what was lost, what was gained Ch. 2
A continuation of my amnesia maul fic. I'm also posting this on ao3 if any would prefer to read there! thanks @bluedaddysgirl for the original ask and @withercrown for the beta. 💕
Cody left the medbay. The general had the situation under control, and there was always another fire to put out in the 212th. By the time he made the long trip back to the central command, he had only managed to loosen his jaw.
Shake it off. Focus.
He acknowledged the troopers on duty and got to work. There was a small mountain of reports to get to, so he handled the most egregious ones first. Then he signed off on some requisition orders, adjusted the schedules of a few troopers, beefing up security. They hadn’t planned for a Sith prisoner, after all. If General Kenobi mentioned it later, Cody would be sure to press the issue.
Even if the general trusted Maul’s supposed amnesia, change of heart— whatever—it didn’t mean that it would last. They needed to be smart about this, and Cody didn’t have the Force to guide him. He only had his training and, barring that, his gut, which still hadn’t settled.
If this was the final straw that gave him an ulcer and he got reassigned to security detail like Commander Fox, he would throw himself out of the nearest airlock.
He surveyed the rations and supplies for the voyage to Coruscant. The trip wasn’t planned, but it was also the only good thing that had come out of the Sith’s presence. It gave the 212th a welcome reprieve from battle. The deployments had only grown in length and intensity these last few months, and though he and his men were proud and battle-hardened, they wore down the same as any soldier.
As he finished his review, his wrist comm pinged. Even through the hazy banding of the holo, the general still managed to look exhausted.
“Commander Cody, please send someone to fetch my datapads and bring them to cell 202 in block two. I will be rooming here for the remainder of our voyage to Coruscant.”
Two-oh-two. The cell across from Maul’s. Cody frowned under his helmet.
“General. If I may speak plainly…” General Kenobi nodded. “You’re exhausted, sir. Surely you would sleep better in your own quarters.” He saw fight in the general’s expression and pressed on anyway. “I’ve added a few troopers to security detail, and I’ll personally oversee the prisoner while you rest.”
The general ran his fingers through his hair, pushing it back from his forehead. It was a mess. All of him was a mess, actually.
“I would be asking too much—”
“—you wouldn’t.” And even if you did, I would do it anyway. “Would I lie to you, sir?”
General Kenobi seemed to perk up at that, smiled a small, unguarded smile, short-lived though it was.
“No, you wouldn’t,” the general replied. Against his better judgment, Cody felt his own lips twitch upward.
“I’ll be there in five, general.”
“Of course. Thank you, Cody.”
Cody pulled up a chair in front of cell 203. He wasn’t planning on relinquishing his post until the general had gotten proper rest. That meant letting him sleep past the beginning of his next shift. For all that General Kenobi stretched and skirted rules… Well, two could play that game. It would be good for him. Besides, the Sith was more or less inert—as much as that was even possible.
In the cell, secured behind two levels of ray shield, Maul was lounging on his cot. He dragged a clawed forefinger along the metal band on his neck. So the general wasn’t as trusting as Cody had thought… or maybe the Force-nullifying collar was for everyone else’s peace of mind, rather than his own.
Sssrk. Sssrk. Sssrk. Keratin on metal, just loud enough to hear over the hum of the shields. It was, of course, irritating. Cody almost adjusted his helmet’s adaptive sound parameters, but decided against it. He didn’t want the Sith to know that it bothered him.
Even without the Force, Maul still looked as relaxed as he did when the general had handled him. Half-reclined on his cot, metal legs splayed, head propped against the durasteel wall. He didn’t acknowledge Cody in the slightest. His eyes were cast downward, a dark gaze through darker lashes.
Cody pulled up Maul’s medical report on his datapad. It wasn’t as useful as he had hoped. A few blaster burns, several lightsaber wounds… including a stab through the shoulder. The general had checked that injury so fastidiously during his examination. Why? Had he felt guilty? The Sith wouldn’t have thought twice about killing him… or his entire squadron, for that matter.
The headache that had begun in the medbay bloomed behind Cody’s eyes. He continued to read.
Sssrk. Sssrk. Sssrk. There was slight cranial trauma, but it didn’t seem like the kind of injury that would cause amnesia. Though their knowledge on this race of zabrak was limited. Few of them ever left Dathomir, and their people were a secretive bunch.
Sssssrk. Sssssrk. Sssssrk. Cody looked up without raising his head, watching the Sith through his visor. The scratching had slowed, elongated, dragging from one side of his neck to the other. The motion looked unnervingly like cutting a throat. Just how sharp were his claws?
“If you break your collar, I’ll be forced to sedate you. Or worse,” Cody warned.
Maul didn’t stop immediately, finishing the motion before the block fell silent. He looked up at Cody then. Cody stared back. The Sith was a frightening figure, even in repose. Cody couldn’t imagine what he looked like normally, yellow eyes drowned in red and black, saberstaff arcing and blazing, singing for blood. The general could kill as easily as breathing. If a Jedi could do that, what was a Sith’s capacity for violence?
“Commander… Cody, was it?” Maul asked. He drew himself up, sitting back against the wall. “I hope you will excuse my… hesitance during your medic’s initial examination attempts. As you know, I was not in my right mind.”
Cody wanted to laugh. “And are you in it now? Your right mind?”
The man’s frown was slight, soft. “No, I suppose not. But I am no longer acutely disoriented.” Maul touched his own face, a seemingly absent gesture. Thumb followed forefinger over chin. He blinked. Caught Cody’s gaze again. The shift was abrupt, the attention intense.
“Would you remove your helmet, Commander?”
Cody bristled. “Why?”
“Let’s call it curiosity.” The way he dragged out the last word, rolling it along his tongue, made Cody’s skin crawl.
Fear. It was a healthy response, but it angered Cody anyway. He took a long breath. Focused. Maul couldn’t hurt him. He also had to watch the Sith for several more hours. What was the harm in humoring his request?
Cody took off his helmet. He met Maul’s gaze head on.
“Hm. Another clone,” Maul said. He looked away, as if he’d seen everything there was to see. “Though you have a fine scar. Attractive, among my people."
The insult was expected. The compliment was not. What was Maul playing at?
“Thanks,” Cody murmured, wary. “It’s attractive to humans, too.”
Maul smirked. A sharp, mean expression. “Is it now…” he trailed off, as if lost in thought. But his lips remained upturned, as if he was enjoying some amusing joke all to himself. Cody wasn’t about to ask after it.
Exhaustion, when it caught up to the Sith, was sudden. Cody had only just returned his attention to his datapad when he noticed Maul had fallen asleep. The Sith didn’t even have the chance to lay down. It looked like an uncomfortable position.
Cody didn’t wake him.
“Commander,” General Kenobi said. His voice was carefully pleasant. He was annoyed.
Cody kept his own expression neutral. “Sir?”
The general approached. His inner robe was neatly tucked, but the collar of his outer was folded under itself on one side. His hair was still a mess. His complexion was ruddier than normal.
“It seems I’ve overslept…” He ran his fingers through his hair, as if only realizing its current state. “I was so tired, in fact, I seemed to have forgotten to set my alarms.”
Cody fought the urge to smile. “It was no problem, general. Nothing unusual to report in your absence.”
General Kenobi sighed. “I know it was you, Cody.” The ire in his voice softened. “I appreciate your concern, but there are schedules for a reason.”
“Of course, sir. I won’t adjust your chronos again.”
I’ll just have Gregor do it.
“You know I can tell when you’re being facetious. You’re very bad at hiding it.” The general crossed his arms, but his own facade was broken. He shook his head, and then he smiled. It was one of those looks that made Cody feel like he was watching the sun break through the clouds on Kamino. “Thank you, Cody. It was nice getting a full night’s sleep for once.”
He touched Cody’s shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. Cody could hardly feel it through the armor, but that didn’t matter.
“Of course, sir. Anytime,” Cody replied. They both smiled, sharing that small, short-lived peace. No enemy to fight, no problem to fix. Not in that moment.
Maul watched them through his eyelashes, feigning sleep. He did not smile, but he did experience a sort of strange pleasure from the sight before him, knowing not where the cruel glee from within had manifested.