Chapter Three: Aftershocks

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Fives ached all over. The gash on his belly ached all over. It was like some insane combination of ice and fire. He groaned and tried not to move as he cried out. It really hurt. He just wanted to roll over and die. Him hurting, though, tended to make him grouchy. Fives was also pretty dang hungry. He did get a little bit of soup from that droid, though. Plain, bland broth with a little bit of bread floated in it.

He huddled up in the bed, trying not to gasp from the pain in his belly. He had to be strong. Whatever Seppie had taken a shot at him had really done a good job. And here he was, almost helpless against some spacer. He was without recourse if she decided to make his life a living hell. He was probably going to end up as a slave. They were going to slap a collar on him and ship him off to the spice mines of Kessel or some other Force knows hell. He'd already had an obedience chip in him! Which was now a bloody chip in his hands, but still! Skye had cut it out of him and then tossed him the instrument of his torture. The thing that zapped him every time he disobeyed his Master.

Fives crushed it and threw the thing across the room. He didn't know what to do. Fives really wanted a nap, but he feared if he went to sleep, he wind up collared. He'd heard about shock collars from Rex. Zygerria had hurt his vod more than the other man cared to admit. Fives hadn't been there, but he had heard about the kiss in the rain and the stripes Rex got from his Zygerrian "Masters". Not that the Jedi brand were much better.

They, at least, were more subtle about it.

Fives prodded the tissue like skin on his belly. It looked like Skye had just slapped a healing patch on him and just let nature take it's course on him. As much as Fives appreciated the attempt, he'd really wanted to die, thank you very much. The prodding caused him to hiss in pain and Fives jerked his hands away. Force, but that hurt! He'd been shot, but that pain had been far away, as he'd been dying. This pain was right up there where he couldn't get away from it.

He needed to get up and take a piss. But how to go about fixing his problem and bot ripping open the gash on his belly? Fives didn't see the damn battle droid. He just saw the bare room he'd been dumped in. Fives had been plopped in a bunk and wrapped in blankets. It looked like Skye hadn't bothered to even wash him off. Well, for that, Fives was grateful. He didn't like his junk being groped by anyone, thank you very much. It wasn't that he didn't like being tiuched, it was that he remembered things all too well. He'd bled a few times from his first trainer. Never been allowed to come, either. Fives knew all about abuse.

A lot of clones did.

He cursed under his breath and managed to get up. Fives groaned, fearing that he would tear the new skin on his belly. Especially if he fell. But he also really needed to use the refresher. Fives staggered up and forced himself to walk. Put one foot in front of the other and just walk. Otherwise, he'd be pissing the bed. And Fives had a feeling that would get him stripes. It did on Kamino.

That got you beaten, even if you were a cadet. Soiling your tube with feces got you lashed if you were lucky. Piss was slightly better. If not, your face was rubbed in the mess and you were sprayed off with cold water. Fives had only heard of hot showers. He'd never had one. The showers the clones used were all cold. He'd never been allowed to use a soak tub, either. Again, he was just a clone and all clones were good for was fighting.

Fives managed to get himself cleaned off without tearing the delicate skin. He was exhausted by the end of it. Where was Skye when you needed her? Fives cursed under his breath. Food would be good right about now. He had no idea what he wanted, though. Fives had never had freedom before. And now that he had it...it was a yawning gap beneath him. Fives didn't know what to do with it. What else did a clone want beyond a good General? A warm place to sleep and food in his belly? Fives had that right now. Fives wanted food he could chew, but he'd been fed.

The food on Kamino was disgusting. He supposed it was enough to keep you alive, but you wouldn't like it. Fives supposed it was better here. He got to eat and he got to sleep in a warm bunk. No books, but Fives wasn't surprised. Books were lashes for clones. Fives couldn't read anyways. And he didn't want to sleep, so he was bored. Fives did ache, but it wasn't what you got from a beating. Food would be good, though.

Especially good, strong food. Even a stew like you got in the Jedi Temple. Sweets would also be very welcome. He hadn't had sweets in ages, come to think about it. He knew that he disliked spicy food, though. Few clones had preferences about anything.

Fives settled down on the bunk. They had left him to die because he wasn't a good soldier. Good soldiers followed orders and Fives followed orders. He did things because his Generals told him too. Skye didn't look like she was going to start giving him orders. She looked like she was going to just leave him alone. Fives didn't know what he was going to do with that.

Freedom was a yawning gap out under him. Fives had no idea what he was supposed to do. It wasn't like he'd been taught these things! That blaster bolt had saved him...or damned him. Maybe even both. Fives curled up on the bed and tried to gather his thoughts. He was veyong lost here.

"Hey." Skye pushed her way into the room, holding a mug of something. "I got you a drink. You might want to take it easy, though."

"Clones don't do easy." Fives still took the mug. The clone sipped and gagged from the cloying sweetness. "What is that?!"

"Electrolytes," Skye explained. Fives scowled, but forced himself to drain the mug. He still hurt. "You need it. It's...going to help you get stronger."

Fives tried to go back to sleep. He honestly felt bad right now. It was all so much to take in. Too much, if you asked Fives.

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