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Staring into open flame

Chapter Text

Later


 

Kill him.

The voice hissed in the space between his ears, reverberated around a battered skull he didn't feel more than distantly, coiled dark and cold and down and down and down--

Kill him.

It whispered about his failures and his weaknesses and it promised him redemption, promised him a return of everything he had lost, from skin and bone to memory and simplicity, everything that had been stolen from him.

Maul panted. Felt the hum of his saberstaff through his hand, the bones of his forearm, a counterpoint to the discordant, overlapping voices in his head.

One voice was louder than all of the others, vicious hissing like white noise given malevolent form.

Lord Maul. Kill him.

He flung a hand out casually and knocked Bail Organa two meters backwards, the power called to him with such ease that it paused his harsh breathing. It wasn't a fatal strike, just a way to get the man out of his way, but it had been so easy.  When he started breathing again, it was with an unhinged, dry, quiet laugh.

He was here for a reason; it was not the senator.

Redeem yourself. Kill him.

It would be so easy. The Jedi looked at him with glazed, pained eyes, like a prey animal staring at its own death and accepting the inevitable, and everything in Maul -- everything -- was trained to do this, to slaughter the opposing Order, everything in him was screaming that he should do what he was made to do. That this was how he could reclaim and regain, all he had to do was take Kenobi's head off of his shoulders, one swipe and everything everything everything said to do it everything everything--

Everything except one thing. His own voice.

Not you.

In the angry howl, in the discordant desperation, in the toxic whisper.

Not you.

He had known perfection once. This wasn't it.

His hand trembled when he thumbed off his staff. "Kenobi," he said, mouth clumsy; wet his lip and tasted blood and by some greater will than he knew he had, he dropped that staff in the dirt and followed after it, sitting down hard. "Obi-Wan," he said, more quietly, not caring if Bail heard the currents running under the tone.

"Welcome back," Obi-Wan said, voice wrecked, but relief in his eyes.

"We're in so much trouble," Bail declared, coming back bruised and dirty and determined.

Even that was mastery of an understatement.