Disclaimer:Star Wars belongs to Disney and is the intellectual property of George Lucas; he created the sandbox. I'm making no money off of this and am simply destroying the sandcastles.
RATING NOTICE: This piece of fiction deserves its rating. This is AU and has mentions of war, battle, death, underage sex, and prostitution. If you're uncomfortable with that, hit the back button on your browser now.
Characters: Captain Rex, Ahsoka
Genre: Angst / Adventure / Romance
Era: The Clone Wars - S3, Pre Ep 10 AU
Summary: The mission that led to the shift in Rex and Ahsoka's relationship. A companion piece to Journey of Revolution by emjalen, formerly Tahiri Veila Solo.
You can find it on my "Favorite Stories" page or her author's page on my "Favorite Author" list.
Author's Note: Big, -big- thank you to emjalen; I can't thank you enough for giving me the go-ahead to play within the boundaries of your story and 'setting the stage' as it were [not to mention all your help on the story!].
The debrief at the beginning from General Kenobi [once he starts talking] to Rex is entirely hers and is used with permission.
The Resolute, about 6 and a half months before "The Citadel"
Rex entered the bridge of the Resolute to find General Kenobi and Ahsoka waiting for him as he approached where they stood off to the side, speaking in low tones. Ahsoka was obviously arguing about something, the frown on her face anything but cooperative, her gestures expansive even for her.
As he drew near, he caught the tail end of something about his own General - Anakin Skywalker - who was currently in the bacta tank and would be for the better part of the week after a reckless and dangerous landing. That landing that had saved the better part of a full complement of a troop transport. Typical heroically stupid behavior at a cost to his Jedi self. One that had left a gap in an assignment Rex knew the General had been about to embark on with his Padawan.
"General; Commander," he stopped respectfully, offering them both a nod. "Reporting as ordered, sir."
"Captain Rex," General Kenobi's voice was as calm and crisp as always. Coruscanti. Jedi. "As you know, General Skywalker has once again pulled off a landing that has resulted in him being regulated to a bacta tank for the next week." The Jedi hesitated, the barest pause of breath. When he spoke, his tone was softer. "I don't know if you were aware, but General Skywalker and Commander Tano were scheduled to go on an undercover mission. They were to leave in a couple of days, but now…" Kenobi spread his hands futilely.
Rex had known, Ahsoka having told him. But Kenobi wouldn't expect a Jedi Padwan to confide to a clone captain.
General Kenobi sighed. "The mission is unusual, a gathering of intelligence instead of a sabotage or break in. Normally the Council wouldn't give such a… delicate mission to a padawan, nonetheless Anakin's, but we need every available knight in the field, and Ahsoka was thought to be able to… handle herself the best in the situation. Anakin was merely there to play a small part and act as back up."
Rex's gut clenched as he thought about what Ahsoka had told him and how the Jedi could be expecting her to "handle" herself. Why though, was Kenobi telling him this? If Ahsoka was leaving, the General would simply tell him that he, or another Jedi, was in command.
"Normally I'd go myself," Kenobi continued, "but I am too well known and needed in the field. You, however, Captain, have a record of handling yourself well on unorthodox missions."
A distinct feeling of unease washed through him. Instincts, gained in the lethal dance of battle, began whispering.
Kenobi paused. "This is not an order, Captain. If you accept the mission and wish to change your mind after hearing the parameters or the part you will be expected to play, no one will stop you."
The Jedi then grimaced, showing honest distaste on his face. "This is not a straightforward or honorable mission Captain. Unfortunately, Republic intelligence demands it. No one, not myself, General Skywalker, or the Council will hold it against you if you so choose not to do it."
Rex had a good idea of the part he would have to play. There was no question of him not accepting; partners watched each other's backs. Friends eliminated the dangers before it got to there in the first place.
"Sir, I accept. What are the parameters of the mission, sir?"
He and Ahsoka left the bridge several minutes later, the look she sent him dubious, clearly not confident of the Council's plan, but having no choice in accepting it.
"You don't look so confident, kid."
"I don't know about this Rex," she glanced back at the bridge and exhaled. "I mean, I know it's important, and we need that intel, but… I don't know if I can play the part they want me to. I…" with a shake of her head, she looked forward, matching his steps as they headed for the turbolift, "I've never done anything like this before."
"And I have?"
She blinked at him, and then laughed. "I guess not, huh? You know, I'm glad you're going with me on this one, Rex. Skyguy wouldn't be bad, but…"
"No thanks necessary, Ahsoka," he told her as the turbolift doors opened as they neared and the techs inside departed. He shot one arm out to stop the doors from closing, motioning her in before he continued. "I've got your back, remember?"
"Which is why I'm glad it's you," the smile she'd been wearing began to die as he stepped into the lift with her and the doors closed. "We won't… I mean… this is all a ruse, right? I'm not actually going to be expected to-"
"You're not for sale," he told her frankly, distaste for that particular part of the assignment making his words harsher than he'd intended. "We've a couple of days to prep for this; the General's taken me off rotation until this assignment is complete and Torrent Company will fall under Coric's command until our return. I would suggest we do some research."
Rex inwardly flinched at her uncertain tone. "If we're going to play the part, kid, we should know what that means. The more convincing we can be, the better the chance we can get what we're after."
"So… holonet searches?"
"To start," maybe he could ask Echo and Fives for their help. "If nothing else we can look up some of these terms," he pulled out the datapad the General had given him, "unless you know what a… lap dance is?"
Ahsoka shook her head.
"I assume it has to do with a pole?"
He flashed her a half smile. "What else?"
"Table or fan dance?"
"I assume they also have to do with tables and fans," her words were frustrated. "Who thinks of these things anyway? Shouldn't the name actually have something of an instruction as to what's expected?"
Rex eyed the screen as the turbolift moved and then shut it off, tucking it back into his belt. "Like I said, kid; research. Echo could-"
He arched his eyebrows.
"I… I don't want anyone else to know about this, Rex. It's not that I don't trust them, but…"
"I understand," he wasn't thrilled with the assignment, though he'd do it, and she was obviously having major concerns; the fewer people who knew the better. "If we do our research in the barracks, they will."
The doors to the turbolift opened and they exited.
"My quarters," she offered, glancing down the corridor as they neared where they'd part ways. "Oh eight hundred. I'll ask Master Kenobi if he has anything and check Skyguy's mission notes before we access the holonet. If we don't have to, we shouldn't."
She looked so lost, so confused, Rex didn't think about what he was doing as he offered her a smile and reached out to wrap an arm around her bare shoulders. She practically launched herself at him, wrapping him in a hug he could feel even through his armor. He carefully folded his arms about her, savoring the moment; hugs weren't a common thing, but when they happened, no matter the reason, he didn't take them for granted. He simply wished, as he did now, that his armor wasn't in the way. It was several long moments before she let go, looking a little less spooked.
"Sleep well, kid; I'll see you in the morning."
"'Night, Rex, and… thanks."