Chapter Sixteen: On Eggshells

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Rex was on eggshells. Whatever had happened to him and Echo still wasn't going away. He still jumped at every shadow and looked at Ahsoka like she had killed his brothers. Rex was getting used to her again, slowly, but the fear was still in his eyes. But she was being gentle to him and showing him that she wasn't all bad. Ahsoka had to begin gentling her skittish clone all over again. It was taking time, but she had to help him get used to being a man after that incident. It still scarred him. Badly.

He played with the food he had been given. Ahsoka had made them oatmeal with cream, cinnamon, and sugar. Echo wanted his with sprinkles. Ahsoka had learned the hard way that putting sprinkles on anything made Echo actually eat his dinner. So he got his sprinkles. And he actually ate and he didn't just dump his food in the trash. Ahsoka had used an entire bottle of red and green sprinkles to make sure that he ate. Rex had laughed a lot and let Ahsoka kiss his cheek. It had taken him quite a few tries to get used to it and stop jumping.

The chip had been removed. Rex had watched as Echo's came out. The clone had actually had a seizure after it came out. Echo had been in the medical bay for hours after that. Rex now cuddled his big brother whenever he could. He'd almost lost Echo on the battlefield. The seizure had almost taken him again.

He had to trust Ahsoka. She had saved him and Echo. Most people would have destroyed them both.

Ahsoka had saved both of them. He had to make it good for her. Even if that meant that he offered her his body. That was all he had. Rex was a bad soldier. He couldn't be trusted with a weapon. He might kill his general with it! And why would she want him if not for his body? Clones were valued for their lean, toned bodies. They could take a lot of abuse and just keep going. Rex still worked out. And Echo was in no shape to pop a boner, even with the help of meds. Rex was the only one who could make it good.

Ahsoka seemed to notice that he was having problems. She left him alone. Rex had no idea what to do with himself. Would he need to put it out for Ahsoka? Or wait until she made her demands? Was he supposed to be pure? Rex had lost that to the Zygerrians! And he'd seen what had happened when a clone had been bred by the Nightsisters. It had destroyed the clone. That clone had finally killed himself over it.

Another had been given a squalling baby, half clone and half Nightbrother. And the half dead bitch to go with it. The delicate Zabrak, a red washed with gold, had wanted to be with the clone. Something about the clone not hurting or tearing him and being able to hold and nurse his baby. That clone was eventually discharged and given money.

Rex just hoped that they were doing well. No one deserved slavery, least of an an innocent babe.

"Rex?" Ahsoka asked. The clone jumped, not sure what she was going to say. "Echo says that he's found Fives. He's...still alive."

"But he's dead..." Rex trailed off, not sure what he was supposed to say. Was he supposed to be forgiveness? He had argued with his Jedi! And only defects argued with the Jedi. Defects were bad clones. Even a defective cadet at the age of two were said to be bad. But his only crime might be that he was blind or missing a hand. Or he might have a few too many fingers.

Ahsoka shook her head. "He's still alive. He wants to see you. Also...there are other people with him. A Melia Skye and a Drake Skye. There's also a baby. I think his name is Jelani? Looks like another Nightbrother bitch with a baby. That's a story the galaxy has seen a thousand times."

Rex whined softly. "I hope they're okay. " He loved Fives. He knew that Echo preferred Fives over him, though. It would be a bitter pill to swallow when he had too. He didn't want to lose Echo! Or Ahsoka! A clone was nothing in this galaxy.

"I think you'll be fine." Ahsoka hugged him quickly. "And so is Fives. But we also need to meet up with some other crews with clones. I need you guys to be happy."

Rex's jaw dropped. "But I'm just a clone! I'm not worth the trouble!" That, at least, was what he'd been taught. Who was right? His trainer? The Jedi? Ahsoka? Rex didn't know who to chose.

Ahsoka bit her bottom lip. "But you're my friend, Rex. And you're a man. You're...you're not a slave! They shouldn't have done that to you."

Rex shook his head. He had little to no idea about what was going on and freedom was a yawning gap underneath his feet. He needed something to hold on to. The only thing was, Rex was too scared to ask for a hand hold.


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