Untitled Siri Fic by Emma Grant
Summary:

Siri, Ferus, Obi-Wan, and Anakin investigate the disappearance of a planet's governor. (Obi/Siri, Anakin/Ferus)


Categories: Other, Star Wars, Obi/Siri Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Ferus Olin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Siri Tachi
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: No Word count: 19622 Read: 73659 Published: 08/12/2007 Updated: 08/12/2007
Story Notes:

Originally posted: fall 2003

Note: This is an unfinished WIP, and may never be finished.

 

1. Chapter 1 by Emma Grant

2. Chapter 2 by Emma Grant

3. Chapter 3 by Emma Grant

4. Chapter 4 by Emma Grant

5. Chapter 5 by Emma Grant

6. Chapter 6 by Emma Grant

7. Chapter 7 by Emma Grant

Chapter 1 by Emma Grant

Siri Tachi reached out and pulled the Force into her body, letting it flow through her limbs and out her fingertips and toes as she stretched her body up. She centered herself solidly, and moved into the next form of the G'lia kata. Her movements were fluid, controlled. Perfect, Anakin Skywalker reflected as he watched.

He'd been watching her for almost an hour, and he was riveted. She did this kata so well, so much better than anyone else he had ever seen do it. It didn't hurt that, in addition to presenting a perfect picture of one-ness with the Force, of control, of strength, of the connection between body and mind -- she looked really good doing it. The seventeen-year-old could certainly appreciate the way her muscles moved under the skin-tight black leather bodysuit she always wore. He admired the fact that she was a rebel even in the way she dressed. He'd often thought that he'd wear black when he became a knight. Why not? He admired her for many reasons.

And at the moment, he was admiring her ass as she crouched, her muscular buttocks bunching up pleasantly. She was one of the strongest women he had ever known, and one of the most beautiful. Not the most beautiful -- that title belonged to one woman in particular, but Siri...

Sometimes he really envied Ferus. The thought of being physically corrected by Siri, of having her body pressed behind his, pushing him into place... his stomach fluttered slightly at the thought.

Sometimes he wished she were his master. He loved Obi-Wan dearly, but Siri was so much more free in her manner, less strict in her interpretations of things than was his master. She was more like Qui-Gon in many respects, in Anakin's opinion at least.

He turned to acknowledge Obi-Wan as he came to stand beside Anakin, watching Siri as well. They watched for several long minutes as she progressed through the most difficult sequence of movements of the G'lia. Anakin half expected his master to verbally direct his attention to the perfection of Siri's movements, to turn even this simple pleasure into a lesson, but he didn't. He was, in fact, suspiciously quiet. Anakin stole a glance at him, wondering what was holding his attention so firmly.

Obi-Wan's eyes were fixed on Siri as she moved. Not fixed, Anakin thought, but glued on her physical form. Obi-Wan's lips were parted slightly, and his cheeks were flushed just a bit. The expression on his face was one that Anakin could not recall ever seeing before. He looked entranced. He was breathing a bit too heavily for someone who was standing still.

Anakin returned his gaze to Siri to see that she was holding the final form of the kata: kneeling, arms stretched over her head, back bent, head falling back, chest thrust forward... The expression on her face was one of joy, not the serenity that he was accustomed to seeing on most Jedi. She was sweating from the physical effort, and her short blond hair raggedly fell away from her face. Her lips were parted, and her cheeks were flushed, almost as if--

He looked back to Obi-Wan, and realized what he was seeing -- his master was entranced by more than a well-performed kata.

Anakin smiled.

Siri had felt the presence of the men in the room, had felt their eyes upon her, and hadn't given it much thought. She got those sorts of looks quite often, especially when she was away from the Temple. She knew she was beautiful, and she couldn't care less about her appearance. It simply wasn't important to her, and so she'd cast aside all traces of traditional femininity when she'd assumed her position in the Order as a knight. Her master had always adorned herself with the traditional cosmetics of her people, but such things did not appeal to Siri in the slightest.

Of course, there were times when being a beautiful human female had its advantages. She'd been able to gain access to sensitive information and settle nasty disputes with the aid of a well-timed smile. In many places in the galaxy, male domination was the norm, and she'd found that her beauty had been a valuable tool in many situations.

Of course, at times like this, it was just annoying. She opened her eyes and cast a casual glance at her admirers. Anakin had shown interest in her for several years now. He looked at her in a way that no seventeen-year-old padawan should, as if he knew things that he wasn't supposed to know. Things that no Jedi was supposed to know, truth be told. Things that Siri knew -- and had experienced first-hand during her long years undercover working for the pirate slaver Krayn.

He was grinning slyly at her now, and raised an eyebrow suggestively. She shot him a stern look back. He was cute -- hells, more than cute, but... no. Not with a padawan. She winced internally. Especially not that padawan.

She forced herself to shift her gaze to Obi-Wan, who was standing beside Anakin, leaning against the frame of the door. He was staring at her, an expression on his face she'd never seen before. She returned his open gaze solidly, trying to read him -- something that was never easy to do with Obi-Wan -- when suddenly, quite surprisingly, he blushed. He looked away and collected himself with astonishing speed, but not before she recognized that blush for what it was.

She struggled not to grin, allowing only a flicker of a teasing smile to grace her face. He met her gaze once more, and realized that she'd seen -- and to her amazement, he shrugged slightly and smiled back. The stern Jedi master was gone for that moment, and standing there in the doorway was the beautiful padawan she'd had such a crush on in her late teens. The beautiful, utterly untouchable Obi-Wan Kenobi, who only seemed to notice only one other human being in the galaxy -- his equally beautiful master. That padawan had a wicked sense of humor and a dazzling smile, something the Jedi standing before seemed to have lost years ago.

She'd once followed him into the men's showers by the training salles on a dare from her giggling friends. She hid behind a row of lockers and shielded herself tightly as she watched him strip off his sweaty exercise gear. The sight of water streaming across his sculpted body had been amazing enough, but when he started to touch himself... She'd been unable to resist sliding her hand inside her own leggings, touching herself roughly, and biting down on her cheek as she came. The sight of his soap-slicked hand roughly stroking his hard cock to completion was one she had locked away in her mind, and occasionally opened like a favorite book in the privacy of her own quarters.

The memory brought a slight flush to her cheeks even now. She'd been eighteen at the time, younger than Ferus was now, but old enough to understand that sexual relationships were... well, forbidden was a bit strong of a word for it, but... //Better not to go there//, she thought, unconsciously biting her cheek.

The memory had filled her mind in a matter of seconds, and she wondered if he'd seen any of that memory on her face. She wondered if he'd ever looked at her this way before, and she simply hadn't noticed. She wondered if she should really be thinking these thoughts at all, considering the circumstances.

He broke eye contact abruptly. "Anakin, a word," he said softly. The stern master was back. The two men disappeared down the narrow hallway of the transport, leaving her to stretch and finish her exercise time in the small cargo hold.

She rose to her feet elegantly, shaking out her muscles, mind still slightly occupied with Obi-Wan. She was fairly certain that he was celibate these days -- maybe he had been all his life. No one took a vow, and it wasn't a requirement, but most Jedi avoided sexual contact altogether. They were taught from a young age that sexual relations led inevitably to attachments, which were most certainly forbidden, and that one should think very carefully about engaging in such activity at all.

Of course, they were wrong. Siri had to grin at that. She'd discovered the pleasure of casual, even anonymous, sex during her years away from the Order, and firmly but quietly believed that the tendency towards celibacy was direly outdated. She still found opportunities for the occasion liaison, and though a few experiences had tugged at her emotions, her commitment was to the Order. She didn't want love, or even a relationship. She just honestly wanted someone to fuck on a regular basis. Someone she actually liked and found attractive.

She glanced back at the passageway, wondering. Obi-Wan had his hands pretty full with Anakin these days, and could probably use the opportunity to blow off a little steam every now and then. Of course, she wasn't quite sure how to approach him about the subject, considering the nature of this mission. And could one really just walk up to a Jedi knight, flash a sultry smile, and quip, "Fancy a shag?"

"What was that all about?" Anakin asked with a barely disguised smirk. The boy had followed him back to the small room they shared on the transport and now sat on his bunk, grinning.

"What do you mean?" Obi-Wan replied smoothly, though he had a feeling he knew exactly what Anakin meant.

Anakin leaned back on his elbows. "You know what I mean, Master. I saw how you were watching Siri just now."

Obi-Wan smiled. "Yes, Anakin, I was watching a fine example of the G'lia kata. I hope you paid close attention as well." He picked up his data pad and began scrolling though a list of files.

Anakin snorted softly. "That's not what I meant. You were watching more than a well-performed kata." He raised an eyebrow, as if daring Obi-Wan to deny it.

Obi-Wan felt his jaw clench in the way it always did when one of Anakin's smart-ass remarks hit its target. He should have put a stop to this sort of thing years ago, but he didn't, and it was too late to begin doing so now. He decided to say nothing, focusing on his data pad instead.

The room was silent for a long moment. At last, he heard a sigh. "I'm sorry, Master. I was only teasing. I meant no disrespect."

"Then what did you mean?"

Anakin chewed his lower lip, apparently trying to choose his words carefully. "I sensed... some tension between you and Master Siri, that's all. I thought..." He looked away.

"You thought what?" Obi-Wan took a step closer to stand directly in front of the boy. "Anakin, look at me." His padawan raised his head to meet his eyes.

Anakin opened his mouth to speak, but shrugged instead. He looked like he wanted to be anywhere else at the moment. Obi-Wan couldn't help but smile at his apprentice's discomfort.

This sort of teasing had become more frequent in the last year, and it had an increasingly sexual bent. Obi-Wan wasn't certain he'd been handling it well. Barely more than a dozen years separated them in age, and Anakin generally seemed to regard him more as an older brother than as a father figure.

He decided to take pity on the boy. "I do try to be a good role model for you, Padawan, but sometimes it's quite difficult. I'm only human and Siri is very..." He smiled and ran a hand through his hair.

Anakin broke into a relieved grin. "Well, yes, she's so... heh." His hands flew up in a vaguely vulgar gesture.

"Yes, she is," Obi-Wan agreed, trying to rein in his own smile before Anakin got the wrong idea about the nature of this conversation. "I would be lying if I said I didn't think of Siri in that way, that I didn't... fantasize about her, and certain others, occasionally. We are human, and to deny those sorts of feelings would be unhealthy, to say the least." The words were coming a little more easily now. He looked at Anakin squarely. "But the Code is clear on this point. To act on that desire could lead us to develop feelings which are entirely inappropriate, so we... so I must find another outlet for them. You understand me, don't you?"

A grin split Anakin's face. "You fantasize about her when you masturbate -- is that what you're saying?"

If the floor had opened up and swallowed him at that moment, Obi-Wan would have been grateful. Instead, he blushed crimson and burst out laughing. It was his only defense. Anakin laughed as well, clearly relieved.

"Yes," Obi-Wan grinned, suddenly feeling more relaxed than he had in weeks. "That is precisely what I'm saying." He sat up and straightened his tunic, trying to restore a little of his dignity in the process. "I suppose that I need to meditate on my... feelings where Siri is concerned, and I should probably speak with her as well. No doubt she will have an interesting opinion on the subject."

Anakin stood, smiling broadly. "Well, I'll leave you to your... meditation, then."

Obi-Wan tried to glare at him, but he couldn't. He could only grin in response. "At least I'll have the room to myself for a while," he retorted as Anakin left the room.

Alone, he fell back on the bunk and exhaled, smiling at the fact that he'd been caught. He'd known Siri all his life. She'd always been beautiful, even when she was a little girl. In his eyes that beauty had always been just another feature, like her arrogance, her stubbornness, her ability to piss him off in almost any circumstance, her inability to admit when she was wrong, and the cute way she wrinkled her nose on those rare occasions when she did. It was just part of what came to mind when he thought about her. Which he had been doing quite a bit of lately.

She certainly had her moments, he reflected. She was a strong Jedi, frequently impatient and unorthodox, almost like... Well, yes, she did remind him of Qui-Gon sometimes. But she reminded him of Anakin sometimes as well.

In those moments when she was completely immersed in the living Force, she especially reminded him of Qui-Gon. Today in the cargo hold had been one of those moments. At first, that was what had caught his attention -- the expression on her face, the way the eddies of the Force seemed to swirl around her, moving with her as she breathed -- his breath had hitched in his throat at the sight. Then he'd looked a little more closely.

She really is beautiful, he thought, thinking of the way the black leather had clung to her body as she moved, caressing her sweat-slicked skin. The kata was perfect. She was the only person he'd ever known who could do it so perfectly and make it look so easy. And so... erotic.

Meditate, he thought. I really ought to meditate.

There was a knock on the door. Out of the corner of his eye, he glimpsed Anakin's datapad on the desk. He must have realized he'd forgotten it.

"Anakin, you don't have to knock," he called. Did the boy really think he was so wound up about Siri that he would need to jerk off immediately? Maybe when I was his age.

Another knock. He rolled onto his feet and took the two steps across the room to the door. "Anakin, I'm finished masturbating for the day, so you don't have to--"

The door slid open at his touch, revealing a very amused Siri.

"Fuck!" The word left his lips before he could do anything to stop it, and he immediately cringed.

She smiled wryly. "I'll be sure to knock from now on, then."

"Ah, no, it was a joke..." He grinned helplessly and gestured behind him, motioning for her to come in. "Please. I'm sorry about--."

"No need to apologize, Obi-Wan. It's a perfectly natural--"

He held up his hand to cut her off. "I was apologizing for my language."

"--natural reaction when surprised, I was going to say. Perfectly understandable." She cocked one eyebrow up, clearly amused at his discomfort.

"Yes, well... What did you need to see me about?"

She held up a datapad. "We received an update on the Krisilian situation before we made the jump into hyperspace. I thought you'd like to look over it, and then we can discuss any modifications to the plan."

He nodded and took the datapad, grateful to have something else to think about. He sat on the bunk and began scanning the report. Siri sat next to him quietly.

She took a moment to look at him as he read. He seemed so much older than he ought to, as if these last eight years, all of his knighthood, had taken the toll of twice that many. He hadn't had any time to adjust to his new station, to grieve for his master, or to continue his own learning before assuming the responsibility of training the most powerful and controversial padawan that the Order had seen in a millennium.

But he didn't look worn down, she thought upon closer inspection. Just... tired. In some ways, he still looked like a boy. Rumpled reddish-blond hair reached his shoulders, a length with which he seemed content. He'd recently grown a beard, and she could tell that it was not yet completely filled in, which had the strange effect of making him appear disheveled, despite his otherwise trim appearance. She wondered briefly if he was trying to look more like Qui-Gon, as if modeling his master's appearance would somehow make up for the wisdom and maturity he felt he lacked.

His eyes flicked up at hers briefly, noting her unabashed stare, and returned to the datapad. He shifted slightly on the bunk.

This makes him uncomfortable, she thought. She'd seen the way he was watching her earlier. That had surprised her somewhat, since she'd always assumed he was only attracted to men. Well, to one man certainly. She'd seen the way he used to look at Qui-Gon. When she'd left for her long undercover mission, the Temple gossip had been that they were lovers. She'd never asked him about it, though; it was none of her business.

He exhaled softly, whistling slightly as he did. It drew her attention to his lips. She moved a little closer, under the pretense of reading the datapad over his shoulder. He stiffened slightly at her proximity, and turned to look at her.

She smiled slyly. He swallowed and fixed his eyes on the datapad once more.

Hard to get, eh? She leaned closer still, so close that she could feel the heat of his body filling the space between them. He was not reading now, but was stubbornly pretending to do so.

"Obi-Wan," she whispered, her voice soft and low. He turned his head slightly towards her, looking at her from the corners of his eyes.

"What?" His voice was tight, almost irritated.

She took the datapad out of his hand and set it aside. "I think we need to talk."

"Talk?" He was blushing just a little, just enough that she could notice how she was affecting him. "Siri..." He slid away from her and turned his body to face her. He took a calming breath. "I want to apologize for my... for the way I was... looking at you earlier today, in the cargo hold."

"The way you were looking at me? Why do you need to apologize for that?" She smiled wider, shifting her weight forward so that she could lean closer still. His eyes widened and he licked his lips nervously. Force, he's adorable, she thought. Why haven't I noticed this before?

"It was inappropriate," he replied, his voice barely more than a whisper.

"How was it inappropriate?" she whispered back, her smile taking on a sultry glaze.

He rolled his eyes. "Siri, don't tease me."

"What if I want you to look at me like that?" she whispered, allowing her fingers to brush against his.

His jaw dropped slightly, and he forcibly looked away. "Siri, we can't. Are you suggesting...?" He couldn't even complete the sentence.

I should just kiss him and get it over with, she thought. He could use a good kiss.

"I'm not suggesting anything, Obi-Wan." He looked back up at her at that, confused and slightly flustered. "I'm simply telling you that I'm... available. And interested."

He swallowed hard. "Oh." He still looked uncertain, but it was a start. She grinned, and he rewarded her with a small frazzled smile. She slipped her hand into his and squeezed it, sliding her thumb across the back of his hand. He squeezed back, meeting her gaze steadily now.

She leaned forward and pressed her lips against his.

For a moment she was afraid he'd pull away, but he didn't. He let her kiss him softly, almost chastely, though he kept his mouth firmly closed. It was enough for the moment.

A startled sound at the door broke the spell. They pushed away from each other quickly, putting space between them, but not before two padawans had gotten a good view of their masters' shy kiss. Ferus immediately disappeared from the doorway, so quickly that Siri barely glimpsed his face. Anakin remained a moment longer, a small smile flitting across his features, before turning to follow the other boy.

Obi-Wan exhaled and closed his eyes. "Fuck." This time, he didn't apologize.

"It could have been worse," Siri quipped. He opened his eyes at that.

"Please, tell me, how could it be worse? I just spent fifteen minutes explaining to my padawan that acting on physical desire is inappropriate for a Jedi, and he returns to our quarters to find me kissing you."

"We could have been doing more than kissing," she offered.

He blinked at her. "It was a rhetorical question!"

He sank back onto the bunk, covering his face with his hands. Siri stretched out beside him, and he turned his head to look at her. "I wasn't ready for this, you know. I have no idea what I'm doing." He paused, and she realized he was talking about something else now. "He is so gifted, and so troubled. I'm not sure I can give him what he needs, Siri."

Startled by this rare moment of honesty, she studied his face for a moment before replying. "What about you, Obi-Wan? What do you need?"

He held her gaze, smiling softly. "Siri, you're my friend. I care about you and I respect you. I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel attracted to you. If not for Anakin..." He looked away, voice trailing off.

"I'm not asking for anything, you know. It was just a kiss."

"Just a kiss. Heh." He turned his head towards her again.

She smiled. "Not even a very good kiss. I can do much better. You only need to ask."

"A very kind offer. I'll keep it in mind." He sat up and glanced at the open door. "At the moment, I seem to have enough complications in my life."

Siri had a sneaking suspicion that this might actually simplify things for him. But it would probably take some convincing.

That, however, required time they did not have. They would arrive at Krisilia in twelve hours, where they would separate into two teams, to work on opposite sides of the planet for weeks. She doubted she'd be able to convince him of the rightness of this in such a short time. She had no doubt that she could simply seduce him if she wanted to -- men were easy that way, and she knew which buttons to push. She could fuck him right there, right then, and walk away and not think twice about it. But he was her friend, and that was more important than fleeting physical pleasure.

She stood and straightened her clothing. "I'd better go find Ferus. I think he might have been a little freaked out by this." Obi-Wan nodded absently. "Anakin seemed fine, though. He almost seemed pleased."

"I imagine that he is. He has one more thing to tease me about now."

Chapter 2 by Emma Grant
Ferus leaned back against the cold metal wall of the cargo hold, eyes closed, mind straining to remain open. He knew that his master was unorthodox, that she had experienced things that most Jedi had not. He'd suspected that she wasn't celibate, but he'd never actually been confronted with any evidence before. And with Master Obi-Wan? He didn't seem the type. He was so serious and disciplined, and Ferus trusted him as much, if not more than his own master.

"Thought I'd find you here."

Ferus groaned inwardly. This was the last person he wanted to see at the moment. "Please... just don't say anything."

"Nothing at all?" Anakin stepped out of the doorway and stood in front of him, just watching him that way he always did. The way that usually meant he was up to something.

"Aren't you a little... freaked out? "

"About what?"

Ferus snorted. "About them. Our masters. Kissing, and doing Force knows what else when we're not around."

Anakin stared at him strangely. "It was just a kiss, Ferus. And it wasn't even a real kiss at that."

"It looked like it to me."

"Oh, and you're an expert?"

Ferus' eyes narrowed slightly. "Of course not. And you are?"

Anakin said nothing, but smiled slyly. His eyes lost their focus for a split second, and then refocused on Ferus with a strange intensity. It made Ferus feel distinctly uncomfortable. He swallowed, curiosity rising in him despite a gnawing sensation in his stomach.

"Well?"

Anakin smirked. "Well what?"

Ferus sighed dramatically. Anakin could be so difficult. He spoke carefully, hid his thoughts, and one never knew exactly what he was thinking or what he would do next. It irritated Ferus to no end.

"I suppose you're something of an expert on kissing, then."

"I'm an expert on a lot of things. Why are you so curious about me suddenly?"

"I'm not, I..." Ferus frowned. Why was he even having this conversation?

"I'll bet you've never been kissed."

"Yes, I have."

"Party games don't count."

Ferus frowned at that. "Well, neither have you, in that case."

"What makes you so sure?" Anakin took a step closer, too close for comfort, and placed his hands on the wall on either side of Ferus' head. "Maybe I've done lots of things that you've only dreamed about, that you can't even imagine."

Ferus pressed his back against the wall, trying to make himself as flat as possible. Anakin's blue eyes were dark suddenly, sparkling with something he couldn't identify. The younger padawan pressed closer still, and the tips of their noses brushed together.

"I'll bet you've never had a real kiss," Anakin whispered. "The kind you still feel days later when you think about it. The kind that leaves the taste of the other person on your tongue. The kind that gets you hard so fast you can't stop it."

Ferus could feel warm breath against his lips and the heat of the other boy's body mingling with his own -- a stark contrast to the cold steel against his back. Anakin was so close he was nearly a blur. Then, quite strangely, he licked his lips. Ferus nearly whimpered at that, and could think of nothing that would be better than to pull Anakin's body against him and just... shut him up, keep his mouth occupied for a while. He strained his head forward enough to brush his lips against the other boy's just slightly.

Anakin quickly stepped away from him, expression unreadable. "I thought not." He started to head for the open door. "Let me know if you would like a demonstration sometime." With a small smile, he left the room.

Ferus closed his eyes and concentrated on breathing, trying to figure out what the hell had just happened to him.




The transport had left them on the landing pad, as the pilot needed to make it to B'ral in two days' time. Their hosts had not been there to meet them. It was hot and dusty, and there was no shade on the landing pad where they waited.

After an hour, Anakin wanted to scream. He was sweaty, uncomfortable, and extremely annoyed. He could handle the physical discomfort, but being made to wait like this was unbearable. Didn't these people have any respect for the Jedi at all?

Obi-Wan was typically serene, waiting patiently, hardly perspiring at all. He was standing comfortably, facing the city. It felt to Anakin like he was meditating. Ferus was kneeling quietly, not quite meditating, but relaxed, waiting patiently. Anakin watched him for a moment, thinking that he looked a lot like Obi-Wan in that pose. Ferus caught his eyes and then looked quickly away. Anakin clenched his jaw. Ferus hadn't said two words to him since the encounter in the cargo hold the night before.

Not that he really cared what Ferus thought of him, but he was worried that he'd crossed a line he shouldn't have. He'd been teasing the older padawan, and when Ferus had tried to kiss him, he'd actually been surprised. It was only his pride that had enabled him to pull away. Until the moment he realized Ferus might actually be interested, it had been a game, an attempt to rile the older boy a bit. He'd half expected Ferus to hit him -- but to kiss him? That was the last thing he'd expected.

He watched the other boy more overtly now, glad for the distraction from the heat and the wait. Ferus was actually quite attractive, now that he thought about it. Not really his type, but cute enough. Anakin had a little experience with males, and though he generally preferred females, the thought of having sex with Ferus wasn't entirely unappealing. Actually, it was getting more appealing by the minute. He didn't have any other prospects and his right hand hadn't been quite enough lately. He wanted to bury himself in someone else, feel the skin and heat of another pressed against him, feel someone's arms around him. He wanted to feel wanted, just for a little while.

Though he knew that it was strongly encouraged, he couldn't fathom the Order's tendency towards celibacy. He'd grown up in a seedy space port, and had seen more sexual acts in his first nine years than his master likely had in his entire life. Sex had been another part of life, one of many comforts in which adults took part, like eating, or drinking, or sleeping, or playing sabbacc. It was something he'd taken for granted he would engage in when he was old enough.

At first, he'd thought he could be celibate. It didn't seem like such a big sacrifice, after all. And then, about two years ago, it was suddenly all he could think about. Obi-Wan had talked to him about his emerging sexuality, and had explained that most Jedi chose celibacy rather than risk forming attachments.

He'd never asked what his master had chosen. If there had been any lovers in the last seven years, Obi-Wan had been amazingly discreet. Anakin had been discreet as well. Those first few nights he went out to sample Coruscant's famous sex clubs, he'd slipped out very late, testing his bond with his master carefully to be certain that the man was sound asleep. Then he'd fortified his own shields -- heavily.

He was underage, even for Coruscant, but he was also quite tall for a human male, and he usually didn't get looked at twice. When anyone looked too closely at him, it was easy enough to use a touch of the Force to get them to look the other way. He knew he shouldn't do that either, but, he rationalized, he wasn't supposed to be in such a place anyway. What difference would one more little infraction make at that point?

The first encounter had been with a human girl who looked to be around twenty. She had long dark hair and dark eyes, and had reminded him intensely of Padme. In fact, he pretended she was Padme as she knelt before him, taking his cock into her mouth and bringing him off with practiced ease. He remembered threading his fingers through her long dark hair and biting his cheek to stop himself from calling out that name when he came.

The next night, he found himself dancing with a dark-skinned boy who couldn't have been much older than him. He'd had several strong drinks by that time and was dancing with a group of people, when suddenly there was a warm, sweaty, definitely male body pressed against him from behind. He hadn't considered sex with males before, but it had seemed like a good opportunity to try it out. The other boy had led him to the shadows of the back room, and he'd half-expected another hasty blow job. Instead, he was kissed and touched until his knees gave out beneath him, and then suddenly he was on his hands and knees, with something hard pushing into him.

His first thought, before he even felt the pain, had been Do I want to do this? Should I tell him to stop? Then the pain -- burning pain -- overtook him, and he'd screamed and lurched forward. The boy, surprisingly strong, had held him tight and whispered soothing words into his ear, apologizing quietly, begging him to be patient, saying he hadn't known this was his first time. Something in Anakin told him to be patient, to wait it out, and so he did. After a moment, the pain subsided as his body accommodated the intrusion, and the boy started to move.

And it felt unbelievably good. He came harder than he ever had, almost sobbing from pleasure, clinging desperately to the edges of his shields lest his master feel him.

He'd been so fucking sore the next day. Obi-Wan had never asked why he was moving so slowly, thank the Force. Though he had enjoyed it, the physical trauma had made him hesitant to bottom again.

"Enough." Siri's voice fairly wrenched him out of the intense memory. She was staring at Obi-Wan's back. "Something has gone wrong. Waiting here any longer is futile."

Obi-Wan turned to face her. Anakin was surprised by the wave of irritation he felt rolling off of the man, though his demeanor appeared perfectly serene. "What do you suggest, then?"

She gestured in the direction of the city center. "We should hire a transport and go to the Republic embassy. From there we can send a message to the Krisilian officials, suggesting that perhaps our services here are not required after all."

Anakin watched Obi-Wan carefully. The man's face remained calm, but Anakin could feel his irritation grow and then subside as it was released into the Force. Anakin sighed. His master made that look so easy. He wondered if he would ever be able to conquer his emotions quite like that.

After a long moment, Obi-Wan nodded. "I agree. Remaining here any longer is pointless."

Siri looked surprised for a split second before regaining her composure, as if she'd been bracing herself for an argument. "Very well then." She smiled very slightly before turning and walking off of the landing pad. The three men followed.
Chapter 3 by Emma Grant
Obi-Wan's boots tapped lightly on the polished stone floor as he made his way back towards the residence wing of the embassy. They had arrived here several hours earlier and had immediately dispatched a message to the interim governor of Krisilia, but there was still no official response.

The Republic ambassador's assistant had welcomed them warmly, offering them rooms in the residence for as long as they needed, as well as full use of the compound's facilities. Obi-Wan was grateful for their generosity, but the situation was highly frustrating. It wasn't unusual for Jedi assistance to be requested under false pretenses, of course. He'd been on tens of missions where the need for Jedi arbitration had been either fabricated or exaggerated for various purposes. However, he couldn't recall a single mission on which he had been ignored upon arrival.

It troubled him deeply. Perhaps something had happened to the interim governor? Krisilia's previous governor, a stern but respected dictator, had been assassinated recently, and the planet's two most powerful states had each presented a candidate to replace her. Tensions had escalated quickly, with each side blaming the other for the assassination. The interim governor, who had been appointed by the system's senator, had requested that a team of Jedi be sent to assist with the situation. Toran, the largest state, was located on the northern continent, and it was there that Obi-Wan and Anakin were supposed to have gone to begin the negotiations. Siri and Ferus were to have traveled to Gilan, a wealthy industrial state on the southern continent, to negotiate with the opposing candidate's coalition. The capital city where they were presently being housed was located on a large tropical island near the planet's equator.

He turned down the hallway of the residence wing, composing his message to the Council in his head. Perhaps they should wait another day or so, and then split up as planned and investigate the situation? He needed to discuss it with Siri, but he reckoned she would agree to that plan. Independent action was something that seemed to suit her.

Perhaps the Council had sensed that things were not as they seemed on Krisilia, and this was why two teams were sent. But wouldn't they have been informed, were that the case?

He palmed open the door to the suite he shared with Anakin. The sound of the shower running hit his ears immediately. Again? He took a shower not four hours ago. His padawan had practically sprinted for the 'fresher and its spacious shower upon arrival. Even after eight years, abundant flowing water still seemed luxurious to Anakin.

He removed his robe and boots and sank onto the sofa in the middle of the room. I should probably comm Siri, he thought. He closed his eyes and sighed. He hadn't spoken privately with her since... well, since she'd kissed him yesterday.

He brushed his fingers lightly across his lips, the memory bringing a slight smile to his face. He could still remember how her mouth felt pressed against his, the way her lips moved, sweeping softly over his own. It had been a long time since anyone had kissed him, and he'd almost forgotten how pleasurable it could be. The memory sent a tingle down his spine -- even replaying it in his mind, it was so tempting to imagine pulling her tightly against him, pressing his tongue between her lips...

Stop this, he admonished himself. It's pointless fantasy.

The shower was still running. What the sith was that boy doing in there? The sound of the running water was, unfortunately, making him aware of his own bladder. He stood and walked towards the 'fresher, hoping that Anakin wasn't currently engaged in any activity that was too intimate. He paused outside the door, realizing that he should knock. There was no answer. His body was growing more insistent by the second.

Damn it, Anakin... He sighed and opened the door. There was an opaque curtain pulled around the shower. He could probably just sneak in and out quietly, without being noticed. Standing at the latrine, he unfastened his trousers. He didn't sense anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps Anakin had simply found time for a good workout this morning, and wanted to clean up a bit. He'd probably come in just as the water had started, and it only seemed like a long shower. He was almost finished here anyway.

The water turned off abruptly.

"Sorry to intrude, but I couldn't wait," he warned. The gasp that originated from the shower behind him did not sound like Anakin.

He turned in surprise to see an equally startled Siri -- wet and completely naked -- staring back at him. The color drained from his face. It returned when he realized that he was now urinating on his bare feet.

"Shit!" He quickly turned back to the latrine, the image of Siri's nakedness burned into his mind. For some reason, he could do nothing to shake it. He finished as best he could and hurriedly refastened his trousers before turning to face her. Water was dripping from her hair, down her face, glistening on her skin. His eyes followed a droplet of water from her shoulder down across her breast, down her stomach, swerving around her navel, down... He forced his eyes back up to her face, which wore an expression that was a blend of embarrassment and amusement.

A hundred little thoughts flickered through his mind, none of which seemed appropriate to voice. Say something. Don't just stand there.

One thought burst to the surface of the swell. "What are you doing here?" He was surprised by the intensity of his own voice.

Siri was as well, shrinking back slightly. "I... I'm sorry... We didn't have any hot water in our suite, and Anakin said you'd be gone for a while. He let me in." She blinked a few times, then drew herself up again, slightly indignant. "Do you ever knock? If you'd thought about it at all, you would have known I was here!"

"It didn't occur to me, as this is my 'fresher!"

Why were they yelling at each other? He realized with a start that he was staring at her breasts. He wrenched his eyes away. "Will you please cover yourself?"

She put her hands on her hips defiantly. "Why? Do I make you uncomfortable?"

"As a matter of fact, yes, you do."

"Then perhaps you shouldn't leer at me like a schoolboy in heat."

His head snapped back around at that. "I was not leering. You are, unexpectedly I might add, standing here in my shower, naked, and dripping, and... it's quite distracting!"

"You could leave," she snapped. "Or you could hand me a towel, at the very least."

"I don't have a towel."

Siri glanced pointedly over his shoulder, at the stack of fluffy white towels on a shelf behind him. He sighed and handed her one. She quickly wrapped it around her body. Obi-Wan exhaled slowly, releasing his frustration to the Force. Why did she get under his skin so easily?

Siri stifled a giggle, and he noticed that she was staring at his left foot. He suddenly realized that he was standing in a puddle.

"Ugh," he moaned, lifting his foot and reaching for another towel. He cleaned himself off and mopped the floor with the towel.

"Do you always have such poor aim?" she quipped, now drying herself off a little with the edges of the towel.

He smirked in response.

She stared at him for a moment before breaking into an amused grin. "I suppose you'd like to watch me get dressed as well?"

"No!" His hands flew up and he took a step backwards, then immediately realized that his response could be construed in a way he didn't intend. He stepped forward again. "I mean, yes, I... oh, that's not what I meant." He squeezed his eyes shut. "I'll just wait outside. Right then." He leaped for the door, closing it behind him, missing the wide smile that spread across Siri's lovely face.




"Tea," Obi-Wan said to himself, pacing in the common room. "I should make some tea." The room was equipped with an automatic kettle and a variety of types of tea in individual packets. He filled the kettle from the small sink and set it to boil.

The scene in the 'fresher had been humiliating, to say the least. He seemed to be making a fool of himself in front of Siri at every turn. At least she didn't seem to mind -- in fact, she seemed to enjoy it.

Why should I be concerned about what Siri thinks of me? he wondered, settling back into pacing the floor, lost in thought. If she thinks I'm a fool, or if she thinks otherwise, what does it matter? For some reason, it did matter to him, he realized with a start. He wanted her to like him, to think highly of him. He'd known her for years. She either thought highly of him or she didn't. Why did he feel so compelled to impress her now?

The kettle chimed, indicating that the water was ready. He turned the kettle off, filled two strangely-shaped cups, and examined the packets of tea available. Most were brands he'd never heard of, so he chose two at random. He carried the steeping mugs back to the low table by the sofa, casting a glance at the 'fresher door. Siri ought to be emerging any moment.

He sat on the rather large sofa, stiffly at first, wondering what the best pose to strike should be. If he sat like this, he'd appear too tense, too disturbed by what had just happened between them. He leaned back, sinking into the sofa cushions. This position might appear too relaxed, and he couldn't quite reach his tea. Casual, but dignified -- that's what he needed. He pulled his feet up under him, cross-legged, in a meditation pose. Better. He turned his body and stretched his legs out across the cushions, almost horizontal, draping his arm across the back of the sofa.

He grinned at himself. No, this makes it look like--

The door opened. He nearly fell off of the sofa in his haste to sit upright again. Siri looked at him oddly.

"I made some tea," he said, unable to think of any other way to invite her to sit down.

She nodded, settling comfortably next to him and taking the warm mug into her hand. He couldn't help but notice that she chose to sit in the center of the sofa, close to him.

She took a sip and grimaced slightly. "Is there any sweetener?"

He leapt to his feet a bit more enthusiastically than he intended. He quickly found the sweetener packets, and something with which to stir the tea. He handed them to her and sat down again. Her lips quirked upwards in a strange smile as she prepared her tea, hands moving in a familiar routine.

He inhaled, noting that she smelled clean and slightly fragrant, like the soap he'd used earlier. His soap. Her short blond hair had been towel-dried and stuck out from her head in several directions. It was refreshing to see her this way, and almost... intimate. She raised the cup to her lips and cast her eyes towards him as she took a sip.

She swallowed. "Why are you staring at me? Is something wrong?" She threaded fingers through her short hair.

He grinned. "I thought you didn't mind if I looked at you. At least, as long as you have clothes on." He was immediately mortified. Why did I say that?

To his relief, she laughed. "Yes, I did say that, didn't I?" Her eyes grew darker. "You can look all you like, if you'll allow me the same liberty."

"I'll leave the door open next time I take a shower," he said, shocked at his own boldness. "It's only fair." It was the closest thing to an apology he could muster.

She paused, as if carefully considering her words. "Once, years ago, I snuck into the men's changing rooms by the training salles and watched you in the shower."

"Really?" He felt strangely relieved. "When was this?"

"At least ten years ago," she said, smiling at his reaction. "So I suppose we're even now."

"Perhaps," he replied. "Of course, I imagine I look different now than I did then."

She shrugged and raised the cup to her lips to cover her smile.

"I'm glad you've stayed for tea, actually, because I was hoping we could talk about what we should do next."

Her eyebrows raised at that. "Next?" She looked a little flustered. "Well, I..." She set her cup down on the table and turned to face him. She took a deep breath and took one of his hands in hers. "Why do we have to talk about it? Why can't we just...?"

Obi-Wan suddenly realized that they were having two completely different conversations. He paused, feeling her fingers stroke his palm slowly, surprised by how good that simple touch felt. It was such a small comfort, really. Maybe he should let this happen. It was clear that they were attracted to one another. They were friends. What harm could come from a little physical contact? He met her gaze steadily.

"That... feels nice," he stammered. He took a deep breath. "Please feel free to continue doing it. I was referring to the mission, though."

She dropped his hand abruptly. "Oh, Force, I--" She blushed. "I'm sorry."

He took her hand, replicating her earlier caress in turn. "Siri, don't apologize. I don't want us to feel uncomfortable with each other, especially not now, when we have a mission to attend to. I won't deny that I'm attracted to you." Her eyes met his at that. He swallowed down his feelings of awkwardness and continued, "And whatever we choose to do about that is a separate issue."

She nodded and slid a little closer to him. Her thigh pressed against his, and their clasped hands rested in his lap. "So, what were you going to tell me?"

Her proximity was a little distracting, but not overwhelmingly so. "We still haven't received a message, or even an acknowledgement from the Krisilian government. I can't help but think that something has happened to the interim governor."

She settled back against the cushion of the sofa, her shoulder pressed against his, forehead furrowed in concentration. "We should probably contact the Council. Of course, my first thought is to split up and go to negotiate with the candidates, as originally planned. Perhaps one of them is involved in the governor's disappearance."

"We don't know for certain that he's disappeared."

"He was the one who requested our presence. We've tried repeatedly to contact him and have received no reply. That strongly suggests he's disappeared, or has been incapacitated somehow."

"Yes, but it's speculation at this point. We should spend a few days here and investigate."

"That sounds precisely like what the Council would suggest," she remarked dryly. "But I suppose you're right. The conservative course of action is probably best."

"Conservative?" he snorted. "Is that what you think of me?"

"Yes," she replied, a little too quickly. He frowned slightly. "For fuck's sake, Obi-Wan, I'm surprised you even take a piss without the Council's approval." She grinned.

He snorted at that, uncertain if he was amused or offended. He didn't think of himself as conservative. Well, compared to Qui-Gon, he certainly was, but in general...?

He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it, fixing her with an amused stare. Surely a conservative person wouldn't do that. Or...

He turned her hand over and kissed her palm, then traced a path across it with the tip of his tongue. She sucked in her breath sharply and closed her eyes. He immediately wondered if he'd gone too far, releasing her hand.

She opened her eyes and smiled. "That was unexpected," she admitted. "And very nice."

He smiled back. "Conservative?"

She grinned wickedly. "Definitely. You'll have to do better than that to change my mind."

He laughed nervously and let go of her hand, sitting back. "I don't think I should be trying to change your mind."

"Why not?" Her smile was crooked, her inflection conveying a bit of a challenge.

Obi-Wan thought for a moment, watching Siri's face. They had been flirting with each other off and on ever since the kiss, dropping light innuendo into conversation, brushing against one another when they passed in the hall. Was this just a harmless game, or was there something more going on here? He wanted to ask her that, but he wasn't sure he really wanted to know the answer. After all, if it was more than a little playful flirtation, then he should put a stop to it at once. But I don't want this to stop, not yet.

Time to change the subject. "Where are the boys? I haven't seen Anakin in hours."

She noted his dodge with a wry smile, but didn't push the issue further. "Ferus said they were thinking of getting some exercise outside. I understand that the embassy grounds are quite expansive."

"Together?" Obi-Wan was surprised. Anakin and Ferus generally avoided each other. He knew they didn't get along very well.

Siri shrugged, equally perplexed. "Yes, together. Anakin came to our suite looking for Ferus, and it wasn't long before they were heading out the door. I have no idea when they started getting along."

"Well, whatever the reason, I'm glad for it. Anakin doesn't have many friends. Ferus could be a good influence on him."

Siri grinned. "Should I worry that your padawan might be a bad influence on mine?"

Obi-Wan sighed. "Perhaps you should."
Chapter 4 by Emma Grant
Anakin could feel Ferus drawing closer with every step. His feet pounded a steady beat into the dirt path, providing a bass line against the ebb and flow of his concentration. He reached out, felt the Force flowing around him -- around Ferus, between them, through them. Ferus was only a meter behind him now, feet pounding at a faster pace to match Anakin's long stride. Anakin breathed, and waited, and listened. Then he struck.

Ferus was not caught off-guard, bringing his lightsaber up in a sweeping movement to block Anakin's blow. Anakin retreated and struck again. Ferus parried, taking a step back. Anakin paused for a second, then leveled a series of short, quick blows, the last of which caught the sleeve of Ferus' tunic. The smell of singed fabric filled Anakin's nostrils as he pressed on, striking blow after blow, his movements perfectly timed and extremely efficient, hammering at the other padawan relentlessly. Ferus feinted to one side, then stepped back in a move designed to expose his opponent's flank. Anakin anticipated the move, and slammed into Ferus instead, sending the boy tumbling to the ground. Lightsabers extinguished, they wrestled in the grass, each briefly gaining control before being rolled by the other. Anakin managed to pin Ferus at last, using his greater height to his advantage. Ferus's arms were pinned awkwardly above his head, and Anakin's weight on the boy's thighs kept him firmly on the ground.

Ferus had lost, but he was not giving up. Anakin held the struggling boy down fairly easily. A smile spread across his face as he felt Ferus's frustration rise sharply.

"You've lost. Admit it." Ferus glared at him, lips pressed into a thin line. "I won. Come on, let's hear it." Anakin knew that such gloating was beneath the conduct of a Jedi, but he couldn't help it. He knew that if their positions were reversed, Ferus would have hopped off of him immediately, extended a hand to help him up, and offered constructive criticism.

A twinge of guilt surfaced through the elation in Anakin's mind. He sighed heavily and loosened his tight grip on Ferus's wrists. "Your eyes darted to the right just before the feint. You completely broadcast your intentions." Ferus relaxed beneath him considerably, nodding but not meeting Anakin's gaze. Anakin released his hands and sat up, still straddling Ferus's hips.

"And you could have pinned me if you'd shifted your weight slightly to the left in that roll. Want to try it again?"

Ferus looked mildly surprised, but nodded. Anakin rolled onto his back beside Ferus, gesturing for him to follow. Ferus sat up and swung his leg over Anakin's body.

"Let's see... you were on top of me, and then we rolled to the... that way, and then I pushed up here with my knee like this and knocked you off balance. If you had anticipated that and shifted your weight to the left, I wouldn't have been able to get on top of you." Anakin looked up to see Ferus staring at him strangely. "What?"

Ferus looked away and shook his head. "Nothing. Ready?" He stretched himself over Anakin's body and Anakin pushed against him, causing them to roll to the right. Anakin waited for the right moment and pushed against Ferus's thigh with his knee. Ferus anticipated the move and shifted his weight, pushing Anakin back down. Anakin then pushed with his other knee, catching Ferus completely off-guard, rolled him over, and pinned him once more. Ferus laughed, though his features were somewhat tight with frustration.

Anakin grinned and sat up, pinning Ferus's hips to the ground once again with his greater weight. "That was better, you know."

Ferus opened his eyes and met Anakin's with a hazy but unflinching gaze, his expression one of curiosity. Anakin smiled broadly, pleased that he had controlled himself. This time, he didn't want to gloat at all. He was having fun. So often his interactions with Ferus felt like competitions, ones he frequently lost because of his own lack of patience. But this was different, this was--

"Let me up." Ferus pushed at Anakin's chest with his hands and squirmed beneath him.

Anakin frowned slightly. That sounded like a challenge. Thoughts of gloating drifted back into his mind as he caught the boy's hands and pinned them back down to he ground.

"I mean it, Anakin, get off me!" Ferus was struggling in earnest now, and his emotions had spiked in a strange way.

Anakin held him down firmly, not sure what he had done wrong. He couldn't have been hurting him. Was Ferus finally showing a little human emotion at being defeated? Anakin had no intention of giving up his victory this easily. He leaned forward, grinning wickedly, pressing his weight along Ferus' length. "What's wrong now?"

"Ani, please!" Ferus whimpered, closing his eyes.

At that moment Anakin became distinctly aware of an erection pressing into his groin. He released Ferus and rolled off of him quickly, watching with a mixture of surprise and amusement as Ferus sat up and pressed his head between his raised knees. An awkward silence stretched between them.

"I'm sorry," Anakin said at last. "I didn't realize... or I wouldn't have held you down like that." Liar, he chastised himself immediately. He was already regretting moving away so quickly. He was already half hard just from the thought wrestling with him had aroused the other boy. "It's nothing to be embarrassed about."

Ferus only snorted in response, eyes still fixed on the ground between his feet.

"Happens to me all the time at the worst possible moments," Anakin offered. He moved to sit beside Ferus and nudged him with his shoulder companionably. Ferus glanced at him tentatively, one eyebrow raised, and Anakin grinned. "My master and I were witnesses at a treaty signing on T'polan 4 about a year ago. When we arrived, we immediately realized that everyone at the ceremony, except for us, was completely naked."

"Really?" One corner of the older boy's mouth turned up, as if he was trying not to smile.

"And to seal the agreement, the two very beautiful rulers of the opposing planets had sex on the ceremonial platform, right in front of where we were sitting."

Ferus was grinning now. "Didn't you know that was going to happen?"

Anakin shook his head. "We had no idea. Apparently it was a part of their tradition that someone had neglected to mention to us before. The nudity was bad enough, but when those two women started kissing and touching each other... I got a raging hard-on instantly." He grinned at Ferus, happy to have the other padawan's rapt attention. "And I don't think I was the only one. I have never seen Obi-Wan look so uncomfortable in my entire apprenticeship. I don't think he liked having to watch a sex act, in public, sitting next to his 16-year-old padawan."

"What happened?"

"Well, one of them got on her knees and--"

"No, I mean... what did you do?" Ferus rolled his eyes and looked at his feet again. Anakin was delighted to see a light flush spread across his cheek.

"What did I do?" He slid one arm behind Ferus, resting his hand on the ground and brushing against the boy's back in the process. "Well... I slid my hand into my leggings, under my robe so no one could see." Ferus was chewing his lower lip almost anxiously. Anakin leaned a little closer and whispered, "Then I jerked off, nice and slow, right there on the stage, watching the Queen of T'polan 4 eat out the Queen of T'polan 5." Ferus's breathing had become slightly erratic. Anakin leaned in until his lips brushed his ear. "And I came when she did." He sat back, watching the other padawan's face.

Ferus blinked and swallowed before turning to look at Anakin, wide-eyed. "You really did that?"

Anakin broke into a grin. "Fuck no! Of course not!"

Ferus gasped and swatted at Anakin's arm. "You are such a... I thought you were serious!"

"Well, I thought about it. Wouldn't you? And I did do it, as soon as I got back to my own room, replaying that scene in my mind over and over..." He stuck his tongue out slightly and rolled his eyes back in his head. Ferus laughed again, pushing Anakin's torso away teasingly. Anakin caught his hands and pushed back, pressing Ferus onto his back with surprising ease.

"So, you see," Anakin said softly, "that was really a bad time to have a hard-on."

"At least no one else knew about it at the time." Ferus smiled up at him in a way Anakin thought could be perceived as inviting.

He stretched out on his side next to Ferus, propping his head up on his hand. "Well, my master sure as hell knew. That's not what made it bad, though." He studied the grass between them for a moment before continuing. "I couldn't do anything about it. I just had to sit there and watch two people having sex, while I got more and more aroused. My dick was aching and there wasn't a fucking thing I could do but sit there and pretend to just observe, serene and dignified. It was awful!" He picked a few stray blades of grass off of Ferus's chest. The boy shivered slightly at the contact. Anakin smiled slyly. "Your situation is not like that at all."

Ferus took a shaky breath but did not look away. "What is my situation like, then?"

"You can do something about it, if you want to." Anakin leaned down close enough to almost brush his lips against Ferus's. "All you have to do is ask, you know."

Ferus swallowed hard and closed his eyes. "What exactly do you want me to ask?" His voice was barely a whisper.

"What do you want to do?" Anakin whispered back, struggling not to give in to the temptation to just take that mouth.

"I... I don't know, Anakin."

Anakin sighed and rolled onto his back. "Well, when you decide, let me know." He was not going to make the first move. He had all but thrown himself at the other boy, and he would not let himself be manipulated into a situation where Ferus could blame him for anything that happened between them. If Ferus wanted it, he would have to ask for it.

"Ani..." a tentative voice by his ear whispered. Anakin smiled at his childhood nickname being used in so intimate a manner. Very few people were permitted to call him that, and until now, Ferus had not been on that very short list. He turned his head towards Ferus to find himself nose-to-nose with the other boy, who'd rolled on his side. He said nothing in response but raised his eyebrows slightly. Ferus traced Anakin's lips with his fingertips, staring intently. Anakin waited, trying to calm his suddenly pounding heart, trying to resist the impulse to open his mouth and draw one of those fingers inside.

Ferus hesitated a moment longer, and then kissed him. It was quite a sweet kiss, with none of the frantic tongue-tangling that Anakin was accustomed to experiencing in the dark corners of sex clubs. It was slow and gentle, with only a slight hint of passion underneath it. Ferus pulled away, keeping his eyes closed for several more seconds. He flopped onto his back and stared up at the sky. "That was interesting."

Anakin laughed. "Interesting? What was so interesting about it?"

"I thought you'd be a better kisser than that."

"Oh, really?" Anakin laughed. "I was just letting you kiss me, you know. I didn't even try to kiss back."

Ferus clicked his tongue in amusement. "Excuses, excuses. Really, Ani, I was expecting fireworks or something, after the way you've been talking."

"After the way...? What do you mean?" Anakin rolled onto his side so that he was looking down at Ferus one more.

"Oh, that you have all this experience. I'm starting to think it's just talk." He smiled wryly.

Oh, a challenge! Anakin thought. He watched Ferus's face for a moment to be certain -- he had a habit of rushing into things without thinking about them very much, and this would be a bad time to read someone incorrectly.

"Just talk, eh? Are you asking for a demonstration of my superior kissing abilities?"

"Superior!" Ferus snorted, but his eyes sparkled. "I doubt that."

"I doubt you've ever kissed anyone. You wouldn't even know how good I am."

Ferus shrugged. "If it's that good, then I think I would know."

Anakin gave him a cheeky grin. "Are you certain you want to experience this? People have fallen hopelessly in love with me after one kiss, you know. It's quite dangerous."

Ferus laughed. "You are so full of shit!"

Anakin had never heard Ferus swear before. "And you're fucking naive. You've never had a real kiss and you know it."

"Then maybe you should shut up and give me a real kiss instead of talking about it!"

"You want me to kiss you?"

"Yes, I want you to kiss me."

"All right, then."

Anakin gently traced Ferus's jaw with one finger, following the movement with his eyes before leaning down and lightly pressing his lips against the boy's well-defined cheekbone. Then he kissed the corner of his mouth, then his chin, then the tip of his nose. He hovered millimeters above Ferus's lips, as close as he could bear without touching.

"Open your eyes," he whispered. Ferus complied, and Anakin held his gaze as he brushed his lips lightly, teasingly, against the slightly parted ones beneath him. He waited until he heard a small whimper escape from those lips, and then he relented, pressing his mouth onto Ferus's softly. He teased those lips apart with his tongue and explored the warm mouth beneath him as slowly as he could bear. Ferus melted into the kiss, moaning into Anakin's mouth, sliding his arms around his back and pulling him down on top of him. Anakin gave himself over to the experience then, pouring his pent-up sexual frustration into the other boy, gentleness becoming barely-restrained passion in the blink of an eye. He was hard now, and felt a strong urge to grind himself against Ferus. It wouldn't take much at this point -- just a little friction. He needed the release, he really did...

Ferus pushed at his shoulders and Anakin pulled out of the kiss abruptly, shocked at how aroused he had become. Ferus was breathing heavily, and had a panicked look on his face.

"What's wrong?"

"I... that was moving too fast. I'm sorry."

Anakin sat up, away from temptation, regaining control over his body with every breath. "Yeah... sorry. I got carried away."

"You were right," Ferus said, smiling. "You are a good kisser."

Anakin grinned. "I'm good at other things too."

Ferus frowned slightly at the suggestion in his tone. "What are you talking about?"

Anakin glanced down at his own tented leggings. "We're in the same condition now. Want to do something about that?"

Ferus sat up, mildly disturbed. "Anakin, I... Kissing is one thing, but that's something else altogether."

Anakin forced himself to pause and choose his words carefully. "Is it any different than you going back to your room after kissing me and jerking off?"

Ferus didn't even blink. "Yes! That makes it sex, and..." He paused, seeming to collect himself before continuing. "Anakin, I'm sorry if I've given you the wrong impression. I've done my bit of experimenting, and it's in the past."

Anakin rolled his eyes before he could stop himself.

Ferus narrowed his gaze. "What did that mean?"

Anakin sighed heavily. Did he really want to have this conversation with the Perfect Padawan? "Nothing, Ferus. Never mind."

"It isn't nothing, Anakin. Sexual relationships are inappropriate for padawans our age. They distract us from our training, and disrupt out connection to the Force." He sounded like he was quoting directly from Humanoid Sexuality: Myths, Truths, and the Jedi Code.

Anakin allowed himself to smirk. "Who said anything about a relationship? I was just hoping for a quick fuck."

Ferus struggled not to look shocked, and mostly failed. "Just a fuck? Is that all it would be to you?"

"Honestly? Yes."

Ferus's face was impassive. "How can you be so certain? Sex triggers complex emotions, Anakin. You can't just go around... fucking people whenever you feel like it, without serious consequences."

Anakin snorted, leaning back on his hands. He was starting to enjoy this conversation.
"You don't know what you're talking about."

Ferus's eyes narrowed. "And I suppose you do?"

Anakin could see a strange mix of emotions flicker across the older boy's face: curiosity, fear, disgust. Anakin began to worry he had gone too far. No one else knew about his extra-curricular activities, and Ferus was the last person to whom he ever would have considered confessing. He exemplified Anakin's definition of a straight-laced, traditional Jedi.

Then again, he would have said the same of his master until a few days ago. Still, this was not the time for this conversation. He knew Ferus was interested, even if the boy wasn't ready to admit it. If he played his cards right, he might get into the boy's pants yet.

He looked up to see Ferus staring at him intently, trying to read his expression. He plastered on his sweetest smile -- the one that always worked on Obi-Wan.

"Ferus, I--"

The wave slapped against his brain, almost tickling the base of his skull. He leapt to his feet, hand on the hilt of his lightsaber, senses directed outwards. He could feel Ferus doing the same, reaching out to entwine his awareness with Anakin's, strengthening it in some places and altering it slightly in others. It was a strange sensation, one he'd never felt before with anyone other than Obi-Wan.

They crept towards the perimeter of the embassy grounds, each knowing what the other was planning so clearly that no words were needed. There was now a strangely heavy sense of impending danger pressing on the Jedi, almost deafening in its intensity. They drew closer to a small power station, no larger than a loader droid. A muffled sound, like crying, could be heard coming from the far side of the station housing.

The boys split up and approached the station from two directions. The sense of danger was so loud in Anakin's head that it nearly distorted his vision. He felt a concerned query from Ferus, but brushed it aside. At an unspoken signal, they ignited their sabers and burst around the back of the station.

A young woman was lying crumpled on the ground, obviously injured, possibly beaten. She whimpered slightly and drew away at the sight of the Jedi. The extinguished their sabers after glancing around to see that they were alone, and dropped to the ground by the woman's side.

"Don't be afraid. We're going to help you. What happened?" Ferus took charge immediately. Unable to shake the darkness from his brain, Anakin could only stare at the woman. She was young, perhaps 18, with a long dark braid of hair trailing down her back. Her delicate face was bruised badly, and her clothes were torn. He stared into her liquid brown eyes steadily, his vision becoming hazy. He stumbled slightly.

"Anakin?" Ferus asked, turning to him. "What is it?"

Neither of them saw the woman pull a small device from beneath her clothes. They only felt a short burst of energy, and then, nothing.
Chapter 5 by Emma Grant
Obi-Wan's teacup shattered as it hit the floor, sending droplets of warm liquid in every direction. He crumpled forward, falling off of the sofa, holding his head in his hands.

First, he'd felt a sense of growing anxiety, then a stab of panic and anger, and then... nothing. Absolutely nothing was there in that place in his brain that was always aware of Anakin. He always felt Anakin there, sometimes as a buzz under his thoughts, sometimes as waves of unpredictable and inexplicable emotion, sometimes in directed thoughts that were so loud they made his head hurt. But now it was gone. There was nothing.

His vision was blurry and his ears rang. He pushed himself up on his hands and knees. His brain buzzed from the pain and confusion. He took a deep breath, reaching out to the Force, trying to feel for his padawan.

It hurt. He doubled over anew in pain, clutching his head, pressing hard on his temples. He let go and the pain started to fade. His first lucid thought was that something had happened to Anakin. Something terrible had happened to the child who was his responsibility, whom he was supposed to teach and protect.

Panic set in, and the flare in his emotions eased the pain in his head unexpectedly. He let them flow a little more strongly. No, that wasn't right -- he shouldn't do that.

Pull yourself together. You're of no help to him in this state.

The pain of the training bond being so abruptly broken was slowly fading from a sharp stabbing sensation to a more tolerable pounding ache in his temple. He took several deep breaths and opened his eyes. Siri was staring at him, pale and wide-eyed. She looked as if she might throw up.

It took two attempts before his voice obeyed his command to speak. "Can you feel Ferus?"

"No."

"I can't feel Anakin at all. He's just... gone."

Gone!

Why the fuck was he still sitting here? He leapt to his feet and headed for the door. He didn't have to look to see that Siri was right behind him. They headed towards the gardens and were inexorably drawn in one direction. The eddies of the Force had been greatly disturbed somewhere nearby, and they could see it, feel it, hear it. The very emptiness in the Force where there had once been two Jedi screamed loudly in their ears.

Obi-Wan's mind stormed as he ran, unbalanced by the loss of the bond. What had happened? He had never felt, or even heard of anything like this before. Was Anakin hurt? Was he dead?

That thought brought on nausea almost instantly, which made him stumble slightly. He steeled his stomach and forced it back down. Anakin couldn't be dead, could he? Obi-Wan had experienced a bond broken by death -- when Qui-Gon died -- but it had just faded gradually. It had not been severed like this. He remembered the feeling of it slipping away, like smoke through his fingers, like a dream that fades when one first wakes. It was horrible and devastating and one of the worst moments in his life.

He began to realize this was worse.

There was a small power station ahead, and when they reached it, he knew -- this was the place. Anakin's fear and anger and a flash of betrayal hung in the air like a dingy cloud. He gathered as much of it as he could, sweeping around himself with the Force. There were images there, and emotions, but he couldn't focus. They began to slip away, to slip through his fingers. He reached out, but the Force seemed to evade him suddenly, backing away, abandoning him.

He ignited his saber and slashed at the power station housing in frustration, screaming, his head pounding. Then he was suddenly hit hard in the chest, and pinned to the ground, face down. He struggled to breathe.

"Obi-Wan, stop!" Siri's voice was heavy, commanding. She must have Force-pushed him, he thought, in order to knock him off his feet from a safe distance. His anger spiked again, and he broke free of the invisible restraints she'd created with surprising ease, feeling the Force fill him easily now. He climbed to his feet and called his saber to his hand, glaring darkly at her. She flinched and stepped back, clearly frightened. Then she stepped forward again, and then again, and again. And slapped him hard across the face.

"Damn it, Obi-Wan, do not lose it now! I need you here, with me!" Her eyes were flashing blue, and her face flamed. Her hair stuck out in strange directions. She looked a little crazy.

Obi-Wan swallowed hard, slowly realizing what had just happened to him -- how close he'd come. He couldn't lose himself, not now. They would never find the padawans if he didn't pull himself together.

"Obi-Wan, answer me!" Siri stepped forward, hand raised, ready to slap him again. Her other hand gripped her lightsaber firmly, just in case.

Just in case...

He dropped to his knees at her feet and pressed his forehead into her stomach. The emotion rose hard in his throat, and he couldn't stop it, couldn't push it back down. It demanded release, and it was more than he could manage by himself -- more than he could bear. He sobbed into Siri's bare abdomen, smearing hot tears on her smooth skin. His hands grasped at her hips, trying to find purchase on the slick leather. His breath hitched in his chest. He moaned, the sound muffled against her damp skin.

Siri pulled him against her body tightly, stroking his hair, breathing deeply. Her emotions were ragged now, and hearing and feeling his despair wasn't helping. They were wasting valuable time by letting their emotions overwhelm them. She clenched her fingers in his hair, frustrated.

"Obi?" she whispered.

Obi-Wan pushed away from her then, sitting back on his heels and wiping his face on his tunic. He didn't look at her.

He felt much more even now, and the Force was easier to touch. He extended his senses again, sweeping the area, sieving fragments of emotion from the wind. He had lost much of it already, and what was left did not make sense.

He glanced up to see Siri wiping her face with her hands. He tried to center himself before speaking. "I can only pick out a few feelings and images, but something happened to them very suddenly. I think they were surprised."

Siri took a shaky breath. "Do you think they're alive?"

"Yes, I do. I can't explain it."

"He's gone," Siri sighed, hand caressing her forehead. "There's nothing where he used to be." She met Obi-Wan's eyes. "It must be ten times worse for you. I know that your bond with Anakin was very strong."

Obi-Wan could only nod, wincing at her use of past tense. "Yes. Anakin isn't just a presence in the Force. He's a fucking beacon. I feel a bit like someone's turned off all the lights." He sighed, pressing the heels of his hands against his temples. "My head is splitting. Siri, I know what it feels like when someone dies, and it doesn't feel like this. I'm sure they're alive. They must have been cut off from the Force somehow. That's the only explanation."

"Then they can't be far away." The determination in her voice was a familiar, steadying force. Siri walked towards the power station again, scanning the area.

Obi-Wan climbed to his feet a little more slowly, feeling surprisingly drained. He closed his eyes and centered himself once more before jogging to catch up with Siri. They searched the immediate area, but found nothing. There was no trace of their padawans at all. Siri leaned heavily against a tree.

"Obi-Wan... we should inform the ambassador, and the Council. We're going to need help." She slid to the ground, wincing.

Obi-Wan wondered if she was in the same shape he was. He was in pain and completely exhausted. He extended a hand to pull her back to her feet. She stumbled slightly and he caught her.

"To the ambassador's office," he said.

+++++

The assistant blinked his large pink eyes slowly. "I'm very sorry, Master Jedi, but the ambassador is busy at the moment with an important guest. He left strict orders not to be disturbed."

Obi-Wan struggled to keep his voice level. "As I've already told you, this is an emergency. We must see the ambassador immediately."

The assistant tapped the data pad built into the surface of his desk, frowning. "He has an opening at ninth hour, tomorrow."

Obi-Wan clenched his jaw and raised one hand before the assistant's face. "We need to see the ambassador now," he growled.

The assistant promptly fainted onto his desk.

"I think I overdid it," Obi-Wan sighed. He was having a difficult time centering himself in the Force. The implications of that worried him.

"He'll be all right," Siri said. "There's an easier way to do this." She ignited her saber and sank it into the locking mechanism of the door leading to the ambassador's office. The door emitted a pained whine and slid open.

Startled, Obi-Wan left the limp form of the assistant and followed Siri into the office. The ambassador, a small round man with errant wiry hair and a bright red suit, was sitting at his desk, face pale and sweating, staring at the intruders in shock. Obi-Wan glanced around the room. It seemed to be empty, despite the assistant's claim that the ambassador was in a meeting.

Then he noticed the pair of feet sticking slightly out from under the desk. Obi-Wan wrinkled his nose, trying to contain his frustration. This was what was so important that the ambassador could not see them?

He crossed the room and placed both hands flat on the desk, leaning over so that he was eye level with the anxious man. "If you're quite finished being sucked off by the delivery boy, we'd like to have a word with you." His voice was eerily calm in his ears. The desk emitted a slight thumping sound -- a head hitting it from beneath, most likely. He attempted a smile, but it came off as something more like a threatening grimace. "It's an emergency."

The ambassador seemed to have lost his voice. "Y-y-yes," he whispered. "Of course." After some awkward fumbling, he rolled his chair back and a terrified young man emerged from the desk and bolted for the door. The two Jedi ignored him completely.

Siri moved to stand beside Obi-Wan, her demeanor calm and serene. "Our apprentices were abducted from the southeastern section of the embassy grounds approximately half an hour ago. They vanished without a trace."

The ambassador gaped at her. The news seemed to have helped him regain his composure. "That's... impossible! Our security is impenetrable. Are you certain?"

"Yes. They're gone. We've searched and can find no trace of them."

The ambassador's gaze faded for a moment, and he sat back in his chair. "Your apprentices are quite young, aren't they? Perhaps they've just gone exploring, or are playing a prank? Why must you jump to the conclusion that they were abducted, if you have no evidence?"

Obi-Wan couldn't help glaring at the man. The ambassador shrank in his chair, swallowing hard.

Siri stepped forward slightly, drawing the man's attention. "Ambassador, we each have a mental connection with our apprentices, and those connections were violently and simultaneously severed in the last hour." She paused, wondering if the man had encountered Jedi before, if this made any sense to him at all. "We are no longer in contact with Anakin and Ferus. We traced them to their last location before the event, but we have found nothing more."

The ambassador stared back at her blankly. Perhaps she should just tell him what to do. That usually worked.

"We need your help, Ambassador. We can do no more alone. Are there any factions who might resent Jedi presence on Krisilia? Is there anyone who would have cause to interfere in the political process we came here to help negotiate?"

The ambassador nodded and thought for a moment. "Honestly, I can think of no one. The interim governor would be the only person who might stand to benefit from a prolongation of the political process. But--"

"But the interim governor is missing," Obi-Wan interjected.

The ambassador's eyes narrowed. "Yes, he is, though that knowledge has not been made public. He disappeared two days ago. His family is quite distraught."

"Why weren't we informed of the governor's disappearance?" Obi-Wan's voice was tight again.

"I-I... I'm not sure. I assumed someone had told you."

Siri focused her gaze on the ambassador. He was not lying, but he was definitely hiding something.

"No one told us," Obi-Wan continued, "despite our frequent and persistent inquiries."

The ambassador swallowed. "I am terribly sorry about the confusion. And I am most troubled to hear of the disappearance of your apprentices. Perhaps the two events are related? As the official liaison to the Republic in this system, I will help you in any way I can, of course. Perhaps I can start by notifying the local authorities?"

Siri considered this, glancing at Obi-Wan. He nodded. She realized that he was so exhausted he was barely standing. They both needed to rest, and very soon.

She turned back to the ambassador and nodded her consent. "Our entry documents contain holos and physical descriptions of both boys. Those may be helpful to the authorities. Are there security cameras on the grounds?"

"Yes. I'll have the footage from that sector downloaded and sent to you as soon as possible."

Siri nodded curtly. "Thank you for your help, ambassador. We must contact the Jedi Council. We'll be in our quarters."

The ambassador bowed slightly in return. "It is my honor and privilege to assist you, Master Jedi. I will inform you the very moment that I learn anything of importance."

Siri grasped Obi-Wan firmly by the arm and steered him toward the door.

+++++

They both slumped before the communications console at the desk in Obi-Wan's quarters, gathering themselves before initiating the call. Siri prayed silently to the Force as she keyed in the code. Please, not Mace. Anyone but Mace.

Predictably, the Master's stern face filled the viewscreen. "Knight Tachi?" He seemed surprised to see her. "Where is Kenobi?"

Obi-Wan nudged Siri to slide forward on the stool so that he could slide onto it behind her. He peeked over her shoulder at the viewscreen. "I'm here, Master." He placed his chin on her shoulder and slid his arms around her waist, leaning against her heavily. Siri was surprised at the sense of security she gained from the pressure of his body against her back. She leaned into him and placed her hands over his, thankful that the camera would only pick up their faces.

Mace's face was promptly replaced by Yoda's, much to her relief. The wizened Jedi frowned at them.

"A great disturbance, I sense. Your padawans -- missing, are they?"

Siri nodded. Master Yoda would know what to do, what to say. It would be all right, if she could just hang on a little longer. She explained the situation to him as succinctly as she could, noticing that Obi-Wan seemed strangely content to let her take charge. She could feel him drawing unconsciously on her dwindling reserves of strength. He must be feeling worse than she'd even realized.

"To Krisilia, a team will be sent. Assist you, they will. For now, rest you must and regain your strength."

"But Master," Obi-Wan interjected at last, "We must search for our apprentices. The longer we wait, the colder the trail will be. We don't have the time to rest." Even his voice sounded tired, gravelly.

"Rest, you need, Obi-Wan," Yoda countered, his face growing larger on the screen as he leaned forward into the camera. "In a dangerous state are you. You must heal, or help your padawan, you will not." Yoda closed his eyes and appeared to concentrate for a moment. "Mysterious are the ways of the Force. Meant to happen, this may have been. Help you solve the mystery of the governor's disappearance, it will."

"Yes, Master," they sighed, simultaneously.

Mace appeared again. "A team has been dispatched to your location, but they won't arrive for several standard days. Do you need medical assistance?"

"No," Obi-Wan replied sharply, before Siri could even open her mouth. "We'll rest, and we'll be fine."

Mace nodded his head, and the transmission was cut.

Obi-Wan pressed his forehead into Siri's shoulder. "Un-fucking-believable," he mumbled.

She pulled his arms more tightly around her. "Since when do you swear so much?"

"I always have," he replied, voice muffled slightly against her body. "But only around close friends."

She smiled at that; she couldn't help it. It suddenly seemed very important to be counted by him as a close friend.

"Let's get you to bed," she said softly, patting his hand.

He stiffened. "I don't want to rest. I want to find Anakin. I don't care what Yoda thinks we should do."

"What Yoda ordered us to do," she reminded gently. How ironic that she was now the one who was trying to convince him to follow orders.

"Siri, I can't. I can't rest, I can't sleep, I can't think." He took a deep, trembling breath. "I can't sit still while my padawan is missing, possibly in danger. I have to do something." Despite the resolve in his voice, he didn't move. He merely leaned against her more heavily.

She decided that arguing with him would be futile. She loosened his arms and stood, then pulled him to his feet. She wrapped her arm around his waist and draped one of his arms about her shoulders. "We can discuss it while I tuck you in. Walk."

He didn't argue. It seemed to take all of his concentration to get across the suite to the bedroom. He sat heavily on the bed and closed his eyes. She removed his boots, one at a time, and set them aside. Kneeling on the floor before him, she was struck by how utterly exhausted he appeared. She realized that she probably looked no better, but he looked as bad as she'd ever seen him. He was pale and sweating, and his eyes were glazed. His strength seemed to be waning by the second. She helped him out of his clothes, deciding after a moment's thought to leave his leggings on. He leaned back against the wall, legs splayed in front of him, dazed.

She climbed up to sit beside him. "Would you like me to stay? I could try to put you to sleep." That might be difficult in the state she was in, though. Who am I kidding? I don't want to be alone right now.

He nodded, his expression blank. She paused for a moment before standing and stripping out of her clothing, down to underwear. He wouldn't notice, and she hated sleeping in her clothes.

"Obi-Wan?"

He'd stretched out on the bed, on top of the blanket. He mumbled something incoherent, and then was quiet.

Siri sighed and stroked his forehead before wrapping the top blanket around him as best she could. She slid under the sheets and stretched out on her side, spooned into his chest. His breathing was smooth and shallow, and it lulled her to sleep.

She dreamed they were children again, and had been captured and taken to the underground Re-Learning Center on Kegan. Uniformed security "guides" tried to separate them, but they held each other's hands fiercely and would not let go. The guides pulled so hard that their clothing tore, so hard that it hurt, but still they held on to each other by sheer will. Finally, the guides gave up and tossed them into a small room together. They collapsed on the sleeping pallet, arms wrapped around each other, and shivered.
Chapter 6 by Emma Grant
The first thing Ferus was aware of was something poking into his back uncomfortably. He tried to wiggle away, but moving was especially difficult. He struggled against a confining blanket wrapped around him, limbs feeling strangely heavy.

Then he opened his eyes.

"What the... where...?" he sputtered, squinting in the dim light of the room. He was in what appeared to be a smallish cabin on a transport or ship of some kind. He was lying uncomfortably on a fold-down bunk. He sat up slowly, feeling nauseous instantly. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself.

But there was nothing. Nothing. His eyes opened wide and he reached out again. There was nothing there.

He barely made it to the fresher in time. His stomach was empty, but he retched anyway, his mind whirling and his stomach catching up quickly. He finally sat back on his heels with his forehead pressed against the rim of the toilet, breath catching in his lungs, eyes burning. He couldn't feel anything.

The Force had always been there, had always touched him and been a comforting presence in his body. He had learned to call it to him as a child, so long ago that he didn't remember a time he couldn't do it. But now it was gone. He tried again, desperate, but nothing was there. He examined his body, looking for a device that might be causing this disconnection, but found nothing. It didn't make sense. Without the Force, the fear swam in his brain, feeding on itself, spiraling out of control.

No. He pushed himself to his feet unsteadily. I can deal with this. I must deal with this.

Then the pain came. It rushed to his head along with the blood, and he fell to his knees again, shaking and biting his lip to keep from crying out. Fortunately, it subsided quickly, fading to a dull throb that was tolerable.

What happened to me? Where am I? He couldn't remember coming here. He was clearly on a ship, and it felt like they were traveling through atmosphere, not space. He struggled to remember what had happened. The last thing he remembered was... Anakin.

He crawled back into the room and peered over at the small bed. Someone was huddled there, under a blanket. He managed to stand and made his way to the bed.

Anakin was curled into a fetal position, covering half of the bed. It must have been his foot Ferus felt pressed into his back. He sat down and touched the other boy's arm gently.

"Anakin?" No response. He tried poking him a little harder. Nothing. He took the other padawan by the shoulders and shook him slightly. "Anakin, wake up!" No response. Anakin appeared to be unconscious.

Ferus instinctively tried to reach out with the Force to touch the other boy's mind -- but it still wasn't there. He shuddered slightly. It was as if someone had removed his eyes or his sense of touch. He had never had to function without this sense outside of the brief Force deprivation training they all had received. But in that training, his access to the Force had been blocked. He could still sense it within his own body; he simply couldn't use it. This was different -- this was like someone had removed it from him altogether.

He glanced down at Anakin again, suddenly frightened for his friend. Anakin had an unusually strong connection to the Force. What was it like for him to be without it?

Without warning, the door slid open and the lights brightened to full. Ferus winced and covered his eyes with his hand. He had been trained to use the Force to compensate his vision in situations such as this one. Without it, he was helpless and could only wait for his eyes to adjust on their own.

When they finally did, he saw a young woman standing in the doorway. She was probably his age, and wore what appeared to be a military uniform. The insignia on the lapel seemed to indicate she held a fairly high rank. She had pale skin, with dark eyes and a long dark braid of hair draped over one shoulder.

He recognized her instantly, the memory of the ambush in the gardens ripping back to the front of his thoughts. "What have you done to us?" he asked in a small, tight voice.

"What, no introductions?" she quipped. "I know who you are. Would you care to know who I am?"

"Does it make a difference?" He heard the sarcasm in his voice before he realized the words had come out of his mouth.

"Most likely," she stated, stepping into the room. The door slid shut behind her.

She appeared unarmed, though Ferus knew there was little sense in attacking her at this point. Not with Anakin unconscious on the bed behind him. He stepped to the right to put himself between Anakin and the woman. It was all he could do at the moment to protect his friend.

"High Commander Kimit Faltiwend," she stated sharply, bowing her head slightly. "My troops call me Commander Kim, so I'll allow you to do so as well."

He blinked. "You're the governor's daughter."

A strange expression spread slowly across her face. "You're well-informed. My mother's assassination was quite a blow to this world. We all miss her presence and wisdom quite keenly. Of course, were it not for her death, you would not be here now." She leaned against an uncomfortable looking chair.

"And where, precisely, is here?"

She smirked. "I can't tell you that, now can I? Perhaps you have some other questions I won't be able to answer."

"What have you done to us?"

She waved her hand in front of her body in a vaguely dismissive gesture. "Ah, that. Not to worry. It's temporary."

Ferus gestured towards Anakin's still form. "You call that temporary? I can't wake him."

"Don't worry, dear, your little boyfriend will be just fine." The smirk seemed to be a permanent facial feature. "I merely wiped out most of the midiclorians in your bloodstream."

Ferus suddenly had difficulty breathing. "You... you did what?"

"My father is a weapons specialist, you know, and he has spent his life designing anti-Jedi weaponry. A certain private donor has been spending a good deal of money on the development of his recent project." Ferus's mind raced at all of the implications of that statement. His knees threatened to give beneath him. Kim paused to appraise his reaction before continuing. "It's quite simple, really. Take away those abnormally high levels of midiclorians and a Jedi is just an ordinary being, like anyone else."

He felt the blood draining from his face even as he felt the bile rising in his throat. He wavered on his feet, unable to process the idea, the very thought that someone could do this to him.

"Of course, your midiclorian level is genetically predetermined, and so the organisms left will reproduce and return to their normal numbers in time. In a few weeks, you'll feel good as new."

He gaped at her, feeling his anger rise. He wasn't afraid of the feeling; no harm could come from indulging it at the moment. "How dare you use that... weapon on us! You have no idea what the possible ramifications are, do you?" His mind was flooded with them, each more gut-wrenching than the last. The surviving midiclorians could carry a mutation, or a gene that wouldn't normally affect a healthy population. It could change the nature of his connection to the Force forever. He swallowed down the saliva that warned him he was on the verge of vomiting again.

"Well, my father experimented with tag-rats with a great deal of success. I daresay you have little to worry about. You look a little green, by the way."

Ferus squatted to the floor, and it seemed to help calm his stomach. He stared at a fixed spot on the floor. "Tag-rats?"

"They had been genetically modified. The biggest problem was that they became immune to the effects of the weapon after being exposed to it more than a few times. A plus for you, I'd say."

"Did it kill any of them?" Ferus asked, daring to raise his head so that he could glare at her when he asked the question.

She pouted, a bizarre expression on her stern face. "There was quite a bit of variation in how the rats reacted. Don't worry; I'm sure your boyfriend will be fine very soon."

"He's not my boyfriend," Ferus muttered, then wondered why it had seemed so important to say that aloud. Did it matter what she thought?

"Isn't he?" Commander Kim grinned. "I saw the two of you rolling around in the grass together."

He groaned and sat on the floor heavily, embarrassed at having been distracted and trapped so easily. Master Siri would really chew him out for this. The old damsel-in-distress ruse, she would say. If they've got dicks, it gets them every time. Then she would sentence him to more meditations than one could possibly accomplish in a normal human lifespan. Compared to what he was feeling at the moment, it didn't sound half-bad.

"I'll be back to check on you later," Kim said, standing. "I can assure you that if you cooperate, no harm will come to you." She turned and left the room, door hissing shut behind her.

Ferus barely made it to the fresher this time either.
Chapter 7 by Emma Grant
Obi-Wan dreamed about Qui-Gon.

He dreamed the man was standing on a precipice, looking down at a barren valley below. Obi-Wan felt strangely content to see him standing there, and not at all surprised. A warm wind blew over him, and Obi-Wan leaned forward over the edge.

"Ever think of jumping?" Qui-Gon asked. That hint of wry humor was in his voice, and it made Obi-Wan smile.

"No," he replied, turning to look at his master's face. "Have you?"

"All the time," Qui-Gon sighed, humor gone now.

Obi-Wan touched the man's face, and Qui-Gon smiled again. There was something sad behind his eyes, something Obi-Wan couldn't identify.

And then they were standing in a pool under the moonlight, up to their waists in cool water. The air was stifling, though the sky was dark. Qui-Gon's eyes sparkled mischievously.

"Shall I spare you the romantic drivel about how beautiful you look in the moonlight?"

Obi-Wan laughed and twined his arms around his master's neck in response, bringing their faces very close together. "Yes, spare me. Go directly to the good part instead."

Qui-Gon raised an elegant eyebrow, and kissed him. The dream shifted into a rush of sensation then, of wet skin sliding together, of heat and pleasure, of tongues and fingers and hardness and softness.

He was warm, he thought, if not a bit uncomfortable. He tugged the body spooned against him closer, half-smiling as he pressed his erection against firm buttocks. He shifted his hips slightly, and the friction made him harder.

It also woke him up.

Oh my...

Siri was still asleep, fortunately, and hadn't noticed that he was grinding his cock into her ass. Several layers of blankets separated them, so perhaps it wouldn't have been all that obvious anyway.

His arm was draped around her waist, and he realized with a growing sense of horror that his hand was cupping one of her breasts. For some reason, his body found this thought highly intriguing, and the erection that had started to fade came back completely.

He exhaled, strangely tempted to stay right where he was. After all, she'd hinted several times that she was interested. An awkward awakening could lead to a silent agreement to take their friendship a step further.

The dream flitted through his mind, prompting the realization that he hadn't had sex in a long, long time.

Of course, his problem was that it was never just sex. Brief fumblings with close friends in his padawan days had taught him that much.

With a small sigh, he slowly lifted his arm and turned onto his back. A moment later, Siri stirred. She sat up and squinted at him.

"What time is it?"

He shrugged in response, yawning. Siri climbed out of the small bed and stretched, apparently comfortable with being nearly naked in front of him. Her thin undertunic rose, revealing a brief expanse of pale skin above the hem of her underwear. He stared, despite the fact that it was rude. Her navel was pierced. Why hadn't he noticed that before?

"What?" she yawned, combing her fingers through her hair. Despite her efforts, it stuck out in several directions.

He smiled sleepily. "Thanks for putting me to bed. And for staying."

"My pleasure," she grinned. "I like waking up in someone's arms." With a wink, she slipped into the 'fresher.

Shit, he thought, wincing. He seemed to be doing everything wrong where Siri was concerned.

+++++

Obi-Wan opened the next set of spaceport logs, centering the screen over the section containing the record and manifest of every ship that had left the city the day before. The Ambassador had been much more cooperative when they'd returned to his office that morning, giving them access to every secure system they requested.

He held down the "scroll" key and let the stream of data roll by, waiting for something to catch his attention.

"How do you do that, anyway?" Siri asked.

He jumped slightly, startled by her sudden appearance. "How do I do what?" He clenched his jaw, chastising himself for being so unaware. His connection to the Force still felt a bit muddy, and it was starting to worry him.

"Take it all in. It makes my head hurt to watch."

He looked up from the monitor and shrugged innocently. "Just a gift, I suppose."

She shot him a mildly annoyed look. "I checked out the grounds, and couldn't find any entrances to the gardens other than the main gate. I don't know how they got the boys out so quickly. It's as if they vanished into thin air." They were working under the assumption that two or more people had attacked Anakin and Ferus at once. The scene of the attack was on the opposite side of the grounds from the main entrance, and the groundskeeper had seen nothing out of the ordinary. "Any luck here?"

He shook his head. "I've scanned every transportation record available, and nothing looks remotely suspicious. There were no police reports, no suspicious activity in this area. Nothing." He pushed away from the monitor and looked up at Siri.

She sighed and pressed her fingertips to her temples. They were both suffering the effects of having lost the training bonds with their padawans. For Siri, it meant a tension headache and a general feeling of listlessness. For Obi-Wan, it was bordering on a migraine. He'd reluctantly accepted the medication offered to him by the ambassador's assistant, and it had helped.

"I'm going to look for information on the governor next. I can't help but wonder if there's some connection."

Siri nodded and flopped ungracefully into a chair, which rolled backwards a bit. "I talked to the housekeeping staff. It turns out that the ambassador's cook has only worked here a month. Prior to that, he was the governor's personal chef."

"Really? Did you speak with him?"

"He arrives for his shift in a few minutes. I thought you might want to come along when I question him." She bit her lip, thinking. Obi-Wan was struck by how vulnerable that small gesture made her seem. She was a tough woman, and difficult to intimidate. He'd been on the business end of her blaster once, and it had scared him shitless.

At the moment, though, she looked much younger than her 30 years, twisting her finger around a short lock of hair as she thought. Her eyes were downcast, and dark lashes fluttered against her cheeks every so often. She was beautiful, though not perhaps by traditional standards. He was noticing it more frequently.

She caught him staring, and her brows furrowed. "What?"

He grinned and rolled his chair closer to hers. Her eyes narrowed in suspicion, but she didn't move away. A bit impulsively, he leaned forward and kissed her, cupping her cheek in one hand. Her mouth opened in a silent "oh" of surprise, and he took advantage of the opportunity to deepen their contact. She whimpered and leaned into him, taking control of the kiss as if she had initiated it. She explored his mouth briefly before closing her lips around his tongue and... sucking.

It was Obi-Wan's turn to whimper. He hadn't felt anything like it in far too long.

Siri released his tongue and pushed at his chest playfully. Their chairs rolled apart across the smooth floor. They grinned at each other for a moment, a bit flustered, and a bit embarrassed.

She glanced at her commlink, breaking the spell. "Time to interview the chef." Obi-Wan nodded and switched off the terminal.

+++++

"Well, it wasn't as if no one tried to warn me," the chef said, crossing his legs and lighting yet another tabac stick. He was a few years older than Obi-Wan, very thin and fashionably dressed. "I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the position. I stuck it out for two years."

"Can you think of anyone who might have wanted the interim Governor to disappear?" Obi-Wan asked, resisting the urge to wave smoke away from his face.

The chef smiled at him a bit before answering. "I never met the most recent occupant of that house. I left not long before Faltiwend's assassination. And I have no idea who was responsible for that either." He took a drag and carefully blew the smoke up, away from the Jedi. "Everyone in that house hated her, even her own children. Her oldest daughter was off at university and only came back for holidays. The younger ones were spoiled brats. Turned their pert little noses up at every dish that wasn't haute cuisine."

"Can you give us any names?" Siri asked. "Anyone with connections to Faltiwend who might have a motivation to interfere with the selection of her replacement?" There was a touch of exasperation in her tone.

The chef raised an eyebrow at her before focusing his gaze on Obi-Wan once more. "Most of the staff despised the Governor, but we valued our jobs. We were paid well to put up with the shit we were given. And to keep our mouths shut about everything else." He looked away, taking another long drag.

"What about friends, cabinet members, other people who visited frequently?" Obi-Wan wondered if mild flattery would loosen the chef's tongue. "In such an important position in the household, you must have known with whom the Governor kept company." He smiled and tilted his head in a way that Qui-Gon had always told him was irresistible.

The chef smiled in response and put out the tabac stick. "Well, I could be persuaded to recall some names." He winked at Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan felt Siri's twinge of amusement. They didn't have time to deal with this, honestly, but they were hitting dead ends everywhere. He smiled more widely at the chef, whose eyes had drifted rather blatantly to Obi-Wan's crotch.

"We would be quite appreciative of any help you could give us," he said, letting his tone carry a hint of suggestiveness.

"I have to get back to work," the man said, pulling a small card and a pen from his pocket. He wrote something on the back and held it out to Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan took it, letting his fingers brush the chef's briefly as he did. The man smiled lazily and left, hips swaying more than was strictly necessary.

Siri sighed noisily and rolled her eyes. Obi-Wan glanced at the card. On the front was printed the man's name and some contact information. On the back he had neatly printed two names, and the words "I get off at 25th hour."

"I imagine he does," Siri smirked.

Obi-Wan smirked at her. "Jealous?"

"No." The corner of lip twitched upwards just a bit. "At least he gave us a few names to start with. Do you want to look them up, or should I?"

"I'm familiar with the system, now, so I suppose I could do it. I wonder if the computer system at the Governor's residence is accessible through the network?"

Siri looked delighted. "You're thinking of hacking into a secured government network? I'm impressed, Obi."

"We're here at the request of the interim Governor," he noted. "He's missing, so it's within the bounds of our investigation to access any relevant files." He paused, thinking. "Parts of the system here are cloaked, so I could start there. It's easy enough to undo the cloak, once you know it's there."

Siri sucked in a breath quickly. "Of course!" she said, eyes wide. At that, she turned and sprinted from the room. Obi-Wan followed her, sensing the burst of excitement that had filled her so suddenly. She ran through the corridors, barely swerving to miss several of the staff who swore indignantly at her as she passed.

"Sorry!" Obi-Wan muttered at an irate janitor as he used a touch of the Force to jump over a patch of freshly mopped floor. Siri tore on ahead, showing no sign of slowing. When they reached the door leading out to the gardens, a wave of realization swept over him. He chased her across the grounds back toward the spot where Anakin and Ferus had disappeared, coming to a halt just in front of the power station.

"It's unmarked," he panted, wondering why he didn't think of it before.

Siri walked slowly around the structure, searching. "Yes, and you attacked it quite fiercely yesterday." She extended a hand toward the structure and gasped when it passed through the surface with a small flicker.

"Hologram," Obi-Wan noted, shaking his head. "Why didn't we notice it yesterday?" He swallowed down his frustration quickly.

Siri hefted the hilt of her lightsaber in her palm and glanced at him. He nodded.

They stepped through at the same time. Siri lit her saber instantly, as it was pitch dark inside the false structure. The green blade provided enough light that they could see each other's faces. Obi-Wan ignited a small glowrod from his utility belt.

"There," he said, pointing at a large metal plate on the ground.

Siri crouched down and ran her fingers along the edges. "It's definitely some sort of door. Probably leads down to a utility access corridor." She hefted her 'saber hilt once more, looking up at him questioningly. He nodded once, and she sank the blade into the metal, cutting along one side. He helped her pull the thick sheet of metal upwards. The locking mechanism gave way from the strain, and the doorway popped up easily.

Obi-Wan shined the glowrod down into the hole. A ladder snaked down one side, and there was clearly some sort of corridor below. It smelled vaguely of sewage and mold.

Siri grinned at his wrinkled nose. "After you."
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