Bad Batch - Love Languages
Fandom: Bad Batch; Star Wars
Pairing: Bad Batch x gn!reader
Type: Preferences / Drabbles
Warnings: mentions of guns/gunfire; hand-to-hand training/fighting; slight swearing; fluff; so much fluff [let me know if I missed anything!]
Word Count: ~3.2k
A/N: This is the first creative/non-academic writing I've attempted in over two years (thanks, grad school), and of course it's fanfiction. Kind of got away from me. Haven't seen anyone do this yet, and these are just my personal interpretations of what I think each Batcher's love language is. Enjoy!
Synposis: How the boys of Clone Force 99 show affection according to their top love language.
Hunter - Words of Affirmation
Hunter is full of surprises, and his expression of his love language is probably your favorite.
Surprising, because usually he’s something of a hard-ass to those he doesn’t know well, quicker to reprimand or rebuke than to reassure.
As leader of Clone Force 99, he’s used to giving orders, strategizing and planning, negotiating petty conflicts between his brothers.
He’s also used to training others.
Suffice it to say, talking, and knowing what words to pick, is something he is familiar with. And so it should be no surprise that words of affirmation come naturally to him.
But with you, it feels...different. Even though you’ve only been with the squad for a couple months, he’s accepted you as part of the team. His praise for you feels less like an obligation of duty, and more genuine, as you achieve the goals set out for you and smash through them headfirst.
He compliments you when your strategy on a mission works out in the squad’s favor.
When you come to him with problems, his first question is always, “Do you want advice or sympathy?” and it never fails to make you feel validated, whatever your troubles.
He’s the first to tell when your sleep is restless, alerted by your gasping breaths and the scent of fear in your sweat. Even if he’s on the other side of the ship, he’ll be there, brushing your hair off your clammy forehead, whispering that you’re safe, it’s not real, you’re here right now, you’re so strong.
Even things as small and simple as your cooking earn his praise.
A quiet “thank you” from him is enough to send a pleasant shudder up your spine, leaving you basking in his appreciation for much longer than necessary.
And for the most part, those two words are all you’re able to get out of him on a normal day. He doesn’t want to dilute his genuine appreciation of your efforts by commenting on them all the time.
He also doesn’t want you to get distracted by him. He feels the vibrations of your heart rate increasing whenever he says something affirming, registers the uptick in your body temperature, hears the quiet way your breath catches.
Even so, he feels his duty as your sergeant heavily.
He’s taken to training you in sparring during the few precious moments of downtime between missions, unsatisfied with the meager hand-to-hand combat training you’d received on Kamino.
While Tech, Wrecker, and Echo carry out supply runs, you and Hunter find yourselves circling one another in some clearing or another next to the Marauder, Crosshair your only audience and lookout.
He gives pointers as you orbit one another.
“Fists higher, cover your face... That’s it, just like that.”
And, “Try sweeping your legs like this. Get me off my feet... Very good, (y/n), that’s perfect.”
And, “Lock your wrist just before impact, it’ll help you land a solid blow.” He grunts when you jab him in the chest with this technique. “Doing great with this, mesh’la, keep it up.”
He doesn’t mean for his affirmations to sound so...sexy. Truly.
On this particular occasion, he’s all work, no play, only offering terse words as you try to land blows on each other.
Sweat runs down the sides of your face as you shuffle around him, eyes narrowed in concentration.
His red headband is damp with sweat of his own. Dark curls cling to his skin.
You shuffle in closer. Deflect a right hook past your body, throwing him off balance.
You crouch, scything your legs against the backs of his knees, just like he taught you. He crashes to the ground with a solid thump.
Standing over him, panting, you hover a heel over his throat. “I win.”
His eyes sparkle up at you, and then you’re helping him to his feet.
“Good job, mesh’la.”
A broad grin splits your face, heat rising to your cheeks. The three words are by far not his most eloquent. But the amount of affection in his gaze, and his heated skin against yours where you haven’t released his hand, makes your head swim.
“You’ve improved so fast,” he says.
“Well,” you say, breathless, “I had a good teacher.”
And the adoration on his face when he smiles is enough to make your knees wobble.
Crosshair - Acts of Service
You’d never know this was Crosshair’s love language if you hadn’t spent so much time with the squad. In fact, for the first few months of having you around, Crosshair was cold. Indifferent. Caustic, even.
But once he realized that you weren’t going anywhere (and found himself pleased with this fact), he slowly opened himself up to you. At least, as much as he felt comfortable.
Crosshair, though, is nothing if not a man of few words.
So he shows you his appreciation in his actions instead, making every observation, every movement count.
He worries he comes across as creepy for watching you so often, but he swears it’s for a good reason. You don’t seem to notice, and when you do, your heart flips in your chest.
It starts small. He brings you caf, just how you like it, on mornings when you’re kept up late after missions. You never even told him, or the others, how you like the energizing drink. You smile at him every time, but are met with a noncommittal grunt.
After hearing you grumble about having no hot water left in the fresher once or twice, he started letting you shower before him, instead of dead last. You thank him quietly, mind racing as you try to figure out why he’s being nice like this. Eventually you decide any of his brothers would have done the same. But a warm glow settles in your chest at the thought of him just the same.
(You are unaware of his quiet, though no less sincere threats to his brothers to be mindful of their water use for your sake. And also unaware of the relentless teasing Crosshair receives, his brothers too perceptive of his motivations.)
Other things, too. You hate cleaning the dishes; he does them before you even realize they need done. You can’t sleep with Wrecker snoring just a few bunks away; he swaps shifts with the beefy clone so the barracks are quiet when you want to sleep.
You forget to clean your blasters after a mission one night, and come out of the fresher to find Crosshair cleaning them for you.
It’s then that you realize, belatedly, what he’s been doing for weeks, months now. Silently taking on tasks that you dislike, going out of his way to make sure you had comfort and stability.
Your eyes lock on his as he glances up from where he’s lounging on the bottom bunk--your bunk--dirty rag in one hand, dismantled blaster in the other, toothpick dangling loose from his lips. His face is unreadable as he holds your gaze, amber eyes unwavering. Your heart does its familiar flip at the sight of him.
“You didn’t have to,” you murmur, taking a hesitant step forward.
He shrugs almost imperceptibly. “Don’t mention it.”
“Still.” Another step forward, tentative. You’re not oblivious to the fact that he doesn’t like to be around anyone. Including you. You hope you’re reading him correctly here.
But he stays sitting, watching you, hands resuming their activity almost on autopilot. If asked, he wouldn’t be able to explain why he provided these acts of service for you willingly, when Tech’s exasperated requests for help are always met by a scowl and complaints. Yet the warmth that tingles in his fingertips as you look at him now, as if seeing him for the first time... damn it all.
He grips the blaster a little tighter, willing himself to stay calm.
“I made sure to save some hot water for you,” you finally say, hoping the gesture is received by the broody clone with appreciation.
It is. He sets the rags and blaster down and stands, closing the distance between you two. He smells vaguely of carbon residue and grease. For a moment, as you gaze up at him, your hair still damp, heart racing, you think he might say something.
Instead, he reaches out to you, squeezes your arm. Then he’s gone, brushing past you to the fresher, leaving you frozen in the middle of the barracks. A quiet snicker escapes him as he looks back at you.
And then, just as quiet: “Thank you, cyar’ika.”
Tech - Quality Time
Tech isn’t usually one for any kind of intimacy: whether platonic or romantic, it simply does not fit with how he sees the world and its functions.
Not that he doesn't care about the rest of his squad, or you, but he tends to put his intellectual pursuits first.
But he loves company. Someone to babble at (or, more accurately, with), someone to share knowledge and intellect and even silence with. Someone to tinker alongside as the Marauder hurtles through hyperspace.
If you were being completely honest, his near-incessant chatter grated on your nerves for the first few weeks you spent with Clone Force 99. Useless facts, Hunter had once called Tech’s prattling. You had to agree.
But being the shiniest member of the Batch, you’d been handed cockpit duty during the same shifts as Tech.
The first few nights, he would not stop talking. Explaining how the ship’s hyperdrive worked, filling you in about details regarding the squad’s tactics (or lack thereof), more facts about your home planet than you ever cared to know.
By the third night, you humored him, and to your surprise (and his) you found yourself asking questions, engaged in what he had to say, offering what little anecdotes you thought he might find interesting.
He eventually quiets down. Tinkers with modifying his blasters, his goggles and screen, any minor piece of equipment he can get his hands on.
After that night, he requests that you are the one to go with him on supply runs or to perform reconnaissance missions.
He always ends up in the same part of the ship with you at the end of particularly long missions.
His chatter varies with his mood, but he always seems to be in good spirits when you’re around. Even if you’re just sitting in silence.
You’re sitting in the co-pilot seat, feet up on the control board, arms crossed over your chest. The mission earlier in the day took a lot of you, out of all of you.
Tech sits, as usual, in the pilot’s seat, hunched over a deformed mass of metal and wires. His goggles slip down his nose precariously.
Through sleepy eyes you glance over at him.
His hair, usually slicked back so neatly, is disheveled. A loose strand dangles over his forehead.
As if he feels your eyes on him, he says, without looking up, “Shift change was fifteen minutes ago.”
He’s right, of course. You were supposed to wake Echo as your replacement and get some much needed rest on an actual bed.
But you shift further down in the seat, humming noncommittally. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”
Tech glances at you then, an unreadable emotion in his eyes. “It’s against protocol.”
You hold his gaze a moment longer, feeling torn between the sleep hugging the edges of your consciousness and the anticipation of his next words. Right again. There were always supposed to be two alert squadmates on hand if something went wrong with the ship.
Tech, for his part, is elated at the thought of spending more time in your company. Even if you do look to be...three minutes and seventeen seconds from falling asleep.
He allows himself a half smile. “Just this once, then.”
“What you working on?” you ask, voice thick with a suppressed yawn.
“Well, you see, it’s just a prototype, but I thought if I could recalibrate the internal balancing mechanism of a blaster, I’d be able to achieve...”
Tech glances at you again in the midst of his explanation, and smiles softly at your sleeping form. For once, he was wrong. Two minutes and forty-three seconds.
“Sleep well, cyare.” And for once, he doesn’t mind the silence, content in your presence.
Echo - Gifts
Echo is always bringing you things that remind him of you. You swear your small corner of the Marauder is filled more with the trinkets and baubles he finds than things you bought yourself.
Not that you mind.
His time as a Separatist tool has made him all the more appreciative of the little things in life, and he can think of nothing more fitting than making sure those around him know how he feels. Ergo, he gives gifts.
Mounted above your sleeping space is a decapitated Battle Droid. It was his first kill with the Bad Batch, and he wanted to share the small victory with you.
In the front pocket of your backpack, the one you brought with you on every mission, sits a polished brown stone, worn smooth after decades of tumbling in a clear stream on Naboo. You remember the way Echo’s fingers brushed over your hand as he settled the rock’s solid weight in your palm.
Taped to the wall below the Battle Droid head are dehydrated and pressed flowers, one for nearly every planet the squad visited. Echo shuffles his feet every time he brings you a new one, eyes averted to the floor, suddenly shy. You bring the new plant to your nose every time, thanking him sincerely, and set to drying your newest gift.
He brings you useful things, on occasion, or things you were unwilling to buy for yourself, like a new screwdriver to replace the one you’d dropped down a ravine on some desert planet, or the bracelet of interlocking silver pieces he’d caught you admiring at market last week.
But mostly it’s small items that make him think of you. Flowers. Rocks. Small vials of water from water worlds and jars of soil from lush, verdant planets.
You’re generally not around when Echo chooses his next gift; sometimes he snags trinkets literally behind your back, tucking whatever it is into his utility belt as you turn back to face him.
You’ve noticed his secretive actions before, but usually in the next moment you’re on the move again towards a target or being shot at, and it is only later when he presents his gift that you recall him stuffing something into his pockets earlier.
Every gift leaves a smile on your face, and a strange feeling of helium in your chest.
You want to return the favor.
And so, the next time you catch Echo zipping closed a pocket on his utility belt, you let the rest of the Batch move ahead.
Removing a small bundle from your own belt, you catch Echo's attention.
He tilts his head, and you can only imagine the quirked eyebrow hidden beneath his helmet.
You hold the parcel out. He hesitates, then takes it from you and cradles it against his chest using his cybernetic arm. With his flesh hand he tugs loose the thin rope knotted around the parcel, and the gray cloth falls away, revealing your gift.
A soft gasp from him. His head raises to look at you through the helmet.
You smile. “Is it okay?”
He gingerly lifts the small canvas out of its wrappings. You’d done your best to paint, by light of Crosshair’s borrowed stolen rifle lamp during late nights in hyperspace, some of your favorite flowers from Echo.
“It’s...” His voice breaks. “It’s perfect.”
Hunter’s voice crackles in your ear, ordering you both to catch up.
“Just a minute.” Echo reaches into his pocket, where you'd seen him put something away just a few moments ago, and pulls out another flower.
It’s your favorite of all, and you wish you’d waited to paint the small canvas.
“Beautiful,” you say as you take it from him.
“Like you, sarad.”
Wrecker - Physical Touch
Wrecker is the best cuddler in the galaxy. Full stop.
When is this man not touching you in some way?
He ruffles your hair when you’re sitting in the cockpit, booming laughter greeting your playful attempts to swat his hand away.
Places a hand on your shoulders or your back if he’s trying to scoot around you.
Grabs your hand during rough flights and dog fights as you sit strapped in next to one another.
Offers, more gently than you would have expected for someone of his stature and disposition, to hold you when you wake up in a cold sweat, nightmare fading from your mind’s eye, adrenaline coursing hot and oppressive through your veins. He’s careful to be mindful of your boundaries, only wrapping an arm protectively around your middle when you give him the go-ahead. You sleep soundly the rest of that night, back against his broad chest, his legs curled up to support yours. And the next night, you almost want to ask for another cuddle session in his bunk. The thought makes your face warm.
He gives you Lula on nights when he’s on shift in the cockpit or when you’re by yourself in the Marauder, left behind with Echo or Crosshair to guard the ship.
During the few instances where the squad has no mission queued up, and you can spend a day or two planetside in some backwater port town, he’s leading you, hand-in-hand, to the nearest market for a supply run, or to a nearby lake, or on a mountain hike.
When you laugh, stumbling a little trying to keep up with his long strides, he looks back and squeezes your hand. He flashes you an apologetic smile.
“Sorry, (y/n), I got a little excited.”
You wave off his apology with a grin.
On one particular supply run, you’re hurrying to keep pace with your eager companion as he cuts a path through the marketplace crowd. His massive hand dwarfs yours, your fingers threaded between his. A laugh bubbles up as you follow in his wake.
He glances back at you and squeezes your hand gently. The affection on his face is enough to make you trip over your own feet.
He pulls you upright, and you thank him. Then he’s off again, leading you to a plant vendor a few spaces down.
You admire a glistening purple plant, its leaves shimmering iridescent in the sunlight, but your hand never leaves Wrecker’s firm, warm grip. You consider buying the purple plant, but another squeeze to your hand makes you look up.
A sheepish grin on his face, Wrecker holds up a vibrant rainbow flower, its five symmetrical petals a riot of colors, and tucks it gently into your hair.
His rough fingers graze your cheekbone as he pulls away.
Heat raises along the path he just traced.
You squeeze his hand.
He pulls you away from the stall, and instead of simply holding your hand, he slips his arm around you. Yours finds its place around his waist.
“Thank you,” you say, reaching up to caress the flower’s silky soft petals.
Wrecker beams down at you and tugs you closer, somehow. “It suits you.”
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