Disclaimer: Star Wars belongs to Disney and is the intellectual property of George Lucas; he created the sandbox. I'm simply destroying the sandcastles.


Title: Comparison

Author: Jade_Max

Characters: Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex

Era: Post TCW Season 4, Episode 14 - AU

Summary: After her run in with Lux Bonteri, Ahsoka asks Rex for an unexpected boon.

Notes: This is the downgraded version of this fic to be TOS compliant with the TFN and FF sites… Originally written as a birthday gift fic for a friend of mine, I'm sure she won't mind I edited it a little to share some Rex and Ahsoka goodness. :)


Comparison

"Have you ever kissed anyone, Rex?"

Rex blinked at the unexpected question from the young Togrutan who sat beside him on the observation deck, her head on his shoulder as they stared out into the endless night of starlines which always marked their hyperspace transit. His brow furrowed, unable to understand what relevance the question had. "Commander?"

"Ahsoka," she corrected as she glanced up at him. "Have you ever kissed anyone?"

He stiffened, certain he'd heard her wrong and not liking to the fact he hadn't. "Where'd that come from?"

"I'm curious." she admitted. "I never see you with anyone but your brothers."

"There's not much opportunity to socialize outside our command structure," he admonished. "You know that."

"No, but there is some," she flashed him a grin. "Just answer the question Rex; have you ever kissed anyone?"

"What relevance is that, kid?"

"I thought I asked you not to call me that."

"You're acting like a brat."

"And you're avoiding the question." Pushing away from him, she pinned him with a mock glare.

Unwilling to destroy the moment of peace further than he already had, Rex reached out and pulled her back into his embrace. It was easier to talk to her when she was beside him anyway; having her watch him just made him nervous sometimes.

Of course, that it also served to remind him she was no longer the youngling, the child, the brat he'd just called her, probably didn't help his line of thinking.

She settled back against him with a light jab to the ribs that his armor would have absorbed and his fatigues did nothing to stop. He waited for a few moments, tilting his cheek against the curve of her montrals, knowing she'd feel the words more than hear them.

"Why do you want to know, Ahsoka." She was silent but tensed at his words. "Have you ever kissed anyone?"

"Once," she admitted almost immediately but her words were sad. "It wasn't... what I was expecting."

Rex didn't know how to respond to that; she was one up on him. "I haven't," he admitted, hoping to ease her sorrow just a little and then elaborated on his words. They were awkward and felt strange on his lips. "Kissed anyone, that is."

Her heard jerked back and her wide eyes met his. "No one?"

He shook his head.

"Have you come close?"

"Once."

"Once?" She cocked her head. "Why only once?"

"I'm a soldier, Ahsoka; a man bred in a lab to fight and die on the front lines." He held no illusions as to why he'd been created for all he'd begun to truly believe that he didn't have to die fighting for a goal that grew more distant with each passing day. "A relationship would be... inadvisable."

"But a kiss?"

"A precursor, isn't it?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. Mine certainly wasn't."

"Do I need to have words with one of the men?"

A soft laugh answered his stern inquiry. "No, Rexster; it wasn't one of the men." Her smile slowly faded. "At least if it had been, I don't think I'd... I mean...If Fives…" The chevrons on her montrals darkened as she stuttered to a stop, took a deep breath and started again. "It wasn't all it was cracked up to be, to be honest."

Based on what she'd told him of her latest adventures without him, it wasn't hard to guess what she was thinking. The punch to his gut was unexpected; a need to do something, say something that contradicted it. He'd considered Ahsoka his for some time and the very thought that someone else had stolen - taken? - what should have been his right to give her brought a surge of indignation and anger he couldn't help. With difficulty he tramped it down. "That Lux kid, right?"

She slanted him a look, no doubt catching the neutrality in his tone and reading it, and his emotional response, he suspected, correctly; he was jealous. Her expression softened. "Would it help if I said it was short and he did it only to shut me up?"

Rex's brows hit his hairline as much from the context she implied as from the revelation that it had helped. It allowed him to be magnanimous. "Not very romantic of him."

"I know," her gaze turned back to the viewport and the shifting star lines for a long minute before she found the courage to speak again. "Would you ever do something like that?"

"Kiss you to shut you up?"

She nodded and he frowned.

"You take orders well enough, why would I have to?"

"Rex?"

"Yes?"

"Would..." she paused. "Would you... I mean, could I-"

"If you need something of me, Ahsoka," he reminded her gently. "All you need do is ask."

"I know, I just..."

He shifted, turning towards her even as she pulled away, seeming uncertain exactly how to phrase her question, her earnest expression almost pained. Searching her features, he watched as she bit her lip, struggling to find the words needed to ask what she wanted. Then, much to his surprise, she leaned forward, planting her hands on either side of his head.

The posture was aggressive, confining and, had she been anyone else, he'd have broken it immediately.

She turned to face him fully, pressing into his side as she leaned in, their noses almost touching and seemed to come to a decision. Her words, as well as her subsequent actions, caught him by complete surprise.

"Kriff it!"

His eyes widened as she closed the distance between them, her lips settling over his, her face tilted at a slight angle as the seams of their mouths slid along one another. Her kiss was awkward, unpracticed and hesitant, as if she were unsure of his response, but held a banked enthusiasm that struck a chord within him he wasn't expecting.

He might have considered Ahsoka his, but this… this reaffirmed it; echoing within him with a certainty and deliberation that set her name resounding within his soul like a cadence on a drum.

His lips softened under hers, his hands finding hers on his face, covering them as he tilted his head to better mesh their mouths together. The chaste kiss broke, their eyes locking and he unconsciously licked his lips to taste her kiss, the tip of his tongue touching her swollen mouth and making her eyes widen.

"Rex-" her breath hitched.

His name on her lips was the sexiest thing he'd ever heard

It set off warning bells in the back of his mind. Their position was intimate, too intimate, and he needed to recapture the distance between them immediately. His fingers folded about hers, gently prying her hands from his face as he leaned away from her. "We have to stop."

She blinked, her eyes half lidded, gleaming nearly black in the semi darkness. She looked as disoriented as he felt. "Stop?"

"Stop," he confirmed, reluctantly. He didn't want to, but this couldn't go any further than that simple exploration. Their breathing was slightly ragged in the stillness of the room and it took all of Rex's considerable discipline to maintain what little remained of his composure and to not embarrass himself in the aftermath of his first kiss. "This isn't-" swallowing with difficulty, he folded her hands between his, unable to find the right words.

The time was wrong.

The place was wrong.

If there was ever going to be a time for them, the observation deck of the Resolute between missions certainly wasn't it.

Stretching between them, the silence was a heavy, pregnant thing before Ahsoka finally smiled. Her lips tilted into the kind of sad, resigned smile he hated to see but, in this instance, knew was for the best. She took a deep breath, disengaging herself from her half inclined position along his chest and reclaimed her hands before resuming her previous position at his side.

His mind was spinning, slightly muddled, relieved to finally have her looking away but, at the same time disappointed.

Nervous that he'd done wrong in the wake of that kiss when she kept her distance, sitting beside him, but no longer leaning against him, he was about to ask if he'd done something to offend her when she sighed and shifted her head to lay it against his shoulder. Tilting her head, Ahsoka lifted her gaze to his.

"Thanks Rex."

He arched his eyebrows, relief flooding through him. That was the last thing he'd expected to come out of her mouth.

"If anyone asks," she continued as her lips curved into a shy smile, "you were my first kiss, okay?"

He lifted his hand, turning to partially face her, rubbing the pad of his thumb over her bottom lip, his words almost sad. "No; I wasn't."

"But you wanted to be."

He didn't deny it, didn't say anything, still looking down into her eyes, his thumb teasing the corner of her mouth. She didn't seem to mind and didn't pull away.

"Will you accept the most memorable?"

They shared a smile.

"I'll consider it."

Her lips curved under his thumb.

"How about this then? To make it all official like-"

"There was nothing official about that kiss."

"Hmm, I like that," she kissed the pad of his thumb and he inhaled sharply. "You may not have been my first kiss, Rex, but there's no comparison."

His words were soft. "That bad huh?"

She blinked, obviously surprised by his interpretation. "Uh - no. That's not what I-"

"Horrible then?" He knew he was teasing, but couldn't resist; it helped the tension between them start to dissolve.

"Rex-"

"Awful?

"Rex-"

"Turned you off kissing for good?"

"You win, Rex!" she cut him off with a laugh, "You win hands down, okay? There's no comparison."

He looped his arm back around her shoulders, and squeezed, drawing her against his side once more. Staring down at her, he marveled at how he could have ever been so lucky to deserve someone like her in his life even as he teased her. The whys of this being a bad idea were relegated to the recessed of his mind as he decided he had to repeat the experience; just once more. "Comparison to whom?"

"Rex!"

"Yes?"

She slipped her arm around his waist and hugged him tightly. "That might as well have been my first kiss!"

"I'm glad to hear it, Commander, but haven't you heard?"

"I hear a lot of things." She sassed at him. "You'll have to be more specific."

"Practice," he countered, bending his head towards hers, his expression teasing despite his very real intent, "makes perfect."

fin