So, here goes the last bit of this monster…
A Knight's Honor
Maul was recovering fast. On the next day, they stopped feeding him intravenously, and let him sit up for short periods of time.
The morning after that, Obi-Wan entered Maul's room to find him having an argument with 2M and 1B7.
"Kenobi. Tell them that I could stand if they just let me", Maul ordered.
Obi-Wan just looked at him. He couldn't be serious.
"Come and feel, will you."
Letting out an exasperated breath, Obi-Wan complied. "I suppose you'd manage for a bit", he said, rather surprised. Maul really hadn't been boasting about the tenday.
"Why are you in such a hurry?"
Maul beckoned him closer. "Catheter", he whispered into Obi-Wan's ear.
Obi-Wan winced. "I see. 2M, it will be safe as long as it's only a few minutes at a time."
"I want him to sign a form if he wishes this."
Maul rolled his eyes. "Anything you want. Can we get this over with now?"
1B7 produced a datapad, on which Maul scribbled what had to be his signature, and then they were all ushered out politely for a few minutes.
Later, Adi let Obi-Wan take Maul to the bathroom without hassle, and after that, Maul slept most of the afternoon.
The guards left for an unknown destination after receiving an order from Panaka. "Her majesty says you won't need us anymore", one explained. "Eh. And good luck to you and your boyfriend."
"Thanks", he supposed. His boyfriend? His boyfriend, yes. The word sounded good inside Obi-Wan's head, giving an odd sense of belonging.
Because it made him feel better, Obi-Wan sat with Maul, reading. Sometime before dinner, Master Yoda entered with Qui-Gon in tow.
Obi-Wan stood to bow. "Masters."
"Young Obi-Wan. Master Adi", Master Yoda said. "Come here I have to talk with young Maul."
Qui-Gon just took a place on the wall and watched.
"I'll wake him", Obi-Wan offered and reached out to tap Maul's shoulder. "Oy. Maul."
Maul blinked at him drowsily.
"You got visitors."
"Tssk", Maul said and yawned before heaving himself upright. "Masters", he said without very much enthusiasm.
"Lord Maul", Master Yoda said. "Told I was that fit for transport you were."
"Accompany us to Coruscant you will. Await the ruling of the Council on your proposition, you will."
"I am sure we can reach a compromise, yes", Maul corrected.
Master Yoda narrowed his eyes, but didn't object. "Good. Require a place with the healers will you?"
"No, thank you. I will need some bed rest for a few days, but otherwise the wound needs no more tending to."
"Unnaturally fast you are healing."
Maul shrugged. "I was angry enough."
"Hrrm. Leave we will tomorrow, at 14 hundred hours."
"Good", Maul said.
Master Yoda nodded and walked out, but Qui-Gon hung back.
"Master", Obi-Wan repeated. He supposed they needed to talk about this sometime, but he didn't know if he wanted an audience.
"Obi-Wan. Maul. If I may still call you that."
With a gesture, Maul told him to go ahead.
"It's a little late for admonishments, I believe", Qui-Gon began. "But I am unsure as to what to say instead."
"It's okay to tell me you're disappointed", Obi-Wan offered. He'd probably feel better if Qui-Gon just shouted at him for a few minutes. "But, you know, there's nothing you could have done differently. Your training wasn't at fault."
Qui-Gon just raised his eyebrows, but Obi-Wan knew that under all that unperturbed demeanor was a man likely to blame himself for every wrong in the world. "No?"
"That Padawan of yours makes a very good Jedi", Maul interjected.
"On occasion", Qui-Gon said, his anger finally shining through.
"He knows when to let go and just listen. That's all you could want."
"And just why are you defending him?"
Maul blinked, dumbfounded. "You really don't get this, Master Jinn, do you."
"What is there to understand?"
Cocking his head, Maul made to answer.
"That's enough, thank you, Maul. Can we please take this outside, Master?"
In the hallway, they just stared at each other for a while.
"Look", Obi-Wan said. "What you're not getting is that he actually cares enough about me to argue with you."
"Do you need someone arguing for you now?"
"No. Which is why we are here, and he is in there."
"Good." Qui-Gon closed his eyes and seemed to ground himself. "This was not very constructive. I apologize. I have some trouble accepting that someone as adept as you would break every rule we have over someone like him."
"It's difficult to explain. As I said, I was curious and not really thinking with my brain that night. Then he decided he wanted a relationship. And I was just angry enough that I wasn't even allowed to consider it without facing major repercussions, and I just liked Maul enough to agree."
"I'm somewhat glad to see that you do have a rebellious streak. Only I wish you hadn't ruined your whole life by showing it."
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I disappointed you, and I'm sorry that I'm causing you so much trouble. But I'm not sorry for falling in love."
"No." Qui-Gon offered him a small, sad smile. "One shouldn't be sorry about such a thing." He turned and walked off.
Whew. So this was either still about Tahl, or about Shmi. Hm. So, they were leaving tomorrow. Obi-Wan returned to Maul and together, they plotted a little. Adi listened in and was actually inclined to help, which made Obi-Wan wonder how many Jedi carried a crush around, actually. Maybe an anonymous survey was in order.
Packing up the next morning was relatively easy, since the only persons with luggage worth mentioning were Anakin and Maul. Obi-Wan hauled one black outfit to the infirmary and helped Maul dress, then borrowed a hoverchair to get Maul back to their quarters.
One hour before departure, a protocol droid delivered a packet.
"Shmi!", Obi-Wan called. "Present for you."
She emerged from Anakin's room. "A present", she said doubtfully.
"A present. Best wishes from Padmé."
He handed her the box, and she sank down on the couch next to Maul, who was grinning maniacally.
She rustled around with some foil for a while. "Oh, my", she said eventually.
"Padmé really outdid herself", Maul commented idly.
"I can't possibly accept this", Shmi said weakly.
"You can, and you will wear this later and knock Qui-Gon's socks off", Obi-Wan instructed.
"But. Hold on. This was your idea!" She pointed an accusing finger at him.
"Yes. According to Padmé, that's definite proof I'm gay, but what the hell."
"Try it on, will you", Maul drawled. "I want to see if I was right."
"You were in on this."
"Yes. Since I am, according to Master Jinn, a budding artist."
She huffed, but went off to change anyway.
"What was this all about?", Anakin asked as he came looking for her a minute later.
"We're doing something about that crush of hers", Maul explained.
"Good. She's been a bit down since that thing with Master Dooku."
Shmi interrupted them, and yes, Maul had been right. Definitely not dark blue.
"Whoa", Anakin offered.
"I concur", Maul said. "You look gorgeous."
"I don't know", Shmi said and brushed over the skirt. The cream colored fabric rustled a little. "Isn't this a little too formal?"
"I told Padmé to find something that you could wear for your new job", Obi-Wan said. "So, no."
"I don't know. I've never owned something this expensive before."
"Shmi, stop fretting. He won't know what hit him."
Maul made her sit down with him until Anakin and Obi-Wan were done and carrying a bag each.
Obi-Wan offered Maul a hand to drag him up, only to find the bag taken from him.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm going to walk to the hangar. I won't face all these people sitting down."
"I understand you're proud, but Maul…"
"They need to know who they are dealing with."
"Fine. Your funeral."
Maul just shrugged.
Thus they walked, and while they weren't very fast, they still made it on time, to find the group of Jedi Masters flocking in the hangar behind Master Yoda like a group of excited schoolchildren.
At a few paces distance, they stopped, and Obi-Wan took one moment to admire Qui-Gon's slack-jawed face before bowing. Maul followed suit, a little stiffly, as did Anakin.
"Young Kenobi. Young Skywalker. Ms. Skywalker. Lord Maul. Healing apace, you are, I see."
"Yes, thank you."
"Why don't we board before he keels over", Adi suggested.
"If that isn't a vote of confidence", Maul deadpanned.
Their easy rapport seemed to calm the others somewhat.
"Wait we have to for her Majesty", Master Yoda said.
Indeed, a few seconds later, Padmé in costume and her handmaidens came around a corner.
There was another round of bows.
"I have come to see you off personally. I do hope your stay here was pleasant, Masters. Master Jinn, I hope to see you here again sometime. The Naboo will forever be in your debt."
"It was merely my duty, your Majesty."
She inclined her head, she would know about duty.
"Now. Obi-Wan. Thanks for everything." She came forward to hug him, went right on to Maul and then kneeled before Anakin. "We won't ever forget the debt we owe you, Anakin Skywalker. You are welcome here anytime." She stood and pecked him on the cheek. "Good luck to you all. Now. Shmi?"
"Yes. A moment please." Shmi offered another round of hugs and good luck wishes, making Anakin blink back some tears. Finally, she went to Qui-Gon. "You take good care of my son", she ordered.
"And call sometimes."
He frowned, obviously confused. "Yes."
"Good." She stood on her tiptoes to kissed him, whirled around and took a place behind the handmaidens before he could so much as blink.
With a wink, Padmé turned around and off they were.
"Now that was a surprise", Master Billaba said.
Qui-Gon shook his head and didn't comment. Obi-Wan had no idea of his master's love life, so that just might have been the first actual kiss he'd ever gotten. At near sixty.
"Everything okay with you?", Maul whispered into his ear.
"Yes. I just thought it's a bit sad. You alright?"
"That little minx groped me."
And so it happened that Anakin had to drag Obi-Wan up the ramp, because he really just wanted to sit down and have a fit of giggles.
The flight was uneventful, with Qui-Gon staring into space, Anakin hanging around in the cockpit and the Masters keeping their distance.
Adi came over once to see if Maul was doing okay.
It was mid morning on Coruscant when they arrived, landing in one of the Temple's hangars.
There was quite a crowd awaiting them – everyone left of the Council, even Master Windu, who was still on crutches, plus an unknown number of others.
"You'd better get used to it. You're the first Sith they get to see in a millennium, and you're not dead."
"It's still a security leak the size of black hole", Maul said.
They met the others at the ramp and followed Master Yoda. Murmurs erupted until the hangar was ringing with them. Master Yoda tapped his stick on the floor twice, and suddenly, it was very quiet.
"Good. Now. Introduce I may Maul, Dark Lord of the Sith. Offered a peace treaty he has. Guest he will be here until otherwise I say."
Maul inclined his head to the audience in general.
"Go into session the Council will about this and another matter of import at noon. Stay in a guest room, Lord Maul will. Advise I do that you bother him not. An escort, he will have. Master Agen, if will you. The rest – shoo!"
They took flight like scared birds.
"Now that is what I call authority", Maul said.
Master Yoda turned and gave him a shrewd look. "Never would you achieve such a thing through intimidation."
"Iam here to parley", Maul pointed out. "And I never said they were afraid of you."
"Hrrm. Good. Master Agen, help him settle you will. Visitors, he may receive, if under your supervision they remain." He eyed Maul warningly.
"I know the routine by now."
"Good. Also, Master Agen, advise I do that you wonder not about young Kenobi's behavior. Discuss the issue the Council will today."
Agen nodded, a little confused. At least this was someone Obi-Wan was on first name basis with.
Obi-Wan nudged Maul down the ramp as the Council left.
"Obi-Wan. Do you want to explain what Yoda meant?"
"Ah, yes." This would work. Agen would neither have a heart attack nor kill anyone. "I'm more or less waiting to be expelled, you see. Maul, this is Master Agen Kolar. Agen, this would be my boyfriend Maul."
"Hi", Maul said.
Agen just stared. "Run that by me again, please."
"We're together. As in, a couple."
"Ah. I still don't get it. This is the Sith you nearly killed on Naboo."
"It's okay", Maul interjected. "I forgive him. I nearly killed Master Jinn, so we're even."
"You find this funny?"
Maul shrugged. Obi-Wan shrugged. He had to find it funny, otherwise he'd have gone mad already.
Agen just shook his head. "Don't expect me to understand or condone any of this."
"No. As I said, I'll probably be a civilian by tonight."
Okay. He'd expected this. He was lucky Qui-Gon and Adi were so understanding, but that was probably the extent of it.
They walked to the assigned quarters in silence, drawing curious looks. Once there, Maul plopped down in the couch and closed his eyes.
"Fuck", Maul said.
"You okay?", Obi-Wan asked.
"I told you so."
"The look on Master Yoda's face was definitely worth this."
"I don't know about that. Let's get you into bed, hmm."
"I have to stand up for that, don't I?"
"Shit." He opened his eyes and took a hand Obi-Wan offered.
Two minutes later, he was curled up on the bed and snoring slightly. Carefully, Obi-Wan freed him of his tunic.
"What do you think you're doing?", Agen asked.
"He let Dooku nearly cut him in half", Obi-Wan explained. "It was five days ago, and he insists on walking around. I need to have a look at that wound."
2M had covered it with some transparent bacta jelly that didn't need bandages. To his immense relief, not only did it look good, but a Force probe proved that everything inside was intact, as well.
"He's a Zabrak, no?"
"He thinks so, yes. I've never seen anyone like him, though."
"It's a pretty rare subspecies. You say he did that on purpose." Despite himself, Agen seemed a little intrigued.
"Yeah. Or rather, he says he could have killed Dooku anytime he wanted, but he thought to give me a chance to prove that attachment isn't dangerous." Obi-Wan covered Maul up and followed Agen outside again.
"They say Dooku was a Sith."
"Maul says he was a Dark Force user. Dooku didn't have a proper Sith name. He came to Naboo to recruit Maul as a follower."
"And Maul refused."
Sighing, Obi-Wan thought of the shortest possible explanation. "In Maul's opinion, he is the Sith Master, and Dooku was a mere usurper. And, apparently, he likes me enough not to kill me."
"He cares about you", Agen said, completely bewildered.
Agen nodded, and that was the end of their conversation. However, the silence wasn't oppressive, just there, so it wasn't too bad.
A little after noon, there was an excited knock on the door. Obi-Wan reached out and found familiar presences. He'd really hoped to put this off for a while. "It's the crew", he told Agen. "May I?"
"This is Maul's place."
"I don't think he would object."
"It's your head."
Obi-Wan smiled at the underhanded acceptance and opened the door.
"Took you long enough", Garen said. Siri nodded in agreement.
"Hey, Obi-Wan", Bant smiled. "May we come in?"
"Sure. But be quiet. Maul's sleeping." Obi-Wan let them enter.
Siri had a look around the quarters in wonder. They were much more lavish than anything a Jedi was offered here, and they were not earth tones. "Oh, hello, Master Kolar. – Wouldn't that be 'Lord Maul'?", she asked.
"Only if he doesn't know you and wants to make a point", Obi-Wan said.
"Ah. Why are you hanging out here, anyway? Master Qui-Gon wasn't very forthcoming about it."
"And he's got a new Padawan", Bant added. "Does that mean the rumor's true and you're going to be knighted?"
"I don't know", Obi-Wan said. "Sit down, will you?"
They did, piling on the dark red leather couch.
"Bad news?", Garen asked.
"I'm waiting for them, actually. They'll probably kick me out."
"Huh?", Garen said.
"They can't do that!", Bant objected.
"Yes they can", Agen rebuked her.
"Look, guys, he's right." He fingered his Padawan braid for a moment. He was going to miss that. "I've committed a major infraction."
"You?", Siri asked, incredulous.
"Yes, me. Maul and I are together."
Bant eeped, Siri gaped.
"Hang on…", Garen said. "What do you mean?"
"Boys." Siri rolled her eyes. "What he said. Really? You're not joking?"
"I don't know. Did you…?"
Suddenly, Obi-Wan realized that he was sharing the room with a bunch of virgins. "Yes", he said anyway.
"Whoa. And you really like him enough to risk being thrown out."
There was silence as they tried to process the information.
"This is crazy", Garen said after a while. "Almost all of the younger padawans are looking up to you. You never had to work for your grades, you win most fencing tournaments without breaking into a sweat and you get all the cool missions. And here you go showing them all the finger and essentially tell them that you don't give a shit about everything they work for all because of one scrawny, tattooed Sith freak!"
Garen rose and Obi-Wan followed because you just didn't take a rant like that sitting down. And hell, it felt good to finally be yelled at. "That's not true!"
"But they'll take it that way! You're saying that it's more important to follow your dick than to save the galaxy!"
"And you're jealous!"
Someone cleared their throat, and Obi-Wan turned to find Maul standing in the doorway, in all his half-naked glory.
"While this was very entertaining, I'd appreciate it if you could keep it down."
"Sorry." Obi-Wan ducked his head.
Maul shrugged. "You didn't start it. Friends of yours, I presume?"
"Um, yes. This is Bant Eerin, Siri Tachi and Garen Muln."
Bant and Siri offered sheepish hellos, while Garen just inclined his head.
"Guys, this is Maul."
"Hi. Forgive my current state of undress." Although he didn't sound sorry at all. If anything, he'd done this on purpose just to prove that he wasn't scrawny. "I will be out in a minute."
"You need your rest", Obi-Wan objected.
"No way. You need backup."
Since arguing wouldn't change Maul's opinion, Obi-Wan held up his hands in defeat. Maul flashed him a grin and retreated.
"So, that's him", Bant stated the obvious.
An oppressive silence settled as they all looked around, searching for something to say and not finding anything.
Finally, Maul came out, fully dressed, and settled next to Obi-Wan, snaking an arm around his waist.
The others seemed too busy staring to actually start a conversation, and Maul wasn't liable to say anything in company unless prodded.
"Master Yoda said there was trouble with the Senate", Obi-Wan began. "What happened?"
Bant looked at him questioningly. "Well, it's probably nothing you can't read on the net… The Council killed their Supreme Chancellor, and they just aren't ready to believe he was a Sith."
"So they think we were meddling with politics."
"Actually, they think we didn't approve of him, so we killed him to have someone else elected."
"What?", Garen asked sharply.
"You actually sound surprised at the suspicion."
"Shouldn't we be?"
"People fear everything they don't understand, especially if it has as much power as you have."
"But we're not using it", Siri objected.
"No. But they don't know that. They just see a bunch of arrogant hermits who seem like they aren't capable of any emotion."
"Thank you so very much", Obi-Wan said, before Garen exploded again.
"I'm merely paraphrasing the popular opinion. Your public relations are a disaster."
"We're not here to look good on the news", Bant said.
"No. But it doesn't hurt, either."
"Maybe", Siri admitted. "But what about you, Maul? We don't understand you, so how are we supposed not to fear you?"
Maul laughed silently. "You are missing the point. I am a Sith. People are supposed to fear me. If they don't, I have made some grave mistakes."
Thus the others gaped.
"Maul…", Obi-Wan pleaded.
"Yes. I'm supposed to say that I was just joking, right?"
"No." Because Obi-Wan knew he hadn't been. "But you could use some diplomatic skills."
"I have you for that."
"I won't be there every time you get yourself into trouble."
With oddly soft eyes, Maul leaned into him until their noses touched. "Quit fretting. I can take care of myself."
Maul settled back and stared as if daring the others to say anything.
"So much for public relations", Bant said quietly.
"You're giving some rather contradictive evidence."
"Yes", Maul admitted. "But I don't depend on public opinion right now."
"So, what would you have us do?", Obi-Wan asked.
"I was actually planning on offering the first half. The second half would be up to your Council."
"Why?", Garen asked. "Why concern yourself with our Order?"
"Because my boyfriend here actually likes being a Jedi. I don't get it, but I won't sabotage him, either."
The word sent a half pleased, half panicky tingle through Obi-Wan's stomach. Somehow, it felt as if they just had made their thing official.
"This is worse than a romance vid", Garen complained.
"There's nothing wrong with romance vids", Siri countered. "How did you get together, anyway?", she asked, being such a typical girl.
Obi-Wan grinned and began a very edited version.
Unsurprisingly, Maul fell asleep after the first half, so Obi-Wan shooed them out with a promise to finish later, and made Maul get back into bed.
Three quiet hours later, Agen's comm.link beeped and they were summoned to join the Council.
"That was fast", Maul commented as Obi-Wan woke him.
Quite unusually, Maul insisted on holding Obi-Wan's hand on their trip. His whole world was reduced to that touch, cool, dry artificial skin against his sweaty palm, and everyone they met stopped to stare. Outside, people showed their affection this way all the time, but this was inside, and no Jedi before him had wandered these halls as a half of an official couple.
When they reached the elevator, he pulled his hand free.
"We've given enough people fodder for gossip today", he said.
Maul just raised his eyebrows.
In the Council Chamber, there was the obligatory round of bows.
Obi-Wan hung back as Maul went to stand before Master Yoda. One of the seats remained empty, but apparently Master Ti had been appointed one of the past days.
On the ground in front of Master Yoda there was a heap of black fabric cradling Maul's saber and a number of other items. A small camera droid zipped around the room to record the meeting.
"Discussed your offer we have at length, Lord Maul."
"Good. I have thought it over and decided to alter my offer slightly."
"Indeed", Master Windu drawled.
"Yes. It has come to my attention that you have a minor problem with the Senate. As a further sign of goodwill, I am inclined to testify in your favor. Otherwise, my conditions remain the same."
"We still need a guarantee that you will do as you say."
"Do I have a guarantee that you will not try to capture me again?"
"You have our word."
"Ah, yes. Unless you accept my word as a word of honor, then I believe we have reached an impasse."
Obi-Wan shifted. It was clear that this was a last test of Maul's motivation. Hopefully, Master Windu would get to the point soon.
"I believe you mentioned to Master Gallia that we would have Padawan Kenobi to 'keep track' of you."
Right. Wonderful. Trust them to make this about him.
Maul obviously didn't like this either; he straightened a little more. "If you wish him to remain within your ranks. Should you, however, try to blackmail me with him, you will sorely regret it. Apart from that, whatever honor you have would be lost with such a threat."
Master Windu's frown deepened. "Yet you don't seem to be above such threats."
"I merely said that I currently have no interest in the survival of the Jedi beyond the fact that Obi-Wan is and wishes to remain one. Should you decide to expel him, the treaty would, of course, still hold. But I will not accept him being a victim of our conflict."
Master Yoda harrumphed, but otherwise, there was no reaction. Maul was right, this was an impasse unless the Council was willing to give.
"I guess we would just have to trust Lord Maul", Adi finally offered. "I already have told you what I witnessed."
"Repeatedly", Master Koth admonished. "But what will happen if Padawan Kenobi dies? And will the next generations of Sith Lords accept this agreement, as well?"
"Unless Obi-Wan is threatened to be hurt in order to make me comply, the agreement holds as long as I live, and should I ever have an apprentice, I will instruct them to reach a new agreement. Now, do you require some more time or have you reached a conclusion?"
The Masters shared a look, and the air was rich with Force currents.
"Very well, then", Master Windu conceded. "We accept your offer of peace, Lord Maul."
Maul bowed. "Excellent. May I?" He pointed at the collection of items.
"You may", Master Yoda croaked.
First, Maul summoned the intact saber, then what looked like a bracelet. He checked a few buttons and was, apparently, satisfied. It was followed by the parts of his lightstaff and the robe. He packed the lightsaber parts into a pocket, inspected the robe for signs of bad treatment and finally shrugged it on. It rippled decoratively as he turned to flash Obi-Wan a bright smile.
Obi-Wan grinned back. For the first time in his life, Maul was truly free, and the rest just wasn't so important.
"Good", Master Windu said. "Padawan Kenobi, come before us, now."
As Obi-Wan did as he was told, Maul made to retreat but was stopped by a glance from Master Yoda. "Into a dilemma, you two have put us. Tell me, what will do you should we allow young Obi-Wan to be a Jedi."
Ah. Obi-Wan looked at Maul. They hadn't really discussed this, because Obi-Wan had just assumed that Maul knew what he was doing. Maul gave him an amused grin and turned to answer.
"As you well know, Masters, I am not exactly destitute. I can afford lodgings for Obi-Wan and myself, and I have enough of an education to find a job. You will not be required to support me, and there would be the added bonus of having a knight with his own transport."
"Good", Adi smiled. "Now, Obi-Wan?"
"I would live with Maul, here or somewhere else. I would not expect to be otherwise treated better or worse than other knights. However, I would not lie about Maul, which means the public would sooner or later become aware of this."
Maul cringed ever so slightly. Well, at least he disliked publicity as much as Obi-Wan.
"Hrrm. Yes." Master Yoda frowned. "Make an exception for you, we cannot. Either, allow relationships like this we do for everyone, or for none. Given cause for doubt you have, yes, but unusually talented you are, also. Decided we have on Master Adi's suggestion." He leaned back for Adi to take over.
"There will be a two decade test period. Anyone who wishes to pursue a relationship will have to register with the Council. Their behavior will be closely monitored. The experiment will be ended and the participants expelled should they prove to be liabilities. They would have to accept that we neither are able nor willing to support any spouses or children outside the Temple, nor will we allow the spouses to live here. However, the participants will be allowed to live outside the Temple."
Obi-Wan blinked. They let him stay. He would live with Maul and he would still be a Jedi. Huh. After expecting the worst, they'd just made all his worries insubstantial.
Maul reached for his hand to give it a rather violent squeeze. Things were expected of him.
"Thank you, Masters. I will not disappoint you."
Master Yoda just waggled his ears.
"Excuse me, Masters", Maul said. "First, I would like to offer my thanks, as well. Second, I would be very grateful if we could make use of your guest quarters for a few days longer. I'm currently in no condition to search for an apartment."
They shared a last look.
"Define 'a few days'", Master Windu asked.
"Less than a tenday."
"Very well then. We will contact you about your offer to speak in the senate."
Maul bowed, and Obi-Wan followed a second later. He still couldn't believe this. They'd agreed.
Outside, Maul stopped and drew Obi-Wan into a hug, burying his face in the crook of Obi-Wan's neck. Obi-Wan hugged back, because he could guess what had prompted this. There was no one left to tell Maul what to do, now. Freedom was quite a scary thing, sometimes.
"We'll manage", Obi-Wan whispered. "We're in this together."
Maul nodded into his tunic, but didn't let go until Agen cleared his throat. The poor guy had been waiting out here all the time.
"Not at all", Obi-Wan said lightly. "I'm getting to stay."
For the second time this day, he had Agen nonplussed. "Excuse me?"
"They want a test before they consider to alter the Code. Maul and I get to be lab rats." He was rewarded with a grin from Maul. Good. "I expect there will be more detailed info later."
"I hope so. This is absolute craziness."
"We'll see, I guess."
Agen shrugged. "I just received a message that you two wouldn't require a chaperone anymore. You are free to roam."
With a nod, Agen turned and walked off.
Maul shook his head as if to clear it. "He's right. This is absolutely crazy."
"Maybe. Let's get you back into bed, hm?"
"Food first", Maul objected.
"Okay. Food first. And then I'm going to pack my stuff in my old quarters and move it to yours and then we both get back into bed and sleep the jetlag off."
"Sounds good." Maul offered a hand.
This time, Obi-Wan didn't care that other people stared.
Would you look at that – a happy ending. I'm quite proud of that, let me tell you.
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