The Rogue watches.
She's good at that.
The others crowd behind her, waiting for something, anything, any sort of positive affirmation that it's not really happening. That they aren't really going to be assigned to this teenager. This child. This colossal abomination. The Sniper has his hand on her shoulder, and she doesn't know what help it's supposed to give. Or who it's supposed to help, for that matter.
The Supreme Leader is in the antechamber below them, sitting on his throne. Thinking. His head is resting on his hand. The child kneels in front of him. There's scurrying below them, imperials- First Order members at work. The Monk is white knuckling his staff.
“I am one with the force, the force is with me, I am one with the force, the force is with me, I am one with the force, the force is with me-”
“Shh, I can't hear!” She moves a little forward, as much as the scaffolding will allow.
“They won't do it.” The Droid shakes his head. “Not a chance. They can't do that to us.”
“I am one with the force, the force is with me, I am one with the force, the force is with me-” The Heavy begins to mumble.
“Shh!” The Sniper hisses.
“We've done so much for them.” The Droid continues, his joints making a telltale creaking sounds. He's dragging his fingers against the wall. “So much.”
“I am one with the force, the force is with me-” The Armory starts, and the three of them come into sync almost immediately.
The Rogue ignores them. It's not that she's not nervous about this, she is, it's obscene to even think about, but her nerves were never a problem. She watches. The Supreme Leader waves a hand and the boy stands up.
“He's very young.” She says. All of them shut up to listen to her.
“How young?” The Armory asks, moving forward too. The Sniper stops him before he gets to the edge.
“Maybe twenty five?” She isn't sure. His face is oddly shaped. Too angular.
“Maybe twenty five!” The Heavy thunks his head against the wall of the alcove. “He's a child!”
“How old was Vader?” The Armory asks.
“Younger.” The Rogue says.
“Just because Tarkin said-” The Supreme Leader shifts, and the child drops back down to his knees. The Rogue tries to hear their conversation but Force knows that's not happening.
“Don't talk about him anymore.” The Sniper says. “He's been dead for years.”
“Years?” The Armory asks. His memory was always spotty at the best of times. “Has it been years? Already?”
“Decades.” The Monk stops his prayer. “Is he strong?” He asks.
“You could always tell better then me.” The Rogue says. “Come here.” She sticks an arm out. The Monk moves out slowly, until he's sitting by her side, his arm hooked around hers. The Heavy moves The Sniper out of the way, ready to catch both of them. It's quiet for a moment. Longer, maybe then any of them would like.
“Yes.” The Monk says. The Rogue let's out a small sigh of relief. “More then Vader.”
“Liar.” The Heavy whispers. “Don't try to make us feel better.”
“Nothing can make this better.” The Droid says.
“It's not a lie.” The Monk twists around sharply into The Heavy's arms. He catches The Monk under his arms and pulls him back to solid ground.
“Easy.” He whispers.
“It's not a lie, he's shrouded in it.” The Monk says.
“He's already killed someone?” The Armory asks, his voice cracks.
“A lot of someones.” The Monk says. “Jedis.” He says. “Little Jedis.”
“Fuck.” The Sniper says. It's a shared sentiment.
The Rogue watches as the boy gets up and bows at a ninety degree angle. He stands back up and turns. The Rogue does her best to shove all of of them into the hole. They all stay quiet, silent as the void. The boy catches her though. She's surprised, but it might be a passing glimpse. She presses herself flat against the wall.
“I don't like this.” The Droid says.
“No one does.” The Heavy starts helping The Monk out of the passage. The Droid helps The Armory, and The Sniper helps her.
The Rogue watches.
She's good at that.
All of them are in bed, her and the Droid aside, and he sits sentry by the door of their room. He never sleeps, he's no need for it. She wonders unending if he's lonely because of it. He's told her unendingly that he's never lonely with them. None of them are ever lonely anymore. One family, always together when they can be. Connected even when they're not.
They can't remember a time when they weren't. The Rogue doesn't think she wants to.
The Monk and The Heavy are coiled around each other, like they always are, and it's hard to tell when one ends and the other begins. The Armory rests in between them and The Sniper, curled in on himself, pressed against the Sniper who's laying face down, an arm thrown over The Armory's chest, his other arm where The Rogue was a few minutes ago.
Now she sits next to The Droid. Her head rested against his shoulder.
“Are you worried?” He asks her, quietly, so as to not wake the others.
“I'm trying not to be.”
“We are too useful for them to just throw away.” The Droid says. She nods. She knows this. It's not really that helpful. He drags his frame around until his head is rested on hers and she tries to keep her laughter to herself. Someone shifts behind them and that only makes her laugh harder.
“Do you remember, when Vader put us under, the first time?” She asks.
“No.” The Droid didn't have the luxury of holding onto any memories they didn't find pertinent.
“You told me the same thing. Then.”
“And it's still true.”
They were woken up for this. Dragged out of carbonite to serve under a new name to a new master. The Knights of Ren, they are now. It's a gaudy name. Pompous. She's not a fan. No one else is, either.
It's cold, in the room, but the entire complex is built into the side of a mountain on a small forgotten planet in the Unknown Regions. The Droid is pretty cold too, made of metal, but she moves closer to him anyway. She's dressed down, only her undergarments, and she shivers.
“Go back to bed.”
“I'm not going to sleep at this point.”
“It's warmer for you.”
“Are you kicking me out?” She asks with a smile on her face.
“Suppose not yet.” She smiles again, and closes her eyes. She calls his name and listens to his servos click as he turned to look at her fully.
“Would you miss me?” It's an odd question. She doesn't know where it comes from, but she asks it all the same.
“Of course.” He calls her by her name. They don't use their names anymore, not in public, only in silent little moments like this. Their names belonged to the them that remembered the time before family. Before unification. But sometimes, they liked to pretend. Liked to pretend to be their own people.
“What about them?” She lists their names off. Slowly, down the line. If anyone knew they remembered their names, they would have them beaten out. It was the Armory's idea, to code them into a line of the Droid's memory, deep in the important stuff. Hidden from anyone unless they knew what they were looking for.
“Them as well.” It's private, one of the few things that still belonged to them. They didn't have a lot, tools, and they were just tools for the Empire- the First Order, didn't get to own things. But still, they had their names. They had each other. They had quiet little moments, in the dead of night. They had their bodies and their weapons. They had their minds.
“I would miss you.” She says.
“Well I would hope so.” He says and she fails at hiding her laughter again. They all had little trinkets too, things that the Empire- the First Order didn't care about. She had her crystal, that hung low on her neck that all of them took turns kissing before a mission. I am one with the force, the force is with me. “Go back to bed.” He says again. “Early start tomorrow.”
“It's always an early start.” She mumbles.
“Preciously. A full nights rest is important.” When he calls her by name and pets her hair she gives in. A quick kiss on The Droid's cheek before turning and returning to her spot. “If I had skin I would be blushing.” He calls after her. The Sniper's turned and wrapped himself around the Armory, and she wraps herself around him.
The Rogue had them.
The Rogue watches.
She's good at that.
Kylo Ren, as he is introduced, is a tall boy. Broad chested, with thick black hair and big brown eyes. If he's to be the new hand of terror, straining over all of the New Republic, he's got his work cut out for him. They dislike him almost immediately. She sees it happen, down the row of them. The Droid and the Sniper turn their noses up at him, The Heavy follows suit and the Armory follows him. She's not a fan. The Monk keeps his head down. He's standing by her side, today.
He offers them breakfast, which shocks all of them into stillness. They are rarely still, all of them constantly moving. Little movements, fingers dancing on weapons, chests rising and falling, eyes darting back and forth, feet sweeping slowly.
What's the catch? They want to ask. They don't. They stare when stormtroopers bring in several platters, and a table after that. Sort of backwards way of going about it, she thinks. The troopers leave and the food sits there.
The irritation begins to rise off of them after that. Meals are their time. They don't eat a lot, their stomachs are a mess and The Droid doesn't need it, but when they all get around a table it's time that belongs to them. It's a rule they've always adhered to. But Ren makes no motion to leave. He stands and waits for something.
But they take their seats. They do as they're told. They can't all fit on one side and one of them is going to be stuck next to Kylo Ren. She silently volunteers herself, all of them argue. She sits down next to him first and that's the end of that. The Droid sits next to her. He has a long enough reach to protect her if she needs it. She can protect herself, of course, but it's best to double up on these sorts of things.
No one knows where to start, the food in front of them is hot and not the kind of thing they should eat right after coming out of carbonite. It'll make them sick later, they know. This is uncomfortable.
“It's not poisoned.” Kylo Ren says. It sounds as if it's meant to be a joke. The Rogue picks up a fruit between her fingers and when it's juice drips down her wrist she puts it back down firmly. The Heavy makes a face that the Monk nudges him for.
“They can't eat this.” The Droid says and a sigh of relief sweeps through them. “Just out of carbonite.” He adds when The Rogue pats his leg.
“I-uh. Sorry. I didn't think.” The Sniper mumbles something and the Armory makes a horrified face at him.
“Let's make sure it doesn't become a habit then.” The Droid says. The Rogue has to hide her face in his arm.
“I”m just trying to make a good impression.” Kylo Ren says. “He told me who you were and-”
“Maybe just talking would be better.” The Rogue says, before someone says something that would get them in trouble. There are smiles around the table now, though. She's glad.
“Now or-” This is embarrassing.
“Why don't you start?” She says in her hopeful voice, a voice reserved for masters and not anyone else.
“I'm glad to be working with the people who helped Darth Vader, and I'm glad we all work under the same banner.” He says. The words don't sound like his own. The Monk mumbles something and The Heavy laughs. The Droid leans down to her.
“Would you like a joke as well?”
“I'm alright, thank you.” She smiles.
“You like Vader?” The Heavy asks after a while. “Why?”
“I'm his grandson.”
“I am one with the force, the force is with me, I am one with the force, the force is with me, I am one with the force, the force is with me.” The Monk recites under his breath but all of them know what he's saying. The Sniper gets up from the table.
“Did the Supreme Leader explain to you, what it is exactly, we are intended for?”
“No?” Kylo Ren shakes his head. That's startling. All of them freeze up again.
“I'm not done with my training, but there is a mission I know about.” They wait. “Skywalker.”
The Rogue watches.
She's good at that.
The Sniper arches under the water fall, the water gliding off of him. His lines are sharp, all of the white slivers of scar flesh against his dark skin almost reflective in the light. The Armory sits next to her on the rocks lining the pool, his head against her hip, his knees in the water. His lines are soft, even now, and the scars on his dark skin look pink instead of silver, always fresh. The Heavy stands over The Monk, washing his hair with more gentleness then she ever really expects from him. The Droid stands vigil over them, out of the water.
“I don't like him.” The Sniper says. “He's too entitled.”
“No one likes him.” The Droid calls.
“I don't see why we have too.” The Heavy says. “He's not Vader. He's not Tarkin.”
“Years.” The Armory whispers to himself and The Rogue puts a hand in his hair, petting it gently, trying to get the tangles out.
“We've answered to others.” She says. She doesn't know why she's trying to defend him.
“He's not even Krennic! And Krennic was a fucking joke!” The Sniper's yelling over the water. Maybe it's out of anger too, because they could hear just fine before.
“It's not like we have a choice.” The Armory says.
“I know!” The Sniper throws his arms up.
“You're going to let him ruin this for us?” The Monk asks. They all stop talking. He's right, he usually is. They've been shown a pool, with a water fall, for cleaning, they were told. It was fantastic, a luxury. The water was cool but they could warm up well enough. It felt good, against tired and battered skin. It felt good to be clean again.
They had thrown their clothes off and jumped in as soon as the attendant left them, a big splash, laughter, softness and kindness and they were not going to let a boy ruin this. Another quiet moment, all theirs. The Sniper had swung The Rogue around like she was a child and it made her heart swell. The Armory toed the edge of the water until the Heavy and the Monk pushed him in, nuzzling into the side of his head when he surfaced with a smile that was so big.
Now she sat on the rock with The Armory, fingers entwined, watching the others. It was so fantastic, their unification singing it's merriment. She wonders if the them with names would do something like this. She doesn't see why they wouldn't aside from maybe the fear of nudity. It seems silly, though. To think that at some point, all six of them weren't one unified number.
The Sniper moves from under the water to go sit with The Monk and The Heavy. The Monk takes to The Sniper's hair, trying to calm him down before he went and did anything reckless. That was her job, though, doing reckless things.
She wanted to go sit between them too, but the Armory got up first, pulling her by the hand until they collide into them, bodily sending all of them into the water again. Skin pressed again skin warms them up instantly. The Droid watches them from the shore and when The Rogue reaches her arm out for him, he's quick to take it.
The Rogue Watches.
It's what she's good at.
The mood is tense and she sees it in all of them. Shoulders are stiff and taught, postures overly rigid. The Monk has his hand in hers, and The Armory's attached himself to The Droid. The Heavy and The Sniper lean against each other, and it's barely noticeable to anyone, anyone who wasn't one of them.
But it's like Kylo Ren said, they are working under the same banner now. They have to look the part as well. The uniforms they are given are oppressive, in an odd way. The clothing is very comfortable, easy to move in, breathable, but they don't want to wear them. The helmets especially. They can't see each other with them on.
“Maybe they meant to get someone else.” The Monk says. They were usually used for stealth operations, suicide missions that normal people wrote off as impossible. Not this sort of tacky, noticeable mess. How were they supposed to retrieve information, in and out, unnoticed dressed like this.
And they couldn't see each other.
Well, they could see each other, but not each others faces, not the thing the counted. It felt the most painful to lose that. It wasn't fair. They were- well, they weren't going to complain, but they were going to do something. Until Kylo Ren walked in in his own helmet and swath of black and it became obvious they weren't getting out of this.
“The Supreme Leader insisted.” Kylo Ren says.
“Lie.” Says The Monk, under his breathe, so quiet only The Rogue can hear him. She knows it's a lie even before The Monk says it.
“Knights of Ren.” Kylo Ren says and they all snap to attention. They are soldiers, first and foremost. They take their orders and they take them well. They still, upright. “A vision.” He continues.
“Lie.” The Monk says again. The Rogue squeezes his hand. Her crystal sits on her chest under the black uniform but she wishes she could give it to The Monk to hold onto right now. He shakes his head gently.
“You will be glorious.” Kylo Ren says.
“As if there was ever any doubt.” The Droid says. As soon as Kylo Ren leaves the room they all tear the helmets off and laugh. They're in hysterics a few moments later, and The Rogue holds on to the Monk to keep upright.
Jyn Erso Watches.
It's what she's good at.
Tarkin is an impressive man, with sharp features and smart clothing, who walks past the row of them and counts of their every single flaw. Then one by one, they get dragged some where else. They scream for who ever is taken away, because maybe maybe maybe, someone will stop.
They all know they won't.
K-2SO is pulled away first and Cassian screams himself hoarse. There's no sense in being brave now. They've completed their mission. They can take the break, they can let themselves fall apart because the rebellion won't.
Baze goes next and Chirrut prays, louder and more aggressively then Jyn's ever heard anyone pray.
Then Bodhi and Jyn can't take it, it hurts it hurts it hurts.
Then Chirrut, and she's crying.
Then Cassian, and he's being ripped out of her arms.
She's left alone with the Tarkin.
“The Mother of the Rebellion. That's what they'll call you. It's an impressive title, of course. Shame you'll never hear it.” She's on her knees at this point.
What else could they possibly take from her?
“Would you like to know what's going to happen to you?” He asks. He has her face in his hand.
She spits at him and he laughs.
Like it's the best joke he's ever heard.
For all she knows, maybe it is.