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Hold Me Tight Or Don't

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The doors slid shut a full second before Obi-Wan reached them. Ventress's wide, furious eyes glimpsed briefly over Savage's hulking form were the last he saw before the cab left their cargo hold behind. Left Obi-Wan behind - with Maul.

Even if he weren't distracted by his own circumstances, he wouldn't have worried about the assassin; it was Savage who wouldn't survive the encounter.

Oh, and probably Obi-Wan himself, who - already injured and exhausted - had been reliant on Asajj's escape plan. And now he was all alone and at Maul's mercy.

Maul growled, pleased. "It seems we've been left to our own devices, Kenobi."

"Much better this way; Ventress and I are terrible at sharing."

And they were back in the fray.

Every hitchhiker and runaway child knew that cargo transports of this nature were not equipped to sustain life and were smart enough to choose another transport, even if desperate. This model, it seemed, was barely capable of keeping its contents warm without the cab's engine, which was in Savage and Ventress's care. Air, too, was in short supply - particularly in light of the strenuous battle raging between Maul and Obi-Wan.

They didn't last long.

Obi-Wan hit the wall with a nasty crack and slumped to the ground, gasping and panting against the freezing metal for almost a full minute before he could recover himself. And yet he wasn't dead.

That was because Maul was on his knees gasping as well. Two hearts, Obi-Wan supposed, must mean the Zabrak needed twice the oxygen.

"Truce," Obi-Wan rasped. "If we keep at this, it won't matter who wins, we'll both be dead."

"Fuck you, Kenobi!"

That was as much as he managed before Maul was coughing in bursts of white fog.

Obi-Wan hoisted himself up so that he could lean against the wall. He was almost certain one of his ribs was broken, or at least cracked. As if breathing wasn't already anxiety-inducing, it had to hurt too.

He summoned his cloak from where he'd dropped it before the battle and huddled under it as the temperature continued to drop.

Maul caught his attention by spitting blood.

"So, any brilliant plans for getting us out of here? I think you shattered my communicator. Don't suppose you have one?"

Maul's eyes flashed to the door that had once led to the cab, and Obi-Wan rolled his eyes.

"Of course you left it there. Well, at least I can die confident that Ventress will be able to mock the Council with my death."

"Do not underestimate my brother," Maul hissed. "He is a skilled apprentice!"

"But he is not Asajj. She studied under Dooku for years. Correct me if I'm wrong, but your brother has completed mere months of training at best, yes?"

Maul grumbled, but didn't offer a correction.

"Charming as this conversation is, do you have any decent suggestions for survival?"

"Shut up, Kenobi! No need to waste what air is left on useless prattle. Speak when you have something worth saying!"

They sat in silence for nearly an hour, the temperature dropping steadily. If Kenobi was shivering under his cloak, then Maul was half-dead in his open tunic (which held no fascination for Obi-Wan what-so-ever, despite his wandering eyes). Finally, he could take it no longer.

"We'll freeze before we asphyxiate at this rate. Come here so we can at least share the heat we do have."

"Not on your life, Kenobi," he translated from the chattering nonsense Maul stuttered.

"Do you think this is my first choice? But if you manage to survive getting cut in half, I suspect you don't want to be done in by the cold. Get over here."

He was genuinely shocked when Maul did as he was told. It was less surprising when Maul manhandled him so that Obi-Wan was the little spoon. His cloak was draped over them both.

Even despite the miserable chill off of Maul's legs, this was better. They could hold out a little longer, maybe until they were rescued. Or at least it would prolong their suffering a little longer and their corpses would be found in an embarrassingly compromised position.

If he died like this, Anakin would never let him live it down.

"I hate you," Maul grumbled and pulled Obi-Wan closer.

"I know."

---

"Sir, it's been twelve standard hours since we've heard from General Kenobi. Engage the tracker?"

Cody glared between Wooly and Beaker. He worried about his general as much as the next clone, but hated admitting that the tracker Breaker had injected into Kenobi's arm with his vaccinations was a good idea.

But time was short, and his men looked worried. Now was not the time for ethical debates.

"Just fucking do it."

---

Obi-Wan awoke slowly, surrounded by warm. He was stiff, and moving caused immediate pain, but laying quietly and basking in the warmth was a lovely idea.

There was something laying over his nose and mouth, forcing him to breathe, but not the invasive tube that came with bacta. So whatever happened couldn't have been that bad.

It was some minutes before he awoke enough to notice the arm wrapped around him and the warm chest behind him.

All at once, everything came back to him: the battle, the miserable cold, and Maul curling up behind him to stay warm.

He forced his eyes open to determine where he was and who had saved them, only to be greeted by the familiar sight of Breaker sleeping lightly in a nearby chair.

Somehow, the 212th had found and rescued both Obi-Wan and Maul.

Behind him, Maul made a little whimpering sound and his arm tightened around Obi-Wan. How had he ended up a Sith Lord's stuffed bantha?

Then, Maul came awake with a snarl and jerked away from Obi-Wan. Even as it hurt to move, Obi-Wan forced himself to roll onto his back and watch his enemy shove himself up and look around the medbay. Beside them, Beaker was awake and leveled his pistol at Maul.

"You're in the GAR medbay on The Negotiator," he informed them both. "Suffering from near-deadly asphyxiation and extreme hypothermia. You're lucky you both didn't lose your fucking fingers. Now lay down before you undo all my good work."

"Stand back, Clone, before I cut you down."

"I took away your lightsabers. Stand down, Sith. Or I'll tie you down."

"You would not dare!"

"Enough! Maul, you're not dead so stop threatening my men! Beaker, thank you for saving us, but why in the world are we still - "

"Cuddling?" Beaker lowered his pistol. "You were practically frozen together - too dangerous to make adjustments. And it was easier to warm you up like this."

Maul growled furiously and went to rise, only to stumble and half-collapse on top of Obi-Wan. He made a very quiet pained sound.

"Yeah, no. Let's not move, hmm? I don't care how hot your hatred keeps you, Sith, you just finished thawing. You still need recovery time,” said Beaker.

"But we can separate now, yes?" Obi-Wan asked hopefully.

"If you want to slow down the whole process, be my guest."

Beaker, the bastard, knew how much Obi-Wan loathed bedrest.

"That's what I thought. Get comfortable, boys. You'll be there awhile. I'll go get you lucky fuckers some hot liquid rations. Don't kill each other before I get back. I'm not cleaning up your mess a second time."

It was, of course, when they were alone that both Maul and Obi-Wan came to the realization that they were laying in a graceless heap, bare chests pressed together as someone had decided to cut away Obi-Wan's tunics and leave him in only leggings, and Maul still only wore his open shirt.

They most certainly flinched away and settled uncomfortably against each other. And there was certainly no awkward cuddling or unnecessary arms wrapped around each other. And it would have been ridiculous if Obi-Wan had never slept so well.

---

Cody sighed as he peered between the blinds at the General and his Arch Nemesis cuddling in the medbay.

"You didn't have to force them to stay together, Beaker."

"I know. But I thrive on petty vengeance, and they made us worry."

Of goddamn course.