Set somewhere in the The Bad Batch galaxy of plentiful things.
Fives has something to prove. That he is still useful in the field. If not for the others then at least to himself. This is no longer necessary though, to be a soldier, as per having been assured to him by his partners, Echo and Tech and by their leader, Rex. But then, a stunt Fives decides to pull, which causes them all to reconsider their overall part in the rebellion and how much is too much.
Part of the series: T-Echo & Fives/Echo
Missing in action
'One's past cannot be easily forgotten - adapting to something else, someone new, is always difficult and often leading to choices made out of frustration, out of haste, usually, leading to total and utter disaster'
"Fives! Fives, please respond!"
Echo's tone was pleading, wanting nothing more than his partner to answer the hail.
But, the communications frequency was filled with static only.
"Fives, if you can hear us… please, respond."
Echo sounded defeated, the needed response not coming through no matter how hard he tried to wish it to.
"Echo, he is not there."
Tech had his arms around Echo, trying to console his partner the best he could, even if he himself wasn't feeling the situation at all. The loss of their partner, out there somewhere, missing in action or possibly… dead.
Echo's voice was a low whisper in the end. But no matter how hard Echo was pleading. Sending out prayers to the universe. Fives was not responding to their hails.
Fives, for all they knew, was once again, gone.
The landing team whom Fives had been with for the mission of a search and rescue, also assumed the worst. As the enemy had started firing on them just before they had managed to get back to their ship. Fives having held the rear, with the several people they were supposed to rescue from their enemy's hands. None of them making it to the vessel before they had to leave.
Tech and Echo had been on a return trip from another mission, while getting the other team's call for help and then having rushed to their aid as soon as possible. Only to find out that the team had failed with their rescue efforts. And not only that, but there was a missing crewman as well. Fives.
"Echo, please, we have to leave. The others are back and we need to leave. Now. We cannot survive another volley."
Tech warned Echo as they were only two ships, under manned and gunned against several attacking craft.
The enemy kept on firing at them and one of the other clones who had been with Tech and Echo, offered to take the helm instead of Echo or Tech, after seeing their state and realising how distraught both of them really were.
Tech was trying his very best to console Echo at the very moment. But the other man only shook his head, slowly at that. Being in total shock and falling into an almost catatonic state.
"Please, not again."
Was all Echo managed to utter before he was deep inside the abyss, having lost Fives once again.
They could only hope to come back and look for Fives and the rescued captives with a bigger force. As for now, there was nothing more they could do. The enemy being too powerful to fight back against with just the two ships. And so, reluctantly setting their destination back to their home base. Because no matter whom was missing, they needed to leave in fear of getting shot down themselves.
You really should not have pulled a stunt like that!
'The anger placed onto others, onto our loved ones, especially for those whom deliberately caused the grief, but most of all, onto oneself for letting the situation to happen so easily in the first place'
Fives was gone. Even if presumed missing in action at first, but having been that for the past five days, it had been a long while to look for hime and the possible surviving rebels.
And so, the search teams had been finally called off.
Having gone to the planet where the imperials had held the rebel prisoners only to find the imps had retreated from the place. The presumption being, that they imps were likely satisfied of the fact that the rebels they had chased to the same planet and for a brief moment having held as captives by the imperials, before their rescue attempt by Rex's team, were all gone.
Or then, the other option being they had been captured or worse. As there had been no trace of either the imps nor Fives or the rebels on the planet.
Rex had not wanted to call the search off. Neither had Tech or Echo. But Fives had been lost behind enemy lines and there was little chance he was even alive any more. It was a grave loss having just gotten him back not too long ago. But there were no signals, no traces, anything tangible they could follow.
Echo and Tech had been adamant though. In continuing the search by themselves. Taking a ship, in a manner of speaking, against Rex's direct orders. And so, the two of them were out there on their own, looking for their missing team mate. Neither of them wanting to give up hope even if the rest of them seemed to have done so.
"I've been there before."
Rex had warned them both. Having first hand experience of how it felt to have someone gone in a blink of an eye. While the duo had tried to convince Rex to continue with the search at first. Trying to convince Rex there was always hope. But, Rex having told them they needed to accept the facts, that Fives was gone. For good most likely.
"And you both know what happened the first times around."
Rex had known quite well his words had been falling onto death ears. As after all, they had found both Echo and later Fives by accident, basically not even having looked for either of them at the moment they were found. But Rex doubted they were that lucky now. Third time being a charm? Then again, they had used up two times already. So the third time might not just be lucky at all.
But, the duo had made come to a different conclusion. Deciding to pull off their own kind of stunt.
And so, with the blessing of Hunter, they had taken the Marauder out. Supposedly without a permission, even if it was up to Hunter really to grant it for them. Not that Rex had even tried to object. Only hoping the two of them would be successful where the rescue efforts had been not.
After all, Tech and Echo had a special incentive to find Fives. Pulling the impossible rabbit out of the hat so to speak, which seemed to be the duo's specialty after all.
Making sure it was safe enough, their scans having been completed and validating the imps were there no longer, the Marauder entered the atmosphere. Tech immediately making further, deeper scans after having tweaked the system to be more sensitive before they had landed onto the surface.
Tech and Echo had been at it for a while. Covering a large area on foot in their search efforts. It had taken some time though and even if there had been no signs, the two had been relentless.
"I've got something!"
Echo was all ecstatic suddenly. Seeing the faint blinks appearing onto their life sign detectors out of the blue, after almost having given up hope.
Tech too was hopeful, even if he was usually the more levelheaded one of the three of them. Their partnership. But loosing Fives was not on option. It had never been, no matter what the others might have thought. Not on Tech's watch, as he had put it simply and adamantly to Hunter while defending the duos plan to go after their missing mate.
"I am not sure."
Echo's eyes were glued to the scanner.
"It looks like… several faint signs."
Echo glanced up at Tech.
"But they are not on the surface."
"Perhaps Fives managed to get the others to safety after all."
Tech suggested then, feeling rather hopeful that Fives was one of the life signs detected.
"I doubt those are imps either as there are no ships close by. And the planet is otherwise uninhabited. There were two rebel families. According to the intel from the original mission crew, whom were on the run from the imps."
"So, maybe? We'd better go and check it out anyway."
Echo wasn't about to let this opportunity to simply slip by. Not even with the fear of running to the Empire's minions. Echo was prepared to fight them if needed.
Tech was fully on board. Taking out his blasters instead, prepping for all scenarios.
Echo glanced at his partner, putting away his own scanner and pulling out his blaster too.
"Ready as I'll ever be."
Tech admitted as much, but his adrenaline levels were spiking as were Echo's. Both of them ready to blast their way if needed to get to their people. As they had to assume it was Fives and the rescued rebels they would find as the life signs detected.
Tech and Echo were slowly and cautiously approaching the underground grotto they have found where the signals emanating from.
They could see a flicker of light coming from the darkness. Most likely a fire set by someone. As the two of them were getting closer, they could see several people around a fire indeed. Several adults and children as well. Families, as the intel had said as much.
And someone else there too, lying close to the warming heat. The quite familiar figure not going unnoticed for either of Tech nor Echo.
"It's… it's Fives! Thank the Force!"
Echo was half running towards the man lying on the ground. Completely ignoring the others. Not that they seemed injured or in danger. Hungry maybe. Dirty even, but otherwise fine at first glance. Leaving them for Tech to check out.
"Fives, can you hear me?"
Echo was already at Fives' side, forgoing the others only glancing at the other man closest to Fives.
"He is unconscious."
One of the rebels told Echo and Tech, realising they were clones too and there for the rescue, clearly, having recognised Fives.
"He fell in a crevice while we were running away from the imps. But we managed to get to him and bring him here with us. Hiding away from the imps.
Echo only nodded and continued checking Fives.
"They imps are long gone. We can all leave this place together."
Tech told them then. Seeing that Echo was already checking Fives, running a medical scanner over him. Tech made a quick scan of his own of the rest of them. Finding no issues there.
The man only nodded back to him, only too relieved to have been found. And then as Tech and Echo then prepped Fives for transport back to the ship two of the rebel adults aided them. While the children were watching on curiously.
"Whe- where am I?"
Fives was finally coming to.
"You are safe now. We found you and are on our way back home."
Echo assured his partner, only too happy of having him back after all the grief caused by Fives's gone missing.
"The others? What happened to them?"
Fives was trying to get up.
"Easy there sweetheart. You have a concussion. And broken ribs among other things."
Echo held Fives down, having just patched him up as best he could and not wanting Fives to exhaust himself nor tear up the wounds either.
"They are all here. The two families you saved, are right here with us. You don't have to worry about them."
Echo then assured Fives, shedding a few tears finally. Happy tears though.
As having been totally worried about the man and whether they would find him. Only to finally finding him, all hurt and injured. Then patching Fives up and then being on the way back home… It was a relief after having grieved for Fives, again. But this time too, Echo had been lucky.
"You really scared us! We thought you were… gone."
Echo managed though.
"I am sorry."
Fives saw the tears and despite his diminished condition, he managed to reach out to Echo with his hand, trying to console him anyway he could. But, feeling the toll of the mission on his body, not to mention the head wound along with few other injuries sustained during the fall, Fives was tired.
"Don't you dare to pull a stunt like that ever again!"
Echo was smiling though even if his words were harsh. As how could he blame Fives of doing what he needed to do, even if it had almost caused a heart attack for both himself and Tech.
"I will try not to. Promise."
Fives had a faint smile on his face too. Feeling only too lucky to have Echo and Tech in his life. And knowing they would always come for him, no matter the circumstances might just be. Falling into a soft slumber with the medicines kicking in. Echo by his side, holding his hand while Tech was flying them to safety, to their home.
The gone missing piece of our triangle finally found
'Loss, grief, acceptance, whatever it might have taken? Well, it can all be thrown out the airlock, as the missing piece has been found and the puzzle put back together again!'
"I should really reprimand you, both of you or rather the three of you."
Rex tried to sound angry. But he knew better how the clones felt. Never wanting to leave their own behind. Neither did he himself. And having looked the other way while Echo and Tech had gone on a half cocked mission to rescue Fives… well, Rex had cheered for them to find the missing one and now, here he was. They all were. Glaring right back at their leader, waiting for the berating to begin. Not that any of them really cared.
"But, I can easily understand the urge of getting someone we love back home safely."
This wasn't Rex's first dance with the same topic nor would it be his last. The lengths he had gone himself to rescue those he missed and loved. Including Echo. So, there was that. Pot calling the kettle black.
"But, next time, and fingers crossed there won't be a next."
All thought they all new there would be a next time. And another after that one. Maybe not any of them, but someone, would be missing in action. Being caught by their enemy or worse. As they had all feared in Fives' case as well.
"I would like us to be a bit more prepared. So," Rex paused for the affect wondering if there really was one, all of them hardboiled soldiers and so. "I would like for you three to prepare some kind of a strategy we can then put into affect. Agreed?"
Rex asked the trio, knowing well they would have the brains to pull something suitable out of their sleeves. As it had turned out already on several occasions, Echo and Tech especially did have the cunning for it and most likely Fives as well.
Echo, Tech and Fives almost saluted their fearless leader just then. Simply because they felt it was necessary. After all, they had disobeyed orders. At least Tech and Echo had. Not that this was a military organisation. Not any more. But something close to it just the same.
"Good, now, guess there is nothing more we need to discuss of the situation then? Everyone on the same page?"
Rex glanced at the three men standing before him. The ones he admired and loved very much indeed and was only too happy, Tech and Echo had disobeyed his orders and having gone after Fives. Not that Rex would ever admit as much. But proving Rex he could count on the, all of his men to do their very best get their people out of trouble. No matter what it took.
"Then, go, do whatever it is you need to do."
Rex smiled at them, knowing well what it was. After all, he had his own loves were eagerly waiting for Rex to get back to their quarters as it was rather late in the evening already.
Just as the doctor had ordered!
*Accepting the inevitable - change - which can be, a long process, but then slowly and surely getting there with baby steps just the same, being on the mend and all'
"You are sure you are fine with this, now?"
Echo asked for the third of fourth time, not wanting to pressure the still healing Fives into anything he was not conformable with.
Echo and Tech had already started worshipping Fives' exposed skin, placing soft kisses along the body. But the whole action was more unhurried than heated, leaving Fives a tad frustrated. After all, it had been a while, at least according to Fives' own calculations of the fact.
"Of course I am. I know how gentle the two of you can be after all. When you want to."
Fives let out a loud snort.
"We can and we will. Promise."
Tech assured their lover.
"Good, then let us begin. It's been, well, over two weeks!"
A long time for sure! As Fives complained a little then. But he had been cooped up in the infirmary for a week, not having cleared for anything expect lying on the bed while healing from his fall. Having had absolutely no fun at all with his partners. Well, except for their visits and pampering, but the sex kind of fun!
Tech and Echo exchanged glances, knowing exactly what they wanted to do. But also taking into an account Fives was pretty much still recuperating and the doctor had warned against any extraneous activity. Especially sex. The whine Fives had let out having gotten the recommendation, had been neither pretty nor sexy for that matter at that moment.
Tech ordered Fives, as the three of them were comfortably on their bed.
Fives managed, only too keen on getting started, even if Echo and Tech did not seem to be in any kind of hurry. At all. After all, they had had to make a vow to the doctor not to over exhaust Fives.
Fives looked with a curious glance as Echo and Tech went to work. Because rather than starting anything on him, presently at least, they left the bed and got to the chest of drawers, picking up several things from there much to Fives' surprise.
Fives tried to peek a tad, but he could not see much as Echo and Tech were both obstructing the view.
"Whatcha doing in there?"
"You'll soon find out. Promise."
Tech assured him once again, his tone giving away nothing.
Fives sighed and moved back to a more comfortable position. Guess he would soon find out what the other two where up to! Fives closed his eyes for a moment, giving it some rest. After all, he was still recuperating, even if there was an itch to be scratched.
Soon enough, Fives got an answer as Echo and Tech returned to his side, carrying something. As Fives' eyes focused on the stuff, he could see assortments of bottles but also… restraints.
As his partners climbed back onto the bed, Fives was staring at them and their, um gifts, wide eyed and totally surprised.
"These, are to make sure you won't move around too much. Doctor's orders."
Tech dangled the soft padded hand cuffs and ankle bracelets in front of the man, making Fives totally gulp. As it was totally a big surprise, albeit a rather titillating one.
"And these will let you relax but, well, also to stimulate."
Echo was showing Fives the several massage oils but also a few selected lubricants the duo had managed to pickup while off world at one point. Clearly having planned this for a while.
"I um, I…"
Fives was finally at a loss of words, having been nagging in his own unique way for a few hours upon his release from the med bay about having gone unintended by his partners for the duration.
Again, doctor's orders. The wounds too grave to risk them opening up or not healing. And Tech and Echo had decided to err on the side of caution. Simply because this was the second time, for Echo, he had thought he had lost Fives.
"What? Too much?"
Tech asked Fives, looking worried. Even if they had discussed the matter with Echo, who had assured it was fine. Having already experimented with similar things in the past with Fives.
"No, um, no. I am just, surprised, is all."
Fives was intrigued, but it was sudden and totally unexpected. Still, he wasn't against it. At all. Maybe it was good for him, after all, considering his situation and all. To be, restrained?
"Doctor's orders right?"
Tech let a hint of a smile emerged back to his lips, the worry all but forgotten.
"So you are good for this, what we have planned?"
It was Echo asking, even if he was totally sure Fives would be onboard. With this, light bondage setup kind of a thing the two partners had planned for him. It was simply to, heat things up a notch. Just as as Fives himself had mentioned already several times. As it had been a while and well, neither Echo nor Tech wanted things to become over heated either.
"Of course I am."
Fives let out a nervous laugh, licking his lips, glancing at the assortment of things his two partners had managed to gather and could not have been more touched by the gesture. After all, they had been thinking of him, his comfort more than anything else. Well, not that they weren't going to get their kicks out if too, but still.
"Good, then let's get started."
Tech was the eager one now.
"If at any point you start feeling uncomfortable, let us know. You are familiar with the stoplight terms, right?"
Echo had already enlightened Tech as much, but still, he wanted to be sure. Hear Fives say it himself.
Fives assured Tech.
Tech wanted to be more assured.
"Green for go, yellow to halt, red for stop."
Tech was assured.
"Now, I will place the bracelets on your ankles. Let me know if they are too tight."
Tech went to work on Fives' legs while Echo placed the handcuffs.
"He is new at this?"
Fives voice was supposed to be a whisper, but Tech heard him alright.
"I am. But I have done the most thorough research for this all."
"I don't doubt it."
Fives chuckled a little.
Echo asked after securing Fives to the bed frame.
Fives tried the hand restraints out and nodded.
Fives did a few exploratory pulls and it felt good.
Tech then got up once again and quickly made a work of lighting up the various candles set up over their bedroom, dimming the other lights.
Echo pulled up a few choices from the massage oils and showed them to Fives, who was nodding only in agreement. Fives' mood having changed from frustrated to waiting. Because soon enough, he was going to get a treatment from his two loving partners. Something totally unexpected, but quite the loving thought Echo and Tech had clearly put into it all.
No further complaints came out of Fives while Tech and Echo settled onto the bed with him, each on the side of Fives, having rubbed the massage oils into their hands and starting to gently kneed the aching body of their lover. To sooth and to rouse, as was their plan. Taking things nice and slow, just like the doctor had ordered.