This is a tie in/continuation to my story "You're A Dream To Me."
I hope you enjoy! Please R & R!
I own nothing of Star Wars
I can feel you in my sleep
In your arms, I feel you breathe into me
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you
Forever I will live for you
Awake & Alive-Skillet
In the beginning, he was eager to learn, to be the best, to be on the best team, to show the generals that he was pure Jango. He had been given the opportunity with his brothers Hevy, Cutup and Droidbait for his first off world mission to the moon called Rishi. While in the generals', Captain Rex and Commander Cody's eyes it may have been a success, to Fives the loses of Cutup, Droidbait and especially Hevy who had saved them all and deserved all the honor and medals that they had bestowed onto him and his brother Echo, dug a deep wound inside of him.
Fives soon learned to bury the sorrow and pain. He had privately spoken to Captain Rex who had been on the battle field much longer than him. He had told Fives that loosing brothers was never easy but he had to keep his head on straight, bury his feelings, always complete his mission and always stay loyal to his general.
Fives left the talk with a mixed bag of emotions. He entered the barracks to find his only brother Echo staring into a mirror. Echo had also received medals for their fight at the Rishi station. He quietly padded up to him and placed a hand on Echo's shoulder.
"He'll always be remembered Echo," Fives said softly, speaking about Hevy.
Echo had taken it harder than Fives, Echo having a harder time dealing with his emotions.
"The generals and Captain Rex want to see us on the bridge," he said to his brother.
He remembered the surprise of being placed in the 501st. It was an honor, but again the bitterness of why he and Echo were there in the first place crept up in his throat. Fives sighed and turned on his side on the bed.
He also recalled when he found out his brother had found a girl. Her name was Thea and she was the jewel of his eye. Fives could read Echo well; they had to in order to survive in battle. Body langue was essential. But this time, it was an awkward kid-like language that Fives picked up on and teased Echo about. In reality, Fives was a little bit jealous that Echo had found someone to care about him. Possibly even love him. Fives suspected the Echo had never told Thea how he truly felt, but he could see it when they were together how much they cared for one another.
Fives tossed again on his bed. He wasn't going to sleep tonight. The mission was still very fresh in his mind and it tormented him. It had only been a week since the rescue mission to the Jedi prison called the Citadel. Echo had expressed his uneasiness about it but Fives had shrugged it off, telling him there was no use of complaining. No one would listen to him, the exception maybe himself and Thea.
They were going to the prison planet to extract a Jedi Master who held vital information about hyperspace shipping lanes. The prison was heavily guarded by droids and lasers. After being incased in carbonite just to get into the prison which was bad enough, they landed on a cliff which was heavily protected by Electro-lazers. They were going to have to free climb up the cliff to get into the vent shafts.
Fives squeezed his eyes shut, as if hoping that would keep the dreadful images out of his head but to no avail. When they reached the top he held out his arm for one of his comrades to take. Charger's foot slipped on some rock and tried to grab Fives's hand. Fives dove to catch him but Echo caught him in time from falling over the cliff. Charger fell to his death. The image burned into his skull.
All my fault, Fives thought to himself. The worst hadn't even come yet. Another brother fell to an electric field and died instantly. That still wasn't what plagued Fives day and night. No, when they found the Jedi Master and his team and made their way through the labyrinth of the underskirt of the Citadel, Echo had taken it upon himself to encourage the team when hope seemed to fail. They had made it to the top and were surrounded by battle droids.
Echo, don't! Fives wanted to scream to him. He rubbed his eyes, trying to get the image out. He could see what happened next very well. Echo pulled out his comlink and took off his helmet. Thea answered and there he declared he loved her. Fives never understood love and he probably never would. It clouded judgment, made you do things that weren't logical.
Echo's comlink went black and he turned to Fives. "Make sure she knows."
"What are you doing?" Fives shouted to Echo.
"Just nod you head and say yes," Echo demanded. Fives remembered promising his brother as he watched him put his helmet back on and preparing himself to run.
"Echo, what are you doing?"
Echo turned to him and if they could see each other's eyes, determination would have been shining in his. "Saving your shebs." With that, Fives watched his brother run out onto the platform, grabbing one of the droid shields and making an attempt to the shuttle. He could hear his voice in his helmet screaming for Echo to come back. It was suicide.
Come back! He wanted to scream but he couldn't get his mind and voice to coordinate with each other. The next sequence of the memory was a droid kamikaze into the shuttle destroying it and killing Echo.
Fives sat up with a growl and hit his bed with an angry fist. Echo was dead and he did nothing to stop him. On his way back to Coruscant, Fives contacted Thea. He had to let her know. He had to make sure she understood that Echo died with honor and bravery. And he died loving her. She knew. Watching her cry shattered the last bit of hope he had, a cold hard brick wall replaced it. He wasn't going to let anything break him anymore.
Fives was alone, all his brothers dead. He would be shuffled into another squad just like a deck of cards. It was still early, he didn't have to report into the command center for another couple of hours, but he couldn't go back to sleep not with the images and nightmares still haunting him. Fives ran a hand through his ebony hair and slid out of his bunk, tiptoeing through the barracks, trying to stay as quiet as he could so he wouldn't wake up the other members he shared the barracks with and into the locker room. There he put on some sweats and a loose shirt and went into the exercise room.
The Republic and Kaminos prided themselves on having the perfect, most fit warriors in their battalions and they weren't wrong when they bragged. Fives wasn't an Alpha class clone who were structurally bigger, more muscle and stronger, but he was strong, fit and lethal. He kept himself in tip top form, especially now since he had been promoted to an ARC. He decided he needed to sweat today, keep his heart pumping and try to work his body into exhaustion to rid himself of his nightmares.
His arms trembled as he strained to do one more push-up. Sweat trickled down his face into his eyes, stinging them. He was forced to scrunch his eyes as the sweat dripped down onto the exercise mat. Finally his arms gave out under him and he fell to the floor.
Fives lay on the mat, breathing heavily. He stayed there for a few moments, trying to regain his strength and thoughts. Working himself to death wasn't the solution; it would only make him sore before having to report for duty.
Gathering himself up reluctantly, Fives stiffly walked back to the locker room to shower and change into his gear before heading to the GAR headquarters.
He decided to walk to GAR headquarters since he still had some time on his hands. Never one to sit and contemplate about well, anything Fives took the opportunity this time to look around the busy streets, people and aliens alike rushing in and out of buildings, pushing and shoving on the walkways. Nobody pushed and shoved him though. They all knew better than to mess with a clone officer.
Fives spotted a little tap café that he never bothered to look at before. Well, you were busy fighting with your brothers before nitwit, Fives scolded himself. Cafés had never been on his list of things to see but the sweet smell of caff and cakes attracted him. All clones had a sweet tooth and it was a very special treat to them when a general or commanding officer brought in candy or cake. Fives remembered when Thea had given Echo a chewy candy and he had shared it with Fives. It melted in his mouth and he savored the taste. Thea called it caramel. Fives called it heaven.
Looking at his chorno, Fives realized he had wasted five minutes just staring at the café. He was going to be late if he decided to go into the shop. Hell with it. You only live once. Fives crossed the busy street, almost getting hit twice by some crazy drivers.
The activity in the café ceased to a halt as soon as Fives walked in. Guess they aren't used to seeing a clone trooper or a trooper in a café he snorted to himself. Then again, he was decked out in full armor, helmet included. It was quite an imposing picture.
Fives walked up to the small counter and looked over the menu where a variety of goodies were listed.
"Can I help you?" A petite voice asked him. He looked through his T-shape visor and found himself face to face with a brilliant colored Twi'lek woman. He had seen many Twi'leks having been a part of the Battle of Ryloth and they came in many colors especially the women. The species was renowned for having beautiful women; the only other ones to rival were Zeltrons. Unfortunately slave traders and even their own people tapped into this and captured and sold many of the women illegally. Fives had witnessed some slavery and even some women who lets say worked in the pleasuring business and he despised it. All should have their own choice and free will. Ironic since he didn't have either.
"Sir?" the woman brought him back to the present and he looked her over. She wasn't as tall as some of the Twi'leks he had seen but none the less just as beautiful. Her outfit was conservative tunic which somewhat surprised Fives since most Twi'lek females like Jedi General Secura he knew wore semi-revealing clothing. He couldn't see what she had on behind the counter, if she was wearing pants, shorts, skirt or if the tunic was actually a dress. You shouldn't be wondering about that at all! He mentally screamed. She was a mixture of yellow and light green colors which he found very attractive. No you don't.
"Is there something we can help you find?" She asked again. Of course, they thought he was scouting for something. No clone trooper would come into a café and get a treat.
"No, I'm sorry," Fives fumbled after embarrassing himself for staring at the Twi'lek too long. "Do you happen to have something called caramel?"
The Twi'lek looked at the trooper in surprise. This time she found herself staring at him. "Uh yes, we actually do. How many would you like?" He liked the sound of her voice. It was like a melody from the Cathedral of Winds from the planet Vortex.
"Two," Fives smiled behind his helmet. "Please," he said as an afterthought. He waited as the Twi'lek woman trotted off to fetch the sweet treats. Fives turned to look around the café. Some of the patrons were still openly staring at him, some being a little more discrete. It was a quaint little hole in the wall place but he liked it.
"Here you go sir," The woman handed Fives the candies in a small paper bag. "That'll be three credits please."
Fives froze. He didn't have any money on him. Clone troopers weren't allowed to have an allowance, everything was provided to them by the GAR.
"I uh…I uh…" Fives stumbled over himself stupidly.
The Twi'lek gave him a half smile. "Don't worry about it. My treat."
Fives once again found his gaze locked upon the woman. "Thanks," he found it so unusual for someone to be nice to him. Usually people treated him and his brothers' cold and robotic like. This woman was stirring something within Fives and he wasn't sure if he liked it. "I'll make sure to repay you."
The Twi'lek waved to him and continued to smile. Fives took the small bag and headed out of the café, but not before hearing from another person, "that was weird. I didn't think clones even ate anything!"
He heard the sweet voice of the Twi'lek answer before the door shut, "of course they eat, they're human beings for goodness sakes!"
Fives hurried this time to the headquarters knowing very well he was going to be reprimanded for being late. He tucked the candies into his utility belt and readied himself as the turbo lift finished its climb to the office.
"Fives! About time you graced us with your presence." Captain Rex roared at him. Rex had taken Echo and Fives under his wing, personally keeping an eye out for their wellbeing. Well, until Echo had lost his life, Fives really looked up to the Captain, admired him almost. But when Fives had witnessed Echo telling Thea he loved her and his final goodbye, something broke in Fives. It was like he didn't care anymore.
"Sorry sir," Fives wasn't really sorry, but put on a show for the Captain. The door opened and closed behind Fives and General Kenobi and Skywalker entered. Great, Fives inwardly groaned.
"We'll talk about this later," Rex warned.
"CT-27-5555," Kenobi started, but Fives interrupted.
"Fives sir," he said. Kenobi held his gaze at the clone for a moment and then continued.
"Fives then, you are the only remaining member of Domino Squad…" Thanks for the reminder Fives thought irritably. "Your squad will always be remembered of their bravery and heroism. We know that Echo was a close friend of yours and the loss is hard."
"You don't know the half of it," Fives murmured.
"You have something to say soldier?" Rex growled. The younger clone was showing defiance toward his superiors which was so unlike Fives. He was a good kid, fought hard and listened well.
Fives debated whether to truly speak his mind and get into trouble or just let it pass. He decided to let it pass. "No sir." Rex eyed him cautiously and Skywalker approached him.
"Fives, since you are alone you will be reassigned into a new squad. Captain Rex here has agreed to take you under his wing as his second in command in the 501st." Oh kreth, Fives cursed, off to a good start already.
"We're currently assigned to be on planet. Extra security is going to be needed since there is going to be a Senate delegation and all members of the committee are going to be present," Skywalker turned to Rex. "I want every trooper prepped and ready. They must be on the most alert and anyone who doesn't have proper authorization is not allowed near the senate. Got it?"
"Aye sir," Rex saluted and he and Fives were dismissed.
"What's wrong with you?" Rex berated Fives when they were finally out of hearing range of the generals.
Fives gave the captain a sideways glance. "Nothing Sir."
Rex stopped bringing Fives to a halt. "You were late and almost insubordinate in front of the generals. It's a good thing you have proven yourself over and over in the battlefield or they may send you back for reconditioning, Fives." Concern laced in Rex's voice. "A disobedient clone is a dead clone."
"I'm finding that out the hard way," Fives snarled. He narrowed his eyes at Rex. He decided to come clean and somewhat explain for his shift in attitude. "Captain, do you know what Echo made me promise to do before he died?"
Rex wisely kept his mouth shut and shook his head. "He promised me to make sure Thea knew that he loved her. Do you realize that I don't even understand the concept of love and I had to make sure my brother's girl knew that he loved her?"
Rex had no idea that Echo even had a girlfriend, let alone was in love. Rex fortunately has had the opportunity to feel wanted and loved by someone, though he kept it tightly under wraps. If word got out about it, he and his lover would be in trouble and possibly in danger.
"I'm sorry Fives, I had no idea," Rex finally said.
"That's right. It's pound the soldier first then ask questions later," Fives continued to walk, Rex pushed off the wall and caught up with him. He grabbed Fives by the shoulder but was just shrugged off. Rex did it again and this time successfully stopped him.
"Fives," Rex started but really didn't know what to say. "I'm here for you brother. Don't shut us out."
"You're not my brother. My brothers are all dead." Fives eyes burned with loathing and fire.
His body ached. Having to stand in line listening to Rex and the generals go over the plans for the upcoming delegation only made Fives more aware of how much his body hurt. Reminder: Do not do hard workouts before going on duty.
His mind began to wander and ended up thinking about the café he visited this morning and the Twi'lek woman. She had gentleness about her that Fives found curious. You don't know anything about her, she could be a phony. Just playing it up for the public. But he had a feeling she wasn't. Remembering that he wasn't going to get involved with anyone, that he resigned himself to a world of not caring and bitterness, Fives brought himself back to the present and heard his name being called. Oops.
"Fives!" Rex called.
Rex knew Fives was still reeling from the loss of Echo but that didn't mean he could be out of line. Time make an example out of him.
"Fives since you're having such a hard time paying attention you're on escort duty." Fives glared daggers at his commanding officer. "Senator Amidala is a personal friend of General Skywalker; make sure nothing happens to her."
"Yes sir," Fives ground his teeth together.
A babysitter! After all that long fighting, loosing brothers and being promoted to the 501st they had him babysitting a senator! If Fives wasn't mad before, he was steaming now.
"Tough break for you!" Jinx a trooper from Jay-Squad bounced by Fives. A relatively new squad, Jay-Squad was properly named since all the member's names began with the letter J. They were trained to be covert snipers and for this assignment they would be streaked out making sure trouble stayed away.
"Get away from me Jinx," Fives grumbled.
"Awe babysitting not your thing?" Jinx teased walking backwards so he could face Fives. Fives could feel the vein in his neck start to pulse. He was not in the mood for any kind of teasing.
"Maybe it's because you won't have anyone to help you since all your squad is gone."
That was it. The final straw had been broken and Fives couldn't take it anymore. He rushed Jinx, bringing the man to the ground. Jinx wasn't wearing his HUD and Fives walloped on his face. Jinx, trained to fight just as well, curled up in a ball and pushed Fives' with his feet away from him.
"Alright, that's it! Break it up!" The sound of boots running toward them made Jinx stand down but Fives was still tense and looking to lay another punch.
Jackson, Jaden two other members of Jay-Squad came to their bother's aid. "What the hell man?" Jaden yelled at Fives.
Before Fives even got to answer the three young clones squared up at attention. Fives slowly turned around to see Rex and Cody behind him. He let out an audible groan. "Office now," Rex shot lasers at Fives. He had done it now.
"Are you looking for a court martial?" Rex's voice boomed within the walls and Fives could have sworn that they actually shuttered. Having to take off his helmet, he was forced to look at Cody and Rex in the face. He would have preferred the safety and confines of his HUD but that was the whole purpose of this tear down.
"No sir," Fives answered short.
"Are you looking to be reconditioned?"
"No sir," again he answered short.
"Then what are you looking for because trooper we are not going to let you go around knocking heads just because you have a chip on your shoulder," Rex had never been this angry with a fellow clone the only other time he had ever encountered such defiance was from Slick. Slick was a traitor to all, selling out vital information to the Confederacy and talking nonsense to other clones, filling their heads with unfair realities. Rex and Cody both fought Slick, Rex ending up with a broken leg but in the end Slick had been taken prisoner and held in a maximum security prison until he was to be "reconditioned." All clones knew what that meant. It meant termination. Slick didn't seem to fear it, he just kept yelling over and over that the end was coming and due process would happen. Run and take your rightful freedom.
Rex would always remember that last part, especially seeing Fives standing in front of him.
Fives shifted on his feet and looked at Rex and then to Cody. "Sirs, I just want to serve and die."
"Is that all?" Cody asked.
"Isn't that all we want?" Fives shot back. "Can I be blunt?"
"You already have been," but Rex gestured for him to continue.
"We were hatched, raised and trained to serve and that's all I am trying to do. And hopefully one day I will die with honor like my brothers before me. I apologize for making things difficult and I will stop being so emotional."
"Fives, it's okay to have emotions, we encourage it, but you have to keep them in check."
"I know. I will. Just like a droid I got it."
His assignment wasn't to start until the next day so after being reprimanded from Cody and Rex and trying to ignore his aching body, Fives was exhausted. He dragged his feet into the barracks, still having to clean his armor before going to bed. As he slowly peeled the plates away a reselling sound came from his belt. Fives then remembered about the caramels he stashed there.
Pulling the small bag out he dumped the two candies into the palm of his hand and stared at them for a moment. The Twi'lek's face popped into his head. The sweet sound of her voice filled his ears and a soft smile played before him. Stop it, she wouldn't think twice about you and you are not interested. Fives tossed the treats into his mouth and he closed his eyes as the candy melted on his tongue in pure sugary bliss.
As the sensation wore off Fives opened his eyes and chewed thoughtfully on the candy. He had been pushing his luck all day. But so what? What was the difference of dying on the field or in a medical room? If he was going to die might as well do it while enjoying life right? With that new train of thought in mind Fives continued to undress, cleaned his armor and readied himself for the next day.
Fives got up extra early the next morning and knowing it was against all the rules headed to the little café before beginning his duty escorting Senator Amidala. He wanted some more of those candies and also wanted to see if the Twi'lek woman was there.
Coruscant was always a bustling planet. It never slept; never stopped but at least in the early morning the traffic was less dense than it would be in the next few hours.
Clad in full armor once again, Fives entered the café noticing that he was the only customer.
"Oh, hi!" It was her. Fives slowly walked up to the counter to be greeted by the lovely woman. Get yourself in check man, he once again scolded himself. No attachments, it wasn't worth it.
"Hello," Fives voice was somewhat muffled by his helmet. He was glad that the helmet disguised the sounds because it hid the hitch in his voice.
"We don't open for another twenty minutes," he noticed the woman's colors looked to change with every movement she made. He had a hard time keeping his eyes off of her.
"I'm sorry, I'll leave," Fives made to move to turn and leave but she stopped him.
"No! It's okay. I don't mind and my boss isn't here to get on my back about letting anyone in early."
"Well I don't want to get you into trouble," Fives hesitated.
"You won't, so what poison can I get you today?" He noticed her head tails make a slight twitch and for a brief moment he wondered what it would feel like to touch them. Stop! Stop! Stop!
"Caramels," his voice rose and again he thanked his armor for hiding his embarrassment.
She gave him a beatific grin. "You're going to rot your teeth if you keep eating those," she turned to grab and bag the candies. Fives took the opportunity to look the woman over. Today she wore a fitted long sleeve red shirt, quite a contrast to the colors of her skin. It really set off her curves which even Fives had to appreciate. Okay, admit it, you find her attractive. You're male so it's okay to look. A pair of form fitting beige pants clung to her bottom but Fives snapped up when he heard her turn around and come back to the counter.
"Here you go," she handed him the small bag.
"Uh listen, I don't have any credits right now…" Fives cringed at how stupid he sounded.
"I'll start a tab just for you. When you get the money just come in and pay it. It'll be just between the two of us okay? I didn't realize the army didn't pay that well."
Fives debated on how much he should tell her about the GAR. The public was purposely withheld information about the clones so there wouldn't be an uprising on human rights. Clones had no rights. Some activists tried to stage protests, but they were quickly and efficiently shut down.
"Yeah, well I just haven't had my allowance yet," Fives said tersely. "Any way, thank you for the candies. I'll make sure that I repay you."
"Hey, can I ask you something before you leave. I mean, I know you must be in a hurry but…" she trailed off. Fives waited for her to continue.
When she didn't he moved forward and tilted his head. "What is it?"
"Well there's talk that you are all like droids, I highly doubt it since you seem to like sweets and droids don't eat." She was rambling but Fives didn't seem to mind. He liked the sound of her voice.
"You're wondering what we look like under all this armor?" Fives finished for her.
"Tell you what, the next time I come in here I promise you won't recognize me," Fives grinned under his helmet. He may not want a relationship but friendship wasn't out of the question.
"Well I definitely won't know you if I don't know your name," she said.
"It's Fives ma'am."
"You don't need to call me that. Mine's Bella." When he didn't respond to her, she rushed in to give an explanation. "I know people look at me weird when I tell them my name, but it's mine and I like it."
Bella, it was perfect for her. "You don't have to explain, my…comrades have interesting names as well. Well Bella I better go before my captain has a garrison coming after me. I will be back and like I said you won't even recognize me next time."
"I look forward to it Fives," she once again waved to him as he left the café.