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O' Captain, (not) My Captain

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Wade was quaking in his plastoid boots. 


When the Captain had pulled him aside and asked him if he was particularly attached to his current hair style, he was confused, but had responded that he wasn't. He should have lied and said yes, because soon enough he was dragged into a nearby fresher and had his hair shaved and dyed. And then the Captain dropped the bomb.


“You'll be masquerading as me for a bit, soldier.” Rex had informed him, with the confidence of a man who had made an absolutely kark brained decision and was too stubborn to consider anything but seeing it through.


So there Wade was, done up in the Captain's armor, wearing his kama and all, and desperately trying not to catch the suspicions of General Skywalker. Or Commander Tano for that matter. 


If only he could claim to be sick. Then he could go hide in a bunk for the next week or two while Rex was on planet, but no. Rex was the type to work through a cold and to be aggressively competent while doing so. Which left Wade to try and match the Captain's vigor and energy, and oh little gods, Paperwork.


Whatever force had once smiled upon Wade was now laughing maniacally and throwing things at him just to watch him panic. He wanted to cry. Just a little. Not a lot, truly, but maybe like. One good hour. One spare hour to just cry in frustration was all he wanted. Was that too much to ask? Apparently yes, because up the hall came the other group that Wade was trying to avoid interaction with.


The ARC troopers.




“Hey, Captain!” One of them jogged towards him, and he recognized them as Fives. 


Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.


Fives stopped and stared at him, taking their bucket off just to squint at him closer. “You're not Rex. Your posture is all wrong.”


“W-what?” He stammered.


“Aaaand that confirms it. The Captain would've had some quip or zinger to sling back at me. Who're you, kid?” The ARC trooper tried to unclasp the helmet from his head. “C'mon, lemme see your face, you're already not pulling off the ruse.”


Wade half-heartedly batted their hands away. “I know, I know, just. Let me do it, I don't need anyone scrabbling around at my face.” 


“Fives, why are you harassing the- oh, nevermind.” The others in the squad finally got caught up. "Not the captain."


Wade took his helmet off awkwardly as the entire ARC squad stared at him.


"Holy shit, you're a shiny!" The one with the republic cog on his helmet blurted out.


"Jesse- don't scare the shiny." Fives laughed, pinching Wade's cheek.


Wade wrinkled his nose and pulled his head away. "I told Captain Rex this wouldn't work."


Handprint- Echo, his memory supplied- snickered. "Who're you trying to fool? 'Cause you have the posture all wrong."


"The general."


Echo waved a hand absently. "Oh, Anakin? You'll be fine. He's about as observant as a mouse droid. Nah, if you're gonna be worried about anyone, it'll be our little Commander."


He paled slightly. "Is this meant to be reassuring?"


"Not really, no." Fives grinned, clasping him on the shoulder. "Oh, this is gonna be so much fun ."


Wade sent a desperate glance to Jesse and Echo. Both of their helmets tilted in a way that he knew signified trouble.




Wade sat primly in the mess, sandwiched between Fives and Jesse. Fives had insisted that "ARC's stick together. It'd be weirder if we're not around you."


He didn't quite believe them, but had the Captain's helmet placed on the table, right behind his tray, just in case Skywalker or Tano walked in. He picked idly at the mush in front of, spearing the more solid chunks with his spork.


A small gaggle of other troopers approached the table, and he recognized three of them as friendly faces who he actually knew. Perking up slightly, he grinned at Tup, Dogma, and Hardcase.


Tup smiled back, their hair loose and hanging around their ears. They opened their mouth to speak, but Hardcase interrupted. "You're not the captain. The captain doesn't smile like that."


Wade paused and looked at Hardcase, waiting.


"Oh shit- right. He/him/his right now." He shot Wade finger guns and a smile before schooling his features into an approximation of sterness. "Okay. Why are you in Rex's armor?"


Dogma rolled his eyes and sat down, tray hitting the table with a satisfying plastic thwack . "It's Wade, who else wouldn't call you out immediately for being rude?"


Hardcase held his hands up and started listing, ticking off fingers as he went. "Hawk, Mixer, Red-eye, Jolene, Mel, Velo, Hardwon, Bev, Moonshine-"


"Forget I asked." Dogma sighed. "Anyway it's Wade."


"How'd you know?" Wade asked curiously.


"You were doing the thing where your shoulders raise like half an inch when you're uncomfortable. Also, your eyebrows are still growing back." Tup answered, opening their juice carton.


Hardcase grinned sheepishly at him, "Sorry about that, by the way."


Jesse snickered from his left. "Was it poppers or one of the jerryrigged power pack bombs?"


"Poppers." Wade muttered, thinking of the startling flash of heat from the other week that had left him eyebrowless with charred eyelashes.


Fives patted his back sympathetically. "Hardcase almost burned off my goatee once."


Echo didn't even glance up from his food. "If only he'd succeeded. We'd be in a better timeline for it.


"Take that back!" Fives squawked and smacked their batchmate upside the head.


Rolling his eyes, Echo turned to his sibling. "Your goatee is an affront to nature, and makes Prime roll over in his grave," he said, deadpan.


Wade gathered that it was a fairly normal occurrence, judging by the amused look on everyone's faces, and left the two to squabble. He shifted from the grayish protein mush to the yellow mush that was supposed to replicate some sort of corn. It tasted like stale cardboard and salt.


Hardcase stole a sporkful of grey mush off Wade's plate, sticking it in his mouth and speaking around it. "Well, you still haven't told me why you're in the cap's armour."


"He snuck off to Coruscant to go do something for Commander Cody." Wade sighed. "I didn't get much more information than that."


"Huh. Well, we'll help cover for you." Tup offered. "Don't worry about it, it'll be over before you notice, and the captain will be back and roping other people into his hare-brained schemes."




Wade was sitting in the common area, wearing Rex's full kit, and struggling through paperwork. He wasn't designed for this sort of thing- he was infantry for crying out loud- and he glared at the datapad. 


He was so deep in parsing through the legalese that he didn't notice the person approaching him from behind until hands clasped his shoulders firmly. Wade jolted and swiveled his head to see who it was, horror dawning as he saw General Skywalker.


The man grinned down at him, blue eyes twinkling with mischief. "Hey, Rex- what's happening where you're fully dressed in the lounge?"


"Er- nothing, sir. Just uh. Using my HUD." He stammered, wracking his brain as to why Captain Rex would be wearing his helmet during downtime.


"For what?"


Fuck. "Uh. Space Candy Crush."


Anakin cackled. "I thought you'd given that up? You hit, what, level 2000 and said you were, and I quote, 'done with this, Anakin, I can't keep doing this, it's consuming my life'?"


Wow. Wade was learning all sorts of things about the captain. "I relapsed." He offered, trying to capture Rex's dry humor.


"Well, Ahsoka and I need you in the briefing room in twenty, we have to go rendezvous with a senator on one of the outposts on the route and escort her on a diplomatic mission. We'll be meeting up with the 212th and Obi-Wan."


This was not part of the plan. The plan was that Wade would pretend to be Rex, they'd circle back to Coruscant in five cycles, and Wade would go back to normal. There was not supposed to be a mission. "Yessir. Let me wrap this up and I'll be right there," he said calmly.


Wade screamed internally.


"Great!" Skywalker grinned. "Meet you in the usual spot," promptly walking away.


As soon as the General left, Wade counted to sixty. After the minute had passed, he sprang up and sprinted down the hall. He sent up a quiet prayer and opened up the door to the ARC troopers' bunkroom. When Fives blinked blearily up at him from their bunk, he let out a sigh of relief.


"What're you doing here shiny?" They yawned, sitting up. 


"Uh. The general asked me to meet him and the commander for a meeting. In the 'usual spot'." He took his helmet off, taking the first breath in a while that wasn't filtered and hot.


Fives snickered. "Vh in the chat, vod."


"Do you know where the 'usual spot' is?" He begged. "Because if I can't find it, this whole thing is over ."


"Why don't you just ask Rex?" 


Wade paused. "I uh. Didn't consider that. But what if he doesn't answer?"


"Just comm him." They muttered, grabbing their pillow and fluffing it back into shape. "You interrupted my nap."


"Okay, I- thanks Fives," he nodded, backing out of the room, making sure he hit the light dial on his way out.


A grumble of assent was the only response he got as he closed the doors. He hefted the helmet up in his arms, and put it back on. Wade flicked through the HUD until he reached the direct comm.


Wade: hey sir uh. Hope you made it to Coruscant safely.


Wade: what is yours, general skywalkers and commander tanos "usual meeting place"


He waited a few minutes, pacing fretfully up and down the hall. His vision pinged in the upper left corner.


Capt. Rex: lmao yeah I'm fine trooper. You want meeting room B-0085


Wade did a double take.


Wade: er sir. Are you sure that that's right? 


Capt. Rex: Ahsoka and Anakin thought it was hilarious that we had a conference room that spelled "boobs" and they kept insisting we meet there. Don't worry about it trooper.


Wade: okay. Thank you again sir.


Capt. Rex: no problem


The Captain's username greyed out, signifying that Rex had gone offline. Wade let out a shaky breath, and headed to conference room B-0085. He bit back a giggle just thinking about it.


Wade made it down the hall, and stepped inside the room, to see the commander lounging across two chairs, lanky arms thrown over the back of one, and legs kicked up on armrest of the other. She waved casually. "Hey, Rexter."


"Commander." He nodded at her, once again feeling very out of his depth.


"Twenty cred this has something to do with Padmé." Ahsoka grinned at him.


"Why do you- We're just about to round Naboo, aren't we?" Wade sighed. "I'm not going to take a fool's bet."


Ahsoka rolled her shoulders, and sat up. "He really thinks nobody knows. It's almost sad." 


"He's not subtle, is he?" He laughed a little. Even he knew about the General and the Senator, and that was mostly through Hardcase.


The teen grinned at him. "Yesterday he started telling me a story about her and started off with 'my wi-' and corrected himself. C'mon Rex, sit down."


He shrugged and took a seat.


"Aren't you gonna take off your helmet?"


He froze, and stiffened, turning to look at her. He started trying to come up with an excuse, and was interrupted by the doors sliding open, and the General swanning in. "Rex has taken up playing holo games again."


Ahsoka threw her head back and cackled. "Your one vice! I knew it! Which one now?"


Wade blanked. "Er, tetris."


Ahsoka stopped laughing and peered at him critically. "You hate that game. Are you really Rex?"


Beginning to sweat bullets, Wade sat up straighter. "Yes. Obviously."


"Leave him alone Snips." Skywalker flapped a hand at her. "We have to figure out a game plan."


Wade turned to the General, who was pulling up a set of schematics. The holomap on the table pulled up a planet, a few systems away. The figures hovering around it said that it was a medium sized planet in a solitary star system. It had three moons, and a breathable atmo for humanoids. He reached out and zoomed in towards the coordinate point that had been selected. It was heavily forested with lush jungle, but the clearing maybe a mile away quickly sprung up into a densely populated city.


"Oh, a jungle? That'll be nice."


General Skywalker froze, and tilted his head at him appraisingly. "Who are you, and what have you done with Rex?"


"W-what?" He stammered out, frantically composing a message to Rex.


Wade: sir, please, the general and the commander keep telling me I'm not you 


Wade: sir they're onto you


Anakin leaned across the table, and squinted into his visor. "You hate the jungle."


His comm pinged.


Capt. Rex: hang in there vod, tell them that you're sick and don't have time to deal with their jedi nonsense


Putting an elbow on the table, propping her cheek against a fist, Ahsoka looked at him critically. "Yeah- last time we had to do a jungle mission you complained the whole time."


Wade: sir!!! I can't insult the Jedi!!!


Capt. Rex: sure you can


Wade: :-(


He took a shallow breath and slumped his shoulders. "I'm a little sick. I was hoping the humidity would clear my sinuses."


Commander Tano rolled her eyes. "Oh really?"


Well. In for a penny, in for a pound. Wade channeled his annoyance with the whole situation and snapped at her. "Oh, I'm sorry. Are they your sinuses? It's not like I have the force to keep me from getting the sniffles. Sir."


General Skywalker lit up brightly. "There's the Rex I knew! You were being too nice to be feeling alright. I'm glad you admitted it quicker than usual."


Ahsoka smiled at Wade. "We were just teasing you, Rexter."


He hummed noncommittally and shot off one more text. 


Wade: they told me they were just messing with me because I was being polite????


Capt. Rex: lol


He looked back up when the General started talking again. "Okay- so, Padmé needs a diplomatic escort for this mission, and since we're in the vicinity, I thought we could help out."




Wade had his helmet off, and was trying not to cry in frustration. Mainly because he figured if he started, all that would happen is that the glitter would stick to his eyes.


Fives grinned sheepishly. "Does it help if we didn't mean to do this?"


"You didn't mean to fill the air vents with fine particle glitter?" He asked, voice embarrassingly wobbly.


"Well no- we did mean to do that." Echo corrected.


Jesse leaned into his line of sight. "The package was supposed to be airtight. We were saving it for the real Rex."


Echo shrugged. "How were we supposed to know that the friction of the air and the metal would cause it to rupture the package?"


Fives tugged him into a side hug. "Sorry vod'ika. It was really just a stroke of bad luck that you got caught in the blowback."


"Your goatee is more glitter than hair." He remarked dazedly.


They grinned, and ruffled his hair, sending another cloud of glitter down. "I think all of us are more glitter than anything."


Jesse looked at himself in consideration. "Do you think we could convince everyone that this is an ARC thing?"


"No." Echo, Fives, and Wade said in tandem.




A sleek little chrome shuttle docked in the hanger bay, right on time. Wade stood at attention next to General Skywalker, and Commander Tano.


Padmé Amidala stepped down the ramp, a gentle smile on her face, eyes creasing in happiness when she saw Anakin. "Hello Anakin."


Anakin bowed slightly at the waist, beaming up at her. "My lady."


Ahsoka looked at him, and rolled her eyes in exasperation, turning back to Skywalker. "Alright master, while you go show the Senator where she's staying, me and Rex are going to go get food."


As much as he didn't want to stick around, if he went to the mess he'd have no excuse not to take his bucket off. Wade turned to the couple to offer to go with them, when Ahsoka grabbed his gauntlet and dragged him away. 


She was serious about getting food, and he felt dread sink into his bones as they got closer and closer to the cafeteria. 


Wade: sir. I think I'm compromised


Capt. Rex: sgdfhk lmao. Sucks. Ok u wil be fi ne


Wade paused, furrowing his brows.


Wade: sir? Are you okay?


Capt. Rex: drubkm. Cody got  engwged and whe went out to get dreiks. Woolfe hdre too. Having fun!!!!


He was definitely on his own then.


Wade: try not to die, sir. I can't do this for much longer.


Pulled into line, he and the commander got their lunch rations, hers all protein, and then he was dragged to sit down. 


Ahsoka sat down with a huff, and started digging in with all the enthusiasm of the rapidly growing, Montrals twitching slightly.


Wade winced internally and tugged the bucket off. He set it next to him, and saw Tup from across the cafeteria giving him a sympathetic wince, and the hand sign for 'luck'.


He started eating quickly, hoping to finish before she looked up.


No such luck.


"Woah- Rex! You're coated in glitter!"


Oh. He could work with that. "I am aware."


"What happened?" She asked curiously, plucking a pinch out of his hair, and rubbing it between her fingers.


"Fives happened. And Echo. And Jesse." He said, not even trying to disguise the exhaustion in his voice. "Which is part of the reason why I've been keeping my bucket on. I don't want to trail it everywhere.


"That makes sense." She nodded. "What doesn't make sense, is why you look so much younger."


His head shot up involuntarily, and he winced. "I. Don't know what you're talking about."


She leveled him with an unimpressed look. "I'm not stupid, or even as unobservant as Anakin is. Even with a good nap, you're not going to look like a fresh faced shiny."


"Would you believe it was a facemask Dogma had me try?" He asked, clutching at straws.


"I know you're not Rex. I also know that he wouldn't go through all this trouble if it wasn't important to him, so I won't ask why. I'll cover for you, don't worry."


Wade let out a shaky sigh of relief. "Oh thank god."


Ahsoka stuck her hand out to shake. "Hi. I'm Ahsoka Tano."


He smiled at her tentatively, and grasped it firmly. "Hey. I'm Wade."


She looked confused for a moment. "Didn't you have purple, long hair?"


Pleasantly surprised, he blinked. "It wasn't that long. It just went past my ears."


"Well I mean- it was longer than 'regulation' hair is."


"That's fair. It's just that everything looks short when compared to Tup's hair." He laughed, relaxing. "I'm surprised you remember me."


"Your hair was purple! That's pretty memorable. What happened?"


"Er, the captain asked me if I was willing to switch up my look, essentially. He kinda. Tricked me into covering for him." He admitted. "But also, there's no way that he dyes his hair. My roots have already started growing out."


Ahsoka leaned forward conspiratorially. "I've seen him dye his eyebrows . They come in almost transparent."




Commander Tano already knew, but that didn't make Wade any less nervous about the considering frowns the General kept sending his way.


So when General Skywalker approached him in the hallway, he thought he was done for. He'd managed to avoid the man for three days, (Not that it was hard with Padmé there, and Ahsoka running interference, but the ship was only so big) and it seemed his luck had run out, his helmet was off.


"Rex- we're gonna be disembarking in two hours, will you go get a small squad together? Nothing too big, I just want back up." The Jedi said, looking distracted.


"For what reason sir?"


Anakin smiled wryly at him. "You asked me to stop saying it months ago."


Wade nodded like he understood. "Right. I'll get on that sir."


"Okay. Great. I'm going to go. Go make sure Senator Amidala is doing alright."


"Of course sir." He said, as flatly as he could matter. "I'll go round up some of the vod."


"Good man." Anakin patted him absently on the arm, spinning on his heel to walk out. "I need to go tell Ahsoka she's in charge."


He stared after him, in disbelief that he'd not been caught out. Maybe this week had aged him as much as he felt it had.


Not pushing his luck, he started off down the corridor, stopping first at the bunkroom he knew Hardcase was in. He poked his head in and saw Hardcase holding court in sabacc, a pile of candy and little trinkets in their lap.


Hardcase looked up and made eye contact, and smiled broadly. "She/her/hers."


A vod in the corner, teal hair pinned up neatly in a plait scowled. "I knew I shouldn't have bet my gender on that hand."


"It's okay Carol- I'll share." Hardcase leaned over, and patted her hand.


"Alright- er, in two hours we're headed planetside for a diplomatic run. Do you want to come?" He asked awkwardly.


She lit up, tattoos crinkling. "Sure!"


He turned to the others there. "The General said a small squad- do you want to come?"


Three of them raised a hand, and he nodded. "Hanger bay ausk, get there a little early, please?"


"You got it, Not-Captain." Carol smirked at him.


He rolled his eyes. "So. Hour and a half?"


Waving him away, Hardcase turned back to her cards. "Sure, that's enough time for me to win a few more hands."


A grumble went up from the group, but everyone went back to the game.


He took that as his cue to leave, and walked through the maze of hallways until he reached the room where he'd been spending a surprising amount of his time.


Jesse answered the door before he even went to open it. Wade blinked in surprise. "Hi, Jesse."


"Hi! Are we going on a mission?" He asked excitedly, rocking on the balls of his feet.


"Uh- yeah, how'd you-" He stammered.


"- I put a tracker on your armor." Echo said boredly from where he was perched on the top bunk, scrolling through a holopad.


He craned his head around, trying to see his back. "What? Where?"


"Why would I tell you? It was the perfect opportunity. Rex is far too observant for me to manage it without something blowing up."


Wade wrinkled his nose. "I guess that makes sense."


"Are we gonna go cause some chaos?" Fives asked, craning their head up from where they were doing what looked like an inverted push-up, except they were only using one hand.


Wade shrugged, and leaned against the doorframe. "It's not like I can stop you. You outrank me."


"Damn right we do!" Jesse beamed, pulling him into a headlock and noogie-ing him.


Fives lowered themselves back to the ground carefully, and smiled smugly. "Glad to know you've accepted it."


He sighed, and half-heartedly tried to bat away Jesse's fist.


"Let'im go Jess." Echo snorted. "Don't break the shiny."


"Aw." Jesse let him go reluctantly. "So. Mission?"


"Yeah." Wade nodded, ignoring the shiny comment. When he'd said he wasn't a shiny the first time, Fives had dragged him to the training room and proceeded to thoroughly kick his ass. The last time he'd said it, Echo had made him run laps until he threw up. 


Their excuse was that ' Captain Rex works out like that' and that it 'made it that much more realistic' but he knew that they just liked seeing him suffer. Wade did not appreciate the ARC troopers' quote unquote ""help"".


"Okay. When?" Echo peered over the top of his datapad.


"Hour and a half? Roughly?"


"Alright. We'll be there." Echo nodded, turning back to whatever he was working on.




Wade was stiff as a board as they boarded the laartie, and didn't relax until they were off it. And even then it was minutely as they waited for General Kenobi, and by extension, Rex, to rendezvous with them.


Hardcase was picking up larger and larger pebbles and chucking them at Fives' feet, until they noticed. Jesse had climbed up a tree just to prove he could, and was now trying to carefully make his way down. Echo was reading the dossier that Anakin had instinctively handed him, making notes that everyone else could actually parse through. Carol, Dalex, and Phipps had procured a deck of playing cards from somewhere and were playing a modified game of bridge. Wade found himself pacing the treeline like a restless loth cat.


Fives glanced over at him. "Bored?"






He didn't respond, which Fives took as confirmation. They rolled their eyes. "Want to be distracted?"


He looked at them warily. "... How?"


The feral grin that split across their face made him wish he hadn't asked.




Rex trudged across towards them, and Wade saw in dismay that his armor was splattered with mud, and the insides of some creature.


Rex took his helmet off, and grinned at Wade. "Captain."


He scowled at him, and let his head fall back against the tree he'd collapsed in front of. "Captain." He grumbled back.


"See that the shine had worn off you a bit." Rex snickered, holding a hand out to help him up.


He got to his feet with a heave, his arms aching. The captain noticed his wince and raised an (dyed, he remembered) eyebrow. "Fives decided that I needed to do a few pushups. And then after a hundred decided to sit on my back."


Rex let out a laugh. "I see the ARC's took to you then."


"That's a nice way to say 'tried to see how far they could push me before I died'." 


Slinging an arm around his shoulder, Rex led him to the ship. "Let's switch armor, shall we?"


"Please. God. I miss my helmet so bad." He let his head drop. "I miss being able to take my helmet off. "


Rex just laughed.




Wade felt settled back into his bones in his own armor. It startled him to realize that he had gotten so used to the weight of the kama and cross chest pauldron that his gait took a bit of focus to switch back.


Rex had already gone back out to meet with everyone and touch base. Wade found himself revelling in the ability to hang back and have a moment for himself where he wasn't constantly afraid of being found out. He scrubbed a hand across his face, and closed his eyes. 


It was going to be strange to go back.


Jesse stepped inside the ship, and went to one of the storage bins bolted to the wall. He rummaged around until he found what he was looking for, letting out a triumphant "Ah ha!"


Wade looked up startled as Jesse linked elbows with him and dragged him back out into the late afternoon sun. He had a small canvas bag in his other hand, and Wade couldn't, for the life of him, figure out what was in it.


They passed Rex, Commander Cody, and Hardcase, doing his best to patch up the latter's leg. Rex waved absently. The game of cards had devolved into them building towers with it. The two senators and the Jedi were deep in conversation. Which left Jesse dragging him to the other ARC's.


"I am not going to do any more pushups," he insisted. "You can't make me."


Jesse rolled his eyes and dragged him to a felled tree, where Echo and Fives were sitting. A twin pair of smug grins didn't comfort him in the slightest. 


He turned back to Jesse. "If I die, you have to explain that to Tup."


Fives snorted. "We're not going to kill you. Jess, give him the bag."


Handing it over, Jesse went to go sit on the log, looking like Wade imagined a kid on life day would.


He looked at the three of them suspiciously, and reached into the bag, and pulled out a can of paint. Paint?






He grinned at them. "Does this mean that I'm not a shiny anymore?"


Echo laughed. "Not on your life shiny."


Wade would take it. And when all was said and done, someone had painted "backup rex" in aurebesh on his chestplate. He couldn't find it in himself to be upset.