I don't own Star Wars or anyone in it, so on and so forth.
I'm not quite sure how this popped into my head, but here it is. It was origionally just a think peice, and I didn't intend for it to end up going anywhere, but it did. So here it is.
That being said, I'm also considering doing another connected one-shot after it, and maybe turning it a little...well, lighter. But don't expect it. My motivation to write now adays is (sadly) fleeting.
She took no comfort in their mutual misery. Indeed, she was only miserable because she knew she was the cause of his pain, and could do nothing to fix it.
She wasn't sure when it turned from natural as breathing to being painfully conscious. If she could pinpoint that exact moment, she would have gladly erased it from existence, squish is out, like an obnoxious bug.
She wasn't sure when it transitioned from simple and thoughtless to complex and acutely aware, and she missed when she didn't have to think every action she made around him, think about his reaction, and her action to his reaction, and how her mind would buzz with too many what ifs, and maybes, yes, no, maybe so.
She misses being able to find solace in him, one of the few places she can, while a war rages around them in all its fury.
No, instead, now around him all she feels is everything she was running from when she ran to him.
Even worse, she knows he can feel it as well-she does not need the Force to confirm her thoughts, even though sometimes his emotions are thrown out from him, making them impossible to ignore. If she didn't have the force to tell her otherwise, she would know.
It was in his posture, how his back would straighten even further than military protocol required. It was how his shoulders would roll back a fraction, how his head would lift, and his face would be angled away from her, even behind the Jaig eyed helmet. It was the angerhurtfrusteration that she had glimpsed when she sometimes met his eyes across the mess hall, until his dropped quickly, or it was quickly covered up.
That in its self hurt. Rex never used to hide from her.
But she had no one but herself to blame, she told herself firmly, as she practiced her katas late that night in the abandoned gym. And in reality, there was nothing to be 'blamed' about. She was Jedi. He was a clone. She was forbidden attachments, and he would not live long enough to really have one.
He would not live long enough to allow herself an attachment to him.
No, that was a lie, she mused bitterly, as there was the soft scrape of barefoot on mat, and the rustling of fabric, and the soft thrum of emerald blades in the darkness. She was already attached to him-more than she had realized. More than she should be.
Attachments had no place in her world, they could not.
No matter how much she longed for otherwise.
She shoves that thought away as she goes through another kata, this time with a more fierce edge.
She is fighting her thoughts now, the soft grey shadows that were around her now becomes her enemy, the darkness of her thoughts, ugly and meanacing, and she will fight them away, back far enough away in her head that she will not have to think about them again.
She never wanted these thoughts, and she never wanted to be kept awake for hours and days, tormenting herself as she tries to understand what exactly she's rejecting, and the repercussions, not just for herself, but for her brown eyed Captain, and how exactly she was going to make this work when it was never supposed to happen, and how to pretend it didn't happen when it was impossible for both of them to do that.
"It's late." It was amazing, that one voice, the same voice as hundreds of others on the ship they traveled on, could be so unique to one particular man.
It was Rex of course. No other trooper would make their presence known to her at this hour-when it was clear she desired her space. They would have left her be, pretended not to see her, exited the room without a word or sound.
Not Rex. His presence should have surprised her, but it didn't. She turned to face him in the dim half light of the gym. He was leaned up against one of the walls, arms crossed, watching her with sharp brown eyes.
How long had he been there? The thought crossed her mind, as she quietly agreed with him. "It is."
Awkwardness filled the silence, sharp and prickly, demanding for tension and resolution, and it made her long for the times that the silences they had were just that-quiet.
"You should be resting, Commander." The formality made her wince, but she hid it as the emerald glow of her lightsaber's was extinguished, casting her into the murky grey shadows that pervaded the dim light.
"You should too." Her retort came out sharper than she intended, harsh instead of playful.
The air around them is thick enough to be cut with a knife, as she watched her Capitan straighten, his posture ridged and the shadows filled the lines of his face, making him appear grim, angry, threatening.
"Is that an order, Commander?" He challenges, his words caustic and so very unlike Rex it makes her heart ache a little more.
"No." She tells him quietly, forcing herself to meet his eyes, refusing to rise to his bait. "You can do as you wish." She murmurs, more to herself than to him, and at the moment, she'd give anything to have him just leave.
"Really?" The word is barbed and venom filled with so many implications that Ashoka can't bother to try and interpret them all. The anger coming off him was so powerful, so clear; it is almost a physical manifestation.
Her heart aches and begs for her to just leave, to get away from him before he can say anything else that will leave her crying when she is alone.
Her pride demands that she defend herself against the verbal attack that is beginning-that she is Ashoka Tano, Jedi Padawan, and no matter who this Captain Rex was-is-might be- to her, she cannot sit by and let this happen.
Her mind tells her she should try to reason with him, that this tension between them needs to be fixed before it starts becoming a problem in the field, or on a mission. She takes in a slow breath, and expels all the chaos raging in her.
Briefly she wishes she would have meditated more, that the focus of meditation would help her calm the storm brewing in her. She takes another breath, and releases it just a slow, trying to let all her hurt and anger go, and for once, shuts both her pride and her heart away, and tries to detach herself, to handle things like a proper Jedi would.
"I don't wish to fight you." She tells the man before her quietly, calmly, as if discussing the weather. This does nothing but agitate the man, who frowns and sneers, the shadows deepening his face further, and brown eyes glinted angrily in grey haze.
"No, you just want to completely ignore me." The hurt is well covered by anger, but she catches is in his voice, and guilt trickles into her mind.
No, she wants to tell him, she doesn't. But she cannot, she will not, so she says nothing instead.
"Why?" The one, quiet word, is wrought with desperation and pain. All the anger vanishes from him, as the tension exits Rex abruptly, and he runs a hand over his shaved head, and he stands at the doorway helplessly, staring at her.
Her heart threatens to break as he looks at her, and she wants nothing more than to go and wrap her arms around him, to forget the past few weeks, to apologize. She doesn't want to do this, she wants to tell him.
It's tearing her apart, but she has to. It cannot continue. It must not. She draws strength from her conviction, draws courage from knowing that this is the only way.
She could walk away from him right then and there, tell him nothing. It is a horrible thought, yet it is tempting to spare herself from more anguish. He will hate her for the rest of his life either way, but she owes him some sort of explanation. She meets Rex's wounded gaze from across the room, and finally, bares her heart to him.
"Because, I can't afford to," her voice doesn't shake, but she doesn't trust it louder than a whisper.
Because she is selfish, and afraid, and she simply cannot afford to be those things, and still strive to be a Jedi. She loves Rex, but she loves the Order more.
She watches as understanding and defeat deepen the shadows of his face, and darken his eyes, and she feels the same feelings welling up in her-and threatening to spill down her cheeks in the form of hot tears.
"Don't do this." The words are almost inaudible to her, but she feels them through the Force more than she hears Rex say them.
It is a last plea to her, to try to work whatever had come between them out. It is an offer than every fiber in her screams for her to take, damn the Order and the Force and her Master.
But three weeks ago, she saw her brave Capitan shot down in the battlefield, and three weeks ago when Kix grimly admitted that he probably wouldn't make it-that they would have to wait for back up to get her and her small group of men-including Capitan Rex- out of the corner they were backed into, and by then it would be too late for him.
Three weeks ago when something in her snapped, and a sort of agony fueled rage set in, and she made a path for them out and back to The Resolute, crushing the droids in her path, and she couldn't honestly say she hadn't done something similar to any other unfriendlies that weren't clankers.
The feeling burned into her for days, and it fed off of her terror that Rex would die, kept her awake and alert as she sat by his bedside. It wasn't until Master Skywalker had later forced her from Rex's side to eat and bathe, that she really realized how deep her affection was for her Capitan.
That somewhere, between the shy, blossoming feelings the two were curiously, cautiously exploring, all quiet conversations and rare, fleeting kisses, that the feels Ashoka told herself she had control of, had manifested into a deep attachment. She understood then, why attachment was forbidden. It was dangerous, and painful, and could destroy someone.
Most importantly, it had no place in a war where it was more than likely her beloved Capitan would not survive.
"I can't." The words do not shake, her voice does not choke up, her burning eyes do not betray her, even while part of her wishes they would.
He recoils from her words like she struck him. There is a myriad of emotions that fly around him, too quick and too many for her to grasp at, before they are all just gone.
"I understand," his voice is quiet and smooth and resigned, his head dipped so he does not meet her eyes, as he stands at a parade rest. He is unreadable. It is agonizing.
"Good evening Commander," he says politely, before straightening, turning on heel, and leaving the room, leaving Ashoka to the dim grey of the training room.
She stares at the spot he stood at for a long time, letting the silence ring around her, until she slowly activated her blades, and the soft emerald green glow lit the room. Her feet slid into position as she slowly moved through her katas again and again. Hot tears dripped down her face, but she did not acknowledge them, did not acknowledge the ache in her chest as she breathed, as the lightsaber's thrummed softly around her, casting the room into a soft, peaceful glow.
'There is no emotion, there is only peace.'
...Yeah. Um, I need to actually write something that contains absolutely no angst. Someday.
Reviews are appreciated. :)