They start drinking in the evening. It's always a lovely one in Coruscant, with the red rays of the sun filling the room. They get back the day prior. Stumble into the designated barracks the GAR had been, ha, gracious enough to provide them with. Then, one by one, they collapse into their bunks - and sleep the sleep of the dead the entire night. The next day is no less chaotic than the previous, filled with reports and meetings with higher-ups and out-of-field duties, and they feel like they deserve a drink or five, honestly.
Nobody knows how and where from Vy nicked them a crate of alcohol, especially considering the man's not exactly known for being verbally convincing, as it were. But none of them are complaining.
By all means, Cody should be reprimanding them. He should find out where the bottles came from and go write a formal apology for his men's lack of self-control. He should tell the General, or something. He should be better.
Then how did this all go so wrong?
Cody sighs. "Pass it here." The drink is unpleasant in taste, but it does bring warmth. And even though Cody knows this warmth will carry with it a throbbing headache and a few waves of retching if he's not asleep in a good few hours, he can't quite bring himself to care.
For the umptieth time, he considers adding a few tally marks to his own helmet, like Rex does, to honor the men he lost during this campaign. And for the umptieth time, he shakes the idea. Not only is it very personal for his brother, not just something Cody can replicate, but he also has no idea of how many troopers exactly he's watched die so far.
The mere idea fills him with guilt faster than the booze can drown his self-awareness.
He drinks more. The memory diminishes. This is how you honor them, a voice in his head taunts. His own, but also off, somehow. CC-2224 jabs a verbal finger at his chest. Hypocrite. Facade, all of it. All the way down to the name you call yourself. It's a disgrace.
"Shut up," Cody murmurs, takes another swig and turns to look through the measly window he's sat himself down beside for this exact reason. Moments later, a brother wrenches the bottle out of his hand for himself, and Cody doesn't hold onto it too hard.
The sunset is beautiful, once it comes about. Though Cody's pretty sure Coruscant revolves around only one star, not a binary system.
Ah, right. The alcohol.
That is precisely why, when he sees his Jedi General standing by the entrance of the barracks, leaning on the doorframe, he thinks it's just another booze-brought mirage. It's not too illogical to think it's just another vod3, just too blurry and far away to see. Yes, another trooper, just auburn-haired and with a less restrictive uniform, and… a bit shorter, lankier, and… fair-skinned?
Oh, kriff, that is his Jedi General. And he's looking right at Cody, having stopped sweeping the whole room with his gaze. He'd know the piercing eyes are drilling into his soul from a mile away.
Nobody else seems to notice him - unlike Cody, they're off talking to each other and playing mindless games. Well, that is until the General lifts a bottle out of one of their hands with a flick of his finger. The brother realizes his arm is being pulled, but it's too late, and the bottle of alcohol is in Kenobi's hand.
The barracks instantly fall silent. The buzz of the city outside is suddenly deafening.
Kenobi doesn't move other than raising an eyebrow.
"May I ask," he says, calmly, "just what is going on here?"
Kenobi has never once raised his voice at them. Never once has he been anything less than excruciatingly polite, lenient and patient. But that's also how they learned to tell what's going on from a very limited tonal range. And right now, Cody doesn't exactly want to move or even breathe in case it draws Kenobi's focus to him.
Waxer, Force bless his soul, clears his throat, a little more sober than the lot of them and clearly intending to take one for the team (--which is your job, snarls CC-2224) -- "Mourning our brothers, sir."
"And," a probably far more intoxicated Boil adds, never one for filter nor for leaving his friend to shoulder anything alone, "also celebrating getting out of that karkhole with our helmets on our shoulders."
"Speak for yourself," a trooper calls from the side, motioning to his uniform - indeed, it is missing a helmet. Cody makes a mental note to commission him another one. Then he makes a second mental note to not forget the first once he's sober.
"I meant our heads, gar di'kut,1" Boil shouts back. The General watches, saying nothing.
Only when the room is back to relative silence after Boil's little verbal stunt does he open his mouth again.
"And you decided the perfect way to do that was through a drink which contains..." He checks the bottle, eyebrows shooting up even higher. "...Twenty percent alcohol content."
"Exactly, sir." Boil nods, running out of expletives, and Cody finally decides to man up and upgrade to first class of his second-hand embarrassment.
"Well, General," he says, standing up - and swaying a little, admittedly, "it's not like the army's getting us soul healers, if you don't mind me saying."
Kenobi directs the full weight of his gaze onto Cody. They hold a match for… not that long, really, maybe a couple of seconds. Kenobi's not challenging him by any means - by now, he just looks really puzzled. And, for some reason, sad.
Cody's pretty sure his eyes are watering. He should probably blink.
"Very well, then."
He brings up the commlink on his forearm, then begins a text transmission. The letters are too small to make out. He's muttering something that sounds suspiciously related to alcohol concentration and morning migraines.
"What are you doing, sir?" Boil manages. Kenobi looks up at him, and now he's glaring.
"Lying to Master Windu through my teeth, trooper," he answers, begrudgingly sending the message out and dropping his arm. "I've just told him I'm not feeling well and I'd appreciate it if he gave me and my battalion a free day tomorrow. So, if anyone asks, my head is killing me. Which," he pauses for emphasis, "it is."
"Sir," Waxer tries, quietly, "does that mean you're… not going to report us?"
Kenobi looks at him like he's considering it - lying through his teeth, indeed - but the clone shrinks back anyway. Noticing it, Kenobi shakes his head.
"To whom? You should not be drinking, I don't think I need to tell you that," he says, and that's as much of a rebuke as they'll get, Cody can sense it. Kenobi makes a wide, helpless gesture. "But you're right. They aren't giving you soul healers."
Then, the barracks erupt into noise once more. Some just give a sigh of relief, others go back to their drinks, a couple toast Kenobi with a loud cheer. Cody sits back down, infinitely grateful. He hopes the General can pick up on it without him voicing his thoughts, through his Force mind-reading or whatever it is.
It's not mind-reading, Cody.
Yeah, he's heard that a million times. Still sounds like mind-reading to him.
"Now, let me tell you," Kenobi starts again, getting their attention. "I don't advise any of you to ever get into a situation where you owe Mace Windu, and I stuck my neck out for you here." He turns to the ultimate culprit of all of this. And says what none of them have ever expected to hear from Jedi High General Obi-Wan Kenobi. "Therefore, Vy, may I keep the bottle?"
Vy's jaw drops, rather appropriately. So do most other troopers'. Cody stifles a snort.
"Sir?" Vy asks cautiously. "I mean, of course, but--?"
"Thank you. As they say," General Kenobi says, his eyes narrow and glimmering, and that's the instant Cody knows he's in for a good one - and that he's comming Rex about this the second he's sober, "If you can't beat them, join them."
And, in one swift move, he brings the bottle to his lips and throws his head back, swallowing a considerable amount of the contents. Then, he takes a breath and adds to the stunned clones, "Except, taken literally, that's horrible advice. Unless one assumes it means taking over their foe's tactics. Joining their game, against them. Otherwise, outright terrible. Treasonous."
The clones are yet to regain their ability to speak.
Cody clears his throat.
"For someone lecturing us on the contents of that bottle, you sure downed it quick, General," he jabs, and Kenobi looks up at him, and all comes into focus because his eyes are the shade of blue that was birthed when the clearer waves of Kaminoan oceans touched the horizon line, and Cody -- Cody forgets what else he wanted to say, but it doesn't matter. The chatter begins again, a few brothers shoot him a thankful look, a couple still astounded at how, well, at how little the General seems to care about his usual discipline and compliance.
The General himself seems to make a point of not noticing their disbelief, navigating through the bunch of troopers, and -- oh, no, he's coming towards Cody.
Oh, you're gonna get it.
There's not much he can blame me for now, Cody reasons, since he's just downed half a bottle of liquor (though he admittedly doesn't know what Jedi metabolism is like) like he's walked in on two Pa'lowicks coupling.
But Kenobi doesn't seem to have any reprimands in mind. Instead, he stops a good two steps in front of Cody, gesturing at the empty seat next to him.
"May I?" he asks. Cody feels light. Always so polite, even when they're getting plastered.
Stars, Jedi getting shitfaced must be boring as all hell. He wonders if Jedi even get shitfaced. Is that allowed? They're permitted neither marriage nor basic feelings, nor kriffing for that matter, why would drinking be exempt?
He realizes Kenobi has nodded in courtesy and is starting to turn away, interpreting his silence as refusal. Cody splutters.
"No, no, I--" he shakes his head, sighs, shakes his head again. Kenobi looks back at him with an eyebrow raised, clearly amused. "I mean, yeah. Sure. Sit down. If you'd like."
After watching for a moment, determining if he's saying it just to get him off his back or if he's actually okay with it, Kenobi lowers himself onto the chair. Cody tries not to stare when he absent-mindedly throws one leg over the other. Kenobi's eyes drift across the room, he says nothing, an expression frozen on his face somewhere between contentedness and sorrow.
Cody should probably say something. Apologize for not telling him about this, when -- stars, he was so stupid to think Kenobi would report them. He isn't… like that. His General is compassionate, willing to try and empathize, and isn't that what makes a perfect Jedi?
Sure, discipline also factors in, and them drinking in the barracks probably doesn't add brownie points to that front, but then again, really, Kenobi isn't like that. He's…
He just understands. He treats them like people - like the people nobody else even thinks they are. Lets them breathe, think and live for themselves.
That's how he differs from the Kaminoans, and from most other Jetiise2, if Cody really thinks about it.
Boil, he thinks to himself, smiling idly, wouldn't have been so quick to cuss in front of any other Jedi. And no other Jedi, he suspects, would've simply cocked their head to the side and held a pleasantly amused expression throughout.
Kenobi gives a little cough into his bottle, just enough to draw his attention.
"Your thoughts are very loud, Commander," he remarks. His voice is quiet but not quite lost in the chatter, it's always cut through everything else. Maybe it just seems like that to Cody.
"Please stop reading my mind, sir," he chuckles, throwing a half-assed glare his way, and, oh no, blue eyes are upon him. Kenobi blinks slowly, a little like a Loth-cat. Cody doesn't know why he finds his eyes so mesmerizing, of all things, why he can't tear his own gaze away when Kenobi looks at him. What does he know? Kenobi's the only Jedi he's this familiar with, but he's aware of the mind tricks. Maybe hypnosis is one of them.
Familiar. The word itself, ironically, is foreign on his tongue, somehow. He snatches another bottle from a table next to him, but even more drink doesn't rid him of the feeling. Is he? Is he familiar with Kenobi?
He finds the Jedi having gone into an explanation of considerable length, and, because Cody has heard why the Force is not magic or mind-reading a thousand times before, he listens more to his General's voice than the lecture.
If he was a brother, you'd already be calling him a friend, CC-2224 laughs at him.
Alright, Cody reasons, suddenly inexplicably annoyed. But he's not a brother. He's a Jedi.
Exactly. He's not one of you. You do not know him.
Cody is suddenly filled with a rather unreasonable urge to bash CC-2224 to death with a shovel. It's all ridiculous. Kenobi's not some foreign entity just because he's a Jedi.
He's one of those who lead by placing themselves in the frontline. He's one of those who check up on every one of their men after a battle. He's one of those very few willing to die with - and for - the clones.
One of the good ones.
Cody has been dragged out of the battlefield battered and bloodied in the Jedi's surprisingly firm grip as many times as he himself has had to wrap his arms around Kenobi's singed and broken body and carry him into medical.
So the General can play a detached Loth-cat as much as he wants. Cody knows better. Cody remembers a pale hand twitching up involuntarily, to shield him, even when he had a blaster and Kenobi didn't have his 'saber.
Unapologetically willing to die first than watch die the clones he was leading.
As he loses himself in thought, the realization that Kenobi has gone silent comes suddenly to Cody. He glances up to where the General is still looking at him, almost frozen in time with his half-smile and eyes that (Cody can't find any other way to put it) are made for peace. Not for the rage of war. It's the gaze of someone gentle, and Cody flushes when CC-2224 hisses, You shouldn't be looked at that way. Fondly, softly, almost. Cody isn't made for the eyes of serenity. He is built for the chanced glare of battle.
Then why does Kenobi's peaceful glance make him feel so warm?
He tries, "Sir?"
"You weren't exactly listening, Cody," Kenobi reminds, and Cody goes red. He's right, but even so, the glimmer in his eyes doesn't fade. He looks fond, almost. "I'd prefer not to waste breath."
"I'm… I'm sorry, sir." His cheeks are now about the same shade as the sun that set a fair bit ago.
"Oh, it's hardly your fault," Kenobi reassures absent-mindedly, swirling the drink. "I tend to repeat myself sometimes. Then again, I wouldn't have to if you stopped referring to the Force as magic."
"To me," Cody says simply, something he never did while sober, "it is."
"Hm?" Kenobi seems just as surprised to be hearing this.
"Sir, you move things with your mind. You can overtake the psyche of anyone with weak enough, uh... mental shields. It sounds like magic to me." Before Kenobi can launch himself into a lecture again, Cody adds, "It doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's just… something you Jetiise can do, and you alone."
"I wish that were true, dear friend," Kenobi sighs, finally directing those blue eyes into the bottle. "Magic bends to its user's will. They have to tame it, break it, make it adapt to them. The Force is very different." He takes a sip. After his little stunt in front of the troopers, he's far more controlled with the drink. "It does not bow, nor can it be tamed. There is a saying among the Jedi - If the Force wills it… We utilize it, yes, but it isn't our place to say the Force is ours. The Force belongs to the world as much as the world belongs to the Force. If it hadn't willed it, I wouldn't be sitting here, and neither would you."
Cody barely hears his explanation. He'll feel guilty for it later, but now he just marvels at how easily, how casually Kenobi calls him his friend. Something CC-2224 sighs and groans about, and something that makes Cody feel even more airheaded than he already is. Here he is, agonizing over semantics, and Kenobi looks at him with those glittering eyes and dear friends him.
"Sounds like the Force," he manages, with a slight feeling that both sober Cody and CC-2224 would be horrified at his next words to the General, "is a bit of a piece of kark. Intentionally. I mean," he hurries after the General's eyes go wide in surprise, "if it hadn't been willed, as you say, the war wouldn't have started, no?"
Kenobi looks at him with such unbridled patience written all over him, Cody suddenly decides he wants into the ground, now. Somehow, he feels like this probably isn't the first time Kenobi's gotten that question. And the sad little smile on his face adds to his theory.
"Oh, Cody. The Force didn't start this war." He closes his eyes. "We did. And, believe me, as much as I'd like to hold an omniscient presence responsible, there is nobody to shift the blame onto. It was our fault. This is us."
Then, Cody watches, with lips parted in equal portions of admiration and horror, as Kenobi throws all caution to the wind and finishes the bottle.
How is he not slurring his words yet?
"The 'us' doesn't include the clones," Kenobi adds casually, like he didn't just give himself three different types of liver disease. Cody finally snaps his mouth shut. "You were dragged into this war by design, and still you're your own men."
"Thank you, sir," he says, because he doesn't know what else to say. That he understands? Kenobi will take no comfort from that.
He doesn't need to tell his General about his world, where he and all his brothers are not worthy of a right to be their own people - or even people in general. He doesn't need to tell him that, while they aren't slaves on paper, they have effectively no choice in their lives - or deaths. He doesn't need to tell him how many times he's held one of his dying vode and wondered if it could've been different at all, had they been granted a choice. He doesn't need to tell him how horrified he was at his own thoughts every single time, because that's all that he was born to be - a soldier with no questions to ask, only to take his place in a line of faceless men - his men, his brothers - and fight and die as needed.
And, worst of all, he doesn't need to tell him that, even if he wasn't obligated to, he'd still follow Kenobi into hellfire.
Somehow, Cody feels like Kenobi knows it already anyway. Sometimes he feels like the General knows his every thought, and not through his Force. Just that he's a bit too good at the whole Jedi kindness thing. What was it, empathy?
When does empathy cease being empathy? Can Kenobi really call Cody a "dear friend" and write it off as empathy, the token compassion they possess?
Cody really shouldn't be thinking about it right now. Or ever. Especially not while drunk.
Kenobi nods, apparently just now catching his answer, and they quiet down, listening to the chatter the ever-improving moods of the troopers inspire.
"Yeah, well... Twi'leks are,-- I dunno, they are cute," slurs a voice, followed by another:
"Shut the kriff up, Sight."
Defensive, Sight shrugs. "I'm jus' saying..."
The General doesn't seem to be uncomfortable with any of this, doesn't shy away when some troopers trip over him, doesn't push one away as he literally crashes into him, shoved by some other, and Kenobi smiles thinly, pale cheeks just slightly coloured, as the culprit stumbles over his words apologizing for almost launching one of his men at his General.
Not only is he not uncomfortable, he seems quietly amused. There's a fond expression on his face as he watches the troopers play drinking games, and try to walk, and then drink some more. The clones don't get drunk easily, and when they do, their metabolism clears them twice as fast, so the amount they consume would probably kill Kenobi, Jedi or not. But he isn't too far behind, getting a second bottle passed to him. Cody leans over, checking on Kenobi - on instinct, as he checks on his men. The General's hands, surprisingly, are steady on the bottle, still.
"Why are you here, General?" he mutters before he even knows what's coming out of his mouth. Kenobi stirs slightly, shifting to look up at him. Once again, as he's hit by the full force of a piercing gaze, Cody misses his helmet.
"I could smell the liquor all the way from the Temple," Kenobi says, smiling softly. There is even more colour in his cheeks now. Any further and he'll actually stop looking like a ghost. When he's on the battlefield, leaping from droid to droid in graceful steps, fluid jumps, lightsaber blazing as he scowls, Cody's General is utmostly impressive. Off the field, on the other hand, he's almost see-through.
Cody collapses back into his chair, giving said General his most exasperated glare. Kenobi chuckles.
"Sir, that's not what I was asking."
"Well, where else would I be, dear Cody?" he asks absentmindedly, missing the words hitting Cody like a speeder.
A thousand places, he wants to say. With Skywalker or Tano. Or with the Council, or in the Temple, or asleep. Or in the Medbay for that matter, I saw the way you were staggering after the battle. Or out and about in the city, surely it's more vibrant, more lively than--
"...Elsewhere, sir," he answers, and that doesn't even begin to explain it.
Unlike Cody, Kenobi has a choice. Then why does he look so somber? Why does he look so similar to what Cody feels like, when he really starts thinking about the nature of choice and all that other bantha fodder?
Kenobi glances at him, and Cody once more senses that he knows.
"I'd still like to stay, then, if that's something you aren't against," he says, and Cody's taken by mild surprise by the quiet hope in his voice. As if he could stop him.
"That's not for me to decide," Cody answers, cautious, in spite of all the alcohol he's downed. Kenobi frowns, but the expression is quite clearly not directed at any of the clones - nor Cody.
"Oh, Commander," he sighs, "you haven't got the slightest idea."
But he does. Somehow, Cody knows that if he said he wanted Kenobi to go, his commanding officer, kriff, he would. He'd just up and leave, swaying a bit to the sides, perhaps. The eyes of the brothers who'd notice him leaving would follow him until he was gone, wondering where he was going, and why. A little twinge of worry that they would get reported after all, followed by the reassurance of this being Obi-Wan Kenobi, the farthest person from a man to do that. But, before he could even stand up, he'd give Cody a gentle look of understanding and apology, like he'd done something wrong.
Cody doesn't want to imagine it, so he leaves it at that.
Also, he doesn't want to send the General away.
"I, it's," Cody says, eloquent as ever, and tells himself his face isn't flushed. "It's… Stay. Please. Sir," he adds hurriedly, doing a great job pretending he hadn't forgotten the title.
Kenobi stifles a chuckle. "Cody, I'm quite drunk. You are also, I'd imagine, quite drunk. Really, there's no less fitting place for rank."
"Eh," Cody replies on instinct, "drunk or not, there are worse atmospheres to ruin by "sir"-ing someone."
Immediately, he swears to lop Rex's head off the next time he sees him - it's his constant joking with his own men that ingrained in Cody the habit of making jokes immature enough a vod decanted for two weeks wouldn't find them funny.
As he'd feared, Kenobi catches up and raises an eyebrow, amused. "I see," he says, suppressing a little smile, "but if you'd care to elaborate…"
Rex'ika, ner cyare vod, gar osik'la dikut, ni pirunir gar sur'haaise. 4
"I would not," Cody manages, and there's an odd glimmer in Kenobi's eye. "Blame the 501st, please."
Slowly, building within him, a smile forms on Kenobi's face and cultivates in his laughter. Quiet as it may be, Cody… Cody finds it a joyous sound. He doesn't hear it often. It's difficult to find Kenobi without a smile curving his lips, but Cody's pretty sure it's just his usual face. He wonders if the General's smiling when he's asleep.
At first, he realizes he knows that already - they've slept side by side on campaigns, and when he woke up in the middle of the night, Kenobi was under, and his expression was blank. Neither happy nor sorrowful. At peace.
The second thought that breaches his drunken mind is oh stars, what the kriff is wrong with you, shut up, seven hells.
"And here I thought you adhere to the rules far more strictly than I do, even," Kenobi tells him, head cocked to the side. He's got an amused expression again, like he's enjoying a show he shouldn't be watching.
"Oh, but I do, sir," Cody answers, and it comes out a little more serious than intended. "Rules are all we've got."
Kenobi's face falls and smooths out almost immediately, expertly masking any sort of reaction.
"Protocol or death," Cody adds with a little smile, hoping that'd make it better. It does not. If anything, Kenobi looks vaguely wary for a second. It's true, though, what Cody just said.
"I've always found such methods to be… savage, in nature." The General's glassy eyes narrow. "For all the technical advancement the Kaminoans posses, they don't seem to have evolved past the "hunting their own people for sport" portion of history."
Cody huffs a grim laugh. "We've never been the Kaminiise's people." He looks down, diverts his eyes. "We are their products. An export."
"You are not machinery to be dispatched and used up." Cody doesn't need to look to see the quiet sorrow on Kenobi's face, the seemingly boundless sadness that always appears when the topic shifts to this. He forces himself to look anyway.
"Are we not?" And his General looks physically repulsed by his words, shock clear on his face, because Cody has never trusted anyone with his doubts, with the quiet joy after a good fight undercut by the gut-wrenching guilt that he tells all of his brothers everyday that they're living, breathing, choosing individuals, and yet he takes such pride in his purpose. In having a purpose. A purpose that is, nevertheless, predetermined for him; for all of them. "That's what we were built to be." He knows he sounds bitter. That's alright. Kenobi's heard worse. "That's our programming."
Kenobi hears him out, tilts his head, and hands his thoughts back to him. "Look at your brothers, Cody, and tell me someone programmed you to be this way. Tell me Waxer over there, or Longshot, or Vy were programmed to be the way they are, to say the things they do." He points each trooper out with a smooth gesture, and Cody thinks of how he could recognize each of them, clad head to toe in clone armour. Kenobi seems to read the thought out of his eye, and offers a careful smile. "It doesn't have to be the 212th. Take Anakin's battalion. Rex. Kix. Echo, Fives. Tell me they're programmed to be their own people, the people that they are."
Then, he leans forward, and, very slowly, deliberately, puts his free hand on Cody's. On instinct, the clone feels the urge to divert his eyes, but instead only forces himself to look at Kenobi, and at his eyes, round and blue and honest. "If you're someone's people, Cody, you and the vode, you're your own."
His hands are cold, it occurs to Cody, and the sensation is… very pleasant, in the warm air of the Coruscanti evening. The clones' temperatures are just a little higher than nat-borns', to ward off infection. But now it only means Kenobi's hand, still and gentle on his, brings a deep flush to his face, and he doubts he can blame it on the alcohol once more.
He speaks before he knows he's doing it, and once again he says something that perhaps would've been better off held back, but he says it with no apology, no hesitance-
"And we're yours."
Kenobi recoils, looking nothing short of unsettled. His hand slips from Cody's. Cody regrets his words, even if only because he misses the cool. "I do not own you."
Cody shrugs. "Even if I did have a choice, General. I'd stay right here by you."
Immediately after those careless words leave his mouth, he bites his tongue hard enough to draw blood, on a good day. Stars, what does alcohol do to people? he thinks as his entire face goes impossibly redder and oh, how he longs for his helmet once more.
Kenobi has no answer. If Cody would turn his head, he would see that the Jedi is searching for one. Very hard. None of the words just seem to fit, and suddenly the famed Negotiator doesn't know what to say.
Cody does not look. He buries his gaze in the ground and raises a bottle again. He hopes, then, a bit sadistically, that the Jedi are not immune to horrible hangovers, and that Kenobi will have forgotten all about him and his loosened tongue in the morning.
They sit in undisturbed silence for a few minutes, then. Perhaps for an hour. Cody can hardly tell. A few of his men collapse where they stand, a scarcer few of those snoring, and are promptly and mercilessly vandalized by their brothers, armed with dye and chalk. Cody snorts, watching them, trying to pretend that he regrets leaving the paint they put on their armour in the barracks. At some point, he hands Kenobi a bottle, just as an excuse to to feel the cool fingers brush gently against his knuckles again.
Oh, stars, I'm kriffing gone. Don't say anything. Shut the kriff up. Shut up. Gods.
CC-2224 is silent. Eerily so.
Kenobi takes the bottle from him, and puts it on the table, unopened. He doesn't just refuse to take it. Cody balls his fist and puts his hand in his lap. Either he doesn't want Cody to take it for himself or he just, he just doesn't mind the contact-
Maker's maker. He will pass out if he keeps thinking thoughts. He needs to stop that. Right now.
It's Kenobi's voice again, strangely unaffected by the amount of booze he's consumed, even if by now he should be about as gone as a Zilkin on death sticks.
He manages to respond the same way. "Sir."
Kenobi pauses for a moment, thinking over his words. Then, he turns to Cody and asks, quietly, "Once the war is over, where will you go?"
It's something in his voice, the absolute certainty that someday, the war will end, that, for a moment, helps Cody believe it too.
"I... haven't thought about it, General," he admits. Kenobi's eyebrows shoot up.
"I don't think any of us have." Cody turns his eyes away from the brothers, passing out in larger and larger numbers; it's an amusing sight. "Really thought about it, I mean." He goes from that to Kenobi's face, practically channeling incredulity. Cody makes a gesture, turned wider by his failing sense of balance. "There are fleeting thoughts, naturally. Hopes. We don't let them get to us."
Kenobi makes a noise. "Get to you?" He asks, in the type of tone that makes whispering sound like a deafening echo. He looke horrified. "Force, Commander. They're hopes."
Cody snorts, and blurts out - "Easy for you Jedi to say." Immediately, he mentally kicks himself in the ass, cringing at the words. He doesn't know that. And Kenobi is a great liar, when he wants to be. "No-- No offense, of course."
"None taken," is his immediate reply - Kenobi doesn't seem to even have thought about it that way. "I suppose it really is. Not... easy, per se, but easier."
He picks up the bottle Cody handed him a bit ago, opening the cap and keeping it still in his hand, fingertips over the top. The full bottle drops over the edge of the seat along with Kenobi's hand, but none of the liquor spills. Whether it's the fluidity of Kenobi's movements or another of his subtle Force demonstrations, Cody's long stopped wondering.
"We were made for peace," Kenobi says, eyes half-closed but still drilling into Cody's soul, blue and sharp. "I hadn't even dreamed of a war when I was training to become a Jedi." Suddenly there's a wry smile on his face as his eyes roll back ever-so-slightly - his eyelids are heavy and his body clearly limp. He's relaxed.
He swirls the bottle, but doesn't drink. "The first time someone said my name and "General" in the same sentence, I assumed they weren't referring to me - didn't even hear it, in fact." A light chuckle escapes him. "The second time, if you don't mind the secret, I wanted nothing more than to double over right then and there and pour my guts out."
Cody laughs - he can't stifle it. It's hilarious to him, who is too tipsy to be awake, that his General hates the title this much when he fits it so perfectly, always in front in the battlefield, always looking out for his men and always, without fail, taking responsibility. Cody was created in a lab, molded and shaped into as perfect of a soldier as he could be, and here was Obi-Wan Kenobi, lamenting his rank, blind to the open adoration for his grace and natural wit the shinies regard him with. And not just the shinies, sometimes, Cody admits to himself.
But he looks at the General’s saddened eyes, and he realizes something.
“You didn’t have a choice either, sir,” he states. Kenobi raises his gaze, looking fairly surprised.
“How do you mean?”
“You could’ve refused the title, you could’ve not joined the war, sure,” Cody goes on, and he’s pretty sure he’s going to regret this one the most once his hangover clears. “But, sir, would you ever have refused us? You say you wanted to spit out your stomach when you became a General; that’s hardly a normal reaction, isn’t it?”
"There could have been more tactful ways to go about it, for sure," Kenobi agrees, eyebrows furrowed. He seems to have an idea of where Cody's going with this, and he doesn't seem to be liking it much.
"But they told you then that you already had a batallion, and that it'd be lost without you, yeah? No way out, not for someone like you," Cody says. Kenobi's eyebrows shoot up in incredulity.
"Someone like me?"
Cody takes a swig and spits, "Kind. You were willing because you were decent. And it took away your choice."
“Even if it did,” Kenobi replies easily, placing the bottle back on the table. “Decency is not a choice, it’s a... responsibility.”
Cody shrugs. "Word it however, General. My point stands."
"My name is Obi-Wan," Kenobi corrects him, and it's something like a plea, his tone, even if Cody can't tell what he wants from him.
"I can't even know your name, sir," he whispers, not looking at Kenobi because he knows Kenobi is looking at him. "Much less call you by it."
Kenobi barks a tearful laugh.
"If I was… kind, Cody," he says, and it sounds like there's something in the back of his throat, "it wouldn't be me who'd be doing something other than fighting this war. It'd be you. You and your brothers."
Cody looks up at him exactly as Kenobi diverts his eyes - picks the empty bottle up and wraps slender fingers around its neck. Now his hand is quivering, ever-so-slightly. Other than that, he stills.
Cody shrugs again, not all that sure what to say.
"The war isn't your fault, General."
"Not mine, personally, no." Kenobi nods blankly, looking at the wall above the vode - they're drinking, they're, dare Cody say it, being merry, laughing and enjoying what time they have, and Cody, Cody just feels hollow. "But my Order has become little more than puppets for the Senate. We are supposed to be on the sidelines. Not fighting on anyone's behalf, not even if the cause is--" at first Cody thinks he's choked, but when he checks, Kenobi's fist is against his chin, and it looks like his words are putting a physical strain on him, "--ending the conflict. Why the Chancellor thinks violence against violence will work is beyond me, I-- I feel like Anakin is more true to the Order than he realizes, sometimes. This war never should have happened. We could've ended it before it started, the Chancellor-- the Senate, it…"
Kenobi splays his fingers, rubs at his eyes with a sigh. Cody tilts his head. He knows the General is frustrated with the war effort, as are most Jedi he's seen, but now he gets the idea, somehow, that perhaps Kenobi doesn't know what to do with himself in war any more than Cody would know what to do in peacetime.
Slowly, he outstretches his hand, frowning.
It doesn't reach Kenobi's shoulder before he drops it. The General doesn't notice. Perhaps for the better.
Cody startles a bit when Kenobi abruptly leans back with a little smile, looking somewhat apologetic.
"Ah, but this isn't the time to lament the destruction of war," he says, and his eyes soften when he looks up at the men, still drinking and a few dancing - there's music making its way into the barracks from the streets of Coruscant - and some already asleep, sprawled across whatever is convenient. "At this rate I'll only dim the mood further."
"It wasn't all that bright in the first place, sir." Cody's eyes narrow at the questioning rise of Kenobi's eyebrow. "All those men we lost, last campaign."
"Of course," he says quietly. "You've said Remembrances?"
"All the way back. Doesn't feel like enough," he confesses. "Never does."
Kenobi just nods silently. Cody knows damn well he wouldn't be talking about it sober, but he's not sober and Kenobi's always said he listens. And, for once in his life, Cody just wants someone to hear him.
"Think if one more of my men falls with-- no reason or purpose, just futile 'casualty of war'... Feels like I should eat my own blaster and be done with it, sometimes. Would save me a lot of trouble." He laughs grimly, missing the way Kenobi outright bristles at his words and, after Cody's done talking, leans forward.
There is no hand on his this time, but the weight of Kenobi's gaze grows tenfold.
"Don't entertain the thought," he says - quietly, to Cody alone - "lest it becomes a considerable option."
Somehow, it's far easier for Cody to hold his stare, now. "You think I could leave the boys alone, General?"
Kenobi looks at him like he's a precious thing, smiling sadly. "Of course not, Commander," he says. "You're too good to them for that."
"Sure, too good, sometimes," Cody agrees, raising an amused eyebrow at the celebrations. "I'd also like to ask what you would do, without me picking up your lightsaber every five minutes."
"In short, Cody," Kenobi tells him without much thought, calmly, "I would be dead."
"Please," Cody chuckles. "I'm sure you'd just draw it back without my fingerprints all over it unnecessarily."
Kenobi frowns. "I don't mind people I trust touching my lightsaber, you know."
A noteworthy difference between Sober Cody and Drunk Cody is that Sober Cody is capable of not just saying whatever comes to him with no filter. Drunk Cody apparently does not have this ability, so he raises his eyebrows at Kenobi and asks, "Do you?"
"Quite, I--" Kenobi begins, and then goes quiet. It takes him a couple of moments before he looks away, and, to Sober Cody's would-be horror, his drunk counterpart laughs. Kenobi glares from the corner of his eye. "Good Force, you're worse than Anakin when you're drunk."
And then, to Cody's surprise, the General follows, chuckling along. His lightsaber glints on his hip, secure and untouched. For the life of him, Cody's never understood how Kenobi manages to drop it.
"What," he asks, "General Skywalker makes a lot of, err… horrible lightsaber jokes?"
"Well," Kenobi says, glaring subtly. "So far, he's quite the way ahead of you in that regard, but then again, he doesn't need to be drunk to do it." He sighs, looking up at the ceiling with a blank expression on his face. "The boy can't hold his liquor - at all. Anything stronger than a pint of beer, and I'm pretty sure he'd forget his own name." He stifles a chuckle.
Then, Cody notes, he visibly falls into thought. Slowly, his eyes drift to Cody again, and Cody diverts his gaze just in time. There's something in them that weighs on him like a well-kept secret, growing every minute. Cody keeps losing his grip further.
Kenobi clears his throat as he orders his thoughts.
"I've always wondered, Commander," he speaks, almost fond, but then blinks and leans back slightly. "May I ask?"
"Depends on what you're asking, General." He's teasing. He can't really refuse to answer his Jedi. "But, generally, yes."
Kenobi's throat tightens when he swallows. Cody turns to him, curious about what sort of question would make him uneasy like this.
"I know some clones choose their names based on their abilities, or code, or-- Well. But I've thought about it a lot, and--" An eyebrow goes up, almost enough to be hidden in the auburn curls. "Why Cody?"
Cody's ears go red. He's thought about it? A lot?
"Not Cody, exactly," he answers, unknotting his tongue. The General shifts closer again, looking puzzled.
"No. Kote, General." Cody swallows, looking away. "It was one of the first words I ever learned. Cody was a... logical derivative."
"Kote. Kote..." Kenobi says the word, the name, so carefully almost like he's afraid to say it wrong - but he knows Mando'a, Cody is aware of that. And even if he didn't, it's just a name. It wouldn't matter. "Glory. Your name means 'Glory'."
"Yeah," Cody exhales. "It does."
Kenobi seems to be thinking about it. His hand drifts up to brush his fingers against his chin, a tell-tale sign of him being cooped up somewhere in his own mind.
But then he looks at Cody, and his eyes grow warmer.
"Good," he mutters instead. "Good. You wear it well, Commander."
Cody sputters before throwing his head back to down his drink so he doesn't have to look at the General, stars forbid find him looking at him. He doesn't know what he'd do, exactly, but probably something Sober Cody would strongly disapprove of.
He's not sure he wants that, so he does the next best thing, and diverts the attention back away from him.
"Why are you here, General?" he asks, intending to find out, this time.
Kenobi looks more and more like a lazing Loth-cat by the minute, flicking just his eyes to Cody. "Mm?"
"You didn't answer when I asked. Just changed the topic." Cody shrugs off the look Kenobi gives him. "I was curious."
"What makes you think I'll answer now?" He doesn't sound cold, per se. But he does tense up slightly. Cody notices. It's easy to notice any sort of physical change with the General now because he usually conceals all of it so well.
But all bets are off when the man's drunk, apparently. "Because you've got enough of this brew in you to kill a bantha, and it looks like you want to tell me something, you just don't know how."
"Ah." Kenobi smiles at him, his eyes narrowing until they're nothing but blue slits. He looks at Cody with bared admiration, making the clone squirm uncomfortably in his seat. He isn't sure what he's done to deserve that. "Perhaps so. I think you're wiser than you let others think, Commander."
Cody raises an eyebrow. "Not that wise. Just not blind."
Kenobi throws his head back in a silent bark of laughter. "How transparent I've become," he laments, "if anyone who looks sees right through me."
"Only us, General." Cody smiles. "Not everyone. Just us."
"Yes, of course. There are few things I see fit to hide from you," Kenobi says serenely, and a cold sensation takes Cody's chest - few things, he said. "Say, do you know there was a festival on Naboo last week? We passed by it to drop off Senator Amidala."
"Yes," Cody answers, though his memories are foggy. He grins. "Sad you missed the festivities, sir?"
"Oh, I make a point to miss them. Every year," Kenobi replies, and Cody realizes there's a fair bitterness to his voice. "I can't stand it. There are few things I hate more than that particular day." And he says all this with a smile.
Cody cocks his head to the side. "I've heard it's a joyous day," he remembers. "Is it not?"
"Oh, no, no. It is a day of celebrating." Kenobi chuckles. "The entirety of Naboo rejoices. Even the Senate pays attention - it's the pride of the Chancellor, after all."
"Not for you, though," Cody guesses. Kenobi shakes his head, looking ahead. Cody has a thought that perhaps he wouldn't be able to tell him this, were he to know how carefully Cody is watching him. Every twitch of his fingers, every bob of his Adam's apple when he swallows. He's a carved sculpture of discomfort, but still, he talks.
"No. I hide away. Anakin is happy, there, I'd rather get caught up in another Separatist plot than spoil him the day."
"Why do you not celebrate?" Cody narrows his eyes. 'Sir' doesn't seem appropriate right now, but he can't. "If I can ask that."
"Oh, I brought it up, my friend." A corner of his mouth twitches up in a crooked smile. "Taking care of a blockade over Naboo was one of my missions. Well," he raises his eyebrows, but his eyes close, "my Master's, I was with him. Qui-Gon Jinn was the name. I was his Padawan at the time. Though I didn't know it back then, it was also my last ordeal as such."
"You got…" For the life of him, Cody can't find the word. "...Promoted? Ugh."
Kenobi laughs. "I was knighted, yes, shortly thereafter. In my Master's opinion, my expertise was… lacking, in a few aspects of the Force. He was wrong." His expression sours, just a little bit. "My expertise, if you could call it that, was lacking in a far wider range of aspects, and not only of the Force."
Cody chuckles. Yeah, he thinks, ain't that the same with every shiny. No amount of training truly prepares for war, he knows that much by now. So it must've been similar for the Jedi. Easy when you know there's someone who can help you by your side.
"But," Kenobi sighs, shifting in his seat slightly for what feels like the first time during the entire night, "getting Knighted was the only way I could train Anakin."
"Don't tell me you stole him right from under your Master's nose, sir," Cody laughs, now, and Kenobi's eyes inexplicably grow sadder, even if he follows along in laughter.
"In a way, I did, I suppose." He shrugs, glancing down to look at his empty hands. "He died, that day, on Naboo. His last wish was for me to make sure Anakin became a Jedi."
Now Cody scowls. While he does feel horrible about joking about it before, and understands why Kenobi would want to be somewhere other than his Temple, perhaps ward his thoughts away from his dead Master, something also doesn't sit right with him.
"Well, he was dying. And there is a prophecy--" he starts, and before he can even open his mouth, Cody knows it's some Force nonsense. And the Force, as he's learned again and again, does not seem to enjoy humans being people and making their own decisions, at times.
"But did you want to train General Skywalker, sir?" He knows, he knows well, that unwilling trainers make for lukewarm trainees - and while Skywalker is nowhere near lukewarm, he wants, somehow, to hear it from Kenobi himself.
"Oh, back then, I had no idea what I wanted." His laugh, now, brings chills down Cody's spine. "All I knew was that I had to wake up every morning because there was a little kid in my care who trusted me and who needed me. And then we went on from there."
For a second, Cody's chest constricts. It's a familiar feeling - so familiar, what Kenobi's describing. They are clones, him and his brothers, and their futures are never ensured. Sometimes another brother is the only thing keeping them going, the only reason, in Cody's case, why he hadn't eaten a blaster after his first catastrophical campaign.
But to think of his ever-smiling General's younger version struggling to find a reason to get up and latching onto a boy he didn't even particularly want - he doesn't like that image very much.
What kind of teacher did Kenobi care so much for?
"What was he like?" Cody asks, turning subtly to look at Kenobi. They both know he's bringing up this Qui-Gon Jinn again.
The General looks like he's about to make one of his leaps into a chasm. His eyes dart around the room, and Cody is already regretting the question. Sure, ask the one question that hurts, CC-2224 mocks in his head, and the Cody part snarls, Since when do you care what hurts?
"Wait," Kenobi says, and his arm shoots off to the side. Cody flinches, but he only grabs the bottle, flicks off the lid with a snap of his fingers, and throws one back. Then returns it to the table. "Okay."
Cody tries not to snort. He tries really hard. He likes to think he succeeds. "Not that great, then, huh?"
"Oh, no, I have boundless respect for him, as a Jedi. He made it his mission to follow the Force in its entirety, which wasn't exactly in accordance with the Council sometimes, and I admired his devotion." He looks down. "Admired him, when I was younger. He embodied the exact purity a Jedi was supposed to, though not inhuman. And it manifested in this… loose sort of nonchalance, if you'd care to imagine."
Cody doesn't need to imagine anything. Kenobi, possibly unbeknownst to him, has a sort of guard around him. And while Cody wouldn't necessarily call it nonchalance, his General certainly knows how to keep his distance.
Except it had never occured to Cody that it was because of his following of the Force or whatever. He's always assumed that was just what Kenobi is like. His hands don't shake before battle as Bay's do, and he doesn't grit his teeth so he doesn't scream in his sleep like Rota. He doesn't activate his lightsaber in his waking moment like Kipper loads his blaster, and he doesn't feel the urge to retch at the smell of bacta because it reminds him of death, dying, dying brothers - like it does for Cody.
Kenobi stands alone, though, and his eyes cloudy and his thoughts away. Cody always thought it was just that.
"Then Anakin came along, and…" Kenobi sighs, and a little smile blooms on his face. "I hadn't seen him that happy in, well, in a long time. He was shining, nearly." He laughs, and looks up at Cody. "You can't feel the Force so I'll tell you, Cody, Anakin coats himself in Light. It's almost frightening how ferociously he pulls it to himself, and how readily it submits to it. But, back then, he was a child, and all children are Light in the Force. Not only the Sensitive ones." His eyes dart away, narrow, bright. "I do understand why Qui-Gon would've preferred to get me Knighted shortly thereafter and then take on Anakin. Children are simply…" He shrugs, humming in search of words. "...delightful to be around, I suppose."
Cody, admittedly, is having none of that. "So, basically, he picked favourites," he says bluntly. Kenobi opens his mouth, stares for a moment, dumbfounded.
"I-- No, not at all, you can't compare me and Anakin," he says, then laughs, and maybe it just seems like it to Cody, but he sounds… uncertain. "I was twenty-five. He was nine. He was a child, he needed care. We were adults."
"But you were still his student," Cody clarifies, brows furrowed.
Kenobi stutters for a moment before sighing. "See, Cody. As Jedi, we are… conditioned, to always be ready to let go. It's a part of ensuring we don't form all-encompassing attachments that could bring harm both to us and the Order. And even though I do believe my Master was, ah, selective about this rule…" He grins, all teeth and no humour, like he's telling an unpleasant joke, "Perhaps he'd finally learned. And even if it stung me, even a little bit, I should never have blamed him for that."
Genuinely, Cody admires the crawling speed at which the alcohol appears to be catching up with his General. He seems to be doing an awful lot of thinking for someone who, by all means, should be in a coma right now.
But then again, he's pretty sure flowery vocabulary is just a feature ingrained so deeply into Kenobi's brain that he could discard it with about as much success as one has trying to rid themselves of a mole.
He doesn't know how to tell him what he's thinking, but the words are tumbling out and he can't stop them either.
"Permission to speak freely, sir."
"Did you--" Kenobi arches an eyebrow. "Did you presume you didn't have it for the duration of our previous conversation?"
"Always good to check." Cody shrugs. "Did I?"
"Of course." Kenobi's eyes soften like he's nursing a regret. "I will never prohibit anyone from expressing anything but their thoughts."
Cody stares for a moment. "Right," he says blankly. "Well."
He takes a breath, and wills his lips into parting. Oh, he has to be better than his emotionally-crippled General, little gods.
"Our buir5 was, ah, a bit of a bastard. We all knew it, you know, he didn't hide it." Kenobi raises his other eyebrow now. It's not a bad look on him.
"Yes," he says, thoroughly amused, "I'm very much aware of Jango's… tendencies."
"I'd hope so, since it's generally known he tried to blow you up? Twice?" Cody tilts his head. Once again, he's exceedingly glad Kenobi's fluent in Mando'a, however he's achieved this while also leading a war on the side. Some things just don't sound right in Basic. "Is that true, by the way? Can't ask him, since, you know." He drags a finger across his throat in a jerky cutting motion. Kenobi grimaces.
"I'm sorry," he says. "I'm not one to criticize Master Windu often, but I do believe his approach was… too brash."
Cody waves a hand. "Our buir was a free Mando'ad, he made his choice. But that's not the point."
Kenobi sighs, a little shadow of a smile on his face. "Yes, he did try to blow me up. Yes, twice. In the span of perhaps… a minute and a half?"
Cody gives a high whistle.
"Jango Fett did not play around."
"No, I suppose not. The second time, he even came close." Cheeky bastard. "No wonder all of you take such joy in explosions."
He winks, then, and Cody momentarily forgets what he was going to say.
He coughs, and pulls his mind back together, hoping he didn't project - whatever that was - too hard. Into the Force, or whatever.
"What I meant to say was," he continues, stubbornly, "while our buir was no idiot, he was, in fact, awful, when he wanted to be." He shrugs, staring Kenobi down. It's easier, because Kenobi is very decisively looking anywhere but him. He knows, Cody senses. "Now, that doesn't negate all the times he could be the only damn thing that kept us going along with the longnecks, just because, at the end of the day, we wanted to make him proud. Because he was pleasant to be around when he was proud. He could be kind, when he saw that he'd crossed a line. But he was his own, and sometimes - sometimes - his own didn't involve our well-being." Kenobi's glance, he notices, is slowly coming back to him, though still buried somewhere by their feet. "Assuming it did would only get us hurt. Or disappointed."
"Your point, Cody," he says, quietly.
"You know it, sir," Cody retorts, leaning back, feeling strangely calm about what he's about to say. "Perhaps admitting your buir was a--... was not without flaw would do you good. Take your mind off idolizing him every death day, at least."
The silence drags on, and, for a moment, Cody's calm wavers. Perhaps he's overstepped - Sober Cody would, indeed, be horrified at the statement.
But, after a few moments, there comes a snort.
"Oh, Qui-Gon was nice," Kenobi says, finally, and his eyes rise to meet Cody's with a mischievous glint. "When he wanted to be."
Cody chuckles, shamefully relieved. The General does seem to be overlooking a lot of his osik today. "Tebec be'tracy'uur solus, mhi,6" he declares, and Kenobi tilts his head.
"I suppose so," he says. Softly. And doesn't turn away.
It takes Cody a little bit, because the blue eyes startle him again. He doesn't know why, at this point. He's seen them thousands of times.
Maybe it's because of all the alcohol, CC-2224 jeers, but Cody answers immediately, No, that's not it, him, his, blue, blue.
It takes him perhaps a solid minute to realize that he can't hear the idle chatter, the laughter, games. The barracks have gone quiet. And even so, it's not him that speaks up first.
"Are they all--" Kenobi laughs, suddenly. They've spoken well into the night and most vode have collapsed where they stood. Cody stifles a chuckle, too.
"We're the last men standing," he says, and Kenobi looks up at him, and something flashes across his face, briefly - sorrow, perhaps? He's not exactly sober enough to differentiate. Either way, Kenobi leans closer with a little frown.
"Don't say that."
"That or like that?" Cody offers him a small smile.
"That, like that. I don't know." He leans back again, closing his eyes. It's Cody's turn to frown.
It comes to him, suddenly, that he doesn't like it when Kenobi hides his eyes. They're blue like the Coruscanti sky, and they're beautiful.
Unless he's asleep. He's seen him sleep, a - a couple of times, on missions. It's a repeated memory, but still. He has a tendency, it seems, to curl up and cocoon himself in his cloak, and press his back into a wall, which, well, they all do it. To emulate at least the briefest feeling of safety. But Kenobi trusts them. He looks peaceful, asleep. Cody doesn't think he ever seems as relaxed than when he's asleep with a squad of troopers somewhere around him.
Cody figures it'd be nice. If he didn't worry so much. If he could look that peaceful all the time.
Okay, okay, back off. Back off. Right now. Right the kriff now. The General's probably thinking serious nonsense right now, and you're turning into some sort of an idiot.
But kriff, he knows he's right. It's a mild feeling in his chest, something between an ache and a pull, something that's only tightened and tightened throughout the night, and while it's not alcohol that caused it, it definitely escalated it.
Kenobi, watching them drink and chatter with impassive resolution. Kenobi, covering for them even though they were the ones breaking regs. Kenobi, sitting quietly next to him, talking to him, so, in hindsight, he doesn't think too much about why they're all there. Kenobi, asking about his name with genuine curiosity. Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, and Cody doesn't think he likes Qui-Gon Jinn very much. Kenobi, his soft laughter. Kenobi, blue eyes. Kenobi, right there, next to him, next to him.
Cody is far too gone to be thinking logical things. He wants to make a mistake, if it is that, he wants to - perhaps he's projecting, something, he's certain it's something he shouldn't be thinking of - kind and warm and Mando'a and bright eyes and - he feels restless, he needs to - he needs something, to do something.
Kenobi opens his eyes like he heard something - but he just slowly turns his head to Cody, and oh, Cody doesn't want him to sense the odd kind of desperation, the things he cannot say, he doesn't want to - but Kenobi's been here, next to him, talking to him, and - what were they even talking about?
He must feel it, through his Jedi tricks. Not-mind-reading, he remembers, and the thought nearly materializes, and if Kenobi's worth half his salt, he won't even need the Force to hear him. Can't you? Can't you?
What's overwhelming him so readily? Kenobi's jaw is set in a way that doesn't exactly communicate tension, more so, in a way, lying in wait.
What's he waiting for? Does he know?
Your thoughts are loud, Kenobi had told him once. Gently. He was anxious, back then, a step away from shell-shock. He apologized, but Kenobi had held up a hand. It's not something reprehensible, dear Commander. It only means you should likely talk about it.
He can't just - he can't just talk about this. While he can say I saw my brothers ripped to pieces on the battlefield and now I can't breathe, it's not so clear about what's making it hard to breathe now. He can't just tell Kenobi about the serenity of his voice, his kindness, the way he, the way--
I want, he thinks, I need.
"Cody," Kenobi says, looking at him. It's not accusatory, not a question, not anything - it's just his name.
Cody squeezes his eyes shut for the slightest second. "No."
Kenobi takes a breath. It isn't shaky, exactly, but.
Kriff. He doesn't - he can't know. About how Mando'a is so much closer to Cody's heart than Basic, how it makes blood ring in Cody's ears, the bit of unnecessary rounding of words, his flowing, if not pronounced, Coruscanti accent.
The fact that it's his name, his real name, the one no Kaminiise will ever hear, the one few brothers use, the one that his General now knows, he thinks he wears it well, he thinks it suits him. He looks over him with smiling eyes.
That mistake is too appealing at the moment.
Oh, he tells himself to stuff it in, he does. He's been yelling at himself for a little less than the war's been on, really. And it always works, and sometimes he regrets it. But this is, Kenobi is, he is - there is want, and he knows what he risks.
He's going to regret it. Both doing it and not. He knows the regret of inaction, a dull simmering spasm somewhere in his stomach; this has to be different. But, all be forsaken, the regret of an act better be bittersweet on his tongue. The regret better burn, better sting, hurt him like nothing else ever could, because if it doesn't, Cody will never let it take hold.
So he leans over, grabs Kenobi by the collar, waits until those eyes find him, land on him, wide - and kisses him.
At once, he makes observations. It's what he's best at. Kenobi is warm. His robes are rough, well-loved and easy to grab and pull around. And when Kenobi is surprised, such as when his Commander goes and kisses him out of the blue, he doesn't immediately react. He freezes, locks all the muscles in his body, and Cody does appreciate the three or so seconds more of his life this instinct provides him with.
When he does gather himself, Cody expects his insides to be fried with the lightsaber still on Kenobi's belt, or, at best, get blasted into the wall with the Force. What he decisively doesn't expect is the little strangled noise in the back of Kenobi's throat as the General grabs the back of his neck and draws him closer, closer, until the contact almost hurts. But he stills, he lets Kenobi decide when to pull back - and it happens not too long after.
A thin line joins their lips for the shortest second before they move away from each other. But, even so, Kenobi doesn't let go of Cody's neck. In response, Cody presses their heads together, into a Keldabe kiss, just as close as the former.
This gives him some time to think about what the hell he's just done as Kenobi's eyes stay closed and he slumps, just a bit, against Cody, who's grabbed the back of the seat to keep himself upright.
Their breath is shared. A moment passes, then another. They're frozen, it feels like, and he mulls over the fact that he just kissed Kenobi, a Jedi, a General, and not only did Kenobi not shove him off, he let him settle on top, grabbed his arms and pulled him closer.
Then there's movement beneath him, and Cody follows.
Kenobi's hands touch his face like he's trying to recognize him blindfolded, like he wants to memorize every inch of him, and like he's afraid all the same to shatter him. Cody closes his eyes and feels fingertips brush ever-so-slightly over his eyelids. If it wasn't Kenobi, his instincts would be screaming Danger, weak spot, danger, danger, but it is Kenobi, and all his instincts say is closer.
Slow is the stuttering breath Kenobi draws in right in front of him, but the freeze of his hands is sudden. He lets go. Falls, hitting the back of the chair, and stares blankly ahead of him like he's just realized something.
Cody lets him, and waits for a storm.
To his surprise, Kenobi laughs - he laughs, while his eyes glimmer. "Oh, Cody," he says through uneven breaths, and he's laughing as he calls out to him. Cody feels like he's liquifying. "I'm terrible." He shakes his head with a sudden sigh, craning his neck back. "I'm terrible."
Cody raises his eyes from the pale neck he was looking at, and leans down to press theirs foreheads together again. "What? Why?"
"Two rules in the Jedi Order," Kenobi mutters, clear blue eyes avoiding his gaze. "Two rules - be compassionate, and don't get attached."
Oh, that. Cody has to admit he didn't think about that one much. Not that he ever thought the General would reciprocate whatever the reason his heart got stuck in his throat whenever those damn pretty eyes lingered on him.
Although it seems rather counter-productive, Cody leans forward to press a kiss to the side of Kenobi's mouth. He smiles when the Jedi turns his head, in an attempt to get closer. It doesn't seem like the Jedi Code matters to him much either, at the present moment, for all his talk of it.
"Gar jate jetii,7" Cody mutters into his ear. A shiver goes down Kenobi's spine, Cody can sense it, at the use of Mando'a. He grins. "Ratiin jate."
Kenobi sighs, pushing at him with two fingers lightly. Cody draws back, and Kenobi gestures helplessly to himself. "Look at me. Do I look unattached?"
"I never understood it, sir," Cody confesses. "I get not wanting to get attached to your brothers in battle too much; we all die too quickly." Kenobi's hand on his neck tightens - he doesn't want to be thinking about it. "But out of battle? Your friends? Your family? It seems ridiculous."
"Ni kar'tailyr," Kenobi says, eyes pressed tightly shut, because speaking about things one can't say in a language they're too familiar with is easier in Mando'a. "Ni kar'tailyr. Gar serim8."
"Then why subject yourself to it?" Cody leans close, drags his lips softly over his General's cheek. Kenobi stifles a sigh.
"Being a Jedi is all I know. All I'll ever know." His eyes shine with pride. His voice, sadness. "It's what I was made for."
"Nobody's built to suffer," Cody bristles, sneaking a kiss a little lower, on the Jedi's stubbled jaw. "Not even us. And we were made to be instruments of war."
"And you made yourselves instead. What you are, not what Kamino conditioned you to be." Kenobi smiles, and Cody can't resist catching that smile in his mouth, pressing further when Kenobi parts his lips to let him in. Into Cody's mouth, he croons, "Men of unity. A brotherhood. What a contrast."
Cody sees no way to reply other than to kiss him harder, kiss in all the You too, you're not meant for conflict, you, you, you are of peace; of tranquility and serenity. Not endless woe, you are of kindness and giving, and expecting nothing back. He sees it for sure, in the rare times they witness Kenobi be more of a Jedi than a general, when he sits cross-legged in the corridor against a wall with his eyes closed, when he scolds General Skywalker for 'inappropriate use of the Force' one second and uses it to stir his tea the next. Then, Cody looks at him, and he can't understand how the man can even handle war.
Kenobi looks at him, and Cody wonders if his thoughts are too loud again.
When he leans close, he ducks his head, presses his face into Kenobi's neck. The man lets out a shaky chuckle, long fingers tangled in Cody's short hair. Before Cody can move, though, he's getting gently pushed back with two fingers on his chest again.
"We are," Kenobi mutters, slowly, hesitantly, "beyond intoxicated."
"Right," Cody agrees. Indeed, the corners of his vision had been blurring for a while. "You think we should--..."
Kenobi nods. "We should."
They pull away from one another and, strangely, Cody feels a bit cold. His blacks are warm. He shouldn't.
He stands up, moves back to his seat briefly. When did he get up? When did he end up hovering over Kenobi, hands off his collar and in his hair, on his neck, his shoulders?
"Though, you know," Cody gestures at himself vaguely, one corner of his lips tugging up. "Clone metabolism. I'd say I'm… slowly shifting into a hangover right about now."
Kenobi's startled laughter is worth it. "I can certainly help you with that if I muster up the strength to leave my room tomorrow." He smiles at Cody's incredulous expression. "It's not unusual for even stronger liquors to take effect slower in Jedi. Unfortunately, they also last longer. So do forgive me if I don't stop by tomorrow." He sighs, standing up. Swaying to the sides a little bit. "But at least I won't have lied to Master Windu."
Cody chuckles. "At least you can get drunk. A few of my brothers just…" He shrugs, following Kenobi to his feet. "Kamino programs just went too well, I suppose."
It's surprisingly easy to fall back into light banter, considering the nature of what they'd just done. And yet Cody doesn't want to think about the regs, or the Jedi code, anything, really. He falls into step a bit closer to Kenobi than he felt good about before and walks him out, right about halfway to the Temple.
They separate, then.
"Goodnight, General," Cody says quietly, because that's all there is, because what he said before was true. He could know the exact color of the spectrum that Kenobi's untreated wounds spurted blood out of before he knew Kenobi's name. They were still at war. The fact that he also knows the exact way Kenobi's eyes flutter closed slowly when he's being kissed doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things.
Kenobi looks sad to go. Stepping forward, he cups Cody's face with his hands, saying nothing, doing nothing, simply - there. And if Cody feels a flash of - something, a pressure, light against his mind, he doesn't mention it.
After a minute, Kenobi clears his throat. Lets go. And flashes Cody a small smile. "Goodnight, my dear Commander."
He wanders off. Cody, after a few minutes of consideration and acknowledgement of the ache somewhere in his chest, turns and makes back for the barracks.
He doesn't even have the energy to get to his bunk. He makes to his previous seat, only, turns around to see the sun rising between the Temple's towers in the distance, grins and immediately goes under with this strange feeling in his chest. Like the sun is shining through the transparisteel, right upon him.
When he wakes, it's all a different story. The morning - his morning, coming later than most his brothers' - is coated in this numb sort of disbelief, a What the hell just happened kind of sensation, like that after a costly battle, except… The feeling in his chest doesn't exactly weigh him down. It doesn't numb him so he doesn't hurt, it's simply - he's incredulous.
He remembers the way Kenobi's robes bunched up under his hands when he pulled him close and held him there.
Slowly, more and more comes to him. The conversation, their stances on the war, Jango and a Qui-Gon that Cody knows he doesn't hold in a very high regard, but will need more time to recall why, exactly. Kenobi's eyes, blank, then sad, then anxious.
Then glassy, soft, gentle. Cody remembers eyes on him when he was close enough but not yet there. Encouragement in those eyes, if Cody were to take a loose guess.
Later on, his heart does get heavier. Along comes the doubts he's come to expect from the unknown, the question of whether Kenobi remembers - and if he does, what he thinks of it. He still hasn't showed by the time it's evening, and this doesn't make anything better.
Cody remembers hands on his face. It had felt safer than any helmet he'd ever worn.
But Cody's also not an unreasonable man, and he remembers, too, Kenobi telling him he might not stand the next day. With the amounts of alcohol they both drank, Cody cringes inwardly and accepts that Kenobi is probably not doing too great - but while he's gone, Cody has a battalion to take care of.
Indeed, Kenobi does not show up, that day. Some vode go out to Coruscant. Some stay in their beds, suffering. Some drink a glass or another again before Cody finally decides he'd like his men alive for the next campaign, actually, and shuts it down at last.
"Well. Fun while it lasted," Vy shrugs when Cody tells him to bring it back where he got it.
"Thank you, Vy," he says, glaring, biting back a You have no idea.
He can recall the warmth. Still. He doesn't think he'll ever be able not to, now.
They meet on the Negotiator, next, and Kenobi recounts mechanically the details of their next mission, just after their few days of leave Kenobi manages to wring out. The circles under his eyes have deepened - just a little bit. Cody would never have been able to tell if he hadn't stared at Kenobi so intently last time they'd spoken.
Spoken and, well, done other things.
In the midst of the briefing, Kenobi looks up. Intentionally or not, Cody can't tell.
What he can tell, though, is that the calm little smile on Kenobi's face is for him. Because his expression immediately falls back into cool professionalism once his eyes are off Cody. Suddenly, he's very glad to have a bucket over his head. It feels, inexplicably, as if his heart just got five times lighter.
The briefing, somehow, manages to both be blink-and-you'll-miss-it (Cody's always been a good soldier; he doesn't let his mind wander too far) and pass five times slower than usual (Cody also really, really wants to talk to his General). Sooner or later, anyway, it concludes, a few troopers mutter pre-coined curses at the giant and supposedly poisonous ("You mean venomous, sir?" "No. The poison is their very blood, within them." "All due respect, General, we won't be eating bugs." "Tell that to Anakin, trooper. No, what I'm saying is avoid stepping on them, or unnecessary slaughter, or…") insects they're going to no-doubt encounter on the next planet they land on. Cody's brothers walk out. He stays.
Kenobi does as well.
Soon enough, the door closes, and they're alone in deafening silence. Suddenly Cody isn't sure of what to think, as Kenobi calmly collects the datapads from where they've been discarded and stacks it on the table, then stills, not looking up.
He's in thought. Cody's trying his best not to be. But the longer Kenobi eyes the datapads insistently, his hands twitching just a bit, the more Cody wonders if that's a cue to leave. Neither of them have said anything. Perhaps he should.
Relief spreads in his chest. He doesn't think he's ever loved the feeling more. He stays. "General."
Kenobi tilts his head like he's already exasperated. It's familiar to Cody, it's lenient. It disarms. "There's nobody else in here, is there, Cody?"
"No, sir," he agrees lightly.
"Then it's Obi-Wan." He sounds insistent, now, instead of gently suggesting they drop the rank like before. "Please."
Cody takes a breath. He has no qualms about it, exactly. Perhaps the GAR does, and perhaps his drunk self had been a bit dramatic about it, but Cody is now both sober and a bit skeptical.
"Obi-Wan." It doesn't sound right on his tongue.
But Kenobi smiles, then, and Cody thinks that maybe it doesn't sound right just yet.
Kenobi leaves the pile of datapads at last, coming to face Cody, the table between them. He looks him up and down for a moment, fidgeting with one hand.
"I'd like to see you," he says, eventually, and motions to his face briefly. "If that's alright. Would you…"
"Oh," Cody mouths. Well, staring into an unresponsive visor must not be the most pleasant experience indeed. "Yes, of course."
He lifts his helmet, the piece giving a hiss as it comes off, and places it down on the table, by the holoports. They're all conveniently turned off as soon as the briefing is over, dimming the light in the room so Cody's eyes don't need much time to adjust.
By the time they do, though, Kenobi's rounding the table, slowly, one hand on the edge, fingers brushing gently against the surface. Cody watches him - not wary, just unsure of what to say.
All his doubts come slamming back into him when Kenobi looks up at him, and he wonders how the man manages to look so damn collected all the time.
Not all the time, his mind supplies generously. Not when you were kissing him.
Cody decides the image is not helping at all. But it was him, indeed, who kissed Kenobi. He should at least be able to string together a few damn words, what else was all that Commando training for?
But Kenobi is the man who never looks for words, the title of the Negotiator is well-deserved, and he seems to be feeling merciful.
"The Council was certainly generous with the leave," he says. It's barely audible. Cody figures starting from afar is good enough. "It gives time time to think about things, does it not?"
"Oh, sure," Cody agrees, crossing his arms, not as smoothly as he usually does. "As long as you're not herding your two hundred brothers across an entire planet."
He doesn't expect Kenobi to laugh and is proven wrong as the Jedi gazes, a bit wistful, over Cody's shoulder. "I can sympathize," he tells him. "Instead of raising a Knight who's now raising a Padawan, I feel like I remain a father of two." He shrugs. "Once a pupil, forever a pupil, I suppose." Then his eyes come back to Cody. "And yet."
Cody feels a bit like he's under inspection, but then the glance on him softens and - "I want to ask you something."
He drops his hands and faces Kenobi. "Right."
Cody stays motionless a moment too long, waiting, and gives a small smile. He wonders if Kenobi doesn't say You kissed me because he's telling him something or if that's just how he remembers it. "That's not exactly a question."
Kenobi bows his head. "I suppose not. However, I gave it some thought - that's an understatement, by the way - and I wanted to… make some things clear, I suppose."
Uh-oh. Cody doesn't exactly have a good feeling about this. Something opens up in his stomach, a little pit of anxious anticipation.
What comes out of his mouth is a bit different. "Right." It's in repetition, but normally Cody would just say Sir and be done with it. He can't, now.
Kenobi presses his lips together. “I did mention that alcohol is slower to take effect in Jedi, correct?” he questions, and Cody nods. "And you said most of yours had passed." He nods again. "Then," Kenobi licks his lips, his eyes skim the room, the door, "I understand it wasn't something you did just because you were drunk." He stops just short of Cody, hovering on the edge of his space. "And I certainly did not respond the way I did because I was incoherent either."
Nevermind. For once, his instincts were wrong. Kriff booze, kriff everything. Cody feels lightweight. Here's Kenobi, telling him he kissed back because he wanted to.
He realizes he hasn't said anything, and Kenobi's been making pauses. He's gone completely quiet, now, but, before Cody can tell him that he's completely correct, he's so damn right, he speaks again.
"I don't want to be drawing conclusions for myself," he says, and there's a hint of sorrow in his voice. "Please do tell me if I've misread the situation."
He's got a patient look on, like Cody's going to turn heel and disappear. But Cody's never run from his problems - and this isn't even one of them, all things considered. If Kenobi's got it in himself to think Cody would ever push him away -
"You say we've had time to think," Cody tells him, inching closer to him, hands locked and still behind his back. He stares at Kenobi and hopes the man can sense how sure he is of his words. "I didn't need it. I've thought about it before, it - it wasn't impulsive. Well," he corrects, "the kiss was, but I didn't just develop feelings for you in five minutes. And if you say you didn't put me through five walls of the barracks because you did what you wanted to do and not because you thought it was more polite or something, then, and I do hope you don't repeat this to anyone, I couldn't give less of a shit about what the regs are. You've never pulled rank on me outside of battle. On anyone." He watches Kenobi's eyes widen, but he continues on. Oh, he's done nothing but think. He has words. A lot of them. He just needed a start.
"You don't punch the air out of my lungs when I see you because you're my General or because you're just not one of my brothers. It's not that." His expression, he feels, is about the same firm determination he wears before battle - it's simply the most genuine one he has. Something he knows Kenobi can trust. "I'm not going to compare you to anyone else. Same as you don't compare me to my brothers. You're kind and capable and empathetic because you're you, not because you're more of those things than anyone else. I meant it. I kissed you because you're you." He shrugs, then, masking his breath that's shakier than he thought, and tells him, the only way he knows how, the only language that's as close to his heart as he wants Kenobi to know he is - "Ni kartaylir gar, jorcu gar shi gar9."
There, he says with his sharp wide gesture. He's said it, it's out in the open, no going back. Though, he realizes, he doesn't want to go back, however this ends.
Cody looks up and realizes Kenobi's teary-eyed. Just the slightest bit, red at the corners of his eyelids. Unthinkingly, Cody steps forward, then stops when he catches himself. Kenobi hasn't said anything. Cody wouldn't know what to do.
Kenobi glances down, wraps his arms around himself. "Oh." Then, he looks up, and - and beautiful, beautiful, Cody's mind presses into him, he's beautiful when he smiles, and not the type of beauty a Mandalorian would consider, mesh'la10 is not the word he's looking for, but all he finds in Basic is it, over and over, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
"Kote," Kenobi says quietly. Cody blinks, and it takes him a second to remember to listen for the Coruscanti accent, twisting and shaping his name just so, so slightly. "You are… quite possibly the truest man I've ever had the honour of knowing." Cody watches as the Negotiator takes time to find words, and a little tail of pride curls in his chest. If only I'd known elaborate confessions shut you up before. "You're - right. I answered in kind because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to. I suppose the fact that I'm telling you this means that I was as good at hiding my… affections, as it were, as I wanted, hesitantly, to be. I did my best to leave your Force field alone and to be composed as necessary." He chuckles, then, a weak sound. "I will admit, although it's a bit embarrassing, that I did look into the Jedi Code regarding attachments. Again."
"Find anything good?" Cody asks, coming off a little less serious than he intended to be, but it seems like that's just what Kenobi needs.
"Only what I'd always known. One cannot be rid of attachment completely the same way one cannot be entirely free of fear, but both attachment and fear are looked down upon, unfortunately. When they're both such human things." He sighs. "Back when I was training Anakin and he was being - difficult, as one says, I came to a conclusion. It wasn't attachment or fear that made Jedi fall. It was letting fear control them, and attachments rule them. Fear is a natural response to the prospect of something unpleasant. Attachments are an intrinsic part of a sentient's life. Prohibiting any expression of them was wrong. And I wasn't going to let it slide." He chuckled. "Coincidentally, it fixed things between Anakin and me at the time quite a bit. I've always gone by it, since. Same thing now."
"Then why look down on yourself," Cody says quietly, as gently as possible. Two rules in the Jedi Order. I'm terrible.
Kenobi bites down on his lip. "Because it's very much the way my Master taught me. It was the way things were. I revert very easily, I'm afraid, and it takes a minute to reinstate my own truths." Ah, that's why Cody would like to punch Qui-Gon Jinn in the face. Now he remembers.
Kenobi's expression brightens in an instant when he sees Cody's turn a bit sour.
"But this doesn't matter all that much, all I wanted to say was -" He gestures helplessly, looking up at Cody, " - that your feelings were reciprocated. All those things you spoke about are true to you as well - the kindness, the perseverance, the bravery, understanding, Cody, you're one of the brightest lights I've ever seen. It's miraculous. And never had I been so elated by having someone by my side, trust, I don't--..."
"If you say you don't deserve me, I'll kick you in the shin," Cody promises, sounding far calmer than he feels. Kenobi snorts.
"It's true," he confirms, shrugging.
"It doesn't sound threatening enough."
Kenobi raises his hands. "No, you're right, you're right. You're bound to be kicking me in the shin right about now."
"I'm about to," Cody claims, steps up, untangles Kenobi from his own arms, and kisses him senseless.
He has the taste of laughter ingrained in him, and it might just be one of the few good things Cody will carry out this damned war. Kenobi hums, his hands coming up to Cody's shoulders, then to his hair.
When they part, Cody steps back a little bit. He has another confession to make.
"You know," he says pensively. Kenobi follows him close, away from the table. "You say perseverance and bravery and all that, but I was ready to throw myself off the edge of the level tunnels when I woke up and remembered what I did."
Kenobi laughs again, soft, happy. "I thought you were sobering up at that point?"
"I was," Cody confirms, a wry smile spreading across his face. "But not completely. Courage is in the bottom of the bottle, you know. Don't think I lost that very quickly."
"Well, I am glad you did not," Kenobi huffs, "but I did think you were - you know."
"I was coherent enough," Cody reassures him, crossing his arms. "The peak of being drunk was probably me interrogating you about Qui-Gon Jinn." He hadn't exactly been his own standard of logic, at the time.
Kenobi cringes openly, stifling a groan. "I beg of you," he manages, "when talking about kissing me, never mention my Master. Please."
Cody doesn't know why it sounds so funny to him, but suddenly he's laughing, and Kenobi's following along, and there's a certain glimmer in his eyes that Cody is extremely unopposed to seeing more often - perhaps if he heard a smile in Kenobi's voice, the worst days would be bearable. Perhaps if he carried the laughter with him, Cody would come down easier from the peaks of his grief.
Perhaps if Kenobi was even the slightest bit happier, Cody would feel the same.
He's stopped laughing. Clear eyes bore through him, or, perhaps, somewhere beyond him, and Cody feels it again - a kind of brush, gentle and inexplicably careful against his conscious. Kenobi's hands tremble, and Cody recognizes him in the presence, in the soft press against his thoughts. He wonders if he can let Kenobi closer. He would.
That does it, probably. The presence fades and Kenobi's lips part in an unvoiced gasp.
“I-- I notice it, now that I know,” he confesses, his gaze peering into Cody’s very soul. “The Force around you. Toward me, it. Behaves a bit - differently.” He makes a vague gesture at Cody, who chuckles.
“What’s it like?” he asks, stepping closer. Kenobi meets him halfway, just like when they’d separated a few nights before, and lifts his hands. Doesn’t quite touch him, but his palms hover just above Cody’s cheeks.
Kenobi hums for a moment, presumably looking for words. Cody isn’t too hard on him, as he’s given to understand that the Force is not something easily explained, and the only other times he’s wrangled a description out of Kenobi willingly was when Cody was desperately trying to keep him conscious after the two of them had been crushed under a deliberate collapse of a cave they’d been scouting.
“It sings,” Kenobi says, and he’s bleeding all over, and there’s too much of everything, and Cody’s losing him. He drags his General up, lets him lean against his side, one arm around him, and resorts to keeping him awake however.
Kenobi’s clouded eyes turn to him. “The Force.”
Cody presses his lips together firmly. “No, sir, I’d wager that’s called a concussion.”
It’s the first time he hears Kenobi laugh.
Well. Back then, and when he described Skywalker, Cody supposes. Light and all that. He assumed that all Jedi were Light, but what does he know? Maybe Skywalker’s lighter than that. Or something.
“Warm,” Kenobi says, pulling him out of his thoughts. That’s all. “Like a simmer. Pulling.”
Cody leans down, just a bit, to brush against his hands. Kenobi presses them against his face.
“It doesn’t feel like a simmer,” Cody tells him, and, at the arch of an eyebrow, adds, “the Force’s lying to you. It’s more like a goddamn engine fire.”
Kenobi chuckles, brightly, and doesn’t shy away at the description. He looks a bit like he’s somewhere away. “I wonder what my signature would feel like, right about now.”
"Does it matter?" Cody asks. He's not looking down on it. He wants to know.
Kenobi studies his face for a moment. "Honestly," he says at last, "it really doesn't."
"But when you checked on me, or sensed me, or - or something." Cody remembers the gentle nature of the presence by his mind. The care with which it prodded closer. "It felt - it felt like you."
"Oh," Kenobi mutters. "I got too close, then, if you could feel it. But - yes, I suppose, that's one way to know it."
"Good," Cody hums, then, crowding closer. "It was - pleasant, like a little… Stars, I don't know. Like a ball of light, but you can't see it. But it's you." He waves his hand vaguely, scrunching up his face. "That's the best way to say it, I think. It was just - you."
Kenobi makes a pleased little noise at Cody's words. "Now you know the struggle of trying to describe the Force to non-sensitives that ask," Kenobi chuckles, moving back along with him. "It feels obvious, but then you try and put it into words and it - Oh!"
Kenobi's lower back presses against the table with a low thump, knocking a few datapads out of position, and he cranes his neck over his shoulder like he's surprised to see it. Turns back to Cody. Smiles. Cody can count the flecks on his nose at the distance. "Ah. How very strategic of you, Commander."
Cody doesn't tell him that he hadn't exactly meant to nearly pin his General to the table. He hadn't even realized he was getting that close before now. He has a feeling, somehow, that, beyond the unnoticed mischief (how'd he miss it, before?) in his eyes, Kenobi knows. He knows exactly what he does to Cody. Wouldn't be that good a Jedi if he didn't.
He gives a little gasp of surprise nevertheless when arms wrap around him and lift him up, place him back down on the table. He grabs onto Cody's shoulders, though, holds himself steady and straight.
"If the Force had willed it," Cody echoes his explanation which seems to have taken place such a long time ago, now, as he steps away far enough to speak but close enough to touch, "I may have dropped you."
Kenobi laughs. Unintentionally, it's like his laughter sets Cody on fire, again. A simmer. Yeah, right.
"That is not how the Force works," Kenobi says firmly, ignoring the fact that most of his dignity was snatched away once his feet were off the floor.
"You don't get tired of repeating yourself, do you," Cody deadpans, one arm snaking up to cup the back of Kenobi's neck, pull him forward. The man goes willingly.
"Oh, no, a Jedi's duty is to educate on the Force and I'll repeat it until you get it through to your thick skull, dear one," he chuckles, but then there is a playful glint in his eye and Cody's subconsciously leaning forward. "Unless you were to, oh, I don't know. Shut me up."
Cody rolls his eyes, just slightly, closes the distance between them and shuts him up indeed.