Chapter Twenty Nine: A New Lease on Life

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Dogma curled up under the blankets. He was very cold and he just wanted to hide. He had been abused and tortured all his life. First Krell and now Clone Jail. That had taken all of his good years from him. No one wanted a damaged clone. No one wanted to have to take care of him. Him and Slick would require a lot of care. They would need food, special food, and more care than most people would care to do. He would need care for his throat wound and something to give him his voice back. A clone was useless if he didn't have his voice.

Echo sat beside him, holding a heating pad. "Melia said that you might like this." He offered him a little smile and placed it under Dogma's back. The mute clone sighed a little bit, his eyes fluttering closed. That felt good. He felt really, really warm. Slick was cuddled in his arms. The smaller clone had pressed himself almost completely into Dogma's body. His rib bones fit into Dogma's. "So you like that? That's really good!"

He clearly couldn't take a hint. Dogma gave a soft sigh and offered him a smile. That was okay. Dogma liked the company. It wasn't like Echo would start hitting him. Now Fives? That clone might. He might hurt Dogma (or Slick) just to see them scream. Echo settled beside him and pulled out a battered looking book. Dogma forced himself up and stroked the worn pages. He thought he liked it. This was going to be good! It had been  so long since he'd been read too. Shaak Ti used to read the cadets. She taught a few of them how to read, too. And that made Dogma smile. Echo kissed the top of Dogma's head and opened the book.

Dogma shook Slick a little bit. He woke the smaller clone up and tapped to him that Echo was reading for them. Slick grumbled a little bit, but he pulled himself out. He rested his dirty head on Dogma's chest. He loved getting read too. This would be fun. The heating pad made Dogma close his eyes after a minute. It diffused through his body, making his muscles feel better. He snuggled right up to the other man. Those three made a warm little clone pile, right in the middle of the bed. Echo wasn't a half bad reader, either.

A woman knocked on the door after a few minutes. "Hey. Dogma. I have a place for you to get a bath, you know." Dogma looked up after a minute. He could get a bath?! Had he died and gone to heaven? Would they get clean clothes now? Or more than one meal a day? Maybe even clean underwear if they were really good...Dogma looked up at Melia with happy eyes. He would be a good boy if he got to have clean underwear. For a clone from Clone Jail, clean underwear was something almost unheard of.

Dogma frowned and tapped for Slick that, yes, he really would like a bath.

"He says he wants a bath," Slick yawned. He looked over at Dogma and smirked. "And I get to steal his heating pad!"

Dogma slapped the other clone and rolled out of bed. He was still shaky on his feet, but that would change as he got stronger. He would be able to work, then. Though he was starting to wonder  if clones had to work on this ship. Fives sure didn't! He just slept all day and came out for meals! Fives didn't know how good he had it.

He actually saw the older clone once he went to bathe. Melia pressed a fresh change of clothes in his arms (including underwear!) And he was trying to find the bathroom. Much to Dogma's surprise, Fives was sitting against the wall, reading. Dogma blinked and tried to walk away from him. This was not good...

The clone looked up at him. "Oh, it's you." Dogma nodded and gestured to his throat. No he couldn't sign. He could hardly communicate! "What do you want?"

Dogma gestured to the clothes and pointed up ahead. Really, was Fives that stupid? Dogma wanted a bath. He had a towel and clothes. It was pretty obvious.

Fives rolled his eyes. "Uh huh. You're disgusting, you know. You smell like an open sewer!"

The skinny clone narrowed his eyes as he walked away. This wasn't very fun for him. He had just gone through hell, for crying out loud! You didn't come through that smelling like a rose! He knew he smelled like death. Because he had almost starved, that was why!

"Don't get lice on my ship!" Fives hissed. He glared at the other man. "Or I will end you! I didn't want you on this ship and I sure as hell don't want you now!"

Dogma flinched like he'd been hit. He needed to get his bath. He couldn't defend himself against the stronger clone. This was going to be bad, he just knew it. The tiny clone walked as fast as he could, his hazel eyes frightened. He truly was a defect if his own brothers despised him...

"Aren't you gonna say something?" Fives taunted. "Or is your tongue where your courage was?"

Dogma looked at him with haunted eyes. Fives would never understand. Dogma worked twice as hard to be liked half as much. He was scared, too.

"Get out of my sight!" Fives hissed. "Get lost before I go do something we all regret!"

Dogma was only too happy to comply with that order. He took off as fast as he could, frightened by all that had happened. Fives had changed and not for the better. He was now harsh and cold, something no clone was supposed to be.

The clone was worried. What would happen to Slick? He was in no shape to take on Fives. Dogma just hoped Melia and Ahsoka had a plan in place to protect Slick once he started walking again.

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