Hate does nothing but bring suffering. Obi-Wan has had that drilled in his head ever since Qui-Gon had taken him in as a thirteen year old. Anger, hatred, fear, it all leads to suffering. He knows this. Lives by it. At twenty five years old he thinks it serves him well in the military. Hate has no place in his heart. There is only peace. A careful detachment to those around him to maintain it. He keeps his peace and stays on the path that Qui-Gon insists is right. There is one problem with his mantra.
His battalion has been assigned to work with another and by the force he wants to hate the one covered in tribal tattoos.
Maul. A daunting name for a surprisingly daunting guy considering that Obi-Wan is taller. Maul seems to have decided they are archenemies or rivals, as if they belong in some grand and epic tale of dueling clans. The black and red tattoos always twist in a sneer when he walks by. The taunts and jeers make his blood boil. The shoves and kicks make him wish he could cut him in half. Just thinking of him makes his inner peace so much harder to find.
“Kenobi!” Maul’s shout of his last name echoes around the backs of barracks and he freezes in his stride. A million curses fly through his head at lightning speed as he turns and faces the slightly shorter man.
“Maul,” Obi-Wan greets coldly as the annoyance stops before him. His tattooed lips split into a grin and Obi-Wan realizes even some of the gums around his teeth are blackened with ink.
“Are you sneaking off to go visit the commander?” Maul sneers at him and Obi-Wan’s lips twitch with annoyance. “Who’s the bitch in that situation? Do you bend over easy or pretend you don’t want it?” The taunt makes him lose control. Obi-Wan loses all hint of his carefully built composure and brings his right fist against the tattoos as hard as he can. Maul staggers back and Obi-Wan shoves him to the ground.
“Just because you don’t know what a friend is doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t,” he spits at Maul who glares from the ground.
He realizes his mistake as soon as the black boot lashes out and catches him in the leg. The toe hooks around his leg and suddenly Obi-Wan is on the ground. Maul flips from his back onto his feet and Obi-Wan barely avoids the flurry of kicks aimed at his chest with a roll. Maul gives up on the kicking tactic and just launches himself on top of Obi-Wan.
The two tussle, fists hitting faces and chests. Obi-Wan tries to shove him off and the menace grabs his wrists. Before he realizes it, Obi-Wan is pinned to the ground on his back, gasping and glaring at Maul. They both sport new bruises and scrapes, but the damage done to either of them is lost on Obi-Wan when he realizes that Maul is straddling him.
Panic courses through him and he has to fight the urge to move to get away. Where the ass has planted his ass means friction will cause a reaction he does not want to have happen. Maul leans over him, putting them face to face as the sun glints off his very short hair that stands out at odd angles from their scuffle. The odd look in his almost yellow looking eyes makes Obi-Wan nervous.
“I heard you and Cody were too close,” Maul whispers. His breath is hot against Obi-Wan’s face.
“Not like that,” he says back firmly. Maul searches his eyes and does the worst thing. He pushes against him, grinding just enough to make Obi-Wan suck in a breath. “Get the kriff off me Maul.”
“Why would I do that?” Maul asks as he brings his face closer. He moves again and Obi-Wan kicks his legs uselessly to fight his body’s own want to react. It feels good. Too good. It does not help that he finds Maul attractive despite his actions. “Are you trying to fight it Kenobi?”
“Maul I swear-”
“I was surprised when I heard the rumor about you swinging both ways,” Maul cuts him off. “I thought surely you’d have a high school sweetheart you married right after graduation.”
“Maul,” the name leaves his lips with a desperation he wants to deny as the man moves against him more. The pace is steady, rhythmic, and dammit Obi-Wan can not hold off from reacting much more. “Maul please-”
“Say it Kenobi. What are you?” Maul whispers as he shifts on top of him. Obi-Wan wishes he could pretend there was nothing going on in his uniform to make him shift. Force kill him now.
“What do you want me to say? That I’m a fa-”
“No,” Maul says harshly and stills on top of him. “What label do you use?”
“I’m bisexual,” Obi-Wan admits softly. He wishes he could pretend this whole thing was a dream. This is the worst case scenario. Of all the people to find out the truth, Maul is the worst. He shuts his eyes, expecting spit in his face, maybe another punch, anything. When nothing comes he opens his eyes and stares at Maul who now looks nervous.
“Bi?” Maul asks curiously and Obi-Wan nods. “Do you have a girl or guy back home?”
“Neither,” he admits, unsure why he does. He is unsure why Maul asks. Perhaps to taunt him more. Swinging both ways and still single sounds like just the thing that he wants to know for more fodder.
“Huh,” Maul says as he looks his face over. It makes Obi-Wan uncomfortable. They are too close and he knows Maul can feel him pressing against him. “Is that by choice?”
“What does that mean?” Obi-Wan asks back hotly. Maul leans closer to him. It makes their noses press together.
“Do you think I’m hot Kenobi?” Maul asks with a grin on his lips.
“Oh kriff off-”
“Do you?” Maul asks as he presses into him again. Obi-Wan can hardly help the way his hips buck up and wishes he had more self control.
“Physically? Yes. Personality wise? No.”
“Why?” Maul asks curiously and Obi-Wan barks an incredulous laugh.
“Are you serious?! You’ve been nothing but awful to me since we met!”
“Are you really that oblivious?” Maul asks with a chuckle. Obi-Wan just shrugs to the best of his ability and feels Maul tilt his head. Before his brain truly has time to process the move Maul’s lips crash into his almost painfully. A thousand thoughts fly through Obi-Wan’s head but his mouth does not get any of the memos. His lips press back and his tongue parts the tattooed ones with ease. Maul whines into his mouth and pulls back with a raw look of fear written as plainly as his tattoos across his face.
“Being an ass is your idea of flirting?” Obi-Wan manages to drawl and Maul grins as the fear fades from his face.
“I’ve never done the whole flirting thing before. Or really any of this,” Maul finishes softly. Obi-Wan understands then. If he had not come to terms with his sexuality long before this he might have let it manifest in such a way. He carefully pulls his wrists from Maul’s death grip and holds the tattooed face gently in his hands.
“If this is something you want,” Obi-Wan says as he pulls him closer, “we can take this slow and see what happens, but we have to keep it between us.”
“I’d like that,” Maul quickly responds before attacking his mouth again. Obi-Wan gives into the sensation and kisses him back with everything he has.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Ahsoka says from her spot on the couch. Obi-Wan looks from his vantage point at the window to her and nods. “New neighbor look familiar?”
“Too familiar,” he responds as he sips his tea. “Military days familiar.”
“Is this a good or bad thing?” she asks as she sets her phone aside. Obi-Wan sighs and shrugs his shoulders. “Obi-Wan-”
“How is it that you’re seventeen and mastered that voice of chastising already?” Obi-Wan asks with a laugh. “I swear between you and Anakin I don’t know-”
“Because I learned it from Plo, and you’re damn good at the chastising tone yourself,” Ahsoka fires back. “Now stop dodging the question and just answer it. New neighbor? Good or bad?”
“Well...” he trails off as the memories come to him. Secret meetings. Tracing tattoos with his fingertips. Tracing them with his tongue. Roaming hands. Whispers of a future. Moans of pleasure muffled by hands. Burying himself fully in the tattooed perfection that begged him for it. Kriff it had been too good for too short a time.
“Are you blushing?!” Ahsoka asks incredulously. “Oh force I gotta hear this one!”
“No,” Obi-Wan whines and shakes his head. “Some things you take to your grave. Like, you know... screwing around with a guy from another battalion.”
“You hooked up with him overseas?!” Ahsoka practically shouts as she hops to her feet. “I gotta see him!”
“No!” Obi-Wan cries in a panic. He grabs her arm and halts her from flinging the curtain to get her view. They stare at each other, neither one budging on their wish, until there is a knock at the door. Ahsoka beams at him and opens it with a flourish.
“Hi new neighbor!” she calls cheerfully to the man standing on their front step. Obi-Wan steels himself and steps into the doorway with her. He comes face to face with Maul for the first time in fifteen years.
The man has grown into a very handsome and lean figure, and Obi-Wan is glad to see it. He sees the prosthetic legs poking out from the legs of his shorts and feels his heart fall. They had lost all contact when the battalions had separated. He never knew what had happened to his secret love, but he had always hoped for the best. It would seem that he was not the only one to be hurt, but where he had minor scars and healed holes from bullets that only hurt on cold days, Maul had lost so much more.
They lock eyes and Obi-Wan knows the years have not hurt him as much as he thinks when he looks in the mirror. Maul’s eyes widen in shock and surprise. Obi-Wan clears his throat and gives him a nervous smile. Maul’s face goes from shock, to happiness, to horror, before he lands on a nervous smile of his own. Ahsoka at his side looks at him but he cannot bring himself to look away from the face he still sees in his dreams.
“Kenobi.” His name leaves the tattooed lips and Obi-Wan nods.
“I uh,” Maul scratches at his head before jamming his hands in his pockets, “was just going to see if we could park the moving truck on your driveway for a bit.”
“Of course,” Obi-Wan agrees with a small nod.
“Thanks,” Maul says with a half step back. Obi-Wan watches him wave awkwardly before turning and going down the steps back to another man covered in similar tattoos.
“I’ve gotta call Skyguy for this,” Ahsoka whispers and Obi-Wan makes no move to stop her from going back to the couch and grabbing her phone. He shuts the front door and leans against it, letting his forehead rest against the painted blue wood.
“Are you still hiding from him?” Anakin asks the second he steps into the kitchen. Obi-Wan looks up from the cutting board and smiles at his younger brother he practically raised alone. Padmé steps beside him and he gives her a bigger smile at the way she sets a hand on her swollen stomach. He cannot wait to meet the two little ones.
“Hello to both of you,” he says, ignoring Anakin’s comment. “Padmé please sit down and put your feet up, I’ll get you some tea.”
“That sounds perfect Obi-Wan,” she says with a smile as she comes forward and kisses his cheek. Before she pulls away she whispers in his ear. “I tried telling him not to bother you about it.”
“He has a mind of his own,” Obi-Wan whispers back and she nods with a roll of her eyes. When she disappears into the living room he goes back to chopping up the vegetables for Ahsoka’s favorite stir fry dish, wanting to spoil his adopted daughter during her final exams.
“So? We’re going to pretend that you didn’t hear me?” Anakin asks as he leans against the counter. Obi-Wan allows himself a sigh through his nose.
“I’m not hiding.” It is a lame defense and he knows it.
“Yeah? Then you’ve talked to him?” Anakin fires back immediately and he sags a little.
“Not since he came to the door. I just... there’s another guy-”
“I’ve never known you to be a coward,” Anakin says with a hint of annoyance in his tone. Obi-Wan wants to ignore it but knows himself better than that. He chops a pepper with a little more force than necessary.
“What exactly am I supposed to say to him? Hm? Do I need to remind you that he was the one who said we were done and to never speak with anyone about it? Or to never contact him again?” Obi-Wan knows that his tone is a little harsh but cannot help himself. He sets the knife down and looks at his brother. “Anakin I fell in love with him and he didn’t even want to keep in touch. I didn’t even know he was alive until he showed up next door.”
Anakin nods and Obi-Wan grabs the knife again. With a shake of his head he finishes chopping up the rest of the vegetables before setting them aside and making Padmé her tea. He lets his eyes stray out of the window over the sink and looks at the house beside him. So close. So far. With a shake of his head he looks back down at the sink and misses the way the curtain moves in the other house’s window.
They sit outside in the cool evening air. All of Obi-Wan’s little family chatting and laughing. Ahsoka leans on his shoulder as he sips coffee from his mug. Padmé sits on his other side on the small outdoor couch as Anakin re-enacts his story animatedly. He half listens to his brother’s story as movement next door catches his attention.
Maul steps onto his own back porch and looks right at him. Obi-Wan’s mouth suddenly feels dry as the man moves down the steps carefully. With a whisper of an apology Obi-Wan gets up from his cushion and walks towards the waist high chain link fence that separates their homes. Maul nervously steps up as well and leans against the top, crossing his arms.
“Kenobi,” Maul greets him.
“Maul,” Obi-Wan greets back.
“Family gathering?” Maul asks awkwardly and Obi-Wan looks over his shoulder to see his little trio of mischief trying and failing to eavesdrop discreetly.
“Ahsoka‘s finals are rough this year, I figured she could probably use a visit from them.”
“Ahsoka?” Maul questions and Obi-Wan points to his adopted daughter as she adjusts the braids in her hair when she stands up.
“A friend adopted her, he died and suddenly I had another mouth to feed,” Obi-Wan explains. “I told you about my younger brother Anakin, that’s him all grown up... and the brunette is his lovely wife Padmé, who’s pregnant with my future niece and nephew.”
“What about you?” Maul asks curiously and Obi-Wan gives him a curious look. “Wife? Husband?”
“Oh,” Obi-Wan laughs awkwardly. “No. I’m afraid that aside from keeping my hair a decent length I’m going to be quite similar to Qui-Gon.”
They share a chuckle over that as Obi-Wan thinks of late night whispered conversations. He had told him everything. Being adopted at thirteen. His father taking in Anakin. His father’s death had hit him hard, and Maul had been a strong source of support as he had figured out what to do with the newly orphaned Anakin. They had shared so much, only to throw it all away.
“Well at least your group isn’t fighting,” Maul offers him. “My brothers are going to drive me crazy.”
“Is that who you’re living with?” Obi-Wan asks curiously and Maul nods.
“My twin Savage needed a fresh start from his divorce and Feral was left with me when our mom died... he’s less than half my age and more than double a problem.”
“That’s a rough age to be going through so much... I’m sorry about your mother.” Maul nods and a beat passes. “You’ll miss her forever but the sharpness of the loss goes away, I can guarantee that at least.”
“That’s what I needed,” Maul says with a shaky breath. “I’m the kriffing emotions first idiot and you’re the calm collected one.”
“Maul...” he trails off when he sees the unshed tears in his eyes. Without hesitation he puts his hand on top of Maul’s and gives it a squeeze. “I can help with Feral if you’d like. I’ve talked to enough child therapists to practically have an honorary degree in the field.”
“Force yes, he’s been so angry lately and he was always the calm little one of us three,” Maul agrees desperately. Obi-Wan nods and realizes that he is still touching Maul. He starts to move his hand but Maul quickly traps his fingers with his own. It brings back more memories. Walking away from a quick kiss only to be stopped by the death grip of those tattooed fingers on his. Giving in and going back for more even though they could be caught.
Obi-Wan catches Maul’s wary eyes and knows that he is remembering it too. They stare at each other for a long silent moment, until the door to Maul’s house opens and a young man stares out at them. Maul lets his fingers go quickly and turns to face the newcomer who makes his way to them. Obi-Wan gives him a smile easily. He has less of the tribal tattoos on his face, but he almost looks like a younger Maul with rounder cheeks.
“Feral this is Kenobi, we served together overseas,” Maul introduces. “Kenobi this is Feral, my younger brother.”
“Half brother,” Feral corrects quickly and Obi-Wan sees the frown on Maul’s face.
“It’s nice to meet you Feral. I’ve got quite the mixed sort of family myself. Adopted by my father, then when he died I took in the little boy he had just adopted, and I’ve got another I’m taking care of now.” He is not blind to the way Feral looks behind him at the gathered people, nor is he blind to the brief and flitting look of shame. Good. The kid is not too far gone in his grief.
“Is your wife the pregnant one?” Feral asks and Obi-Wan shakes his head.
“That’s my brother’s wife, I never got married.”
“Why not?” Feral asks and Maul gives him a look. “What?”
“That’s a little rude Feral.”
“I’ve been promised forever by two people in my life,” Obi-Wan answers honestly and Maul stiffens, “but life pulled both away from me too soon. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to my family, but if you guys ever need anything I’m right next door alright?”
“Do you have any food that isn’t burned?” Feral asks and Maul looks close to slapping him. Obi-Wan just chuckles and nods.
“I’ve got some leftover vegan stir fry if you’re interested.”
“You burn one pizza and he’s begging for food elsewhere,” Maul groans and Obi-Wan claps a hand on his shoulder.
“You’ll figure it out I’m sure,” he says as Feral hops over the fence.
“He offered!” Feral says back with a laugh. Obi-Wan nods his head and gives Maul a quick wink as he turns to lead the younger brother into his house.
“Who’s this?” Anakin calls and Obi-Wan motions to Feral with a flourish.
“Feral, he’s deemed my vegan stir fry worthy of trying. Feral, that’s my brother Anakin, his wife Padmé, and Ahsoka.” They all wave and Obi-Wan walks up the steps to the back door. Feral follows eagerly.
“You’re him aren’t you?” Feral asks as soon as the door shuts behind him. Obi-Wan halts halfway to the refrigerator and turns.
“Him? I don’t know what you mean,” he says carefully. Feral rolls his eyes and crosses his arms.
“You’re the soldier my brother never got over. He’s been a wreck ever since he knocked on your door to ask about the truck. It’s you isn’t it?”
“We all know he’s gay, and I’m not some bigot about it, I just want the kriffing truth. I’m so tired of everyone tiptoeing around me like I’m some fragile and spooked animal. Mom died, I’m coming to terms with it. I just want someone to be kriffing blunt and just say the truth for once.”
“You want the truth?” Obi-Wan asks. Feral nods. “Yes, I suppose I am, from my limited knowledge. When his battalion moved on, he broke it off and told me to never contact him again.”
“Never contact him? Why?” Feral asks with a frown.
“That I don’t know,” Obi-Wan admits as he goes and grabs the large container. He brings it to Feral and holds it out. “I can’t make it too spicy with Padmé’s delicate palate right now, but if you want it spicy I have something you can add to it.”
He can tell Feral is only half listening. His eyes are focused somewhere on the sweater Obi-Wan wears, but his face screams lost in thought. Finally the young man snaps out of it and grabs the container with a grunt. He looks up at Obi-Wan with a frown of hesitation. Obi-Wan knows that he has another question so he waves him on in silent encouragement.
“Did you love him?”
“Do you still?”
“I could if I let myself,” Obi-Wan answers honestly and Feral grins.
Obi-Wan is happier than he can remember being in recent years. He has a new niece and nephew, both born screaming and healthy into the world at the insanely early hours of the morning. He stares at the stairs that lead up to the bedrooms, knowing he needs a shower and a good sleep in his bed after being at the hospital all night, but he lets himself hover for a moment and smiles at nothing.
For an orphan boy who no one wanted until Qui-Gon came along he feels that he has done quite well for himself. Adopting Anakin when Qui-Gon died and becoming both brother and father to him had been an insane idea but he had raised him well enough. Ahsoka, the scared little orphan who had been afraid to come out of her shell when he brought her home, had just moved to the town of her dream college. His smile grows as he kicks off his shoes and climbs the stairs. His little family of foundlings was the best thing in his life.
There was only one area he wished he was better at. Romance. Oh how he had tried. The only problem was that he was a hopeless romantic in a cynical sort of world. Or a too judgmental one. Either the women were uncomfortable with his bisexuality or the fact that he had adopted children scared them off. The men? No one has ever made him feel like Maul did. Those months of secrecy and sneaking had been his happiest until he was holding Luke and Leia in his arms and promising them the world.
Obi-Wan sits with Feral at the dining room table, helping him figure out how to do his math homework, when Anakin and Padmé walk in. He smiles at them before looking down at the baby carriers Anakin sets on the floor to give him a hug. Padmé comes and hugs him, pressing a kiss to his cheek, and he can tell by the change in pressure that she has something to share. He tells them to make themselves at home while he finishes helping Feral.
“Obi-Wan,” Padmé says excitedly, “do you remember my coworker that was at our apartment when you were there last?”
“Hm?” Obi-Wan half answers as he watches Feral solve the problem by himself. He claps a hand on his shoulder in praise and sees the quick smile on his lips as he goes to the next one. “I knew you’d figure this out Feral.”
“I think you’re a better teacher than my teacher,” Feral says and Obi-Wan chuckles.
“Obi-Wan,” Padmé slaps his arm to get his attention and he looks at her like she is losing her mind. “Don’t give me that. Rabé, do you remember her?”
“Your carbon copy of a coworker? I remember. Why?”
“We don’t look that similar!” Padmé insists and he snorts.
“You do remember Anakin smacked her ass and almost got slapped right? Your own husband is weirded out by how much you two look alike. What about her?”
“She asked me if you’re single.” Padmé looks delighted by the news. Obi-Wan is pretty sure he hears the snapping of pencil lead from Feral. He tries to find that center of peace and serenity he knows he has but fails. “I was thinking-”
“No,” Obi-Wan says firmly and Padmé frowns.
“You don’t even know what I was going to say!”
“It doesn’t matter, it’s not happening,” he says firmly. He can feel Feral’s eyes on him and knows that his next words are probably going to be memorized by him.
“Give me one good reason,” Padmé says as she crosses her arms.
“One? That’s too easy. She does look too much like you. You are absolutely stunning and I am aware of that, but you’re also now my little sister and daughter in law legally. That’s creepy to even try dating her. So no, I will not be going on any date or double date with a woman who the whole time I will be feeling like I’m on a date with you.”
Padmé pouts at him but he shakes his head and gives her a look to just drop it. He turns back to Feral and sees the annoyance on his face. Great. Another bomb to diffuse. Feral has been team getting him and Maul back together ever since he found out who Obi-Wan was. While he appreciates the kid’s efforts, he is also aware that he has seen a strange car coming and going from the house next door enough to draw his own conclusions about the likelihood of rekindling that fire. It hurts, a lot, but he is coming to terms with it.
“I’m gonna run my bag back home,” Feral says suddenly.
“Bring everyone back with you later,” Obi-Wan reminds him and the frown makes him worry. “Even Savage, the man needs to get out and mingle.”
Feral nods as a knock sounds on the front door. He sees the look of annoyance on Feral’s face and before he can say anything about it Anakin opens the door.
“You must be Savage, hi come on in. I think Obi-Wan and Feral just finished up. Hi Maul, come on in.” Obi-Wan turns and sees the two brothers stand a little awkwardly at the front door so he puts on his best smile and walks over to them. They shake hands and he tries not to get lost staring at Maul when he tells them that he has drinks in the fridge and food coming out of oven soon. One by one they all shuffle by getting drinks, Maul eyeing the baby carriers warily as he leads him to the kitchen.
“Still a no on the whole kid thing huh?” Obi-Wan teases softly and Maul snorts.
“I have zero interest. If Feral wasn’t my brother I’d have never taken him in.” A beat passes as Maul opens the bottle of his beer and looks at Obi-Wan. “Thanks for helping him out with his schoolwork. He’s been singing your praises every day when he comes home. He’s not... in the way is he?”
“Not at all,” Obi-Wan dismisses with a shake of his head. “He’s coping well with all the change too. I’ve seen less of that anger in him lately. I mean, he almost stormed out when Padmé was...”
“What?” Maul asks curiously at his trailing off. He knows Feral never told Maul, so why it would bother him that she was trying to set him up would probably cause problems? “Kenobi?”
“I’m not sure. Padmé was just doing her usual work of trying to play matchmaker and maybe he felt it was threatening a change to his new sort of normal?”
“Matchmaker? With him?” Maul asks incredulously. When Obi-Wan points at his own chest he sees a flash of anger Maul fails to hide. Funny. He tries not to let it bother him. “Who?”
“Some girl from her work. She’s practically a clone of Padmé so I shot that down immediately. Why am I telling you this? What does it matter? Point is he might be testy tonight but when he realizes nothing is changing he’ll be fine.”
“Why is she playing matchmaker?” Maul asks him and Obi-Wan hesitates. He tries not to let his hopes rise that somehow after all of the time and space between them now that Maul would still be interested in him.
“She gets it in her head every few months that I just absolutely need someone,” he answers honestly. A look passes on Maul’s tattooed face that he is unsure of. “It doesn’t matter, none of it does. What does matter is that you understand if he’s upset tonight.”
“Yeah well he’s probably going to fly off the handle anyway soon enough. Savage’s job is placing him in another city which means I’m losing his part of the bill paying and we can’t keep the house. With the rent around here I don’t even think I can keep him in the same school district.” Maul looks down at the floor and Obi-Wan puts a hand on his arm. He can help, if Maul will accept it.
“Why don’t you two talk over moving in here with me?” he asks and Maul looks up at him quickly. “I’ve got two spare bedrooms without even messing with Ahsoka’s, Feral can stay at his new school... it’s probably the easiest way to do this transition and not upset him too much.”
“Kenobi...” Maul kicks his lips and he knows from experience that it means he is nervous. “That whole situation will just be weird right? With... us?”
“It’s been fifteen years Maul, I’m not exactly expecting you to confess you’re in love with me. I get that you’re free and single and may do whatever you please, I just... not here in front of me and I’ll be fine okay? Talk it over with him and let me know. We can set up the rooms however works best for you two if you decide you’d like to.” With that he forces himself to step back, wanting nothing more than to get away from the fact that he just did something so monumentally torturous for himself.
“Is that true Kenobi?” Savage calls his attention as everyone helps themselves to the table full of food. Obi-Wan looks at him as he raises his glass to take a sip of water.
“Hm?” he hums questioningly as he sips.
“Padmé says you don’t want kids of your own.”
“I’ve raised two now, I’m good,” he answers with a laugh. “Anakin was hell enough, Ahsoka was a walk in the park aside from her separation anxiety. Between the two of them I’m done. I’ll be the awesome uncle, but I’m not going to have my own.”
“Hm, maybe you and Rabé wouldn’t work out then,” Padmé says casually. “I know she’s got baby fever.”
“It was never happening before, and it’s definitely never happening now,” Obi-Wan says awkwardly as both Maul and Feral on either side of him tense. He tries his best not to look at Maul but feels the way he shifts closer in his chair. He remembers the same sort of thing happening overseas. The subtle scoot closer, the hand brushing his under the table. It takes all of his willpower to not drop his right hand and see if the tattooed one will find it.
“Obi-Wan’s convinced himself that since he’s been in love twice he doesn’t need to fall in love again,” Anakin says and Obi-Wan does his best not to leap to his feet and run from the awkwardness. Or jump to his feet and strangle the blond.
“Not exactly the best dinner conversation,” he says pointedly to his younger brother and adopted son who just raises an eyebrow.
“Twice?” Savage asks curiously. “Who?”
“Savage,” Maul hisses his brother’s name and suddenly Obi-Wan wonders if the twin knows.
“The first,” Anakin answers for him, “was his girlfriend in school. She moved away for college and they broke up. Absolutely destroyed him.”
“Anakin!” Obi-Wan half shouts his name in exasperation.
“You told me all she had to do was ask and you would’ve been right there beside her,” Anakin responds calmly.
“You two had dinner when she was in town right?” Padmé asks innocently and he throws his head back with a groan.
“Yes, I had dinner with her and her husband,” he says with stress on the word husband to get them to shut up. “They’re a lovely couple. Can we not-”
“Who’s the second one?” Feral asks and he whips his head to the absolutely failing to hide his grin teen.
“A soldier I served with,” he answers vaguely.
“Was that before or after you met Maul?” Savage asks. Obi-Wan feels the panicked slap of Maul’s hand against his thigh and drops his fork to take it without hesitation. Their fingers slide together as if they had never stopped holding hands for fifteen years and they share a look of worry.
“Around the same time,” he responds vaguely as Maul’s hand tightens in his.
“What happened?” Savage asks curiously.
“Battalions moved on, he broke it off, and I was told to not contact him. Ever.” Obi-Wan feels like dying instead of answering any more questions.
“Have you ever seen him again?” Savage asks. Obi-Wan’s mouth feels dry. He feels his heart racing as he grabs his water with a shaking hand and raises it to his lips. “I wonder if he ever regretted what he said you know?”
“I’m sure that he’s moved on,” Obi-Wan says calmly as he desperately tries to grasp onto that damn inner peace he needs. “It’s been so long I don’t exactly expect him to feel like he did when we were in our twenties.”
“Did you ever see them together Brother?” Savage asks of Maul who squeaks next to him. Obi-Wan rubs his thumb over Maul’s to soothe him. “I can’t imagine at that time that anyone else would have been told, but two soldiers falling in love must have been hard to miss.”
“I-I don’t,” Maul flails and looks at him. Obi-Wan takes a shaky breath as the other four people at the table look at him as well. It dawns on him like a slap to the face. They all know. Ahsoka had told Padmé and Anakin. He had told Feral. Maul must have told Savage. The pointed questions. The insistence. He lets out a heavy sigh and turns more towards Maul.
“They all know.” Maul looks at him with wide eyes. A chorus of yeses come from the other four at the table and he nods once. He takes a deep breath and turns to pointedly look each of them in the eye.
“Anakin shut up,” he cuts his brother off quickly. “Look, all of you, I don’t know what the goal is here, but this isn’t some romantic movie. This is our lives. It was fifteen years ago and I have accepted that things are not what they were. We are neighbors, we are friends, but please stop whatever it is you’re all trying to do. All this is accomplishing is making the both of us feel incredibly awkward. Maul? Anything to add?”
“You’re the level headed one, I am two seconds away from bolting,” Maul responds and they squeeze each other’s hands under the table. “Kriff it.”
Maul leaps from his seat and Obi-Wan releases his hand before anyone else can see. He watches his former lover glare at both of his brothers before he storms out into the backyard. Obi-Wan buries his face in his hands and groans. He stands up and gives his best impression of Qui-Gon’s look of disapproval to Anakin before he follows in Maul’s hurried steps.
“Hey,” he says gently as he catches up with Maul. The man turns to him and without saying another word they are in each other’s arms. He holds Maul to him and feels the tremors in the arms around him. For a long time neither one of them say a word. They just hold each other as he lets Maul work through his emotions.
“I can’t do it Kenobi,” Maul whispers against his shoulder. “I can’t keep doing this and pretending I’m okay.”
“What do you mean?” Obi-Wan asks softly. Maul drags his face from his shoulder and meets his eyes with a wariness and fear in them Obi-Wan had not seen since they kissed for the first time.
“I broke it off because I knew my sexuality wasn’t going to go over well with my mom. In my culture she’s the boss of everything in our lives until we’re married to another woman. She had always talked horribly about anyone anything other than straight. I tried to find you after the battalion moved on but you never re-upped. I knew you had Anakin to raise, and I guess I just thought maybe you were better off without me.”
“I’m a kriffing coward Kenobi. I ran from the best thing that ever happened to me to appease a woman who always made her favorites known and that was never me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry...” Maul trails off and Obi-Wan pulls him closer.
“You’re not a coward,” he insists as Maul exhales warmly against his chest. “Things were changing so drastically for me towards the end there I didn’t know which way was up. You call me the level headed one but you kept me grounded when Qui-Gon died. I wouldn’t trade our time together for anything in the world Maul.”
“I never forgot about you Kenobi,” Maul whispers. “I never forgot and I never got over you. I kriffing tried but-”
“You’re impossible to replace,” Obi-Wan says of his own experience. Maul looks up at him and they share a small smile. He brings a hand up and gently wipes away the tears from Maul’s cheeks. When he feels him lean into his palm he wants to cave into what his heart wants.
He wants to pretend fifteen years have not passed. He wants to kiss the man he holds and tell him he still loves him. He wants to tell him that ever since he moved in next door and they have been slowly reconnecting the only thing he wants is to wake up to him in his arms. Obi-Wan wants all of that. Needs it too, if he is being honest with himself. Need and want blur together and the only thing he can focus on is that he has never stopped loving the one he holds. Years be damned. Time be damned.
He sees it in Maul’s eyes too. They stare at each other and before he even realizes it they are leaning towards each other. It is only when his eyes close of their own accord that he knows what is happening. He does not stop it. He lets their lips come together. It feels right. It feels as if the galaxy is finally aligning once more. They kiss. Again and again. They kiss over and over until they are both gasping for air and leaning on each other heavily.
“I want this,” Maul whispers fiercely. “I’m not going to lie to myself or you. I want this, what we should have had, all this time.”
“I want this too,” Obi-Wan responds without hesitation. They kiss again as Maul flings his arms around his neck and pins him there. When Maul pulls back he sees that hint of worry he knows by heart. “What is it?”
“My legs,” Maul admits softly and Obi-Wan shrugs.
“Do you really think I care? The only thing that bothers me is their stupid plan worked. They got us both panicked enough to talk it out. If I wasn’t absolutely sure that they’re most likely watching this all play out I’d say we kriff with them.” Maul laughs and leans on him more.
“Do I have to go home tonight?” Maul asks after a moment.
“Depends on how slow you want to take this.”
“I’ve got fifteen years to catch up on, slow isn’t even in my vocabulary right now Kenobi.”