more than mine you will be
Day 1 of @jc-au-week Fae
The first time Obi-Wan sees his commander, the man is shirtless, his skin sweat-soaked and bruised, and Obi-Wan’s first thought is that he has no eyes.
It passes as quickly as it arrives and the man turns at the call of his number, a wry grin tugging at the corner of his mouth, while Obi-Wan’s thoughts scatter to other topics. They linger on the curve of his shoulders and the swell of his thighs, every step purposeful and deliberate as CC-2224 draws closer, snapping into a perfect salute in front of them.
If Obi-Wan lets himself notice it, the action is too perfect, too sharp, the angle of his elbow crisp and clean and wrong, but he doesn’t.
“Thank you.” Obi-Wan inclines his head at his reluctant host, smiling warmly at her in precise practised fashion. “I believe I can make my own way from here.”
He reaches for the Force and it spills into him like sunlight, warm liquid gold blanketing him as he watches his host nod once and depart. There’s a fission of concern twisting through his ribs and brushing its teeth against his throat but it settles at the Force’s comforting hum. A note of amusement rises to the top, abstract to Obi-Wan’s mind but familiar as it stretches to tug at the space his Padawan braid lay.
Qui-Gon had always been so sure in what he was doing, settled in the confidence that his choices were right. It was something Obi-Wan missed desperately.
The man at his side hasn’t moved from his crisp, clear salute.
“My apologies. There’s no need to salute.”
Obi-Wan keeps his gaze fixed on the other man’s face, taking him in as he relaxes from his salute, his posture poised and perfect as he clasps his hands behind his back.
His hair is close-cropped, but is starting to curl at the edges and his skin is a warm burnished gold beneath the lights of the training room. Looking past his broad shoulders, Obi-Wan takes in a thousand variations on the same theme: the same dark hair; the same golden skin; the same wary watchfulness, eyes never fully moving away from Obi-Wan, but never looking at him directly, an observation in fragments.
“Let me first apologise for disrupting your training. I understand my arrival is unexpected,” Obi-Wan begins. The man nods, his eyes sharp but his gaze drifts to Obi-Wan’s cheeks, the curve of his neck, following the invisible pathway of his freckles.
“No need to apologise, sir.” He speaks carefully, approaching each word as if it is hostile, and Obi-Wan is struck by how little his mouth moves. “You have every right to be here.”
“Even so, I have disrupted your routine. Taking liberties is not something I try to make a habit of.”
The man’s gaze rises to Obi-Wan’s, amusement clear despite the mask of neutrality muting his features. “I will accept the apology on behalf of my sparring partner, sir, but not myself.”
The Force hums, a deep sonorous note that reverberates through Obi-Wan’s chest as something clicks into place that he hadn’t realised he was missing. He grins at the man, wide enough that his cheeks twinge with the promise of pain, and lets himself relax.
“I find myself in good company, I see.”
The man says nothing, but the corner of his mouth twitches with a bitten back smile.
“Nala Se called you CC-2224? Is there another name you would prefer?”
Obi-Wan can feel the tension sharpen, but he doesn’t move, letting the question hang in the air as the man considers it.
“I prefer Cody.”
Another grin, tight-lipped and small, and Cody’s gaze locks onto Obi-Wan’s. A gentle nonexistent hand brushes over Obi-Wan’s head in a way no-one had for years, the sensation tinged with bittersweet melancholy even as Obi-Wan nods.
“Cody. A pleasure to meet you. I am Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi.” He doesn’t hold out his hand to shake, unwilling to put the other man at odds, but he smiles at him, feeling the tension roll out of Cody without a change to his demeanour.
The clones behind him relax visibly, their shoulders curling and their heads dropping to their chests for an instant before they catch themselves, settling back into their groups. Flashes of colour catch Obi-Wan’s gaze as they move, every movement precise and calculated; a streak of colour woven into a braid, a carefully painted design on a chest plate half-concealed by the rifle held in front of it, a tattoo curling over a shoulder blade, but Cody seems to stand apart.
Bare chest, bare skin, dark hair and dark eyes.
What had been happening here? He should ask for—
“Would you like a tour, sir? I can introduce you to the men.”
Obi-Wan raises a brow at Cody who shifts minutely, the first crack in his perfectly crafted armour. It was as if he had plucked the thought, barely formed, from Obi-Wan’s mind and spoken it into existence. But he was worried, they all were, this is a grasp at some stability, Obi-Wan reminds himself. He tucks his hands into the sleeves of his robes — Cody’s gaze dropping to track the movement, pausing on the soft fabric before returning — and curls the edge of his bracelet around his thumb.
“That would be excellent, Cody. Thank you. I am somewhat at a loss for how things are conducted here, and would appreciate any insights you have.” It’s as clear of an invitation as Obi-Wan can make it, careful layers to hide the plea beneath banal pleasantries.
Cody’s eyes widen a fraction, his shoulders rising and falling as he draws in a deliberate breath, and Obi-Wan wonders, for a moment, if there wasn’t something else lingering beneath his training that made every movement deliberate. The thought passes as had the others before it as Cody nods. “Of course, sir.”
He tips his head towards the door, the movement small but as clear to Obi-Wan as a shout, but he doesn’t follow him. “You’re welcome to collect your gear or finish up your training. I’m aware my presence here is an imposition.”
“Ah.” The sigh is barely louder than an exhale and Cody rocks on his heels, ducking his head before he settles once more. “I’ll retrieve my gear first, sir. Excuse me for a moment.”
Cody turns and would have been swallowed by the crowd that teems around him if not for… something. It should worry Obi-Wan— the sense that he is missing a vital piece of information, one amongst many — but the Force simply hums in reassurance, warm pressure on his shoulder before it recedes like waves against a beach. Whatever it was, it was a problem for later.
Every step was deliberate, reminding Obi-Wan of a graceful waltz, slipping through gaps in the instant they formed as Cody flowed across the training room in a curving, coiling arc. There was no distinguishable pattern to his movements, stepping between a sparring pair the moment they part without the crackling blades brushing against him but he gives another set a wide berth, the arc carrying him further away from his start before he returns. Obi-Wan’s thoughts return to bare shoulders and a closed grin, eyes so dark they resemble a starless sky and the single scar that twists over his temple to his cheek.
If everything was torn from him, and Obi-Wan was left to wander, bereft and alone, he would know Cody in an instant.
It was a comfort he hadn’t been expecting here, so far from the Temple and, with the heavy knowledge that a Jedi had commissioned soldiers and in doing so had caused men to be created, only to die, he felt himself leaning into it.
“Ready, sir?” Cody’s curls are slightly rumpled by the tight black undershirt he is wearing, one curling forwards to brush against his brow before he tucks it away.
“Lead the way, Cody.”
Obi-Wan struggles to keep his thoughts contained as they start to walk towards a different door than the one Obi-Wan entered. It is smaller, blending in with the metal sheets that surround it, rather than the declaration of the other door.
A clone — his left arm carefully tied to his chest and encased in a mixture of pale gauze and dark material — watches them approach as he rests next to the door controls, chewing on his lower lip. He looks so young, his cheeks round and flushed that Obi-Wan stretches out towards him in the Force, the action instinctive as it would be for a padawan.
He is a gentler hum against Obi-Wan’s bones than the symphony that Cody carried with him, reminding him of the soft bloom of the light of a thousand suns as a ship breaks from the atmosphere. In comparison, Cody is a crescendo, a sharp cry that seems to echo through Obi-Wan’s entire body.
Obi-Wan can feel the pain in the younger clone's arm radiate through his own but distant, fading like a memory and his fingers trace his wrist, pressing against the faint hollow. It barely takes a thought to curl the pain away, bank the shores of the other man’s body against it as he encourages the broken bone to heal. He glances to the side and his gaze locks onto dark hollows where eyes should be.
It passes as the younger clone shifts and speaks. His words are close enough to Mando’a that Obi-Wan can get a sense of them, echoes of the language he knows well twining through it like shadows. It’s a question, his words rising and falling before Cody starts to answer in the same almost recognisable language. Obi-Wan recognises a fragment — Kaysh cuyi ner — before Cody pauses, glancing at him once more with an unreadable expression on his face and he continues in basic.
“Apologies, sir.” Cody turns back to the trooper, a note of awe in his voice despite the careful rigid position of his shoulders. “He is General Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
Obi-Wan starts at the title, feels his awareness of the clones slip away from him and he is only a man, uncertain as fear and apprehension rise like bile in his chest. He hadn’t commented on Cody’s continued use of ‘sir’ but he realises it meant something deeper than what he had originally thought.
“Jedi Knight, please, Cody. I’m not a General.”
Both clones glance at each other, an unreadable expression on their faces before Cody nods once, a clear command.
“Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
The younger clone grins, a full-fledged thing that reveals dimples nestled in his cheeks. His bound hand twitches, reaching to activate a comm unit that isn’t there, then he stops.
“Hello, sir,” he says, his words mechanical as he stares at Obi-Wan with eyes as wide as the moon. “I’m Drift, one of the pilots.”
“A pleasure to meet you, Drift.” Obi-Wan bows, not needing to glance at Cody to see he had slid back into his perfectly placed stance. “Shall we continue, Cody?”
“I’ll get the door for you, sir,” Drift says, slightly too-quick, slightly too-flustered.
Obi-Wan glances at Cody before he realises what he is doing. They have just met and yet it feels like they have spent a lifetime at each other’s side. Cody tips his head to one side, acknowledgement and comfort, nothing to be concerned about so Obi-Wan isn’t.
The door panel is small, almost hidden in the pitted curves of the metal, but the door hisses open revealing a long dark corridor beyond.
With a nod to Drift, Obi-Wan follows Cody into the corridor, hearing the noise behind him rise into a flurry of similar voices, overlaying each other like a chorus.
“Thank you, sir.”
Obi-Wan doesn’t ask why, and Cody doesn’t say more, but they wait there, in the darkness for what could have been eternity before, as one, they turn and begin to walk.
“The Kaminoans don’t normally come down here,” Cody says, his voice pitched low and a reflexive shiver rolls down Obi-Wan’s spine. He can sense the man next to him, feel his warmth burning into his skin, but his words are gentle, seeming to curl into Obi-Wan’s ear as if murmured there. “It’s just the clones on the lower levels.”
“I noticed the other clones seemed to look at you for guidance. Why is that?” Obi-Wan asks, sensing Cody’s grin curl and turn sharp with pride, the feeling settling in the back of his throat like caramel, thick and warm. It wasn’t pride in his own actions, lacking the bitter aftertaste of that emotion, but pride in the other clones and in their training and Obi-Wan knew that feeling well.
They were better matched than he could have ever expected.
“Our trainers, when they were here, and the Kaminoans have never taken us off-planet. You represent the start of something precious to us, the fulfilment of our purpose.”
Obi-Wan frowns, taking in Cody’s words as they pause in front of another door. It is small and as non-descript as every other door they had passed, bearing no markings and no distinction of what lay behind. A thousand questions tangle in his thoughts, each demanding to be heard and answered and each more concerning than the last.
Cody seems to read this in his bearing, tipping his head to one side and smiling, close-lipped and careful, up at him. “I’ll answer what I can, sir. I understand there was a miscommunication about our existence and our purpose with the rest of the Jedi until recently?”
“That’s a very diplomatic way of putting it, Cody, but yes. The contract with the Kaminoans was not made with approval from the Council, but it is done now. We are trying to plot a course to move forward.”
It didn’t sit right with any of the Jedi but the clones were their responsibility, and they would do right by them. It wasn’t enough, and it would never be enough for what they had endured and would continue to endure, but they could try.
There was a moment, barely noticeable but it was there. Cody hesitates, his fingertips hovering over the cold metal of the door before he typed in a code, pressing his hand into his side as the door hisses open. It slides from Obi-Wan’s thoughts as he steps into the room, breathless and wondering, surrounded by the pale green glow of the tubes that line the walls.
“We’re grown in batches and tend to continue in them unless we are better suited or are made for specialist roles. The tube rooms are scattered throughout the floors and marked by the Kaminoans, as all the rooms are, by UV markings.” Cody pauses, lets himself breathe out a laugh. “We made visors to read them with.”
“And your trainers?” Obi-Wan’s head feels empty, lost in the gentle hum of the electronics threaded through the air above them and the soft lapping of the fluid against the thick glass. The Force flows through him, engulfs him in warm sunshine and he is floating, he is lost.
A hand brushes against his, the callouses thick but familiar despite their newness, and the roar of a dawn chorus crests through him, grounds him and Obi-Wan sways, staggering into Cody’s waiting arms.
“I’m fine, I’m sorry.” Obi-Wan steadies himself, allowing himself a moment to take in the steadiness of Cody’s hands, the warmth of his skin beneath Obi-Wan’s palm, the ease that belays the strength the other man possesses. “Where was I?”
“Our trainers, sir. Some were like Prime, Mandalorian or close enough. Others weren’t. Now, we are trained by the Alpha batches or by Commanders.”
“It sounds as if you are organised to leave at a moment’s notice. Have you all been assigned to battalions, squadrons and allocated to a Jedi?”
Obi-Wan pauses, blinks and feels the Force twist invisible fingers through his nonexistent braid, encouraging him onwards. “And you, Cody?”
Cody grins, wide for the first time, delight shining through the relaxed curve of his shoulders, revealing curved teeth reminiscent of fangs. The pale green glow from the tubes lingers on the hollows in his cheeks and his eyes are dark and endless. Something settles into place and Obi-Wan can taste the truth in his words, feeling them curl around him as gentle as a kiss. “You are my Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Wherever you go, I go.”
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