knew how to get into trouble.” Evesh winked before bidding them what was their goodnight for the evening and heading off to Cid’s with Wrecker escorting her like a faithful hound.
“This certainly is a change from the war.” Shaak said as her and Hunter sat on the couch, letting the kids next to them to play as they waited for Saha to get home to feed them.
“Yea. I’m not complaining though. These little gremlins have really boosted everybody’s spirits I think.” Hunter let Deshi play and chew on his fingers, smirking.
Shaak smiled but Hunter could see a look in her eyes. He had always been good at recognizing when his mother figure was feeling different emotions than what she portrayed, and he leaned forward with a concerned look.
Shaak sighed. “Nothing, honestly. The force lately had just been feeling…off. I thought finding your boys would set it normal, but…” Shaak trailed off and Hunter simply nodded and left it at that. He didn’t know enough about the force to ask about it and knew Shaak would tell him if something was truly wrong.
The door opened and the two both turned to see Saha come in and he gave a gentle smile.
“You must be Shaak Ti.”
Shaak smiled with a nod as Hunter leaned on the back of the couch, clearly seeing the bright eyes the Togruta gave him when he glanced in his direction.
“A pleasure to meet you. You have a beautiful home.”
“All thanks to Hunter and his scoundrels.” Saha said as he ruffled the sergeants hair before grabbing the kids. Shaak gave Hunter a smile, clearly proud of his acts of kindness and Hunter simply smiled sheepishly.
The Togruta’s communicated for a bit in Togruti, both smiling widely and nodding to each other. Hunter picked up on a bit of it, having learned some from Shaak growing up, but for the most part played with Canvas and Casse who were waiting their turn for dinner as Saha fed the other two.
“I should return to the ship, make sure the others are okay before bed.” Shaak stood up and Hunter nodded.
“I’ll be behind you.”
Shaak smiled, a mischievous one that made Hunter’s eyes narrow as he watched her leave as she bid the two a goodnight.
“I missed your comm.”
Hunter looked over at Saha, who glanced at him from feeding Deshi. The sergeant sighed. “The base we were at was blocking our comms. I tried to contact Tech first and got nothing. I promise I wasn’t trying to avoid you.”
Saha chuckled as he walked over to switch out the babies, leaning down to grab the other two and pressing a kiss to Hunter’s lips as he did so.
Hunter’s eyes shut and it lingered for a moment before Saha pulled away to feed the other two, giving a sweet smile to the sergeant.
“I just like teasing you.”
Hunter hummed, a small smile on his face. “So, that was the Togruta you mentioned awhile back? She seems nice.” Saha began feeding Canvas.
“She’s wonderful. She prevented us from being decommissioned and trained us, as well as fought alongside us. We owe her everything.” Hunter said and Saha frowned.
“Killed, in other words.”
Saha looked confused. “Tech mentioned that clones have a low chance of dying from natural causes because of the war. Why were you guys going to get decommissioned?”
Hunter shifted in his seat, clearly a bit uneasy on the subject.
“We’re defective clones. If we didn’t perform how the kaminoans intended us to, they’d decommission us and make new ones until they found the ones that responded to their conditioning.”
Saha looked deep in thought.
“So…were there others before you?”
“I think so. I heard rumors but I never could ask. We were the first to be ‘born’ together, though they separated it to Tech and I, and Crosshair and Wrecker for a bit before fully putting us together. They saw regs responded well working and growing in squads and thought the same could be accomplished with us and—“ Hunter motioned with his hands.
“Here we are.”
Saha finished giving the kids their dinners and went to sit down on the couch with Hunter.
“I think that’s awful.”
Hunter raised his eyebrows and Saha shook his head quickly. “Not you guys being here, you know, surviving, but the fact that they think of living beings as such disposable objects. Nobody deserves that.” Saha looked disgusted and Hunter shrugged as he held a sleepy Casse in his arms, gently stroking her lekku.
“Not much we could do on our end.”
“Tech seemed just a casual about this. I hate that you guys think so little of yourselves.”
Saha rested his arms on the back of the couch, close to Hunter’s head and the sergeant shrugged again.
“We were made for a purpose, might as well live up to our glory than die in vain. We’re clones, it’s nice to feel like you’ve made a difference when you were made to be replaceable.”
“You’re not replaceable.” Saha said, a bit of snip in his voice as his fingers came to stroke Hunter’s cheek. The sergeant sighed as they went to his hair and he leaned into the Togruta’s touch.
“Not to me.”
Hunter couldn’t contain the tiny smile on his face as he opened his eyes and saw Saha smiling as well before he leaned across the couch and placed a gentle kiss on the sergeants lips.
Hunter hummed into the kiss before a babble from Deshi made them break away and look down as she happily made grabby hands at Hunter.
The two chuckled and Saha placed one more kiss to Hunter’s lips before standing up.
“Help me put them to bed?”
Hunter nodded and grabbed Deshi and Casse, following the Togruta to the kids room. Deshi babbled to Hunter for a bit before she settled down and began falling asleep next to Casse, who was already passed out once her head hit the bed.
Hunter followed Saha out, watching as he turned off the lights and left the door cracked open before turning around and giving a gentle smile to the sergeant.
Hunter returned it and Saha opened his arms to him, which Hunter happily went into, wrapping his arms around the Togruta’s torso and breathing in his scent.
“Want to crash with me on the couch tonight?” Saha offered and Hunter sighed. “I would, but I gotta go check on the boys and Omega. If they’re settled down, I might come back.”
Saha raised his eyes. “Something happen?” He asked, bringing his hand up to Hunter’s face to stroke his cheek. The sergeant breathed out, shoulders slumping.
“Echo left us. His twin, Fives, was at the coordinates we went to and he decided to stay with them.” Saha seemed saddened by the news but remained quiet and listened.
“I think everybody’s taking it a bit hard. Especially Omega and Tech. I respected his decision but…” Hunter breathed out. “Damn, it kinda hurts to know he’s not riding with us anymore.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for him to make.”
Hunter shrugged. “Echo deserves to be happy. I wasn’t going to try and stop him, especially after everything that’s happened to him.” Saha nodded understandingly as Hunter pulled away from his hand.
“I’ll see you in the morning?”
Saha nodded with a tiny smile before leaning down to kiss Hunter. The sergeant kissed him back and cursed himself mentally for his heart beating faster every time the Togruta did this.
“Goodnight, sarge.” Saha whispered and Hunter rolled his eyes.
Hunter entered the Marauder and could smell the saltiness of tears, immediately trying to locate where they were coming from.
He found his way to the bunk room and saw Crosshair laying in his bunk with Omega tucked into the crook of his arm, facing the wall and by the speed of her heartbeat, he knew she was asleep.
Crosshair glanced over at him, looking tired. Hunter approached him, a sad look on his own face.
“Cried it out for a bit before she passed out, but I think she’ll be fine. Took a good few swings at me too.”
Hunter sighed as Crosshair shifted a bit to be more comfortable.
“Said we shouldn’t of let him of. That we didn’t care about him because we let him leave so easily.” Crosshair told the sergeant and he seemed concerned.
“I’ll talk to her in the morning. It’ll take some getting used to, but…” Hunter ran a hand down his face. “We’ll survive.”
“How’s Tech? I saw him come in but he disappeared into the cockpit before I could ask anything.”
“I dunno. I haven’t talked to him, but i’ll go now.”
Crosshair nodded and watched his brother leave before he laid down fully and rested his head on top of his sisters, attempting to fall asleep once again.
Hunter made his way to the cockpit and saw Shaak in the pilot chair with Tech slumped against her leg, fast asleep.
“He doing okay?” Hunter asked quietly, glancing down at Tech snoring softly. Shaak nodded. “He’ll be fine. It seems him and Echo were close.” Hunter nodded.
“Echo was the only one interested in helping him fix the ship. We’d do it before to speed things up, but compared to Tech, we never found much fun in it. He’d ramble about maker knows what and we’d have a hard time keeping up, but we’d listen. I think finally having Echo, who understood the engineering language, made him feel like his rambling was proven of importance.”
Shaak nodded understandingly, running her hand through Tech’s hair to push it out of his face. “I am happy you found somebody outside you four to fit in with.” Hunter cracked a smile.
“Took longer than expected.”
“It does not help when Crosshair acts the way he does.” Shaak looked a bit annoyed, most definitely thinking about the times she had to scold Crosshair for picking fights with the regs and him arguing that they deserve it. Hunter sighed.
“When you grew how we did, Shaak, you’d probably close yourself off to your two millions brothers too.”
“I understand, but still. Not all of them are the same.”
Hunter bent down to Tech, hoisting him up by his armpits and slinging him over his shoulder. “You can take my bunk for tonight, Shaak.”
The former jedi frowned as she stood. “Where will you sleep?” She asked and Hunter shrugged.
“I got options.”
Hunter missed the knowing smirk she grew on her face as he carried Tech to his bunk and plopped him down ungraciously.
“Careful!” Shaak scolded and Hunter rolled his eyes as he watched her place Tech’s head on the pillow.
“He sleeps through almost anything. See?” Hunter punched the engineer the stomach and Shaak smacked Hunter’s hand, glaring at him. Hunter smirked when Tech simply mumbled something in his sleep and turned over, arms hanging off the bed.
Shaak rolled her eyes and threw a blanket over him as Hunter went toward the doorway.
The two smiled at each other before Hunter grabbed his spare civvie sweatpants out of the laundry, stripping and putting them on, leaving his shirt off before he bounded his way out of the ship, closing it behind him and making his way down the road.
Hunter pushed the back door of the Rollala’s open slowly, shutting it quietly behind him before he made his way to the living room and saw a sleeping form on the couch.
Lucky for Hunter, Togruta grew quite big, so Evesh bought a good size couch to fit most of them on, so he was easily able to lift the blanket that covered Saha and slip his feet under.
Saha opened his eyes and blinked in surprise, helping Hunter pull the blanket back and settle in next to him before he draped the blanket over them.
“Missed me that much?”
Hunter rolled his eyes, throwing his arm over Saha as the Togruta tucked one underneath Hunter’s neck and the other went around him as well.
“Thought you’d miss me too much.”
Saha chuckled, pressing a kiss to Hunter’s forehead before he rested his chin on top of the sergeants head.
“Maybe I did…”
Hunter rolled his eyes, pressing his face into Saha’s chest before he closed his eyes and drifted off peacefully.