1. Chapter 1 by Emma Grant
2. Chapter 2 by Emma Grant
3. Chapter 3 by Emma Grant
4. Chapter 4 by Emma Grant
Sunlight streaked across the wide expanse of floor, painting broad strokes of reds and golds on the worn, smooth stone. For centuries, masters, knights, and padawans had stood there in that spot as Coruscant's magnificent sunset flooded the Council chamber with warm light. The Council as a whole seemed oblivious to the stunning view, their backs to the large plexi windows that afforded a privileged perspective on the skyline of the Senate complex.
"Thank you, Master Jinn, Padawan Kenobi. Your efforts on Hildass no doubt helped ensure the success of the peace talks between the factions." Mace Windu nodded approvingly at the two Jedi standing before the Council.
"To be commended, you are," stated Master Yoda, his eyes first meeting the blue eyes of Master Qui-Gon Jinn and then the green gaze of Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The sunset calming his frazzled nerves, Obi-Wan exhaled softly, relieved that they were back at the Temple at last. The mission to Hildass had been difficult for him, mentally much more than physically. Not only had the climate been miserably hot and humid, and their quarters woefully cramped and inadequate, but the Hildassians themselves were mean, manipulative, and ruthlessly dishonest. It had taken extreme self-control on his part not to resort to violence when dealing with several of the more spineless delegates he had been assigned to work with. Obi-Wan had always disliked politics, but at the moment he utterly detested politicians as a subspecies. Qui-Gon had, as usual, demonstrated unfailing patience.
/I have so much to learn yet about how to be a Jedi/, he thought. He was certain that no matter how hard he tried, he would never have the connection to the living Force that his master demonstrated on a daily basis.
/Ah, but now, we can finally relax./ He smiled inwardly, thinking of sleeping in his own bed, talking with his friends again - if any of them were around, and not off on missions of their own. Spending two interminable months on Hildass had left him homesick and in great need of a break. He certainly hoped he could find a few of his friends around. His eighteenth birthday was five days away, and he desperately needed to relax and enjoy himself, if only briefly.
Eighteen was the legal age of adulthood in most of the galaxy for humanoids, though most youths did not necessarily wait until that age to indulge in adult activities. In their rare free moments, many of his friends consumed various intoxicants, experimented with drugs, both legal and illegal, and explored their sexuality from a fairly early age. He, on the other hand, sipped one drink for hours while his friends became intoxicated, stayed away from narcotics completely, and had only been kissed a few times in his life. He had endured a great deal of teasing for his rather reserved behavior, but Obi-Wan had no desire to be a rebel. He had devoted his life to the Jedi, and was committed to following the Code.
And to help his master in that regard as well. He glanced at Qui-Gon briefly, as he was wrapping up the details of their report to the Council. Qui-Gon's rather loose interpretations of the Code, of the Council's instructions, and of the goals of their missions often frustrated him. He was sure that Qui-Gon thought he was a bit of a prude.
/Well, he'd be surprised to learn how I plan to spend my birthday/, he thought . He had decided during one particularly frustrating day on Hildass that he would drop all of his inhibitions for that one day, and experience everything that he could. The thought of what might happen sent a small shiver down his spine.
Qui-Gon glanced sharply at him. Obi-Wan winced -- was it that obvious that he was daydreaming? He straightened his stance and looked for the disapproving glances he was sure he would receive from Master Windu and Master Yoda. Thankfully, they were looking at Qui-Gon. /Yes, I just need a break, that's all./ Qui-Gon bowed briefly to the council. Obi-Wan did the same, and they turned to leave.
"Master Jinn, one more thing," Mace interrupted. Surprised, they both turned back to face him. "The mission that you requested..."
"To Primale?" Qui-Gon asked expectantly. Obi-Wan frowned slightly. He hadn't heard anything about Qui-Gon requesting a mission. He'd never even heard of Primale.
Mace smiled at Qui-Gon. "You may go."
Qui-Gon smiled, almost grinned. "Thank you, Master Windu, Master Yoda."
"You should leave as soon as possible. Put together a supply request and I'll make sure that's it's expedited for you."
Obi-Wan struggled to maintain his composure, but inside he felt like screaming at his master. /You requested a mission? After all that we've been through, and knowing that it's my birthday.../ He tensed his jaw and sighed softly as the realization hit him. /He's forgotten. Again. He's forgotten my birthday./ He had gotten used to Qui-Gon's lack of affection over the years, but this omission hurt him suddenly. Qui-Gon, of all people in his life, should have known how important this birthday was to him. And here they were, about to head off on another mission.
"Master Jinn, much thought have I put into this request," Yoda stated sternly. "Discreet, you will be. That you go to Primale, no one outside of this chamber is to know."
"Of course, Master Yoda," Qui-Gon bowed his head respectfully, carefully reigning in his earlier display of obvious elation.
"Do not discuss the details of the mission until you are on your way," Mace continued. He raised an eyebrow at Qui-Gon. "Not even with your padawan."
Obi-Wan looked up sharply at that, his curiosity piqued despite his growing depression. Where were they going? Why the secrecy? Why could he not know the details until they were on the way? /They don't trust me.../ His mind reeled at that. He looked at Qui-Gon, who sent a wave a reassurance over their bond. Their eyes met briefly. :_Trust me, Obi-Wan._: He could almost hear the words his master was thinking with that look. Obi-Wan nodded and looked away.
Mace smiled broadly at them both. "Go then." His eyes locked with Obi-Wan's. "May the Force be with you."
Confused, Obi-Wan followed his master from the Council chamber. His initial disappointment at being assigned a new mission had not faded, but he was curious about the apparent secrecy surrounding it. He desperately wanted to ask Qui-Gon what was going on, though he was sure his master would follow Master Windu's directive and not give him any important information.
"Patience, Padawan. All will be clear in time."
Obi-Wan sighed. Qui-Gon knew him well. He made up his mind not to be upset about the mission, his birthday... or lack of recognition of it. He would not get to spend his eighteenth birthday in a mindless state of debauchery after all, but perhaps that was for the best. After all, the things he had been thinking about doing were certainly unbefitting a Jedi.
/My birthday was just an excuse/, he thought. /This was meant to happen. The Force is guiding me not to make a mistake. I was going to abandon my self-control, and that would have been wrong./ He relaxed a little with that thought. /Besides, if I really decide that I want to feel what it would be like to not be a Jedi for one night, I can do it whenever I want. Why does it need to be a special occasion?/
He clearly needed some release, but was he looking for an excuse in order to not feel guilty about it afterwards? Was he questioning his commitment to the Jedi, or was this a normal exploration, a part of growing up? He was now thoroughly convinced that he ought to meditate on this issue further.
He was lost in thought when they arrived back at their shared quarters. Once inside, he waited briefly in the main room, hoping Qui-Gon would volunteer some information. Instead, Qui-Gon immediately busied himself with the supply request. Obi-Wan fidgeted.
"Padawan?" Qui-Gon asked without looking up from the data pad.
"I know that you have many questions about this mission, but you must trust me."
"Of course I trust you, Master." Obi-Wan paused, trying to decide if he should say what he was really thinking.
"But?" Qui-Gon set the data pad aside and waited. He looked up at his clearly sullen apprentice.
"I just... I'm very tired, Master, after the mission to Hildass. I was looking forward to having a chance to relax. The thought of going on another mission right now is... extremely unappealing."
Qui-Gon smiled. "Believe it or not, Obi-Wan, I understand. I too wish for some time to relax. That is why..." He paused, and Obi-Wan had the distinct impression that he had caught himself, almost saying something that he wasn't supposed to say. Their eyes locked, Obi-Wan struggling to read the expression on Qui-Gon's face. "That is why you must trust me, Padawan. This mission was something that I requested because it is... a unique opportunity..." He paused again.
Obi-Wan was sure now that Qui-Gon was struggling not to give any information away about the mission to Primale. He raised an eyebrow suggestively. "Yes, Master? What kind of opportunity?"
Qui-Gon picked up the data pad and attempted a scowl. "We must do our duty, Obi-Wan. Let's leave it at that. You of all people can appreciate that explanation." Qui-Gon winced even as the words came out of his mouth. He hadn't meant to sound quite so harsh, but he really did not want to give Obi-Wan any further information about the upcoming mission. He glanced up to meet Obi-Wan's gaze. The young man quickly masked the pain in his eyes and looked away. Qui-Gon sighed and put the data pad down again.
"Padawan... I'm sorry. I didn't mean..."
"No, Master. You're right. The Council has asked us to go on this mission -- sort of -- and we must do our duty. The Code demands it." He gazed intently at Qui-Gon for a moment.
/There's something else he wants to say, but he's afraid to say it/, Qui-Gon thought. He waited silently.
After a long moment, Obi-Wan smiled weakly. "I guess I'd better re-pack then." He headed quickly toward his room.
When the door closed, Qui-Gon sighed. /I should just tell him what's going on. I wanted to surprise him, but at this rate, he'll be too angry with me to enjoy it./ He considered this briefly. Obi-Wan was too uptight, had been for quite a while now, and needed a release. That was why he'd requested the mission to Primale, as soon as he'd heard from Mace that it was a possibility. He'd spent months begging and pleading Yoda to let him take Obi-Wan on this mission. /He needs this/, Qui-Gon thought. /Maybe he doesn't know it yet, and if he knew what was going to happen there, he might refuse to go./ He couldn't risk telling Obi-Wan any more, not after all of the work he'd put into this.
A stray thought seized him -- /What if we get there, and he still refuses to participate?/ His Padawan was so careful, so reserved at times. He had hoped to give Obi-Wan the details gradually, adjusting him to the idea, so that when they arrived at Primale, he would be ready. /Maybe not. Maybe I should just keep him in the dark and then spring it on him when it's staring him in the face and he can't back down. He'll do his duty./ But he didn't want Obi-Wan to look on this as duty. He wanted him to relax, live in the moment, if just this once, to say to hell with the Code! He drew his attention back to the data pad. /Better to stick to the original plan./
Obi-Wan tried to relax, reaching out to the Force, to connect himself to it. He had been trying unsuccessfully to meditate for over an hour, and kept finding his thoughts slipping back to the mission. They had been traveling in hyperspace for almost two days now, and he still knew nothing more of their mission than the name of the planet to which they were headed. Frustrated, he opened his eyes and leaned back against the bunk in the small cabin on the transport. It was typical of ships of this size -- two bunks, one above the other, very little space in which to do anything but sit and think.
He had intended to spend this time meditating on his confusing thoughts from two days earlier, but the more he tried to sort them out, the more confused he felt. He stretched his legs out in front of him on the floor and pulled his torso down into a deep stretch. /There, that feels good/, he thought. /I wonder if I could meditate in this position?/
The door to the cabin slid open, revealing Qui-Gon with a data pad in hand. Obi-Wan looked up expectantly. Qui-Gon smiled and handed him the data pad. "It's time for you to learn about our mission to Primale, Padawan."
"Finally," Obi-Wan muttered, taking the data pad and crossing his legs under him. Qui-Gon stood in the doorway for a moment, as if he were unsure of whether to enter the room or leave. Finally he turned to go. "Come to the cockpit when you've finished it," he said over his shoulder.
"Primale," Obi-Wan said to no one in particular. "So what's the big secret?" He climbed up on the bunk, leaned back against a pillow and began to scroll through the report.
An hour later, he appeared in the cockpit and sat in the co-pilot's seat next to his master. Qui-Gon turned to his apprentice expectantly. Obi-Wan was quiet for a moment, a look of tired confusion on his face.
"Master, what exactly is our mission? I don't understand..."
Qui-Gon's smile became a grin. "First things first, Padawan. Tell me about Primale."
Obi-Wan nodded and thought for a moment. This was standard procedure on each mission. They would each read the Council's briefing and Qui-Gon would quiz him on the details. There was always something important that he had missed, and Qui-Gon would question him carefully until Obi-Wan understood the details of the mission completely. It was no longer intimidating; in fact, he was finally getting very good at reading the briefings on the level that Qui-Gon expected. However, this briefing had left him at a loss. He tried to relax, knowing that the ensuing discussion would clear up his questions eventually. Qui-Gon noted his apprentice's patience and smiled a bit more.
"Primale was settled approximately 900 years ago by colonists from the Borale system," Obi-Wan began. "The colony thrived, and after 100 years it peacefully won its independence from Borale Prime. The Primalians have isolated themselves from galactic politics, for the most part, but have recently petitioned for membership in the Republic. Their petition is expected to be granted in a few months' time. Primale's government is a democratic one, with a monarchy that plays only a formal role. The major industries are..."
"That's fine, Obi-Wan. You can skip the economic details. What can you tell me about the Primalian culture?"
Obi-Wan paused for a moment, surprised by Qui-Gon's interruption. Why didn't his Master want to make sure he understood the economic and political systems of the planet? Surely those were of critical importance to the success of their mission. Whatever their mission was.
"The culture is fairly traditional," he began again, "with an egalitarian kinship structure. Extended family members tend to live close to one another, with pair-bonded couples and children comprising a family unit." He paused to look at his master, wondering if this was what he was looking for.
"Our arrival coincides with the start of the Moonflower festival, a three-day event which is the largest annual celebration on the planet. It centers around the annual blossoming of the Moonflower tree, which occurs on the only night in the year that the orbits of Primale's two moons are aligned in the sky and both in full phase." He paused again, not sure what Qui-Gon wanted to hear.
"Tell me more about the festival."
Obi-Wan nodded. "The first day of the festival, called 'Firstnight,' begins at sundown... today, actually. This is the night that the Moonflower trees bloom. The people go in the evening to pick the Moonflower blossoms, which they make into wine."
"And what else?"
"They also dry the petals from some of the blossoms... but the report didn't say what they do with those."
"Hmmmm... I suppose we'll have to fill in that bit of information ourselves."
Obi-Wan stared at his master for a moment, trying to determine if that comment was a joke. He seemed serious.
"The second day of the festival, 'Secondnight,' begins at sundown the following day. Communities gather to crush the blossoms from the night before to make wine, and then have a feast. Following the feast, they drink the wine that they made the year before. Apparently it's only consumed on this one night. The festivities continue until dawn."
Qui-Gon raised an eyebrow. "Festivities, Padawan?"
"The report didn't give any more details than that," Obi-Wan replied, confused. What was he supposed to have learned from the report? He had quickly skimmed over the information about the festival, concentrating on the details that he had expected would be more pertinent to their mission. Whatever it was.
"Once again, a bit of information we'll have to research ourselves," Qui-Gon said, smiling.
Obi-Wan stared at him for a long moment before continuing. "The festival concludes with 'Thirdnight,' which begins at sunset on the third day and ends at sunrise."
"And what happens on Thirdnight?"
Obi-Wan sighed. He was really not doing well this time. By the grin on his master's face, he knew Qui-Gon was really delighting in this apparent failure.
"I don't know much more about Thirdnight, Master. Only that it is the most important night of the festival." He paused. "Master, what are we doing here? I don't understand."
"Obi-Wan, you don't know what our mission is because we aren't on an official mission." Qui-Gon paused, letting that information sink in. "We are not here as Jedi, but as representatives of the Chancellor. We are to enjoy the festival and learn more about Primale and its people."
Obi-Wan thought for a moment. "You mean, we're just going to the festival?"
"Exactly," Qui-Gon said with a smile. "After Hildass, I could certainly stand a chance to relax a little."
Obi-Wan began to smile. "Yes, Master, as can I." He began to feel some of the tension from the previous weeks melt away already. "Master, why did you request this... mission? Did you know in advance that our mission to Hildass would be so difficult?"
Qui-Gon smiled warmly. "Padawan, surely it cannot have escaped your attention that the third day of the Moonflower festival falls on your birthday."
Obi-Wan felt his heart jump in his chest, a genuine smile tugging at his lips . "Master, do you mean that this whole trip..."
"Yes, Padawan. Happy Birthday. Though it's a few days early." Obi-Wan's genuine pleasure at his gift was obvious, and Qui-Gon was relieved to see his apprentice happy again.
"Is that what all the secrecy was for, Master? To surprise me?"
"Well, to an extent. There are more surprises, though, which I'll let you find for yourself over the next few days. I think you'll find this 'mission' to be quite enjoyable... and memorable."
Obi-Wan grinned. Surprises? /He really does care about me, doesn't he?/ "Master... thank you, really. I thought you'd forgotten."
"No, of course not. This is quite an important birthday for you, Obi-Wan." He tried to appear serious for a moment. "You'll be an adult soon, so I want you to know that if you have any questions about being an adult, any at all, you can ask me."
Obi-Wan laughed. "I'm not a child, Master. I know quite a bit about a lot of things -- I'm sure you'd be surprised." He blushed as soon as the words left his lips.
Qui-Gon grinned. "Obi-Wan, I do remember what it was like to be 18 years old."
"But Master, that was so long ago..."
"Ha! Show some respect for your elders, Padawan!" Qui-Gon left his seat and pinned Obi-Wan to his chair in a fraction of a second, and began to tickle his apprentice mercilessly.
Obi-Wan laughed in surprise and eventually managed to squirm away. "Honestly, Master! Don't you think I'm a little old for this sort of game?"
Qui-Gon leaned back against the chair and smiled wistfully. "Yes, Padawan, even I have to admit that you're quite grown up now. You'll forgive me if I still occasionally see that 13-year-old boy that I got to know on Bandomeer."
Obi-Wan smiled and lowered his gaze. In truth, he was immensely enjoying this rare show of affection from his master. He hoped it wasn't about to end so suddenly.
As if he'd read his thoughts, Qui-Gon stepped closer, saying, "Are you too grown up to give your poor old master a hug?"
Obi-Wan grinned. "Of course not." He stepped into the embrace and pressed his cheek against Qui-Gon's chest. The older man ruffled his hair affectionately. Obi-Wan listened to the calm heartbeat in his master's chest for a moment before saying, "Thank you, Master." He wanted to say it aloud, but he became too self-conscious -- /I love you./
Qui-Gon squeezed a little tighter. "And I love you, Padawan," he whispered, feeling rather than seeing Obi-Wan's smile at his response to the unspoken comment. He had to admit that it was rare that he allowed himself to show his feelings for Obi-Wan so directly. Whenever he did, the boy soaked up the attention and returned it quite warmly. Now that Obi-Wan was nearly18, he realized sadly, these moments would be rare indeed. A wave of emotion rolled through his mind at the realization that time would begin to move more quickly, that Obi-Wan would now begin to grow away from him. /Now I start losing him/, he thought. /He's not a boy anymore./ A smile crept over his face. /At least he won't be after the next few days!/ He laughed at his own joke, and Obi-Wan pulled out of his arms.
"What's so funny, Master?"
Obi-Wan had sensed the shifting emotions in the older man, but he didn't push the issue. He was happy just to have the moment, very happy indeed.
A warning light began blinking on the control panel, signaling that the ship was about to drop out of hyperspace.
"We're there," Qui-Gon said simply. They strapped themselves into the seats. Moments later, the starlines shifted back to stars, and within minutes the sparkling blue and green globe of Primale hung in space before them. As they began to maneuver down to the royal complex at the center of the capital city of Solara, Obi-Wan began to focus his thoughts on the festival.
"Master, the Moonflower tree is unique to Primale, I believe. Since it only blooms once a year, I can see why it would be considered a special occasion to celebrate. But the information in the report seemed to indicate that this festival has a great deal of importance on this world. Is the flower somehow symbolic, or is there something more?"
Qui-Gon smiled. "Good question, Padawan. I can tell you that Moonflowers are more than just pretty blooms. They have some special properties that..." He paused and looked at Obi-Wan. /Better to let him find out for himself./
"Let me guess. That's one of the surprises."
"Very good, Obi-Wan." He did his best impression of Master Yoda. "Rewarded, you will be for your patience, hmmm?"
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes in mock disgust.
"One more thing. Remember that we are here not as Jedi, but as representatives of the chancellor. Therefore we can relax our usual formalities a bit. Call me Qui-Gon while we're here."
"All right... Qui-Gon. Does that mean that we are to conceal the fact that we are Jedi?"
"No, of course not. If anyone asks, you are free to be honest. We have merely been requested to be... discreet... at the festival."
Obi-Wan pondered this while Qui-Gon exchanged greetings with the atmospheric authorities. The transport was directed to a landing platform located approximately one kilometer from the palace complex. As the systems were being shut down, a question formed in Obi-Wan's mind.
"Qui-Gon... why have we been warned to be discreet? And why are we not here as Jedi? Is there something else that I have missed?"
Qui-Gon paused before answering. "Well, Obi-Wan... what I will tell you is that the nature of festivals like this one is... well, somewhat unorthodox."
Obi-Wan stopped running through the shutdown procedure and looked up. "Unorthodox?"
"Nothing to worry about, Obi-Wan, of course. I really don't want to say any more. I think you'll enjoy learning about these things for yourself."
Jalet Sal leaned back against the cushions on the bed and smiled, his dark eyes sparkling mischievously. His twin sister Jema sat in front of the mirror, applying subtle makeup around her eyes. Eyes that were identical to his own, though surrounded by thick dark lashes. She leaned forward to wipe a small smudge from the otherwise perfect visage she had created, wine-colored lips parting slightly with the effort.
"You look perfect, you know." He meant it, too. His sister was a stunning young woman, with her long dark thick hair, honey-bronze dewy skin, and that perfectly-shaped ridge tracing the gentle curve from the bridge of her nose to disappear in the coffee-colored freckles that framed her heart-shaped face. She stood and turned to face him, smiling seductively.
"Really, darling?" She swirled slightly, and the traditional Moonflower festival dress draped alluringly over her shapely figure.
"You are the vision of the perfect woman," he smiled. "If you like that sort of thing."
She grinned. "Well, if I can manage to be attractive to your eye, then I know I will catch the attention of every man at the festival."
"Only if they don't see me first," he teased, rising to his feet and moving towards her.
"Thankfully we compete for the same men so rarely." She smoothed his unruly dark hair down and adjusted the shirt so that the coffee-toned freckles on his chest were framed perfectly by the opening that extended halfway down his well-toned torso. She stepped back and admired him. /He is so beautiful/, she thought. His dark hair was a shorter version of her own, and framed his masculine face perfectly. "But this festival might be different..." she teased, squeezing his cheeks affectionately.
"Does that mean you're seriously considering my suggestion?" he grinned, pulling away from her playful embrace.
She raised her eyebrow thoughtfully. "Well, I have to admit it's tempting..."
"Please, Jem," he pouted. "You said you'd do it last year, and then you backed out at the last minute. You broke our hearts completely you know."
"Well, last year was only my second festival -- I wanted to choose someone who..."
"Yes, Jal. Your friends are quite charming, but they are yours, not mine. The festival is only once a year, and I want to... feel like a princess."
"You are a princess."
"You know what I mean."
"Okay, how about a compromise?" He waited to see if she was going to listen. She turned towards him, an expression of mild curiosity on her face. "If we find someone that we both like, who seems to like both of us, then we'll spend the festival together."
She gazed at him thoughtfully. "And if we don't find such a person?"
"Then we go our separate ways. Look, I'm just asking you to keep your options open. That's all. Agreed?"
She examined her reflection in the mirror. At the age of twenty, she was finally fully developed physically as a woman. From the age of 18, Primalians were allowed to participate in the Moonflower festival, and as the prince and princess, she and Jalet had embraced the tradition whole-heartedly. She had to admit that his proposal intrigued her, though she was reluctant to waste the precious nights of the festival hanging around with her brother's friends. She enjoyed their company, but she wanted something more.
"All right -- under one condition. This person, whom we will both like, must be someone that neither of us knows."
Jalet frowned, his internal planning stopped. "But I know everybody. That's impossible, Jem."
"It is possible. People travel from other cities to attend Solara's festival every year. You're just going to have to step out of your comfortable little circle and try to meet someone new." She turned back to face him. "Isn't that the whole point of the festival?"
He grinned. "All right, it's a deal then. But only because you think I can't spend a moment without my friends. You're wrong."
She smiled her challenge. "Then prove it."
Obi-Wan watched the sun begin to set from the balcony of his room. They had been provided with a large suite at the finest hotel in Solara. The suite was quite luxurious, and larger than their quarters in the Temple.
The city below was startlingly beautiful, unlike anything he had seen before. And he had seen quite a few cities in his life. The buildings looked... soft, for lack of a better word. They were made of a material that seemed to shimmer in the soft evening light, almost floating above the landscape. The architecture was gentle as well, lines flowing into each other in a way that was reminiscent of clouds, or of water... or flowers... yes, they were like flowers somehow, soft and shimmering and lovely.
He laughed softly at himself, thinking, /Where did that come from?/ He wasn't prone to that sort of romantic-poetic drivel. But there was something about this place...
A knock on the door to his room brought him out of his state of pleasant contemplation. "Coming," he called, heading back inside. Qui-Gon was waiting for him in the main room of the suite. The sight of his master dressed in such casual clothing brought a smile to Obi-Wan's face.
"Qui-Gon," he said, consciously forcing himself to use the man's name. "You look... relaxed."
"As do you, Obi-Wan."
They had been given clothing to wear during their stay to help them blend in with the local population -- loose-fitting trousers and shirts made of a dark-colored woven fabric that was quite comfortable. Obi-Wan felt a bit self-conscious in the shirt, which was open halfway down his chest, but he didn't complain. Qui-Gon, of course, looked as if he'd worn such clothes his entire life. His long hair was loose on his shoulders, and the way that the shirt fell open on his chest revealed a muscled torso that Obi-Wan envied on a daily basis. Qui-Gon looked good in everything. The bastard.
"Ready? The king and queen are waiting."
"What exactly are we going to be doing tonight, Mas... Qui-Gon?"
"I believe we'll be participating in the festival along with the people of Solara. Picking Moonflowers, I suppose."
"Sounds interesting," Obi-Wan stated sincerely, as they headed out the door. Anything was better than dealing with sleazy politicians, as he had been doing only days earlier. Hildass was far away, and this place was beautiful. He was feeling better already.
The streets were beginning to fill with Primalians of all ages, and the chatter around them seemed full of anticipation. The Primalians almost looked human -- they were the same height and size, and had various shades of golden-bronze skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. There were only two noticeable differences to Obi-Wan's eyes -- a delicate vertical ridge on the forehead and a smattering of dark freckles that framed the face. The men were dressed similarly to himself and Qui-Gon, and the women seemed to be wearing flowing garments made from the same fabric. Obi-Wan had read that the Primalians spoke a dialect of standard Boralian, but he suddenly realized that he couldn't understand the language that he was hearing.
"Qui-Gon, do you understand them?" He was starting to get nervous. Some fun this festival would be if he couldn't communicate with anyone.
"No, Obi-Wan, not really. They must speak a version of old Boralian, quite different from what we learned at the Temple." He felt Obi-Wan growing tense again. "Relax, I'm sure that most of the people can speak Basic. And if they can't, well..." He grinned at his apprentice knowingly. "There are other ways to communicate."
"What do you mean?" Obi-Wan asked blankly.
Qui-Gon laughed and put his arm around the younger man's shoulders. "Come on, we're late."
They arrived in the foyer of the palace ballroom on time, and were shortly joined by Queen Hemani and King Forak. The two of them appeared to be around Qui-Gon's age, and were both devastatingly beautiful people. They were dressed similarly to the people Obi-Wan had seen on the street, though their garments were definitely of higher quality. Qui-Gon bowed slightly and Obi-Wan mirrored him.
"Master Jedi," said the queen. "There is no need for such formality here, especially not during the Moonflower festival." She smiled at both of them warmly.
Her voice was enchanting, and it was a moment before Obi-Wan realized that she had blessedly spoken Basic. With a very sexy accent.
/Where did that come from?/ He forcibly cleared his mind as Qui-Gon continued with the introductions.
"Thank you, your Highness, for your most gracious hospitality. I am Qui-Gon Jinn, and this young man is my apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi."
She extended a hand to Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan was stunned to see his master raise it to his lips and kiss it softly, never averting his gaze from her eyes. Obi-Wan glanced at the king, who laughed knowingly. "You'll fit right in, Master Jedi. I beg your pardon, but I must go and make certain that everything is ready for the opening of Firstnight, as I am the master of ceremonies this year. My wife will see that you are well taken care of." He smiled at them all and left the room with an aide following at his heels.
"Your Highness," Qui-Gon began again.
"Please call me Hemani -- or Hema, if you like."
"Hema. Then you must call me Qui-Gon."
Obi-Wan watched in disbelief as his master and the queen gazed at each other intently. Were they flirting with each other? He hadn't read about that particular cultural practice in the Council's briefing. /Perhaps/, he thought, /I should read it again./
"We are so pleased that you could come to participate in the Moonflower festival," the queen began, gesturing in the direction of a door.
"We are honored to be here," Qui-Gon replied.
They followed her down an elegant passageway as she explained the events of Firstnight. Obi-Wan found the sound of her voice hypnotically sensual, and wished he could simply close his eyes and listen.
"Tonight the residents of the city will go to one of the many Moonflower groves in the district. We have a particularly beautiful grove here on the palace grounds, and it is considered one of the highest honors on Primale to be invited to spend the Moonflower festival here."
"Your Highness, we are indeed grateful for the invitation, and look forward to learning more about the festival," Obi-Wan heard himself say. Qui-Gon smiled at him approvingly.
"We are honored by the presence of representatives of the Republic... and of the Jedi."
Qui-Gon corrected her gently. "We are Jedi, but we are not here as Jedi, your Highness."
"Hema," she corrected with a wider smile.
"Hema," Qui-Gon replied. Their eyes locked again. Obi-Wan tried not to feel uncomfortable at yet another obvious display of the attraction between the queen and the Jedi master. /What is he doing?/ he wondered quietly. It made him feel distinctly uncomfortable, but it was somehow more than the fact that it was a breach of decorum. It was... irritating for some reason that he could not quite pin down.
Hema led them out onto a wide veranda, beyond which the Moonflower grove was visible across the manicured gardens of the palace grounds. Night had fallen while they were in the palace, and the two moons shone brightly in the sky, reflecting an extraordinary amount of soft blue light onto the landscape all around them. Obi-Wan focused his gaze on the broad Moonflower grove in the distance. He could see spots of blue in the green trees, and as he watched, he realized that the spots of blue were appearing before his eyes.
"It's beautiful," he said softly. They stood quietly and watched the blossoms appear. Before long, the fragrance of the flowers reached them. Obi-Wan inhaled deeply. It was like nothing he had experienced before, definitely floral but... there was something more that he couldn't place. He found himself wanting to get closer to the source of the scent, to breathe it in more deeply.
He turned to look at Hema, and saw that she was watching them, fascinated by their reactions to the perfume in the air. He glanced at Qui-Gon, who had placed his hands on the railing and leaned forward, as if trying to get as close to the grove as he could. His eyes were closed, and the breeze that wafted over them stirred his hair gently. He appeared as relaxed as the apprentice could ever remember seeing him. And quite... beautiful -- it was quite obvious why Hema seemed so interested in him. Obi-Wan looked back at the queen to see that her gaze was focused firmly on his master. He swallowed down the twinge of irritation that rose in his throat.
"I must remember to thank the Chancellor for sending such handsome representatives," she said softly. She turned her gaze to Obi-Wan and winked. He felt his face flush slightly and looked back toward the trees.
They made their way to the grove at what seemed to be a frustratingly slow pace. Obi-Wan was seized by a desire to run towards the grove, but the queen strolled at a leisurely pace, a serene expression upon her lovely features. He could sense Qui-Gon's frustration as well, surprised that his typically calm master was so obviously impatient.
"The king will announce the beginning of Firstnight," Hema began, "and then we will all be free to wander about the grove, picking the blossoms."
Obi-Wan's mind was filled by a glorious anticipation. For some reason, the idea of just being in the grove amongst the Moonflower blossoms sounded irresistible. He couldn't imagine wanting to do anything else at the moment. The scent of the flowers grew stronger with each step, and he had to concentrate to keep himself from hyperventilating. His stomach twisted in a way that was akin to hunger, or thirst -- some deep-seated desire that he could not identify.
They reached the gate that led into the grove, and saw that a small platform had been set up nearby. The king stood on the platform, talking with a few people who looked to be palace aides. Obi-Wan glanced around at the crowd that had gathered. There were at least one hundred Primalians milling about, conversing animatedly. They all appeared to be adults; he saw no children in the crowd. He guessed that the youngest people he saw were about his age, and the oldest were nearly ancient in appearance, with every age in between represented. They were all dressed in the flowing garments that he had begun to suspect were traditional for the Moonflower festival.
A group of young women strolled by them, and Obi-Wan found himself captivated by their beauty. Dark hair flowed over bare shoulders, reflecting the moonlight in a way that made them appear almost luminous. He stared at them unabashedly as they passed, and several of them stared back at him, smiling. The garments that they wore were tied around their necks by a fine ribbon, the fabric draping down over their breasts and clinging to their bodies in an extremely appealing manner. The skirts flowed nearly to the ground, but the fabric was so sheer that he could clearly see the outlines of their legs as they walked. Unable to take his eyes off of them, he turned to watch them as they walked away. The flowing dresses revealed bare backs, the fabric that wrapped around their bodies dipping tantalizingly low. The dark freckles that framed their faces also trailed down their spines, disappearing into the skirts that seemed to defy gravity, barely clinging to the women's bodies as they moved.
"I wonder where else they have those freckles?"
Qui-Gon's voice startled him, and he turned to smile at his master. For a moment, they grinned at each other like schoolboys, and it struck Obi-Wan that he didn't feel the slightest bit self-conscious or embarrassed at having been caught leering. Or at realizing that Qui-Gon was doing the same. Blue eyes bored into his own for a long moment, and he felt something stir deep within him. /What is it about this place? These flowers.../
"The flowers are incredible, Master," he whispered. "I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it."
"Nor have I," Qui-Gon responded. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. "I feel as though I could drink the air."
"Yes," Obi-Wan said, closing his eyes as well. "That's exactly it." He filled his lungs again, and the hunger he had felt earlier finally began to abate. It was replaced with a warm feeling in the back of his skull. The warmth spread through his body slowly. The sensation was amazing.
The king's voice interrupted his thoughts. He opened his eyes and listened, but the words were in the local language. Hema drew them close and whispered a translation.
"People of Primale, I am honored to welcome you all to the seven-hundred-and-twelfth Firstnight of the Moonflower festival. We honor the sacred bloom of this sacred tree over the next few days. I wish you all a most pleasurable festival."
The gates opened, to the cheers of the crowd. The king walked through the gates and disappeared briefly, reappearing with a blue flower in his hands. He brought the bloom to his face and inhaled its scent deeply. He closed his eyes and smiled, while the crowd waited in silent anticipation. When his eyes opened, he raised his arms above his head. The crowd held its collective breath. Obi-Wan found that he was holding his breath as well.
After a long moment, the king dropped his arms, and the crowd surged forward. Obi-Wan started to press forward with them, but a hand grasped his shoulder and pulled him back.
"Patience," Qui-Gon breathed into his ear. "The queen will show us what to do in a moment."
Obi-Wan nodded, swallowing down his distress at being prevented from getting closer to the trees.
When the crowd had thinned, Hema motioned for the two men to follow her. Just inside the gate, she handed each of them a cloth satchel. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon draped the straps over their shoulders.
"Now we pick the flowers," she said simply. "You can start with the ones that you can reach. As the night continues, the flowers will begin to fall from the trees and you can pick them up from the ground. The important thing is to gather them before the sun rises. Once the sunlight touches the petals, they lose their potency." She gestured to the large bins that were standing at the edge of the grove. "When your satchels are full, bring them here to empty them." She paused. "That's all."
Obi-Wan looked at Qui-Gon expectantly. Qui-Gon grinned and said, "Go, Obi-Wan. Enjoy yourself." The young Jedi practically sprinted into the grove. Qui-Gon and Hema laughed as he disappeared.
"Your apprentice is a charming young man," Hema said, seeking Qui-Gon's eyes. "Though not as charming as his master, I'm sure." Qui-Gon tried not to melt as her eyes locked onto his. The scent of the Moonflowers was becoming intoxicating, and the woman before him seemed to shimmer in the moonlight. He could not remember ever having felt the exhilarating blend of sensations that he was experiencing at that moment.
Hema took his hand in hers and pulled him towards a path in the grove. "Let's begin," she said, intertwining her fingers with his. He followed without hesitation.
Obi-Wan leaned back against the trunk of the tree, clutching his half-full satchel of Moonflower blossoms to his chest. He closed his eyes and breathed slowly, almost tasting the scent that filled the air, that filled his lungs, that filled his body. He was delirious with contentment. Had it only been the day before that he had been so miserable? At this moment, he couldn't imagine why he had been so unhappy. He could stay here, against this tree, forever.
He opened his eyes at the sound at the sound of a voice that was very close by. A woman was standing in front of him. A stunning woman. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen. In his life.
"Zih? B'din shva?" she said.
She looked like the queen, he thought, but younger. And more beautiful, though he would not have thought it possible.
"Alhi bahn d'vam," she said, stepping closer and touching his forehead with her fingertips. He felt a current pass through his body at her touch. Her dark eyes held him against the tree, unable to move or even to breathe. She stroked his cheek and smiled. "Imma, yal fironz d'vam."
Obi-Wan suddenly realized that he hadn't understood a single word she'd said.
"I... uh... I'm sorry. I don't understand."
She looked startled for a moment, and then blushed slightly, but didn't move away.
"I apologize," she said in Basic. She had that same accent that the queen had. And the same sexy, enchanting voice. "You are not Primalian." She touched his forehead again, fascinated by its smoothness.
The current passed through him again. He inhaled sharply, finding his breath at last. She pulled her hand away.
"Did I hurt you?"
"No," Obi-Wan managed to breathe. "Not at all. Quite the contrary."
She smiled broadly. "My name is Jema Sal. Welcome to Firstnight, and to Primale."
"I'm Obi-Wan Kenobi, from Coruscant. I'm here as a representative of the Republic."
"Ah, yes," she said. "The Jedi, of course."
That comment surprised him. Qui-Gon had said that they were to be discreet. Did the entire city know that they were here?
"You are human, right?" she asked, staring at his forehead again.
"Yes," he said. Her voice was captivating. He wished she would speak more. He decided to ask her a question to encourage her to do so. "Have you ever seen a human before?"
"No, but I have seen holos of humans," she said. She shifted her gaze to his eyes. "Your eyes," she said, apparently entranced. "They are so beautiful."
/My eyes/, he thought, /beautiful?/ No one had ever described his eyes that way before.
"Do all humans have green eyes?"
"No," he replied. "Human eyes are of many colors -- brown, blue, violet... green is actually somewhat rare."
"Like a beautiful jewel, then," she said softly. She smiled again. Her wine-colored lips parted softly and she sighed.
Obi-Wan thought he would melt into the ground. No woman had ever looked at him this way before, and he wanted to savor the moment, afraid that the shimmering form before him would simply fade away with the moonlight.
"You are... so beautiful," he said, reaching out to caress her cheek with his hand. He was a bit surprised at his own boldness, but it suddenly felt so natural to reach out and touch her.
Her smile broadened. "I thank you for that compliment, Obi-Wan Kenobi," she said.
"Just Obi-Wan is fine," he said, trying to feel his legs again. He straightened up slightly, and stepped closer to her, still cradling her face in his hand. She was only a few centimeters shorter than him.
They stared at each other for a long moment. She took his hand in hers and stepped away, pulling him with her.
"Come, Obi-Wan," she said. "There is someone I would like for you to meet."
He allowed her fingers to intertwine with his, smiling at the way that their hands fit together so perfectly, and followed her deeper into the grove.
Qui-Gon reached out for a shimmering blue blossom that hung above his head and plucked it gently from its place. He held it in his hand for a moment, still captivated by the silky petals that were a shade of blue that he could not have described. He wasn't sure if the color was the result of the moonlight, or if the blossom was really that blue. The petals weren't wet, but they glistened as if they were. He lifted the blossom to his face and inhaled the intoxicating fragrance deeply. He immediately felt the warmth at the base of his skull, and felt it spread down his spine slowly. He exhaled and opened his eyes to see Hema smiling at him.
He strolled towards her and tucked the blossom into her dark hair. "I'm not sure which is more beautiful," he said softly. "This flower... or you."
She smiled at his compliment. "Qui-Gon, you flatter me needlessly. I already intend to spend the entire festival with you." She leaned forward and kissed him softly, stroking his cheek with her hand.
He closed his eyes and drank in the entire moment -- the grove, the moonlight, the breeze, the feel of her lips upon his. When he opened his eyes, he saw her smiling at him quizzically.
"I apologize," he said softly. "I do not have many moments like this in my life, and I want to appreciate every second that I spend with you."
"Is it a lonely life, as a Jedi?"
"Yes, and no," he responded. "No, because I have Obi-Wan, and he... is my closest friend, I suppose. With him I have a sense of family, a constant companionship." He paused, suddenly finding himself enveloped in emotion, centered around one padawan in particular. "But, yes, because... I don't have anyone in my life with whom I can share myself so intimately."
He paused, thinking of what he had lost for a moment. When Tahl had died, a part of him had died with her. He had known that he would never find another who so closely shared his very soul. But even if she had lived... "Such attachments are forbidden for Jedi. They are... disruptive to the nature of our work, and so we do not risk forming them."
She considered this for a moment. "Then, do you not have any intimate relations at all?"
He smiled. "Well, I wouldn't say that, either. Some in the Order choose celibacy, but it is not a requirement. Some are quite promiscuous, though they are discreet. We hold a position of power, and we are obligated not to abuse that power."
"And so you are not one of those who chooses to remain celibate?" she asked, smiling suggestively.
He grinned in response, and pulled her close. She closed her eyes in anticipation of a kiss, but he kept a sliver of air between their lips, tantalizingly close. "I trust I am not unduly influencing your actions?" he whispered. "I don't want to be accused of abusing my power."
She gazed up at him invitingly. "As the queen, I should be asking you the same question."
After a long moment, he pressed his lips against hers hungrily. She kissed him back with an equally strong desire, then drew away breathlessly.
"Qui-Gon, we are getting ahead of ourselves, I think."
"I apologize, your Highness." He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her palm softly. She gasped at the sensation of his tongue tracing the width of her hand.
She pulled away, smiling. "Thirdnight," she whispered, and returned to picking the blossoms from the trees.
Jema led Obi-Wan on a winding path through the grove. She paused suddenly to look at a man's face in the moonlight, and then started walking again, pulling him farther down the path.
At last she found who she was looking for. A group of young men were standing not far away, laughing amongst themselves and plucking flowers from the tree above them. She pushed Obi-Wan under the overhanging branches of a particularly thick tree, saying, "Wait here." She disappeared into the branches.
Obi-Wan stood still for a moment, trying to comprehend what was happening to him. This was not like him, following a beautiful young woman through a grove of equally enchanting trees, getting lost in physical sensations that he had not experienced before. Strangely, he did not feel uncomfortable, or concerned. It was just different, but it felt absolutely right. "Live in the moment, Padawan." How often had Qui-Gon said that to him? /I think I finally understand what he meant/, he thought.
Jema reappeared suddenly, pulling a young man with her. He almost looked like a masculine version of her, with the same sparkling eyes. /Damn/, Obi-Wan thought. /Is everyone on this planet beautiful?/
"Obi-Wan Kenobi, this is my brother, Jalet."
He could hear the excitement in her voice, and was quite pleased that she was so enthusiastic to introduce him to someone in her family.
Jalet seemed to be appraising him silently. After a moment, a smile spread across his features.
/He has the same smile as Jema/, Obi-Wan thought.
"I am pleased to meet you, Obi-Wan Kenobi," he said. His eyes seemed to smolder suddenly. "Very pleased indeed." Jalet reached out to touch Obi-Wan's forehead with his fingertips, as his sister had. Obi-Wan was surprised to feel the same surge of current flow through him. He inhaled sharply, causing Jalet to pull his hand away quickly.
"I'm sorry. Did I hurt you?"
"No... quite the contrary," Obi-Wan replied. Hadn't he had this conversation already?
Jalet smiled and reached out to stroke Obi-Wan's cheek. Obi-Wan closed his eyes, unsure how to explain the sensations he was suddenly feeling. When he opened them, the two Primalians were staring at him intently.
"Doesn't he have the most beautiful eyes?" Jema asked her brother.
"Yes," he breathed. "He most certainly does have beautiful green eyes."
Obi-Wan smiled, flattered by the attention. He felt drawn to the two Primalians. They looked so much alike, he reflected, and they appeared to be the same age.
"Are you twins?" he asked.
"Yes, we are," said Jalet. He pressed his cheek against his sister's firmly. "Of course, I'm the beautiful one," he said, winking at Obi-Wan.
Jema pushed him away teasingly. "Well, that's debatable."
Obi-Wan laughed, thrilled to feel a connection with the twins, excited to be there in the grove with them.
"Obi-Wan and I were just about to fill our satchels, Jal. Would you like to join us?"
For a moment, the twins exchanged glances. Obi-Wan began to wonder if they were telepathic.
Jal turned his gaze to Obi-Wan, seeming to search for something in his eyes. Obi-Wan was mesmerized, and found himself just as unable to move as he had when Jema had held him with her eyes earlier. A slightly mischievous smile spread across Jalet's face.
"I would love to join you."
Two hours later, satchels stuffed, the three friends strolled down the main path towards the gate. In the short time since they had met, Obi-Wan had grown extremely fond of the twins, and felt a connection with them that he hadn't felt... ever? He wasn't sure for a moment. The faces of his friends from Melida/Daan flashed through his mind. That had been five years ago, but at this moment, it felt like a lifetime ago. Yesterday seemed like a year ago. He looked at his companions thoughtfully. /Have I really only known them for a few hours?/ It wasn't possible.
Jalet suddenly grabbed Obi-Wan's arm and pulled him from the path. Surprised, Obi-Wan lost his balance briefly and fell against Jalet. The young man caught him in his arms, laughing. He pulled Obi-wan to his feet, supporting him for a moment.
"What were you thinking about so hard?" he asked.
Obi-Wan started to speak, but was suddenly aware of Jalet's arms around him. He looked up at his friend's face. Jalet's expression softened and Obi-Wan felt himself drawn into the man's dark eyes. He opened his mouth, but his words stuck in his throat. He felt a second pair of hands touch his back and then slide around to his chest.
"Come on, boys," Jema breathed into his ear.
The sensation of her warm breath against his cheek sent a shiver down his spine. /What is happening here?/ he thought. The twins pressed against his body on both sides, and the sudden warmth and pressure felt... intensely erotic.
He inhaled, aware again of the scent of the Moonflower blossoms filling his lungs, the buzz in his head, the pressure of Jema's breasts against his back and Jalet's chest against his.
He exhaled, leaning back into Jema and slipping his arms around Jalet's shoulders, pulling him closer. He pressed his forehead against Jalet's, feeling the ridge on his friend's forehead press into his skin.
He inhaled, felt Jema's hands slide across his chest, tightening the embrace, her hot breath on the back of his neck, her lips brushing against his flushed skin.
He exhaled, felt his hands slide up to the back of Jalet's neck, pulling the young man's face closer. Their noses brushed against each other, and he felt Jalet's breath on his cheek.
/What am I doing? What am I feeling? What is happening here?/ His mind swirled, lost in the physical sensations coursing through his body, sinking into the thick air, the scent of the Moonflowers everywhere, pressing into his mind.
He felt hands cradle his face.
He opened his eyes.
Jalet was staring at him.
He blinked slowly.
"Obi-Wan, are you all right?"
"Yes... I think so." He paused. "Why am I on the ground?"
Jema's face joined her brother's. "You passed out. Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yes." He blinked again. "I passed out?"
They smiled. "Yes."
He felt himself flush, embarrassed. "I'm sorry, I... I'm not sure what happened."
Jema helped him to his feet, brushing dirt from his backside. "It's your first time doing this. The Moonflowers can be really powerful when you're not used to them," she said. "We shouldn't have overwhelmed your senses like that."
He paused. Was that what happened to him? The last thing he remembered... he looked at both of his friends. Had that really happened? Had he been pressed between them like that, feeling what he felt? Or was that a dream?
They smiled at him. "Come on," Jalet said starting down the path. "We have to finish picking the blossoms before the sun rises." Jema looped her arm through his and tugged in the direction her brother was walking. He smiled and followed.
They soon reached the front of the grove. People were emptying their satchels into the bins, and the scent of the flowers was quite strong. They poured their flowers into a bin that was half full. Obi-Wan suddenly felt dizzy, and looked at Jema.
"Just concentrate on breathing," she said. "You'll be fine."
He nodded and reached out to the Force to help steady his mind. As he did, he felt a familiar presence -- Qui-Gon was nearby, emptying his satchel into a bin. The twins looped their arms through his and, surprisingly, pulled him towards his master.
Qui-Gon looked up at the group, smiling at his apprentice broadly. "Obi-Wan," he said in greeting. "I see you've made some friends."
Obi-Wan grinned, feeling steadier already.
"Jema, Jalet, I see you've found our guest." Obi-Wan suddenly noticed the queen standing beside Qui-Gon. Had she been there all along? He smiled at her blankly.
"Yes, Mother, we met Obi-Wan a few hours ago," Jema replied.
Obi-Wan turned to look at his friend, suddenly realizing why the resemblance to the queen had been so strong.
"Oh, you're... I..." He felt flustered, and stepped back from them for a moment.
"Yes, we're the prince and princess," Jalet said, waving his hand in a mock flourish.
Obi-Wan looked at Jalet and back to Jema. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Jalet laughed and put his arm around Obi-Wan affectionately. "Because we didn't want you to react like this!" Jema slid in against him on the other side, giggling and slipping her arm around his waist.
Qui-Gon smiled at the trio, pleased that Obi-Wan had found friends his own age.
Obi-Wan suddenly realized he had not introduced his new friends to his master.
"Jema, Jalet, this is Qui-Gon Jinn, my..." he looked at Qui-Gon, not sure what to say.
"Friend," Qui-Gon finished for him. "Pleased to meet you both."
Obi-Wan smiled at Qui-Gon, pleasantly surprised at his choice of word. Qui-Gon smiled back and winked.
"Run along now," Hema said, suddenly sounding very motherly. "There are only a few hours left until sunrise."
The twins pulled the young Jedi away, back into the grove. He flashed a grin at his master before they vanished.
"Well," Hema said, "They seem to be getting along well." She nudged Qui-Gon playfully.
"Yes, they do indeed," he replied, gazing at the spot where the trio had disappeared into the trees. He had a feeling that Obi-Wan's birthday was going to be even more of an adventure than he had originally anticipated. For some reason, he was suddenly worried about his apprentice. Was Obi-Wan really ready for this? He turned back to Hema and forced himself to smile.
The Moonflower blossoms were beginning to fall from the trees now, drifting to the ground slowly in a shower of shimmering blue. The falling blossoms made the landscape even more ethereal, Obi-Wan thought. They began to busy themselves with scooping handfuls of blossoms from the ground and quickly filled their satchels again.
After another hour, the ground around them was clear, though there were still quite a few flowers on the trees. Obi-Wan wondered if they would manage to gather them all before the sun came up.
"What happens to the flowers you can't pick in time?" he asked.
Jema shrugged. "We try to get as many as we can, but we can never gather all of them. Once the petals are touched by sunlight, it's too late." She smiled wistfully.
Obi-Wan looked up at the tree again. He stepped closer to the trunk, placing his hands on the rough bark. He reached out to the Force, finding himself in it, focusing his attention on the tree. To his surprise, he could feel the Force flowing strongly through the tree's veins, as it did his own, and he stepped closer to press his body against the trunk, literally hugging the tree. He felt the tree's roots, deep and wide, and felt the strength that the tree gathered from the planet, from the air, from that place. He touched the flow that he felt there, and the tree touched back somehow, revealing its strength to him. He followed the living Force through the tree, through its branches, into its leaves, and into the blossoms. He could suddenly feel all of the flowers at once, perched on the tips of the branches, ready to be released from their places when the next breeze came.
He gave the blossoms a little push.
He heard the twins gasp in wonder nearby, but he did not break his concentration. In his mind he saw the blossoms falling all around them, swirling down like large snowflakes, engulfing the twins in a waterfall of color and fragrance. He felt a small shiver run through the life-force of the tree, and in his mind it appeared as a wet animal shaking off excess water. He laughed, realizing that the tree was somehow relieved to be rid of the blossoms.
Obi-Wan pulled his focus back to the scene around him, and watched breathlessly as his friends were being slowly showered with Moonflowers. In the soft moonlight, they almost looked like children, twirling and giggling with sheer delight. Unable to resist, he used the Force to swirl the blossoms up and around them again. They continued their dance for a few more minutes, finally collapsing into the flowers, still laughing.
He walked to crouch beside them on the ground, amazed by the stunning beauty of his friends as they lay on the bed of Moonflower petals, faces framed by moonlight, smiling up at him dreamily. He wanted to freeze the moment so that he could stare at them forever.
Jema pushed herself up on her elbows, smiling. "You did that," she said simply. It was not a question, or even a statement of surprise, merely a casual observation.
"Yes," he said looking up at the tree again. "The Force is very strong in this place. I think I understand now why these groves are so sacred to your people." The irresistible draw of the grove that had driven him earlier made complete sense to him suddenly. /Of course/, he thought. /I feel so safe here, surrounded by the flow of the Force through and between the trees./
The twins nodded, as if his words were obvious.
They gathered the blossoms from the ground, laughing and tossing them at each other occasionally. Jema crept up behind Obi-Wan and dumped the entire contents of her satchel over his head, giggling as he staggered from the sudden assault to his senses. He stepped back laughing, shaking the blossoms from his hair. He used the Force to gather them from the ground and swirl them around her body and up into the air. She watched the flowers around her in wonder, and closed her eyes as he released them. She held out her arms and twirled in slow motion as the blue blossoms floated gently down around her.
Obi-Wan found that he could barely breathe at the sight. He wanted desperately to go to her, to take her in his arms and hold her, kiss her, but his feet were anchored to the ground. He felt arms encircle him from behind and pull him into a warm embrace.
"She's breathtaking, isn't she?" Jalet whispered in his ear.
Obi-Wan leaned back against the young man, the combination of the vision before him and the warmth at his back exhilarating.
"Yes," he whispered. "She is indeed."
"She likes you very much." The warm breath against his ear sent a shiver through him. "Do you like her?"
"Yes," Obi-Wan breathed. "I do like her."
Jalet pulled him tighter, and Obi-Wan felt the man's lips brush against his ear softly. He closed his eyes at the sensation.
"Do you like me?" Jalet asked, his lips lingering to just barely trace the edge of Obi-Wan's ear.
It was all he could do to speak. "Oh, yes," he said, his whisper barely audible even to his own ears.
"Good," Jalet whispered. "I like you too." He gently released Obi-Wan from the embrace and slid out from behind him, pausing for a moment to draw his finger along the younger man's jaw. His eyes locked onto Obi-Wan's and he smiled. "We both like you very much."
Obi-Wan watched Jalet walk back to his sister and begin to help her refill the satchels. His mind swirled, and for a moment he was afraid that he was going to pass out again. He steadied himself against the tree trunk and calmed his breathing, eventually feeling his mind find an anchor in the wash of sensations coursing through him. The way that he felt around the twins was confusing, though not uncomfortable. He was drawn automatically to Jema, but in the moments when Jalet's body had pressed against his, he had felt something unexpected.
He leaned against the tree, watching the twins gather flowers, laughing and chattering in their native language. They were both so stunning, so full of life. When he stared at them like this, he realized that he didn't see gender at all, only... beauty, and passion, and sensuality. They seemed to be two manifestations of the same spirit -- a spirit that had captured his heart completely.
He reflected on that for a moment. When he looked at them both, gender was not the first thing that he was aware of, or that he found attractive, that was true. But if he followed his feelings to their logical completion... He paused that thought, momentarily uncertain if he wanted to continue down that path. Both of his friends had stirred his desire, and he could only imagine that they had felt the same. But did that mean that they were interested in him sexually? He did not know very much about the Primalian culture at all, he realized. Perhaps sexual contact outside of marriage was forbidden. Perhaps it was encouraged. Perhaps sexual contact between two people of the same gender was forbidden.
He mind reeled at that thought. Was he really thinking of...? He had never felt so clear an attraction for another man before.
A few years earlier, he had questioned his strong feelings for his master, suspecting that he had a crush on the older man. He had poured out his confusion to his close friend Bant one afternoon in the Temple gardens by the waterfall. She listened patiently, as she always did, absorbing his words carefully. After he finished, she gently reminded him that it was fairly common for padawan learners to develop such feelings for their masters. They had all grown up without parents in the Temple, and the experience of forming a close emotional bond with an adult at the same time as they were beginning to develop adolescent awareness of their bodies and of their budding sexuality frequently resulted in difficulty sorting through their emotions. Bant's words had helped ease the turmoil a bit, and he later meditated on his feelings for Qui-Gon at length.
The matter cleared itself up completely a month later, when he and his master went on a short mission with another master-padawan pair. The padawan was Jussa-Kim Bel, a human two years older than Obi-Wan. And she was amazing -- vivacious, funny, strong in the Unifying Force, and beautiful -- taller than he, long reddish-blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes... He was so enraptured by her that he had difficulty maintaining his concentration in her presence, resulting in more than a few stern lectures from an amused Qui-Gon. She was aware of Obi-Wan's crush, and finally rewarded his adulation at the end of the mission, on the way back to Coruscant, with the door closed in the small cabin he shared with Qui-Gon -- with his very first real kiss. Not another one of the frantic childish pecks he had experienced playing "spin the lightsaber" with his friends, but a real, deep kiss. When he felt her tongue slide across his, he thought he would melt into the floor. It hadn't occurred to him to question his sexuality since. What he felt when he looked into Jussa's blue eyes was vastly different than the affection he felt for his master.
But now... He liked women, unquestionably. When he looked at Jema, he could immediately identify the longing that stirred deep in his belly. He could imagine himself making love to her, pressing her body into the grass, gazing into those dark eyes. He closed his eyes, letting the fantasy drift through his mind. But Jalet's eyes were identically enchanting. He shivered slightly, recalling the way that Jalet's chest had felt pressed against his back, the feel of his warm breath, the brush of his lips against his ear... But then what? /What do I really want from Jalet?/ He was generally aware of what two men did in bed together. Was that what he wanted?
"Obi, are you all right?"
Jema's voice brought him out of his thoughts abruptly. The twins had filled the three satchels and were standing, waiting for him to join them.
"Yes," he said, walking towards them. "I was just... thinking."
Jalet laughed. "You seem to do that a lot."
Obi-Wan laughed with him. "I suppose I do."
The sky had grown noticeably lighter in the time that it took them to make their way back to the bins at the front of the grove. They emptied their satchels into the nearly overflowing containers and made their way through the gate into the palace gardens. As the light brightened, more people began drifting out of the grove.
Obi-Wan found himself growing irresistibly sleepy. The twins yawned simultaneously, which made him yawn as well. He sank into the grass at his feet, and stretched out on his back. The ground was surprisingly comfortable, he thought. /I could just sleep here, maybe./ The hotel was so far away. The twins joined him on either side, their heads resting on his shoulders, arms draped across him and around each other. He felt his mind drift, his body surrounded by warmth. The pressure of his friends' bodies against his was so comforting...
Qui-Gon stood for a long moment after he found them, smiling at the intertwined limbs of his apprentice and the twins on the ground. He had not seen Obi-Wan appear so peaceful and content in a long time. Hema slipped her arm around his waist and leaned into him, tucking her head under his chin.
"I really hate to wake them," she sighed. "They seem so happy together."
"Yes, they do," Qui-Gon replied, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close. "Like a pile of sleeping wuttles, somehow."
"Mmmm, yes, that's it." She glanced at the horizon. The swath of pink and orange draped languorously across the sky was growing lighter as sunrise approached. "It will be quite warm in an hour, though," she noted. "They won't be so comfortable then."
They gently shook the three friends awake and helped them to their feet. Obi-Wan smiled sleepily at Qui-Gon.
Qui-Gon reached out to brush a few stray blades of grass from his apprentice's hair. "Good morning indeed. Ready for bed?"
Obi-Wan nodded. He turned to Jema and Jalet, who seemed to be standing only by supporting each other.
"We'll see you tonight," Jema said, stifling another yawn.
Obi-Wan smiled. "Tonight." Qui-Gon pulled him gently in the direction of the hotel, and he followed in a daze.
He wouldn't remember later exactly how he got back to the hotel, or that he fell asleep on Qui-Gon's shoulder standing up in the lift. He wouldn't remember collapsing on the bed in his room, wriggling out of his clothes, and pulling the soft blanket around his body. He would only remember that he was deliriously happy to be lying down, drifting off to sleep at last.
The first thing that Obi-Wan was aware of was his stomach. It growled, demanding his attention, drawing him out of a rather pleasant dream involving Jalet and... chocolate sauce? He stretched and opened his eyes, feeling mild disorientation at the brightness in the room. Judging by the amount of light, it was probably mid-afternoon.
His stomach commanded his attention again, growling more insistently. /Sith, I'm starving!/ When had he eaten last? He couldn't remember.
A knock on the door finally brought him to full consciousness. "Come in."
Qui-Gon's face appeared. "Hungry?"
"How'd you guess?"
"There's food in the main room. Someone is taking good care of us." It was a private joke, the last sentence. On so many missions the conditions were harsh, and physical comforts were rare. When the level of discomfort reached a new low, one of them invariably made the remark, with the other sarcastically noting:
"We must remember to commend our hosts on their hospitality." Obi-Wan smiled at the joke, and at the knowledge that it wouldn't quite have the same meaning to him again.
"Sleep well?" Qui-Gon asked.
"Yes, very well," Obi-Wan replied, sliding to his feet and running fingers through his tousled hair. Qui-Gon was eyeing him curiously. "Master?"
"Tell me, Padawan, do you always sleep in the nude?"
Obi-Wan froze for a second, and then blushed as awareness seeped into his mind. He spun to face away from Qui-Gon, not so much feeling self-conscious about being naked as embarrassment at having been so unaware of it. "I... Sorry, Master."
Qui-Gon laughed and backed out of the doorway. "Nothing to be embarrassed about Obi-Wan. It's not as if I haven't seen you naked before."
Obi-Wan spun back to face the door. "When have you seen me naked?" But Qui-Gon had disappeared, and there was no response. Obi-Wan quickly pulled on the wrinkled clothes from the night before and composed himself. He'd always been a modest person, and had been particularly self-conscious in Qui-Gon's presence for the last few years. His master was physically impressive, a fact that he'd been reminded of frequently over the years by the attention that the man received from women and men alike. Even his friends at the Temple, during more raucous moments, would make lewd comments about Qui-Gon's physical attributes, seen and unseen. Oh, c'mon, Kenobi, you've lived with the man for years. We know you've seen him naked. How big is it anyway? Usually accompanied by giggles and hand gestures indicating specific guesses.
Obi-Wan had always felt like a child in his master's presence, particularly when Qui-Gon was on the receiving end of such admiration. Though he had matured physically, it was difficult not to make the comparison to the older man. That combined with normal adolescent insecurities had driven him to a near-obsessive level of self-conscious modesty.
But he hadn't felt so self-conscious standing there, he reflected. It was more surprise that he hadn't even noticed that he was naked. He had been so comfortable in his own skin for those moments, for the first time since he was a child.
And his dream about Jalet had left him somewhat aroused, so hopefully Qui-Gon had at least been a little impressed, he thought with a grin.
When Obi-Wan emerged from his room, the sight of the spread of food on the table drew his attention back to his stomach. Qui-Gon was already eating some sort of pastry, his attention on his data pad.
"Wow," was all Obi-Wan could say before stuffing an entire pastry into his mouth.
Qui-Gon rolled his eyes in mock disgust at his apprentice's complete lack of table manners. "Hungry?" he asked dryly.
"Mmmpff," was all Obi-Wan could manage. He did sit down, however, before swallowing. He grinned and picked up a piece of fruit. "I'm absolutely starving. I don't think we've eaten since we got here. I can't believe I wasn't hungry before."
Qui-Gon studied him quietly before explaining. "The Moonflowers are responsible for you not feeling hungry. We should have eaten something before we went to the palace, but regrettably, I didn't think about the effect that the blossoms would have on us with empty stomachs."
Obi-Wan considered this for a moment. He had become aware at some point of the mind-altering effect that the fragrance had on him, but he hadn't had time to process the implication.
"So the Moonflower fragrance contains some sort of ... narcotic?" He squirmed a little, suddenly not sure how he felt about the previous evening's events. Had he been so heavily under the influence of a drug? Had Jema and Jalet...?
Qui-Gon interrupted his thoughts. "Narcotic isn't quite precise. There is an unusual chemical in the Moonflower blossom that has a very strong effect on humanoids. The chemical is present in the fragrance and, to a lesser degree, in the petals of the flowers themselves." He paused for a moment, trying to gauge Obi-Wan's reaction. "I had a chance to learn a good deal about it and the festival from the queen last night. I was just working on the report. Perhaps after we freshen up I can go over the details with you more thoroughly."
Obi-Wan immediately felt embarrassed. Qui-Gon had spent the evening with the queen learning about the details of the festival? /I merely enjoyed myself, perhaps too much, and he is carrying out the mission alone./ He flushed further as certain events from the night before flashed through his mind, suddenly lamenting his lack of self-control.
Qui-Gon could almost read the thoughts flickering across his apprentice's face. "Padawan, do not think that you've shirked your duty in the slightest. We came here to relax, remember?"
"We also came here to learn more about the Moonflower festival. I certainly haven't helped you any so far in that regard."
Qui-Gon smiled knowingly. "On the contrary, you have learned a great deal about the festival. I'm sure that your perspective on the events of Firstnight combined with mine will make for a... an interesting account."
Obi-Wan looked away, even more embarrassed. He wasn't sure that he wanted to share any of his experiences with his master. /What would he think if he could have seen me there, between the prince and princess, feeling.../ The image returned to him with great clarity -- Jema's breasts pressed against his back, Jalet's lips centimeters away, the palpable heat that their three bodies produced...
An image of the threesome seeped into Qui-Gon's mind, and he instantly knew that it was not intended for his eyes. He knew he ought to warn Obi-Wan that he wasn't shielding his thoughts very well, but decided not to give the boy any more reason for embarrassment.
"Besides, Obi-Wan, it's your birthday, and I specifically recall ordering you to enjoy yourself."
"I may be enjoying myself a little too much," Obi-Wan sighed, resting his forehead on his palms.
"There's no such thing. Not even for a Jedi," Qui-Gon remarked, receiving a confused look from his apprentice. "Relax, Obi-Wan. Even Jedi can take a few days off. I think you are long overdue for a break."
Qui-Gon relaxed on the sofa, legs crossed beneath him, as he added details to the report on the data pad. He sipped his tea slowly and found his mind had wandered back yet again to that image Obi-Wan had unknowingly projected to him, along with the accompanying desire that it had evoked in his apprentice. He allowed it to swim about in his head for a moment before guilt forced him to cast it away yet again. /I'm just meditating a bit on the events as seen through the eyes of my apprentice/, he thought carefully. /Liar. It's voyeuristic and a breach of Obi-Wan's trust./ He tried to bring his focus back to the data pad.
But there was something about that image that he found he couldn't stop himself from returning to. /Why am I so interested in my padawan's sex life?/ He contemplated that thought for a moment, replaying the image in his mind. It made him slightly uncomfortable, but... He realized that he found the image arousing, but what could be troubling him about it? He should be pleased that Obi-Wan was participating in the festival to this extent, especially considering that it was a new experience for him.
He was certain that Obi-Wan was inexperienced sexually, or almost certain. Six months earlier, on a long, boring return trip from a successful mission, in the cramped cargo hold of the transport -- after having reviewed every detail of the mission thrice, written an extremely thorough report, meditated, exercised as best they could, analyzed the lessons learned from the mission in the context of Obi-Wan's training -- they realized that they had two more days to travel. Finally, the bored 17-year-old approached him shyly, fidgeted a bit, and then asked the older man about his interpretation of the Jedi Code on personal relationships. It soon became clear to Qui-Gon that what Obi-Wan was actually interested in was Qui-Gon's opinion on sexual relationships.
They'd had the obligatory talk when he was 13, accompanied by mortified expressions, fidgeting, and whining on the boy's part. Two years later, he became aware of Obi-Wan's crush on him, and though he had almost expected it, he did not know what to do. Obi-Wan never said anything, but from the way he looked at him, and stray thoughts that Qui-Gon picked up, it was clear. Qui-Gon had found it very difficult to walk the fine line between showing the boy affection and encouraging his inappropriate fantasy. When they were assigned a mission with Master Reena and her padawan -- /she really was adorable, wasn't she?/ -- the stars in Obi-Wan's eyes had been obvious. Qui-Gon had caught them kissing in his cabin, sitting on the bed with the door closed, at the end of that mission, but he was so relieved that Obi-Wan had found another person to bestow his attention upon that he had simply closed the door and left them alone. /Master Reena would not have been so kind/, he thought with a smile.
But the discussion on the transport was especially interesting in that Obi-Wan wasn't just asking about sex, he was asking about relationships. In particular, he wanted to know whether or not Qui-Gon thought it was appropriate for a Jedi knight to engage in a sexual relationship.
"Well, it depends on the situation, I suppose. Is the person another knight?" He wondered if Obi-Wan was fishing for information about his relationship with Tahl.
"Perhaps. Perhaps it's someone who's not in the Order at all."
"Well, the Council's position on formal attachments is clear. But as for informal, temporary ones, it's not so clear. We are left to use our own judgment to make the best decision in any given situation."
"But Master, I'm asking about what you think."
"All right then. In my opinion, as long as one does not use one's position of power, or authority, or any other undue means to initiate said relationship, and as long as it does not interfere with one's duties, then I see no reason not to pursue an affair occasionally."
"What about love?"
"Love?" Qui-Gon had repeated, surprised. Now he knew his apprentice had him backed in a corner. He had loved Tahl, with all his heart, and regretted deeply that their relationship had not had the chance to move to a more physical level. Did Obi-Wan know that?
"Yes, love, Master. What if during said affair, one was to fall in love? Would that be considered an attachment? Do you think falling in love is... inappropriate for someone who has committed his or her life to the Jedi Order?"
Qui-Gon exhaled slowly, stalling. "Obi-Wan, I don't know if I can answer that question."
/You know why not./ "I..." He paused, wanting to ask his apprentice if he'd ever been in love, if he had any idea what it was like. Did he know how it could be so wonderful and painful, and dangerous? And to tell him to not think about love at all, if he wanted to live his life as a Jedi. He closed his eyes and pushed the sudden emotion in his throat down. This wasn't fair, and Obi-Wan knew it. He knew how Qui-Gon had felt about Tahl, and he also knew that Qui-Gon didn't like to talk about it.
Obi-Wan must have felt the shift in Qui-Gon's emotions, for he had then changed the subject slightly. "So if formal attachments are not allowed and informal ones are not exactly encouraged, then what about the master-padawan bond? That certainly seems like an attachment to me. I mean, I'm quite attached to you, Master."
Qui-Gon smiled at his apprentice. "As I am to you, though it's quite different from the types of relationships you are thinking of."
"But Master, is it really? We're not related, and though I look upon you as a father figure in many ways, I also look upon you as a partner. I love you, and I know that you love me. We have spent most of the last five years together, every moment of every day. We have a bond that I cannot imagine my life without. Other than the fact that we are not sexually involved, how is our relationship different from the non-sanctioned kind?"
Qui-Gon nearly choked on his tea. "Obi-Wan, what are you getting at, exactly?"
Obi-Wan's eyes widened a bit, and he laughed. "Oh... no, Master, you're getting the wrong idea!"
Qui-Gon felt himself flush, noting that Obi-Wan did not seem uncomfortable at all. He relaxed a little, sensing the boy's genuine interest in discussing the issue and in Qui-Gon's opinion. /Does he need my approval?/ he thought.
"I'm just saying," the younger man continued, "that I don't understand why the Council differentiates between loving relationships that involve sex and those that don't."
"It's not that simple. We both know that there are master-padawan pairs who are more to each other than that. The Council do not approve, but generally look the other way when the pair are discreet."
Obi-Wan nodded. "But that seems unfair, doesn't it?"
"Do you think that there are no knights in the Order involved in personal relationships? Because I can tell you for certain that there are -- again, they are discreet."
"But what do you think?"
"Padawan..." He paused, trying to decide if he ought to ask the question he wanted so badly to ask. "Is there any reason that you are asking me this?"
"No, Master." Obi-Wan looked away. "I'm just curious."
"You can tell me anything, you know. You know that I support you in every way I can, but my approval of your personal life is not necessary. Your conscience and sense of duty are stronger than my influence will ever be."
"Yes, I know."
Qui-Gon took a deep breath. "Obi-Wan," he began, using the boy's name intentionally, "Are you in a sexual relationship with someone?"
Obi-Wan looked mortified. "No, Master, I..."
"Are you... thinking about initiating such a relationship with someone?"
Obi-Wan met his master's gaze steadily. "I have been far to busy with my training to think about such things. I'm not... I haven't..." He looked away again.
Worried that he had pushed too hard, Qui-Gon changed the subject again, before he lost this rare window to speak so frankly with his apprentice.
Obi-Wan strolled casually into the room, clean and dressed in fresh clothes. After pouring himself a cup of tea, he settled at the opposite end of the sofa from Qui-Gon.
"So, Master, what have you learned about the Moonflower festival that I will be allowed to know as well?"
Qui-Gon smirked. "I have your best interests at heart, you know. What do you wish to know?"
"What do you know about the substance in the flowers that's affecting us?"
"According to Hema-"
"The queen?" Obi-Wan interrupted, eyebrow raised in mock suspicion. The eyebrow was masking another wave of irritation, the precise source of which he could not identify.
Qui-Gon pretended to glare at him before continuing. "The substance is called clenasyn. It only occurs in the blossoms of the Moonflower tree, which can only be cultivated on this planet. There were many attempts long ago to transplant the trees to other worlds, to grow them under the same conditions, but these invariably failed. The trees apparently refused to bloom in any other environment. There were also attempts to synthesize the compound, but these resulted in a substance that, unlike natural clenasyn, had harmful side effects on humanoids."
"Wait... you're saying that clenasyn is non-toxic?" Obi-Wan asked, not quite believing that this could be true.
"Yes, and that is exactly why it is so special, why the Primalians revere it so. In fact, it is non-toxic to nearly all life forms. It is metabolized by the body as a nutrient, so it does no damage to the organs that typically suffer from the use of such recreational substances."
"So that's why we didn't get hungry," Obi-Wan nodded. "And that also explains the complete lack of a hangover."
"Correct. It induces feelings of euphoria, empathy, desire... it serves as an aphrodisiac, in particular." He watched Obi-Wan's face for a moment, but his apprentice kept his features stone-still. With noticeable difficulty. "Yet it doesn't impair judgment or cause people to act in ways that are contrary to their nature. It simply... amplifies desires that are already present, and removes some inhibitions."
Obi-Wan was absorbing this information with great interest. Qui-Gon gave him a few moments to think. "Padawan, how did the clenasyn affect you?"
"Well, before we reached the grove, I felt a strong urge to just... be among the trees, like I was hungry for the scent, hungry to breathe it. Once I was there, I felt like I could have just stayed there forever. I was so... content. It felt like... a warm, buzzing sensation at the base of my skull, and then it would spread through my body, down my spine. I didn't feel intoxicated or out of control. It was just... very intense."
Qui-Gon nodded, jotting down notes with the stylus, but mostly avoiding eye contact in hopes that his apprentice would keep talking.
"Then... when I met Jema and Jalet, I felt so connected to them right away, like we'd been friends for a long time. I just wanted to be with them, there in the grove. Everything was so beautiful, so soft and blue and perfect..." He paused, considering his words before continuing. "I can personally vouch for the clenasyn's power as an aphrodisiac."
"So can I," Qui-Gon admitted, meeting his apprentice's eyes briefly. Obi-Wan grinned and ran a hand through his hair.
"I suppose I should tell you that I passed out once."
Qui-Gon's head jerked up. "What happened?"
Obi-Wan shifted uncomfortably. He didn't want to lie to his master, but he wasn't ready to talk about what had happened. "I just... Jema and Jalet said that my senses were overwhelmed. One minute I was standing, and the next I was on the ground." Before Qui-Gon could ask for more information, he continued, "It almost happened again," /when Jalet had his arms around me, practically blowing in my ear/, "but I leaned on a tree and concentrated on breathing and finding my focus, and it passed." He avoided Qui-Gon's gaze.
Qui-Gon knew that there was something his apprentice was keeping from him, but he decided to let it go for the time being. He waited to see if Obi-Wan would say anything more, tapping notes onto the data pad.
"Master, did you notice that the Moonflower trees are Force-sensitive?"
Qui-Gon smiled. He had in fact known this in advance, from the private briefing with Master Windu and Master Yoda. Obi-Wan's rare instances of sensitivity to living things always caught him off-guard, though he was extremely pleased. Obi-Wan described his experience with the tree, and his belief that the Force was exceptionally strong in the grove. "I can see why the trees are considered sacred," he stated simply.
They arrived at the palace at sunset, both struggling to keep their excitement at bay. According to Qui-Gon's information, the festivities of Secondnight centered around three events: the crushing of petals for the next vintage of Moonflower wine, a feast, and the tasting of the previous year's wine. What happened after these events was a mystery, and each of them had kept their speculations, not to mention their hopes, private.
The queen soon arrived to greet them with the twins close behind. Jema and Jalet rushed to embrace Obi-Wan as soon as they saw him. He was elated, though a bit embarrassed by the sudden gush of attention in front of his master. Qui-Gon winked at him as his friends pulled him away enthusiastically.
The twins chattered away at Obi-Wan as they walked along -- telling him about their day, how much fun they'd had with him the night before -- finishing each other's sentences with practiced ease. He marveled again at the way that they seemed to be two halves of the same whole. He could hardly imagine them being separated from one another. This thought led to a twinge of jealousy -- the thought of having a soul-mate suddenly sounded very appealing, though he knew it was impossible. The closest he would come in his life to such a relationship was the bond he now had with Qui-Gon, though that would only last until he became a knight. Unless he trained a padawan himself, he might not experience such a bond again. /If I ever become a knight./
He was lost in thought when he was suddenly pulled into an alcove in the passageway by his energetic hosts. They wrapped their arms around him in the darkness and pressed their faces into his neck.
"Oh Obi, we missed you today!" Jema sighed.
"We could hardly wait to see you again," finished Jalet.
They were both exactly the same height, slightly shorter than him, and Obi-Wan could feel the ridges on their foreheads pressed into his neck as they clung to him tightly. He had been a little nervous about seeing them again, but being here, holding them so close... He pulled their bodies against his snugly and sighed.
"I missed you too," he whispered. "This feels so good..." And it did feel good to embrace them like that. He was surprised that holding them stirred up the same feelings as he'd experienced the night before, but without the heady rush of Moonflower blossoms to amplify the effect to the point of overload. /I really do like them both a lot/, he thought, relieved that his intense desires hadn't been a side-effect of the clenasyn.
At the same moment, the twins softly kissed his neck, and nuzzled under his chin briefly before pulling out of the embrace. He heard himself moan softly in response, and immediately missed their warmth against him. He pulled them back and they complied long enough to kiss his cheeks before pulling him back into the hallway. They left the palace and strolled across the gardens towards the Moonflower grove, arms intertwined and leaning on each other as if they could not bear to be separated at all.
As soon as his apprentice had been dragged from his sight, Qui-Gon felt Hema's arms slip around him from behind. He closed his eyes and leaned into the embrace, covering her hands with his own, pulling her arms more tightly around him.
She pressed her face against his back and sighed audibly. "Qui, this feels so good."
He smiled at her shortening of his name and twisted in the embrace so that they were facing each other. He raked his fingers through her thick dark hair and pulled her closer, pressing his body against hers.
"Yes, it does feel good," he whispered, and he was briefly overwhelmed by the intensity of the embrace. He so rarely experienced such close contact with another person. He wondered briefly what it would be like to have a lover on a regular basis -- though he knew it wasn't possible, not now, when he was so busy with Obi-Wan. /But I miss this so much.../
They stood there holding one another for several minutes, not speaking, or even moving. Neither of them wanted to let go. Hema finally turned her body out of the embrace slightly and they headed towards the grove, arms wrapped around each other.
The bins of Moonflowers had been filled with water and covered that morning, left to soak all day. When the lids were removed, the petals of the flowers were quite swollen with absorbed water.
After the king's blessing to open the festivities of Secondnight, the royal family were the first to climb into the bins to officially begin the crush. Jema had worn different clothing for this event -- a tunic over a long flowing skirt. Standing next to her parents and brother on the platform, she stepped out of the skirt to the cheers of the crowd. The tunic became a short version of the flowing dress she had worn the night before, the hem grazing the tops of her thighs delightfully. Hema followed suit to more cheers.
Qui-Gon felt a nudge at his side and turned to see Obi-Wan grinning at him.
"Master, we could get in a lot of trouble on this mission," he whispered.
"It's not a mission, officially. I plan on leaving some gaping holes in our report, Padawan, if you have no objections."
Jalet and the king rolled up the legs of their trousers to the knees, to more cheers. All four climbed into a bin together and began stepping on the petals with bare feet. The crowd cheered even louder. After several minutes of stomping and cheering, the king raised his arms to the crowd and everyone ran for the bins, stripping off clothing, taking off shoes, cheering and laughing. Unsure what to do, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan stepped back until they saw the royal family waving them over to their bin.
"You are our special guests, so you must join us!" the king shouted over the din. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon removed their boots, rolled up their trousers, and climbed over the edge of the bin.
Squishy was the first word that came to Obi-Wan's mind as his feet sank into the mass of blue petals. And cold as well, but not uncomfortably so. He lifted his foot and examined the mess that clung to his toes before stepping back down into the blue pool. After getting over the initial shock that he was stomping around in cold, squishy, blue stuff, he began to enjoy the feeling of the swollen petals bursting beneath his feet. The fragrance of the Moonflowers was wafting up from the bins now. It was not the heady, consuming perfume from the night before, but more subtle. He smiled a little, feeling the beginning of the buzz.
He looked up at their small group to see that they had been joined by a beautiful Primalian woman he had not seen before. She laughed and joked with the king, who playfully splashed blue juice at her with his foot. He looked in the other direction to see Qui-Gon and the queen playfully splashing each other as well. Obi-Wan knew his master well enough to interpret the expression on his face. He was getting accustomed to Qui-Gon's open flirting with the queen, but they were eyeing each other so publicly, and with the king just a few meters away. He swallowed down the now-customary irritation that he felt watching Qui-Gon flirt so with the queen.
He returned his gaze to the king and the beautiful woman, and tried not to gape as they exchanged a playful kiss. It slowly occurred to him that he did not understand the practices of this culture at all.
For a long moment, he watched Qui-Gon and Hema playing together in the blue mush. The signs were clear even to his eyes -- the suggestive glances, the playful jabs, the lingering touches. He began to wonder if this was normal behavior for these people, or if it had something to do with the festival. He had never before encountered a culture that tolerated open infidelity. /I suppose this is something to ask Qui-Gon about later/, he thought. /If he can pry himself away from that tarty queen./ He grimaced at himself, feeling guilty for the thought even as it surfaced. /Why does that bother me so? He has every right to-/
And then he was wet. And blue.
"What the...? Sith!"
Jema and Jalet were trying very hard not to laugh, feigning innocence. "Obi, what happened?" "You're supposed to be crushing the petals, not wearing them!"
After wiping the sticky liquid from his face, he attempted revenge by kicking a splash at his friends. They dodged the small wave he created with impressive quickness.
Unfortunately, it hadn't occurred to him that the sticky blue liquid would also make the bottom of the bin slippery.
Howls of laughter filled the royal bin as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi, fell flat on his ass.
Now he was really wet, and blue, and embarrassed. Jema and Jalet helped him up, and he resisted the urge to pull them down into the bin with him. They giggled and looked a little guilty, their eyes pleading him for forgiveness, though the rest of their faces showed supreme amusement as his predicament. /They are so beautiful/, he thought, shaking out his drenched clothing.
Jema reached out to comb his short sticky hair with her fingers. When she touched him, he felt the current that he had felt the night before and froze, held where he stood by her dark eyes. Bright moonlight reflected off of iridescent golden skin and dark hair. Her eyes sparkled at him, and she blushed. That display of vulnerability caught him off-guard slightly, and he unlocked his gaze from hers to keep from blushing as well. His eyes traveled down her body slowly, taking in the curves that were so clearly revealed under the damp, clingy fabric. He suddenly wanted to cup her breast in his hand and trace the visible outline of a nipple through the fabric. He forced his gaze back to her eyes, aware that his thoughts must have been obvious.
Her smoldering eyes told him that they were, and that her thoughts had been along a similar path. He inhaled deeply, reminding himself that they were not alone, but in public, in front of her parents, his master, her brother, and that he should not pull her against him and kiss her hard and tear that sheer fabric right off of her body.
He exhaled. It wasn't helping.
"Jema," he breathed softly, slipping his hand around the back of her neck and pulling her in for a kiss. She responded tenderly, and he pulled away before it became anything more. She looked at him quizzically, and he responded with a comical little growl of frustration. She laughed as he pressed his forehead against hers and then held her by the shoulders an arm length away. The meaning of the gesture was obvious -- I can't be this close to you without going insane.
Jalet appeared next to his sister and sweetly kissed her on the cheek, winking at Obi-Wan.
An hour later, the petals had been thoroughly crushed beneath their feet. Most of the participants, upon climbing out of the bins, merely needed to rinse off their feet and legs at nearby shower stations. Obi-Wan, on the other hand, needed a good bath.
Hema shook her head at him, smiling. "I'm afraid you'll need new clothes. Jalet has something you can wear, and you can take a quick shower in his quarters as well."
Jalet feigned disgust. "My shower will be blue for a week." But his eyes sparkled at Obi-Wan as he gestured for him to follow.
Jalet's suite in the palace was not as spacious as Obi-Wan had expected a prince's quarters to be. There was a central sitting room, an open door revealing an unmade bed, and a few other closed doors. Quite modestly furnished, but functional. Jalet gestured toward one of the doors.
"The 'fresher's in there. You'll find a towel on the shelf. I'll look for some clothes for you." He backed away smiling.
The shower felt great, though it took a little soap to get some of the stickiness off. Obi-Wan could still feel the effects of the clenasyn as the warm water trickled down his body. Marveling at how sensitive his skin was at the moment, his thoughts drifted and he imagined that the rivulets of water were fingertips drawing squiggles down his chest, on his back. He closed his eyes and let the feeling intensify, not pushing it away, feeling himself get hard. /So, Kenobi, whose fingers are you imagining exploring your body?/ He honestly wasn't sure. Jema, whose kiss he could still feel lingering on his lips, or Jalet, who was just on the other side of the door... alone. He wrenched his mind out of the fantasy, wondering where that thought would have taken him. He turned the water off and stepped out.
Dry, he paused to examine his naked body in the mirror. In the last day and a half, his perception of himself had changed somehow. He saw not an adolescent standing before him but a man, and a fairly good-looking one at that. The muscles in his chest and arms were well-defined from years of strenuous training. He had always compared his upper body to Qui-Gon's, but at the moment he did not think himself so inferior to his master at all. He smiled at himself, liking what he saw, believing that others might like it too.
Several others in particular. And one of them was waiting for him on the other side of that door. His erection was nearly gone, but the arousal had left him... he smiled slyly and wrapped the towel loosely around his waist.
Jalet was sitting on the sofa, with the clean clothes folded neatly beside him. He smiled invitingly at Obi-Wan, making no effort to hand him the clothes. The thought was clear on his face. Come and get them.
Obi-Wan felt a tingle of excitement flow through him. He was surprised at how intrigued he was with Jalet's interest, and it occurred to him that Jalet was not in control here -- /I am./ If Obi-Wan wanted to, he could pick up the clothes, return to the 'fresher, and change, effectively telling Jalet that he was not interested. But he was interested, and he could take the opportunity to show Jalet that he also sensed what was happening between them. Even if he didn't know what he wanted to do about it, really.
He returned Jalet's smile with what he hoped was a smoldering one, and slowly walked to the sofa. Standing quite close to Jalet, he dropped the towel.
Jalet struggled to maintain his composure, but his eyes widened and he inhaled sharply. Obi-Wan watched the other man's eyes traveling down his body, lingering here and widening slightly there. His head swam from the rush of feeling so obviously desired, so powerful. He had Jalet in the palm of his hand and he knew it.
/But what do I do with him now?/
Before he had to make a decision, Jalet handed him a pair of trousers, clearly trying to break the spell. Obi-Wan smiled at him. They were expected back in the main hall of the palace, and there wasn't time for anything more. Jalet's self-control was impressive. Obi-Wan suddenly realized that it felt good, for once, to not be the one to draw the line.
He pulled the trousers on, never averting his gaze from Jalet's eyes. Jalet grinned, knowing that he was being teased, but enjoying it tremendously.
The young prince picked up the shirt and stood, stepping tantalizingly close. He shook the shirt out of its fold and stepped behind Obi-Wan, slipping the sleeves over his arms and pulling the shirt over his shoulders. He let his fingertips graze skin gently as he did, sending tingling sensations through Obi-Wan's body, the fantasy in the shower flooding his mind. Jalet stepped to face him again, centimeters away, and traced his fingers down Obi-Wan's chest slowly, holding him in his gaze. Obi-Wan held his breath as Jalet's fingers slowly drifted lower, and lower. The fingers paused briefly at the waistband of his trousers... and then those fingers left his body to fasten the bottom button on the shirt, and then the one above it. His eyes never left Obi-Wan's.
Obi-Wan could not resist laughing, from surprise, frustration, and a little relief. Jalet grinned slyly, the expression saying, Gotcha! When the shirt was fastened, he adjusted the opening on the Jedi's chest with a tenderness that stirred Obi-Wan's emotions. Jalet cupped his face in his hands tenderly and placed a soft kiss on his lips before backing away, pulling him by the hand towards the door.
They walked slowly to the main hall, fingers intertwined, not speaking but glancing shyly at one another. Obi-Wan's emotions were twisting in his gut. He was suddenly not sure what he thought or what he felt or what he wanted. He briefly wondered if he should drop Jalet's hand now, run to Qui-Gon's side, and stay firmly there for the rest of the festival. He felt an urge to resist the strong emotions to which he was unaccustomed, to turn his back on the path they were leading him down so slowly but surely.
The beautiful man at his side smiled broadly, and his stomach seemed to flip inside his abdomen.
/Or maybe/, he thought, /I should seriously reconsider my previous assumptions about my sexual orientation./
The hall in which the meal was being held was a truly large room, but it managed to feel intimate and cozy. The lights were low, reflecting languid shadows on the dark wood paneling lining the walls. Long tables were set up in a geometric pattern, and people were seated, talking and laughing quietly. Jalet led Obi-Wan to the central table at which the royal family and their guests were seated. They sat in the two empty chairs by Jema, with Obi-Wan in between the twins. Jema had been watching for them, and saw their intertwined fingers slip apart as they reached the table.
She grinned at both of them, asking quietly, "What took you boys so long?" Jalet smirked and Obi-Wan felt himself blush, to his horror. She giggled at that and squeezed his hand affectionately under the table.
Obi-Wan realized suddenly that the twins were not jealous of each other at all. When he was affectionate with one of them, the other seemed to quietly encourage it, if not join in. They were not competing for his affections, but happily sharing them. This surprised him, and it also relieved him considerably.
Qui-Gon nodded a greeting from his position beside the queen across the table. Obi-Wan sheepishly rubbed a hand on his head, hoping that he had managed to rinse all of the Moonflower liquid out. Qui-Gon grinned and raised one eyebrow. Obi-Wan rolled his eyes in response.
The king stood and addressed the crowd in Primalian. Jema leaned over to translate in Obi-Wan's ear. He noticed the queen doing the same for Qui-Gon.
"Welcome, honored guests, to the Feast of Secondnight. We would thank you for your assisting in the crushing of petals for the new vintage of Moonflower wine by humbly presenting you with this traditional Primalian meal. At the end of the meal, we will celebrate together the closing of the year and the start of the next, with the opening of the latest vintage of wine. Enjoy, my friends."
With that the "humble" feast began. Heaping platters of food were brought to the table and passed around. Obi-Wan could not identify most of what he ate, but all of it was delicious. He had not realized he was so hungry until the smells of the various dishes began to fill the room. He tried everything that was within his reach, enduring his friends' questions about what food was like on Coruscant, whether he liked this spice or that one better, cajoling him into tasting items that appeared questionable. He found that he was enjoying their company tremendously. Everyone else in the hall, including his master, faded into the background as his world happily narrowed down to just Jema and Jalet.
Qui-Gon was equally absorbed in Hema, but stole occasional glances at his apprentice. Obi-Wan was relaxed, laughing, smiling -- all pleasant states that he hadn't been witness to in a long time. The mission to Hildass had drained them both. This festival was good for Obi-Wan's soul, and that was his purpose in bringing him here. Unconventional training methods, to be sure, but Qui-Gon wanted Obi-Wan to know what was beyond the life he had known for so long. He fixed his gaze on the young man for a long moment, suddenly unable to tear his eyes away. Obi-Wan's presence in the Force was a glowing beacon, radiant and beautiful. His eyes sparkled, his smile was breathtaking... /He's beautiful/, Qui-Gon thought suddenly. Why had he not noticed it before?
Obi-Wan's eyes darted up to find his. Qui-Gon swallowed hard, hoping he hadn't broadcast that thought. He managed a smile and a wink at his apprent ice. The younger man rewarded him with a genuinely heartfelt smile, eyes full of an emotion Qui-Gon could not identify. He felt his insides swirl and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to regain control of his senses. When he opened them again, Obi-Wan was immersed in conversation with his friends. /What is happening here?/ he thought carefully, before deciding it was something to meditate upon later. Much later.
Finally, the platters and plates were taken away and the conversation around them became more relaxed, as if weighed down with the food that everyone had consumed. Servers looped around the tables placing a large stemmed glass in front of each person. Obi-Wan traced the stem with his fingers and raised the bowl of the glass to the light. He did not see such exquisitely-crafted crystal very often. He glanced about the table, for a moment trying to soak in every detail of the scene. Such peaceful, pleasant moments were so rare in his life as a Jedi. Enjoying so luxurious a meal was even more so.
His thoughts were interrupted by cheers as the servers returned to the room carrying trays filled with bottles of Moonflower wine. Several silvery-blue bottles were placed at each table they passed, and the attention of each person was immediately riveted to the shimmering vessels. The bottle before Obi-Wan hardly seemed solid -- it was also made of hand-made crystal, but it seemed to glisten in a way that gave the illusion of softness, like the Moonflower petals themselves.
When the bottles were distributed, the king stood and raised his hands into the air. Jema translated the formal blessing of the wine for Obi-Wan. The king then raised a nearby bottle into the air and waited for the subsequent cheers of the guests to die down. When the suspense had reached a palpable level, he pressed his thumb against a button high on the neck of the bottle. With an audible pop, the seal on the bottle was broken. The crowd cheered. Jema reached for a nearby bottle and opened it similarly as the chamber filled with a pleasant, though odd, chorus of pops.
The wine was then poured into each glass. /A generous amount/, Obi-Wan thought as the large glass before him was half-filled with glittering blue liquid. Don't drink anything blue. How often had he heard that, from friends, from Qui-Gon teasingly, when he was heading out to spend an evening with his agemates? He glanced at his master, who gave him a quizzical look and shrugged. When everyone had a glass of wine, the king rose again for the traditional toast.
"The past year brought us happiness and sorrow, joy and pain, prosperity and difficulty. Remember, as you drink the wine, the events of the past year, pleasant and unpleasant," Jema whispered. Her breath on his ear was becoming distracting. The king paused and the room was silent for a long moment, as people reflected on the events of the past year. "Now turn your thoughts to the coming year. We do not forget the past, but we let go of our regrets and our mistakes, and celebrate the opportunities that the coming year will bring. To the coming year!"
"N'van chi qalat!" the people repeated, holding glasses high in the air.
Obi-Wan studied the liquid in the glass. It was just so... blue. He took a deep breath and brought the glass closer. He tilted it slightly and studied the color against the white cloth covering the table. It was iridescent, glimmering softly. He swirled the glass and brought it to his nose, inhaling the pleasant fragrance of Moonflowers, a slight burn of alcohol, a sweetness that seemed to permeate his senses. He swirled and inhaled more deeply, this time noticing faint aromas of earth and greenery. After a long moment, he raised the glass to his lips and sipped, allowing the liquid to swirl around his tongue, drawing in a little air as he did. The first taste he noticed was the sweetness of the wine -- not candy sweet, or even fruity-sweet, but something more pure. Then more complex flavors came to he fore -- dust, citrus, something that reminded him of a tropical fruit he had once tasted, and again something green. He swallowed slowly, feeling the liquid warm its way down his throat. It wasn't syrupy at all, rather crisp and pleasant. The finish was surprisingly warm and earthy, and he imagined that he could feel the wine in his stomach.
When he opened his eyes, Jema and Jalet were both staring at him.
"Well?" asked Jalet, apparently amused at Obi-Wan's display of formal ritual.
Obi-Wan nodded and tried not to blush, though that effort only ensured that he did. "I like it," he said, trying to decide whether any of his mental tasting notes could be shared without further self-consciousness. He just smiled. "Interesting color, though."
"Friends," the king said to those seated at the table, letting the young Jedi off the hook. "I'd like to personally welcome you to enjoy the rest of Secondnight with us on the palace grounds. Thank you for spending the evening as our guests. On behalf of my wife and children, I wish you all the best in the coming year." He raised his glass in a toast and the guests and family joined him, taking another sip of wine.
"On behalf of Obi-Wan and myself, I would like to express my gratitude for your hospitality," Qui-Gon said warmly. Another toast was raised, with hearty statements of "N'van chi qalat."
"If I may," Qui-Gon continued, casting a meaningful glance at his apprentice, "I would make an announcement." Everyone focused their attention on the Jedi master and his raised glass. "Tomorrow will be Obi-Wan's birthday. Happy birthday, Padawan."
A wave of warmth flowed over the bond in both directions. Obi-Wan tried not to blush, failing yet again.
The startled gasp at the table broke through the moment. "Your birthday!" Jema cried, clutching his arm. "How old are you?" Jalet interjected.
"I'll be eighteen," Obi-Wan stated simply.
The reaction startled him. The king and queen gasped in surprise, Jalet grabbed his hand under the table and squeezed it, and Jema just gaped. It was a long moment before Obi-Wan realized that they were all smiling. He looked at Qui-Gon, having felt the older man's flicker of concern melt into relief as well.
"I believe we are not well enough aware of the customs of Primale to understand the significance of this..." he began, trailing off.
Hema explained, her voice soft. "On Primale, to have one's birthday fall during the Moonflower festival is considered very lucky -- such an individual is considered to be blessed in the coming year."
Qui-Gon nodded, recalling that the solar year on Primale was longer than a standard year, and so the dates of the festival would vary annually. One was likely to have one's birth date fall close to the festival at least once in a lifetime.
"However, to have your birthday fall on Thirdnight is quite fortunate. You are considered to be blessed for the next five years."
Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow at Qui-Gon, smiling.
"But Obi-Wan's eighteenth birthday falls on Thirdnight," she said, shaking her head and smiling. "That is actually quite a rare occurrence, and is a celebrated one."
"Does it mean even more... luck?" Obi-Wan asked, finding the custom charming, but keeping his skepticism politely under wraps.
"It means, Obi-Wan," the queen began, with a serious look on her face, "that you are destined to have an extraordinary life." She paused, letting her words sink in.
Obi-Wan suddenly felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Jema and Jalet intertwined their fingers with his underneath the table, and stroked the backs of his hands with their free fingers, as if soothing him.
"Your destiny, Obi-Wan, is to play a major role in the events of the galaxy in your lifetime. It is not for us to know whether your life will be a happy one, or a long one, but it will be a significant one."
Obi-Wan felt very strange suddenly and looked to Qui-Gon, who was eyeing him curiously. After a long pause, Obi-Wan smiled. "I'll drink to that."
The table relaxed again and everyone drank. Jema pressed a lingering kiss to his cheek, and he leaned into it, no longer self-conscious about the public show of affection. He turned to look at her, and her eyes sparkled. He lost himself for a moment in her eyes, emotions swirling. She broke the spell with a wink. He smiled.
Around them, people were leaving the tables and beginning to wander out towards the gardens. Obi-Wan downed the wine in his glass, only to have it refilled by Jalet.
"Good to see you're getting into the spirit of things," he grinned.
"Exactly how much of this wine is there?" Obi-Wan asked, eyeing his friend quizzically.
Jalet laughed. "Oh, well, let's see... There were twenty-seven barrels produced last year, and two of those were bottled for tonight." He leaned close, his tone conspiratorial. "The other twenty-five are around the palace grounds, in the gardens, mostly."
Obi-Wan began to understand. "So that's where everyone else is going -- to find the barrels and drink more wine." The buzz of the clenaysn was beginning again in his head, and he could feel the warmth spreading down his spine.
"Actually, the tradition is to sample each barrel before sunrise. It brings luck for the coming year."
"Every barrel?" His head spun at the thought. He would be thoroughly smashed after twenty-five more glasses of this wine. He wondered briefly if the small amount of alcohol in the wine would affect him in such a great quantity. /Well/, he thought, /this is what I wanted to be doing on my birthday./ He smiled his resolution at Jalet. "Where do we begin?"
As he rose to his feet, Jalet snatched something from his chair. "Don't forget this, now." Draped across his open palm lay a strand of gold-colored beads -- it had been hanging on the back of Obi-Wan's chair.
Confused, he took the beads from Jalet. The circular strand was long enough to slip over his head. As he glanced around the room, he saw that some people were wearing the beads around their necks. He looked back at Jalet, and noticed that he was not wearing beads. As if sensing his silent question, Jalet revealed a gold strand in a pocket on his shirt. Obi-Wan slipped his beads into a pocket on his own shirt as they made their way to where Jema was waiting.
Two hours later, the threesome found their ninth barrel of wine, filled their glasses, and sank into the grass together to enjoy their drinks. Obi-Wan was delirious with contentment -- being with his beautiful friends in the moonlit garden was intoxicating enough, but the quantity of wine he'd drunk was amplifying the feeling intensely. He took a sip from his glass, amazed at the subtle difference between each barrel. Jema had explained that each barrel was made from a different kind of wood for the purpose of creating a unique wine. It certainly added to the experience.
As he finished the glass, he could feel the warmth down to his fingertips. He sank back into the grass, his body enveloped in warmth, the buzz in his head lulling him into a deeper sense of contentment than he could ever remember feeling. He exhaled slowly.
A giggle to his left, and then Jema's cheek nuzzled against his. He felt her lips brush his cheek softly. Eyes still closed, he turned his head toward hers to capture her lips in a kiss, but she pulled away just before he could find her. She giggled again. Keeping his eyes closed, he folded his hands behind his headed and smiled, waiting. After a moment, he was rewarded with soft, warm lips pressed against his. The intensity of the kiss caught him by surprise and he moaned softly. He wanted desperately to clasp his hands in that thick hair and pull her into him, but forced himself to lie still. He would let her kiss him on her own terms. He felt a tongue press past his lips and he opened his mouth eagerly, allowing the sensual exploration of his mouth for a moment before pressing back into that wet warmth. He tasted the sweetness of the wine on her tongue and pressed his tongue past her lips to taste more of her. His tongue was caught between soft lips and sucked gently. The sensation sent a current straight to his groin as the sexual analogy immediately appeared his mind. Oh, those lips on another part of his body... He moaned again as the kiss intensified once more, no longer gentle playing, but full of desire and raw hunger. He whimpered softly as the kiss ended and opened his eyes... to see Jalet's looking into his own.
He blinked slowly as the realization hit him. /I've just been kissed by a man./ Not that the thought bothered him. It was just that he had never kissed a man before. It was surprisingly erotic, and not like he had imagined at all. He couldn't help but laugh suddenly, much to Jalet's surprise. Before his friend could misconstrue his response, he pulled him down into another kiss and rolled them over so that Jalet was pinned beneath him. When he drew away again, Jalet was breathing heavily, eyes sparkling with desire. Obi-Wan grinned, suddenly feeling more free than he could remember feeling in a long time.
Jema's laugh drew his attention away from Jalet's gaze for a moment. He rolled off of Jalet and leaned on one elbow, watching them both. What did they want? The twins exchanged a meaningful look, and Jalet sat up abruptly. Obi-Wan sat up as well as the twins knelt on either side of him.
"Obi-Wan," Jema began, "We'd like to invite you to spend Thirdnight with us. With both of us."
They both watched him intently for a moment. /Of course/, he thought. /Where else would I be?/ He wasn't sure why they would have thought he would do otherwise. He nodded his response, smiling broadly.
"I can't think of anyone I'd rather be with tomorrow night," he said.
They grinned and each pulled the beads from their pockets. He found his as well and held them outstretched in his hand to them. Jalet took them from him and he and Jema both placed the strand around Obi-Wan's neck. They held their beads out to him and he clumsily managed to hang the beads around both their necks simultaneously. Now the meaning of the beads was more clear to him -- they indicated that he was taken. It seemed a charming formality; after all, they had spent almost all of their time together so far, and he would not have expected it to be any different on the following night.
Jema cradled his face in her hands and leaned close to kiss him. He was stunned to find that her lips felt indistinguishable from her brother's. Her kiss was no less fiery or passionate. He pulled her body close against his and was suddenly overcome by a desire to feel her bare skin pressed against his own. He pulled back after a moment, trying to will away the heat that had suddenly enveloped his core. They were in the gardens, with people wandering all around, and all he could think of was tearing her dress off of her body. Very un-Jedi-like.
"Well?" asked Jalet. His friend wore a mischievous grin.
"Who is the better kisser?"
"Jal!" Jema swatted playfully at her brother, but turned an amused face to Obi-Wan.
He could only grin. "I'll have to do a bit more research before I can truly make a decision on that issue."
"That can be arranged," Jalet said, picking up their glasses and getting to his feet. "But first, there's more wine to drink."
Qui-Gon sighed as he leaned back into Hema's arms. Hema had led him back into the Moonflower grove to look for more wine barrels, and then had pulled him into a secluded spot for a clandestine kiss. He had pulled away on the brink of losing control -- he knew that this was not the night for what he desperately wanted. The look in her eyes had told him that she felt the same and she had sunk to the ground, leaning against a tree, motioning for him to join her.
Now he pressed his head into her breast and closed his eyes as she enfolded him in her arms.
"This is really wonderful, Hema. Frustrating as hell, but wonderful."
She sighed in return and planted soft kisses on his forehead, trailing her fingers through his long hair. They remained like that for a long moment, enjoying the feeling of holding and being held. /I could really get used to this/, Qui-Gon thought. For a brief moment, he felt a wave of sadness flow through him as he realized how close he had come to having this with Tahl. He opened his eyes in an effort to bring himself back to the moment, and found Hema staring at him thoughtfully.
"Where were you just now?"
"In the past." He paused, not sure he wanted to say any more. "I was just thinking of how wonderful it is to feel so close to someone, and of how long it's been since I've felt this way."
She nodded, understanding that he didn't want to say more. She would not press him -- the Moonflower festival was about living in the moment and enjoying the company of one's chosen companion. Current and past relationships were not significant during the festival, and they were not discussed.
"Just enjoy it, Qui-Gon. I know that I am enjoying being with you." She fingered the beads around his neck before leaning down to place a soft kiss on his lips. She lingered, and he could not resist sliding his hand behind her head to pull her down into a deeper kiss. His tongue parted her lips and she moaned softly, welcoming him into her mouth.
The sound of laughter nearby found his ears, and he was about to ignore it when he distinctly heard the voice of his padawan.
"This isn't fair, you know."
He couldn't resist ending the kiss and peering through the brush. Hema was not offended; in fact, she appeared interested in the interruption as well. When three figures stumbled into view, it became clear why.
Obi-Wan was walking between the twins, and the three had their arms entwined about each others' bodies tightly. Suddenly Jema twisted into Obi-Wan's path so that he was forced to stop walking.
"More research," she said with a wicked smile before kissing him hard and pressing her body tightly against his. He slid his hand down to her backside and squeezed, and the young woman groaned hungrily, pressing herself into him even more. After a long moment, she drew back and laughed, wiping at Obi-Wan's face with her sleeve. He grinned at her briefly.
"Well," he began, and turned to face Jalet. "Let's see then." With the arm still wrapped around the other man, he pulled him close and kissed him with the same obvious passion and desire that he had just exchanged with Jema. Jalet moaned softly and stumbled slightly, as if his knees had gone weak. When the kiss ended, Obi-Wan looked from one twin to another slyly.
They proceeded to tickle him in protest, and he twisted his body away, laughing. He took a few taunting steps away, and soon the threesome was out of view, footsteps pounding in the distance.
Qui-Gon suddenly realized he had been holding his breath and released it softly. He also realized with a twinge of confusion that he had been quite aroused by the scene that had played out before him. This disturbed him immediately, though he wasn't certain why. Was it just a bit of shame felt for illicitly watching the lovers? Was it because he knew he had intruded on his padawan's privacy? Or was it something else? He closed his eyes for a moment, and the image of Obi-Wan pulling Jalet close and kissing him hard filled his mind again. His stomach fluttered slightly, and he realized with a start that the sight of his padawan kissing another male was... well, erotic.
"You okay?" Hema asked.
He nodded, forcing his eyes open. "Yes, sorry. That was... strange."
She laughed softly. "My children, your apprentice -- quite a family we'd make, eh?" He remained thoughtful and she studied his expression for a long moment. "Did it bother you to see them together?"
"I..." He paused, considering his words. "I honestly don't know if it bothered me."
"Did you know that your apprentice likes men as well as women?" she asked after another pause, already guessing the answer.
"I hadn't really considered it," he responded. "As far as I know, he has only shown interest in women until now."
"Does it bother you?"
He couldn't help but blush. "No, quite the contrary." He blushed more, wishing he'd phrased the comment another way entirely.
"Ah, I see," Hema said, grinning and repositioning him so that she could see his face better. "You don't have a preference either."
"Well, no, I wouldn't say... I have had male lovers on occasion, but....." Why was he telling her this?
"So what precisely did you see that bothered you?"
"I'm honestly not sure if bothered is the right word. Maybe intrigued."
She smiled at him again. "Obi-Wan is a very beautiful young man." She raised an eyebrow suggestively.
Qui-Gon exhaled. "That's just not an option, no matter how intriguing it might seem at the moment." /Or at any moment in the future/, he thought.
And it was intriguing, he had to admit. He had never before looked at his apprentice and seen a man standing before him. He shook the thought away. /This is wrong/, he thought. /He's my padawan./ He focused his gaze back to Hema's face.
"But at this moment, I find you very intriguing." He twisted his body so that they were face-to-face and pressed her against the ground, claiming her mouth hungrily.
As the sun began to rise, Obi-Wan reluctantly followed Jema and Jalet back into the large dining hall. The three had indeed succeeded in sampling all twenty-five barrels of Moonflower wine, and he was definitely feeling the effects. He had finally consumed enough alcohol to feel fairly drunk and, in addition to the significant amount of clenasyn coursing through his veins, it made him feel rather... randy. When they stopped walking, his head swam momentarily as another wave of desire washed through him. He managed to grab Jema's hand and pull her back against him, pressing his mouth to her throat.
"Mmmmm... Obi-Wan," she murmured softly, wrapping her arms around him in response.
The scent of her skin only increased his desperation, and he suddenly needed to feel her pressed tighter against him. He slipped one of his hands down to squeeze her backside, pulling her pelvis against his rapidly growing erection. She giggled and pushed him away reluctantly.
"Time for bed," she purred.
His eyes smoldered and he reached for her again. "Fine with me."
She laughed and held him at arm's length. "No, Obi." She fingered the beads around his neck for a moment before meeting his dark gaze again. "Patience, now."
He was about to protest again, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He didn't have to look to know that it was Qui-Gon.
"Ready for bed, padawan?" Qui-Gon's eyes danced, or so it appeared to Obi-Wan through his chemically/hormonally-induced haze.
"Not really, Master. Not if I have to go alone." No use lying now. He was starting to feel physical pain at being separated from Jema. He whimpered slightly, closing his eyes.
Jalet, suddenly at his side, laughed. "We'll see you tonight, Obi."
He started to back away, but Obi-Wan caught the beads around his neck and grinned devilishly before pulling him back for a searing kiss. "I can't wait," he replied as his friend pulled away, his voice husky from both desire and frustration.
Qui-Gon made his presence known again, steering his apprentice towards the exit. "Come on, Obi-Wan, we both need to get to sleep." Obi-Wan started to protest, but something in Qui-Gon's voice gave him pause. Was he imagining it, or was his master suddenly a bit... jealous?
The twins waved at him as he was pushed through the door.
The wave of the chemicals in his bloodstream began to crest as they made their way back to the hotel, and he found it more and more difficult to walk, or even to think coherently. He attempted to talk to Qui-Gon, to ask him about his evening with Hema, but he could tell that he was not making much sense from the looks the older Jedi was giving him. He decided to focus on walking. Putting one foot in front of the other. Repeatedly.
Once in the lift, he realized that he was leaning heavily on Qui-Gon, that he could barely stand on his own. He struggled to regain his composure enough to not appear completely wasted, but even in that state, he knew it was a losing battle.
Suddenly he was dropped somewhat roughly on his bed, and his boots were being pulled off. The room was spinning. His shirt was pulled over his head, and hands on his chest pressed him down onto the bed. That touch to his bare skin stirred the heat in his blood again, and he covered the hands with his own as he lay back. The hands started to move away and he seized them to pull them back down.
"No, don' go..." he moaned. "I need you..." The hands stopped trying to pull away and he felt a shift on the mattress as their owner sat on the edge of the bed. One hand slipped out of his grasp and stroked his forehead.
"Oh, Obi-Wan. Will you be all right?"
"Mmmm... yes... I will if..." He slid the hand he still held down to rest on his semi-hard penis. For a moment, the hand lingered there before being pulled away abruptly, and the weight shifted again as the person stood. Obi-Wan sighed in frustration, but couldn't voice his protest. He couldn't see. The world began to fall away...
Qui-Gon contemplated his unconscious apprentice for a long moment. He knew that Obi-Wan's actions were the result of the large amount of wine he'd consumed, and that there was no reason for him to think that Obi-Wan even knew who had just tucked him into bed. /A frightening thought/, he mused, suddenly feeling quite protective. But he was far gone enough himself to admit that the drunken offer had intrigued him for a more than a second. /I'm sure I'll regret even thinking that when I've sobered up./
He pulled the blankets tight over Obi-Wan before heading to his own room.
Obi-Wan slowly regained awareness. Awareness of lying flat on his back, a position he never slept in. Awareness of lying in a bed. In his room at the hotel. He opened his eyes, confused. The last thing he remembered... /How did I get here?/ He sat up cautiously. He had a mild headache and felt a little nauseous, but otherwise seemed none the worse for the wear. After a moment, he swung his legs over the bed, noting that he had been undressed except for his pants. /Don't remember that either./ He stood slowly. When he was convinced that he wouldn't fall down again, he headed for the 'fresher.
A few minutes later, he emerged into the suite's main room to see Qui-Gon sitting on the sofa, tapping information into the data pad. He headed for the spread of food at the table, noting that he wasn't as hungry as he'd been the morning before.
"Protein and sugar," Qui-Gon said. Obi-Wan looked up. "They'll help the hangover."
Obi-Wan searched the table for food items containing either of these requirements, then settled on the sofa next to his master.
Qui-Gon looked up from the data pad and contemplated his padawan for a long moment. Obi-Wan finally felt his master's eyes upon him and looked up.
"How are you feeling this... afternoon?"
Obi-Wan chewed and swallowed. "Not bad, actually. I ought to feel horrible, considering the condition I was in last night, but I don't."
Qui-Gon grinned. "You were fairly well sloshed."
Obi-Wan blushed. "I don't even remember coming home, Master. Please tell me I didn't do anything terribly embarrassing."
Qui-Gon hesitated, which made Obi-Wan's face drain.
"Now, Obi-Wan, don't panic."
"What did I do?"
"Let's just say that you were very... affectionate."
"Affectionate?! Towards whom?"
Qui-Gon considered his words carefully. "Well... everyone, honestly."
"Master, what did I do?" He began to sweat.
Qui-Gon laughed. "Don't worry, Obi-Wan, it was nothing. No one will remember anyway. You merely lavished affection on anyone who came close enough. It was quite sweet."
Obi-Wan considered pressing him further, but something in Qui-Gon's manner made him decide not to ask any more questions. He ate more in silence.
Qui-Gon found it difficult to concentrate on the data pad suddenly. His eyes were drawn back to his shirtless apprentice, who was licking sugar from his fingers slowly. Beautiful... /Force, what am I doing?/ He tried to look away, but couldn't. Obi-Wan sensed his stare and met his eyes again.
"Master? Is something wrong?"
Qui-Gon tore his gaze away, horrified to feel the sudden flush on his face. "No, Padawan." He couldn't think of anything else to say. He set the data pad down and crossed the room to the table. /Yes, food, anything to get my mind off of.../ He couldn't even finish the thought. He picked up one of the sticky rolls that Obi-Wan had just been eating and returned to the sofa.
"It looked good," he said sheepishly. It wasn't a lie. Let Obi-Wan decide what it was. He took a bite and chewed slowly, trying to clear his mind. He felt a strange emotion shiver through his apprentice and glanced up to see Obi-Wan staring at him.
"What?" he asked, suddenly self-conscious.
The younger man merely looked slightly confused. He shook his head. "I... nothing. Sorry." He looked away, fingers idly playing with the strand of gold beads still around his neck.
/A good opportunity to steer this conversation./ "So, Obi-Wan, which of the twins gave you the beads?" The younger man looked up again to see his master grinning at him.
"Both of them," he stated innocently.
Qui-Gon's eyes widened and he barely managed to not choke on the last bite of the sticky roll. Swallowing took effort. "Both of them? Well..." He smiled and shook his head. Obi-Wan was more adventurous than he'd ever given him credit for.
His apprentice looked thoughtful for a moment. "Master..."
Qui-Gon's smile faded at the pause. /Oh, no.../
"What do the beads mean, exactly?"
Qui-Gon inhaled sharply, much to his own distress. Obi-Wan was clearly startled by his reaction to the question.
"Master? Have I done something wrong?"
"No, no, of course not, Padawan. It's just that... When I saw you with them, I thought you knew... I assumed they'd told you." He sank his forehead into his hand. "Shit."
"Master?" Qui-Gon rarely swore. Obi-Wan was getting nervous.
Qui-Gon slid across the sofa and took Obi-Wan's hands in his. He took a deep breath.
"Obi-Wan, I owe you an apology. I purposely withheld from you information about this festival, and my short-sightedness may have put you in an uncomfortable situation."
Obi-Wan was starting to panic. He took a deep breath. "Master, please, out with it. Apologize later."
"You may or may not be aware that Primalian culture forbids sexual activity outside of marriage, with one exception. On Thirdnight, all Primalians of legal age may choose a partner with whom to spend the night. For married couples, it means one night away from their spouses, and for unmarried people, it is the one night of the year that they are allowed to engage in sexual activity." He paused, letting the information be digested. "Partners for Thirdnight are chosen on Secondnight, and the beads are exchanged as a symbol of promise." He stopped, unsure what more to say.
To his surprise, a relieved smile slowly spread across Obi-Wan's face. He laughed suddenly, and then blushed furiously. "Master, you really had me frightened for a moment there. I thought perhaps I'd offered to donate a kidney or some other vital body part."
Qui-Gon exhaled, still uncertain that Obi-Wan understood.
"Qui-Gon, this explains a lot, really. You flirting with the queen, the fact that the twins have been teasing me mercilessly but keeping me at arm's length." He paused, then looked down at his hands, still enfolded in his master's. "The funny part is that I've always been the one to draw the line in those situations, to say stop. With them, it was so different. I was the one pushing the boundaries, wanting more than I could have. I don't feel like I've been myself these past days. I guess I'm naturally much more..." He paused, looking for the right word.
"Submissive?" Qui-Gon was immediately horrified. /Did I say that?/ He dropped Obi-Wan's hands.
Obi-Wan looked up sharply, curiosity on his features. Qui-Gon forced his face to remain serene.
"Well, yes, I suppose so. At any rate, I understand now why they were behaving as they were. I must have frightened them."
"Obi-Wan, I have to say that you're taking this rather well. As far as I know, this will be your first significant sexual encounter, and you're going to be with a man and a woman. I have underestimated you, I'm afraid."
Obi-Wan grinned. "Well, I'll admit that I'm starting to get nervous. A few minutes ago, all I could think about was how to seduce one of them, either of them, and now they're both expecting to..." He took a shaky breath. "And, yes, this will be my first time. Is that why you brought me here?"
Qui-Gon smiled. "There were many reasons, but the idea of getting you laid on your eighteenth birthday was certainly high on the list."
"Is this something that your master did for you?" An eyebrow quirked upwards.
"Ummm... no." It was Qui-Gon's turn to feel embarrassed.
"Aren't you going to tell me?"
Qui-Gon paled slightly. "Tell you? About what?"
"About your first time?" His master's jaw dropped. "Oh, please, Master, tell me."
"Padawan, I... why do you want to know?"
Obi-Wan paused briefly. /Why do I want to know?/ "I'm just curious, I suspect." He offered one of his radiant smiles and leaned forward, touching Qui-Gon's forearm. He squeezed the older man's arm, looking up at him through dark lashes. "Pleeeease, Master."
Qui-Gon was floored. Was his apprentice flirting with him? Fingers trailed slowly down his forearm, practically leaving fire in their wake, and the younger man took his hand. His senses flared suddenly, and he swallowed down the arousal that was beginning to edge into his brain.
With a start, he realized that Obi-Wan frequently behaved this way when he was trying to convince him of something in a playful manner. He had always regarded it as a childish game before, and would tease his apprentice about pouting to get his way. /That was when I still thought of him as a child/, he thought. /How the world can change in a night./
He took a deep breath, committing himself to what he was about to do. "Well... I was about 16, I believe. My master and I were on a mission with another master-padawan team." He paused, letting the memory seep in, his eyes becoming a bit distant. "The other padawan was Rinaki Mell, maybe two or three years older than me. We were separated from our masters and spent four days hiking through the wilderness on some Outer Rim planet -- I can't remember the name -- trying to make our way to the rendezvous point."
Obi-Wan had settled back into the sofa, knees pulled up to his chest, and was listening intently.
"It got extremely cold at night, and so we fastened our sleep sacks together and huddled against each other to conserve heat. There had been a certain amount of tension between us from the beginning. We had been attracted to each other immediately. Out there for four days, there were no masters to steer us apart or lecture us on the dangers of giving in to such feelings."
He couldn't help but grin at Obi-Wan then, who returned the smile with a laugh.
"On the third night, the huddling turned into something much more intimate. We sort of fumbled around in the dark and in the cold, and we eventually had sex." He paused. "Several times, I recall." He felt himself blush again, despite the fact that Obi-Wan appeared completely serene. "Our masters knew immediately, when they saw us together, but they didn't say anything. I, for one, was thankful for that."
"So what happened to her? Do you still see her sometimes?"
Qui-Gon thought for a moment. He had carefully avoided using pronouns in telling his story. He couldn't think of a reason to lie to Obi-Wan, however, under the circumstances.
"Renati became a knight a few years before I did, and became a covert operations specialist. I haven't seen him in fifteen years." He watched Obi-Wan's face, seeing his apprentice's eyes widen at the realization.
Obi-Wan said nothing, but looked thoughtful.
"Does it bother you that I've had male lovers?"
"I... no, Master. Wait, lovers? More than one?"
Qui-Gon nodded, still watching his apprentice's face.
Obi-Wan grinned. "Why would you think that would bother me, Qui-Gon? I'll admit I'm surprised, though. Because of Tahl, I just assumed..."
Qui-Gon nodded. "That I am only interested in women? The life of a Jedi is lonely, Obi-Wan, and restricting oneself to one gender would eliminate many of the few opportunities one has for companionship. At any rate, I haven't had much of a love life, excluding Tahl, for the last few years. The Council have kept us rather busy."
Obi-Wan contemplated this for a moment. "Can I ask you something... personal? About your first time?"
"Yes, I suppose so."
"Did you... ummm... Were you..." Obi-Wan paused, suddenly uncomfortable.
"Are you asking if I was a bottom or a top?" Strangely, Qui-Gon was starting to enjoy his apprentice's embarrassment.
Obi-Wan blushed and laughed nervously. "Yes, that's it."
"Well, over the course of the evening, both."
"Did it hurt?" Before Qui-Gon could respond, he continued hastily. "I want to be prepared for whatever happens. I don't want to seem so completely inexperienced."
"Well, yes, there is a certain amount of pain that is unavoidable. But if your partner is patient, much of that can be alleviated through proper preparation. And it starts to feel very good rather quickly. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be."
Obi-Wan nodded and was silent for a moment. Qui-Gon could sense that he had more questions and waited.
"Should we be concerned about... safety, or pregnancy, or...?"
"Good question, Padawan. According to the queen, all Primalians who plan to participate in the festival must pass a strict series of medical exams in the week prior."
"Is that why we had to have that scan right before we left?"
"Yes, and our records were sent here to the palace medical chief. They would not have let us participate had we not been cleared. In addition, women of child-bearing age take the appropriate precautions to prevent pregnancy. So there should be nothing to worry about."
Obi-Wan exhaled slowly. "Nothing to worry about," he repeated.
A few hours later, as sunset approached, Obi-Wan waited anxiously in the main sitting area of their suite for Qui-Gon to reappear from his room. A half an hour earlier, his master had emerged from the shower, chest still glistening with water droplets, a thin towel wrapped loosely around his hips. Obi-Wan was sitting on the sofa, skimming through the report on the data pad when the man walked -- no, prowled -- by on his way to his room. He'd seen Qui-Gon just from the shower like that hundreds, maybe thousands of times. He'd even seen him completely naked on quite a few occasions. But somehow, he'd never seen his master like that.
Like a man.
His breath had literally hitched in his throat, and his heart pounded so loudly that he would have sworn Qui-Gon could hear it.
Had he not noticed before that his master was so devastatingly sexy? He'd always loved and admired him, of course. His adolescent crush a few years ago had been completely innocent. This feeling that now swirled through his consciousness was something new, something that had been awakened in him over the last few days.
Obi-Wan had to admit that he'd never really thought of Qui-Gon as a man before, with a sexual history and needs and desires of his own. His master had always been... a Jedi. Even his relationship with Tahl had been platonic as far as Obi-Wan could tell. Until their conversation earlier that day, he had honestly never thought of his master as a sexual being, not really. Abstractly, he knew that Qui-Gon had had lovers, maybe even had a few recent affairs that he was oblivious to.
But it had never occurred to him that Qui-Gon would be attracted to men. That revelation had stunned him, and had opened his eyes to a possibility he had never considered before. Would Qui-Gon ever consider a relationship with his padawan?
Obi-Wan knew that the word relationship was important -- the nature of their work together would make a casual physical encounter impossible. Qui-Gon was certainly not promiscuous, and if his relationship with Tahl was any indication, he did not take such relationships lightly.
/What about me?/ Obi-Wan wondered. /Would I be interested in a relationship with Qui-Gon?/ Of course, that had only become a possibility because of his experiences over the last few days with Jalet.
/Jalet and Jema./ Reality crashed back in. He was going to spend the night making love to them, to both of them. /Separately, or at the same time?/ He tried to imagine a position that would allow the three of them to be engaged at once, but without the twins touching each other. He could imagine one, and a shiver of excitement trickled down his spine. /I think we'll have to try that/, he thought, unconsciously slipping his hand between his thighs to touch himself, eyes closing. He stroked his growing hardness through the thin cloth of his trousers without thought, idly, as if it were the most natural thing to-
"Obi-Wan, are you ready?"
He jerked himself back to reality, mortified, but Qui-Gon was on the other side of the room. He didn't appear to have noticed his apprentice fondling himself. /I really need this/, Obi-Wan thought, exhaling.
/He really needs this/, Qui-Gon thought, trying desperately to push away the picture of Obi-Wan touching himself, eyes closed, mouth slightly open... /Sith, I need this./
When the two Jedi walked into the grand ballroom of the palace, they realized that they were a little early. After a brisk walk during which they were both lost in remarkably similar thoughts, unbeknownst to each other, they found themselves shooed out onto the terrace to watch the sun set while the palace staff continued their preparations for Thirdnight.
Obi-Wan leaned against the railing of the balcony, watching the burnt sky slowly change color from pink to orange to purple. Lost in thought, he didn't immediately notice Qui-Gon settle against the stone railing to his left.
He inhaled a little too sharply, startled out his sunset-induced daze. "Yes, Master?" He met the sky-blue eyes solidly, though the older man's proximity made him shiver slightly.
Qui-Gon smiled warmly. "I wanted to wish you a happy birthday once more, before you run off with your friends for the night. I trust it's been an enjoyable day... so far?"
Obi-Wan grinned in response, glad that the flush on his cheeks would be less apparent in the twilight. He looked away briefly to compose himself. "Yes, Qui-Gon, it has indeed." He met his master's gaze again, raising his chin slightly. "I want to thank you for this. I really have had an amazing time. You didn't have to do anything special for me, and this has gone far beyond anything I could have imagined."
Qui-Gon's features softened perceptibly, the warmth in his eyes taking on an emotion that Obi-Wan could not identify. He watched his master for a moment, sensing that he was trying to find the words -- or the courage -- to express something significant.
Qui-Gon raised his hand to cup Obi-Wan's cheek. "Padawan, you deserve more than I can give you. I want you to know that I am very proud of you. I know, with the utmost certainty, that you will be a great Jedi, perhaps one of the greatest. It is my honor to teach you." He stroked the younger man's cheek with his thumb.
Obi-Wan found himself leaning into the touch, overwhelmed by the words and the emotion that he could feel behind them. "Master... I only hope to attain a fraction of your greatness as a Jedi. I am truly honored to be your student."
Something flickered briefly across Qui-Gon's face and he traced his thumb lightly over the younger man's lower lip. On impulse, Obi-Wan kissed his thumb softly, closing his eyes as if he could hold on to the moment longer if he weren't watching it so closely. He felt Qui-Gon's hands frame his face, and then felt his master's lips brush his softly. It was a brief, chaste kiss, one of formal Jedi ritual. It was followed, as was customary, by a kiss on his forehead -- the classic master-padawan ritual greeting.
He opened his eyes to see Qui-Gon staring into his. His master looked slightly shaken. He smiled. Qui-Gon smiled back, and pulled him into a tight embrace.
"From the noise it sounds as if the party is starting without us."
Obi-Wan nodded into Qui-Gon's chest. He could suddenly care less about the party inside. The kiss had left him confused and a little shaken. Qui-Gon had kissed him that way a few times before, in formal settings where it was expected, but it had never felt like that -- so... erotic. He wondered why his feelings toward the man seemed to be changing so rapidly. The world suddenly seemed to be upside-down, and he was reacting in unexpected ways to his master's routine behaviors.
They stood there for a long moment, neither willing to end the embrace. Qui-Gon finally squeezed Obi-Wan tightly for a split second and then stepped back, holding him at arm's length. "Enjoy yourself tonight, Padawan. You deserve it." He nodded his head toward the doorway.
With a small sigh, Obi-Wan followed him through the door.
The party had indeed started. The room was filled with people whose faces were becoming familiar, and they seemed to be grouped around small tables, sitting on cushions on the floor. The room was surprisingly dark -- the only light sources appeared to be candles on the tables. They glanced around for their hosts, and finally caught sight of the royal family near the center of the room.
Obi-Wan settled onto a cushion at the small table where the twins were busying themselves. They kissed him in greeting, faces glowing in the dim light and dark eyes sparkling. He watched as Qui-Gon was greeted similarly by the queen and settled onto a cushion at a nearby table. Their eyes met suddenly, and Obi-Wan fought the urge to look away. Qui-Gon winked. He smiled back, feeling a slight tingling sensation in his abdomen.
He forced his attention back to the twins, mostly so that he could not think about what was happening between himself and his master. No time to think about that yet, not now.
He was rescued from his thoughts by the king, who greeted the gathered celebrants once more in the local language. Jema translated, sliding her hand from his knee up his thigh slowly. He struggled to maintain his composure at that sudden erotic touch. He had no idea what she was saying, and hoped it wasn't anything terribly significant. All he could suddenly think about was the fact that she -- and Jalet -- were expecting to have sex with him that very night.
He glanced around the room slyly. Would they do it here, with everyone else around them? Was it to be a sort of planet-wide orgy? He was suddenly seized by the thought of having to watch Qui-Gon make love to someone else. /Someone else? Instead of whom?/ He refused to answer his own question, not now.
Something dropped onto the table in front of him, pulling him from his unbidden thoughts of his master yet again. It was a blue pouch made of a soft and shiny blue fabric, about the size of his hand. Servants were circling the room, distributing one to each person. He took the bag from the table and loosened the drawstring to examine the contents.
/Tea?/ It looked like it was full of tea, only it was bluish in color... /The dried petals/, he thought suddenly. Relief spread through his body like a flush. He fervently hoped that he could get a clenasyn buzz quickly, to clear his mind of thoughts of Qui-Gon. He smiled at himself, suddenly understanding the allure of intoxication as he never had before.
A chime sounded, and the room began to rumble softly with the sounds of hushed conversation and activity. He turned his attention back to Jema and Jalet, who were studying him curiously.
"I'm not sure what's expected of me tonight," he confessed. "I'm a little nervous."
They grinned at him. "Don't worry," Jema smiled. "We'll take good care of you."
"But first, we have to do this," Jalet said, waving his hand at the table and rolling his eyes a tiny bit. Jema reached for the teapot that was there, but he pushed her hand away. "No, darling, I do it much better than you," he teased.
He arranged the cups carefully on the tiny table top and motioned for Obi-Wan to hand him his blue pouch. With a flourish of hands, he measured an amount of the "tea" from each pouch into the cup. A fairly elaborate ritual of pouring of water followed.
Obi-Wan watched, fascinated, as the dark-haired man prepared the tea according to what was clearly an ancient tradition. At the Temple, he had studied various tea ceremonies in classes on culture and etiquette, and had always found them quite fascinating. This one was similar to ones he knew, but there was an air of mischievousness to the prince's method that surprised him. It was as if the young man were treading the line between being respectful of the tradition and making fun of it at the same time.
He had seen Qui-Gon do that countless times -- his master was not as fond of ritual as was Obi-Wan, and made his annoyance of it clear whenever he did not risk offending anyone. Obi-Wan generally delighted in forcing his master to sit through a tedious tea ceremony on special days of observance -- when even Qui-Gon could not refuse.
The water was boiling hot, and steam rolled out of the cups. The liquid steeped quickly to an unnerving bright blue color. After a long moment, Jalet picked up a cup and blew on the surface to cool it slightly. He raised it to his forehead and spoke a few words in Primalian, then lowered it to his heart and spoke again. He then handed the cup to his sister, who repeated the process. She handed the cup to Obi-Wan, opening her mouth to tell him not to worry about the ritual, but not before he repeated the process, speaking the words of the ceremony perfectly.
The twins exchanged a glance, surprised. For a brief moment, Obi-Wan wondered if he'd made a mistake. One aspect of his diplomatic training had focused on picking up ritual behaviors quickly in situations such as this one.
Jema broke the quasi-solemnity of the ceremony with a grin, whispering, "Wow, Obi. You sure you've never done this before?"
He smiled enigmatically in return. Obi-Wan handed the cup back to Jalet, but he shook his head. "That one's yours."
Jema picked up another cup of tea and repeated the blessing of it. She handed it to Obi-Wan, who did the same, and then handed it to Jalet. One more round, this one started by Obi-Wan, and Jema held a cup as well.
She held it between her cupped hands, testing the temperature as best she could. "The heat transforms the clenasyn in the petals, so it's worth the wait."
"Heat?" Obi-Wan asked. He started to ask a question when he saw a brief glance exchanged between the twins.
Jalet laughed, then smiled apologetically at Obi-Wan. "I think it's time," he grinned, picking up his cup and blowing on the surface of the liquid before taking a long sip.
Obi-Wan and Jema followed suit. The tea had a strong bitter taste, though no more than most teas he'd tried. Obi-Wan swallowed carefully, noticing that the twins were trying to drain their cups as quickly as possible. With some effort, he did so as well. He returned his cup to the table and waited, wondering what he was supposed to feel. Jema and Jalet watched him, grinning.
Then it hit him -- a gentle wave of pleasure that started at the base of his skull and radiated down his spine and throughout his body. He closed his eyes and exhaled slowly, trying not to disturb it or unsettle it -- it felt as fragile as glass for some reason. Behind his eyelids was a blue haze, and his mind swirled momentarily from the sheer pleasure he was feeling. The feeling soon began to dissipate, very slowly, and after a minute it had become a pleasant buzz, much like the one he had felt in the grove on during Firstnight, as a result of inhaling the fragrance of the Moonflowers.
He opened his eyes slowly. "Wow," was all he could manage. The twins looked blissful.
Jema stood slowly and held out her hand to him. He rose to stand beside her, smiling.
Jalet stood, tucking his own blue pouch into his pocket. "Don't forget that." He gestured to Obi-Wan's pouch on the table. "It gets better," he said with a wink.
Obi-Wan felt a tremor in his core at the look the young man gave him. That had been the most amazing sensation he'd ever felt, even better than his self-induced orgasms. How could it get any better? Well, perhaps he could think of a few ways. He smiled back and floated more than he walked as he followed the twins out onto the terrace and into the gardens beyond.
Arms intertwined, they made their way wordlessly back to the Moonflower grove. After passing through the large gates, they found their way down a path into the heart of the grove by moonlight. Obi-Wan found it hard to believe that he'd first met the twins there only two nights prior -- it seemed like weeks ago. So much had changed. And more was about to change, he realized nervously.
As if reading his thoughts, Jalet pulled them off of the path and under a particularly thick and low-hanging tree. Obi-Wan was surprised to see that the spot had been prepared in advance. A large blanket was spread on the ground, and a basket was set off to the side near the trunk of the tree.
Jalet turned to Obi-Wan and pulled him into an embrace. "This," he whispered, lips ghosting over the young Jedi's cheek, "is the best spot in the grove. It's private..." A sensual kiss at the point where his jaw line met his ear. "And quiet..." Another kiss, this time an inch lower on his neck.
"And just big enough for the three of us," Jema's voice pulled his attention to the other side of his body, where her hands were sliding under his loose shirt to stroke his chest, her warm breath against his ear.
He fell to the ground, using the Force to pull the twins with him and cushion their fall. They gasped in surprise, but giggled. His hand slipped behind Jema's head to pull her down into a kiss. Her lips parted under his insistent tongue and she pressed her body against his hungrily. He groaned as her fingers slid down toward the waist of his trousers, stopping to tease his navel.
"All right, you two, take it easy," Jalet said softly. "First things first."
Jema broke the kiss and leaned over Obi-Wan, propped up on an elbow. The fire in her eyes was an amazing sight, and he wanted nothing more than to devour her at that moment. She traced the outline of his lips with an index finger, pulling it away teasingly when he tried to take it into his mouth.
"Patience, Obi. You'll like this."
"I like this," he said straining up to kiss her. She allowed it for a moment before pressing him back down with surprising strength. Grinning, she sat up and glanced at her brother.
Jalet rummaged through the basket and pulled out two small objects. One was somewhat cylindrical in shape with a bowl-like depression on one end. The prince removed the pouch of Moonflower petals from his pocket and filled the depression with some of the dried substance, packing it in carefully.
Gradually, it dawned on Obi-Wan what was happening. The other object was an incendiary device that was used to light the dried petals in the pipe, while Jalet inhaled from the other end several times. Without exhaling, he handed the pipe and lighter to Jema. Obi-Wan watched, fascinated, as the young man exhaled slowly, a tendril of bluish smoke rising from between his lips. He closed his eyes and sank back onto the blanket with a moan of pleasure.
Jema handed the pipe to Obi-Wan. "Let me help you now, before I'm too happy to do so." She nodded at Jalet, flat on his back and looking quite content.
Obi-Wan hesitated for a moment, beginning to run through a list of reasons why he shouldn't smoke this... stuff... with his new friends. The fact that the clenasyn was altered chemically by heat worried him slightly, but the twins had clearly done this before. He looked back at Jema, who was smiling at him.
It couldn't be any different from the tea, really. Same principle. Sort of. He nodded and took the pipe.
"You have to cover the hole with your finger... yeah, like that, and here..."
He took the lighter, held it as she indicated, lit it, and inhaled as he'd seen Jalet do. The sensation of the smoke filling his lungs was very strange, though it didn't trigger a coughing fit as he'd expected. He held the smoke for as long as he could, handing the pipe back to Jema.
The clenasyn hit him in what could only be described as a wave of sheer warmth, cascading down his body, triggering pleasure centers he didn't know he had. He had never imagined feeling that good.
"Ahh..." He was exhaling now, and the blue smoke curled upwards as he sank back down. The blanket under him was incredibly soft and warm, cradling his body. His skin was incredibly sensitive, and the soft cloth brushing against him at the slightest movement sent shivers of pleasure through him.
He could not have been sure how much time had passed when he became aware of Jema lying beside him, one of her legs wrapped around one of his, her hand caressing his chest. He turned his head toward her with a good deal of effort. Her brown eyes were gazing into his, and she smiled.
"That was amazing," he whispered. "I've never felt anything like it." She grinned and rolled smoothly on top of him, pulling his shirt open to bare his chest. The sensation of her clothing and weight against his skin was astonishing. He had never felt so aware of his own body. His heart pounded, and he felt a flush spread across his face and chest.
"It's amazing to make love after you take a hit," she said, her hands skimming across his skin. "It intensifies everything."
"I believe you. Kiss me."
She first pulled her short dress up over her head and tossed it aside. He was not really surprised that she was naked underneath, though he wondered why he hadn't noticed it earlier. Her dark hair was wildly arranged around her face as a result of quickly undressing, and it brushed against her shoulders as her arms returned to her sides. His eyes traveled down from her freckle-framed face to her breasts to the small patch of carefully groomed hair between her lags. She was straddling him at the hips, and as she lifted her body slightly to move closer to him, he glimpsed the soft skin of her sex shadowed between her thighs.
He was harder than he'd ever been in his life, and suddenly uncertain how long he could hope to last. He closed his eyes and took a calming breath.
Then her warm wet mouth covered his and her tongue found entrance. He was lost in sensation, only feeling her lips, her tongue, her hands... and then warmth and wetness and...
She had somehow pushed his trousers down below his hips without him realizing it, and impaled herself on him. The sensation was more than he could have imagined -- warm and wet and soft and tight... and friction... /seven Sith hells this feels good/... She had leaned back into a sitting position and was riding him now, moving her hips in ways that changed the amount of friction he felt in a glorious pattern of heat and pressure.
He held off his climax as long as he could, sensing that she needed more, more time, harder... but he couldn't take any more of this delicious torture... his climax claimed him hard, crying out Force knows what... beautiful release... another wave of pleasure centered at his center...
Taking shaky breaths, he opened his eyes to see Jema smiling at him. She lifted her body so that he slid out of her, shockingly sensitive now. She curled up at his side.
"You didn't... I'm sorry..."
She kissed his cheek. "Don't worry. I knew it was your first time, and you'd need to take the edge off."
He turned and kissed her as tenderly as he could. "I will make it up to you."
She grinned. "Yes, you will."
Her head settled onto his shoulder. He inhaled, still recovering from what was the most amazing orgasm he'd ever experienced. /Well, the first one with another person, anyway./
He was suddenly embarrassed. "Was it that obvious, that it was my first time?"
He couldn't see her face, and was glad she couldn't see his, but he could since her confusion at the question.
After a moment, she said, "Well, I guess I assumed it was, since you have just turned 18. But then, I understand that the customs of Primale are different than in many places in the galaxy."
"Yes, that they are," he murmured, stroking her hair as she snuggled in closer. He suddenly realized that they were alone. "Where's Jalet?"
Her head popped up and she scanned the area. "He was probably just giving us some privacy. He'll be back soon."
"Will he be offended that..." Obi-Wan wasn't sure how to ask the question.
Jema understood. "No. Actually...we flipped a coin earlier today to see who would get to be your first." She grinned and ducked her head, suddenly embarrassed.
"Really?" He laughed, relieved that the decision had been made for him. "Have you ever... shared someone with him before?"
"No. We talked about doing this before, but we couldn't find the right person, someone who would truly want both of us."
"Well, you found me then. I definitely want both of you. It's all I've been able to think about since Firstnight."
A rustling nearby caught their attention. Jalet sat on the ground next to them, pipe in hand. "I don't know about you," he said, fishing for the lighter, "but my buzz is wearing off."
"Here," Jema held out her hand. "I'll go first and make myself scarce." She winked at Obi-Wan, and lit the pipe. He watched her for a moment, taking the pipe from her as she exhaled, sinking back onto her elbows with an expression of bliss on her lovely face.
Obi-Wan turned his head towards Jalet, who was watching him with a smile, brown eyes sparkling. He couldn't help reaching up and combing his fingers through Jalet's unruly dark hair, so different from his own. His fingers traced the outline of the young man's face, lingering over lips momentarily. Jalet opened his mouth and sucked in one finger, fixing his eyes on Obi-Wan's. He sucked in his breath at the sensation of tongue swirling around his finger, slick warmth and wetness... he closed his eyes, trying to savor the sensation. The chemical buzz in his brain was fading, but his body was still incredibly sensitive.
His finger was released and his mouth was covered with lips that crushed his own hungrily. Somehow it wasn't enough. He needed more, to feel more of Jalet's body against his own. He rolled over onto the other man, pinning his hands above his head and kissing him hard. His tongue pressed insistently into Jalet's mouth, and the prince moaned hungrily, wriggling slightly under Obi-Wan in an effort to maximize contact.
Obi-Wan had lost his shirt at some point, and desperately needed to feel the heat of the prince's skin against his chest. He clasped the prince's two hands in one of his own, and with the other ripped his shirt open. Jalet whimpered under his mouth. Obi-Wan was dimly aware that he was being rough, that he wasn't thinking, just feeling -- but Jalet seemed to be enjoying it.
Their erections rubbed against each other through their trousers, sending a jolt of sensation up Obi-Wan's spine. He broke the kiss with a gasp, staring down at Jalet.
Jalet's eyes smoldered, his breathing ragged. "Yes, please... Want you..."
Obi-Wan froze. "I... Jalet, I don't know what to do. I really want you, Force, I want you, but I've never done this before, and I..." He knew he was gushing, but he didn't care. He was overwhelmed by the force of his own passion, but frustrated by the fact that he wasn't sure how to proceed.
Jalet smiled. "Let's slow down then. We have all night." He shifted his body slightly, and Obi-Wan felt their erections stroke against each other again. He sucked in his breath sharply. Jalet grinned. "Let go of my hands -- I want to show you something." Obi-Wan complied, a little embarrassed. Jalet slid out from under him, and kissed him softly. "Don't get me wrong, I really liked it. I'd like you to do that again."
He kissed Obi-Wan again, then kissed his way slowly down his neck, his chest... Obi-Wan rolled onto his back, closing his eyes at the sensation of lips and tongue and teeth on his skin. Jalet's tongue traced around a nipple slowly, before his lips closed around it and he sucked gently.
If he'd had the ability to be self-conscious at that point, Obi-Wan would probably have been mortified by the sounds of pleasure he was making. He could not have imagined that his nipples would be that sensitive. And to think that his plan was to just go for Jalet's cock...
A sharp bite made him gasp, followed by a moan at the flicking tongue that soothed the pain away quickly. There seemed to be a direct connection between his nipples and his cock, which was painfully hard. Jalet's mouth moved across his chest to pay attention to the other nipple. He moaned incoherently at the delicious torture of it all, the building of the sensations. Jalet's tongue left a wet trail down his stomach to his navel, where it circled and dipped and swirled for a moment before making its way further south.
Jalet loosened the tie on his trousers and slid them carefully down Obi-Wan's hips, urging him to lift them slightly to ease the process. The trousers were removed completely, and Jalet began his ministrations again on Obi-Wan's feet, kissing the soles, drawing a toe into his mouth. Obi-Wan had difficulty controlling his breathing as the prince kissed his way up the inside of his thigh, tongue drawing a wet line up to what was now the center of his being.
After an intense moment, he felt hot breath on his balls. He gasped at that; he couldn't help it. He had heard his agemates make jokes about oral sex, but he had never been able to begin to imagine what it would feel like. The hot breath ghosted up the shaft to the head of his cock, which was now leaking fluid. Then a long cool breath was directed at the tip, and the sensation of air over wetness brought a sharp coolness that made his cock twitch in anticipation. He half-laughed, half-moaned, drinking in the feeling -- glorious anticipation, nearly painful now.
A hot, wet tongue stroked the length of his shaft. "Oh, Force..." He heard Jalet laugh, could sense the young man's thrill at seeing his pleasure.
"Tell me what you want," he heard, and felt the breath against his balls.
/What do I want? Isn't it obvious?/ He took a deep breath. "I want your mouth," was all he could think of to say, incapable of speech much more complicated than that.
"Like this?" he heard, just before his cock was engulfed in a warm wet mouth. He cried out hoarsely at the sensation, stunned by the intimacy of it, by the sheer pleasure that he felt. It felt different from being inside Jema, the swirling tongue and slight suction having a different effect on his senses. Jalet's tongue flicked on the underside of the head for a delicious moment, before taking him in deeply and sucking strongly as he pulled back, his tongue stroking the underside of his shaft. One of the prince's hands cupped his balls while the other gripped the base of his cock. Long strokes with his mouth were complemented by his hand moving opposite, stroking downward as his mouth worked its way toward the head, then upwards on spit-slicked skin as his cock was swallowed yet again.
The rhythm built slowly, steadily, as Obi-Wan's breathing staggered. He fought the compulsion to twine his fingers in Jalet's hair and control the rhythm himself, instead grasping handfuls of the blanket in his hands. His cries of pleasure could certainly have been heard by anyone walking down the path, he would realize later. The pressure of his orgasm was building steadily. He tried to hold it off, to prolong this experience as much as he could.
A slick finger pressed at the opening of his body and twisted its way inside. He gasped at the sensation of that intimate invasion, completely unexpected and a little uncomfortable...
The finger stroked a spot within him that he did not know was there, could not have imagined, and the orgasm hit him like a wall of energy. He was dimly aware that he screamed, releasing his pleasure vocally, physically. And then he was not aware of anything but Jalet's mouth gently sucking his cock clean and releasing him, crawling up his body to stroke his face and kiss his forehead.
"That sounded like you really enjoyed it." A touch of deserved smugness in that voice.
"Mmmm..." was all Obi-Wan could manage. "Hunh." He opened his eyes, which refused to focus at first. "That was incredible."
Jalet smiled and kissed him tenderly. Obi-Wan tasted himself on the other man's tongue, an erotic reminder of what had just happened. And of what had not happened.
"What about you?" he asked, suddenly aware that he had come twice tonight, while not returning the favor for either of his partners.
"Yes, I have a plan for that as well," Jalet grinned. "But first, I think it's teatime." He sat up and found the pipe where Obi-Wan had dropped it earlier. He lit it and took a few hits before handing it to Obi-Wan, and sank back onto the blanket. Obi-Wan shifted the pipe in his hand for a moment, feeling increasingly guilty about the prominent bulge in his friends' trousers.
He lit the pipe, inhaling more easily this time. Jema appeared in front of him and leaned in grinning, pressing her open mouth against his as he exhaled, inhaling the still potent smoke. He pulled her down next to him as he lay back against Jalet, the rush of clenasyn in his blood noticeably different from the feeling of orgasm he'd just experienced. It was centered at the base of his skull, and the pleasure was more pure, less animalistic.
He spooned his body behind Jalet's, pulling Jema behind him, comfortably sandwiched between the twins. He smiled.
Jalet seemingly read his thoughts. "This gives me an idea."
Obi-Wan laughed, kissing his shoulder, and slipped his arm around the prince's waist. "And just what would that be?" His fingers grazed the other man's still-hard cock.
"Mmmm... well... Turn over and I'll show you what I have in mind."
Jema giggled. "I think I dreamed about this last night." The three of them turned around so that Obi-Wan's chest was pressed against Jema's back, and Jalet was behind him, hard cock pressing into his buttocks through a layer of cloth. He had a picture firmly implanted in his mind of the three of them together like this -- he had been thinking of it for days -- and amazingly found himself growing hard again at the thought.
His erection pressed into Jema firmly, and he pulled the fabric of her dress up to access bare skin.
"Why am I the only one who's naked here?" he whispered. Jema shifted her hips back and he slid his shaft between her thighs, still feeling the wetness of their previous encounter on the soft folds of skin there.
Behind him, Jalet disappeared for a moment -- and then warm bare skin pressed against the length of him from behind. Jema leaned away from him enough to pull her garment over her head again, and the three of them lay there pressed against each other, breathing unsteadily, for a long moment.
Obi-Wan felt Jalet's lips on his shoulders, his hardness pressed into the cleft of his buttocks. He kissed the back of Jema's neck, and slipped his hand between her thighs to touch the warm wet skin he found there. She moaned softly when his fingers found a sensitive nub, and he kept them there, swirling gently.
Jalet's hands were stroking his buttocks, dipping tantalizingly close to sensitive areas. He was enveloped in raw sensation, the clenasyn pulsing through his veins, every inch of his skin exquisitely sensitive.
They stayed like that for a few long minutes, touching, teasing each other with hands, lips delicately pressed against sensitive areas along shoulders and necks, with Obi-Wan in the center of it all.
"Get on your hands and knees," Jalet whispered hoarsely before pulling away from him. He complied, pulling Jema up with him. She sat in front of him, kissing him, while Jalet kissed his way down Obi-Wan's spine slowly.
And kept going lower... Obi-Wan was genuinely startled to feel Jalet's tongue slowly trace a hot wet path between his buttocks. The destination was clear, and he briefly thanked the Force that he'd taken such a thorough shower that afternoon.
The tongue slowly circled the entrance to his body, and he broke the kiss with Jema to gasp at the sensation. He'd heard of this intimate act, and had previously found the thought of it a bit disgusting, but now... He could not have imagined that it would feel so good.
"You like that, don't you?" Jema whispered hoarsely into his ear. She sucked on an earlobe as he groaned. "You like it when he fucks you with his tongue?"
At that instant, Jalet did just that, and he felt the hot wet organ pierce into his body, sending a shockwave up his spine. /How did she know...?/ The tongue retreated and pressed in again, deeper this time, fucking him slowly.
"Oh, yes, that... aaahhhh..." Words weren't accomplishing much at that point. He became dimly aware of Jema sliding down underneath him to take his hard shaft into her mouth, working him with as much skill as her brother had earlier. Warmth and wetness engulfed him at two of the most sensitive and intimate places on his body.
Jalet's tongue was pressing deep into his ass, much deeper than he would have thought possible, while Jema sucked his cock, swirling her tongue around the head with every stroke. He rode the wave of sensation, noting with detached relief that he was able to control his body's responses more easily now. He didn't want to come, not yet.
The twins pulled away simultaneously, eliciting a moan from him again. His eyes met Jema's, and the raw passion he saw there spurred him into action. He pushed her onto her back and pressed her thighs apart. Still on his knees, he leaned forward to trace his tongue along the swollen folds between them. She sucked in her breath sharply and twined her fingers in his hair, urging him on.
Jalet materialized behind him, urging his hips up into the air. The position was a bit awkward, but he managed to continue pleasuring Jema. At least, she seemed to be enjoying herself. He tried not to think about the fact that he had no idea what he was doing.
His thoughts were interrupted by something cold and slick pressed against his anus. He felt Jalet's hand rubbing in a circular motion on his lower back, and realized that the cold substance was lubrication, which was being swirled around on Jalet's fingers.
One slick finger pressed deep into him, turning slightly, and was withdrawn completely. The fingertip swirled around his anus before penetrating him again, going even deeper this time. He found himself moaning between Jema's thighs as Jalet began to slowly fuck him with one finger.
"Yes, you like that don't you?" Jema whispered hoarsely, meeting his glazed eyes with her own.
He responded by slipping one finger into her, withdrawing it slowly, pressing into her in the same rhythm with which he was himself being penetrated.
"More," they both said simultaneously.
Obi-Wan pressed a second finger into Jema, finding the warmth and softness engulfing them intensely erotic. Then he felt Jalet press a second finger into him and lost his concentration altogether. The sensation of fingers twisting inside him as they pressed in and pulled out was intense. The pressure was uncomfortably tight, but it felt good also, he found that he wanted more, harder, faster...
A third finger was added, and he felt a twinge of pain. His body tensed as he began to realize what was coming next. The fingers pressed in further. He gritted his teeth, starting to panic. Maybe this wasn't going to be so easy after all.
Jema slid away momentarily and returned with the pipe in her hand. She held it to his lips, lighter ready. "Trust me," she said, smiling. "This is experience talking here."
Jalet's fingers continued to twist inside him. The pain was gone, but he knew that Jalet's cock was bigger than three fingers... Jalet kissed his back softly, patiently.
Obi-Wan closed his eyes. It suddenly occurred to him exactly how vulnerable a position he was in, on his hands and knees, about to be penetrated anally, with an offer of a narcotic to sedate him before he could change his mind. This scenario was light years from even his darkest fantasies. But he trusted his friends, and the Force was quiet around him.
He opened his eyes. "Trust me," Jema whispered again, so softly that he almost didn't hear it. Jalet's fingers were gone, and the man had moved away. Obi-Wan realized with a jolt that he was preparing himself for--
He nodded, and Jema held the pipe to his lips, lighting it. He inhaled, and she pulled it away quickly, giggling. "That's enough, now. We don't want you incapacitated, just relaxed."
He held the smoke in his chest until the clenasyn began to sweep through his body. He exhaled, feeling his legs give beneath him, but he didn't hit the ground. His thoughts were a swirl of color, of pleasure, of warmth, of fullness, of...
He realized that Jalet was sheathed inside him, and stroking his lower back slowly with one hand. It was a little uncomfortable, but the hit had distracted him from the pain of penetration. He laughed, relieved.
"How's that feel?" he heard Jalet whisper.
"Good," he managed. And it was true, much to his surprise. Really good.
Jalet moaned. "You are so fucking tight. Sh'tra..."
Jema slid underneath him, on her hands and knees, and slowly impaled herself on his erection. He exhaled slowly, reeling from the sensation of penetrating and being penetrated at the same time.
They stayed like that for a moment.
"Ummm, how do we...?"
"Just stay still," Jalet whispered. "Let us do the work."
The twins started moving simultaneously, Jalet withdrawing slowly, Jema leaning forward until just the tip of his cock was still inside her. At the same moment, they pressed in towards him, Jalet filling him, and Jema enveloping him.
And it felt really good.
They continued like that, slowly, building a rhythm, in complete coordination. Obi-Wan would later wonder if they truly were telepathic. The sensations coursing through his body were indescribable. As the rhythm sped up, he lost control, moaning incoherently at times, and very coherently and profanely at others. He managed to slip his hand around Jema to touch her, eliciting soft cries, building.
Jalet was fucking him in earnest now, hard heat pressing in and filling him, stroking his prostate, while Jema was riding his cock, enclosing him in heat and warmth, squeezing him as she pulled away, warm, wet, hot, pressure, filling, filled...
Jema's words fell into a distinct pattern, though he couldn't understand them -- she was coming, but crying out in her native language. Her body convulsed beneath him, and he couldn't hold back any longer, those rhythmic pulses of her body squeezing him pushing him over the edge. His climax crashed through him, and he cried out, legs turning to jelly. Jalet pumped into him furiously, then shouted something he couldn't understand before finally slumping against him.
They remained that way for several long minutes, limbs and other body parts intertwined in a heap, thoroughly sated.
Several hours later, a very sated young Jedi padawan stretched out on the blanket between the twins. Jema was dozing lightly, after one too many hits from the pipe, a dazed smile on her lovely face. Obi-Wan watched her for a long moment, remembering the exquisite expression on her face as she came beneath him.
He had tried again to bring her to orgasm orally, and had licked and sucked until his tongue was numb from the effort. She had clearly enjoyed it, but finally pulled him up over her body, fire in her eyes, saying, "Fuck me," in a way that made him nearly come right then and there.
Afterwards, he apologized for his earlier failure, but she laughed and kissed him softly.
"Oh, Obi-Wan, don't worry about it. It felt great." She traced her tongue across his swollen lips. "Besides," she continued softly, "sometimes you just need a big hard cock ramming into you, more than anything."
"Yeah," he grinned, "I know what you mean."
He'd had more success with Jalet later, finding that he had a "natural affinity for cocksucking," as the prince had put it. It was somehow easier to figure out what to do, and to read his lover's body language. He could imagine what would feel good to him, and that seemed to be quite effective.
He enjoyed the experience more than he had expected to. The skin on Jalet's penis was soft, and the sensation of it on his tongue was glorious. He couldn't seem to get enough of the warmth and hardness, almost instinctively sucking and licking with abandon.
When Jalet came, the sensation of his mouth being filled with hot bitter liquid had shocked him more than anything. He panicked momentarily, gagging a little as the stream hit the back of his throat, and held it in his mouth for a moment, uncertain. He knew he should swallow, that to spit would be fairly offensive, but he really hadn't thought that far ahead when he'd first taken that hard shaft into his mouth. He finally set his jaw and swallowed, glad that Jalet still had his eyes closed so he couldn't see Obi-Wan flinch slightly. The taste, he reflected, wasn't really that bad at all.
Jalet was stretched out on his back, boneless, and Obi-Wan was rock-hard. He used the Force to call the lube into his hand, and spread some of the cool gel over his shaft, startled at the sensation of his own hand moving so slickly over his skin. He stroked himself slowly.
Jalet opened his eyes and grinned. "Save some of that for me." He rolled over onto his stomach, parting his thighs as much as he could.
Obi-Wan stared for a moment, realizing what he was about to do.
He leaned down to kiss Jalet softly, and then slipped a finger into his body, preparing his lover as he had been so carefully prepared earlier. Jalet hissed in pleasure as Obi-Wan withdrew the finger slowly, twisting it in an attempt to loosen the tight muscle at the entrance. He soon added another finger, fucking Jalet slowly. The prince's hips began to rock against his hand.
"Please, now..." he grunted. "I want to feel you inside me..."
No further encouragement needed. Obi-Wan slipped to his knees and pressed the head of his cock against the opening to Jalet's body. Penetration wasn't as easy as it had been with Jema, and he worried that he was hurting his lover as he pressed slowly in. Jalet groaned slightly and Obi-Wan stopped, but the prince urged him on. After a long moment, he was finally completely sheathed in Jalet's body. Unsure what to do, he waited for the tightness around his cock to ease, trying not to move, though he felt an overwhelming urge to thrust.
"Okay, that's good," Jalet whispered, turning his head as much as he could. Obi-Wan leaned his body forward and kissed him tenderly. "Don't get sweet on me now," Jalet laughed. "I want to be fucked... fast and hard." His eyes sparkled.
Obi-Wan had started thrusting slowly, teasing, relishing the tight slick heat that engulfed him. It felt very different from being inside Jema, and he wasn't sure which sensation he preferred. Before long, his own need took over, and he thrust his hips hard, ramming into Jalet with as much force as he could manage in that position. Jalet expressed his approval and pleasure loudly.
Obi-Wan came hard, crying out something in Huttese that he would later laugh about. He stayed hard for a few minutes more, and continued thrusting into Jalet until he came as well.
Jema soon rematerialized, and the threesome smoked Moonflower petals until they were delirious with pleasure and contentment, drifting off to sleep intertwined with each other. Obi-Wan's bladder had finally awakened him.
Jema and Jalet did not stir as he shakily pulled himself to his feet. Standing took more effort than he expected, and he quickly leaned against a tree for balance. The world began to spin, and for a moment he thought he would be sick.
/Oh, I think I overdid it./ He leaned against the tree trunk and took deep breaths until his stomach had settled somewhat. Staggering, he wound his way deeper into the grove to find a spot to relieve himself.
Unfortunately, he had not had the presence of mind to note which direction he had been walking, or even to take note of his surroundings in order to find his way back to his friends. /Some Jedi. Get lost in a fucking orchard./
He tried to center himself, reaching out in the Force for a familiar presence. Sensing one nearby, he began to slowly make his way towards it.
Qui-Gon took a long drag on the joint and handed it back to Hema. Blue smoke curled up from his lips slowly as he exhaled, stretching back onto the blanket. She sat nearby, stroking his bare thigh with one foot. He closed his eyes and sighed as the wave of clenasyn washed over him.
It was one of the most exquisite sensations he'd ever felt. Qui-Gon had free-based spice once, while on an undercover mission, years ago. He had spent nearly a standard year working to infiltrate a spice cartel, one of his first solo missions as a knight. He'd managed to avoid using any drugs for months, but he'd finally been backed into a corner. A particularly suspicious Hutt had asked him to test the quality of a new shipment by sampling it. It quickly became clear that he could not refuse without revealing his cover, and so he'd agreed. Cool on the outside, he was terrified on the inside. He'd seen enough people do it to be able to complete the preparations himself, but he'd also seen the aftereffects.
As he inhaled the wisp of blood-red smoke through the dealer's proffered glass pipe, he focused on purging his system of the substance as quickly as possible.
He couldn't do it quickly enough. The sensation had been unbelievable, and he stopped trying to expunge it almost immediately, delirious with pleasure. Days later, shaking from withdrawal and vomiting hourly, he had developed a new sympathy for drug addicts.
He never thought he'd feel anything that came so close to that again, but smoking clenasyn was certainly approaching that experience. It didn't have the mind-numbing paralyzing effect of spice, but it felt every bit as good. In many ways, it was better.
A warm body suddenly snuggled against his side, bringing him out of his thoughts. He didn't have to look to know who it was.
"Master." His apprentice nestled closer yet, pressing his face into Qui-Gon's neck and draping one arm and one leg across his body. Qui-Gon was dimly aware that they were both naked. He wasn't sure why his apprentice was there. Wasn't he spending the night with the twins? Was it morning already? The younger man's body felt so good pressed against his, warm and slightly sweaty, as if they fit together perfectly.
"Obi-Wan," he whispered, sliding his arms around the younger man and hugging him close. He pressed a kiss onto the top of his apprentice's head. One hand slid up to comb fingers through the spiky hair, and the other slid down to stroke his back. Hard muscles relaxed slightly under his touch. The curve of the his spine was so inviting, and his hand slid further down quite naturally to cup the supple swell of the younger man's ass.
"Master," Obi-Wan whispered again, lips brushing against Qui-Gon's neck. He couldn't help but moan as the lips brushed against his skin again and again, now on his chest, and there was a tongue flicking one nipple to hardness, then sucking, hands smoothing across his chest, hands teasing his hardening shaft, another mouth on his other nipple, biting and licking...
He could still count, and there were two mouths and two pairs of hands caressing him. In his drug-induced haze, he couldn't tell which was his apprentice and which was Hema.
As a hot mouth engulfed his cock, he realized that he didn't want to know.
He sucked in his breath sharply, biting his lower lip in a futile attempt not to cry out as a talented mouth began working his swollen cock in earnest. It was so hot and wet, just enough suction, a little teeth, tongue swirling around the sensitive head with every upward stroke -- just like he liked it. The other mouth continued its attention to one of his nipples, tongue flicking the hardened nub roughly.
He dimly realized he had never been with two people at once, and that he should reciprocate somehow. He reached out with his left hand towards the head of the person fellating him.
Then he paused. Would he find long thick waves of hair on that head, or the spiky padawan cut of his apprentice? And did he want to know? If it really was his apprentice who was sucking his cock... he pushed the thought away roughly and clasped his hands behind his head, pulling his own hair hard to distract himself from that thought.
The person between his thighs circled the entrance to his body with a slick fingertip, and he gasped, "Oh, yes, please!" The finger slipped inside and slowly began stroking him, sending bolts of pleasure through his abdomen.
If it really was his Obi-Wan, he knew he should put a stop to this at once. The boy was clearly intoxicated, and this was definitely an inappropriate situation for Qui-Gon to allow to continue. But it might be Hema... fucking him with two fingers now, curling them just so to stroke his prostrate. "Oh, fuck, that feels..." She hadn't done that earlier. Didn't mean it couldn't be her now.
Another hand stroked his balls, and another grasped the base of his cock, stroking in time with the mouth that was... wait, that made three hands. /Stop thinking/, he admonished himself. /Live in the fucking moment./
Everything was so quiet suddenly, and the sensation of floating just on the edge of orgasm filled him. At any moment, he could fall over the edge, but he was momentarily suspended, hanging by a thread of reality, not wanting this fantasy to be over.
He heard a moan, distinctively masculine. The fingers inside him stopped stroking and flicked intensely against the spot that--
He fell, screaming, over the precipice, hips thrashing up wildly into that wonderful mouth, bursts of red and gold behind his eyelids. He could feel his cock pulse into his lover's mouth, and he didn't care who it was.
It was the most intense orgasm he'd ever had in his life. He felt the tears coming, and didn't try to stop them. They slipped out from under his eyelids and slid across his cheek and into his ears. He couldn't lift his hand to wipe them away. He couldn't move at all.
The mouth on his softening organ carefully sucked him clean and pulled away. He desperately wanted to hold him -- or her -- but couldn't open his eyes, or make his boneless arms move at all. He whimpered.
After a long moment, he heard a rustling sound, and then he was fiercely kissed. He opened his mouth willingly to the invading tongue, tasting himself there, and he managed to entwine his hands in... long wavy hair, which had been twisted into a quick braid. The braid came apart in his hands now as he wrenched Hema down hard, forcing himself to taste his semen on her tongue, forcing himself to believe that it was her, had been her.
"Oh, Hema," he moaned. He really had believed that it was Obi-Wan, and he was deeply surprised at his disappointment that it wasn't his apprentice who'd given him so much pleasure.
He pushed Hema away roughly and sat up, glancing around wildly. She stared at him, wide-eyed.
She regarded him curiously for a moment before shaking her head.
He closed his eyes. Had he imagined it? Was it a drug-induced hallucination? /No, he was here, next to me./
He opened his eyes again.
"Are you all right?" Hema whispered, stroking his cheek.
He met her concerned gaze and tried to smile. "Yes, sorry. Just a bit disoriented. Obi-Wan was here, wasn't he?"
She smiled and nodded. "Yes, but he left." She leaned away and retrieved the joint she had put out earlier. He wiped the vestiges of tears from his cheeks, watching her light it, taking it when she offered it to him.
He wanted it to be Obi-Wan, he knew that now. A long toke. He slid back onto the blanket, exhaling slowly. His mind went blank as the drug hit home. He shivered. He wanted Obi-Wan, and his apprentice had fled when he'd made that clear. He'd made a huge mistake, and he may have alienated his padawan. Another long toke. Hema took the joint back as he slipped into an uneasy blue haze.
Panting, Obi-Wan leaned against the tree trunk, trying to calm his racing mind and heart. He would never forget the way Qui-Gon had cried out, the way his body had shuddered when he came, the taste of him... He swirled his tongue across his teeth, tasting it again, and his knees gave way. He sank to the ground, despair filling his body.
What the hell had possessed him to do that? He'd stumbled towards Qui-Gon's presence blindly -- it was a bright beacon in the Force to him -- and had pressed his body against the older man's without thinking. When Qui-Gon had embraced him, stroking his back softly, he'd found himself unable to resist tasting the skin beneath his lips. Once he started, he simply couldn't stop, and he'd continued to kiss and taste that golden skin, reveling in the musky spicy scent that was so familiar, so Qui-Gon.
A rebel tear carved a path down his cheek, and he allowed it, though it tickled.
Qui-Gon's impressive cock in his mouth... he couldn't forget that, wouldn't, though he'd probably never get the chance again. He'd been able to play the older man like an instrument, somehow knowing exactly what to do, what he'd like. When Qui-Gon came, he actually savored the taste of the thick hot fluid that, to his surprise, didn't gag him. He actually held it in his mouth, not swallowing, wanting to hold on to the moment for as long as possible.
Then Hema had pulled him to his knees and kissed him roughly, forcing her tongue into his mouth and taking some of that essence from him. He'd been shocked at first, but when she backed away, he understood -- she was giving him a way out. Only then did he realize the seriousness of what he'd done.
He'd nodded and backed away hastily, seeing her kiss his master just before he turned away. Then he'd heard the man moan her name... and he ran. And ran, until he was sure he wouldn't be able to feel him anymore.
He'd crossed a line that he should never have crossed, but Qui-Gon would not know that it had been him. He could never know, for it would ruin everything...
Obi-Wan swallowed hard, knowing that he was being ridiculous. He couldn't keep this from his master. He couldn't shield his feelings forever, without the man suspecting something. He could only hope that Qui-Gon would be able to forgive him for this enormous breach of trust.
He found the twins, dozing, back where he'd left them. He stroked Jema's cheek, and kissed her. She mumbled incoherently.
He tried Jalet. The prince awakened as Obi-Wan kissed the back of his neck softly.
"Mmmm, nice," he whispered, stretching out on his stomach.
Obi-Wan straddled his body and stroked his hands down the muscled back of the prince, regarding the young man hungrily. His own arousal, unabated from his experience with Hema and Qui-Gon, began pulsing back to life, his cock stirring as he pressed his groin into Jalet's behind. The young Primalian's spine was lined with dark freckles that disappeared into the cleft between his buttocks. Obi-Wan felt a sudden urge to try to lick those freckles off.
His tongue left a hot wet steak up Jalet's spine. He nuzzled a shoulder, then bit down, hard.
"Ow! What're you... ohhhh..." The protest quickly faded into a moan of pleasure as Obi-Wan's lips, tongue, and teeth caressed Jalet's shoulders and neck, gently at first, and then more roughly as his passion grew.
Jalet struggled to turn over, but Obi-Wan held him down, pressing him into the ground, pinning his hands up over his head.
"You like it rough?" he whispered hoarsely into Jalet's ear. He couldn't do this face-to-face, couldn't kiss Jalet and let the other man taste Qui-Gon on his tongue. The skin under him flushed.
"Oh, yes, gods..."
He pulled Jalet's hips up, pressing his face into the ground roughly, and spread the cheeks painfully wide with his hands. Jalet trembled beneath him, and he was seized by the urge to sink his teeth into those mounds of flesh. Jalet moaned in response.
He found himself fascinated by the puckered entrance to the younger man's body, wondering... He leaned forward and exhaled softly letting his hot breath caress the sensitive skin there.
Jalet shuddered. "Oh, fuck yes, please rim me, yes!"
Obi-Wan couldn't help but smile. He wondered if he could make Qui-Gon beg like that with just a breath. /No/, he thought, pushing the thought away harshly. /I'm not going to think about this now./
He extended the tip of his tongue and slowly licked the sensitive skin just above the balls. Jalet moaned, encouraging him on. He circled carefully around the point of interest for several long seconds, Jalet shuddering beneath him. /Well/, he thought, /here goes/, as he swirled the tip of his tongue into the tight hole. Jalet cried out softly and struggled to keep his hips still, clearly wanting to arch back into the mouth so carefully pleasuring him. Obi-Wan pressed the tip of his tongue into Jalet's body slowly, marveling at the reaction such a simple gesture could produce.
It wasn't disgusting at all, he reflected distantly. The skin just inside that entrance was amazingly soft, and it actually felt good to stroke it with his tongue. His hard cock was starting to ache from tension, and he realized that things needed to move along more quickly.
He fucked Jalet roughly with his tongue, loosening the tight ring of muscle there -- it was all the preparation he was planning to give. The prince cried out beneath him as he pulled his mouth away and roughly pulled the prince's ass into his hips. His cock nestled between the round cheeks there, sliding up and down, the head repeatedly teasing the entrance. He pressed Jalet roughly into the ground, nipping the skin on his back hard enough to leave red welts.
Calling the bottle of lubricant to his hand, he flipped the top open with a finger... and stopped. Something wasn't quite right -- this wasn't what he wanted. He swallowed hard and dug his fingers into the other man's hips.
"Jalet?" he whispered hoarsely.
The prince stilled beneath him. "What's wrong, Obi?"
"I... I don't know how to ask this, but..." he swallowed again.
Jalet twisted beneath him and caught the look on his face, the bottle of lube being shifted aimlessly in one hand. He grinned and sat up, taking the bottle from Obi-Wan and pressing the Jedi down onto his back.
"As it happens, I'm actually quite sore from the good pounding you gave me a few hours ago." His eyes sparkled. "I'd be more than happy to return the favor."
Obi-Wan blushed inexplicably, but nodded his head with a smile. "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me, but I... I need to be fucked right now." Grinning sheepishly, he turned around, on his hands and knees, leaning forward until his forehead was pillowed on his arms, ass in the air. After a long moment, he felt the tip of Jalet's cock pressing at his entrance, circling a little, smearing cold lube.
Jalet stroked his lower back with one hand. "This okay?" he whispered.
"Yes," Obi-Wan replied calmly, though anticipating the worst. Jalet pressed forward, breaching the tight hole with a hiss. In one long, slow movement, he was sheathed in the Jedi's body.
Obi-Wan cried out; he couldn't help it. It still hurt, and he realized that he was more sore than he'd expected. He took deep breaths, willing his body to accept the intrusion, though it desperately wanted to expel Jalet's cock. He gritted his teeth and waited it out. Jalet held his hips firmly, whispering soothing words. The pain started to ease, and Jalet, sensing it, started to move.
He stroked slowly at first, pulling back until just the head of his cock was inside Obi-Wan's body, and then pushing all the way back in slowly. It started to feel good, pain mingling with pleasure in unexpected ways, slowly giving way to a rush of sensation.
The sensation of being filled and stretched without the buzz of clenasyn was exhilarating. He had never really contemplated anal sex before the last few days -- at least not being on the receiving end of it. He found that he liked it, though, liked being possessed by another, liked the intrusion into his body, the way that silken hardness brushed against the sensitive spot inside him.
Qui-Gon rolled onto his side and eyed Hema curiously. For some reason that he couldn't have explained if he'd tried, he was intensely aroused, for the fifth or sixth time in so many hours. He closed his eyes and took a deep, relaxing breath. /At my age? Clenasyn is a wonder./
He opened his eyes to find her fixing him with a sultry smile. "What are you trying not to think about so hard?"
He was on her in one swift movement, kissing her hard, pressing her thighs apart with his knees and reaching down to guide his already stiff cock into her. She cried out in shock and pleasure. Despite the quick start, he found himself compelled to fuck her with long slow strokes as she gasped and pressed up underneath him.
He closed his eyes, trying to will away the image that was firmly implanting itself into his mind -- Obi-Wan beneath him, moaning his name, taking his hardness into that sweet, tight ass.
The image was making him even harder. /Why fight it?/ he thought. /It's just a fantasy. It won't harm anyone./ He glanced down at Hema again, almost surprised to see her body beneath him. Hmmm...
He pulled out and roughly rolled her over, slipping an arm under her hips to elevate them. He leaned forward onto her back, and quickly entered her again, thrusting harder now. In his mind, it was his apprentice's hard body beneath him.
Jalet had begun to thrust harder, grunting with the pleasurable effort. Obi-Wan grasped the rumpled blanket by the handfuls, trying desperately to anchor himself to something solid.
Try as he might, he couldn't get the fantasy of his master out of his head. It was so easy to just pretend that it was Qui-Gon behind him, filling him, fucking him... his own cock was impossibly hard. He didn't want to push the fantasy away -- it felt too good. /Why not?/ he thought. /No one has to know./
The rhythm built to a frenzy, and he could almost feel Qui-Gon's calloused hands grasping his hips tightly, could picture the look on the man's face as he rammed into him, could smell the sex and sweat in the air, that spicy scent that always reminded him of Qui-Gon.
Without thinking he reached out along their training bond, wanting a mental connection, craving more than imagined physical contact. He could sense Qui-Gon through a slight haze, could feel... his breath caught in his throat as he suddenly realized what his master was doing. A twinge of intense jealousy flooded him momentarily, and then he felt it. Qui-Gon touched him back, tentatively, maybe even unconsciously, but his master was clearly reaching out to his apprentice in the throes of passion just as Obi-Wan was reaching out to his master.
Qui-Gon was lost, lost in the fantasy of fucking his beautiful apprentice. He imagined the golden planes of Obi-Wan's body beneath him, the cropped padawan cut wet and glistening from sweat, his balls slapping against the younger man's as he pounded his cock into him unmercifully.
He felt Obi-Wan reaching tentatively along their bond, deepening the connection beyond this exquisite physical one, and he reached back, touching and caressing his mind gently, in sharp contrast to the animalism of this physical act. He was still too stoned to do it well, and he couldn't hold onto it too tightly. He felt the connection slip into the background of his thoughts, just buzzing beneath his grasp.
He slid a hand beneath that strong body to pull at the straining erection -- and it wasn't there. With a shock, he returned to reality, the reality in which he was fucking a woman. He put the hand to good use, stimulating her further until she came, shouting hoarsely. But he wasn't quite there. He continued his eager thrusts, aware that Obi-Wan was still at the edge of his consciousness.
The tension in his body was building rapidly, and Jalet grunted behind him, pounding into him so hard that he thought he'd scarcely be able to walk in the morning. Jalet changed the angle, and was suddenly stroking his prostate directly. He fell into orgasm screaming, spasming muscles pulling Jalet along with him.
He was dimly aware of a flare of pleasure along the bond, as if Qui-Gon... /Sith it all/, he thought hazily. /We came together./
Qui-Gon collapsed onto Hema, sweating and exhausted. He remained there, unable to move, feeling her harsh breathing begin to quiet as the last vestiges of the second orgasm she'd had faded away. He smiled to himself. /I'll always be jealous of women for that/.
He rolled off of her and onto his side, still panting. She turned her head and smiled lazily.
"That was incredible. It's been a long time since I've had such a vigorous lover."
He grinned, though he knew the reason behind his vigor was something he'd keep quite private. It had been apparent that he and his apprentice had connected, and had felt, even shared, each other's orgasms. He couldn't be sure who had reached out first, and suspected that it had been himself, wrapped up in his fantasy. He sank onto the rough blanket and closed his eyes against the rolling turmoil in his brain.
He'd never expected to develop these feelings for Obi-Wan. It had struck him like a bolt of lightening, completely unexpected. And worse, it was not something that he could do anything about. He couldn't approach his apprentice with these feelings, for there was a very clear power differential. He would never be sure if he'd abused his position. He was destined to desire his padawan from a distance. For ten more years, perhaps.
"Well, I've been called many things in my life," Jalet said, grinning, "but Master is a first."
Obi-Wan's head fell into his hands.
"Shit, did I...? I'm sorry, Jalet." How embarrassing, how fucking insensitive was that, to call out another's name?
"It's okay," Jalet laughed, embracing him affectionately and planting a soft kiss on his shoulder. "I think I'd fantasize about a man like that too, if only I were lucky enough to spend all of my time with him."
"Yes, but..." Obi-Wan sighed, dropping his hands to entwine his fingers with Jalet's. "I don't know how to tell him, or even if I should. He thinks I'm a child. He wouldn't be able to think of me as an equal in bed, no more than he would think me an equal in any other arena."
"So, you're not going to tell him how you feel? You're just going to suffer in silence?"
"Well, I expect I'll masturbate a lot."
Six standard hours later, the Jedi were back on their small transport, flying up through the atmosphere of Primale. The goodbye hadn't been as traumatic as Obi-Wan had expected. There were no tears, just warmth, as he embraced Jema and Jalet on the landing platform. There were few words exchanged, just a sincere promise that they would keep in touch, continue this friendship.
"You may even be looking at the future senator from Primale," Jalet had declared softly. "I'll see you on Coruscant in a few years." Born minutes after his sister, the official heir to the throne, he had been educated in culture, philosophy, and politics in preparation for the isolated world's entry into the Republic.
Obi-Wan kissed them both with all of the feeling for them that he had, wordlessly thanking them for sharing themselves with him in such a remarkable way. They smiled at him, leaning on each other, as he boarded the ship.
He quietly made the calculations for the jump into hyperspace, lost in thought.
Large warm hands settled on his shoulders, startling him. He flinched, surprised, but immediately relaxed when the hands began a gentle massage.
"Good. I don't know about you, Padawan, but I am exhausted. I am intensely looking forward to that uncomfortable bunk that awaits me."
Obi-Wan smiled. "They don't make those large enough for you, do they, Master? Strap in."
A few minutes later, ship firmly on course, they headed back to the small cabin. Obi-Wan quickly stripped down to the loose Primalian trousers he'd kept as a souvenir, and pulled the two folding bunks down from the wall.
A mischievous grin split his face. "Top or bottom, Qui-Gon? What's your preference?" He turned to face his master, one eyebrow quirked upwards.
To his surprise, Qui-Gon didn't react to the joke as he'd intended it. Instead, he froze in place, mouth slightly open, eyes wide.
"Master?" he asked, pointing to the bunks in turn.
Qui-Gon looked away, blushing furiously. "Bottom, I suppose."
Obi-Wan studied him for a moment longer before climbing up into his bunk.
The dream was vivid. Hands stroking his chest, his sides, sliding down to caress his cock. Gently at first, but then stroking more firmly... he sucked in his breath and bucked his hips upward into those hands. Then he was engulfed in hot wetness as he was sucked down the other's throat. A throaty moan escaped him, thrusting, sucking...
He awoke with a start. /Sith, I never come in those dreams!/ He sighed, shifting his body, firm erection straining against the loose pants he still wore. He hesitated a moment before slipping one hand beneath the thin blanket, sliding under the waistband of the trousers, grasping his hard shaft firmly. He fondled the underside of the head for a moment, stilling his breath. He was used to doing this quietly. On many missions, they shared tight quarters, often the same room, and he had developed the ability to masturbate silently through years of practice.
He stroked himself with practiced ease, motions designed to quickly and efficiently bring himself off. The fantasy from his dream flooded his mind again. The hands stroking him were not his own, the calluses patterned slightly differently, but those hands still knew exactly how to touch him. /Oh, there, like that, keep doing that.../
Then he heard it -- a soft sound from the other bunk, so quiet he ought to have missed it. But it was a sound he had heard before. The sound of the object of his current fantasy, also touching himself. It was something he'd heard dozens of times, and had discreetly shut out, giving the other the same privacy that he knew he was afforded. But he couldn't shut it out, not this time.
He couldn't help but picture the man, hand in his pants as well, stroking himself strongly. Was he thinking of...? A wave of sensation shot through him, and he barely stifled a moan. /What was that?/ He tentatively touched their bond from behind the shields he'd kept painfully erect since they'd boarded. It was electric, full of desire, but hazy, as if underwater. Those shields were in place, but almost translucent.
The breathing from the other bunk grew quicker, and he heard a soft moan. He was so close, so close... then a soft cry in the dark, not from his own lips, and he came right then, crying out louder than he'd intended to, loud enough to have difficulty explaining the noise. He wiped his sticky hands on the sheets, stilling his breathing again. The cabin was quiet. Too quiet.
The soft voice echoed through the chamber. He panicked. Should he respond? Should he pretend to be asleep? No, he couldn't pretend nothing had happened.
He exhaled slowly. "Yes, Obi-Wan?"
He didn't press the issue. He drew in the Force to settle himself into a sound sleep.
Three days. Just the two of them. In a cramped transport with barely enough room for one. For three whole days.
Obi-Wan sighed, head in hands. Meditation wasn't helping. The tension between the two men was palpable, thick in the air like humidity, making him sweat uncomfortably. One more night, and if he survived that, they'd be back at Coruscant. The last two nights had nearly destroyed his control. The mutual masturbation sessions were enjoyable, but the tension before and after were unbearable. Neither he nor Qui-Gon had said a word about it to the other. In fact, they'd hardly spoken at all.
He'd had his shields so tight that he couldn't imagine what Qui-Gon must be thinking of him, how concerned or even upset he might be. He simply couldn't risk exposing his feelings to his master now, not while they were trapped on this small vessel. If it went badly, as it very well might, there would be nowhere to go. He knew he could not keep his thoughts from his master for much longer. It was already disrupting their training bond, and the distance it had placed between him and his master was verging on painful.
Why hadn't Qui-Gon spoken of it? Perhaps his master sensed his feelings, and was simply giving him space until they reached the Temple. He sighed again, feeling his stomach drop. He'd leached on to Qui-Gon the last two nights, listening for the tell-tale sounds that indicated the older man was pleasuring himself, and he'd been unable to resist touching himself as well. Just imagining that the man was stroking himself, cock hard and leaking... a shiver went through him at the thought of it. He took a deep breath and tried again to meditate.
The small sleeping cabin was barely large enough for one, so they'd arranged a schedule for use of the space on the way out to Primale. Several minutes earlier, Qui-Gon had slipped through the room on the way to the 'fresher, apologizing quietly for the interruption. The interruption wasn't what had disturbed the young Jedi. It was the sound of the shower starting, and with it the thought of Qui-Gon, naked, rivulets of water running over his skin, that had disturbed Obi-Wan. And the thought that the man might emerge from the shower at any moment, still damp, clean, smelling of that spicy soap that he had used for as long as Obi-Wan could remember.
Obi-Wan took another deep breath. He'd been practicing his speech to his master for the entire voyage -- what he would say, how Qui-Gon might respond. In truth, he didn't know how Qui-Gon would respond to his confession. He'd kept his shields so tight that he didn't have even an inkling of how the older man had been feeling since they'd left Primale.
He still couldn't get the taste of his master out of his mouth, the sound of his cries of passion out of his ears, the sight of his face as he came, out of his mind. He was getting hard again just thinking about it...
The 'fresher door opened. Qui-Gon stepped back into the room, towel wrapped loosely around his waist. Obi-Wan froze, eyes glued to the sight before him. /Force, he's beautiful./ He just stared. Qui-Gon stared back. This wasn't an unusual circumstance. Normally, his master would find a change of clothes, and put them on, whether his apprentice was present or not. He'd never been particularly modest.
"I, uh... sorry to disturb you again. I'll just get my clothes." Qui-Gon rummaged through his small bag and fished out a pair of trousers and a tunic, then disappeared into the 'fresher again.
Obi-Wan was left staring at a closed door. That had never happened before. Head in hands once more. There was only one plausible explanation. /He knows, somehow he knows how I feel. He knows it was me that night. He regrets it all, and now I make him uncomfortable./
Qui-Gon slumped into the pilot's seat with a sigh. This was difficult, much harder than he'd imagined. He could scarcely be in the same room as his apprentice without a twinge of desire leaking past his control, stirring his blood, igniting his lust yet again. The past two nights' masturbation had helped to relieve the tension somewhat.
He wasn't sure if he had let his shields down inadvertently, or if there was some undercurrent of desire along their bond that seemed to have spurred Obi-Wan to join him in pleasuring himself the last two nights. He knew he should speak to his apprentice about the situation, but he couldn't bring himself to start that conversation. He had to come to terms with the fact that his feelings for his apprentice had developed into something highly inappropriate, and probably unwelcome.
/The boy actually looked frightened when I stepped out of the 'fresher. As if I might.../
He massaged his temples with his fingers lightly. He'd kept his shields up so tight that the lack of connection was causing a headache. He could only imagine that Obi-Wan must be highly confused, maybe concerned, at the lack of contact from his master.
/This can't continue, and I can't hide my feelings from him much longer. I have to be honest with him, and soon./
This small vessel was, unfortunately, not the place to have that conversation. They were isolated, with nowhere to go for another day and night. If he confessed his desires to his padawan, how would the boy react? Perhaps with fear, since he was alone with Qui-Gon on this small ship, and his master ultimately could do as he wished.
/Back to reality, Jinn. He knows you would never hurt him, never do anything against his will./
Why was he thinking like this? Why was his imagination running wild, creating scenarios that were so ridiculous?
Still, what if Obi-Wan felt obligated to submit to his master's desires? What if the boy feared losing his master's affection, or worse, his chances of becoming a knight if he didn't comply? The Council's sexual harassment policy was clear, and there had been a few rare instances of padawan learners filing such claims against their masters.
/Am I such a pervert?/
He watched the starlines for a long moment. He'd been unable to meditate all day, and that was surely contributing to his fragile emotional state. Yet another reason to wait until they returned to Coruscant to confess his feelings to his apprentice.
/My apprentice./ He closed his eyes at that. Obi-Wan was many years younger than he, more years than he cared to count. He was old enough to be his father, more than old enough. He had always looked a bit strangely at master-padawan pairs who become involved romantically. He simply couldn't understand the appeal to either partner. Why would a young and vibrant person forgo the exploration and promiscuity afforded by youth to tie himself or herself to a person many years his or her senior? Why would an older person, with a wealth of experience at hand, choose a lover who was so inexperienced, so immature? And so utterly subordinate? He could certainly understand the physical appeal of making love to a young strong body, and perhaps even the flattery of having such a person be attracted to you, despite the multitude of other options available.
The potential for disruptions in the training relationship was immense, not to mention the specter of abuse of power. How could the two ever truly be equal in their love when they weren't equal in any other arena? Would the padawan ever truly feel that he or she could break off the relationship without jeopardizing his or her career? Could such a pair even sleep together casually without causing difficulty in other areas?
/What do I really want from Obi-Wan?/ Clearly, there was a strong physical attraction. His fantasies involved a great variety of sexual positions and acts, all featuring his lovely apprentice. Was it just sex that he wanted? He had no doubt that the man would be an amazing lover.
/But Obi-Wan is more to me than a potential good fuck/, he thought, tongue firmly planted in cheek. He was an amazing young man, vibrant, strong, gloriously beautiful. He would, Qui-Gon knew without a doubt, be a great Jedi, perhaps one the greatest. He simply glowed in his master's eyes.
/Am I falling in love with him?/ he wondered silently. It was a sobering thought. An intimate relationship was one thing, but he knew himself. When Qui-Gon fell in love, he fell hard. It had taken him these last years to put Tahl's death behind him. In many ways, he wasn't fully healed from that pain. He wasn't sure he was ready to open his heart so widely again, not to someone he could lose just as unexpectedly.
Upon their arrival at the Temple, an aide was waiting to take them directly to the chancellor's office for a briefing. They exchanged a look of panic, but said nothing. Normally, they would have used the travel time to discuss the events of the mission and formulate their report, but this time -- this time they'd barely spoken at all.
They waited outside the chancellor's office, still silent. Mace Windu joined them wordlessly, and they barely recognized his arrival. He regarded them curiously as the ornate door to the inner office slid open.
The chancellor welcomed them warmly and gestured to a cozy-looking sitting area to their left. A tea service and some snacks had been arranged on a low table. They sat, smiling politely as an attendant appeared from nowhere to pour tea into delicate cups emblazoned with the insignia of the Republic. Obi-Wan briefly wondered if chancellors ever took such items as souvenirs when their terms ended.
"Master Jinn, I'm sure you are tired from your journey, so we can keep this meeting brief," the chancellor began, holding the teacup carefully, legs crossed at the knee in an attempt to appear casual. "What are your impressions of Primale?"
Qui-Gon cradled his own cup in his hands, as if warming them. He was the opposite of the chancellor in that moment, Obi-Wan thought, not resisting the urge to smile. Utterly at ease, elbows resting on his thighs, not concerned with propriety and appearances, just honestly Qui-Gon.
The Jedi Master told a frank, if carefully edited, tale of their days on Primale, of the Moonflower festival, and of their experiences with the various forms of clenasyn.
"Do you believe that clenasyn would cause problems for Primale upon entry to the Republic?"
Qui-Gon pursed his lips, an act that Obi-Wan knew meant the man was considering his words carefully before answering. "It is possibly the most effective substance I have ever personally encountered, yet without the harmful or uncomfortable side effects of most narcotics." His voice had a rough edge to it, as if the words were difficult to speak aloud.
"What do you mean by effective?" Mace prompted. Qui-Gon glared at him in that subtle manner with which Obi-Wan was all too familiar.
"Pleasurable. Euphoric. It removes inhibitions, amplifies physical sensations. As good as spice in that regard, without the numbness and loss of sense of time."
Obi-Wan bit his cheek in trying to maintain a mask of serenity on his face. /Spice?/
"The Primalians have studied the effects of clenasyn on humanoids extensively, and there is no evidence of any harmful side effects. It is not toxic, not addictive, not impairing in reasonable doses, and utterly impossible to cultivate off of Primale. It seems clear that the demand for such a substance could be extremely high, and that the Primalian culture and way of life would suffer greatly if a market -- legal or otherwise -- should develop for it."
Obi-Wan cleared his throat quietly. "There is a black market present on Primale now," he began, recalling the hazy details of a late night conversation with Jema. "There are many products, derivatives of dried Moonflower petals that are siphoned off of festival supplies. As you might imagine, clenasyn can be ingested in as many ways as any other such substance can. There is a thriving market in those products onworld, and it is only the isolation of the planet that has prevented that market from extending offworld."
"As far as we know," Qui-Gon interjected, seeking Obi-Wan's eyes with a curious gaze. The younger man shivered slightly before looking away.
"Of course," Obi-Wan continued quietly. "Your Excellency, the Moonflower tree is revered by the Primalians, and the trees themselves are strong in the Force. I can certainly appreciate the place that the trees and clenasyn hold in their culture. I share my Master's concern about what would happen to the Primalians should a larger market for clenasyn develop. I am uncertain what we could do to stop it."
The chancellor nodded, watching both men carefully. "Thank you for your frankness, Master Jinn, Padawan Kenobi. I shall contact you if I have any further questions."
They stood and bowed politely before turning to leave the room, Mace following close behind.
"Qui-Gon, a word?"
Obi-Wan could see the man tense visibly as the Councilor drew him aside and whispered to him quietly. Obi-Wan quickly realized that the conversation was private and moved a short distance away, though he was extremely curious. The conversation became fairly heated, and Qui-Gon stormed away, clearly angry, carefully avoiding touching Obi-Wan as he passed by.
Mace Windu watched him leave, then shook his head at Obi-Wan before walking away in the opposite direction.
Qui-Gon slumped onto the sofa in the sitting room of their quarters, utterly exhausted.
"Master?" Obi-Wan's voice came from behind him. The boy had been in the shower when he'd finally arrived back at their quarters, having taken a long walk through one of his favorite gardens in a vain attempt to clear his mind. He immediately wondered if Obi-Wan was naked.
/No, bad master, bad. Mustn't think of my padawan like that./
"Qui-Gon?" The voice was directly behind him now.
He winced. /Not yet. I'm not ready to face this yet./ "Yes, Padawan?" He forced himself to use the title.
"I know that it's none of my business, but what was that argument about, with Master Windu? I have a feeling that it regards me."
He didn't know how to answer the question. He closed his eyes and sighed. Then there were hands touching his head from behind, sliding up to massage his temples. He groaned inwardly, but didn't make a move to escape that wonderfully calming touch.
/Ironic how a touch from him is soothing, despite the fact that it's he who is at the center of all of this./
He took a deep breath. "Mace was concerned that there seemed to be a great deal of tension between us, and he expressed his intention to bring it to the attention of the Council. I told him that he could... well, I said something I'm sure I'll regret in the morning." He sighed, relaxing under his apprentice's hands. Obi-Wan was suspiciously quiet behind him.
"Qui-Gon," the younger man began, and then paused.
He waited, knowing what was coming.
"I owe you an apology for my behavior of late."
Qui-Gon stiffened immediately. The hands slipped down to start working on his shoulders. "An apology, Obi-Wan? Whatever for?" He opened his shields up a tiny bit, and sensed waves of anxiety rolling off of his apprentice.
"Master, you've been very generous to not say anything, but..."
The hands stopped massaging, and fingers threaded through the hair on his scalp, stroking softly. Oh, he loved it when he did that.
"Obi-Wan, what precisely is it that I've been so kind as not to mention?"
"That I've been shutting you out, ever since we left Primale. I'm sorry."
Qui-Gon froze, heart suddenly pounding. "Why have you been shutting me out?" Surely his apprentice could hear his pulse. He concentrated briefly on calming it. It was then that he noticed Obi-Wan's hands were shaking.
He turned his body to face the young man and caught those hands before they could be drawn away. His gaze immediately slid down the younger man's body, taking in the bare chest, slightly damp skin, loose fitting sleep pants that hung low on his waist, then back up again. Obi-Wan's green eyes were wide, and he almost looked...afraid.
/Afraid of me./ Qui-Gon dropped his hands and slid backwards on the couch, putting some distance between them. Obi-Wan backed to the window and turned to face it, leaning his forehead against the transparisteel. The young man's grasp on calmness seemed to burst like a bubble, and words poured forth from him one after another in rapid succession, slightly muffled against the cool surface of the window and his hands, which were now pressed to the glass on either side of his face.
"I'm so sorry, Qui-Gon. I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help myself. I won't blame it on the drugs, I know now that it was something I'd felt for a long time, had been building, but I didn't know until then, and I know you're uncomfortable with me now, and I'm so sorry, I..."
"Stop." Qui-Gon was on his feet and across the room in a heartbeat, pulling his padawan into an embrace. "Obi-Wan, I don't know what you're talking about."
Obi-Wan leaned against him and took a shaky breath. The trembling ceased. "You don't?"
Qui-Gon closed his eyes briefly, trying to draw some serenity back into the space between them in the Force. He squeezed a little tighter, feeling the muscles in the younger man's back press into his chest, wishing that he could feel the heat of that bare skin against his own. His lips brushed Obi-Wan's ear and he shushed him quietly, soothingly. "I have been shutting you out as well. I wasn't even aware that you were doing the same until this moment."
Obi-Wan's head fell back onto his shoulder, pressing his cheek against Qui-Gon's lips. "You were shutting me out? Why?"
Qui-Gon found himself brushing his lips against the younger man's jawline softly. He couldn't help himself. Fresh from the shower, he just tasted so good. His lips trailed softly under the strong jaw to nuzzle his neck. Obi-Wan's breathing had quickened -- the muscled chest rose and felt a touch faster under his arms.
/I should stop this. What am I doing?/
He closed his eyes and pushed away from the window, out of the embrace. He tried desperately to reach out to the Force for some serenity. It wasn't working.
He opened his eyes to see his apprentice smiling at him.
"What is it?"
Obi-Wan's smile broke into a grin, one of those broad grins that he loved. To his surprise, the younger man brought a hand up to stroke his cheek.
He didn't pull away, though he knew that he should. He wanted to know if he was dreaming this. Was that truly his Obi-Wan, so gently stroking his face, pulling him, closer, pressing his lips against...
Qui-Gon, once he got warmed up, was a great kisser. He'd been told so on many occasions, most recently by the queen of Primale. He had a technique that most of his partners found highly erotic. He could do things with his tongue that mere mortals couldn't imagine. He'd once made a woman have an orgasm, just by kissing her. On the mouth, no less. It took him several long seconds to realize he'd met his match.
Obi-Wan's mouth was amazing. His lips were soft and full, and his tongue pressed past Qui-Gon's lips smoothly, searing him with small thrusting movements. Qui-Gon moaned into that mouth and let himself be kissed, savoring every moment of it. The taste of him was wonderful, soothing in a way he couldn't describe. That body pressed against tightly against his own, arms circling him, pulling him closer. An insistent hardness pressed against his thigh. The headache he'd been nursing for days was dissipating. The hardness brushed against his own erection, sending a jolt through his body.
"Obi-Wan," he gasped, pulling back and leaning his forehead against the younger man's, panting. "This is too fast, we can't just... we have to think very hard about this." He paused, still catching his breath. Obi-Wan nodded his head slightly, encouraging him to continue. "I'll do nothing to jeopardize your training, Padawan."
Obi-Wan pulled away slightly, face still flushed, features knitted with concern. /So adorable./
"Qui-Gon, I understand your concern, but..." He paused, wiping a hand across his face, as if clearing a cobweb away.
"If we take our relationship to a physical level, it changes the entire nature of our training bond," Qui-Gon began. "We will be equals in bed, but nowhere else. We must be sure that each of us can handle that. It will be difficult."
"But it would be worth it," Obi-Wan smiled, eyes flashing. Qui-Gon's stomach did a small flip inside his abdomen. "You are so much more to me than my master. I didn't know that until Primale. It was an awakening for me. I want this, Qui-Gon. I want you, very badly."
A long moment passed, with a hungry stare hanging in the air between them. Qui-Gon snapped, surging forward to capture that mouth with his own, pressing that body against the window, taking, devouring. It felt so right, so good, so perfect. Why had he been fighting this? A warm slick tongue battled with his. A hand was stroking his hardening shaft through his trousers. His apprentice's hand.
He broke this kiss with a groan and slid down to his knees, pressing his forehead into Obi-Wan's abdomen, hugging him tightly. He struggled to regain his control, taking deep breaths. The bare skin beneath his lips was far too tempting, and he pushed away, sitting on his heels.
"What now?" Obi-Wan's voice was rough, frustrated.
"We need to talk about this, Obi-Wan," he sighed. "We need to think very seriously about what this means, how it will affect our training relationship. We would have to keep it secret and be very discreet, lest the Council find out. You are quite young, and they may not have much sympathy for me as a result. They may even separate us, if they wish." He raised his head to glance at his apprentice's face.
Obi-Wan slipped to his knees as well, facing him, eyes closed. He looked for a moment as if he were meditating. "Master, this feels right. I know that this is what I want, and it is clearly what you want as well." He opened his eyes and met Qui-Gon's gaze. "I am aware of the Council's position on such matters, and I know that we would be taking a risk. But I... I need this. I need you."
"It's late, and we're both tired. Why don't we talk about this in the morning? A good night's sleep and clear minds will be better for this conversation."
Obi-Wan glanced at him shyly through thick lashes. "Can I sleep with you?"
Qui-Gon closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "As wonderful as that sounds, I don't believe that's a good idea, Obi-Wan." The young man's face fell, and he reached out instantly to stroke his cheek with a finger. "It's just for tonight, love. We'll straighten this out in the morning, I promise." Obi-Wan smiled at the unconscious endearment, and nodded.
They stood, straightening tunics and waistbands, accompanied by an awkward silence.
"Good night, then," Obi-Wan whispered, backing towards his own room. Qui-Gon watched, frozen to the spot, as Obi-Wan stepped through and closed the door behind him. His own bed, cold and empty, awaited him. Pity.
/A nice cold shower first/, he thought, heading for the 'fresher.
Obi-Wan was instantly awake when he first felt it. There was a slight stirring in the Force, now familiar after three nights of the same. It flooded his senses quite suddenly, as if the rush of hormones in Qui-Gon's bloodstream flowed through their link and into his body, making him hard instantly.
He groaned. This was getting frustrating.
Why was he feeling this every night? The first night on the transport, he had been awake himself, and had heard the muffled sound of skin on skin and labored breathing in the bunk below. By the third night, the sensation had awakened him, without any conscious effort on his part. Tonight was even worse -- he'd been practically jolted awake.
He focused on the other Jedi, some 15 meters away, but close enough to almost smell. He was touching himself before he even thought any further, stroking himself slowly, in time with Qui-Gon.
/This is ludicrous. How long can this continue before he realizes that this is right?/
He exhaled slowly, trying to bring some sense of calm into himself. Shadows flickered on the wall, the result of the constant traffic of Coruscant. The soundproof walls kept the noise out, but the resultant light that filtered through the blinds had an eerie quality to it.
Qui-Gon had apparently sped up the pace of his stroking, and images were flooding through to him now -- images of their two bodies, entwined together. He opened his eyes and stared into the darkness. Were these being sent to him intentionally? Why was this happening between them? He almost could believe that they were being drawn together somehow.
He sat up in bed and swung his legs over the side, unable to lie still any longer. He stood and paced the room a few times, cock jutting out in front of him like a beacon. He resisted the urge to touch himself, feeling the rush of sensations flow through him instead. He couldn't take much more of this.
/Damn Qui-Gon and his sudden allegiance to the Code./ At the most inconvenient moment possible, his master suddenly had begun to consider the rules of conduct for a Jedi. The irony of the situation was, of course, that Obi-Wan himself was suddenly the one in the position of encouraging the man to bend the rules, even blatantly disregard them.
He palmed open the door to his room, quietly cursing the man in the far chamber, cursing his stubbornness, his inability to see the obvious. The door to his master's room opened before he could raise his hand to the panel. Qui-Gon was sitting up on the bed, sheet tangled around him, staring at him helplessly,
Obi-Wan stood for a long moment in the doorway, chest heaving, eyes blazing, cock pointing at the object of his desire most eagerly. He'd never felt this way, never before in his life. Even the desire he'd felt for Jema and Jalet, under the influence of various forms of clenasyn, paled in comparison. He needed this deep down in his soul.
He crossed the room as calmly as he could and sat on the bed by his master. Even in the dim light, he could tell the man's face was flushed. He couldn't resist pulling the sheet back, revealing the erection he couldn't get out of his mind since that night on Primale. It jutted up towards him, beckoning.
He grasped the thick shaft in his hand and slowly stroked upwards. Qui-Gon's eyes closed and he inhaled sharply. He made no move to stop Obi-Wan, but he still seemed quite hesitant.
/I have to go slow/, he thought. How strange, to be the aggressive one, the seducer. He'd never been this way before the enervating events of the past week, had always been the one to push groping hands away, or to disengage from too-passionate kisses before things went too far. Now here he was, pressing his lips to Qui-Gon's chest, circling a nipple with his tongue, teasing it to hardness, while stroking that heavy cock as luxuriantly as he could. Trying to arouse the man to the point of no return.
"Obi-Wan," he heard from a throaty voice above his ear. He flicked the nipple roughly with his tongue, and his jaw was suddenly caught in a strong hand and pulled up, eye level with Qui-Gon.
The man looked as if he might cry.
"Obi-Wan, this is not something to take lightly. Once we start down this path, it will change our relationship forever. My duty and responsibility is to train you to be a knight. We must be mindful of that, regardless of what we feel."
Obi-Wan swallowed, nodding his head as best he could in the man's grasp.
"I want this badly, as do you. But you must understand the risk you are taking. Our training bond is strong, and once we add physical intimacy to it, it will become even stronger. We will be forced to keep that secret, and it will not be easy. If we are discovered, the consequences could be dire. If this is more than you are willing to commit yourself to, then we should not take this step."
Obi-Wan exhaled slowly, realization flooding his senses with a bizarre mixture of relief and anguish. "Qui-Gon, we have already taken this step." He paused, watching the man's face. "I realize now that I made a decision that profoundly affected you, and that was immensely stupid and selfish of me. I had no idea what might happen."
There was only confusion on Qui-Gon's face for a long moment. Obi-Wan dipped his head to swallow his erection, hoping that sense memory would be sufficient to explain what Obi-Wan himself could not seem to put into words.
Qui-Gon cried out sharply at the unexpected move, hips bucking up off of the bed. Obi-Wan tried his best to replicate their encounter from Thirdnight, using his hands and his teeth and his tongue. The bond between them was flaring with passion, guilt, and confusion. Then a flicker of recognition, followed by a sudden sharp gasp.
"That was you, that night?"
Obi-Wan let the head of Qui-Gon's cock slip from between his lips on an upward stroke. He sat up, suddenly feeling vulnerable. His voice barely registered on his own ears. "Yes... I'm so sorry." Obi-Wan dropped his chin, closing his eyes. Hands were suddenly sliding around the back of his neck and pulling him up, and his lips were crushed in a bruising kiss.
"Oh, it was you -- I wanted it to be you so badly." He was kissed again before he could respond, and this time reciprocated, tongue standing its ground and battling back fiercely.
Several emotions flooded him at once: relief, desire, confusion, apprehension. "What about you, Qui-Gon? I didn't give you a choice. Do you want this, with me?"
The blue eyes that held his gaze were full of emotion. "Until this moment, it did not matter what I wanted. I was even prepared to be separated from you, if that would ensure your future as a Jedi." He pulled Obi-Wan to him in a hug, stroking the younger man's back reassuringly. "I was searching for the strength to say no to you, to not give in to my desire. I was determined not to let you seduce me, though it would have been unbelievably difficult."
Obi-Wan smiled tentatively into his chest and tightened his arms around his master's body, listening to the man's heartbeat as he spoke. A question was lingering on his lips, something he was afraid to ask.
"Is this some sort of... deeper bond, beyond our training bond?"
Qui-Gon laughed softly. "No, Obi-Wan, it's not. Those have to be formed consciously."
"Then what have we been feeling? What has been waking me every time you get horny?" He flashed a playful grin.
"We both desired each other, but we responded by burying those feelings and shielding from each other. On a subconscious level, I knew what happened that night, but I... I think that what has happened is that we both subconsciously were reaching out to each other. Once we... consummate this physically and stop shielding from each other, that will stop. Now I understand why this has been so difficult, for both of us. I couldn't fight it because it was already there..." His voice trailed off and they were silent for a moment.
"Do you still want this, Qui-Gon? Do you want me? Is it too late to...?" He couldn't voice the rest of that thought, feeling pain rise in his throat like bile.
Qui-Gon squeezed him tighter. "No, it's not too late, but it would be difficult, and would require that we be separated for a while."
Obi-Wan shuddered slightly. Qui-Gon stroked his hair gently.
"And I do want this, love. It's just been quite sudden, that's all. Ten days ago, you were simply my apprentice, still a child in my eyes. Now I see you as a friend, as a man, as someone I desire emotionally and physically."
"This has been sudden for me as well. Ten days ago, I had no idea that I was sexually attracted to men, let alone my master. My perspective has changed completely, and that cannot be undone." He sat up, taking Qui-Gon's hands in his own. "You will never simply be my master again. I will always look upon you with desire and love, and I wouldn't give that up for anything."
Qui-Gon smiled softly. "Remember, this is purely physical. We don't have to promise each other anything more than that we will be lovers. This doesn't have to be an exclusive relationship. Indeed, I don't think that it should be so until after you are no longer my apprentice."
"Qui-Gon, I can't even think about anyone else. Why would you want me to?"
The older man stroked his cheek in a now-familiar gesture of affection. "You are young, and do not need to be tied to anyone so soon. It wouldn't be fair to you, or to me. In addition, I do have quite a bit of power over you. We can't forget that inequity in our working relationship, lest it affect our personal relationship. If you were bound to me exclusively, you would only resent me for it, eventually. You would find ways to rebel, and we would only hurt each other in the process. We will be working together for many more years, and that relationship is still our priority."
Obi-Wan nodded. "I understand, I think. I can accept those terms." He rose to his knees and slid closer, cradling Qui-Gon's face in his hands, hovering centimeters from a kiss. "Have we talked enough? Can we fuck now?"
Qui-Gon pretended to look shocked, but his couldn't help laughing, eyes sparkling as Obi-Wan leaned forward to kiss him hard, pressing his back firmly into the wall. Obi-Wan himself was a force to be reckoned with, the object of his desire finally pressed beneath him and allowing his mouth to be ravaged mercilessly. His hand found Qui-Gon's rapidly rising erection and began stroking it. Suddenly there were hands on his chest, pressing him back, onto the bed, and Qui-Gon was straddling his hips, holding him down.
The man's eyes gleamed as he simply stared down at his apprentice. Obi-Wan opened his mouth to protest, but one finger was pressed to his lips, along with one word, spoken in as low a voice as he'd ever heard from his master.
Over the next half hour, there were only a few parts of his body that weren't thoroughly tasted and teased by his master. Obi-Wan's youthful hormones were raging beneath his skin, but Qui-Gon seemed determined to make even sex a lesson in patience. By the time hot breath brushed the base of his erection, he was begging for mercy.
Qui-Gon complied, swallowing his cock in one swift movement, taking him in deeply, deeper than he thought possible, stroking, wet, hot...
He cried out as he climaxed, unable to hold back any longer. His hips were firmly held onto the mattress as his body convulsed. He sank down into the bed, boneless, still feeling shockwaves. He realized that he was shivering. His teeth were chattering embarrassingly, and he couldn't make it stop.
"I...I d-don't unders-stand. I'mm n-not cold-d."
Qui-Gon laughed and pulled him over onto his chest, so that he was draped across the man like a blanket. Hands stroked his back and lips grazed his forehead. The trembling finally ceased.
"What the hell was that?" he asked, lifting his chin with some effort.
Qui-Gon smiled. "Quite a compliment, that's what it was."
"Is that normal?" Obi-Wan cringed slightly, embarrassed. "I'm fairly new at this, you know."
"Normal, but unusual." Qui-Gon looked happier than Obi-Wan had ever seen him.
He leaned in for a kiss, tasting himself on his master's tongue -- a tongue that was soon doing unbelievable things to his mouth. He moaned softly, feeling his insides twist with pleasure. He drew back to lean on an elbow, dazed.
"Where did you learn to kiss like that?"
Qui-Gon flipped him onto his back effortlessly with a roguish grin. It was startlingly out of character. "Where did you learn to give head? For someone who was a virgin mere days ago, you gave me one of the best orgasms of my life, as I recall so vividly."
It was Obi-Wan's turn to feel smug. He smiled up at his lover, drinking in the blue eyes, the brown hair with streaks of silver falling down around the man's face.
"It was a birthday I'll never forget, that's certain." He paused for a moment, and Qui-Gon settled beside him, head propped up on one hand while the fingers of the other began tracing figures on his chest. "Are you sorry that you weren't my first lover?"
Qui-Gon didn't seem surprised by the question. "No," he answered softly, "I'm not. First times are, in my opinion, vastly overrated. They're messy, awkward, and often painful." A fingertip was flicking one of his nipples lightly. "Are you sorry?"
"No, I guess not," he replied. "I wouldn't trade that night with Jema and Jalet for anything." He grinned. "I don't suppose I'll ever have so many sexual experiences in one night again."
"Nor could you, without chemical assistance," Qui-Gon added, grinning back. "You have to tell me more about it sometime. I'd like to hear the details."
A mischievous smile on that face that had always been so serious. "Yes, really."
"You'd like to hear the details of a threesome with telepathic twins?"
Qui-Gon's eyes widened slightly and he smiled even more. "All the details."
"But not tonight. Tonight, I have other plans." The fingers headed south slowly, teasing him back to hardness. He grinned. Qui-Gon sighed melodramatically. "Youth is wasted on..."
"Don't say it," Obi-Wan warned with a grin. "Or do you truly wish to file a complaint?"
"Oh, I'm not complaining, love. I plan to put that to good use."
"Hmmm?" Obi-Wan closed his eyes and stretched, enjoying the sensation of being touched so intimately, of feeling so close to someone. It occurred to him that he'd like to get closer still.
He opened his eyes and turned Qui-Gon's face towards his with his hand. "Do you have anything we could use for...?" He found himself blushing suddenly, unable to complete the sentence.
Qui-Gon grinned. "I think so." He kissed the younger man again before slipping out of bed and disappearing into the main room. He returned a few moments later with a bottle of massage oil in his hand. Setting it on the table by the bed, he stared at Obi-Wan for a long moment, smiling.
"Are you going to come back here and fuck me or not?" Obi-Wan tried his best to appear inviting, though he was a little nervous.
"No," Qui-Gon said softly, even as he stretched out on the bed next to Obi-Wan, kissing his throat, stroking his hands over his chest.
"No?" Obi-Wan moaned. "What do you mean, no?" Hands were stroking his cock firmly again. Qui-Gon kissed him tenderly.
"I am not going to fuck you tonight."
A thousands protests ran through his brain, but he couldn't voice any of them. /Why not?/ He wanted this so badly, wanted to feel closer, as close as possible. Something cool was pressed into his hand.
"You are going to fuck me."
Obi-Wan blinked in surprise. Somehow, that thought had not occurred to him before now. All of his fantasies had featured Qui-Gon as the top.
The bottle was taken from his hand. A moment later, a slick hand was stroking his erection, the wet friction turning his brain inside out.
"But... I... you..." What was he trying to say?
"Obi-Wan, I want you to be in control of this. That means you're on top. At least this time." Qui-Gon rolled onto his back, pulling Obi-Wan over him gently. His knees fell open wide, exposing himself to his lover.
"Oh, like this?" Obi-Wan felt like a virgin all over again. He hadn't thought about the variety of positions in which one could be penetrated anally. This was one that hadn't occurred to him before.
"Well, like this, really." Qui-Gon's ankles were on his shoulders. Their cocks rubbed together slightly. "You can get deeper that way."
Obi-Wan was simultaneously stunned, embarrassed, and excited. He wasn't sure how to proceed. /This is awkward/, he thought, staring down at Qui-Gon's naked body beneath him. /He's my master./
Ah. That was it. He felt uncomfortable being in charge, in control, because that wasn't his typical role in their partnership. But Qui-Gon was putting him in control of this situation, quite literally. His earlier fear, expressed to Jalet that last night on Primale, had been that Qui-Gon would never be able to treat him as an equal in bed. But, of course, that was exactly what the man was trying to do.
/Well, then./ He smiled, softly at first. The smile slowly turned into a rather wicked grin. Qui-Gon shifted beneath him, watching the younger man's face curiously. He slid down on the mattress, moving out of the position Qui-Gon had so carefully put him in.
"What are you... ohhhh, Force, yes..."
Obi-Wan's tongue traced a wet trail down the underside of his master's rapidly hardening cock. He closed his mouth around one of the man's balls, swirling his tongue lightly and sucking gently. He released it and repeated the action on the other one, inhaling the man's scent deeply, impressing it on his memory.
Qui-Gon was moaning incoherently and clutching the sheets frantically in an attempt to keep control. Obi-Wan let his tongue wander further south, lapping at the stretch of skin behind his balls, feeling the body beneath him quiver with need in response. He kept moving lower, flicking the tip of his tongue lightly across his master's opening. Then he blew softly.
"Oh, gods, yes... please..." A note of surprise in that voice.
Obi-Wan smiled smugly to himself. Just the reaction he'd been hoping for. He let his tongue swirl lazily around the area before pressing the tip of his tongue into that tight hole slowly, teasingly. He began thrusting in and out slightly, feeling the muscle there loosen. Qui-Gon was whimpering above.
There was something about rimming that fascinated him, he realized. It was the most intimate way he could imagine pleasuring someone, and something about having his tongue there -- he was rock-hard from the thought, from the feel of it all. From the way Qui-Gon was shuddering with sheer pleasure beneath him. From the way the skin just inside the man's body felt on his tongue.
He used his hands to spread the cheeks of the man's ass farther apart, shifting his hips up to allow him greater access. He plunged his tongue in as deep as it would go, pressed his lips down to skin, and sucked slightly, wriggling his tongue, thrusting deeper, jaw aching from the effort, his own cock achingly hard against the sheets beneath him.
Qui-Gon cried out sharply, and for a moment, Obi-Wan worried that it was all over.
"Inside me... please... before..."
All he needed to hear. He slid to his knees, pressed the tip of his still-oiled cock against the wet entrance, and pressed forward slowly. Qui-Gon hissed beneath him, but didn't tense up at all. Obi-Wan pressed on as slowly as he could bear. Qui-Gon was breathing tightly, clearly uncomfortable. It had apparently been a while for him.
At last, fully sheathed in his master's body, Obi-Wan pulled Qui-Gon's ankles back up to his shoulders, kissing his calves softly, watching the man's face. He took the flagging erection in hand and stroked it, bringing it back to attention. Qui-Gon opened his eyes.
"Sorry about that. I forgot how... it's been a while since..." He grinned, strangely embarrassed.
Obi-Wan smiled back, still stroking softly. He pulled out a little and pushed back in slowly, holding onto the other man's calves to balance. The tightness and heat of his master's body were breathtaking. He repeated the motion, savoring the feeling.
Qui-Gon moaned beneath him. "Kiss me."
Obi-Wan began thrusting in earnest, leaning forward and placing his hands on either side of Qui-Gon's shoulders. The man's knees were hooked over his shoulders now, and he was bent nearly in half. /Heels over head in love./ A joke he'd heard once, years ago, came flooding into his mind, and he finally got it.
He hovered above his master for a moment, watching his face as he thrust in and pulled out as slowly as he could stand. Qui-Gon's eyes were glazing over, and he bit his lower lip. A brush past his prostate made him cry out again, tossing his head back.
Obi-Wan caught his mouth in a kiss, pressing his tongue past flushed lips, thrusting in time with his other movements. Qui-Gon's arms wrapped around him, reaching down to clutch his ass, pulling in him harder, deeper.
He heard a muffled word and broke the kiss. "Hmmm?"
"Like this?" He pushed up and braced his hands on either side of the man's head, thrusting harder.
"Oh, yes, more... harder... please."
He sped up the pace, feeling his own control slipping. Sweat was dripping down his back, and he could hear the sound of skin slapping against skin as he pounded his master into the mattress beneath him. He focused on stroking that sensitive spot inside on each thrust in, shifting his hips slightly to do so.
It felt amazing to be in control like this.
"Do you like it hard like this?" he asked, his voice strangely rough.
"Oh, yes, Obi-Wan..."
"You like being fucked, don't you?" His voice was barely audible through his own heaving breaths.
"You… have no idea..."
"You like a hard cock... in your ass... you like being fucked hard..." Obi-Wan panted, reeling out of control. He distantly wondered where this was coming from. He'd probably be mortified in the morning that he'd said these things, but he couldn't help it. Qui-Gon didn't seem to mind at all.
"Oh, yes, like that, keep doing that, keep fucking me like that, right there..."
He stopped hearing the words, though he knew they were still being spoken. He suddenly felt Qui-Gon's presence in his mind, filling his mind as he was filling the other man's body, touching him intimately in ways he couldn't have imagined before, touching...
They came together, loudly, spilling out their emotions, their shared desire and tension. He couldn't tell where he ended and Qui-Gon began, suddenly wasn't sure who was penetrating whom... he could feel himself inside his master, as if he were the one being penetrated, as well as... Colors, mostly blues and greens, filled his field of vision.
When he opened his eyes he was still inside Qui-Gon's body, and found that he still didn't have the strength to move. He could only grunt softly.
"Can you translate that into Basic?" whispered a hoarse voice below.
"Wow," he managed to squeeze out of his throat. He gathered his strength and pushed his body up and to the side, now-limp penis slipping from its warm sheath. He managed to flop onto his back beside Qui-Gon, who had yet to move himself.
"Wow," the man repeated softly.
"What was that, some sort of mind-fuck?"
Qui-Gon laughed softly. "Yes, I suppose so. I forget you've never made love to a Jedi before. There are several tricks I'll have to let you in on."
"I look forward to learning, master." He managed a grin, turning his head toward the older man. They were nose to nose. Qui-Gon kissed him tenderly.
"I have to admit there's not much I have to teach you that you haven't already mastered." He smiled. "Anything that involves a tongue..." He half-moaned and closed his eyes, as if recalling details.
"I'm a quick study. And you taste good." Obi-Wan snuggled closer, wrapping his arms around the older man, nestling his head against his shoulder. "We're all sticky."
"I like it that way," Qui-Gon sighed. "I like to drift off to sleep like this, smelling of sex."
"Then we'll have to make a habit of it, won't we?"
Sunlight crept across the floor slowly. Qui-Gon could feel it gaining ground, crawling across the cool tile, up the side of the bed, and finally, no matter how much he resisted, sliding under his eyelids. He blinked slowly, the events of the night pouring back into his consciousness. He wrapped his arms around the sleeping padawan snuggled against him.
This was not going to be easy.
He took a deep breath, calming himself as best he could. They were going to have to be careful, and to keep this a secret as long as possible. Their only hope of not being separated was to prove to the Council that this new facet of their relationship would not interfere with Obi-Wan's training. By the time they were outed, it would be clear that this had only made them a stronger team.
Unless, of course, it didn't. There was always that possibility, as much as he wanted to ignore it.
/Yoda would probably castrate me for this. At least he's of legal age./
Barely. He glanced down at Obi-Wan's face. The sunlight played across his beautiful features lightly, then touched his hair, making it glow softly.
Qui-Gon smiled. /I am lost, aren't I?/
This was not going to be easy at all.