Rex sighed as he entered his quarters. He dropped his helmet onto the desk and slumped on the bunk.
Amidala was getting married to someone that wasn’t Skywalker.
In fact, Skywa- Anakin wasn’t in a relationship at all with her.
There wasn’t going to be any stopping it now. It was the worst kept secret in the 501st Legion, the 212th Battalion and possibly several other legions of the GAR that Rex had done the dumbest thing he could have possibly done about 6 months into the war. He’d fallen in love with his Jetti.
Half of the clones in the army usually did have a thing for a Jetti General. It was practically a rite of passage for the 212th to nurse a crush on Kenobi or for a Wolfpack trooper to adore Koon. Secura was virtually worshipped by her men and there wasn’t a clone that had served under Fisto who didn’t do a double take at his grin.
The 501st was no exception to this, the troops all nursing at least something for their recklessly crazy Jetti. When the rumours circulated about Amidala nabbing Skywalker, there had been a few broken hearts and one or two cheerful claims they would challenge her for the General’s heart.
Rex himself ignored the ache in his chest and buried it deep, taking solace in the fact his Jetti was alive and happy. More than one Vod had consoled him over his unrequited feelings and Cody had once drunkenly offered to fight the Senator on his behalf.
The war was over.
Anakin had gotten into more than one playful argument over calling him ‘sir’ and returned their affection as easily as they gave it.
They had actual rights, thanks to him and Amidala.
And Anakin Skywalker wasn’t in a romantic relationship with Senator Amidala.
Rex could already hear the well-meaning encouragement that would undoubtedly make its way to Anakin eventually.
Maybe he could put in a transfer request.
He’d take the pirates over well-meaning brothers any day.
At least he knew the pirates would just shoot him.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
And there it was.
“REX! YOU ARE NEVER GONNA BELIEVE WHAT ANAKIN JUST TOLD US!”
Rex groaned as Fives fell through the door followed by Hardcase, Jesse and Echo. The looks on their faces did not bode well for Rex’s future sanity.
A week passed, and Rex was beginning to wonder how much trouble he would get in if he shot all of Torrent and a good portion of the command crew.
The news that Senator Amidala was engaged to Sabè Tolerra, an old friend, and not Anakin, had sent the entire galaxy into a tizzy. Amidala had also denied the rumour that she was or had been in a relationship with Anakin and was backed up by him making a brief public statement at the announcement.
A few people had stopped by the barracks, where Anakin seemed to have taken up nearly permanent residence when not at the Senator’s apartment (“I’m not hiding. I’m just making a tactical retreat before Obi-Wan recovers and decides to get revenge.”), to get the full story. One particular visitor made the whole situation an even bigger ruckus.
Rex watched as Anakin looked up in disbelief from under the ship he and Hawk were buried in and was promptly tackled by the togruta woman he’d escorted inside.
“Snips?” Anakin’s voice was choked, and he wrapped his arms around her as if she’d disappear on him if he let go even a bit. He buried his face in the dip between her montrals. “I can’t believe it. It’s so good to see you. How’d you know where I was?”
Ahsoka Tano, taller and more mature, pulled back and smiled. “Rex let me know as soon as everything went down. It took me a while to get back. Also, what’s this about you breaking the Jedi Council?”
He let out a wet laugh, tears gathering in the corner of his eyes as the men in the hanger started to leave to give them privacy and tugged her back under his chin. He glanced up at Rex who was still standing off to the side with a fond smile and mouthed the words ‘thank you.’
Rex nodded and left them to it.
Two hours later saw Rex sitting in his office slowly making his way through the paperwork. He’d have thought the lack of war, thanks to the Separatists surrender only last week, would mean a decrease in paperwork but apparently, figuring out what each man wanted to do meant his pile hadn’t change size, just content.
The door slid open and without looking up, Rex said, “Fives if this is another one of your plans about Anakin, I’m making you do half of this.”
“Anakin, huh? I can’t say I’m surprised. You never could take your eyes off him.”
Rex snapped his head up and glared at the smiling Togruta in the doorway. “Not a damn word.”
Ahsoka snickered and let the door slide shut behind her. Perching on the desk, she peeked over the datapad and raised an eye marking. She grinned at him.
“I didn’t say anything!”
She laughed and tugged the datapad out of his hand. “You’re approving a request for nose art of Master Kenobi. Nose art Anakin requested.”
Rex groaned and pinched his nose. If he thought his brothers were bad…
“Hey,” Rex looked up and saw a much gentler smile aimed his way, “You should tell him. You’re good for each other. He said if it hadn’t been for you, he’d probably still be hiding in Padmè’s spare room.”
He looks down at the desk, feeling heat cross his cheeks and just knowing he’s broadcasting the pleased feeling into the Force. He’s always known he and Anakin got along better than most other commanders do with their Jedi.
Hell, the first time he’d met the man, Anakin had asked him to take a seat and opened up to him. He bluntly stated how he felt uncomfortable with how the clones came exist and the many parallels Anakin was drawing between them and slavery. He established firm rules particularly regarding himself, saying that if Anakin ever did something or said something that any clone felt uncomfortable with, that he wanted to know. He wanted to give the clones as much freedom as he could even if it would never be the amount they truly deserved.
“You’re a person first, Captain. You have thoughts and feelings. Sure, you’re a clone, but that doesn’t make you and your brothers interchangeable and neither does it make you any less of a sentient being. I look forward to getting to know you better and I hope we can be friends.”
It was that conversation that made Rex realise that Anakin Skywalker was certainly nothing like anyone else he’d ever met. A month in, Rex realised he was in serious trouble when he felt his chest do all sort of odd things.
Kix had just smirked at him when he’d gone in for a check-up.
He fought it for a solid five months but then Anakin had come swooping to their rescue after a recon mission went completely K.U.B.A.R. The genuine concern on Anakin’s face when he propped him against his side and helped him limp onto the evac made all of Rex’s restraint evaporate.
(A week later saw Cody and Rex in 79’s getting utterly sloshed over their Jetti. Rex was more concerned about his feelings. Cody just wanted Kenobi to wear more armour.)
Of course, that meant that by the war hit the year mark, all of the 501st knew and so did several other commanders.
“How doesn’t he know already?” Rex sighed, deciding not to bother asking how she knew. Torrent company had a soft spot for her. One of them must’ve at least pointed it out at some point or made a joke within hearing.
Ahsoka shrugged. “It’s Skyguy. He can be a little hard headed, especially when it comes to himself. You could broadcast it all you wanted but unless you say something, he won’t do anything.”
That…wasn’t entirely inaccurate.
“He’s a Jedi.”
Ahsoka gave him a look. “Now you’re just looking for excuses. We both know the only reason Anakin didn’t come with me when I left was because of Master Kenobi and the 501st. Besides,” she leaned forward and lowered her voice, “you can’t let anyone know I told you until Anakin says but I’ve heard that the Council are making several changes. This war tore the Jedi apart and it’s clear that at times the only thing that got them through it was their connection to each other. Master Plo at the very least isn’t going to give up the Wolfpack. A relationship with Anakin isn’t as farfetched as you think it is.”
She slid off the desk and tilted her head. “And for you, Rex? Anakin thinks the galaxy of you. He wouldn’t have come out of that bedroom for just anyone. Master Kenobi tried. Padmè tried. Even his mom contacted him and tried. Don’t you think that says something?”
Rex had forgotten about Shmi Skywalker. Both he and Ahsoka had accidentally discovered that he was secretly still in contact with his mother and ask them both to keep silent on the matter. She seemed like a lovely, steady woman the only time Anakin had pulled him into a conversation and it was clear Anakin loved her deeply.
If even his master and his mother hadn’t been able to pull Anakin out, maybe…
Ahsoka tapped the desk and left Rex to his thoughts. He continued to absently go through the datapads. It wasn’t until he’d almost signed off on a collective request for a tooka cat that he realised he wasn’t paying attention to them.
He sighed and started to pack away the datapads. It was clear he was far too caught up in his thoughts to give them the proper consideration they needed.
(He denied the request with a note to Tup and Fives to stop clogging the system with fake acquisition forms.)
What worried him most about the whole situation was the fact Anakin had just gone through a massive emotional upheaval. Everyone knew how badly the incident with the former chancellor had hurt him. Hell, Rex had never seen Anakin breakdown as he had done after the fight. He didn’t want to be one more thing that Anakin had to deal with.
…But if Ahsoka was right, he had a chance.
Rex braced his elbows on the desk and scrubbed his face with his hand. He was going around in circles. The only way to know for sure would be to tell Anakin. He would deal with the fall out as it came.
He startled out of his thoughts and snapped his head up to see the amused face of Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi raised an eyebrow and smirked before perching on the edge of the desk much like Ahsoka had been.
“Snips said you wanted to talk to me?”
Rex blinked then started swearing creatively inside his head. As if his brothers weren’t bad enough!
Outwardly, he managed to keep a calm expression.
“Yes, I wanted to get your opinion on this.” He grabbed one of the datapads and passed it over. He allowed himself to smile when the expression on Anakin’s face went from curious to completely bewildered.
“Why does Hardcase want 403 bouncy balls?”
“I was rather hoping you’d tell me.” Rex drawled and leaned back in his seat comfortably, watching the fond incredulity on Anakin’s face play out.
It was a nice change from the fierce, stubborn and sometimes heartbroken expression that had been all too common during the war. Rex could watch the humour play out on Anakin’s face for hours and never get tired of it. Nor could he ever tire of watching him smile or laugh or the thousand other expressions that Anakin felt free to express but had only seen glimpses of during the war.
Something must have shown on his face or hummed in the Force as Anakin turned his head towards Rex.
The words were right there. Right on the tip of his tongue.
No more waiting. No more wondering.
Just three little words.
Sighing internally, he almost missed the waver in the other’s expression. A brief blip of something that tugged at Rex’s heart. An expression that was gone in an instant and replaced by a hesitant resolve.
Anakin wasn’t supposed to be hesitant. He was supposed to be reckless, bold, strong in a way that gave strength to others.
The only time Anakin was cautious was when it was lives on the line and even then, caution was often thrown out the window in the pursuit of saving more lives.
“What do you want to do, Rex?”
The question was softly spoken and Anakin looked down to fiddle with the datapad in hand. “I thought I told you to call me Anakin. You of all people deserve that, Rex. I’m not your general anymore.”
Rex tilted his head. He’s seen the barest hint of a flinch at the word ‘sir’ and filed that away, promising himself not to slip again. “That may be so, Anakin, but you’re still my Jetti.”
Anakin sagged, telling Rex they’d have that argument at some other point and repeated the question. “What do you want, Rex? The war is over. You could go anywhere in the galaxy, do anything. Waxer and Boil are going back to Ryloth. Broadside and Hawk are planning on travelling. I’m pretty sure Hardcase has a job lined up as a demolitions specialist once clean-up is done. But I haven’t heard anything from you. What do you want?”
Rex could tell there were a thousand other questions in that one.
Why aren’t you leaving me too?
While Kenobi and Amidala had never left Anakin and Ahsoka had come back, Rex had always known Anakin didn’t do well with others leaving him, whether by choice or not.
He stared at the Jedi who was still looking down. There was something else as well. Something that niggled at the edges of his memory.
… ”Anakin thinks the galaxy of you. He wouldn’t have come out of that bedroom for just anyone.” …
… “Thought I told you to call me Anakin, Rex.” …
… “Just get in here, Rex. You look tired.” …
“What I want, Anakin, is to stay by my Jetti’s side for as long as he’ll have me.”
Anakin’s head snapped up and he stared at him piercingly, searching for something. Rex met the eyes calmly.
For something he had been agonising over for the majority of the war and teased about just as long, it suddenly seemed so simple to let Anakin know everything.
He dropped the mental shielding he’d been taught on Kamino completely for the first time since he’d been trained to and let Anakin look. He could tell when he spotted it.
Anakin’s mouth dropped open and all the breath left him in an instance like it had been punched out of him. His hand twitched as if to reach out. He swallowed.
“Rex, I need you to tell me. I need you to be completely sure.” Anakin’s voice wavered as if Rex would deny it.
It hit Rex that Anakin wouldn’t, couldn’t, say it first. The wounds left from Anakin’s childhood of slavery and the clones’ breeding to obey wouldn’t let Anakin make the first move. It had to be Rex to initiate it, to want it.
It was the easiest thing in the galaxy to say.
“I love you.”
Anakin slid off the desk without breaking eye contact and moved to stand in front of Rex who looked up at him confidently.
“Are you sure?” Anakin’s voice was barely above a whisper, his hands twitching like he wanted to touch but wouldn’t without permission.
Rex smiled. He didn’t take offence. He loved the fact his Jetti was so concerned about his autonomy that it washed away any irritation at not being believed. He reached out to brush his fingers against Anakin’s wrists, encouraging him to touch.
“I gave up trying to deny it since we were six months into the war. I’m yours for as long you’ll have me, however you want me.”
Anakin leaned forward and pressed his forehead to Rex’s, awe and love clear in his eyes. How Rex hadn’t recognised before was beyond him. “I love you too.” He moved and warm, chapped lips pressed to his.
Two hands, one soft flesh and one hard metal, cradled his face and he let out a low moan.
He was a soldier bred for war. He was meant for the battlefield, for war. He was one of thousands of Fett clones, replaceable and common.
But in this moment, kissing Anakin with the strong hands gently cradling his face, the thumbs stroking across his cheekbones, Rex had never felt more like he was something precious. Something special. Someone precious. Someone worth fighting for.
Anakin pulled away and Rex opened his eyes lazily to see a brilliant grin on Anakin’s face.
“Force, I’ve wanted to do that for ages.” Anakin’s voice was rough and breathless from the sheer emotion.
Rex couldn’t stop himself from surging to his feet and going in for another kiss. There was very little Rex wouldn’t do for that smile.
He dropped his hands from where they were clutched around Anakin’s wrists, like two anchors in a storm, to hold onto his waist. If it meant drowning in Anakin, he would do it happily.
He nudged him back, pressing him against the desk and sliding their lips against each other’s.
Something clattered but neither man paid attention to it.
All Rex could do was sigh into Anakin’s mouth and hope he’d remembered to at least lock the office door.
(Padmè was ecstatic to hear from Echo and Ahsoka that Anakin had a date for her wedding.)
(Obi-Wan gave up on trying to figure out Anakin.)
(Rex endured the ribbing from his brothers. He had the impossible. He had Anakin.)