The road to recovery
Rex and Echo had been hovering aimlessly in the med bay of the base while the group of doctors had been working on Fives.
After all, the man had been in suspended animation for Force knew how long a time. And, despite Tech having done the initial checks of Fives back in the Marauder and making sure the rescued clone trooper would survive the trip back from the facility to their home base, Fives was still far from being alright.
Fives was malnourished and his muscular structure pretty much non existent.
Sure, all the old wounds had been healed. Most likely thanks to whatever had been done to him in the facility. And as the doctors had confirmed, the original kill-shot, which Rex had witnessed being the demise of Fives, had also been healed. As to the how was still an unknown. There were also signs of both torture and experimentation on the body itself, most of the wounds having been healed, but some of the scars remained.
The mind however, was still a question mark. Fives was still under heavy sedation. The doctors did not dare waking him up yet. Not until they had completed all their medical scans of the rescued man. The next step in the revival process being that of placing him in a bacta tank. Something which Rex had managed to acquire from one of his contacts. Thankfully!
The tank would be arriving soon. And so, Fives was still hooked up to all the machines imaginable to support his vitals. Much like the pod apparently had done in the laboratory where they had found him. How he had survived the trip back without that kind of medical support was still a mystery. As neither Tech nor Echo had seen any issues while running their scans and giving the fluids Fives had needed during the flight.
Still, there were so many mysteries surrounding the former Arc Trooper who had been long since presumed dead. Even having been witnessed to die. And in Rex's arms no less. Whatever had happened to Fives after he had been removed from the warehouse where the Coruscant Guard had shot him, was also on the list of unanswered questions.
Rex was fidgeting around the area behind the medical bay even worse than Echo. Most likely because Echo had not been there when Fives had died. As Echo too had been, well presumed dead.
Rex was trying to wrap his head around the fact that Fives had been kept somewhere after his supposed death and experimented on by someone, the Separatist most likely. Although, that too, was not certain. Too many unanswered questions remained, causing Rex a massive headache just thinking about it all.
"Rex!" Echo beckoned softly. "Please, sit down."
Echo having already given up the pacing and the trying to figure out what really had happened.
The situation being as it was. And the two of them could not even start figuring what had happened to Fives. Guessing wasn't cutting it. As it was, there was the proof they already had and then, there was the truth.
Fives was still alive.
Whomever had been in charge, most likely someone high up in the then governmental regime had either faked the death of the trooper. Or then, something else had been in play back then. But there was no evidence contrary to what Rex and Echo knew to be the case. Which was that Fives had been killed as shot dead by the Commanding officer of the Coruscant Guard.
And, they would most likely not find out anything more until Fives was up and among the living again.
Because that was the assumption they were working under. That Fives would recover. He simply had to.
Neither Rex nor Echo were willing to even entertain any other thought as Fives was important to both of them.
Whatever reason it was he was still alive, both of them could only thank the Force for bringing their lost kin back to them. For now, the doctors had assured, after doing their preliminary investigation and then giving periodical updates to Echo and Rex, that Fives would eventually recover. At least physically. The brain scans were still running among several other more thorough and invasive tests don on the trooper. It would take some time before the doctors would have their checkup of Fives.
Rex did not stop pacing, rather glanced at Echo, his mind clearly elsewhere.
"Please Rex. You are giving me a headache simply by looking at you running in circles." Echo said to Rex being on the edge himself and the other man's pacing was not helping any, rather making Echo's head hurt in the worst way.
"Sorry!" Rex finally stopped and moved to where Echo was seated.
"It's fine. Just, please, remain stationary, okay?"
Echo's head was spinning. It had been forever since waking up from his dream and realising it was Fives they had found. He had gone through a myriad of emotions. From sad to elated to whatever lay in between and back. And now?
Well, Echo was kind of feeling guilty. Because Echo had been lost too. But Rex had found him. With the help of the Bad Batch, his batch now. While Echo and Fives had once been part of another batch. But now, thanks to his new family, Echo had a life and he had Tech too.
Fives had been buried and forgotten for who knew how long. And if it hadn't been for that single beacon, out there in a the middle of nowhere space? They would never had found him.
Whomever had set the beacon? That was still one of the mysteries in the pile of mysteries, which would go unanswered until Fives himself could possibly explain it to them all. But, Echo could not help the guilty feelings of having made a life for himself, as the two of them had been close. In love.
Echo could not even understand why he was even thinking of such things.
After all, Fives was in there, struggling to stay alive. Or becoming back to life again. Well, whatever the case was, the thing to consider now was to get Fives up and running. Back to himself, if even possible.
Echo had to simply think it was what it was for now. And whatever would follow? Well, it wasn't the question for today. No, Echo had already decided to do his best to help Fives recover, no matter what it took and no matter the feelings once had been.
This would be done for Fives only, no one else.
"A credit for your thoughts." Rex asked, after observing Echo for a moment, clearly him dwelling way too long in his own guilty thoughts.
As despite not being directly responsible for Fives' death, Rex had always felt the weight of his decision.
Of not listening to Fives when he had found out about the inhibitor chips. Rex knew now of course, that Fives had done nothing wrong. Fives had been framed. And therefore, killed for nothing. An unnecessary and cruel death.
Then again, if it had not been for Fives' sacrifice, Rex himself could never have survived the chips effects. And so, it was a never ending circle for Rex as well. Both sides weighing heavily on him. Dipping the scale depending on how badly Rex was berating himself of the fate of Fives'.
"I," Echo started. "It's all so confusing." Echo admitted.
"Yeah, it is." Rex had really nothing more to add to that as it really was too confusing to talk about. Except he had been there before, right? "You've never been on this side of it." Rex let out a slight chuckle, trying to relieve the tension in the room.
"What do you mean Rex?" Echo asked not sure what Rex was on about.
"Well, this is not unlike Skako Minor. When we rescued you from the Techno Union."
Rex was reminded of the time when he had gone after Echo. Believing he was still alive while nobody else really had. All of it, based on a hunch of his. And now? Well, this wasn't exactly the same situation, but it was close enough.
But Echo got the gist of what Rex had meant.
"If we had not gone back to check the beacon, Fives would not be here." Echo stated simply. "It was a fluke we even detected it."
"Yeah, someone had a gut feeling and checked at the instruments at the right time." Rex simply stated.
Rex had read their report of course, as they still kept those, even if this wasn't a military organisation. Not really. But Rex liked to run a tight ship just the same.
"Tech…" Echo's breath hitched.
Tech had been manning the helm. And being his usually observant self, naturally. As nothing really passed by the man. And if Tech had not seen the faint signal, then, well…
Echo could not even think of what the other option would have been. As it had all led for the Batch to find their long since thought dead kin. Just like Rex had done for Echo. Gone back for him.
"Funny huh?" Rex glanced at Echo. "How the Force works."
Echo nodded, as it really was quite funny, the universe giving one of their own back to them.
The two of them remained seated together, in silence.
Both of them too confused to share their thoughts and too eager to blame themselves of whatever had happened to Fives. And what the future might hold for Fives and them all now that he was back in their lives again? It was difficult for either of them to accept let alone admit, that Fives fate had nothing to do with them. Nothing at all.
But, as per usual, it was easier to blame themselves. Guess it was an inherit trait built into both their DNA's. Thanks a lot Jango Fett!
Surprise! I am alive!
Immediately upon its arrival, the bacta tank would be getting good use of it. As Fives would be placed inside of it. The doctors having completed their run of all possible tests, but not having found anything wrong with the clone. Not really. Nothing that any medical scan could reveal at least. Part from the obvious of course.
Fives' brain scans had turned up good, with no damage detected. Thankfully. And, when they had finally put Fives inside the tank, they had kept him sedated. Just in case the clone would suddenly wake up and start panicking. So, it was beneficial for the patient to remain under until such time his body was completely healed.
The tank was there for a purpose, after all.
As even if Fives did not have any visible injuries, part from those healed wounds leaving their ugly scars behind. The tank would also aid in his muscular rehabilitation among the rest of the things. But also speeding up the overall healing process.
As despite being clones, they were all still human and their bodies frail by nature no matter what the Kaminoans might have sliced into their pods while cooking the soup of the clones.
So, following the doctors orders, Fives had been put inside the bacta tank. The only thing to do now, was to wait until the group of physicians gave the all clear to remove him from there.
Not an easy task at least not for Echo and Rex, but they would adapt to the situation. They all did.
Fives was finally out of the bacta tank.
After several long days inside, the doctors had finally been satisfied he was healed enough to be taken out and reviving him fully. Fives' time in there, had caused a lot of stress for both Rex and Echo and by default also to the Batch alongside Gregor.
Being Rex's consort now that the two of them had been reunited after some years between them and then rekindling the old flames as it were. The two of them having shared a long history first as cadets, working together on and off and now?
And, as they both had put it when Echo had noticed how close the two of them were, actually, while caught kissing on a late night in the mess hall, Echo having wandered in there for a late night snack.
"It was a natural progress." Rex had simply told Echo.
"Simple as that." Gregor had added having then placed a passionate kiss on Rex's lips, just to show how serious he was about the two of them.
Echo could not have been more happier for them both. Or rather the three of them as Rex already having had a partner before Gregor had shown up.
"You look, different." Fives's piped.
His eyes darted all over Echo. Fives was taking in all the cybernetics of Echo's.
His voice still somewhat hoarse after not having been able to talk in so long. Fives' memory was mostly in tact, albeit it was taking some time for all of it to come back. What Fives could remember was waking up every now and again, always inside a lab. But where and when, that was something he did not really know.
They had deduced that Fives had been taken to some laboratory right away upon his death and then, either a Sith or Jedi had Force-healed him. But, it was a theory only as Fives himself did not have any memory of it at all. Except falling to his death, in Rex's arms and then all of a sudden, waking up in a lab.
"Well, it was either this or die. So what choice did I really have?" Echo chuckled.
Echo tried to make a joke of it all. Himself, what had happened to him after the Citadel. As none of it really was Echo's doing. Only adapting to the mechanical parts which were part of him now. And Echo was mostly alright with it all. But he was pretty sure he looked totally odd to Fives.
Fives simply nodded and took another good look at Echo.
He was feeling better already, and was seated on the med bed, with Echo seated right by the side. Not really sure as how yet to behave around Fives. But as Echo stared into Fives' eyes, there were no signs of disgust or unease about the changed outlook of Echo's present in Fives' gaze. Only curiosity and… something else Echo could not pinpoint.
"I like it though. Makes you look all cool and tough." Fives smirked. "Even more than you used to be like."
Echo had never really felt tough or cool, but he had achieved something not all troopers did, even without enhancements and the advantages he now possessed.
Fives had been admiring the many new features, as Echo had put it earlier, of the other clone and he did not see them as anything else except an extension of the Echo he had once known.
Echo was no ordinary clone any more that much was for sure. Maybe he had never been, ordinary. Not at least to Fives.
Even Echo's demeanour, his stance, everything really about the man seemed to be more confident than that of the young Arc Trooper Five's had known all those years ago.
"Heh, thanks!" Echo felt himself flush a tad. "I feel great, now." He admitted. Because he really did. "And well, guess I am better in many ways too, than before."
Echo was pretty secure with his new body. Knowing what he could do with it. Not limited by the regs abilities with all his cybernetic enchantments. And Echo liked it that way too, and not being ashamed to admit it either.
"So, what really happened?" Fives asked softly.
His glare dropping somewhat as he was still a tad groggy of all the medicines the doctors were pumping into him, just as a precaution. But he wanted to know. The story of Echo.
"It's a long story." Echo tried, not wanting to bother Fives with his sorry tale.
"I've got time."
Fives wanted to hear it. Naturally. And besides he liked having Echo around. A lot.
"Well, after I got blown up, the Techno Union found me and brought me back to Skako Minor. Guess they thought I could be useful for them."
Echo started telling Fives the tale of what he knew now of the happenings ever since he had blown up during the Citadel mission. All the way up and until the time Rex and the Bad Batch had found him on Skako Minor. Hooked up to the machines and barely able to function on his own.
After some time, the brief version of the tale of Echo's had been told and Fives simply glared at him. The story both fascinating and somewhat sad. After all, Fives had thought Echo was dead, and mourned his lost love, for a long time.
Suddenly, tears formed into Fives' eyes.
"I'm sorry." Echo whispered.
Echo felt helpless, as clearly the story had upset Fives on some level. And unsure as what to do. A lot of time had passed between them. Death too, for both of them. It wasn't as they could simply pick off where they had left. Right?
The only thing Echo could offer now, was his hand in comfort. And Fives took it. It was all that was needed at the moment.
"No, it's not you. I guess, it just all got to me." Fives wiped his tears. "I mean if I had known back then…"
"No, don't blame yourself." Echo said to him softly. "You could not have known. None of you could."
Fives simply nodded. It was the truth. Just like it had been with Fives' situation too.
"Heh, well, guess I died too." Fives chuckled a little then, the whole thing totally absurd now, that he could only joke about it to feel better.
"Yeah, I know what that is like." Echo nodded solemnly.
"Yeah, you do." Fives glanced at Echo, a long silence passing between them.
"And it broke me. Not just my heart, but it shattered my world too." Fives was reminded of the horrors of seeing Echo blowing up right in front of his very eyes.
"Sorry." Was all Echo managed once again, after all, there was nothing he could do to change that.
"Don't be. It wasn't anything you could do about it." Fives gripped on Echo's hand slightly harder.
"You died, saving the rest of us." Gulping, pushing away his tears, before Fives could continue. "But you are here now. And I, am here now too."
Echo could only nod in agreement. As what had happened to both of them, was in the past now. There was nothing they could do to change it. But this was the now and they were both alive. Because of some quirk of the universe's. And what they could do from now on, was to simply look forward.
The awkwardness which had hung between them, suddenly disappearing. It felt good to be there, for the other. Just like they had always been, way back when. Even if the two of them had not always seen eye to eye with the other at the very beginning. As cadets. But, it had not taken too long for them to have found the love they had shared.
Sitting in comfortable silence, simply basking in the others presence. It had been a long time since they had seen each other. Plenty of things, death, life, happening in between that time. But some things never changed. The way they both felt about each other, the comfort they could bring to one another, no matter how much time had passed.
"So, I noticed that other enhanced clone, Tech, right?" Fives brought up suddenly. "He was kinda keeping an eye on you the whole time when he was here." Fives commented. "Or rather I think he was keeping an eye on me."
They had all visited Fives, the clones of the base had. Friends, new and old, paying their respects to the resurrected trooper.
As it was, nothing really went past Fives. As he always had noticed even the most subtlest details. Clearly having his mind intact despite his experiences. But, Tech could have been a little less obvious and even less jealous too. Not that he had expressed anything to Echo. So far. But, knowing Tech, Echo had seen the looks on the man's face. Then again, Tech had been even more attentive towards Echo than usual, so to make sure Echo knew who it really was who cared for him.
It had taken a few days for Fives still to be confined to the med bay. With Echo visiting him each and every day, several times even. Of course the others did as well. Rex, Gregor and a few clones Fives knew from his past. But also the Batchers had come and introduced themselves. And especially Tech, who had been stopping for visits with Echo several times so far.
"Yeah, about that…"
Echo had tried to avoid this having Tech around… Well it would soon become too obvious to Fives as to what was really going on.
"Well, we are, together." Echo was rubbing his neck like he usually did when he was nervous about something.
"Oh is that all." Fives snorted. "I thought you were hiding something sinister there for a moment."
Fives was taking it well. After all, it had been so many years the two of them had been an item. And Fives himself had moved on eventually as well. Something Rex had told Echo as much, as had Fives during their chats now. So, why would Echo not do it either. Besides, any man would be lucky to have Echo as theirs.
"Yeah, well, no." Echo smirked then, seeing the jest playing in Fives' eyes. "I mean, so yeah, we are a couple." Echo was only glad it was all out there, for Fives to know.
"I can see he loves you." Fives said then, sounding rather solemn.
"He does. And I love him too." Echo said without any hesitation.
But, Echo could not help but feel conflicted.
Echo was in love with Tech, that was a given. But he still harboured feelings for Fives. Their story having ended rather abruptly and then, as Echo had come back? Well, Fives had been gone. And in Fives' own words, he had moved on too.
But now? Well, Echo really did not know what to think. Perhaps, he really even should not. Think. After all, he was with Tech. And Fives? Well, Fives had a new lease in life and that was pretty much it, right?
When life throws a curve ball, you'd better catch it!
"Well, that was odd." Hunter said to Rex trying to summarise his feelings about the whole sudden Fives resurrection thing. "Finding a trooper after all these years, presumed dead and all."
"Was it though?" Rex asked thoughtfully, being reminded of the fact that not too long ago, they had found Echo under similar circumstances, well, close to anyway.
"Yeah, I hear ya." Hunter's voice was low, thinking back to the rescue of Echo's on Skako Minor. "Do you think there are more clones out there, who are in similar situations?"
"Well, who knows. But I guess we cannot search each and every planet to figure that out." Gregor piped in. "I mean, the Empire sure likes to play the game with us and our brethren. But, it's a big galaxy!"
"At least we have some idea where the clones are being kept now, thanks to our intel and well, Crosshair." Howzer added his two credits in the conversation.
"This Empire is expanding each and every which way and most likely experimenting on our kin like you said. And from what I saw, and almost got caught in the process of things… Well, there are plenty of clones out there in need of rescue." Howzer who himself had only managed to escape the clutches of the Empire some time ago was only too glad to lend a helping hand in this whole process.
Besides, Howzer and Rex went way back. In more ways than one.
"So, we are all in agreement then?" Rex asked his gaze flowing across the table.
As the small group of people, clones, who had become his inner circle. As it was becoming quite obvious, they were now a part of something bigger than themselves. Not just there for rescuing the odd stray brother, rather needing to do it on a much larger scale.
"We are." It was said in unison, without a doubt and question in any of their minds.
This, was truly the start of something great and they were eager to play their parts in it.
Several days had passed and Fives was finally out of the med bay.
Settling into his new quarters, with the aid of Echo of course. Even though Tech was around too, helping here and there, naturally. There was a lot to do to get Fives started with his new life after all, right? Because lending a brother a helping hand was a given thing, no matter reg or not.
Tech was privy to the relationship Echo and Fives had once shared and if he was honest with himself, he found to be jealous of what the two of them shared, even now. Worried was another term, which frequently popped into Tech's mind as well. Worried that Echo might find Fives more appealing and rekindle their relationship, leaving Tech to his own devices.
And so, here they were once again, fussing over Fives. Or rather Echo was as Tech had been called to perform some complex calculations, being the most technically versed clone on base. Part from Echo of course. But Echo was needed elsewhere now.
Tech's brilliant mind sometimes a curse rather than a blessing he sometimes thought. As whenever Rex and the others needed some complex algorithms done for their plans, Tech was there to do them.
"So, our shadow was called off." Fives half joked.
Not that Fives minded Tech.
No, on the contrary, Fives had grown fond of the rather stiff and outspoken man, even if Fives doubted Tech understood it. After all, Tech might have had a brilliant mind, but sometimes, that could easily hinder the more emotional aspect of things. Like a good gut feeling. And Fives had a good feeling about Tech. But mostly he liked the clone because he was totally doting over Echo, the love and devotion clearly present there.
"Yeah. He is doing some planning with Rex." Echo said. "He is usually gone for a while, once he gets really into it. Then Tech can spend hours doing just that, calculations, planning. You name it. Being totally submerged in the scheme of it all."
It was something which was not totally foreign to Echo either. But these days, less so. Gladly leaving the tasks for Tech to do.
Echo didn't mind of course,Tech having his own thing to do. As having the time to spend with Fives now. It was all new but also familiar at the same time. Even if Echo thought of Tech as his rock and he loved the man dearly.
But there was something different about being with Fives. Even if it was simply being his friend. After all, the two of them had grown up together. They were each others first loves.
"Yeah, I can understand having a passion for something that takes all of your concentration." Fives said softly, his eyes on Echo, even if Echo wasn't looking at Fives right now.
Echo seemed to have a sixth sense about that though, as for whatever reason he turned to glance at Fives. Finding him staring right back at him with hooded eyes. And it was a look far too familiar for Echo to ignore. Nothing do with friendship, at all.
"Fives?" Echo's voice was a whisper now, sensing the other's emotions emanating through the small space between them, both seated at the sofa of Five's new quarters.
"Echo." The name a soft whisper rolling off of Fives' lips. "I am, sorry." Fives simply stated his expression matching his words.
Echo's eyes flew wide. "Of what?"
Before he could say anything more. Echo got his answer.
Fives leaned in and kissed Echo. Softly at first, before deepening the kiss into something more. A query of sorts. Echo's responsiveness was all Fives needed to escalate it to a more passionate and probing lip-lock. The familiarity of it all not even forgotten with all the time between them. The intimate sharing of lips lasting several moments more, before they needed to break for air.
"Sorry." Fives said again, this time with a hint of a smirk.
"Fives…" Echo started, not sorry himself at all of what had happened just then, but, and it was a big one, looming over the two former lovers.
"I know." Fives whispered, before leaning in for another passionate kiss.
It was like nothing, no time, no incidents, death or other, had ever happened to them. It was like the old times, when the two of them had been lovers.
"So, you want to talk about what just happened?" Five's voice was coarse.
It was Fives who seemed a little worried after the two of them had shared the most passionate kisses in a long while with each other. He was staring into Echo's eyes, seeing the love there they had once shared with each other. But there was something else there too.
After all, Echo was in a relationship with Tech. And so, he was not without the loving care of a partner, as the two of them were quite devoted and very much in love. At least, Echo had thought so. That had not gone away simply because Echo had shared a kiss with Fives, well several. But the gist was, that Echo had betrayed Tech, right?
So, what now?
Echo looked somewhat panicked. As he really had not excepted this to happen. Even if he still felt so many things for Fives. But, Echo had not excepted for Fives to feel more than kinship, friendship and well…
So, they had kissed. Fives having initiated the encounter. But Echo, had responded in kind.
"I do." Echo finally responded after some contemplation. "But first," Echo paused again.
Because if he was really honest with himself, he did not want to loose Tech.
They had something good going on. And Fives. Well, Echo still loved Fives. Echo had enjoyed spending the time with the other man. Even more so, the kissing which had just happened. Echo had really enjoyed that too.
And now? Being totally confused of all the feelings and sensations running rampant in his head. But then again, it was also quite clear to him, what he wanted. There was no question about it in his mind, at all.
Echo was certain, that he did not want to lose either of them.
"I still love you." Echo admitted freely.
"And I love you." Fives' voice soft and filled with emotion.
Fives had not had any doubts about his own feelings either. Not since the first moment he had opened his eyes and seen Echo there, staring back at him. No matter the time, death and life having happened between them, the spark was still there. Always had been.
"But," Echo started.
"There always is, isn't there."
Fives knew of course what it was - the but.
"I also love Tech. And I am not about to give him up." Echo said it in a low voice, looking at Fives right in the eyes as he said it.
"I know." Fives leaned into Echo. "I know."
Fives was not about to argue his case, to try to win Echo over. No, Fives was trusting for Echo to come to the conclusion he needed to be in.
There used to be Echo and Fives, then Echo and Tech, and now?
Echo's voice was languid as the two of them were lying in bed, limbs tangled together, both of them basking in the post orgasmic bliss of their love making.
Tech's eyes were closed. Revelling in the feel of his lovers body. The day having been long and dull, with the various calculations he had been doing with Rex, even if he loved doing such things.
"There is something we need to talk about."
Echo knew this was not the best of times to bring it up. Then again, he sure as hell was not going to mention it before he had bedded Tech either. Because it was long over due, Tech having been overworked for several days on end and finally getting his man all to himself.
"What is it?"
Tech's eyes opened and he looked at Echo, who seemed to have stiffened a bit after the last sentence Echo had spoken.
Echo turned to his side, being face to face with Tech. Staring his partner right into his eyes, and seeing the worry there at the very moment.
"So, about Fives." Echo started as gently as he could.
But, Tech had known already what it was about. How could he have not? It was clear as day to anyone with a pair of eyes, that there was more going on between Echo and Fives and simple kinship.
"And you thought to mention it only now?" Tech's tone was clipped. "After we had sex?"
"Well, I sure wasn't going to do that before either." There was a hint of humour in Echo's voice, even if the argument they were having was anything but.
"So, what of Fives?" Tech was pretty sure what it was, but he was still letting Echo spell it out to him in his own words.
"Well, guess, I still have feelings for him." Echo admitted then.
Tech was silent for a long moment. He did not move, even if he was pretty much still tangled with Echo.
"Tech?" Echo kept staring at Tech even if the other man had averted his gaze, his whole head hanging.
Echo placed his hand on Tech's jaw, gently nudging for him to look at Echo. Seeing the tears there, made Echo flinch. In anger of himself and his insensitiveness and self-indulgence, Having considered only his own feelings and needs, while trying to make the right decision.
"Tech, I am sorry." Echo whispered.
"Yeah? I am too."
Tech was ready for what was coming next, only waiting for the other footwear to fall.
Echo was looking deep into the crying eyes of the man he so deeply loved. But then there was the other one, who also owned a piece of his heart. Fives.
"Tech, I don't want to lose you. Either of you."
Echo had lost plenty in life and now, there was a chance of gaining some of it back. So, trying to make it all work, because he simply needed to. And what he was about to suggest to Tech? Echo could only hope his partner was okay with it.
Tech looked a tad lost in the words Echo had just spoken.
"Wha… what do you mean?" Tech sniffed.
Echo wiped the errant tears from Tech's face before he begun to explain what he wanted to happen. Needed to happen.
"Well, I was thinking, that, we could invite Fives to join in our partnership." Echo blurted it out, as there was really no way around it.
Tech blinked. Once, twice. There was a long pause before either of them said anything.
"Tech?" Echo sounded panicked, as Tech had yet to comment on his proposal.
Not that it was something someone should have thrown casually to one's partner. Especially while in bed after having had hot and passionate sex with each other. Still, the facts were already out there and known before even.
What else was there to discuss about it?
"I, " Tech paused, something occurring to him then. "Have you talked to Fives about this, what you want to do?"
Echo had not exactly laid out the plan to Fives either. But he had told Fives as much. That he did not want to lose either of them. And Fives had told Echo that he would trust him to make the right decisions about the three of them.
"Well, not in so many words, but he knows the gist of what I want to happen." Echo admitted then.
"I see." Was all Tech managed.
Echo was sensing the hesitation in Tech, thinking it had been way too soon to suggest this, arrangement to him.
"I don't want to pressure you into anything you don't feel comfortable in doing." Echo sounded apologetic.
Tech only nodded and then there was a long moment of silence filling the room.
It must have been some time, as Echo knew he had nodded off when he felt the light touch on his face. Rousing from his haze of a state, he was eye to eye with Tech.
"Sorry, I must have dozed off." Echo apologised.
Tech only nodded and then kept on staring into Echo's eyes.
"Yes." Tech stated softly then.
"Yes what?" Echo felt the grogginess of the nap confusing his brain still.
"Yes, let's do it. Ask Fives to join us." Tech repeated, a hint of a smile in his glare.
Leave it up to Tech to make the best choice after having analysed the options and then deciding on the best outcome.
As that was what he had done, while watching Echo sleep, he had made his decision. It was the right and best thing to do. For all of them. As it was, so many lost souls already in their lives and they had gotten one back. One which meant a lot to his partner, Echo.
"You are sure?" Echo's voice was coarse, not from sleep but from the lump in his throat forming.
"I am." Tech sounded earnest. "Because you love him, I am willing to do so too."
Hearing the words coming from Tech, Echo could not have been more in love with the man, as he was right now. Leaning in to kiss Tech, was the only thing Echo could do to convey his thanks to his partner.
The old and the new, glued together for sure
Some time had passed from when they had found Fives on a snow covered ice planet.
The presumed dead Arc Trooper, now very much alive and kicking. And happily so. Having had a similar experience of being lost and found that of Echo's.
As after some time and fashion, Echo, Tech and Fives had managed to form a working relationship. The three of them becoming a small family unit, a partnership, lovers in all the meaning of the word.
It had not been easy or happening over night. Well, it kind of had. But, there were things to figure out before it had been made official. Echo, Tech and Fives now living together in their quarters, on the base they were living on while not out there, running ops and other missions for Rex's cause.
Their Batch mates simply stating it was a no brainer. As they had pretty much all seen it coming. At least Crosshair was adamant he had known it before even the three partners had. Whatever the truth was, they were now an official throuple.
It was hardly an unusual arrangement as there were quite a few of the troopers who had formed strong bonds with each other, either intimate or platonic ones, living together in twos, threes and even five bonded units.
Even Rex had his own throuple going on - Rex, Gregor and Howzer.
"So, feeling adventurous?" It was Tech asking.
The three of them having retired for the night. With Tech having taken upon himself to investigate everything found on the holonet about relationships involving more than two persons. Feeling bold in his suggestions, which Tech seemed to have plenty of recently. Very much so to both Fives' and Echo's surprise. Neither of them complaining though.
"Well, well." Fives snorted. "I thought you had enough with adventures after that stint of a week ago."
Tech had pulled a muscle. In an unmentionable area of his body, after having suggested somewhat of an acrobatic, more than a regular position for the three of them to try out in bed.
"Yes, well, that was unfortunate." Tech's skin flashed red for a moment. "But I assure you, this one is much safer."
Echo snorted, remembering back at the awkward trip to the med bay with Tech, and quickly got two sets of eyes on him glaring back in a mock scowl.
"Sorry." Echo managed. "So what was it you wanted to try out then hon?" He quickly recovered from the slight faux-pas of his.
"Well," Tech pulled up his trusteed data pad, ever prepared as he was, naturally. "I was thinking of something like this…."
At first there was Echo and Fives.
Then it was Echo and Tech for a while.
And now, there is Echo, Fives and Tech. That is just the way it is in the grandness of the galaxy.
The story of T-Echo-Fives.
Well, guess there is some better name for this continued saga to be found at a later point?