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The Dragon Prince

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Entering his father’s study with a sword at his hip and a book beneath an arm Cody Fett, Crown Prince of the Mandalore Kingdom and Blessed child of Manda, wondered why his father had summoned him so early in the day. Spying his younger brother in their father’s study, his back straight and feet a shoulder’s width apart, head held high as he clasped his arms behind him, the Orilor’ad knew that something big had happened. Boba’s absence spoke volumes. Their youngest brother might have been grumpy in the morning but if their father called for them he would have been there immediately. So it begged the question; why were only he and Rex summoned? Family meetings were a rare occurrence since they were expected to be at dinner together every night, regardless of whether or not their father was home. Large issues to do with the kingdom were seen to by his father, himself, or Myles; if the need was urgent and neither the King or Prince were in attendance. While smaller clan matters were discussed and agreed upon over dinner. There should be no reason for Rex to be present unless his brother had pulled another spectacular stunt that landed him in hot water. Again.

“So, what did you do this time?” Stopping next to the blonde he gave his younger brother a half amused half exasperated look. Rex  side-eyed him, barely moving a muscle, his expression a cross between worry and frustration. It was clear by just how stiff his brother was holding himself that something was wrong.

“I don’t know, Codes. Knight Captain Mereel said that the Mand’alor wished to see me and dismissed me for the rest of the day. He had this huge grin on his face…” the blonde swallowed nervously, “whatever this is, I don’t like it.” Cody didn’t like how uncertain his brother looked. The boy, a young man now he chided himself, was very confident by nature. Others often saw it as cockiness or arrogance but in truth Rex was just that good. He was one of the greatest sharpshooters in the kingdom and his talent with the twin arming swords hanging from his hips was well known. But when it came to their father Rex was always trying to show off, to try and impress the man. Rex loved and idolized Jango as a loving father, a warrior of great renown, and as the king. This admiration pushed the blonde to do things he might not otherwise have done in an attempt to gain their father’s attention, not that he ever had to try hard seeing as Jango was always watching over them protectively.

Thankfully his brother was slowly growing out of that phase.

“Father was away for the month checking on the progress of the Jaair, Rattak, and Tarsus Clans.” Kranarsa had been left in the hands of the Jaair Clan and they had done an amazing job fortifying the border while the Cuirbral flocks were flourishing under the skillful handling of the Rattak Clan. After some trial and error the Tarsus Clan had finally sent back an assortment of herbs from Wervheti, which the herbalists and priests were both praising for their effectiveness.

“He wasn’t supposed to be back until next week, Codes. Do you think something happened?” A shiver went down his spine and he wondered if his father had discovered more traitors. Mandalore was quite large and home to many different species. The fact that they also took in anyone who wished to start their lives over as the reborn children of Manda didn’t help internal affairs much either. More than a few times during his father’s reign they had seen outsiders trying to meddle in their affairs, attempting to manipulate the clans to gain power over their people. It filled Cody with righteous anger just thinking about it.

The door opened and closed behind the brothers and the two of them jumped slightly. Walking into the study with a triumphant expression on his face Jango leaned back against his desk, looking between the two of them excitedly. There was something almost giddy about the tilt of their father’s shoulders that made both he and his brother relax. Whatever this was it didn’t appear to be bad news.

“We’ve found him.” Those three simple words and the brightness of their father’s amber eyes were enough clues for Cody to understand exactly who their father was talking about. His heartbeat sped slightly in his chest but he kept an outward facade of calm as Rex looked up at their father quizzically for a moment before he seemed to catch on.

“B-buir!?” Cody looked down at his younger brother, who had fallen out of his normally rigid stance in sheer surprise.

“Obi-wan is back. However…” Cody felt his hand clench around the book under his arm involuntarily at the sharp look in his father’s eyes. It was the same look Jango had on his face when he learned of his wife’s attempts to steal his children and help her own people invade Mandalore. It was the same look he’d worn when Obi-wan had left them.

Jaster Mereel, their grandfather, was betrayed by someone he trusted which resulted in the annihilation of the Mereel Clan. Leaving Jango to complete Manda’s Pilgrimage alone at fourteen. Ever since that betrayal Jango had a particularly strong hatred for traitors. Even more so than the average Mando’ad. The fact that his lawful wife, the Rid’alor Lamia Fett, former princess of the Kaminoans, tried to steal his sons when the Kaminoans attempted to invade and take over Mandalore… well their father finally lost his patience when it came to personal attacks. When Obi-wan entered their lives it seemed like Jango was finally beginning to calm down. Then Obi-wan had left them for the jetii and Jango lost whatever mercy and sanity had been left. All of the rage he felt for the numerous betrayals had been aimed directly at the jetii that dared take someone he loved away from him.

Honestly, Cody could relate. Now Obi-wan was back and he felt the same flutter in his stomach he had the last time he’d set eyes on the redhead.

That night he had known something was off, wrong. When Obi-wan found Cody still awake studying in his room, after the man had put Rex and Boba to bed, he’d stood there in the doorway, silently. There was a look of desperation on his face and Cody felt his gut twist at the memory. They stared at one another for a long moment before Obi-wan’s gaze found the floor and he wished Cody a good night. The tension in every line of his body and the fact that he refused to meet Cody’s eye was a dead giveaway. It was the first week Jango had been away since they’d met Obi-wan and he knew the redhead was going to leave.

For the last seven months Obi-wan had seemed to happy to be with them. He’d helped Rex hone his skills with the blade, cared for Boba and indulged his obsession with animals, and had joined Cody on more than one excursion into the library to pursue knowledge. Obi-wan made them all happy and Cody could see that the man loved them as much as they loved him. Yet still he’d chosen to run away.

At that moment he had the ability, the knowledge, and the strength to stop Obi-wan from leaving. He could have persuaded him to stay with words, cried the alarm and had him locked in his room until Jango returned, or even followed him to thwart the plan himself. Obi-wan had become someone precious to him, however, and he didn’t want to see him hurt or punished. He knew exactly how controlling Jango could be. Even now Cody wasn’t sure if he regretted letting Obi-wan go or not.

“…he’s wearing those damned robes and has a jet’ika with him. The boy reeks of soul leeches.” Jango grit his teeth and spoke angrily, his tone pulling Cody out of his musings. Looking to Rex he caught the rapid shift of emotions on his younger brother’s face and knew that things would turn sour quickly if he didn’t speak up.

“But now he’s home. We can deal with the jet’ika’s spirit leech problem easily enough.” Both his father and his brother listened to him intently as he spoke. It used to unsettle him, when he was much younger, to have his father listening so closely to his opinions. As if everything he said and thought was of great import. As if his every word carried weight and meaning to them. Now that he was older he understood it for the respect it was and appreciated his father’s understanding. Cody was the Crown Prince. One day, Manda willing, he would rule in his father’s place. Before then he had to prove himself capable both to Jango and to the people. Jango listening to him was both a way to gauge his suitability and allow him to feel free enough to speak his mind without fear of judgement.

“For the time being we should get them settled so they can begin to feel safe. I assume you already had them checked over by the healers?” Cody figured it would be one of the first things his father would do once Obi-wan had been… found. ‘Captured,’ the more practical side of his mind whispered. Since Obi-wan had a terrible habit of running way from medics, especially when injured. They’d all learned quickly to ambush him with a medic, rather than give him the choice of going to one on his own. Because he wouldn’t. “How old is the jet’ika?” Jango’s jaw clenched.

“I’d say a little younger than Boba, he’s pretty small.” Cody nodded then crossed his arms, shifting the book in his hand so it was pressed against his chest and out of the way.

“If he’s Obi-wan’s squire we’ll have to keep them together for the time being.” Rex frowned darkly, copper eyes flashing with jealousy. Cody knew where his brother’s mind had gone and he knew he would have to stop that nonsense in its tracks before it got out of hand. “Is there anything you need me to do for you, buir? I can ake over your duties if you want to go speak with him.” Jango’s smile turned fond and his eyes softened.

“I have to talk with Tyrric about a few things. I’ll send Myles over with the documents that need looking over.” Pushing himself off the desk with his hip Jango stepped toward them and slung an arm around both of them, hugging them. “Things will be pretty confusing fo a while. He’d been away for so long and only Manda knows what they did to corrupt his mind. But everything will be fine in the end.” The implied threat at the end made Cody want to close his eyes in exasperation. Then Jango pressed his forehead against Rex’s and turned to do the same with Cody. It was affection and reassurance both. “I’ll make sure of it.”

“Oh, before I forget. The jet’ika doesn’t know Mando’a.” Jango looked distinctly annoyed by this but pressed on regardless. “So I want you to speak in the Outsider’s language for the time being. Understand?” Both of them nodded and Jango smiled. “Good.” After ruffling Rex’s hair and clapping Cody on the shoulder their father left to go speak with the Seneschal.

“Stars, Codes…” Rex muttered, staring at the door their father had disappeared behind. Cody let out a long sigh.

“I know Rex’ika.” While Jango was a difficult man to read his children could easily see the man was elated and enraged in equal measure. The look on Rex’s face was torn. “It’ll be okay, Rex. It’s Obi-wan.” The blonde scoffed, giving him a searching look.

“He left us Codes! Didn’t even say… I mean he… I thought it was strange.” Cody blinked, tilting his head and waiting patiently for his brother to get his thoughts in order. “Do you know how he used to tell me a story before bed?” Cody smiled softly at the memory and his brother flushed slightly in embarrassment. “He’d only ever tell me one, maybe two if it had been a really bad day. But that night he told me five. Five! I thought it was odd but he was so calm and relaxed and… you know? I didn’t even think about it. I just drifted off to sleep, happy that he was there. Then when I woke up- he was gone. Dad was livid, you were quiet and withdrawn, and Boba was inconsolable!” Rex threw his hands up in the air before letting them drop to his sides, shoulders drooping. “…I thought he loved us.”

It damn near crushed Cody to hear his brother sounding so broken and lost.

“Hey, hey now! Obi-wan did, does, love us. Don’t you ever doubt that. He was just very confused and scared. The jetii don’t teach about love, Rex. The spirit leeches eat away at their minds and they slowly lose the ability to feel emotions. But Obi-wan is one of us. Manda wouldn’t have changed him if he wasn’t worthy and couldn’t learn our ways.” Sighing he ran a hand through his dark wavy locks. “The jetii filled his head with lies and stole him from us. What he needs right now is for us to show him how much we missed him, how much we care. That we want him here and still love him. We don’t want to accidentally push him away. That will only reinforce whatever lies the jetii told him.”

“But I’m still angry.” Cody snorted in amusement and Rex glared at him.

“I know, vod’ika. I’m… not happy about how he left us either. But trust me on this. We need to show him we still want him here, with us. We could always yell at him later.” Slowly Rex’s glare softened and he was rewarded with a cheeky grin.

A knock on the door signaled Myles’ arrival. Cody looked at his younger brother and smiled. “For today let’s just be happy he’s home. Everything else can wait.” 

Chapter Text

Sitting at his father’s desk he looked over the paperwork that needed to be done and quickly sorted them into neat piles before beginning. After an hour or so passed one of the servants came to fetch him, his father was in the throne room. Sighing he tidied up the man’s desk, neatly putting away the work that had been completed off to the side for Jango’s signature later. 

Entering the throne room his eyes scanned the space subconsciously, taking in every little detail and storing it away to contemplate later. Sitting on the throne, eyes bright with anticipation and excitement, Jango grinned at him. Standing nearby was Rex, doing his absolute best to appear relaxed. He wasn’t doing that bad a job of it, really, but Cody could read him like an open book and knew he was nervous. Sitting on the stairs, scowling and picking at his clothes, was a very aggravated Boba. Around this time of day the boy should have been out for a ride, training with his pet hawk Nejair under the watchful eye of his protector Cort.

Waving at his younger brother, who looked up when he noticed someone approaching, he wondered if their father had mentioned to Boba why they were meeting. Glancing up at his father he quickly signed out a question. ‘Estimated time of arrival?’ Jango signed back and Cody nodded. Their… guests were nearly at the doors. Cody had arrived just in time. Glancing down at his youngest brother he gave a short whistled to catch his attention. The boy looked up at him, face scrunched in annoyance. It was adorable. “Shift over, Bob’ika, you know better.” The kid rolled his eyes but did as he was told. He knew he was not supposed to obstruct the throne but he had a bad habit of wanting to be as close to their father as possible, even if he pretended he didn’t want to be coddled.

“Why do I have to be here too? You didn’t even tell me who’s visiting.” He grumbled. “I was going to invite Tup’ika to cme riding with us this time!” A wide grin crossed their father’s face as he leaned over the arm of his throne to raise a single eyebrow at his youngest, who quickly quieted down as his ears turned red.

“Tup’ika, huh? That wouldn’t happen to be Tulip of Clan Gaarla, would it?” Boba’s face turned an even darker shade of red and he crossed his arms over his chest, sulking. Cody hid a small smile and decided to hold onto that information for later. Tulip was a very sweet girl. Only a year younger than Boba she had long dark hair, warm honey eyes, and a love for all animals big and small. Although she was quite shy in social situations she wasn’t afraid to stand up to even the more belligerent warriors if she thought something was wrong with their animals. If she didn’t become an animal healer she would certainly grow up to be a great stable master or even a trainer for warhorses.

Climbing the short dais he ruffled Boba’s hair and chuckled as his hand was slapped away with a hiss. Cody smirked down at the boy fondly. His youngest brother was such a feral little thing. Bumping shoulders with Rex amiably he stood in his customary position next to the throne and looked over at the ornate doors. The fortress was as old as the Kingdom of Mandalore and over time it had become more than a bare military installation. Artisans had decorated the innermost walls with murals, reliefs, and tapestries. The rich history of their people on display for those worthy of the sight.

The wait wasn’t long though and Cody’s eyes quickly snapped to the redheaded man as he entered the room with a short blonde haired boy. He had to force down a very visceral reaction to the two of them, conflicting emotions making it difficult to focus. On the one hand Obi-wan looked and felt almost exactly the same as he had before he’d left, beautiful in the dark blue tunic with his hair pulled back into an elaborate braid. His aquamarine eyes were bright, though wary, as he confidently walked toward the dais. On the other hand the child with him was an affront to everything Cody had ever known as a blessed child of Manda. His father was right. The boy reeked of spirit leeches. It was like they were crawling just beneath his skin. It made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. It was as if he were standing in the presence of ten senior jetii, rather than a single squire. Now he knew why his father had been so agitated earlier. The boy was only a child yet his very presence screamed ‘enemy’ to his senses.

With an inaudible growl he forced the instinct down and away, refusing to judge the child for the parasites that infected him. The boy clearly loved Obi-wan, looking at the redhead in the same manner Rex looked at their father. He could sense that love and sense of protection went both ways and felt a small headache coming on. He knew they would have to protect the boy from harm, especially from the other Mando’ade.

Obi-wan quickly began the introductions, sounding every inch as poised and polished as he had four years ago, maybe even more so now. Cody’s focused shifted back to the redhead and he learned the boy’s name, Anakin. It was nice to hear his voice again, calming for Cody and his family. Except, perhaps, for Boba who stood up in confusion.

“Fire buir?” There was surprise and hurt in his youngest brother’s voice and he couldn’t help but wince. Not warning his youngest son was going to bite their father on the ass later, he just knew it. Watching his younger brother struggling with his emotions he frowned in concern. Which only deepened when his brother ran from the room after calling obi-wan a traitor. They all knew where they’d find him. Either alone in one of his various hiding places, in the eyrie, or the kennels with Wolffe. The one eyed warrior was one of the very few people Boba liked outside of Clan Fett and was someone the boy felt he could confide in if he couldn’t talk to his family for one reason or another.

“It’s alright, he’s not entirely wrong.” Obi-wan’s expression of open anguish and regret made something inside of him twist before the man was carefully concealing his emotions once more. “I’ve betrayed his trust. All I can do is try to earn it back.” Cody bit his tongue and held back the words that wanted to come spilling from his mouth. Boba wasn’t the only one Obi-wan had hurt when he’d run back to the jetiise. Wasn’t the only one who felt betrayed or whose trust he would have to earn back. Glancing at Rex he noted the clenched hands he was trying to hide behind his back and hoped his brother would remain calm enough to deal with the situation maturely.

Jango stood and began to descend the dais. In unison Cody and Rex bowed their heads. Not out of fear of the man or blindly following tradition, but out of respect. “You will. Boba will be happy to have his buir back, as I’m sure Cody and Rex are.” Cody’s mind warred with itself for a moment. From the moment he’d met the redhead he’d thought the older teen interesting and unique. When his father declared the redhead his future spouse Cody tried to think of Obi-wan as his new parent, or like another brother he now had to take care of. But he quickly found that he couldn’t. There was always something in the back of his mind that was far too entranced by the older teen’s gentle kindness, fiery spirit, and quick wit.

Cody’s eyes slid away from Obi-wan and his father as Jango kissed the man, something cold and tight in his chest as he clenched his teeth. He should be happy for his father, the man had been searching for his venriduur for years now, yet all he could think about was how much Obi-wan looked as if he didn’t want to be there. The little blonde gasped, his eyes going wide with distress and his face paling slightly. Could he feel Obi-wan’s emotions, even through the suppressors? There was naked fear in his expression and he leaned closer to Obi-wan, as if wanting to reach out and separate the redhead from Jango. Cody felt something fierce rise up inside of him. Infested with spirit leeches or not the blonde was a child. What kinds of things had he seen as a young jet’ika that his immediate reaction to physical affection was fear?

Or was it just because it was obvious Obi-wan didn’t want to be there in Jango’s embrace? Cody was far from stupid, he could see all the signs clearly.

His father finally broke the kiss and spoke, sounding quite pleased with himself. “Sadly, I have duties to attend to. I’ll leave you with Cody and Rex for the time being. They can show you around. I’ll see you both at dinner.” Jango looked back at them, eyes bright and expression one of amusement. Cody couldn’t help the slightly sick feeling in his stomach that warred with the pleased emotions he wanted to feel. His father had been alone for so long, had so many terrible things happen, that he deserved some happiness.

But what about the cost?

“Behave, children.” Rex snorted with amusement next to him but there was hesitance in his shoulders. “That means you as well, boy.” There was barely a hint of anger or discomfort in his father’s voice and Cody was once again impressed with his emotional control. Jango despised the jetiise and he hated the spirit leeches like only a Mand’alor or future Mand’alor could. But like Cody he had chosen to see the child that was slowly being devoured, rather than the creatures burrowing beneath his skin.

“Yes, highness.” The child said in Mando’a. Smart boy. Jango gave the blonde a pleased nod before turning and leaving the room. His swift departure left the room in a drawn out silence, no one quite sure how to proceed. Jango was always a hard act to follow. Before cody could speak up Rex was suddenly leaping from the dais and running over to Obi-wan.

“Buir! We’re so happy you’re back!” From the sound of his voice Rex had to be smiling ear to ear. It seemed his brother had taken their little chat earlier quite seriously. Neither of them wanted to spook Obi-wan, the poor man had been through enough.

Watching the redhead’s shoulders loosen and a small sincere smile cross his face Cody began to relax. Rex might be a terror on the battlefield or in the sparring ring but he was also an openly kind and caring individual. It was hard to stay angry around him, unless he was the direct cause of your current miserable defeat. It was why all the younger squires and the pages all clung to him. If he’d been a little better at masking his emotions and didn’t act so recklessly Cody would have suggested diplomacy training for his younger brother. Rex could be very disarming and charming, when he wanted to be.

Obi-wan reached out and grasped the blonde’s shoulder affectionately. “Hello again, Rex. You’re taller than I remember.” Rex grinned, he wasn’t much shorter than Obi-wan now. In the next two to four years he’d probably shoot up like a weed. Cody was fairly certain his brother would be taller than he was, if not as bulky. Their mother’s people had been quite tall and slender with light colored hair. They were quite physically weak but their intelligence had made up for that fact… until they got arrogant and decided to try messing with the Mando’ade. There was a reason no one had seen or heard of the Kaminoans in the last decade.

Rex turned to the little jet’ika and told him that blonde’s should stick together, giving him what had to be a playful smirk. Cody wanted to sigh and groan aloud when the boy smiled back and his eyes almost seemed to sparkle with mischief.

“If you two cause trouble I’m not bailing you out.” He stated dryly, trying to keep his own smirk in check as he descended the dais stairs. The smaller blonde rolled his eyes and he knew, even without seeing it, that Rex was doing the very same. Obi-wan shook his head, smiling in amusement, before he turned his attention toward Cody.

“Cody, I’m glad to see you. What in eternity did you do to yourself?” He almost stopped in his tracks at the warmth and concerned exasperation in the redhead’s voice, wondering what he could be talking about. Then he realized that Obi-wan was staring at the scar that wound around his left eye and he felt his stomach clench. Unbidden the memory of that incident flashed behind his eyes. Anger bloomed in his chest even as he grew slightly embarrassed by how foolish he’d been.

They had been on a trip to the border stations, doing an inspection, when he’d begun to feel stifled by those around him. His fourteenth birthday had recently passed and everyone was walking on eggshells around him. As an adult he had the same rights as any other fully grown Mando’ad. He could join the army, become an apprentice, marry, claim new clan members with the permission of his clan head, and cry challenge if someone impugned his honor. No one wanted to risk accidentally insulting the Crown Prince now that he was a legal adult, regardless of whether he could actually defeat them in a challenge match or not. It felt as if everyone was on edge around him and he’d just wanted to get away for a while to think by himself.

Especially since it wasn’t all that long after Obi-wan had left them.

Sneaking away for some time alone to think and settle his mind he lost himself in the meditation technique that Obi-wan had taught him. So lost, in fact, that he hadn’t noticed the assassin until they were almost upon him. If Rex hadn’t followed him that day, worried about him and watching his back while he brooded, he might not have survived the encounter. Ducking when his brother called out a warning he saw the flash of the knife as it grated against the side of his head, just missing the eye and being at too awkward an angle to penetrate his skull. The wound burned and bled, getting into his eye and blinding him. Then Rex was there, arming sword in hand and trying to fend off the much larger attacker. Once Cody was able to get his feet beneath him he’d pulled his own sword and charged the bastard attempting to kill them.

Rex cried out in pain as the man’s knife dug into his side, dragging downward in a long gash that bled heavily. Cody saw red.

Later, when they were both safe and alone in the medical room, Rex would speak in hushed awe about what he’d witnessed. The blood of Manda didn’t just purify those who wished to become the dragon god’s children. It changed them on a fundamental level, remaking them from the inside out. One of the more rare blessings was the ability to borrow Manda’s abilities. Or at least emulate them. According to his brother Cody had just exploded on the assassin, setting the very air on fire when he drove his sword through their attacker’s chest. Then Rex had promptly fainted from blood loss and Cody had no recollection of what happened next. Only waking up in the medical room with his father hovering protectively over him.

There had been many stitches involved for the two of them, among other things.

The moment they were out of danger and on the mend their father had yelled at them, swearing a blue streak and calling them both idiots before hugging the daylights out of them. Later, when he was considerably more calm, Jango presented Rex with the Shriek-hawk Eyes, personally painting them on his helmet. It was a symbol of great honor and had surprised the hell out of his younger brother. But saving the life of the crown prince, regardless of familial relation, was considered worthy of that kind of honor. Rex had been over the moon for months after that, polishing his armor almost obsessively.

“You should see what I did to the man who gave it to me.” He rumbled darkly. The assassin had been one of the few remaining members of Clan Vizla who had sworn to avenge their patriarch. “Ask Rex how he earned his shriek-hawk eyes, the story is the same one.”

Rex’s palm found its way to his side where the assassin had slashed him, copper eyes flashing at him dangerously. Neither of them liked to think of that day, even if Rex did get his helmet painted for it. They didn’t like thinking of how Cody almost died thanks to his own negligence.

There was a faint flicker of guilt in Obi-wan’s eyes before it was pushed away and that false jetii serenity was back. Cody felt a pang of loss. He hated when Obi-wan hid his emotions. It was like they were back to being strangers.

Then the redhead just had to ask where they were and his expression fell once he realized he was in the most heavily fortified stronghold in the entire kingdom. Cody bit his tongue, knowing the look of someone who had just lost hope. He wanted to reach out and pull Obi-wan to him. Wrap him up in a comforting hug and tell him that everything would be okay. That he would realize that he loved them and they loved him, that staying with them would make him happy. At the same time he couldn’t help the feeling of hurt that lanced through him. Obi-wan was already planning his escape. Looking to the blonde nearby he thought he could understand and yet… he still couldn’t help how he felt.

The man shifted the topic towards a tour of the stronghold and he bit back a sigh. Instead he looked at the blonde and an idea began to form. Ignoring the internal shiver of anger and revulsion he spoke to the boy. “Do you have any particular interests?” He made his tone light, curious.

The boy began to answer, stuttering as he looked up at Obi-wan. The man put a hand on his head and a sweet smile came to his face that Cody remembered well. “Anakin is fascinated by natural sciences. He is an accomplished Ferromancer as well as a brilliant Alchemist. But don’t let his scholarly pursuits fool you, he is quite talented with the sword.” Obi-wan chuckled at the boy as he blushed, both embarrassed and happy to be praised. Rex perked up when the redhead spoke of the boy’s talent with the sword. There was a fierce light in his brother’s eyes and he knew that Rex would be challenging the other blonde to a sparring match as soon as he could.

“I assume your own tastes haven’t changed in the years you’ve been gone?” Cody asked politely. Obi-wan smiled at him and he felt his heart jump slightly in his chest when those blue eyes looked up at him through long lashes.

“They have not. I’m still a voracious reader with a love of history and poetry.” Cody nodded distractedly. Obi-wan had often had books nearby whenever he relaxed in the evening and he had spent a lot of time reading in the gardens or the library. At first he’d thought the other teenager was just trying to avoid them but after catching him happily reading an old journal and commenting on it he was delighted to realize that Obi-wan just liked learning.

“If you’ll permit it, Rex could always take Anakin to visit the smiths while I show you to the royal library. It has an entire section on the history of Mandalore.” He was pleased to see Obi-wan’s eyes light up with interest. 

Then his expression turned sharp and Cody could admit he felt a shiver of fear and excitement as Obi-wan’s eyes brightened, doing an amazing impression of an icy lake, while his pupils narrowed slightly. It was the same look he’d seen on other buir who were feeling protective over their children. It was such a Mando trait that seeing it on Obi-wan only made him even more flustered, though his expression gave nothing away. “As long as Rex can promise me Anakin will come to no harm. Remember, he is not Mandalorian. If there is trouble he will be the one at risk.”

To be honest that was perfectly reasonable. The boy certainly felt like an enemy to them and any unprepared Mando’ad who were more sensitive to the spirit leeches would probably attack first and ask questions later.

“He’ll be safe, buir. Haat, ijaa, haa’it.” Rex swore, back straight and fist thumping against the kyr’bes sigil on the chest plate of his armor. Obi-wan nodded curtly, accepting the sworn oath, as a proud smile curled the edges of his lips. Obi-wan had been with them for a year before he disappeared and knew how seriously they all took such an oath. Rex would do everything in his power, even fighting someone with live steel, in order to protect the boy.

“Go, have fun.” Obi-wan told them, making a small shooing gesture with his hand playfully. Rex and Anakin wore matching mischievous grins as they hurried off toward the large doors leading out of the throne room. “Oh, but Rex?” His brother stopped so quickly that he skidded across the floor for a moment before turning around, impatient and a little confused. “Don’t let Anakin get too involved with the smiths. Otherwise we won’t see him for days at a time.” Rex flashed them an amused grin and Cody shook his head. He could tell that Obi-wan was being absolutely serious. It looked as if the redhead had picked up a student who had similar bad habits to his teacher, or had learned them from his teacher and emulated them over time.

It sounded like something Obi-wan would do.

Rex quickly went after Anakin, catching up to the other blonde easily with his longer legs.

Turning back to him Obi-wan spread his hands dramatically, like an entertainer or a courtier might. “I’m all yours, Cody. Lead on.” He wasn’t sure whether he was amused by the gesture or disgruntled by it. It made obi-wan look fake, like he was putting on airs. But the words… he tried not to think about how they made him feel.

“Of course, this way.” The walk to the library was long but they filled the time catching up. While Cody explained what had been going on in the kingdom since Obi-wan’s departure, adding in a few tidbits of clan gossip here or there, the redhead regaled him with all the crazy reckless things he had gotten up to while under the thumb of the jetii. It made Cody feel exasperated beyond belief. Did they have to send Obi-wan on such dangerous missions with no back-up? Oh sure, he had Anakin with him, but the boy couldn’t be older than Boba, which meant he wasn’t even an adult yet by Mando standards. Absolutely suicidal, all of them. He’d thought that Obi-wan had more sense than that but he knew from experience that the man beside him didn’t always think about his own safety when trying to help others. Like when he took the place of the Kalevalan Princess to fight Pre Vizla. Of course she could have demanded her own champion, from her own people, but his father had chosen his words specifically to make the then jet’ika Obi-wan believe he was the only option.

Of course he couldn’t really begrudge the bad habit, since it was what had brought Obi-wan into their lives in the first place.

Cody knew his father could be shrewd, ruthless, merciless, and manipulative. Cody could be much the same, when it came down to it. But those traits were always used in the best interest of Mandalore and their people. It was only the second time in his life he could recall his father acting purely on a selfish whim, with no other motivation beyond his own need to possess the redhead. Although in hindsight he knew it was also a way to dispose of Pre Vizla, the dirty traitor, without having the entire clan turn on him. Having an outsider humiliate him in combat then kill him, even if Obi-wan refused to actually make the killing blow, meant that the Vizla clan couldn’t challenge Jango directly, clan to clan.

Cody had known the moment he saw Obi-wan, just like his father, that the redhead would make a great Mando’ad. That he would survive if he drank the elixir.

Imagine his surprise when his father kissed the then teenager and claimed him in the most unabashed way possible. Obviously he still had mixed feelings about it, seeing as Obi-wan had never been given a choice. Mando’ad were always allowed to reject a courtship proposal, and even after being courted they could reject the offer of marriage. Obi-wan hadn’t known that, and no one had ever spoken of it. Not even Myles.

But then, Cody knew where they were coming from. After the death of his mother Cody had no hope that his father would ever remarry, or even find a companion. He was too wary of anyone getting close to him, too hurt from the heartless betrayal. Then Obi-wan had shown up and everything shifted. His father began to open up more, to lose some of the edge around him. Everyone began to relax and felt hope that Jango would return to how he was before the Kaminoans tried to invade. Then Obi-wan left and all of it had come rushing back.

It was the first time that those in Clan Fett felt terrified of their own patriarch, their own king. Cody saw a terrible black rage in his father and even now he felt fear gripping tight to his heart. Few had the same access to Manda’s blessings that the Mand’alor did and to see such power first hand from a man he had always considered safe was absolutely jarring.

Finally stopping he smiled and motioned toward the large double doors. “This is the royal library. You’re only allowed inside if you’re with one of us. Otherwise the guards would stop you from even entering this wing.” He motioned toward the door. “Care to do the honors?” Obi-wan grinned at him before stepping up to the door and pushing it open, looking surprised when they swung open easily. Cody looked at the ceiling, amused. It was a little less conspicuous and far more polite than rolling his eyes.

Obi-wan stood in the open doorway and drank in the sight. To be fair it was a very large library and a very impressive sight to behold. He noticed obi-wan following one of the library staff with his eyes and stepped closer to him, leaning down slightly so he didn’t have to raise his voice.

“Those are the royal librarians. They go through a very rigorous selection process and are highly trained to take care of the old documents.” Obi-wan tensed and looked up at him. Cody tried to give him a disarming smile, knowing he’d startled the poor man with his closeness. A flicker of fear and apprehension crossed the redhead’s face for a moment before he quickly turned away.

“Well, let’s make sure not to disturb their work.” The man cleared his throat, uncomfortable. “You were going to show me the ancient history section?” He said gently, trying to lighten his tone to sound playful. Cody took a few discreet steps to the side, giving Obi-wan space, and watched his tense body slowly relax. Inwardly he sighed.

“This way.” When the man didn’t immediately follow him inside he turned to regard him carefully. “Obi-wan?” Snapping out of whatever daze the man was in he flushed slightly before quickly catching up.

Chapter Text

For the next two hours or so Cody watched Obi-wan out of the corner of his eye as he pretended to browse the shelves. The change in the redhead was nearly immediate the moment one of the librarians introduced him to the ancient history section. He’d gone from hesitant and stilted to talking excitedly to the Mando’ad about his love of all things historical. The librarian, although looking a little harried at all the questions, couldn’t help smiling at Obi-wan’s enthusiasm. Neither could Cody.

Looking over the titles the man grabbed an entire stack of tomes before sitting down at one of the many tables and immediately diving into the first volume. That’s when Cody lost him entirely. He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself as he watched the redhead devouring the books as if they held the secret to eternal life. With a small chuckle he left Obi-wan alone and searched for something of his own to study, knowing that the redhead would eventually resurface to babble on about what he had learned. Cody looked forward to his insights and to explaining anything he may have misunderstood.

At one point he watched Obi-wan pull another book towards him, barely finishing the one in his hand before he flipped the next one open and began to read. A small confused look came to his face and Cody sorted in amusement. Grabbing the correct volume he leaned over Obi-wan and tugged the book from his hands, receiving an adorably grumpy look for his action. “You’re reading the sixth volume, Obi-wan. Start at the beginning or it won’t make any sense.” He said, deliberately shoving the correct volume in front of the man’s face. Obi-wan blinked at him, still looking slightly annoyed, before he took the new book and returned to reading fervently.

Sitting across from him he studied the man carefully as he read his own books, although he was only retaining about half of the information. “It’s no wonder the Mando’ade became mage hunters if what I’m reading is true.” Obi-wan muttered as he looked up from the tome in his hands. “I thought that the Mando’ade traditionally sided with the Sith Warlocks, but this account is saying they were enslaved?” Cody frowned slightly and set his own book down.

“The Warlocks have long had a history of trying to keep the Mando’ade under their thumb. Dragon’s blood is rumored to contain many powers that the evil bastards covet so much. But Manda refuses to have anything to do with those who steal the life-force of others in order to gain power. Our abilities are blessings, given to us to protect ourselves and our families. It’s why the Mand’alor is a position that can’t be bought or won. A Mand’alor is chosen by Manda themselves.” It was a literal deity given right to rule over the Mando’ade. “Of course, the Warlocks have tried to usurp the position many times. Never understanding the reason why we won’t follow anyone but Manda’s Chosen.” Cody shook his head and Obi-wan watched him, fascinated by the subject.

So fascinated the redhead didn’t even realize they’d switched to Mando’a. It had been so long since he’d heard the man speak in Mando’a and it sounded just as pleasant as he remembered. Obi-wan had never been able to perfect the almost growl that came with some of the vowels so words always sounded far more musical. “So instead they’ve tried to lead by enslaving your people with mind magics and the like?” Cody nodded, frowning.

“But Manda’s blessing makes it difficult for them. We’re immune to the spirit leeches effects and due to repeated attempts have become sensitive to their presence, some more than others.” Like himself and his father. “Instead they switched to elemental manipulation and the creation of cursed objects that cause pain in order to compel obedience.” Shock bands and slave brands. “Over time we developed more counters to the warlock magic, which in turn strengthened our counters to the jedi mages. Since their powers both come from the same source.” Obi-wan looked suddenly uncomfortable and Cody knew it was because of the comparison between the jedi and the sith.

Before he could reassure the man that he didn’t think the jedi and sith were much alike a servant sidled up to them and quietly announced that dinner would be soon. If they wanted to wash up and be ready in time they needed to leave sooner rather than later. Nodding he waved over a librarian and asked them to set the tomes aside for later. That way Obi-wan could continue reading where he left off. Unfortunately, as they were part of the ancient archives, they couldn’t be taken from the library.

Getting Obi-wan to leave the library was like herding cats. The man stopped every few paces to peer at the spine of some book that caught his eye and eventually Cody had to grip the man by the bicep and literally pull him away. He had to balance between moving forward at a decent pace and being careful not to hurt Obi-wan, which he really, sincerely, did not want to do. Even by accident. It wouldn’t be all that difficult to just lift the man into his arms and walk out but Cody knew that it wouldn’t be appropriate. Besides, if he picked him up now he wouldn’t want to put him back down. He had this adorably childish pout on his face that was making it hard not to let him go back to the books.

Stopping he looked down at the redhead sternly, the kind of look he’d give Boba when his younger brother was being particularly obtuse. “You can come back again tomorrow. But we need to get ready for dinner. Buir will be expecting us.” Obi-wan blanched, his face paling, and Cody had to push down feelings of anxiety and anger as the fight left the man entirely. He bit the inside of his cheek and breathed deeply in order to keep calm. He didn’t like seeing Obi-wan so afraid, it felt wrong. Opposite to everything he wanted for the man.

Obi-wan stopped struggling or making excuses and walked beside him quietly, the good humor and playfulness of their previous conversations gone. It was unproductive, tense, and far too quiet. Cody tried to think of a topic he could bring up but for once words failed him.

Coming around the last corner to the dining hall he heard someone shout and looked up in surprise. “Big brother!” Anakin, followed by Rex, were coming from the opposite hallway, both grinning like the little mischief makers they were. Obi-wan brightened beside him.

“Little brother.” The redhead said happily, face softening and eyes looking the small blonde over warmly. Rex looked up at him and smirked, pleased with himself, while Anakin smiled at Obi-wan like he was the most amazing person in the world. Cody could relate.

“The smithy was so much fun. They have a lot of rare metals that they don’t have at the temple, and their techniques are so different!” It was obvious from a glance that the boy’d had his hands all over the raw metals, and mostly likely all of the tools as well. There were smudges of dirt and soot covering his hands and a bit on his face, he must have leant too close to something or touched his face; forgetting that his hands were dirty in his excitement. He raised a brow at his brother but Rex just gave him a small shrug, cheeky little di’kut. Obi-wan had said not to let him get lost in the smithy and to keep him safe. The man never said anything about keeping the boy from touching anything or getting dirty. Cody shook his head in half amusement half exasperation.

Obi-wan’s expression turned contemplative for a moment, in a way that Cody might call anxious. “Obi-wan?” The boy asked, looking concerned. Perhaps the blonde was more perceptive than Cody had given him credit for. That or he just knew Obi-wan well enough to be able to see all the little shifts in his expression. The redhead shook his head minutely and smiled pleasantly at the boy, hiding his emotions once again.

“I just realized that I don’t have a handkerchief on me and you are smudged with soot. How did you get so messy, my student?” The boy looked down, scuffing his boot guiltily across the floor and glancing over his shoulder at Rex. His brother’s face went blank and he stood a little straighter, trying to look innocent and failing miserably.”

“I’ll deal with the aftermath later.” Obi-wan said dryly, his tone bordering on fond exasperation. Cody coughed into his fist to try and hide a laugh but he could practically feel Rex’s eyes on him, silently promising trouble. Cody grinned at him and subtly signed, ‘going to challenge me?’ The hand sign he used for challenge was different from the one used when someone challenged another’s honor. It was closer to the sign for play-fight, a spar. Obi-wan spoke before Rex was able to answer his playful taunt.

“Is there somewhere we can clean off the worst of the mess?” Cody let his brother handle it, smiling to himself. For all that his brother had complained earlier about being angry with Obi-wan for leaving them it was obvious he still wanted to please the redhead. Still considering him a parental figure he adored.

Anakin was quickly lead away by a servant and they spoke about the situation between Clan Skirata and Clan Vau. Cody sincerely hoped the situation didn’t escalate any further. Walon Vau might be a prideful man, and think he was the top of the food chain, but Kal Skirata outclassed him in almost every way. The only reason he didn’t involve himself in politics was because he preferred to keep to his own clan, rather than meddle in others. Unless something disturbed his clan, or worse his children, the man was content to keep his nose out of things. If, somehow, Kal was unable to take up a challenge for one reason or another his eldest, Ordo, was a formidable heir who had earned the nickname ‘death on legs.’ Even their father was wary of the man at times.

Thankfully Kal had instilled the traditional Mando values in his sons. They followed Manda and the Mand’alor. Ordo would never challenge Jango for the throne because he didn’t have the Mand'alor's blessings. Although if Jango ever tried to mess with Kal in some way, or slighted him, Cody had no doubt that his father would be facing down seven pissed off knights and three pissed off squires. The man’s sons, both by blood and adoption, practically worshiped the man.

While acting as one of his father’s administrators Cody was supposed to remain impartial in clan disputes but honestly he disliked Walon Vau. According to the rumors he’d heard from some of the older warriors, Walon had come to Manda’yaim after escaping his own homeland. No one was quite sure of the details but everyone agreed that he had been exiled, unable to ever return for fear of death. While Cody tried not to distinguish between those who had been born Mando’ad and those who chose to become Mando’ad he sometimes found it difficult to relate to those who became Mando’ad later in their life. The cultures they came from were either too different for them to mesh well or they held fast to their old traditions and never fully integrated into Mando society. Walon Vau was a good example of this. He still acted as if he were an aristocrat from a foreign land, rather than a true Child of Manda. Even after he’d married a Mando’ad and had children with her it never felt as if he’d settled properly into his role as a clan patriarch.

Hearing that Walon had beaten one of his youngest sons, just for falling in love with someone, made a black ball of rage well up inside of Cody’s chest. Putting his hands behind his back as casually as he could he tried to hide just how white his knuckles were turning as he clenched his hands into fists. What kind of cowardly bastard beat their own children!?

There were times when Jango had hurt Cody, that was true. But it was always during training and it was always either a lesson or an accident. Never was it done with any ill intent. The man never beat him or his brothers for disobeying him or doing something he disapproved of. Although he certainly yelled a lot before he calmed enough to explain why he disapproved or was angry with them

Spying Boba storming grumpily toward them behind the returning jet’ika he tried to give his little brother an encouraging smile. Re saw immediately that their brother was still upset and tried to engage him in a quiet conversation. Unfortunately their feral little brother would have none of it. He just crossed his arms and leaned past Rex to glower at Obi-wan. Thankfully he seemed pretty neutral to the jet’ika’s presence.

“Alore, dinner is ready.” Not a moment too soon, Cody thought to himself. If they hadn’t been interrupted he was certain Anakin would have noticed Boba’s hostility and the two would get into a fight.

Walking over to his customary place, to the right f his father’s chair, he smiled at Obi-wan across the table. As the one promised to the Mand’alor he would always have the seat to the left of Jango.

Cody tried not to think about those words, ‘promised to the Mand’alor.’ Because that was the crux of his problem, wasn’t it? Obi-wan had been promised to Jango. Not because the redhead had chosen to be courted, not because he loved Jango, but because no one else had tried to stop the Mand’alor from taking what he wanted.

Looking up when he heard Rex whistle he looked over at the fidgeting blonde child and a small smile came to his face. His brother motioned to the chair next to him and the smaller blonde quickly darted over, looking thankful. Next to Cody Boba stood, arms crossed and sulking as they all waited for the Mand’alor to arrive. Obi-wan looked at Boba then caught Cody’s eye and gave him a small, amused, smile. Cody liked seeing that gentle light dancing in the redhead’s eyes. He couldn’t help smiling back.

Then the doors on the other side of the hall opened and Jango strode inside. Obi-wan stiffened, a look of nervousness bordering on fear crossing his face and clouding his eyes. Cody hid a frown behind a neutral mask even as his stomach clenched in concern. Riduure should never be scared of one another. The fact that Obi-wan was scared of Jango just proved how ill suited of a match they were.

“Excellent, the family is all here.” Stopping next to Obi-wan, Jango placed the flower he’d been carrying next to the redhead’s place and leaned down to kiss the man’s temple affectionately. Something that would have been sweet had Obi-wan’s smile not been so obviously fake.

Once Jango was seated everyone followed. The servants came forward with the first course and a stilted discussion began. Listening to some of what obi-wan had been through was aggravating, worrisome, and heart wrenching in equal measure. They’d heard about the Neimoidian trading clans attacking Naboo but as Mandalore was self-sufficient, for the most part, they hadn’t particularly cared about what happened to Naboo. It was a foreign country, one that was not an ally, and even if it gave the Neimoidian trading clans access to their border Cody would just like to see them try to fight their way past Mandalore’s borders.

Listening to Obi-wan speak of the mission, however, filled him with a mix of emotions he had to push away until he could confront them later. The fact that they sent Obi-wan and his jetii master, alone, with no reinforcements made Cody angry. The way Obi-wan acted so flippantly in the face of almost being poisoned to death didn’t help either. There had always been a disregard for his own wellbeing that made Cody’s body twitch with the need to keep the man safe.

Obi-wan spoke of how his knight master freed the boy but either couldn’t, or wouldn’t, free his mother. It sounded quite suspicious to him. But then, he was Mando’ade through and through. He would have found a way to save the boy’s mother even if he had to intimidate or kill the merchant in order to free her. But, of course, Obi-wan had to go about it in the most roundabout way possible, endangering himself in the process. If Cody heard too many more stories like that one he would turn grey before he’d even hit his prime.

How could one man encounter so much danger so frequently without giving much care or thought to his own wellbeing?

The insult Obi-wan spoke seemed to mean something to both Jango and Anakin, since both reacted to it differently. His father radiating the kind of anger that meant he was personally insulted and wanted to do something about it; something violent. But after some reassurance from Obi-wan the man let it slide.

The longer the tale wore on the more worried Cody became. He felt a twinge of regret when the man spoke about losing his former knight master. From what he remembered the man was almost like a father to obi-wan, even if they didn’t always get along. Although Cody had a few suspicions about the way the man had treated Obi-wan’s health considering the unhealthy habits the redhead had developed. Even so, losing Qui-gon must have hurt him a lot. Jango tried to show sympathy as well, even if Cody, his brother’s, and Obi-wan knew the man would have torn Qui-gon apart if he’d ever gotten his hands on him.

After all, he blamed Qui-gon for Obi-wan running away.

When the tension became too much he leaned forward slightly and spoke in an attempt to clear the air a little. “This is all very fascinating, but what does it have to do with you falling unconscious in a library?” He asked in a dry tone, raising an eyebrow questioningly. Like he’d hoped his words and actions lightened the mood.

“While I fought the warlock, Anakin found the control spell for the golem army and utterly destroyed it. All the golems went dormant. Because of these two acts we are considered heroes in Naboo. As such we have a very cordial relationship with their monarchs. Padme is a good friend to Anakin and I. She’s also not afraid to yell at either of us when she thinks we’ve done something foolish.” Obi-wan looked slyly over at Anakin and Cody couldn’t help but to smirk. He remembered that mischievous look. “She’s only four years older than Anakin and I think someone hasn’t forgotten how lovely she looks in her regalia.” It was spoken in a near sing-song and Cody couldn’t help the small snort that came from him.

“Obi-wan no!” Moaned the little blonde, face turning bright red. The boy hid his face in his hands, trying to hide his embarrassment. Rex cackled loudly and Obi-wan gave him a side glance. There seemed to be something of a worry there, Cody might have to warn Rex away from using that information as fodder for teasing.

“The moral of the story is; don’t leave Obi-wan alone in the library. He forgets to eat or sleep and makes himself sick.” Cody nodded in understanding, an amused smile tugging at the corner of his lips when Obi-wan glared at at the boy. It certainly sounded like something Obi-wan would do. The man became so engrossed in reading that he forgot the outside world existed, going so far as to forgo food and sleep.

The servants took their plates and Cody was pleased to see they would be having Uj’alayi for dessert. Used to the amount of spices and the manner the rare treat was made he had no trouble with the sticky spiced sweet. Anakin, it appeared, had no such tolerance. Obi-wan let out an exasperated utterance of the blonde’s name while their father burst into laughter. It was a bit of a cruel trick to play on a child but Cody doubted it had been his father’s intention. He’d probably chosen Uj’alayi because it had been one of Obi-wan’s favourites.

Dinner concluded with no problems and their father stood up from the table, Cody watched him reach out to Obi-wan and had to hide his clenched fists beneath the table when he saw the redhead’s hesitance. Jango’s patience was wearing thin, he could see it in his father’s eyes. Cody wanted to say something, to protest, but he knew that if he did so now then Jango’s anger would only worsen. He felt sick to his stomach. Would he become another person who looked the other way to keep Jango happy? The Mand’alor wasn’t supposed to abuse his powers over the people. Which included Obi-wan.

Obi-wan hid his own fear and did what he always did; worried for someone else’s wellbeing above his own. “Where will Anakin be housed?” He didn’t ask about himself. Everyone in attendance knew exactly where he would be sleeping that night.

“For now he can stay in Rex’s old quarters. It’s right next to Boba’s. There are always guards and servants on duty in case something happens.” The blonde glared at the floor as Jango spoke, trembling faintly. It was obvious he wanted to try and stop the man from taking away the closest thing he had to a father but was too worried about what might happen to them if he caused trouble.

It shouldn’t be like this.

“Come.” Jango ordered Obi-wan, like a servant. Obediently Obi-wan obliged, only to stop and reach back for the fire rose Jango had gifted him. It was a sign of needing comfort, Cody knew. Stewjonians had close ties with nature and even a simple rose had enough energy to help soothe some of the redhead’s anxiety. Jango wrapped a possessive arm around Obi-wan’s waist and pulled him in close, smiling. Cody had to bite his tongue to keep from saying anything.

While he was overjoyed to see Obi-wan again something in his chest writhed any time he saw the man with his father. It was a tangled ball of worry, concern, anger and longing.

He knew that Jango wouldn’t damage Obi-wan, not permanently. But there was more than just bruises and bite marks to worry about. Physical wounds would heal but emotional ones could scar for a lifetime. Cody knew this well.

“Good night, children.” Jango called over his shoulder, waving at them nonchalantly as he nudged Obi-wan into walking.

“Good night, buir.” He replied at the same time as Boba and Rex. The boy listened to their response for a moment and was quick to repeat the words.

“Come on, Anakin. I’ll show you were you’re sleeping.” Rex slung an arm around the smaller blonde, giving him a reassuring smile, and signed to Cody with his free hand that he would take care of the young jet’ika. Cody didn’t sign back but he nodded in approval.

On their way out of the dining hall Boba stopped and looked up at him, bright eyes serious in his round face. “Buir’s mad at fire buir… really mad.” Cody nodded in understanding. “W-will he end up like… like our other buir?” Cody froze, feeling a cold chill settle in his bones. Just thinking about Obi-wan meeting the same fate as Lamia made something inside him violently protest.

“No, Boba. Buir loves Obi-wan. I’m… I’m not sure how much he actually loved Lamia.” His younger brother was twelve now, old enough to know at least some of the truth. It wasn’t that they hid it from the boy, not particularly, but it was a sore enough subject that few ever spoke of it. Especially around Jango or Cody.

Besides that, Obi-wan wasn’t a traitor. Cody doubted he would meet the same fate.

“Good I… I’m mad at fire buir but… I don’t want to lose him again.” He whispered, nibbling on his bottom lip and looking torn. Cody reached out and hugged his little brother, pressing their foreheads together.

“Well. We’ll have to work hard to keep him then, won’t we?” Boba gave him a small smile before hurrying off down the hall toward his rooms. Cort gave Cody an acknowledging nod before he fell in step behind the youngest prince.

Cody stood there by himself for a moment, staring back across the hall at the doors Jango and Obi-wan had disappeared through. ‘I let him go and he went through so much pain… I won’t make that mistake a second time. This time I’ll make sure to protect him.’ With nothing left to do for now he stalked off to his own room, hundreds of ideas and plans running through his head.