Disclaimer: I don't own the boys, and the term 'Infrablack' is stolen from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

A remix of the 'Obi-Wan and Maul meet in a bar'-theme. Needless to say, it's as AU as it is slash.

Rating for safety. EU is being ignored as needed. Also, I use the terms 'tenday' and 'week' interchangeably here.

Zero Sum Game

for Carmarthen

Week One

It was so very rare that your prey found you before you even went out to hunt it.

The Jedi, with the buzz cut of a padawan learner, stood in the entrance to the Infrablack and assessed the location.

Layout, escape routes, patrons, general atmosphere… Maul counted the flickering gazes before the Jedi slowly walked over to the bar. All in all, it was the same that Maul would have done, yet the Jedi's training had not prepared him to spot the one menace the club presented.

The prey had not noticed Maul, so he took his time to study it. A human male in his early twenties, pale skin and fair hair and an outfit of cream colored fabric that was as correct as the haircut. Rather attractive, too, with his lean figure and open face.

The Jedi ignored the stares he got – in this crowd of black clad people, he was the first thing you noticed, like a lone star in the night sky – and retreated to the left wall, where he leaned and looked at the small stage. Maul was surprised that the Jedi was holding a bottle of actual ale, and that he appeared to be impatient. The band was late and maybe the Jedi had come here to see them.

He couldn't begin to guess why a Jedi might like a band like Eulogy; music that oozed hate and despair like acid from every note, until your mind was covered in sores.

From pure appearance, this Jedi's body was a temple to the Light, but there were cracks in the façade, and Maul would find them all. He would defile this temple.


Obi-Wan couldn't help feeling that he was being observed. The source of the stares seemed to be hiding in one of the niches further back. He reached out with his Force senses, but the presence ran through his mental fingers like fog, cool and not unpleasant, just unusual. He wondered if he should investigate it, when it obviously didn't want to be found. Maybe it wouldn't like it.

Maybe it had been a mistake to come here at all. His forays into Coruscant nightlife had been few and far in between, and Qui-Gon had been loathe to let him go, even with a self-imposed curfew of midnight. He suspected that his Master's reservations had more to do with Eulogy's music than Obi-Wan's wish to go out. Sure, when you heard it the first time, it was pure evil, but when you dared a closer look, it was mournful and oddly comforting.

Anyway, they were late. Obi-Wan took a sip from his ale – it wasn't a particularly good brew – and hoped they would get their bearings soon.

And then the elusive presence moved. A being emerged from the shadows, short and obviously male, of a species Obi-Wan had never encountered before. He had a crown of small horns on his bald head, and was extremely well muscled. Clad in a tight shirt and equally tight pants, his face a maze of red and black patterns, he walked like he owned the place and had set his eyes on the world as the next thing to conquer. Suddenly he stopped and shot Obi-Wan a glance; his eyes were yellow.

Averting his gaze quickly, Obi-Wan pretended to be highly interested in his bottle. When he dared to sneak another look, the guy was at the bar, buying a drink. And of course, he realized he was being stared at, and looked back, eyes half closed and smiling. Promising.

Obi-Wan blinked. This was a guy, flirting with him.


On an abstract level, he'd known that roughly one in every ten beings was attracted to their own gender… but to actually be on the receiving end of such an attraction… that had never happened to Obi-Wan before.

Shouldn't he have his skin crawl with revulsion?


The Jedi had somehow sensed Maul, although he seemed to be oblivious to what his Force signature meant.

He also had kept staring, and so Maul had proceeded to flirt back. The Jedi didn't seem to know what to do with that, so blessedly innocent.

Not that Maul was supposed to remember it, either, since Lord Sidious considered a great many things too frivolous for his apprentice. However, he refrained from outright forbidding it, so Maul took his two nights on the town per tenday, one to pick up someone for some fun, changing locations, and one night at the Infrablack, where he took great care not to pick up anyone. Tonight, he was going to break that rule.

This Jedi was here for some experience, Maul could tell, and he was going to provide it, beyond the Jedi's wildest dreams. Or rather, nightmares.

Ordering a new drink, he sauntered over to the Jedi and casually leaned to the wall next to him.


The guy had wandered over to Obi-Wan and taken a place on the wall. Torn between wanting to escape and curiosity, Obi-Wan shifted from one foot to the other. This close, the guy seemed far more sinister. For all he knew, this could be a Force-sensitive crime lord.

"Here for the band?", the stranger asked. Very suave; his voice sounded exactly like his Force presence felt.

"Yes", Obi-Wan said, and it came out a little more apprehensive than he would have liked.

Watching the stage, the guy smiled. "Bands like this one are always half an hour late."

"Ah." He'd gotten here just in time for the announced beginning, but only now people were filing in. "Maybe they are late because the audience is late."

The guy shrugged. "Maybe so."

They watched as a technician tested the microphones. Their silence was oppressing, a gap where a part of the world should be, and begged to be filled.

"Seen them before?" Obi-Wan asked after a while, when he'd finished his ale and there was no means to ignore the stranger anymore.

"Two, three times."

"You like this kind of music."

The guy fixed him with a stare. "So do you", he said, although Obi-Wan thought he'd meant to say something entirely different. Perhaps it was less about liking and more about being.

"Hmm", Obi-Wan said noncommittally.

"I never thought Jedi were into doomtech."

"Not many." Obi-Wan smiled. "It greatly interferes with the serenity."

"That it does." The guy grinned and showed a row of teeth that seemed artfully filed and stained. "Now, the question is why you're here anyway."

"I don't know. It just struck a chord, so to speak."

The guy hummed an assent, with a faraway, almost sad look. He was exactly like doomtech… begging to be redeemed. If Obi-Wan could just find the right thing to say, he might save this one.

"I'm Obi-Wan", he offered.

"You may call me Maul", the guy said. Arrogant, were we.

Their conversation was cut short by the arrival of the band. As the five individuals of indeterminate race and gender trudged onto the stage, the crowd erupted into applause. The lead vocalist grunted something that sounded suspiciously like "Good to be back in this madhouse", and off they were on their mission to burst everyone's eardrums.

While Obi-Wan was content to just let it wash over him, and Maul even had closed his eyes, most of the crowd were either slam dancing or singing along.

After four fast numbers, the fifth was one of their few quieter ones. Maul snapped his eyes open at that and offered his hand.


"Dance?", Maul asked and raised what had to be his eyebrows.

Dance with another guy? In front of all of these people? "Um. I can't dance."

"It's not that hard." Maul smirked. "I'll show you."

Obi-Wan searched the crowd. Most were still alone, but a few couples were visible, one of them two girls that were grinding against each other almost indecently. Deprived of all arguments save one – and he already had let himself be chatted up, despite the Code – he took the hand, which was surprisingly dry and warm.

He let himself be steered onto the dance floor, and found himself arranged behind Maul, both of his hands on a warm, flat abdomen; their fingers entwined. The contrast between Maul's black and his own skin was rather surreal.

And then Maul began moving his hips to the beat, grinding his butt against places Obi-Wan usually did his best to ignore. Suddenly, they weren't to be ignored anymore; heat settled somewhere deep inside him and demanded to get closer. Mimicking Maul's movements, with much less grace, he found the fraction it created both relieving and exciting.

On the one hand, this was profoundly wrong. On the other hand it was thoroughly enjoyable. Obi-Wan tried to read Maul, who appeared to not only enjoy himself, but also seemed determined to make Obi-Wan feel good. And really, what was the harm to let loose a little?

To get lost in the beat, in the feeling of warm skin and the faintly exotic smell of the being writhing in his arms.


It hadn't been as much work as Maul had expected. The Jedi was lost in the moment, the Force thrumming around him and inviting Maul to let go. But no… if he wanted to take this to its logical conclusion, he needed to stay in control.

Then, the Jedi's right hand slid slightly upward, under his sweater. Maul stilled, and so did the Jedi. The fingers moved slightly, as if in wonder, and the Jedi removed his hand in a soft caress, that was breathtaking in its gentleness. Undemanding in nature, it nevertheless made Maul crave more.

"Sorry", the Jedi breathed in his ear. "I don't know what I was thinking."

Maul shook his head. If he didn't forgive the Jedi now, his plan wouldn't work. If he forgave the Jedi now, he might not be able to go through with it.

Obviously, the Jedi sensed his dilemma, because he withdrew and led them back to their place on the wall. In an odd gesture of possessiveness, he rested his hand on the small of Maul's back; unobtrusive, but very much there.

It was a couple thing; reassurance, comfort, support. Nobody else had ever done this to Maul. He usually took great care not to let things progress this far, and how could they, in one night. A little small talk and a dance were not enough to create a 'we', and yet the Jedi ignored that wisdom brazenly.

They didn't share any more looks until the band left, because there was no need to.

"I need to get going", the Jedi said eventually, as the club emptied.

"Do you?"

The Jedi removed his hand and shrugged apologetically. "I've got an early lecture tomorrow. So…"

"Pity", Maul said and stretched. There was no arguing with this Jedi's sense of duty yet, it seemed. "Same time next week?"

"Definitely." The Jedi smiled and looked at him intently.

Maul raised an eyebrow. What now?

The Jedi pressed a soft, unhurried kiss on his lips, then turned and walked out.

Maul licked his lips. They tasted faintly of someone else's salty sweat and ale. If he went through with his plan, he'd get this exactly once more, and then never again.

What could it hurt to revel in the Jedi's innocence for a while longer? It would be all the sweeter to see him devastated later.


Obi-Wan sat in the taxi and stared out into the night, unseeing. He was in way over his head here, but so was Maul, if his reaction to that accidental caress was any indication. It had somehow made Maul less… playful. So Obi-Wan had forced the issue, and it had been somewhat satisfying that Maul's world had refocused on the touch he'd offered; he'd felt it in the way the other's breathing had gradually become calmer, his stance more relaxed. He'd felt oddly powerful then, as if he was touching a great, sleeping predator.

There was no question that Maul was dangerous, but he was also fascinating; so smooth to the touch and almost sweet in how he tasted.

Yes, Obi-Wan had just kissed someone. He still couldn't fathom why he'd done that. He'd never kissed anyone before Maul… and now that he had, he wanted more.

He also had sealed a part of his fate with that kiss. If he had any sense at all, he'd go to the Council about a Dark Force-user… but the kiss would eventually come up, and he'd face recriminations. No. Better work on Maul slowly, make him realize the error of his way, because it was possible. He'd seen it.

Week Five

The Jedi was back, sitting at the bar and chatting with the barkeeper like any other regular. He turned, as if he had sensed Maul, and smiled at him. Maul nodded back and ambled over, unsure whether to be relieved or disappointed. All he knew was that he'd found himself ridiculously grateful that the Jedi had not turned up for their date.

But now the Jedi was back and anticipation dug its million tiny claws into Maul's skin.

"Hello, Maul", the Jedi greeted him, his eyes blue and dancing.

"Obi-Wan", he said and the Jedi's smile faltered.

He reached out and took Maul's hands. "I'm sorry I stood you up. I had to go on a mission and I didn't have your number… And then I came back here last week and you weren't there."

Maul shrugged. "I was away on business."

The Jedi leaned in for a kiss, and Maul returned it leisurely, delighting in every little gasp of surprise the Jedi made, savoring the innocence in it like good wine.

"Get a room", the barkeeper finally grumbled, so Maul drew back, and, outfitted with new drinks, they left for a booth in the back.

"So… what is that business you have to travel for?" the Jedi asked eventually.

"None of yours."

"Ah. I hope you didn't kill anyone."

Maul raised an eyebrow.

The Jedi grinned uneasily. "You don't seem the type for an honest occupation, is all."

"I'm glad to see that the tattoo does its job."

"I thought it was supposed to make you look sexy as hell."

"That, too."

"Now is the time to reveal that you're an accountant, actually."

Maul raised his eyebrow again. Usually people were deterred by silence, but not this Jedi.

"You really aren't very talkative, are you?"

"While I may not be tall, I am dark and handsome." Maul smirked. "I wasn't aware that 'chatty' was also required."

The Jedi exploded into startled laughter; happiness and contentment pouring off him and almost drowning Maul. He leaned back a little. It had been a long time since he had made anyone laugh.

"You're impossible", the Jedi said when he'd regained his composure.

Maul shrugged at the accusation. "Only highly improbable."

That had the Jedi grin again. Obviously Maul was still able to make someone smile, even after all these years. It was an odd sort of ego-boost.

"So…", the Jedi began, "if we aren't here to chat, what did you have in mind for the evening?"

"Do I really have to answer this?"


"Oh." Obi-Wan blinked. Sex. He knew he'd been fishing for this answer, but still… "And then?"

Maul leaned back and tilted his head ever so slightly, as if surprised. "We do it again."

"No." Obi-Wan refused to be scandalized. "I mean, 'then' as in 'next week'."

"You're a Jedi", Maul stated, seemingly puzzled.

"I know." And that was the point all along. If he surrendered his virginity to this near stranger tonight, that was one thing – one big thing, but he knew he'd trust Maul with it in a heartbeat – but if they met again, it would be some kind of relationship. It would be an attachment. "I could get to like you, you know. I'm trying to figure out whether you're worth the rule-breaking."

For a solid minute, Maul was silent, as if he knew that a quip would have made Obi-Wan leave.

"I wouldn't object to making this an arrangement."

It was probably the most honest Maul had ever been with Obi-Wan. He might actually be bringing out some good… this hardened, smooth individual might actually have a soft core.

"Good." Obi-Wan hoped that for Maul, it would become something more than an arrangement.


It was stupid, really. They'd just agreed to find the room the bartender had told them to get, but 'let's go fuck' would have been a rather crude thing to say. Nevertheless, Obi-Wan liked to have Maul speechless. He hefted himself up and held out a hand to Maul. "There's got to be a hotel somewhere near here."

There was.


"Don't you have any hair?" asked Obi-Wan later.

"I have lashes", Maul pointed out lazily, but didn't open his eyes. Why did one have to ruin a perfectly good afterglow by talking?

"I've never seen anyone of your species before."

"I'm a Zabrak."

"Really." Warm, slightly sweaty fingertips explored his horns. "Is there more than one variety?"

"No." He opened his eyes. "I'm a genetic defect, like your albinos."

Obi-Wan leaned in to kiss him. "You don't seem very defective to me."

Maul shrugged.

"No. I mean it. You're perfect."

Of course he was. But being told so was still somewhat satisfying.

Week Seven

"Were you waiting for me last week?"

Another good band was due for a concert in the Infrablack, so Maul and Obi-Wan were postponing their other exploits for a few hours. They were leaning against the wall again, and Obi-Wan had his arm around Maul's waist.

"Not really. I had a feeling that you wouldn't turn up."

"If I had your number, I could warn you beforehand."


"If you insist." Obi-Wan placed a small kiss to Maul's head and was being glared at for it.

"You're being patronizing."

"I'm just a very tolerant boyfriend. You could be married for all that I know."

Maul snorted. "Absolutely not."

"So it's really the organized crime scenario. I might be forced to arrest you one day, you know."

"And I might be forced to kill you one day", Maul shot back, with a little more venom than usual.

"You really mean that, do you?"

Maul shrugged. Sighing, Obi-Wan kissed Maul's brow. Hopefully, it wouldn't come down to that.

Week Eight

"I read up on Zabraks", Obi-Wan told Maul and once again ruined a perfect moment.

"You're talking too much", he said.

"I can't help it. Must be because Jedi are negotiators. Anyway, your tattoos aren't very Zabrakian."

"No." They weren't – he'd left everything behind before he was allowed to get the ritual patterns.

"So what are they? And why all the way down?"

"Seemed like a good idea at the time."

"Must have hurt like hell."

"Not really." The Dark Side provided him with very effective ways to deal with pain.

Obi-Wan continued to explore the patterns for a while. "One doesn't see a lot of Zabraks on the core worlds."


"So why are you here?"

Maul closed his eyes. "Less moral restrictions." Which was, in a way, true. The Iridonian military police hadn't wanted someone who was a little too good and a little too cocky about it. Luckily for them – in the short run – he was also a little too gay. Unluckily for them – in the long run – Lord Sidious had found him. So there.

Week Nine

Obi-Wan slowly stroked Maul's back as he waited for his lover to wake up. Maul always seemed to need a nap, and so Obi-Wan could partly understand Maul's annoyance when he tried to strike up a conversation.

Until today, Obi-Wan had thought some talking was required, but now that he had let Maul fall asleep, and was watching over him, it was far more intimate than anything they had ever shared before.

Also, Maul was rather cute when sleeping, though, of course, he would have been mortified to hear that. He was almost totally relaxed now, something he was too guarded to be when awake; and while those tattoos were meant to instill fear… from the right angle he merely looked like he was caught in permanent surprise.

Obi-Wan traced one jagged line across Maul's cheekbone, and Maul chose exactly that moment to wake up, blinking drowsily, his pupils delightfully wide for once. Their eyes met, and the moment stretched into infinity, as they searched and found, although Obi-Wan would never be able to describe what it was.

Then, Maul looked away as if suddenly uncomfortable. Obi-Wan continued his tracing for a moment.

"You are beautiful", he told Maul, and regretted it instantly.

"And you are a very soppy Jedi", Maul drawled back, and Obi-Wan grinned, and the odd soft feeling that had been retreating stopped and slowly settled back into place.

Week Eleven

"Where did you get all that muscle?", Obi-Wan asked and drummed his fingers on Maul's abs. Maul sighed inwardly. He didn't know if he preferred chatty Obi-Wan over the silent, earnest and loving person he had woken up to last time. Of course, Obi-Wan hadn't realized the importance of what had passed, but Maul had had enough of these looks devoted to him to recognize it. Well… ideally, he would set the plans in motion now. But it could wait.

He snatched Obi-Wan's hand. "I exercise a lot."

"Hmm. You don't look like someone who runs into a gym to lift weights."

"I don't."


"Martial Arts", he explained. Couldn't hurt to have Obi-Wan know that.

"Indeed." Obi-Wan got his hand free with a fast, twisting motion, grabbed Maul's wrists and tried to move them over his head. Try being the operative word, because Maul fought back, and they spent a few agreeable moments wrestling for dominance. Finally, Maul employed a move that Obi-Wan didn't seem to know and had him pinned, face down in the pillow. He lowered his mouth to Obi-Wan's ear and growled just so. A delighted shiver like a plead ran down Obi-Wan's spine, and Maul didn't hesitate to comply.

Week Twelve

Obi-Wan was sporting a rather silly, happy grin when they met at the Infrablack that night. "You", he said, "are the best boyfriend in the world."

Maul raised an eyebrow.

Obi-Wan ignored the admonishment and gave Maul an enthusiastic kiss.

"May I ask what prompted that idiotic statement earlier?", Maul demanded when he finally wasn't out of breath any more.

"I won a wrestling contest thanks to you." Obi-Wan grabbed his arm and steered him to the bar. "So I'm buying you a drink."

They found a booth in the back and sipped their respective ales for a while.

"What happened?" Maul couldn't help to be a little curious.

"Ah. He talks, after all." Obi-Wan shot him a dirty grin. "Someone I don't particularly like challenged me… and I deliberately nearly lost before I employed that move you used on me last week. And ta-dah." Obi-Wan grinned again before sobering. "That'll keep him off my back for a while."

Maul didn't make an enquiry about that, as he knew that feeling well enough. Obviously, the Jedi weren't as free of bullies as they pretended to be. Still, Obi-Wan didn't seem the type to invite bullying. Maul found it rather odd that someone should perceive and actually find Obi-Wan vulnerable in that way. Well. Unless he dug up the complete history, there was no changing the fact. It irked him.

"Oy. Central to Maul. Everything okay up there?"

Obi-Wan waved a hand in front of Maul's face and peered at him, smiling in amusement, eyes sparkling with devotion. Maul smiled back, reflexively, before he caught himself. Damn. Damn, damn, damn. He should have realized this earlier. He was on the best way to fall in love with that Jedi brat. Downing the rest of his ale, he stood up and reached for Obi-Wan's hand. Might as well be hanged for the whole ship instead of some bolts.

Week Fourteen

"You look like hell", Obi-Wan greeted Maul. And he did; his eyes were bloodshot, and he carried himself gingerly, as if in great pain.

"Thank you so very much."

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes and kissed Maul carefully. "What happened?"

"None of your business."

"Yes it is. I don't want to have to worry about you."

"I never asked you to", Maul spat and retreated a little.

"I know you didn't." Obi-Wan sighed. "But I do anyway. Silly me."

"You have no right to."

If he didn't know better, Obi-Wan would have said Maul was actually panicking with the notion. It didn't make any sense. He reached for Maul's hands and gave them a small squeeze.

"I have every damn right to worry. I've been breaking the Code for you for months now. Like it or not, I'm not in there for the sex alone, and neither are you."

Maul yanked his hands free.

"Wait. I'm not saying I want a confession or whatnot. But I think I'm entitled to be concerned about your well-being."

"You'd be better off if you weren't, Jedi."

Maul turned and stalked off into the night, anger swirling around him like a cape. Obi-Wan didn't follow him – he knew that this was the end, and that he'd had it coming since they'd met. Maybe it was for the better.

Week Fourteen and four days

Obi-Wan blinked blearily at the 'fresher wall and waited for the next wave of nausea to hit. Shit. He'd felt off for two days now, suspecting he was getting a cold, but he hadn't been prepared for this – worshipping the toilet for most of the night. Hell, Qui-Gon was away on a solo mission, so there was nobody to call the healers.

It got better shortly before sunrise, so he chanced the trip, with a plastic bag for emergencies.

He didn't have to use it, but the healer on duty seemed rather alarmed at the symptoms, took a blood sample and then had him lie down in an isolation ward for good measure.

She woke him when the sun was up. It flooded the room with yellow light like honey. He wondered if it tasted sweet. Reminded him of Maul.

"I'm giving you an antiviral agent and something against the fever", she said, then rammed a needle into his arm for a sinister looking IV drip.

He watched the drops. They gleamed in the sunlight. Drip, drip, drip.

"Padawan Kenobi? I'm sorry, but there's some information we need. You've come down with a notifiable condition."

He blinked. He really wasn't in the mood for talking. He wanted to sleep. Hadn't slept at all this night, needed to make up for that.

"It's a very rare form of hepatitis. Since you haven't received any blood donations we're aware of, you probably contracted it via intercourse. I need to know who infected you."

He blinked again. If she'd just leave him alone when he told her? "Maul. 's a guy, calls himself Maul. Zabrak… my height, 's got this weird red and black tattoos…" he trailed off. Girl probably didn't want to know that Maul tasted like sunlight.

"No full name? Place of residence?"

He closed his eyes. No. Wished he had. Then he could just call Maul and tell him he was sorry and that he tasted like sunlight.

She ruffled his hair – had on latex gloves, that felt weird – and said something about telling the Council, but he ignored her. He was so damn tired.

Week Fifteen

"Not out to meet that Jedi boy of yours, Lord Maul?"

Lord Sidious strode into Maul's quarters unannounced, as was his prerogative.

Maul bowed, hoping to hide his surprise. He'd been sure the entire affair had escaped his Master's notice.

"No, my Lord. He became suspicious before I could truly make him fall."

"You weren't trying very hard, either, if my information is correct." Lord Sidious' mental fingers brushed over Maul's memories. There was no point in wishing to hide the more incriminating details.

"No, my Master."

"Why?" The fingers plucked, unerringly, Obi-Wan's smiling face from the twilight of their first night together… "Such trust. Why not betray it?"

There was no answer. It had felt good, on the primal as well as on a more sublime level. It had reminded him of thoughts he'd had as a youth, that there had to be more to life. "I am not sure, my Master."

"Such a pity. You are a Sith, you should have control over your feelings."

"Yes, my Master. I will strive to get them in check."

"No, you won't. You like that sweet confusion a little too much to sort through it." Lord Sidious smiled, as if remembering a time when he'd been young and in lust.

"My Master…", Maul protested.

"I'm beginning to think that I made a mistake in teaching you. All the training I put you through, and you throw it away for a Jedi, and don't even realize what he's doing to you."

"I apologize, my Master. I will be more mindful from now on."

"You really do not understand how this works, do you, Maul?" The absence of the title stung like a physical blow. "You are corrupted. You are worthless."

"Yes, my Master."

"No. I think not."

And then, there was the lightning.

Uncounted week, a few months later

Cantinas in the Outer Rim didn't seem to know any music without 'jizz' somewhere in the definition. The lively, slightly off-key tune grated on Obi-Wan's nerves as he made his way through the crowded place. He'd entered because he'd felt a somewhat familiar presence there… someone who probably didn't like jizz either.

Maul was at the bar, hooded and almost huddling in a black cloak. He turned as Obi-Wan approached, his eyes glowing in the depth of the cowl, and inclined his head in greeting. Something seemed to be wrong with his face.

"Maul", Obi-Wan said.

"It's Khameir now", Maul snarled and grabbed Obi-Wan's elbow to steer him outside. The back alley was deserted.

"Why were you looking for me?", Maul growled.

Obi-Wan shook his head and reached for the hood. Maul didn't protest, so he carefully lifted it over the horns and let it fall back.

"What happened to you?", he asked. It might have been worse, of course, this red and black landscape cratered with numerous small, shallow white scars.

"That's not your concern."

"Maul…", he pleaded.

"Khameir. And I believe I asked you a question first."

"Khameir", Obi-Wan repeated carefully. It was rough on his throat. "I didn't come searching, I merely sensed your presence and… I had the vague idea of punching you, actually."

Maul/Khameir raised his eyebrows.

"I got a hepatitis from you and nearly died", he explained. And then he was expelled, which had felt like another near-death.

Maul/Khameir just blinked in surprise. "I gave you hepatitis", he repeated incredulously.


"I never was sick."

"It's asymptomatic in ninety percent of cases." He'd read up.

"Ah." Maul/Khameir blinked again. "I'm sorry, for what it's worth."

Obi-Wan nodded. "So, what happened to you?"

"Do I need to repeat myself? I don't want to talk about it."

"But, if I offered to talk about something else, or to stop talking and do something else to you…"

"You don't want to do anything else."

"Who says that?" Obi-Wan slowly raised his hand to Maul- Khameir's face. He flinched, but let the touch happen. "I don't care much about perfect looks. I know how you taste." He leaned in for a small kiss that ended up being much longer.

"Like sunlight", Obi-Wan told Khameir, who rolled his eyes.

"So very romantic."

"Maybe so." He took Khameir's hands. "Suppose we'd just start over. For real this time. Without the lies."

"You wouldn't want to", Khameir said, and freed his hands.

"I told you I don't care how you look."

"It's not about my looks."

"So… suppose you were honest? What would you tell me?"

"That I was the Sith apprentice. And that I would never betray my old Master, even if he nearly killed me."

The world exploded like a mirror, into thousands of tiny, glittering shards that settled around Obi-Wan. "Oh."

"Yes, oh." Khameir straightened as if bracing himself for a fight.

It was his duty as a Jedi to kill the Sith, but he wasn't a Jedi anymore, and Khameir was no Sith. And they were both so very lonely, if they were having this conversation at all.

Obi-Wan held out a hand, and Khameir took it.