Duet

Ahsoka Tano, Jedi

Once she had been a warrior.

Haruu. Haruu. It was from a song of her people, so old even the eldest could not name its origins.

Haruu. Haruu. It had no real translation. It was something mothers whispered to their children to hush tears and heal their skinned knees, something to comfort them late at night.

She had known other warriors.

They had fought together. He had taught her the virtues of experience.

They had laughed together. She had taught him the virtues of play.

Haruu. Haruu.

They had cried together; weeping over lost men and the broken bodies of brothers in arms.

They had shared fire and water and salt. They had shared food and the dangers of battle.

Haruu. Haruu.

One day they had shared innocent kisses, soft and tender.

Haruu. Haruu.

She had been made a knight. They had cut her braid of beads and she had given it to her fellow warrior with strong arms and straight aim; with honey-brown eyes and soft lips.

Haruu. Haruu. Tears fell from her eyes as she rocked back and forth.

One night they had shared soulful kisses wrapped in desire.

Haruu. Haruu.

They had shared fire and water and salt. They had shared the comfort of their bodies. They had shared the joy of their spirits.

Haruu. Haruu.

When she woke he was not there, but she felt the warmth of his arms around her, smelled his scent upon the bedclothes. She touched his despair through the Force, his self-loathing for what he thought had done.

Haruu. Haruu.

She had been hurt, angered, and said words she'd regretted even as they escaped her lips. He had been hurt, angered and his face had hardened into stone.

Haruu. Haruu.

She returned to Coruscant, to the temple and soon learned she would have a child. Her heart broke at what they would ask of her. Her heart was remade at what decided she would do.

She had stood firm, facing warriors of greater age, greater ability and greater wisdom. They had expelled her from the order. They had taken her light saber and disassembled it. That should have been her master's duty, but he had looked at her with sorrowing eyes and handed the silver crystal weapon back. Other masters had declined her light saber but in the end, it was dismantled.

She was no longer a Jedi.

She had returned to her home world, to the lands of her family; neither in disgrace nor in triumph; simply returned. Her clan welcomed the hunter that was. Her family welcomed the child to be.

Ahsoka's face was sweaty, her body weak, her spirit exhilarated. She reached out for the child in her mother's arms and he was handed to her. She inspected him, running her nose along his face for his scent. He had a thatch of dark hair; his eyes were a smoky blue. She wondered if they'd turn a soft honey-brown like his father's. He was perfect. He stretched his arms, opened his mouth and gave a shiver. She held him to her breast and pressed her nipple into his tiny mouth.

Haruu, haruu, little one. Welcome to the world.

Once she had been a warrior. Now, she was a mother.

Captain Rex, Clone

Once he had been a soldier.

He was trained to kill.

He'd been bred and trained for war. He'd come out of Kamino to Geonosis with 144 troopers under his command. He had fulfilled his training, knowing nothing else. He had killed.

At Christophsis, they'd sent a kid to the battlefield. She may have been a Jedi, she may have been part of the Force but in the end she was just a kid. In his opinion, she shouldn't have been there. Never mind that she'd saved his life and the lives of his brothers, more than once. Whoever had sent her to the front deserved to die slowly and painfully. He would have killed whoever had ordered that if he had known.

He'd seen her grow from a child to a woman in those two years. He'd seen her cry when men didn't come back. He'd see her try hard, harder to protect her men, seen her try to lift their spirits, seen her show them they were individuals. He'd seen the general ignore her more and more, absorbed in something or someone else. He's seen the lost look in her eyes. One day, he'd given her a kiss. He didn't know why. He would have killed himself if she had asked.

He compounded his mistake when he'd raped her. Never mind that she was willing. Never mind that it had been after battle and his blood was boiling with the thrill of being alive. Never mind that she was the most wonderful person he'd ever met. Never mind that she had cried out with pleasure and held him with no less passion. Never mind that she did not leave his bunk that night. Never mind that she had reach for him in the early hours of the next morning and he had taken her into his arms again. She was too young. He knew he should have killed lust for love.

She found him in the mess. She had spoken soft words and looked at him with sparkling eyes. She touched him with hands still warm from his caresses. He'd turned a deaf ear to her words, bowed his head before her eyes and jerked his hand back from her touches. He had turned to stone. He could have killed his brothers, witnesses to his silence.

Then she was gone. He didn't know where, though he found out quickly enough, one night out of boredom, when he thought he had nothing better to do. She had returned to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. She, who had been the brightness of Torrent Company; who had been the touchstone for all the men, something fine and beautiful and compassionate, something to symbolize why they were fighting. She was gone. He knew his brothers felt like killing him.

At Order 66 he stood beside his general. He told himself he was there to follow orders; to eradicate the traitors but he lied. As he raced through the corridors of the Jedi temple, he searched for a slim Jedi even while firing upon the temple's inhabitants. He lost men to Jedi light sabers and turned his blasters on the Jedi. He hadn't found her. He'd found bodies, old and young, too young to even understand the word 'traitor'. He found Fives throwing up in the corner of one of the rooms, his blaster hanging, forgotten, in one hand. He found Echo staring sightlessly out a window, blaster hot in his hands. He found Jester trembling, shaking, crying; his face pressed against his blaster, skin blistering from the heat of the barrel. He found General Skywalker, red eyed and deadly, and he was, for the first time in his life, terrified. He should have killed the general.

In the early morning of the next day Rex looked out at the sky red with flame and black with smoke. He took his blaster and his armor. In the early morning, Rex gestured to Echo, put his hand on Fives' shoulder, and pulled Jester out of medical, his face not totally healed. No one stopped them; they looked official in their armor. They looked dangerous with their blasters. They simply walked onto a transport going … somewhere else.

Once he had been a soldier. Now he was a traitor.