Chapter Nine: The Aftermath

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Ahsoka would have killed herself if Rex hadn't stopped her. Healing drained a Jedi. It was one of the most demanding things they could do. There was a damn good reason why most Jedi never learned how to heal. It...it could kill them. And Ahsoka and been pouring her heart and soul into healing Echo. And fixing the damage from those hollow points.

It killed a lot of Jedi. Hollow points should have been banned, if you asked Rex, but no one ever did. It wasn't like the Seppies ever followed the rules anyways.

He sat beside Ahsoka as she slept, keeping careful watch over his Jedi. She was...small. So small against his body. Pale, too. Her markings looked washed out against her skin. Her usually tawny, dusky skin was now a washed out, sallow yellow. Echo looked little better. Rex didn't like that at all. And it was his job to take care of those two.

How the hell did you cook food? Because Rex couldn't. All he knew how to do was unwrap ration cubes. Sadly enough, this ship was filled with fresh food. Some of that stuff was toxic raw. This ship also had cans on it and Rex wasn't good at reading. They had nothing that looked like ration cubes. He sighed and went to the galley. Rex banged around it for a few minutes before dumping what smelled like soup in a pot, turned the burner on, and started looking at the other supplies.

He found fresh apples. Rex grabbed one and crunched as he tried to think. Food was important. Training on Kamino had taught him to never skip a meal. Free food? Eat as much as you could. You might not get to eat for several days. Rex thought that almost all the clones were under nourished. Not bad, but they didn't have fat reserves. He got cold far too easily.

Rex pulled the soup off the stove when it seemed hot enough. He poured it in two bowls and went to find Echo. Ahsoka needed to sleep. His vod was curled up on the bed, eyes screwed shut. Rex shook Echo gently.

The clone screamed and tried to jump up. "They're gonna kill me!"

"Echo!" Rex grabbed Echo in a hug. Echo hugged him back, panting. Rex felt the tears fall upon his cheeks. "I've got you. I've got you. I'm not going to let you go."

"I was going to die," Echo rasped. He looked up and Rex saw that a bullet had gone through his eye. "Why?! Why the hell are we fighting this stupid war?! Why did Fives have to karking die!"

"Because there are bad people in this galaxy," Rex gently said. "They don't think we're people, but Ahsoka does. I know it. We're safe here."

"Even the defects?" Echo drew in a shaky breath.

"Especially the defects," Rex replied. Echo wasn't in a good place. Maybe it was knowing the fate of the little clone who had gone crazy. He was a Jedi-killer now. Just a young, young shiny and that little clone was now branded as a Jedi-killer. It was a fate worse than death.

"You brought food?" Echo finally asked. Rex nodded and helped his vod sit up. Echo wolfed his soup down. "Not bad. Not bad at all. Didn't know you could cook!"

"I'd like to say that Asher taught me before his chip rotted," Rex dryly said. "But I can't. I just dumped it in a pot. It's cooking from a can."

"Still." Echo propped himself up on a pillow. "Where's Tano?"

Rex sighed. "Asleep. She woulda killed herself to save your sorry sheb. So be nice, please. She'll be good to us once we get everything soothed out."

Echo snorted. "You're giving a Jedi too much credit."

"Let's just focus on getting you better?" Rex offered. Getting in a fight with Echo wouldn't be a good thing. He relaxed beside the other clone, enjoying the presence of a brother. The cloners had hated this. The clones were more loyal to their brothers and Shaak Ti than they were the GAR.

The tired ARC shook his head. "Remember the time when Slick broke your record? And you beat the hell out of him?"

Rex winced. "That's not funny."

"It was still impressive," Echo shrugged. "He hauled it, too. He almost died, or so Kix said. But he broke that record of yours."

"And I beat him half to death for it," Rex sighed. "It wasn't right. He'd gotten precious few good things in life. Who was I to deny him that?"

"A hot headed young ARC," Echo quipped. "Who had just been one upped by a normal."

Rex sighed. To him, there was no excuse. He should have done better. Poor Slick had been molested by his trainers and his General. All he'd wanted to do was break a record. And Rex had tried to take that from him. It turned his stomach now. He'd hurt his brother over a stupid speed record. And Slick had been so proud, too.

"I could have killed him," Rex softly said. "Instead of congratulating him, I beat him to bloody sorrow."

Echo shrugged and flopped down. "What does it matter, Rex'ika? He's probably long dead or in some brothel on Coruscant wish he was dead. You can't say sorry to a corpse."

Rex just wish he could see the former Sargent again and say that he was sorry. And that Slick had been right.

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