A/N: I was in a really angsty mood the other night and just... threw this together. It's a bit painful.

Chuck is an OC, but everyone else is canon.

"General Kenobi's going to get himself killed."

The thought was normal enough for Cody, though the sense of fondness surprised him. He hadn't been working with the Jedi for long, and he'd gone into serving with the impression that Obi-Wan would be cool and distant like Jedi were supposed to be so famous for.

Instead, he'd found a man who insisted time and again to guard the men who were supposed to be protecting him. It was an endearing trait, but one Cody worried would get his general killed.

Take today's mission. It was a simple enough reconnaissance and retrieval mission, investigating a band of smugglers that were suspected to be providing the Separatists with baradium bisulfate.

Obi-Wan could have waited outside with the rest of the 212th, but he'd gone ahead with the scouting team. Led them, in fact, despite the fact that the narrow tunnel walls would greatly hamper his ability to move his lightsaber if it came to a fight.

With that thought in mind, Cody kept close to Obi-Wan's heels. Close enough to help Obi-Wan cover himself if smugglers attack them, but far enough back to avoid a backward swing of the lightsaber. He'd been half-blinded a couple times by the weapon.

Cody checked over his shoulder. Waxer was right behind him, then their medic Chuck, then Trapper, and Boil was last. Their boots were nearly silent on the sandy floor and they cast shadows on the rough-hewn walls under the lightbars attached to the ceiling. The narrow tunnel was straight, with no side tunnels for some distance. If a smuggler decided to leave before they were clear, there would be no hiding.

Luckily, the entrance soon opened into a cave, where Cody went to Obi-Wan's side. Two more tunnels opened up in the opposite wall, slightly wider and identical in appearance. At least, the tunnels were.

Waxer read the sign hanging beside the left tunnel. "'Canisters this way, idiots.' Well, that's helpful."

Cody smiled slightly, suddenly glad for dumb muscle. He hadn't been looking forward to finding his way through unfamiliar tunnels.

They pushed on, this time with Cody in the lead. Cody caught a glimpse of Obi-Wan's amused smile, but he wasn't about to let him go first to face whoever's guarding the baradium.

Which turned out to be nobody.

They entered a smaller cave with no smugglers in sight. Set snugly in the left wall was a thick metal door with a small window at the top. Cody gestured to Waxer to check the door.

"Anyone else thinking this is way too easy?" Boil muttered.

"If we can finish the mission without me having to stitch any of you boys up, then easy is fine with me," Chuck said.

Boil tilted his head. "How'd you become a medic if the sight of blood makes you hurl?"

"It does not-"

"Enough," Cody cut in. "Mission first. Argue later." Silently, he added, "Where the general can't hear you."

But Obi-Wan didn't look annoyed, just curious and a bit concerned.

Chuck started to roll his eyes, then caught himself and said with an uncomfortable shrug, "I had food poisoning."

"On his first day on the field, no less," Waxer said. To Cody, he added, "Door's clear. It isn't even locked."

"Maybe it's to contain the blast if a canister explodes?" Trapper suggested.

"If a canister of baradium explodes, it's taking the whole mountain down," Waxer said.

Trapper hesitated. "And we're taking one with us?"

"What a choice for your first mission, huh?" Waxer said. "Don't worry, kid, we'll be fine."

Cody slid in beside Waxer and carefully opened the door. Inside was a small room with another metal door across from them. A console with gauges and levers sat on a crate to the side, with wires running to either door. Cody recognized it as a decontamination room.

"Looks like the smugglers deal in more than explosives," Cody said. "Boil, you're with me. The rest of you, keep guard."

The men nodded and Boil followed Cody into the small room. Cody glanced at Obi-Wan when he followed, but he didn't question his Jedi's decision.

The door sealed behind them, then a light blinked green over the other door. The trio opened the door into a long room with dozens of canisters strapped to racks on the wall.

"Forget blowing up the mountain, this is enough to split a planet in half," Obi-Wan murmured.

"You're familiar with baradium, sir?"

"A little," Obi-Wan said. "A single gram could blast a hold in stone the size of this room. But there must be a ton in here!"

"Nobody sneeze," Boil muttered.

Cody went to the nearest canister. It was solid, but the leathery straps holding it in place were frayed and worn. Another canister higher up had big, messy stitches of straining thread in its strap.

"You've got a point, Boil," Cody said carefully. He headed toward a deactivated hovercart in the corner. "We can use-"

"Look out!" Boil suddenly shouted.

Cody spun as Obi-Wan shoved Boil aside with one hand and thrust the other out. A canister, in the process of falling from its broken restraints, slowed. It struck a lower canister, knocking that one loose as well. Before Obi-Wan could react to the second canister, it struck the canister below it. Hard.


Blue-white gas blasted from a split in the casing, enveloping Obi-Wan's head. He jerked back with a gasp, letting the canisters all spill to the ground and crack, quickly turning the air foggy.


Cody grabbed Obi-Wan's arm and yanked the sputtering Jedi away from the hissing canisters and out of the room. Boil, on their heels, threw the door shut and activated the air-cleansing system.

"General, are you alright?" Cody asked, eyeing the red-lit gauge beside the outer door.

"I'm fine." Obi-Wan coughed and flapped his hand at the clearing air. "What about Boil?"

"He's fine, we have air filters in our helmets, General." Cody couldn't keep a bit of exasperation from bleeding into his voice.

"Ah." Obi-Wan blinked blearily. "Well, I'm quite fine."

Cody didn't believe him for a second. As soon as the light turned green, Boil opened the outer door and Cody led Obi-Wan -protesting that he was fine even as he began to shiver- out where the others waited.

Chuck jumped forward, catching Obi-Wan's other arm when he stumbled. "What happened?"

"Canisters fell and busted open. Waxer, access the files again," Cody said while he steadied Obi-Wan. "See what's in there."

"Just explosives," Waxer said. "No gas."

Cody jutted a thumb over his shoulder at the foggy glass on the other side of the decontamination room. "You want to tell the smugglers that?"

Obi-Wan pulled his arm from Cody's grasp. "I tell you, I'm fine, Cody."

"Sure you are," Cody said, watching Obi-Wan sway. "But let Chuck check you over for my peace of mind, would you?"

Obi-Wan squinted, as though trying to find some trick in Cody's statement. He barely reacted to Chuck's coaxing, only scowling when the medic all but forced him to sit.

Cody gestured for everyone to stay put, then trotted to the first cave. He cautiously listened before he rounded the corner and scanned the connecting tunnels. So far, it appeared that their infiltration had remained unnoticed.

Cody pulled out his datapad to check the information he'd memorized before the mission. He didn't see anything new, no records of gasses that could have been stored elsewhere on the base.

Tapping his finger against the datapad, Cody considered the complication. If they couldn't identify the gas Obi-Wan had breathed, it could be disastrous if they moved on with the mission. Obi-Wan could collapse or become ill once they were further in the den, endangering everyone. There was still time to leave unnoticed, though. The second half of the mission could be given to another team.

Behind Cody, aggravated voices rose. Obi-Wan's protesting voice almost covered Chuck's soothing, quieter tones. It sounded like Obi-Wan was trying to convince Chuck that he was unhurt.

Which was normal. If they weren't still trying to hide, Cody might have smiled. Maybe his concern was for nothing, and Obi-Wan would be fine.

No sooner had the thought crossed his mind, than Obi-Wan's voice rose with a sharp, "Don't do that!" followed by a clatter.

Cody turned quickly around, reaching the bend just as Obi-Wan rushed around it. Cody pulled up short, and Obi-Wan pushed roughly past without a word. Cody watched Obi-Wan stalk away, surprised, then stepped further around the bend to check on the rest of the squad.

Chuck was sitting on the ground, staring with his mouth hanging open. The rest of the squad wore expressions of amusement.

Except for Waxer. He was still studying the extra datapad, his eyes gradually widening in horror. His head darted up, meeting Cody's eyes.

"The gas, it's- where's the general?"

"I don't know, he just shoved me and ran," Chuck said. He clambered to his feet and brushed sand from his gloves. "I was just checking his pupil dilation; something in the gas must have irritated his eyes."

"We have to find him, now!" Waxer said. "That gas, it's a toxic coolant."

"What?" Chuck snatched the datapad and scanned it. "Oh, not good. Boil, Trapper, stop your laughing and set your blasters to stun."

Cody raised an eyebrow. "Who are we shooting?"

"General Kenobi."

Cody stared at Chuck, who at least had the decency to wince. "Say again?"

"Look, the gas will kill him if it's untreated. But before it does, he might kill us in a psychotic fit. General Kenobi might've figured that out himself, that's why he left, but-"

"We'll deal with it later," Cody said, quickly turning his blaster to stun. "Come on, before someone else finds him."

Cody sprinted back around the bend. He looked at the tracks in the sand, gritting his teeth when he saw fresh, messy footprints leading deeper into the tunnels.

"He couldn't have run outside," Cody muttered to nobody in particular.

Outside meant hoping that the rest of Ghost Company was close enough to catch Obi-Wan when he left, or tracking Obi-Wan through kilometers of untouched forest. Honestly, though, Cody preferred that over whatever trouble Obi-Wan could get himself into in the smuggler's den. He got into enough trouble when he was mentally stable. He just hoped that Obi-Wan could remain undetected long enough for the 212th to find him.

Blasterfire killed that hope.

Cody broke into a run, following the sounds of fighting to a large, open cave lit with hanging lamps. He skidded to a halt in a spray of sand, then threw himself backward in the next moment. He tackled Chuck on the way down, pulling them both out of the way of Obi-Wan's swinging lightsaber.

Obi-Wan hadn't noticed the men behind him, occupied as he was in deflecting bolts from three smugglers. His usual grace was blatantly missing, and his wild swings nearly impaled Cody's shoulder before he could roll out of the way.

Bolts rushed overhead from behind Cody, taking down the smugglers. Obi-Wan continued to swing his lightsaber, stumbling forward at the lack of resistance.

Cody remembered a second too late that they were trying to get Obi-Wan down. As he flicked up his blaster, Obi-Wan stumbled in a half-circle.

Foggy eyes fixed on Cody, freezing him in place. He tried to rise, but couldn't move. He felt as though a massive, invisible hand was pressing down on his back, making it hard to breathe.

"C-Commander!" Trapper stammered.

Trapper's gasps made Cody realize it wasn't just him, and he wasn't imagining things. In his unstable daze, Obi-Wan had pinned all of them with the Force!

"General," Cody gasped out, struggling to breathe against the pressure. "General, it's us!"

Obi-Wan's eyes flickered, then his head jerked back. The pressure vanished, and Cody slumped in relief.

Before he could recover, Obi-Wan yelled, "Stay back!"

"No, wait!"

Obi-Wan stumbled backward, ignoring Cody's protests. He darted past the dead smugglers, deeper into tunnels that were starting to resound with harsh shouts.

"Come on, men!" Cody forced himself to his feet. "After the General!"

Cody ran down the tunnel, blaster at the ready. This time, he couldn't hesitate.

Cody burst into another, smaller cave. Two unmoving bodies laid near another tunnel, where the hum of a lightsaber emanated. Cody rushed after it.

Cave after cave, Cody ran. He just missed Obi-Wan several times, got thrown against the others with the Force once, and lost Obi-Wan a couple times when he had to fend off smugglers.

Just when he was starting to think there was no end to tunnels or smugglers, Cody found Obi-Wan again. The Jedi, barely able to stand and bearing the burns of several bolts on his arms, was struggling against two smugglers.

Cody reacted before the smugglers, shooting one while Boil slid in beside him and shot the other. He flicked the blaster's strength to stun and smoothly changed his aim to Obi-Wan, shooting before he could think.

Obi-Wan, clearly dazed as he was, leaped clear over the stun round and landed directly in front of Cody. His eyes blazing with fury, Obi-Wan knocked Cody backward with a simple wave of his hand.

Cody stumbled against the wall, briefly glad that Obi-Wan wasn't at full strength. He lurched backward a second later, barely dodging the swinging lightsaber that left bright spots across Cody's vision. Before he could move again, Obi-Wan's arm pinned him against the wall.

"You never should have come here!" Obi-Wan yelled. Cody was pretty sure he heard spit spray across his helmet. "None of you! Get out, all of you! You'll be killed!"

Cody shook his head, clenching his empty hands "General, please calm down. We want to help you."

"You're of no help! None of you!" Obi-Wan continued to rant. "I should've come alone, leave you lot somewhere you might be of use!"

"Permission to shoot," Boil muttered.

"Only if you want Cody to lose his head," Waxer hissed back.

"Useless!" Obi-Wan seethed.

Cody suddenly wished his vision hadn't cleared. Obi-Wan's expression of scoffing disgust made Cody feel like a bug Obi-Wan had noticed on the underside of his boot.

"We'd be better off without any of you," Obi-Wan growled. He shoved back his mussed hair with a motion that was nearly frantic. "You're nothing but organic droids."

Cody was pretty sure he stopped breathing.

"Here's a command for your little computer brains," Obi-Wan said in a mocking voice. He pushed roughly away from Cody, saying with a dismissive sneer, "Get lost. March off a bridge like the mindless little drones you are."

Cody staggered away from the wall. Horror roiled in his gut, so intense that Cody wondered if he'd breathed some of the gas as well.

No, but… Obi-Wan. He had to be calmed. The mission was to keep Obi-Wan safe, get him back outside.

Cody removed his helmet with shaking hands. Obi-Wan always preferred Cody talk to him with unshuttered eyes, maybe his fury could be soothed if he could just see-

"General," Cody choked out, his throat unexpectedly tight.

Obi-Wan twisted sharply, one hand flying out. Still in shock, Cody couldn't dodge and Obi-Wan backhanded him full across the face. An unexpected shove of the Force threw Cody sideways, slamming the side of his face into the wall.

Blinded by pain, Cody tried to grab the wall for support. His legs wavered and he fell sideways, groping desperately at hands that shoved him to the sandy ground.

"I told you to leave!" Obi-Wan screamed.

Heat burned against Cody's neck and he flinched away.


Footsteps pounded away, chased by warbly blasts. Cody lifted his head and tried to see past the red haze blocking his vision. He touched his face, finding something warm and sticky covering it. When a hand touched his face, Cody jerked back and reflexively shoved. Someone yelped.

"Woah, woah, it's us, Commander."

Cody blinked toward Chuck's voice. He let Chuck turn his head to the side, grimacing when Chuck brushed his left temple. He could feel blood running down his face, and he realized it was why he couldn't see. Something cool misted the wound, quickly numbing the pain to a dull ache.

"That looks pretty bad," Trapper said uncertainly.

"Nah, head wounds just bleed a lot, shiny. Close your eyes, Commander."

Cody did as he was told. A cloth wiped across his face a couple times.

"There. Try again."

Cody opened his eyes and was relieved to find his vision clear again. Chuck was kneeling in front of him, medkit open. Trapper -his armor not quite so shiny anymore with blood smears on his chestplate- hovered nearby, and Waxer and Boil were on their feet. Obi-Wan was missing.

"You're bleeding," Cody told Trapper.

Trapper shook his head. "That's your blood."

"Oh. Sorry about that."

Trapper shrugged awkwardly. Cody winced when Chuck applied a bacta patch to the side of Cody's head. He tried to check the bandage, but Chuck pulled his hand away.

"Leave it. The cut is deep, but it doesn't look like there's any serious damage. How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Three, and I'm fine. Let's find General Kenobi."

Chuck gave him a disapproving look, but helped Cody to his feet. Cody wavered briefly, but shook off his dizziness. He grimaced at the puddle of blood at his feet, then looked down the tunnel leading further into the den.

For a second, Cody couldn't move. Obi-Wan's words pounded at Cody's mind.

"Useless… organic droids…"

"Commander?" said Waxer.

Cody shook himself and retrieved his blaster. "Let's go."

Waxer caught Cody's arm. "The toxins are messing with his head. They probably made him say those things."

Or just allowed him to say the things he'd always been too kind to voice. What Obi-Wan had said about the clones was nothing new to them. Clones knew from day one that they were just as expendable as droids.

Didn't make it hurt any less, coming from his normally kind general.

"Let's go," Cody repeated.

Cody again took the lead, though Obi-Wan was harder to track between the sounds of brief fights. The sand was scuffed up everywhere from scrambling smugglers and one messed up Jedi.

At some point, Cody ground to a halt. Ignoring the grunts of the men crashing into each other behind him, Cody turned and peered past them.

In the distance, blue light flickered.

Trapper followed Cody's gaze. "...how did we end up in front?"

"Get out of the way," Cody said, pushing past them.

Cody was in the back by the time Obi-Wan appeared. He came to an unsteady halt and peered at them with glassy eyes. Obi-Wan's cloak had more burns now, his face was ghostly white under the bruises, and blood was smudged on his face.

Obi-Wan stepped forward, and Cody braced himself. No matter what Obi-Wan said, no matter what he did-

Obi-Wan collapsed.

Cody could only stare for a second, then he lunged forward. He dodged the still activated lightsaber, eyes fixed on Obi-Wan.

Chuck was at his side in a second, running a medical scanner down Obi-Wan. He inhaled sharply.

"We need to get him out, now," Chuck said. "I don't even know how he was… I'll figure it out later, Waxer, get his shoulders."

Cody reached for Obi-Wan's legs, but Chuck pushed him out of the way and gestured for Boil to take his place. Cody stood silently, staring at Obi-Wan as he was gently lifted.


Cody turned to Trapper and accepted the lightsaber being held out. He almost returned it to Obi-Wan's belt, but thought better of it. If Obi-Wan decided to lash out again, Cody preferred he did so unarmed.

The group set off, with Cody in the lead backtracking on the map on his datapad. Chuck stayed at Obi-Wan's side, muttering to himself as he monitored Obi-Wan's vitals. Trapper watched their backs, holding Boil's blaster in his left hand.

Too soon, too far from the exit, Cody heard approaching footsteps. He eyed the fork in the tunnel ahead, then looked around.

Nowhere to hide. The tunnel continued straight ahead to a bend into unknown territory. The only side tunnel held the approaching enemy.

Cody looked back the way they'd come. The smugglers had probably noticed that Obi-Wan wasn't running around pell-mell by then, and had decided to advance. For all Cody knew, there was another group behind them.

Obi-Wan groaned. Waxer frantically shushed him, not that it did any good. He and Boil tried to hurry backward, but the quicker pace shook Obi-Wan, drawing another groan.

Looking at Obi-Wan's pale face, Cody knew they didn't have time to backtrack, anyway. They would be lucky to get him outside, where reinforcements and medical supplies waited…

"When the way is clear, run," Cody said.

"What's the plan?" Boil asked

"I told you. Run.

Cody lifted his blaster and quickly shot all the lightbars, throwing the tunnel into darkness. He switched on his night vision, then ran ahead. As he passed by the forking tunnel, he flicked his wrist and blue light flared to life.

Cody briefly wondered what the punishment for stealing a Jedi's lightsaber was. Or if he'd live to find out.

No time to wonder, his attempt to get the smugglers' attention worked exactly as planned. He had to dodge a bolt before the tunnel walls protected him again. He sped up, hoping his men had the sense to not try to defend him.

Cody ran into the next tunnel and shot out the light bars. The tunnel stretched on before him, with no more side tunnels and rising voices from behind him.

Gritting his teeth, Cody put down his head and pushed his legs for as much speed as he could manage. Bolts struck the walls around him and Cody waved Obi-Wan's lightsaber erratically. Heat burned against his side and he staggered, but he didn't dare fall.

The tunnel opened up beside him and, slipping on the sand, Cody threw himself into it without looking. He crashed into a body that swore and reached toward him. He sliced upward without thought, then rushed onward.

A bolt hit his shoulder before he'd taken two steps. The smuggler was down, but not out. Cody bit back a gasp of pain and spun on his heel, spinning the lightsaber so it deflected the next bolt by pure luck. He turned and bolted onward, his steps faltering when heat burned through his pauldron.

Spotting another side tunnel, Cody threw himself into it. He collided with the wall and light exploded across his vision. Gasping, Cody clutched at his helmet. He could feel blood flowing down his face again from the gash.

He fumbled to turn off his night vision, but impact knocked his head forward before he could. He stumbled forward, then impact burned against his back and turned his legs limp. The ground rushed up to meet him, and Cody was only distantly aware of the lightsaber flying from his senseless fingers.

"We got 'im!" someone yelled harshly. "Wait'll Dooku sees we caught a- what?!"

Cody was roughly flipped over and his helmet was yanked off. Squinting against the headache seemingly splitting his skull in half, Cody smirked at the smuggler leaning over him.

"Not what you were expecting?" Cody asked.

The red-skinned Nikto answered by punching Cody across the mouth. Pain shot through Cody's tongue. He tasted blood.

"Go back and find the Jedi!" the Nikto snarled.

Cody jerked up his blaster, but the Nikto wrenched it from his hand. Cody screwed up his mouth and spat, getting a fleeting sense of satisfaction at the bloody spray he left on the Nikto's face.

The butt of his blaster smashed against Cody's nose, sending his senses spinning. He struggled to draw a breath, then coughed. Hot blood trickled from his nose and down his cheek. Cody blinked dazedly at Nikto, then dragged up another smirk.

The Nikto drew back his lips in a snarl and pointed the blaster at Cody's face. Cody closed his eyes, satisfied with his distraction. He hoped it was enough time for Obi-Wan and his men to escape…

Cody heard a grunt and a thud. He blinked his eyes opened, then he shot up to his elbows.


Obi-Wan was on the ground with the Nikto, both of them grappling for the blaster. The others were behind them, fighting against more smugglers.

Cody struggled to rise, to help Obi-Wan, but his legs were heavy and unwieldy. His elbows slid in the sand, dropping Cody with his body twisted awkwardly.

Obi-Wan dove sideways, driving his hands into the sand. The Nikto dove after him, his hands coming up uselessly when Obi-Wan's lightsaber buzzed to life. The Nikto gasped, jerked once, then collapsed. Obi-Wan shoved the body aside and turned to Cody.

Cody couldn't help flinching. Obi-Wan's eyes were wide and as unfocused as ever. His bloody teeth -kriff, had Obi-Wan bitten the smuggler?!- were bared in a feral grin.

"G-General?" Cody stammered out. He again tried to rise, but there was something wrong with his legs, why couldn't he feel them- "General, you shouldn't be here!"

"Cody." Obi-Wan's voice was rough and oddly gurgling, but kind. "I wasn't going to leave you to face them alone."

"We tried to stop him," Chuck said, rushing up to the pair. "General, please-"

"See to Cody," Obi-Wan said.

Chuck made a helpless gesture with his hands. Cody wondered why Chuck was even considering him; he hurt and his face was bleeding again, but it wasn't that bad… right?

Obi-Wan solved Chuck's debate when he lurched forward with a harsh cough. Cody flinched when red sprayed the front of his armor.


"I'm fine," Obi-Wan said, despite how shaky he'd suddenly become. "Take care… of…"

Obi-Wan curled over in a series of hacking coughs. He covered his mouth in vain, unable to hide the blood spilling from between his fingers.

"General-" Chuck quickly and carefully laid Obi-Wan on his side. "Trapper, go!"

Trapper bolted. Chuck explained in a hurried voice that he was getting reinforcements, that they couldn't get Obi-Wan and Cody outside with just the four of them.

Cody blinked at Chuck's statement. He shook his head, a denial that Chuck ignored. He tried again to rise, to show he was fine, that he should go-

Cody's only reward was a face full of sand. He coughed and pushed against the ground with weak arms, only able to turn over when Waxer helped him.

He laid still for a few seconds, staring at the ceiling. With effort, he raised his head, if only to assure himself that, yes, his legs were still there.

Cody remembered distantly the fire on his back, how his legs had given out. How his legs had gone numb. Staring intently at his legs, Cody tried to move his feet.


"Commander?" Waxer's voice was distant. "H-hey, Cody! Tell me what's wrong!"

"M… my legs," Cody said numbly. "I can't… I can't feel my legs."

Waxer's eyes widened. His head jerked up and his mouth opened, but his words were lost on Cody. There was a rushing sound in his ears. His chest heaved as the realization slammed into him like a gunship.

"I'm paralyzed. Chuck, I can't-"

Cody broke off with a flinch when something jabbed into his neck. He scrambled to push away whatever it was, to sit up, but strong hands pushed him down. Cody writhed, thinking the smugglers had returned.

"Cody, stop!"

Waxer was leaning over him, holding him down no matter how much Cody struggled. He was saying something, but Cody still couldn't make out the words.

Weariness surged within Cody. His fighting weakened until he could only turn his head and focus his narrowing vision on Obi-Wan's face, his closed eyes and trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth.

It was the last thing Cody saw before sleep snatched him under.

Waking up felt like clawing his way out from under a pile of blankets.

"Take it easy, Commander!"

The voice made Cody still. The weight against his face was pulled away to reveal Chuck's exasperated face.

"Trying to suffocate yourself with your own blanket?" Chuck asked lightly.

Cody blinked blearily at the medic. Why was he in bed? In medbay, Cody thought, since Chuck was there and the ceiling was the sterile white of medbay. Had he been hurt?

Smuggler's den. The attack. Obi-Wan was poisoned-

"Hey, calm down, Commander. You'll wake the general."

Chuck's statement stilled Cody quicker than anything else he could have said. And Chuck knew it, based on his smug grin.

Cody narrowed his eyes, lingering weariness preventing him from doing anything else. Chuck shrugged at him, then tucked the blanket around Cody's shoulders.

"Stop," Cody mumbled.

"You're not ready to be up yet," Chuck said. "Go back to sleep."

Cody blinked hard and stared up at Chuck. The medic raised an eyebrow and jutted his chin to the side. With effort, Cody turned his head.

On the bed beside him, within arm's reach if Cody wasn't tucked in like a little kid, Obi-Wan laid asleep. His face was a natural color again and he was in clean robes. He was also tucked in.

Cody shifted his eyes sideways at Chuck, lacking the energy to even roll his eyes. He settled for closing his eyes and ignoring Chuck's low laugh, letting sleep take him again.

Low voices murmured around Cody when he woke the next time, burying the panic before it could come. He was with his brothers. He was safe. He was a little numb, but he was safe.

Wait. Numb. That… that wasn't good at all. Not when his sluggish mind provided him with memories of the cave, of falling on legs he couldn't feel-

"Ah, Cody."

Cody relaxed at the sound of the general's soft voice. Obi-Wan was okay, at least.

"Are you up?" Waxer's voice asked. "Come on, you've slept long enough."

There was a whack, and Cody wondered if it was bad that he knew instantly that it was Chuck swatting the back of Waxer's head.

"I'll keep that in mind next time I operate on you," Chuck said. "That being said, Commander, can you open your eyes?"

Thinking that was a bit of an odd question, Cody opened his eyes. Or, he tried. His eyelids were gummy. Twitching his head in the negative turned out to be more workable.

"Good enough. Trapper, get down for a minute."

Sheets rustled, then Cody felt a chill on his feet. He shivered at the sensation, then stiffened just as fast. He felt something else against his foot, and it was enough for him to force his eyes open.

Everything was a hazy blur at first. Cody blinked at the blinding lights overhead, then shifted his eyes toward motion on his right.

Obi-Wan was sitting cross-legged on a bed, grinning like an eager cadet. Cody again felt relief that Obi-Wan was okay, then another touch yanked his gaze down.

Chuck was standing at the foot of the bed, gently maneuvering Cody's foot back-and-forth. Catching Cody's eye, Chuck smiled and tapped the bottom of Cody's foot. Cody automatically twitched his foot away from the slight tickle.

"Looks like a success," Chuck said cheerfully. He flipped the blanket back over Cody's feet. "Don't try to go walking anywhere, though, Commander. Besides the fact that you only recently came out of two surgeries, you've been asleep for three days."

Cody, about to suggest getting to his feet, stopped and blinked. He looked at the others on his left, but Waxer, Boil, and Trapper's grim faces confirmed what Chuck had said. On his right, Obi-Wan's cheer subsided.

"But," Chuck tapped Cody's covered feet, "You're well on your way to recovery. Be glad you brought the surgeon along, yeah?"

Cody nodded. Aware of a tightness along nearly the whole length of the left side of his face, Cody reached up and found something lumpy and uneven under his tentative fingers.

Almost imperceptibly, Obi-Wan winced. He glanced at Chuck, who shook his head.

"Couldn't do much about your face, though. It's healing fine, but you're going to have one wild scar, Commander."

There wasn't much to say to that -plenty of clones had scars- so Cody shrugged. He almost commented that at least he hadn't split his skull, then glanced at Obi-Wan and closed his mouth.

Chuck turned. "You three, don't you have duties?"

Waxer and Trapper playfully protested in dramatic tones that made Chuck shush them. Not quick enough, as Cody could see other patients in the medbay stirring and looking at them.

"You're worse than cadets," Boil said before pushing Waxer and Trapper away. He nodded to Cody. "We'll check on you later, sir."

Cody nodded and watched them go. Chuck shook his head at them.

"I have other patients to see to," Chuck told Cody. He looked at Obi-Wan. "Feel free to stay, General. More rest will do you good, too."

"Thank you, Chuck," Obi-Wan said. He uncrossed his legs, but made no move to stand. "I'll keep Cody company."

"And you," Chuck said as he retucked the blanket around Cody's shoulders, "Don't try to get up. And let me know if anything starts to hurt, got it?"

Cody nodded, still too relieved over feeling his legs again to protest against the fussing. Chuck checked a datapad beside Cody's bed, then moved away.

Cody watched him go, then pushed his elbows under him.

"Lay back down, Commander," Chuck said without turning.

"I'm not getting up," Cody protested. Even the slight movement had revealed a bone-deep weariness that Cody instinctively knew wouldn't let him stand.


Cody huffed and laid back. Obi-Wan watched the exchange with amusement, though there wasn't any missing the distraction in his eyes.

"You don't have to wait around with me, sir," Cody said. He blinked slowly, holding back a yawn. "I'm sure you have more important things to do."

"Nothing's more important than my men."

The statement was quiet and firm. Cody might have brushed it off if he hadn't detected an undercurrent of pain in Obi-Wan's voice. It was enough to keep Cody's groggy mind in the present.


Obi-Wan gave Cody a small smile. "I can see you're still tired, Cody. We can discuss it later."

Sure, except Cody could see the sadness in Obi-Wan's eyes and the strain in his smile. Cody dragged a hand from under the blankets to rub his eyes so he could focus.

Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow. Cody returned the look of exasperation. Really, what else did Obi-Wan expect? Cody had spent enough time around Obi-Wan to pick up his stubbornness.

After a moment, Obi-Wan caved. "Waxer filled me in on what happened on the mission."

Cody tilted his head when Obi-Wan didn't continue. Yeah, the mission had gone a little sideways, but Cody was pretty sure they'd ultimately accomplished their original plan to disrupt the smugglers' plans. They'd had missions go worse in the past, and Obi-Wan had always brushed off the issues in light of their success.

"He also told me what I said to you. What I… what I did to you."

"Oh," Cody said eloquently. He shrugged uncomfortably. "It doesn't matter, sir, the mission is over and… sir?"

Obi-Wan leaned forward. His fingers ghosted over Cody's healing scars, but Cody couldn't help flinching. Pain flashed in Obi-Wan's eyes.

"It does matter, Cody." Obi-Wan removed his hand, but remained close. "It matters, at least, that you know I didn't mean what I said or did."

Cody studied Obi-Wan. It still struck him as strange sometimes, how much Obi-Wan cared about his men. They were, as Obi-Wan had said, basically organic droids.

As if sensing his thoughts, Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, Cody. You're human. You matter, each of you, as much as the Jedi."

Cody clamped his mouth shut, wondering how long it had been hanging open. Obi-Wan's statement was… well, downright odd.

"How many painkillers does Chuck have you on?" Cody asked before he could stop himself.

Obi-Wan blinked, and there was a snorting laugh from where Chuck was at a locker. The medic turned to raise an eyebrow at Cody.

"None," Chuck said. "You, however, are obviously higher than a kalep."

Cody scowled at Chuck, who chuckled and waved a hand. Cody looked at Obi-Wan, who had recovered enough to give Cody a sad smile.

"Like Chuck said, none. Don't think for a second, Cody, that you're worth anything less than…" Obi-Wan cast about for a second, then sat back with a pleased grin. "Than Anakin."

"General Skywalker?" Cody repeated. Chuck had said he was full of painkillers, maybe he'd misheard Obi-Wan?

Except Obi-Wan nodded. "You're my soldier, my commander, but you're also my brother."

Cody opened his mouth, but couldn't get anything past the lump in his throat. Did Obi-Wan even realize what "brother" meant to the clones?

"Yes, Cody." Obi-Wan lightly touched Cody's shoulder. "My brother."