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Qui-Gon ducked back the moment he knew his lightsaber was off a true line for defense, barely avoiding the jab, and then managed a solid flip away despite his fatigue to get space, to allow his padawan to catch up to him. This warrior was devastating, but the more Qui-Gon fought, the stranger the warrior's sense was in the Force.

It was as if the Living Force saw him as a wound in need of healing. He kept that in mind as Obi-Wan caught up, and the pair worked together to win the fight, capture more on their mind than killing, for there were answers desperately needed.


3 years later

Obi-Wan slipped inside the small apartment that housed their involuntary guest. He was one of the few that Maul respected enough to sometimes speak to, as the healers worked on reaching through the conditioning.

Something in having nearly been killed while in Jedi custody by his master's underlings had given them the opening they needed to try and pull Maul away from the Dark. Qui-Gon had tried to help, but he kept bogging down in the idea that redemption was possible… and he'd never tried to reach Xanatos hard enough.

"Maul?"

"Obi-Wan," the man said, sitting in lotus beneath the one large window of the apartment.

"I'm supposed to ask you, again, if you can name your master to us, but I also brought food," the young Knight said, coming to drop down beside him, putting an array of boxes between them to share.

"Sidious."

"Yes, that part we know," Obi-Wan said cheerfully. "They want more, but I'm not pushing. I heard from one of the healers you had a very grueling session against a training droid, and I want to be sure you're alright."

This was the shape of who they had become. Obi-Wan was the go-between, Maul the prisoner, and yet, it had settled into a gentle rhythm. Maul took a pair of eating utensils and sorted through the boxes until he found the one he most wanted, before looking at Obi-Wan.

"Why do you still try?"

Obi-Wan gave a half-shrug as he took his own box of noodles and vegetables. "Because I've been cast aside, tried to make my own path and failed, then been allowed to start over. I want you to have that chance to start over."

"I will never understand how Jedi, who profess to leave emotion behind, and are so weak as to be compassionate toward other beings, defeated the Sith in ancient times," Maul said, but the answer satisfied him. "Tell me about the cast aside time?"

Obi-Wan flinched a little, but it was only fair. "No one wished to train me, and I was growing too old," he began, spreading out the shame of that banishment, and the eventual hope he found in Qui-Gon's acceptance.

Maul listened, eating the food, sampling from the boxes that were not his usual dish, and watched Obi-Wan. The Knight did not spare himself from criticism in the events of that first couple of missions, or the fact that he was certain Qui-Gon had only accepted him because the Force willed it.

"You are shaped by his unwillingness," Maul finally said when quiet had fallen between them. "I am shaped by design. Yet here we both are, with unknown futures despite both shapings."

Obi-Wan nodded, arms around his knees in front of his chest now. "I think we both could stand to step out of our masters' teachings, and become something more than Sith and Jedi alone, don't you think?"

"Perhaps, Obi-Wan. Perhaps."