Chapter Seventeen: The Cure for What Ails You

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Fives decided that he was going to hide in his room. He was tired and still strung out from what had happened. It hadn't been fun. Even though his chip had been removed, the behavioral routine that had been implanted in his mind still fired. It scared him, quite honestly. It really scared him. What if Melia had been a Force user? What if she had been a Jedi Healer like Pol and didn't believe on using weapons? Fives knew that Jedi was as gentle as they came. He wouldn't have stopped the clones if they had gone mad. He was probably dead now.

The clone wondered if he felt guilty or not. Maybe he could have told Pol that there was a strange routine implanted in their minds. Though the last thing Fives wanted was another lecture about how the Jedi were all going to hell. Or more of that disgusting herbal tea Pol always drank. If Fives had gagged down one pot, he had gagged down ten. Or more. Because it was honestly that bad and disgusting. Not even cream and sugar (clones barely got caff--they couldn't even dream of luxuries like cream, sugar, and flavors) could make that stuff drinkable. Fives, to be honest, drank it just to be polite. The last thing he needed was to be labeled insolent.

He pulled the covered over his head. Cadets always thought that they could hide from the trainers this way. They never could. It was just in their head, but the cadets still tried. They needed to have just a little hope that things could get better. And all of them...they just wanted to be free. They just wanted to go and see the galaxy, never mind the fact that they would be slaves to the Jedi. Sold, abused, abandoned... Hell! The chip in Fives' head had released a freaking electric shock if he broke the rules too much!

The jury was unanimous. Clones were meat droids. Not men. Fives, though, liked thinking he was a man, even though it was a forbidden fantasy.

Someone knocked on the door. Fives, with his heightened senses, could smell a little bit of something sweet. His belly grumbled. He hadn't eaten all day, but that was okay, too. Clones could do several days without eating or drinking. Also, salad with ginger dressing and chicken didn't count as dinner. It was a snack for a clone. Clones ate more in one sitting than most did in a day.

"Can I come in?" Melia. Fives pulled the pillow over his head. "Fives? I come bearing hot chocolate. I promise it'll make you feel better." She knocked on the door again. "It's okay. I know you're upset ad that's alright. You're probably pretty traumatized."

"Go way." Fives pulled the pillow tighter over his head. "I'm not safe. I'll hurt you! I'll hurt Drake and the baby! I don't know why you keep me, cause I'm better off dead." It was the cold, hard truth and it hurt to say it, but Fives knew it was the truth. He was dangerous, he was damaged, and he was going to hurt someone.

Melia eased open the door and sat on his bed. She wordlessly handed him a mug of the brown liquid and drank a little of hers. "Blow off the top to cool it. It's sweet--you'll like it."

Fives did so and was pleasantly surprised. After a few minutes, "Ya know, clones never got this stuff in our MREs. We were happy if we got some raisins. Kamino had us on a freaking diet. Lots of protein, lots of vitamins, enough fiber to make sure we could take a dump, all of it bound up in a little disgusting nutrient bar that never quite filled you up. And then I get spicy chicken chili. You know what that does to my mouth?"

The woman laughed softly. "I know what it did to your stomach."

"Yeah. It's called I had a blow out." Fives sipped some more. He took a chance and rested his head on her chest. Melia said nothing, so he stayed there. "Not exactly pleasant, let me tell you. And it's only cause I've been pretty hungry that I ate it and asked for seconds."

"And that's the reason why you had canned soup for the next week," Melia replied. She ran her hands through his spiky, black hair. Fives arched his head up into her hands. He offered her a weak smile and closed his eyes. "I...didn't know about the ration bars. I'm sorry."

"Kamino was cheap." Fives waved his free hand. "It was that or nutrient paste gruel. At least one we had blue milk to go with it." And there was a reason why they had a big jug of that stuff in the 'unit. Melia preferred cow milk, probably because she cooked with it, but Fives liked his blue milk. "So they gave us the cheap stuff. Though I still think you tried to set my mouth on fire!"

She punched his arm lightly. "Really now! After I tried to play scavenger, looking for scrap junk to sell!" Melia shook her head. "Crazy man."

"Well, I'm glad you scavenged me." Fives reached up and gently brushed a kiss across her lips. He had never kissed anyone before. Some brothers had kissed each other out of experiment. Some, like Tup and Rex, regularly made out with the Jedi. But Fives...Fives had never kissed anyone before. "Cause I wouldn't be here if you didn't."

Melia's hand flew to her mouth. "Are you okay?"

Fives nodded a little. "Yeah. Clones need to be held a lot." He snuggled closer into her, drinking in the warmth and the touch. Melia drew him close to her. "I don't have a vod or a vod'ika, so you're the next best thing." He gave her a lopsided smile.

"You want to be in my bed, then?" Melia asked after a few minutes.

The clone swallowed, hardly daring to nod. It was hard for a clone to sleep be himself after being in a puppy pile of brothers. "Yeah. Yeah, that would be good."

Melia kissed his cheek gently. "Alright then, yah'ai."

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