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The Best Cure

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It was the kind of milksop mission that would have normally been well below the paygrade of either the 501st or the 212th, forget about as a joint mission. A Jedi library, thought to have been lost for 3,000 years, had been rediscovered by a university dig, and the contents had to be packaged and transported to Coruscant before the Seppies heard about them.

The 501st and the 212th would be acting as organised manual labour, with the added benefit that they could defend the site if by some chance the Seppies did hear about the library.

It was still maybe a month’s work for less men than either the 501st or 212th fielded, so Rex and Cody had read between the lines to realise that they were being assigned to Pomarie in lieu of the leave that command owed them, but couldn’t afford to give.

An impression confirmed by the inclusion of an anonymous note in the data packet, all but begging the clones to convince their Jedi to take this opportunity to take leave themselves.

It wouldn’t be too bad. In addition to the library, Pomarie had only one thing of note: a Corellian company had built a luxury resort on one of the small islands just off the main continent but the company had gone bankrupt, the war had broken out and the resort had never opened.

Most of the Troopers were unenthusiastic about the prospect of packing up the library, but to a man they were giddy at the knowledge that they would also be taking over the ocean side resort. Bred and raised on Kamino, there wasn’t a clone living who couldn’t swim like a tessek, and they rarely got the opportunity.

Cody and Rex had finished scheduling out who would be doing what and when and then had a quiet but fierce argument over who would approach the Jedi about taking their turn at downtime. Rex had lost, but only because he’d verbally cornered Cody so well that Rex’s older brother had resorted to pulling rank.

Rex didn't blame him. General Skywalker and Commander Tano both worked as hard as any Jedi in the war, but neither of them seemed as maddeningly determined to avoid taking a break as General Kenobi. Rex had walked in on enough arguments between Cody and Junior, the 212th’s medic, about increasingly outlandish ways to get their General to Just Stop Already to know that this was not going to be an easy task.

And that was before considering that the Jedi had all been acting damn odd since Mortis. Rex knew something had happened, but not what. From his perspective, the shuttle had only been out of sight for a few minutes, but the Jedi said it had been days for them, and as odd as that was, he believed them.

But beyond that?

Skywalker would get downright snappish and shoot concerned looks at Ahsoka. Ahsoka said she thought she must have been concussed because she remembered very little, most of it unclear.

The one time Rex had tried to bring it up with him, Kenobi had gone distant, the kind of look in his eyes that brothers wore after a bad campaign, and he’d changed subject clumsily and fast.

It was such a difference from his usual ability to verbally dance around a topic that Rex hadn’t quite dared to ask a second time.

Which left Rex with the uncomfortable feeling that he had no idea how any of his Jedi were going to react when he broached the topic of scheduling their leave. He didn’t think saying they obviously needed it would do him any favours. If it was a brother he’d explain that time spent in recuperation increased battlefield efficiency, but while that might work on Ahsoka, Skywalker would just laugh, and Kenobi would start spouting Jedi mysticism with such solemn sincerity that only the mischief in his eyes would give away the fact that he was fully aware he was talking nonsense.

Rex was, he reflected morosely, beginning to understand Junior’s exasperated comment to Cody that in order to force Kenobi to rest, someone would have to be assigned to sit on him.

(Rex had studiously ignored the considering looks Cody and Junior had aimed his way. He was aware that everyone in the 501st and not a few brothers in the 212th knew about his quiet but intense crush on General Kenobi. He also knew - which everyone else seemed to have forgotten - that General Skywalker’s spectacular flouting of the rules aside, Jedi did not form relationships.

Rex had realised fairly early on that while some brothers were capable of casual exchanges, Rex himself was not wired that way.

So Rex handled his crush in the only way he had left. He squashed it and maintained his usual level of professionalism no matter which Jedi he was working with. He ignored the teasing - from the 501st, from the 212th, from General Skywalker Force take it - and got on with his job.)

In the end, Rex didn’t have to worry about convincing the Jedi that the leave was for their benefit as well. Skywalker had planned training for Ahsoka, but had reassured them both that he had left plenty of time for relaxation. Judging by Ahsoka’s face, she recognised this as a symptom of Skywalker’s newly discovered tendency to coddle her, and wasn’t sure whether to protest the coddling, or accept the offer of a break.

When Rex, already sure he was going to regret it, asked Skywalker if he had hints about how to get Kenobi to relax, Skywalker just laughed.

“It’s a library, Rex,” he said, “Obi-Wan will sneak a few of the smaller artefacts and then we won’t see him for a few weeks. Not my idea of a good time, but just make sure someone brings him tea and food occasionally and he’ll be as happy as a Jawa in a junk shop.”

And then he tried to waggle his eyebrows.

Rex kept his expression stone. Skywalker was never intentionally cruel, but that didn’t mean it was nice to have your superior officer remind you that he knew your failings. And the worst part was that he was right. If Kenobi did vanish into his quarters to fiddle with whatever artefact he managed to pick up, there was no way that Rex would let anyone else be the one supplying him with food and drink and whatever else he needed.

“Yes, sir,” Rex finally managed to say, and by the way Skywalker laughed again, he’d heard the implied meaning as well as the words.

They’d flipped a coin for it, and the 501st had gotten first turn at the resort. Rex was glad that he had to attend the dig site as the 501st’s ranking officer. He’d handed responsibility of the rest of his men to Jesse, glad that when he arrived at the resort in three day’s time, whatever property damage his men had managed to cause would be Jesse’s responsibility, not his.

Both he and General Skywalker had been firm with the 501st about the type of behaviour they expected, but Rex was realistic enough to know that that just meant the place would be very dented, not outright destroyed, by the time he arrived.

As the three Jedi, Cody and Rex walked into the camp around the library, Rex caught himself looking around, and noticed that Cody was doing the same. He knew the team the Jedi had sent was small, but the whole area was set up with the kind of precise organisation that Sergeant Appo would weep over. And Appo was the most persnickety bastard of a Sergeant Rex had ever encountered.

“Ah,” said General Kenobi, “they’ve sent Master Nu.”

It wasn’t concern in his voice, exactly, more like… hesitation. General Skywalker, meanwhile, was failing to hide his amusement, while Ahsoka just looked confused. Rex looked at Cody, who shrugged. So there was probably nothing to go on alert over. And it was ridiculous to feel protective of a Jedi Master.

Rex’s hands inched closer to his blasters anyway.

Master Nu turned out to be a white haired human woman who moved with same precise grace that all Jedi possessed. She wore more complicated tunics and tabards than Rex’s Jedi, and when she turned her gaze on the clones, Rex found himself straightening into parade rest without consciously deciding to do so.

He would have been embarrassed but Cody was doing the exact same thing beside him.

“Padawan Tano,” said Master Nu warmly, “it’s good to see you again. Knight Skywalker.” Her tone turned frosty. “Master Kenobi.”

Rex threw a startled look at Cody to see that Cody looked just as startled as he felt. He had known that not all Jedi got along, just like not all brothers got along, but he had never seen it in person. He decided he didn’t like it. No matter that General Skywalker evidently thought it was hilarious, that Ahsoka still looked confused, the whole thing just rubbed him the wrong way.

Cody cleared his throat and elbowed Rex in the side.

“Sir, Commander Cody of the 212th and my counterpart is Captain Rex of the 501st. If you brief us on how you want this done, we’ll make sure our men know what to do.”

Rex realised he was glaring at the Jedi in charge of the mission, and forced himself to stop.

Master Nu looked over both clones, and then said, “These artefacts are extremely old and extremely delicate. Are your men capable of handling them without damaging them?”

Skywalker started to inflate with indignation at the perceived slight to his men, but Cody answered smoothly that the 501st and 212th were the epitome of well trained professionalism and that Master Nu had nothing to worry about.

Rex was glad for Cody’s presence - he could still taste the sarcastic response involving grenades that had risen to his lips at the question. He needed to get a handle on himself. This was a Jedi, she was on their side, and just because she had some sort of disagreement with Obi-Wan was no reason to treat her like Ventress or Grievous.

They paused at the entrance to the dig site, and Master Nu stopped, turning to the clones.

“You’ll have to leave your weapons here, gentlemen. We can’t have them inside.”

That was enough to dent even Cody’s professional smoothness. Rex saw his brother twitch before General Kenobi clapped him on the shoulder.

“Come on, Commander you won’t need them.”

Skywalker was grinning at Rex, indicating the blaster rack beside the door. It was easy for the Jedi, Rex thought, knowing Cody would be thinking the same. No-one was asking them to surrender their lightsabers.

Master Nu led them into the library, Cody following close behind her listening attentively to what she was saying. General Skywalker and Ahsoka followed, and General Kenobi fell back to walk beside Rex.

“Something the matter, Captain?” He asked, and Rex winced. He’d noticed the glaring, then.

“Is there a problem with Master Nu, sir?”

“Ah,” said General Kenobi, and he sounded rueful, but not concerned. “I had the impertinence to suggest to Master Nu that information had been deleted from the Archives, and then I had the misfortune of being proven right. She’s never forgiven me.”

“She blames you for that, sir?” Rex managed to keep his voice low, but he couldn’t bleach the anger out of his tone. “That hardly seems fair.”

“Oh, Captain, I do hate to be the one to break it to you, but we Jedi are just as flawed and fallible as the next sentient. We are none of us perfect.”

Rex had to look at Obi-Wan then, to see if he was imagining the fondness in Obi-Wan voice. He wasn’t. It was matched by the fondness in the curve of his mouth, in his eyes, and Rex had to catch his breath and look down. His face was hot, and he hoped the dim coolness of the library was enough to hide that he was blushing.

He knew Obi-Wan had no idea of the effect he had on Rex, and he needed to keep it that way. He didn't think he could bear the inevitable gentle rejection.

The group came to a halt, and he used to opportunity to move to stand near Cody and Master Nu. Professionalism, he reminded himself. It was the best armour he had for moments like this.

The briefing took hours. It was detailed and extensive and made some of the operations the 501st had run seem positively amateurish. Cody was nodding, and Rex could see that Master Nu had won his respect. For his part, Rex had decided he was assigning Appo to shadow Master Nu when it was the 501st’s turn at duty. They’d get on like a house on fire. Appo would see it as a reward, not as Rex trying to avoid a superior officer he had no business disliking as much as he did.

Finally, Master Nu began to wind down. She suggested that they all walk around to get an idea of the scope of the project before returning to her with any questions.

General Skywalker looked longingly at the door outside, but at a glare from his Padawan dutifully moved deeper into the library. As Skywalker had predicted, the moment Master Nu stopped talking General Kenobi made a beeline for the table where the already categorised artefacts were laid out.

Cody went left and Rex went right, both of them falling easily into a standard GAR search pattern. Rex was impressed by the size of the place, more so because Master Nu had described it using words like “minor” and “small”.

By the time Rex wound his way back into sight of the briefing area, General Kenobi was trying to charm an increasingly unimpressed looking Master Nu.

Cody fell into step beside him.

“I reckon that’s the first time I’ve ever seen that he hasn’t been able to sweet talk someone,” he said very quietly. “It’ll be good for him.”

Rex tried and failed to hold back a snort of amusement.

They watched as Master Nu turned away from General Kenobi, moving to speak to Ahsoka, and Rex turned to Cody to point out that his General was honest to the Force pouting , but before he could say anything Obi-Wan let out a quiet “oh”.

Rex whipped around just in time to see Obi-Wan double over and crumple, almost gently, to the ground.

Cody swore, but Rex already moving.

General Skywalker was closer; Rex still got to Obi-Wan’s side first.

His hand shook as he searched for - and found thank the Force - a pulse.

General Skywalker dropped down next to him, lightsaber in hand, though thankfully not ignited. He pressed his free hand to Obi-Wan’s forehead. He closed his eyes and his face relaxed.

“He’s asleep,” General Skywalker sounded upset and confused in equal measure, “really, really asleep.”

“Foolish boy,” snapped Master Nu, but even Rex could hear the relief in her tone. She knelt carefully and reached for the artefact that had rolled out of Obi-Wan’s hand. Rex saw she was wearing thin gloves, whereas Obi-Wan, who had foregone even his usual vambraces, was barehanded.

Master Nu carefully placed the artefact back on the table, then briskly stripped off her gloves before pressing her fingertips to Obi-Wan’s temples.

“Hmmm,” she paused, then sighed. “He should be perfectly alright. It’s an older variation of a device we use now and it did exactly what it was supposed to.”

“It was supposed to knock him out?” Ahsoka sounded dubious.

“It’s a healer’s aid,” said Master Nu. “It’s designed to help Jedi who are too injured or otherwise impaired reach a sufficiently deep trance to achieve healing or sleep. Granted, this is a deeper state of trance even than that, but that may just be an operational difference.”

“So, he’ll be alright?” General Skywalker asked.

Master Nu lifted her fingers from Obi-Wan’s temples.

“Quite.” She paused. “Though. It is a very old artefact. The kind of thing a Jedi Master ought to know better than to grab with bare hands.” She shook her head. “Perhaps it would be better to have someone he knows well stay with him, to give him a path to follow back. You were his Padawan, weren’t you Knight Skywalker?”

Rex went from sagging in relief to tensing with sudden mounting dread, not at all eased by the look of absolute gleeful innocence dawning on General Skywalker’s face.

“Yes, but I think he’s probably closer to Captain Rex these days,” said Skywalker with an absolutely straight face.

Master Nu looked him over in assessment, and it was only when she raised an eyebrow that Rex realised he was cradling Obi-Wan’s head in his lap. He wasn’t sure how he had managed that without noticing, but he suspected that he just lost any ability to claim he always behaved in a purely professional manner around High General Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“I can see that,” she said.

Rex wondered if it was possible to die of mortification. Skywalker was grinning madly, Cody was shaking his head in abject disappointment and even Ahsoka was giggling.

Obviously, he was never going to live this down. What was worse: Obi-Wan was definitely going to find out about this. Rex could only hope that the other man would forgive him.

“So, I think Captain Rex is definitely the best person to stay with Obi-Wan,” Anakin said.

Rex shot a look of entreaty at Cody, and the smile he got in return was all teeth.

“Oh, absolutely,” said Cody, the traitorous bastard, “and Captain Rex took an injury in our last campaign. He can take this opportunity to rest.”

Master Nu harrumphed. “This way, then.”

There was nothing Rex could do except scoop Obi-Wan up in his arms and follow where she led, trying to ignore the sniggering behind him.

For a man the same size as a brother, Obi-Wan was incredibly light. Rex tried to ignore the way his heart clenched as Obi-Wan turned his face into Rex’s shoulder and murmured something incomprehensible.

The tent Master Nu led them to was indistinguishable from the tents assigned to the clone officers, except the bed was slightly bigger and Obi-Wan’s robe was carelessly thrown over the chair in front of a small desk that was already covered in datapads and holomaps of varied parts of the galaxy.

Rex contemplated them sadly. The war never stopped for Obi-Wan. Even here, on leave, it followed him. For a wild moment he considered stealing everything off the desk and dumping it somewhere, but he knew that its loss would just make Obi-Wan more stressed.

He settled Obi-Wan on the bed as Master Nu swept out of the tent, and startled as a hand came down on his shoulder.

“Sorry,” said General Skywalker sheepishly, then moved past Rex to wrestle Obi-Wan’s boots off. Rex pulled Obi-Wan’s robe off the chair and folded it absently, settling it carefully on the desk and moving the chair to the bedside.

Skywalker pressed his hand to Obi-Wan’s forehead again, and sighed.

“Oh, Obi-Wan, how do you manage to do this to yourself.”

“Sir,” Rex said, feeling like this moment between his Generals was not something he should be witnessing. “I know I have to stay with him, but do I need to do anything?”

Skywalker’s shoulders went tight, but when he turned his face was serious, and there was something unreadable in his eyes.

“When someone is - lost - like this, they need a path back. Skin to skin works best. It makes the path clearer.”

Rex nodded, and started pulling his gauntlets free. Force, but he hoped Cody didn't wander past the tent to find Rex holding the General's hand like he was some kind of delicate flower.

Then he turned back to the bed and saw that Skywalker was stripping General Kenobi of his tunics.

He couldn’t help it: he squawked.

Skywalker didn't even look up, “Skin contact, Rex! More is better. Strip off.”

Rex was trapped in some kind of nightmare.

“Sir! This is hardly appropriate. I really don't think -”

Skywalker whirled to face him. There was amusement in his face, but it was nearly buried in concern and the familiar Skywalker stubbornness.

“I didn’t think you’d have to be talked into this,” he said. “Look, if he had hypothermia would you even be hesitating?”

Stung and ashamed that he’d had to be reminded to do what was, after all, his duty, Rex started pulling his armor free. He face was hot as he realised that that was the third time today he’d let his feelings overwhelm his professionalism, and he couldn’t meet General Skywalker’s eyes.

He firmly strangled the little voice that insisted he was taking advantage. If Skywalker said this was necessary, it was. It didn't count as snuggling in bed any more than sharing body heat in a survival situation did.

He couldn’t convince himself, and suspected it would take a lot of alcohol and soul searching to actually do so.

Skywalker turned around and startled at the sight of Rex pulling his undersuit off.

“Get some sleep as well, Rex,” he said, and hurried out of the tent.

Skywalker had left Obi-Wan stripped to the waist and curled on the bed with his blankets folded under his feet. The bed was just barely big enough for two, so there was no way to share without being pressed together.

Rex gritted his teeth, and took a deep breath. Then another. Then a third, and kept taking them until his heart slowed to a reasonable rate.

He sat on the edge of the bed and swung his legs up beside Obi-Wan, then lay back on his side, facing the Jedi. Obi-Wan’s face was slack, the most relaxed Rex had ever seen him.

He didn't have time to examine it though, because sensing the presence of someone else in the bed, Obi-Wan latched on like a limpet. He curled an arm over Rex’s chest, nestling in to press his face into the hollow of Rex throat.

His beard, surprisingly soft, rasped against Rex’s chest.

And then he threw his leg over Rex’s hip, pulling himself close until he was a line of heat along Rex’s body from neck to ankle.

The whimper tore its way out of Rex’s throat entirely without his permission. This was unfair. He was going to have the sense memory of Obi-Wan’s warmth pressed against him for the rest of his life. He was going to know how well they fit together; be haunted by the memory of what he wanted, what he’d had once, and what he was never going to have again.

Somehow Obi-Wan moved closer, and Rex’s body enthusiastically expressed its approval at having the man tangled in his arms.

Rex clenched his teeth and started swearing in Mando’a. He was a terrible person. When Obi-Wan woke up, Rex was going to get drunk and confess everything to Cody. Cody would beat the shit out of him, and Rex would deserve every blow.

In the meantime, he had to something about this. There must be some way to keep skin to skin contact without sending Rex insane.

He pried Obi-Wan off him, ignoring the hurt little noises the man made. He manhandled Obi-Wan onto his side with his back to Rex and curled up behind him, pressing Obi-Wan’s back against his chest but carefully manoeuvring so their lower bodies weren't touching. He wrapped an arm around Obi-Wan’s stomach and the man made a happy sound and and hugged it to his chest like it was a favourite toy.

In spite of everything, Rex’s lip twitched at how bloody adorable it was. High General Obi-Wan Kenobi, secret cuddler.

Without quite meaning to, he matched his breaths to Obi-Wan’s. His panic faded, his body unknotted and relaxed. It wasn’t until he had to force his eyes open for the third time that he realised that the feelings weren’t coming from him, they were emanating from the Jedi he was curled around.

Rex considered that, feeling like he was thinking through a fog. They’d talked about a Jedi’s ability to project emotions, Rex and Cody and both his Generals. Skywalker had seemed uncomfortable with it, Obi-Wan had merely seemed to think it unspeakably rude to do without permission.

Rex had seen both his Generals use the ability, usually to calm down Shinies after some clusterfuck mission the Shinies hadn't been quite prepared for. Occasionally, they’d used it for fast and dirty field surgery where there was no time to retreat and no access to meds, situations that always added to the stress lines around Kix’s eyes. If the Jedi were present, those soldiers were more likely to live, or at least to die a kind death. In both situations, they always asked first.

Obi-Wan would be mortified he was projecting now, without asking Rex first. Even if it was something as harmless as the mix of peace, drowsy happiness and contentment that felt like it was welling up from the depths of Obi-Wan’s soul. Obi-Wan would be unhappy, and the thought sent sadness skittering across Rex’s mind.

Obi-Wan grumbled, and the contentment seemed to swell, pushing across the sadness until it disappeared, so strong that Rex’s eyes slipped closed for the fourth time.

It seemed like too much trouble to open them. Skywalker had said he could sleep and it seemed like such a good idea that Rex sighed out his breath and drifted.

It was cold and the person in bed with him had chattering teeth. Rex sat up to grope for the blankets and his bed partner whined. Pulling the blankets up over them both, Rex flattened himself over his companion’s back, pressing him on to his stomach. His chin hooked over a shoulder, his nose pressed against an ear, and he heard an approving sigh before he was asleep again.

Someone was wiggling. Rex tried to flop harder on them to make them stop, and when that didn’t work he let them move him and cuddle up to his chest. When he was sure they’d stopped moving, he snugged an arm around them, holding them close and sinking back into sleep.

Rex was dreaming.

It was a good dream, hazy-sweet and pleasure drenched. He and his Jedi curled in a bed, legs tangled, skin on skin.

Warmth along one collarbone, lips and tongue and the occasional gentle scrape of teeth. And that was new, his dream had never included teeth before.

But it was so very nice, sending shivers down his spine to pool in his balls, so he rolled his hips, slow and lazy against the thigh that fit so neatly between his own.

His hand moved from where it had been tangled in soft hair, tracing down smooth skin, carefully over the bumps of the spine down down down until his had encountered sleep pants and he was abruptly fully awake.

His entire body went stiff with horror as he realised that he wasn’t dreaming, that he was, in fact, in bed with Obi-Wan and basically molesting the man.

Please Force, let Obi-Wan still be asleep.

But as soon as Rex had frozen, Obi-Wan too had gone still, drawing up to meet Rex’s gaze with slow dawning dismay creeping across his face.

“...not dreaming, then,” he said faintly, pink staining his cheeks.

Rex tried to jerk back and out of the bed, but Obi-Wan had a firm grip on his waist and all Rex managed was to put some small amount of distance between them. Obi-Wan’s gaze dipped to his bare chest he frowned, visibly coming more awake.

“Captain,” he said, “I find myself at a loss as to how we got here.”

Awkwardly, Rex explained, trying to memorise Obi-Wan like this, sleep flushed and heavy eyed, pillow creases still marking one cheek. He knew he wasn’t likely to see it again. He eventually trailed off, and shrugged helplessly, not sure if he wanted Obi-Wan to let him go or not.

“That doesn’t quite explain why we’re in bed together, Captain. Holding hands would have done quite as well.”

Rex could feel the blood draining from his face. He closed his eyes and swallowed around the lump that had formed in his throat.

Jedi or not, he was going to kill General Skywalker. He wondered if he’d known how cruel he was being, or if it was some kind of unthinking practical joke.

“Sir,” his voice cracked, and he had to clear his throat to try again, “Sir, I apologize. I… I’m so sorry, I thought… General Skywalker said…”

“Ah,” Obi-Wan had never sounded so uncomfortable, and when Rex managed to open his eyes again, he was shocked to find the man blushing so hard his ears had gone red. “I am sorry, Captain. I believe my former Padawan is playing a practical joke on me. He had no business getting you involved.”

And suddenly Rex was finding it difficult to breathe for an entirely different reason. Maybe he would settle for pushing Skywalker into something smelly, instead of killing him.

He still hesitated, but he had earned the jaig eyes honestly.

“Really,” he managed to drawl, sounding much more controlled than he felt. “That’s interesting, because I thought he was playing a practical joke on me .”

Obi-Wan’s eyes went very wide.

“You… I…” he spluttered, and then, “are you telling me Anakin has been matchmaking?”

Several conversations Rex had had with General Skywalker were becoming clear, now.

“Actually, I think he’s been assuming,” Rex said, and he didn’t know if was amused or embarrassed, because saying that had brought a lot of conversations into sharp relief. “I think a lot of people have been assuming.” The 212th, definitely. The rest of the 501st, and Ahsoka. Even Master Nu, if the looks she’d given him were anything to go by.

Obi-Wan said thoughtfully, “Oh, that’s what that conversation was about.”

Rex quirked an eyebrow.

“Cody decided after a particularly tense battle that he needed to clean his blasters - all his blasters - in my office while telling me about his skill at hiding bodies. There were lots of significant looks, so I agreed with everything he said, and he seemed to leave happy. I thought he must have been concussed.”

Of course Cody had, the overprotective arsehole. Although.

“When was this?”

“After Saleucami.”

“Sal… That was a year ago!”

Obi-Wan’s blush spread under his beard, across his neck and down his chest. Rex had to remind himself sternly that he wasn’t allowed to lean in and taste.

Yet was suddenly his favourite word in the galaxy.

“Rex, you realise we can’t do this.”

Well that was like getting ice water in the face. He moved back, ready to get up, get dressed and get the hell out of the tent until he could calm down, but Obi-Wan still had a hold on his waist.

“It’s against regs, against the code, it could impact unit cohesion...”

All true, though the last was debatable given that everyone seemed to be assuming they were already carrying on. Except, Rex realised, Obi-Wan’s tone wasn’t matching his words, and he was still clinging to Rex like he planned on never letting go.

“Obi-Wan, if you don’t want to pursue this, say the word and I’ll never mention it again, but you’ll have to let go of me so I can get up.”

Instantly, Obi-Wan’s hands tightened on Rex’s waist and when he met Rex’s eyes he looked so sheepish and guilty that Rex’s heart hurt.

“I’m a Jedi, Rex. A Jedi does not - is not supposed to want…” He trailed off.

“A very wise man told me recently that Jedi aren't perfect. That they're just as flawed and fallible as the rest of us.”

“I suppose I’ve never been the Jedi I should be.”

Well, kark that .

He twisted in the bed until Obi-Wan was pinned beneath him, looking up at him with startled blue eyes.

“Don’t you dare,” he said, dimly registering his voice was shaking. “Don’t. There isn't a better Jedi in the galaxy -”

“Anakin -”

“Skywalker would agree with me. And not because he thinks you're some paragon of Jedi virtue but because he knows you .

“Whoever - whoever it was who fed you this karking idea that you’re not good enough -”

He stopped, panting, as Obi-Wan traced a hand across his cheek.


He was smiling, warm and fond and shy in a way that Rex had never seen before. Rex thought, a little giddily, that he would do almost anything to keep seeing that smile.

Obi-Wan drew him down until he could hide his face in the man’s shoulder. His breath was still coming in shuddering gasps and he closed his eyes, trying to steady himself.

“Do you know that there a growing number of Jedi who are calling for a revision of Code to reflect the changing galaxy? Particularly the section forbidding attachment. It doesn’t work so well in wartime.

“You can’t tell Anakin; he’ll take it as an excuse to be even less discreet about his relationship with Senator Amidala then he already is. But the movement is there. They’ve just been looking for a Councillor to add weight to their cause.”

Rex snorted, grinning into Obi-Wan’s shoulder. He wanted to see the Council’s faces when they realised The Negotiator had chosen to dive into this particular battle.

“And you’ll be that Councillor?”

Obi-Wan hummed. “I think I’ll speak to Plo. He is rather fond of his Wolfpack.”

“Are we waiting for these reforms to go through?” Rex hoped not, but for Obi-Wan’s sake he would.

The world spun dizzily for a second, and when it settled, Rex found Obi-Wan hovering over him, an absolutely wicked grin on his face which robbed Rex of breath entirely.

“Oh, I see no need for that,” he said. “After all, we wouldn’t want to waste our leave.”