Episode I – the END… & Christophsis?
|| I.i : – REX – ||
Rex made it to Endor.
He made it all the way through this damn, unending war, right up to the miraculous tipping point that changed everything, turning this endless conflict into something about to be entirely won… Even if it wasn’t gonna be over, the tide had turned irrevocably, and the rest would surely be just mop up.
Rex made it all the way to the end, but not quite far enough to make it out the other side, and now here he is, bleeding out from a blaster bolt to the gut as the victory celebrations begin to erupt… Kriffen useless Stormtrooper armor.
Whelp, honestly, Rex is okay with this whole dying thing.
After so long of war, Rex wouldn’t know what to do with himself in peace.
Especially now that he’s gotten old.
Thirty-six going on Seventy-two… The world’s got no need for aged-out clones limping around to remind everyone of the Old Republic’s failings.
Maybe now he’ll be able to join his fallen comrades, become One with the Force and all that, as Ahsoka liked to say... It’s been seven long years since he last stood beside her… When she disappeared on Malachor, with everything that Ezra Bridger's Force visions hinted at, Rex had never really given up hope that she might be alive somewhere.
He still hasn’t, even though he’s felt her presence behind him like a phantom in his mind as she whispers something to him from the ether of the Force – warnings that usually save his life and comforts that have somehow saved his sanity.
Rex slips away from the partying, unnoticed.
He makes his way to a nice quiet spot at the base of a tree, surrounded by a ring of small-petaled, blue & white flowers. It’s a good place to die, better than most.
Settled down and as comfortable as he could expect to be, Rex lets himself drift off for the last time, knowing that he’d done his best to fight the good fight.
Rex doesn’t know if he falls asleep or simply dies, but it seems like only seconds after he lets his eyes close that he opens them at the sound of Ahsoka’s voice softly calling his name.
“Heya, Little’un,” he replies, cracking open his eyes and making the effort to smile.
“It’s been a long time for you, Rex, hasn’t it?”
He nods but doesn’t give an exact timeframe.
Ahsoka looks just like she did when she shipped out to Malachor, even in the odd dim glow of … wherever they currently are.
All Rex knows is that it’s dim and quiet, and he’s not going to bother looking around when he could keep his eyes on Ahsoka.
“You did good, Rexster,” she tells him as she crouches at his side. “You’ve lived an honorable life and done so much good with the very worst the Force could throw at you.”
Rex half-chuckles, his gut gone numb enough not to cry out in pain from the sudden jarring motion. “Why do I feel like there’s a ‘but’ coming?”
“You just know me too well,” Ahsoka sighs.
“So? What’s the ‘but’?”
“I’m here to ask you something, Rex… I’m here to give you a choice.”
“Whatever you need, So’ika, I say yes,” Rex returns.
“You don’t even know what I’m asking yet,” Ahsoka chastises fondly.
With a shrug, Rex huffs, “Doesn’t matter. You wouldn’t ask if you didn’t need it, and I’m always gonna help you if I possibly can.”
“You deserve to rest, Rex,” Ahsoka tells him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “And what I’m asking is for you to give up that chance to rest.”
“I’m asking you to consider going back with me, to do it all over again— to try again and make it better,” Ahsoka explains.
In the way of dreams, Rex doesn’t even question what she means. He simply knows and doesn’t pause to consider that such a thing ought to be impossible.
“Sure. I’ll go back. If you’re there, we’ll be able to make a real difference,” Rex tells her with his eyes glazing over as the memories of the war get pushed to the fore. There were certainly some choices he would have made differently, but the whole thing had been rigged against them in a way that wasn’t any of their faults.
With just a little bit of knowledge from the end of the first war, they could have changed everything about how long the odds were as they embarked upon the second. With legitimate foreknowledge, with all the experience and cunning developed in their lives up till now? If they could retain a fraction of what they have gained in going back to the beginning… it could change too much to even contemplate.
The ache of living through all he had with her hits him hard, but the idea of reliving it, of living it again and doing it all better… Suddenly, feels tinged with hope.
If he and Ahsoka had a chance to ‘do it over’? If they could go back to the very beginning and keep hold of their present knowledge, they’d be able to change everything.
“I don’t know when you’ll wake up, if you really want to do this,” Ahsoka warns. “She just said that it would be when you first became part of my clan. It could be a very long time ago.”
“Then we’ll just have more time to fix things,” Rex huffs.
He meets Ahsoka’s worried stare straight on.
She leans in and gives him a tight hug— only made slightly awkward by their relative positions, her crouched on her knees and him sitting with his legs stretched out. Before she pulls away, she presses a kiss to his cheek that bleeds a reinvigorating warmth into his dying body.
“Thank you, Rex,” she whispers. “I don’t think I could bear this without you.”
“What are best friends for, eh?” He asks as she pulls away.
Her only response is a quirk of her smile.
A moment later, she says, “I’m gonna put you to sleep now, and then let Morai handle the rest. I’ll be with you always, in the Force, and hopefully, I’ll join you in person real soon.”
“I’ll be countin’ down the seconds, So’ika,” he sighs.
The last thing he feels before he fades into nothingness is Ahsoka’s slim fingers on his forehead, the cool tips of her fingers’ rough pads brushing towards his temples.
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