The cold wind kissed her face. Opening her eyes, Ahsoka Tano looked out over the endless silver lake in front of her. Meditation had been easier in the last few weeks, but she still found it difficult to peacefully close her eyes and access the Force. The newfound feeling of sheer emptiness still churned her stomach violently. It was almost enough to make her abandon the practice altogether. But Skyguy would never forgive her if she did that. Even though she was unable to sense him any longer, she knew that he would want her to advance her training as much as she could alone….so completely alone.
A twig snapped behind her, and before she knew it, her lightsaber was activated and she was on her feet. Jedi reflexes had kept her alive for as long as she could remember, but Ahsoka thought she might die from the look in Rex's eyes. They stayed that way for a long time, just staring at each other. Maybe, she mused, they weren't really looking at each other. Maybe, instead, they were looking past each other, trying to see the signs that they had missed, trying to see how everything could have changed so quickly. Maybe she was trying to find how she had missed the looming darkness that surrounded the Chancellor. Maybe he was trying to find how he had managed to bypass Order 66, how he had been able to save her…to kill his own brothers.
"I found some food," he finally said, holding up a small dead animal.
"Good work, Rex. Why don't you start dinner?" she asked softly, deactivating her weapon.
"Yes si-" he hesitated. "Gladly," he finished tersely.
Ahsoka almost smiled at his uncertainty. Given the proximity of their new situation, there was no need for rank, she had told him last night. She doubted they would see anyone else for quite a while. Besides, after the news the last few months, she had no desire to remember the confines of their previous relationship. If she could help it, she would gladly erase her memory of the last seventeen years. She doubted that such fear was the Jedi way, but it was the only coping mechanism she had found so far.
The evening passed slowly, as most of them did now. She and Rex ate in relative silence, save for a few comments about the surrounding landscape. The woods ringing the lake were dense and dark, but he had found a suitable place for a temporary shelter. The fauna was fairly diverse, enough to sustain for them for a few weeks at least. Their cloaking device was still holding. He was almost done repairing the damaged systems on the ship. If they wanted to leave, they could in a day or so. He was fairly sure he had found an herb to help with the constant nausea she felt. Ahsoka found herself feeling lower and lower with each statement. How long had he been taking care of her now? Didn't he deserve the same treatment?
She would find a way to repay his kindness…she had to. She couldn't afford to lose him. Even after all they had been through in the last few months, her nightmares all included his walking away. The thought of being without him made it difficult to breathe. Closing her eyes, she focused on his thoughts. She knew he wouldn't think it odd; he knew how much she relied on meditation just to make it through the day.
He was tired, overwhelmingly so. That was the first thing she sensed. Rex had always been one of the strongest clones she knew, but the last few months were beginning to take their toll. He was scared; never had he imagined this scenario. Never had he thought that he would be an enemy of the Republic, unable to show his face or see his brothers again. But then, there was no Republic anymore…only the Galactic Empire. The very words left a sour taste in Ahsoka's mouth. Along with the fear came confusion. How had this happened? How could he have disobeyed an order? How could he have pulled the trigger on his own brothers? But more than anything, he was sad, so incredibly sad. His brothers were dead. Those that still lived would kill him in an instant. Even Cody, his closest friend, was against him now. Everything that he had known was gone.
Opening her eyes, Ahsoka looked into Rex's tired brown eyes. It was only then that she felt the tears brimming. How had this happened? They were all gone. Master Plo, Master Aayla, Master Obi-Wan, Master Yoda…Skyguy. She wouldn't see them again until she joined the Force. Never would she know the joy of being a Knight, of taking her own Padawan, of watching the sun set out the Temple windows again. The rest of her life would be spent in hiding, in denying that she was a Jedi. Everything, everyone, was gone. She vaguely heard the cracking sound she made, a sound she hadn't made since she was a youngling.
Rex looked at her again, his brown eyes concerned. She wasn't really sure how it happened, but a second later he was underneath her on the ground, trying his best to comfort her while she sobbed into his shoulder. Her arms wrapped tightly around his neck, she tried to rid herself of the bitter tears. Eventually, his hands began to gently rub her back, trying to soothe her. She wasn't sure how long they stayed that way, but a short time later, she felt his chest begin heaving under her. He made a few spluttering sounds before clutching her tighter and pressing his face into the crown of her head. His sobs vibrated them both, connecting them in a way Ahsoka knew was completely unique.
Eventually, after what felt like hours, the sobs diminished into little hiccupping gasps. They lay there for a long while, simply listening to the echo of each other's heartbeats. Finally looking up, Ahsoka's heart nearly broke. Rex's eyes were red-rimmed, even more tired than before. Yet, somehow, he looked more at peace than he had in quite a while. She felt a sudden stab of guilt. Why had he dragged himself into this?
Rex smiled wearily and ran a hand slowly over on of her lekku. Ahsoka felt the tears well again. All this, and he was still trying to comfort her. She wasn't sure why she did it, but slowly she inched her way up his chest and laid her lips over his. It only lasted a few seconds, but when she pulled away his eyes were confused. Running a hand over his shaved head, she sighed deeply and closed her eyes. She was so tired. She stiffened when she felt his hand run over her cheek, but decided not to open her eyes. She trusted him. A few moments passed, and she felt a soft pressure on her lips. Sighing, Ahsoka relaxed into Rex. For the moment, the past and future were gone. Instead, all that existed was the sweet, pliant pressure of his lips, the soft scratch of his beard, the scent of his skin. The cold wind kissed her face, but Ahsoka let herself be carried away by the man underneath her. Besides, his kisses were so much warmer…