Disclaimer: Star Wars: The Clone Wars belongs to Disney and is the intellectual property of George Lucas and Dave Filoni. There is no money made off of this; I'm simply destroying the sandcastles.
Series: Vignette Series "Renewal"
Timeframe: During Season 3, about six months before The Citadel. AU
Prequel: Catalyst & Journey of Revolution: Consequences by Jade_Max
Summary: Set after returning from the mission, a missing moment from Catalyst & JOR: Consequences – Rex turns the data retrieved from the mission over to General Kenobi.
Author's note: First in a new series of Vignettes that will examine Ahsoka and Rex rebuilding their relationship post the fallout of Catalyst & Journey of Revolution: Consequences
Two hours post Catalyst Mission
Rex took the lift to the bridge, fingering the data crystal that was at the root of the cause of his current perpetual frustration. Or rather, what the young Togrutan female he'd left behind at her quarters had done to obtain it. It was small in his grasp, part of him having a hard time believing that such a tiny crystal was worth the degradation she'd been forced to endure. Rex examined it carefully as he walked, latching onto the distraction in an attempt to mitigate the feel of the blood pulsing painfully through his veins.
Leaving Ahsoka at her door had been one of the hardest things he'd ever done.
After being with her almost twenty four hours a day for the last week, letting her go should have been easy. Instead, it had been agony. The simmer of suppressed desire and rage mixed together with a thousand similar, but no less powerful, emotions kept him as on edge as he'd been all week.
The sight that greeted him as the turbo lift doors opened to the command deck wasn't a welcome one.
General Kenobi, the Jedi who'd assigned them the mission, was coming towards the lift from the bridge. There was no way to avoid him as Rex stepped out of the lift, folding the crystal into the palm of his right hand and folding his fingers around it tightly. Their mission had been a success, but he'd be damned if he'd turn the crystal over to the very man who had forced it on her in the first place.
At that moment Kenobi looked up from the datapad in his hand and saw him, his steps pausing as he visibly took in Rex's attire and lifted one eyebrow before closing to a polite distance to speak. "Captain Rex. I see you've returned."
Rex's jaw clenched as he offered a sharp, tight nod but said nothing; for once, Rex didn't trust himself to speak. He stopped because it was expected of him when speaking with a General, but he didn't like it. Given the choice, he'd have passed the other man unacknowledged and unseen until he'd had a chance to expend some of his frustration.
Kenobi was accountable for everything Ahsoka had been through. The hell with the rhetoric that it had been orders or come from another source; if Anakin hadn't been in the bacta tank, Ahsoka would never have gone on this mission. Her Master would never have allowed it. How then did a Jedi who had trained that very Master, with years more experience, feel that the teen should go? Just thinking about it made Rex's blood boil.
"Successful, I trust?"
Swallowing the tight knot of anger that simmered in his gut, and had climbed into his throat, Rex forced himself to answer this time. "Affirmative." It was short, clipped and held none of the emotions he was currently feeling. Rex was nothing if not a good soldier.
"Good man, I knew Ahsoka was up to the task," there was a pause as Kenobi's gaze dropped back to his chest; the chest that was bare because Rex had used his shirt to make a bandage for Ahsoka… and the coat around his shoulders was never meant to close anyway. The General arched an eyebrow. "You, however, are a little out of uniform, Captain," the amusement in Kenobi's words made Rex grit his teeth, "and I'm told Ahsoka arrived not just out of uniform but practically without one. The story behind just how you arrived in this state must be as scintillating as it is fasci-"
There was the sound of flesh impacting flesh as Rex's left fist came in from the side and slammed, knuckles first, into the side of the General's face and silenced him. The Jedi hit the deck with a satisfying crash, sprawled in the most undignified pose Rex had ever had the chance to witness.
Growling, his chest heaving, the Jedi's nonchalant attitude towards the whole situation was an affront to everything Ahsoka had been put through this past week; to everything they'd suffered because of their infernal Council.
That one of the Generals he served with on a regular basis could treat the situation so cavalierly, especially with what they'd asked of Ahsoka, resulted in the need to make someone pay.
The shock on Kenobi's face was gratifying and Rex, before he did something worse than striking a superior officer, stalked away towards the bridge without even an attempt at an apology. The edges of the data crystal were pressing into his hand, only some sense of self-preservation having stopped him from swinging with that fist, and he consciously relaxed his grip around it. After everything he and Ahsoka had gone through to obtain it, he would do everything he could to ensure it arrived at the Admiral intact.
"Halt this instant Captain Rex," Kenobi's voice cracked with the authority of command Rex was trained to obey and he drew to an abrupt halt, "and explain yourself."
Rex's free hand clenched again, the muscles in his shoulders and neck hard as the durasteel alloy that compromised the hull of the Resolute. He refused to turn, shaking with the force of his fury and the strength of will it took to suppress it. If he turned, he'd do more than strike the General and that would probably earn him a short court-martial followed by a long trip back to Kamino for reconditioning – if not an immediate execution.
"I asked you a question, Captain."
His jaw working, but no sound emerging, Rex settled for shooting the General a furious glare that drew the so-called Negotiator up short. Something in his eyes, or perhaps the General detected something through the Force, must have alerted the Jedi that he was on dangerous ground as Rex watched Kenobi's eyes narrow back at him as he pulled himself off the floor.
Rex didn't turn back around, staying where he was, his left hand in such a tight fist he was sure the skin over his knuckles was going to split. It took everything he had to stop himself from reaching for his blasters. Words refused to come, the scathing opinion he had of this Jedi, and his precious Council, for what they'd forced Ahsoka to do in the name of duty stalling on his lips. He wanted to say it; he was simply too furious to form the words.
"You've had a taxing mission. We will discuss this later, Captain, " Kenobi informed him coolly, touching his jaw gingerly with one hand. "Dismissed."
The word seemed to free him from his stance and Rex, without so much as a nod of acknowledgement, stalked away. Kenobi thought they had more to speak of but Rex knew he'd never speak with General Kenobi about what had happened on the mission. Just as he knew he'd never explain, or apologize for, striking the General.
"Captain Rex." The Admiral turned as he entered the bridge, looking beyond Rex with one raised eyebrow and then meeting his gaze again. They looked at one another for a long moment that stretched into a minute, and Rex could feel the Admiral evaluating him. Fortunately , the Admiral was a man of tact and kept to the matter at hand, disregarding whatever he'd seen by the turbolift. "Your mission was successful?"
Rex's hand clenched around the data crystal once more before he exhaled, the fury swirling through his system slow to abate. With monumental willpower, he forced himself to extend his hand to the Admiral and, when Yularen extended his own hand, dropped the crystal into it. Somehow, he managed to grind out a rough, "Mission accomplished, Sir".
Yularen nodded. "Good man. You're dismissed, Captain."
It wasn't until several days later that Rex would realize he'd struck a General and escaped any kind of formal reprimand. Not just from the General, but also from the Admiral, for actions that had been in clear view of the bridge staff. It was a realization that would fill him with both satisfaction and loathing.
If he'd been thrown in the brig at the time, Ahsoka would still be talking with him, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to break her trust irrevocably and drive her from his side forever.