Beta: A huge thank you to cariel for beta reading this for me!


She was forbidden. All of his brothers knew it. No clone was worthy of gaining the attention of their master. Their duty was to serve not as equals but as willing servants. To stand by their masters, hold their secrets, and carry their burden was considered blasphemy; to do so would be seen an attempt to make them stray from the oath sworn to the Order they served.

So why was he here? Why did he wrap his arm around teal-coloured shoulders, while her head rested in the crook of his neck and her arms wrapped around his waist. She was sleeping peacefully, her body still and at ease. It was not the first time Bly had found himself being drawn to the sweeping undertow of General Secura's subtle emotions. Had it not been for his long service under her command, Bly never would have believed she was capable of feeling anything but the peaceful calm that all Jedi carried. With Aayla, it was all about the details and he was man who understood the importance of the little things.

The facts still did not answer the questions that weighed on his mind. They were not supposed to be here, resting in one another arms. It was forbidden, and yet it did not feel wrong. Here in the small confines of their makeshift tent, peace was found. All around them, the war continued, but in each other arms they were untouched by it.

She had not stolen his innocence as so many believed. Aayla, in all of her wisdom and experience, understood the complications that Bly could not hope to explain. She respected him enough to know that passion play, though inviting, was not something either was willing to embrace. They respected one another too much to allow unspoken emotions to lead them astray from the oaths they had sworn.

However, Bly knew she needed a moment's reprise from the hard decisions she was forced to make every day. He also knew that Aayla desperately needed to escape the emptiness that came only when one had spent too much time on the front. He knew the dead haunted her every waking moment and knew that it was his duty, his honour, to help her forget.

He joined her side on the great rock that had overlooked their encampment and listened as she spoke of things she had never told another. It was not the first time she had opened up to him about her darkest secrets, her insecurities, her dreams and hopes. Bly was certain it would not be the last. He often shared his most private thoughts with her. To everyone else, he was just another faceless clone commander, skilled, trained, and deadly.

To the galaxy, Aayla was nothing more than a powerful beauty, the sort every man dreamed of but never wanted to know. To Bly, she was a friend and a confident. Beauty was secondary to mysteries of her mind, the compassion of her heart, and the fire of her spirit. Aayla knew him better than he knew himself; in turn, Bly understood her ways no one else could.

Tonight was so very different most nights they had spent deep in conversation. Tonight something was different and it was not the fact he had experienced his first kiss. He could still feel the phantom touch of lips gently brushing against his own, heavy with unspoken promises and emotions neither dared to admit. A moment later, the harsh reality of their situation forced them to part. He could never be Aayla's any more than she could belong to Bly. It was behind them now and though it hurt, Bly knew better than to dwell on it.

They wandered back to her tent, located on the outskirts of their temporary encampment. Curling up on her cot, they continued their conversation as if nothing had ever changed or occurred between them until the twi'lek general had drifted to sleep.

Breathing in the soft scent of her skin, the young clone gave a small sigh of contentment. They were both fully clothed, yet Bly felt naked in her arms. Before tonight, he had never held another before, certainly not someone he had grown to care so deeply about. In her arms, he felt complete, safe, and more cared for than he ever had in his young life. It was humbling.

By morning, she would be nothing more than his superior officer, a Jedi General of the Republic. He, in turn, would little more than her second-in-command, but they were two soldiers whose strength and loyalty were respected and valued above all else. Tonight, he was just Bly and she was just Aayla, two souls caught in the storm of a war neither wanted to be a part of, but could not truly escape.

Stirring slightly in her sleep, the twi'lek general gave a soft murmur that ended with a contented sigh. Nuzzling her cheek against his throat, she tightened her grip around his waist before drifting back to sleep. With a hint of a smile, Bly reached up to gently caress her cheek with all the love he felt for her before drifting off into peaceful dreams of his own.