This story is about my OC Fib. He's a medic, and his name comes from the word defibrillator, a machine used to restart someone's heart. All the characters are mine, but I do not own Star Wars.
Shades was never sure how to feel about new arrivals.
Part of him saw them as brothers down on their luck, men like him who were desperately in need of a second chance. Renegade Company only ever took clones that other generals didn't want and gave them a home. But another part of him could only see them as the ones who were taking his dead brothers' places. And that part of him resented them for it.
The new troopers stood at attention in front of him and General Nyine. There were five of them, each with a different paint scheme on his armor, denoting the variety of companies and units that these men came from. Edi stepped forward and put her hands on her hips, smiling reassuringly.
"All right, boys. I'm General Edrasi Nyine, and this is Sergeant Shades," she indicated the clone standing at parade rest next to her. "Welcome to Renegade Company. Please give me your names and specialties."
"Sir, my name's Heat, and I do demolitions."
"Name's Ven, sir. Combat engineer."
"I'm Dumpster and I'm a sharpshooter, sir."
"My brothers call me Jump, and I'm pretty good at reconnaissance, sir."
Shades's eyes narrowed, focusing in on the last clone in line, the one with the blue medic's symbol painted on his chest plate. He didn't like the guy's tone. It was clipped, abrasive, almost…rude. He didn't like the way he paused before saying sir, like it was just an afterthought. Shades scowled behind his helmet. He didn't like the guy at all.
If Edi noticed his tone, she didn't show it. She just nodded in approval. "We've got a wide range of skill sets here. That's good. Okay, boys, Sergeant Shades will show you to your bunks. If you need anything, anything at all, feel free to come find me. Fib, if you'll come with me, I'll show you where the Starlight's medbay is."
All the troopers snapped to attention. "Yes, sir!" they said in perfect unison. Heat, Ven, Dumpster, and Jump fell in behind Shades, and Fib peeled off to follow Edi out of the room. Shades watched them in his HUD until they turned a corner, then quickened his pace down the hall, forcing the others into a light jog. He wanted to get this done with and get back to Edi. He didn't like the idea of her being alone with Fib.
Once he'd dropped the new troops off at their bunks, he headed straight for the medbay. The door slid open and he stepped in, scanning the room. Edi was sitting in a chair, one foot stretched out in front of her, rapped neatly in an ace bandage. Fib stood in front of her, helmet off and arms crossed over his chest. His hair was a bright, shocking red and he had a displeased scowl on his face.
"I won't stand for this, General. You may be my CO, but I'm in charge where physical wellbeing is concerned. If you are injured, be it a sprained ankle or a blaster shot to the chest, you'll come see me immediately. No crying it off, no brainless heroics. That's stupid and selfish. I have a job to do, I'm going to do it, and I'm not going to let your selfish desire to seem less important than you are get in my way. Do I make myself clear?"
Stunned silent, Edi nodded.
Anger bubbled up inside Shades as he stomped forward and grabbed the medic by the shoulder, yanking him around.
"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded.
Fib glared at him, then flicked his eyes over Shades, as if assessing him for injury. The clone sergeant could feel the medic's eyes on him, running over his body, and his face heated up inside his helmet.
"Just letting the General know the score. You're not injured, so get out of my medbay. You to, General." With that, Fib turned his back on them and began going through the cupboards and storage containers, taking note of supplies.
Shades was at a complete loss of what to do, but he was quickly leaning toward some sort of physical altercation. That clone had no right to speak to Edi like that. Said Jedi caught Shades by the shoulder and steered him out into the hall.
"Let it go, Shades. It's okay. He didn't mean any harm."
"He was way out of line," Shades growled. "He shouldn't talk to you like you're some incompetent fool. He doesn't even know you. And when did you hurt your ankle?"
Edi winced. "Sometime during the last engagement. I wrapped it myself, but I guess I didn't do it very well. He noticed right away." She wiggled her ankle experimentally. "He did a good job, too. It doesn't hurt anymore."
"Yeah, well," Shades muttered. "He'd better just watch himself, because I sure will."
No, he didn't like Fib at all.
True to his word, Shades watched Fib closely. He didn't miss much.
Fib was a loner. He didn't hang out with anyone, and he didn't let anyone close. He almost seemed to go out of his way to push people away from him. He was blunt, almost to the point of rudeness, even with his superiors. He was just plain antisocial.
It's amazing he even made it off Kamino. No wonder he ended up with us. What general would want him? But Shades saw other things, too.
Fib was an amazing medic. He saved men that no one else would have even bothered with. Renegade's fatality rates fell considerably. He devoted himself completely to each patient. He seemed to know instinctively where they hurt, even before they did, and how to fix it.
All right, I can see why the Kaminoans kept him around. He's an investment.
Despite all of this, Shades couldn't bring himself to like the medic. First impressions were everything for him, and his first impression of Fib was one of disrespect and arrogance.
When a clone soldier died, there was almost always a brother there to cry for him. Most medics tried to offer some comfort to the grief-stricken men. Shades had seen Gear do it hundreds of times.
Fib never did.
It was after the Second Battle of Geonosis that things came to a head. Shades had been in the medbay having his shoulder treated by an MD for a minor blaster burn, when he heard quiet sobs. Nex crouched over Slingshot, crying over his brother's body. Fib had just left the bed and was headed to the next without so much as a backward glance.
Nex's tears, Slingshot's dead body, Fib's indifference; it all crowded inside Shades's head, pressing on the backs of his eyes. The pain, the anger, the fear; they had built up inside him for so long, and now they had a target.
Surging to his feet, the enraged clone stepped in front of the medic and gave him a hard shove in the chest. Fib stumbled before regaining his footing and glaring at Shades. "What's your problem?"
"What's my problem? Oh, that's rich coming from you," Shades growled. "Slingshot just died. Nex is heartbroken. Aren't you going to do something? Aren't you at least going to try?"
Fib looked him straight in the eye. "There's no point."
Shades's fists curled, and he didn't try to hold himself back. This man made him sick. His fist struck Fib a glancing blow to his jaw, snapping his head back and sending him into the wall.
"You don't feel anything!" he screamed. All the anger and bitterness he'd ever felt about a galaxy that used clones and threw them away came out now, all directed at Fib. "You don't know what it's like to love someone and lose them! You've never loved anyone!"
Silence fell in the medbay; even the droids stopped their work. The tension hummed, thick and heavy, as everyone waited to see how the medic would respond.
Fib laughed at him.
It was the only sound in the room, and it filled it. The laughter echoed in Shades's ears, in his head, in his very blood.
It sounded horribly broken…and very alone.