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give me a reason to stay behind

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Cody watches from the corner of his eye as the silent figure of his general stands motionless beside him, jaw clenched tight, radiating an air of- well, Cody doesn’t exactly know what, but the Jedi is very obviously uncomfortable. His piercing gaze wanders scrutinizingly over the remnants of a battlefield strewn with the tangled, smouldering heaps of battle droids and tanks. A small voice in Cody’s mind implies that his general is angry at him, but as soon as it does he feels a hand fall gently on his shoulder. He looks at Kenobi, properly this time, and when the man finally speaks his voice is thick with its usual accent yet hoarse with exhaustion. “You should rest, commander.” It’s barely above a whisper, and Cody can hardly catch it what with the ringing that hasn’t left his ear.

“Not until you do, general.” Cody replies tersely, shifting his attention to pointedly pick at the layer of grime that coats his bracer. He can still taste grit in his teeth- as well as the aftertaste of that… thing that Longshot had snared and turned into a thick muck he claimed was ‘soup’. Kenobi shifts beside him.

“Cody,” he begins, but the commander cuts him off by unsealing his helmet in one swift moment to glare. He tries to look convincing, but he supposes the dried tear streaks cutting through the dirt on his face, and the mangled scab covering the horrid cut that twists from his cheekbone to his forehead does something to sway the anger- there’s still residue from the bacta patch stuck to his face, and he’s sure that if he could see himself, he’d laugh- but that’s not what Kenobi does. Because Kenobi looks just as miserable as Cody feels. “Fine.” He bites out, spinning on his heel to stalk away in the direction of the fire that one of the men had built.

Cody blinks, and suddenly he feels guilty, that is, until he sees the Jedi’s poorly-disguised limp as he hobbles to dump himself beside the fire and Cody’s frustration returns. He grumbles a string of curses under his breath before storming away to find the team medic.

Jaro sits leaning up against one of the walkers, eyes closed with a fitful expression on her face. For a moment, she looks dead, and Cody’s heart leaps into his throat, but she hears him coming toward her and slowly crawls to her feet with a tired smile. It falls when she sees the scab growing on his face, and she reaches into the med-bag hanging over her shoulder for a new plaster.

“This still hurt?” She asks, pulling her commander closer to lightly dab away the blood with a disinfectant strip that makes Cody grimace when it touches the wound. Her brows furrow in concern. “Keep making that face and you’ll pop your stitches, Codes.”

That only makes Cody’s scowl deepen. “General’s hiding an injury again.” He states. He curses under his breath when Jaro puts the new bacta patch onto his cut.

Jaro sighs. “What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything to him.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about, sir.” The medic presses, and points to where Kenobi skulks by the fire. Reluctantly, Cody turns, and the sight does well to make him feel even worse.

“…Okay, I might have had something to do with that.”

“Fix it, vod. And hey,” she pauses, catching his arm when he turns to move away. “Tell him that if he doesn’t come get checked out after he’s done eating he’ll be in trouble.”

Cody scoffs. “What are you gonna do, put him in time out?”

“I might.” Jaro retorts, and her grin returns. “And don’t think I won’t make you sit in the corner with him if you don’t pull your osik together.”

“My osik is together.” He grumbles, and earns a disbelieving look. Cody isn’t quite sure if he believes himself, either. Relenting, he trudges toward Kenobi, who makes an effort to pay no mind when his commander sits down beside him.

After a moment, and frustrated at being ignored, Cody stands, forces the Jedi to do the same, and drags him out of earshot of the others.

What are you doing?”

“Why are you being so karking childish?”

I’m being childish?” Kenobi remarks incredulously, and takes a step back. Cody pretends he doesn’t notice him wince when his foot lands wrong and clearly sends a spark of pain shooting up his leg, but it only inflames his attitude.

“Would it kill you to take care of yourself for once?” He seethes. A depleted look crosses the Jedi’s expression momentarily.

“I could say the same thing about you.” Kenobi replies, suddenly soft, and his tone is now replaced with an undercurrent of… sadness. He sighs, and his shoulders sag with the action. “I’m tired, Cody.” He says, which causes a pang of something unrecognizable to stir in Cody’s chest.

“Then sleep, sir.” Cody returns quietly.

Kenobi shakes his head. “I’m tired of this war. There’s so much destruction and death- we’ve barely even started fighting and I feel as though it’s been ten years since I was chained up in that Geonosian colosseum. I can’t-“ he hesitates, and his gaze flicks to Cody’s for a fraction of a second. “I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for you. The force is… cold, and distant, especially after a battle. Cody, Jedi aren’t supposed to have attachments, but-“ he breaks off, and snaps his mouth shut.

“Sir?” Cody tries, taking a tentative step forward.

“We’ve lost so many.” Kenobi mutters. It’s bitter, Cody notes. Since when is his Jetii bitter?

“This is what we were made for, sir.” Cody starts, but the mournful look that’s sent his way cuts him off.

“You’re more than that. All of you are more than that.”

“The Republic doesn’t care about us, sir.” Cody quips, and he wishes he hadn’t as soon as the words come out of his mouth.

I care about you.” Kenobi responds, sternly. Cody’s tempted to reply with his usual ‘yes, sir’ but he can’t find it in himself to muster the courage for a comment. Evidently, his face betrays him, and causes Kenobi to take another step forward- when did he get so close? Brown eyes meet blue, and for the first time Cody realizes how truly startling they are. Yet in the creeping twilight, they’re almost grey, and it’s a sudden realization that upon staring into his general’s eyes they feel like home- and the unmistakable longing for a life he’ll never get to live settles him into complacent silence. Kenobi looks like he’s waiting for a reply, but both of them know it’s too much to ask because Cody’s voice has left him.

Shut it down, Cody.