Darth Maul is being knitted together. In both brain and body he can feel it, little pinpricks of thought sticking in his own head. And his legs. Some weight is gone, all the little spider-servos and spars still caked with the dust of Lotho Minor shedding from him, but there's new weight too, heavy and pressing in on his stomach and the machines he has made to keep himself alive. The witch (the other, the woman, the not-my-brother) is invading him, brain and body and taking the old bone of his horns off with all the rest of the weight, until he is fully unbalanced.
And the memories.
They're rebuilt just like his legs. Green fog is trapped behind his eyes but it's clearing now, showing him his Master in the Works and that Jedi on Naboo.
The not-his-brother changes in the Force, pulling away, readying something.
And then there's burning and the weight shifts and Maul is left very, very alone-
It's new being alone inside his head.
He lurches up. Where is the weight, where is the dragging body, where-
No. It is all gone. He sees his body lying in a pile on the ground, still slightly misted by the green smoke.
Savage's and the witch's Force signatures float behind him like marsh fire.
Darth Maul feels tired and warm and familiar. But he does not feel sick. He feels like he has had a good meal, although his stomach is still only full of the few protein bars Savage tossed his way in the ship. Maul chased them around the cargo hold, tossing them from hand to hand, because he understands food when it moves like rats.
But now it's those memories that are growing distant. Now Maul can walk like a man again and not a spider. He pulls himself up and aches everywhere, ribs and stomach and head, but that is normal. His legs are gone but that is normal too, and he can flex his metal talons. They're wider than feet, wider than the thick cables he used before. The cables had the habit of fraying and flattening at the edges. The talons won't. He flexes his new toes.
(He doesn't know that Mother Talzin based his legs on those of her oppressor, General Grievous. He does not know that they formed, almost without her consent, as a physical manifestation of her fear. Witches, like Jedi, mold the world around them whether or not they intend it.)
He knows that his legs and feet feel strong. He can keep track of them, like he never quite could with his Lotho Minor body. When he releases his clenched feet he can trust that they will not move without his control. It wasn't like that with the six legs he...why did he build them? He can't quite remember. Maybe he just forgot how many he had made and kept going...
But there's a more immediate concern in front of him. A person, filling up the space in front of the sky and adding a thick Zabrak smell to the background spice of the green smog.
A person who says "Brother," and Maul does not so much remember as feel that they are related. He learns what relation is in the Force as soon as he hears the voice, and both relation and the Force demand that Maul lash out. It is his first movement in what feels like years, his first controlled movement in years. He grabs the Zabrak's jaw and squeezes, feeling the bones scrape.
The brother shakes his head to get out of the grip and snorts like an animal. Maul understands this. It is a familiar reaction, one he would have made himself. This alone, and the Force, makes Maul trust his brother.
He stretches his legs again, and levers himself up and pushes past his brother. The other Zabrak follows him with another huffing sound, or maybe that's the sound of the fog fading, preternaturally fast, into the murky daylight. They leave the witch behind. She exists vaguely on the outside of Maul's awareness. As a Force user, she is important, but she is also new.
Maul is not concerned with the new. His brother is old. Although Maul does not remember meeting him the Force tells him that the two of them have been connected in the past. This is important. Maul, though, is not curious about new information about his life or how he came from here to the gradually fading spider darkness in his past. Two things matter: this moment, and Naboo.
When the legs take his weight there is not even any sensation of pressure on his hips. It is strange how he feels like he is floating, and his first few steps are slow and shaky. But then he finds that it's easier to keep his momentum and balance when he leans the slightest bit forward and runs, so he does. Pounding across the land, the smell of the planet in his noise and mouth, he gains some clarity.
Something is missing.
Maul slows and shakes his head, confused, knowing that something in his mental map of the galaxy has been misplaced. Not misplaced: missing. A blank spot on a shelf where an essential item should be. "Where is my Master?" he says, with faith that the universe will answer him.
"Darth Sidious?" His brother says, walking up from behind him and breathing heavily. He had been running.
Maul says, "Yes."
"I do not know," his brother growls. "I did not see him when I was Count Dooku's acolyte."
Maul ignores the mention of a name he doesn't recognize. He turns to his brother. "What is your name?"
"Hmm. I have been...distant."
Savage circled around to his front. "Mother Talzin told me to find you. How long have you been..." He gestured to Maul's false legs with a long-nailed hand. "Like this?"
"I do not know. Where is my Master? Where is..." The taste of the Jedi's name eludes him for a moment, like a moth, but he casts around and finds it. "Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Cackling fills the air and the witch appears out of a ball of green smoke. Maul connects her to her name - Mother Talzin. She smells like smoke and sweat. She's afraid of something: of her people being slaughtered, of her family dying. Something big. Maul doesn't know its cause exactly, but he can guess. She is all sickly colors: the green glow, the rust-red, tattered cloak waving behind her like the petals of a poisonous flower.
She intones, "Darth Maul."
His name in a mouth other than Sidious's is not worth replying too. He doesn't like repeating himself so his next words get quieter, more contained, and more angry. "Where is Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Talzin says, "You were not brought back from the dead to confront him. You were made to confront Asajj Ventress, and help Savage find his place in the galaxy."
Ventress is another name that Maul does not need. "I will find the Jedi." He begins to walk. He can retrace his own steps in the dark ground, the dragging tracks of spider legs.
Talzin says, "Restrain him, Savage." She is quiet too, and Maul makes a mental note to watch her. She is a dangerous one. She isn't using an attack dog to fight her battles because she's too weak to on her own: instead she's planning something, arranging something that requires the brothers to be together in their travel across the galaxy.
Instead, Savage turns. The scrape of his boot heel is loud against the slight wind. "Where is Feral?"
"The third brother. Where is he?"
"He is not our concern."
"Fine," says Savage. "Then he is not. Obi-Wan Kenobi concerns us all."
He stomps off, and Maul follows him after looking once at Savage. He gives her a nod. She remade him, after all, and she is planning something.
It does not feel like something related to Maul. If he turns out to be wrong, he will deal with that later.
Maul follows his brother to the ship. Savage starts talking as soon as they shut the door. Maul looks around, struck with the strange sensation both that he has been here before and that it was in another life. There is the cargo hold, there are the boxes he shoved against. Savage says, "We can find Obi-Wan on Coruscant, but the Jedi Temple is too well-defended."
"I know Coruscant."
"There must be another way."
"Forget your other ways." Maul turns, fast. His intent was just to turn. But then he feels how the momentum is just right, how there is enough room in this hall if not in any of the other places in this stinking, cloying ship, for him to whip one taloned foot around and kick Savage in the face.
So he does.
Savage catches it. He is quick and strong and pushes the talons away with the heaving strength of an angry bantha. "What are you doing!"
Maul is doing what he has always done.
He kicks once more, but it's only a distraction. He slams one hand against Savage's chest and the other Zabrak's spine hits the wall. Maul grabs for Savage's collar but the necklace, the small, silly thing that lead his brother to him, is an easier target. It tangles in his fingers.
Everything is coming unknitted in Maul's mind now but that's alright, he is himself again, he is throwing himself against his enemy. "I have waited so long." Maul snarls, "while he moves around the galaxy and I did not even know enough to find him."
Savage writhes. He pushes Maul away in one strong movement but Maul is far stronger in the Force (and it has been so long since he used it, feeling fresh and new and perfect again at last-)
He shoves Savage a few feet down the hallway. From that distance Savage glares at him, but there is something besides anger in those eyes, and Maul, feeling his shoulders heave and his skin start to prickle with the want of battle, wonders why. Savage is edging on pitiful, the way he considers things. He is weak.
There is a restraint in him that Maul admires but it has so far used to make poor decisions. Now, for instance, Savage's shoulders sag. He sounds tired. He says, "I do not want to fight you, brother."
Maul's first thought is, Why not?
But he knows why not. He must get to Obi-Wan.
"No more waiting." Maul stalks forward, and when Savage turns his back on him to continue into the cockpit the Force says nothing of mistrust between them. "Fly, Savage," Maul commands.
And Savage goes to the front of the ship and does.
Everything is, finally, knitted together.
He sinks back into the leather of the auxiliary seat, tucked against the back wall of the cockpit. His long legs curl close to his body, the toes overlapping. He can't feel them really, because they are metal, but it's close enough to know that he can fit in the bridge. He is contained now, not spider-legged and messy, and that containment is all the strategy he needs; a self-destroying, self-powered thermal detonator of a strategy that will finally bring him to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Darth Maul was unraveled for so long, and finally, in this ship, he has abandoned and returned to himself. He sighs through teeth that taste newly-cleaned and bloody.
He will have his -
What was it? It's been some time. He's a bit confused. He blinks and shakes his head. Savage, pressing buttons and pulling levers, doesn't pay attention to him.
That's right. There it is.
He will have his revenge.