Adi Gallia took a long slow sip of the mellow F'Gotah tea that Qui-Gon had given her as a gift on her last birthday. It was ridiculously expensive and rare, and not something that a Jedi, sworn to a certain degree of poverty, should desire, or even possess. The spicy, fruity scent wafted up into her nose, relaxing every muscle in her face simultaneously.
Ahhhh. Sheer, unadulterated pleasure. Nothing else like it. She really ought to thank Qui properly for this. Her birthday had been months ago, but this was the first opportunity she'd had to enjoy this tea the way it was meant to be enjoyed -- quietly. Her padawan was at a party tonight, and wasn't due back for hours. She had at least two entire hours of solitude in which to enjoy her tea and pore over a book of erotica borrowed from Tahl. She settled down into her favorite chair, book in one hand, cup of exquisite tea in the other, feet on the ottoman, and a happy smile plastered on her face.
The door slid open and a girl burst through, stomping her way across the room and collapsing onto the sofa with an exasperated sigh.
Adi didn't even look up from her book. If she ignored it, maybe it would go away.
The girl sighed again, even more dramatically.
Adi took a sip of her tea and turned the page of the book, determined to keep serenity wrapped around herself like a warm blanket.
The girl sighed yet again, this time adding a little whimper for effect.
Adi dropped the book reluctantly. Ignoring wasn't going to work this time. She cast her eyes towards the miserable figure slumped into the sofa.
"Enjoy the party, Padawan?"
The girl snorted in response. Adi mentally recited the Litany of Patience before continuing. "Is anything wrong?"
No, of course not, Adi thought. She sorely missed the bubbly and determined child who had so recently been her padawan learner -- in the last few months, this sulky adolescent had taken her place. She thought to press the issue, but then decided the better of it. Siri was fourteen years old now, more than old enough to handle her own problems. She didn't need her master holding her hand anymore. If the girl wanted to talk, she would do so. Adi picked up her book again.
"Why do boys have to be such assholes?"
The book fell back into her lap. "Padawan!"
"Jerks, I mean. Sorry, Master."
Adi took a sip of the tea, rubbing at her temple. This evening was not turning out as she'd hoped. She sighed. "What did Obi-Wan do this time?"
Siri paused, and Adi could sense the girl's surprise. Siri's crush on the older padawan was fairly obvious, from Adi's perspective.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"All right." That was just fine with Adi. She picked up the book again.
"Who does he think he is, anyway?"
Was it a rhetorical question? Adi wasn't sure. She kept her eyes firmly on the enticing page in front of her.
"He thinks he's so damn hot."
"Padawan... language," Adi groaned, closing her eyes.
Adi set the book down yet again. "Siri, what did Obi-Wan do to make you so upset?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Then perhaps you should go to your room and meditate on your negative emotions?"
Siri frowned slightly, and then nodded, much to Adi's surprise. "You're right," she said in a tight voice. She stood, wavered on her feet for a moment, and then strode intently toward her room.
The door slid shut with a comforting thump. Adi sipped her tea. It was already cool.
Siri flopped onto her bed, staring up at the ceiling. Models of the planets of her home system slowly rotated around a softly glowing yellow sun, held in place by a magnetic field she'd built in an engineering class last year. She'd made the planet models as an initiate and was quite proud of the final display. She often watched them when she couldn't sleep at night, thinking of the family she'd never met and wondering what their lives were like.
They certainly couldn't suck much more than her life did at the moment.
She rolled onto her stomach to stifle a groan with her pillow. She had been utterly humiliated at the party tonight. She punched the pillow, resolving to never forgive Obi-Wan for as long as she lived.
It had started out pretty fun. It was Bant's birthday, and all of the junior padawans currently onworld had been invited to a party to celebrate the occasion. Siri's last birthday had occurred while she was on a mission, and she'd missed the opportunity to spend it with friends. In general, she had few opportunities to hang around with kids her own age, and so the prospect of a party was quite exciting.
Once the few masters in attendance finally left, someone suggested a game of "spin the lightsaber." Siri had figured that was coming -- put all of those adolescent hormones into such a small space and something was bound to give. She'd only played the game once before, years ago, and the kissing then had only been on the cheek. She looked around the circle and swallowed a little nervously. There were quite a few older padawans in the room, some as old as seventeen. Somehow she doubted the kissing game would be as innocent as the last time she'd played.
The problem was that she'd never really technically been kissed before. Not in a romantic way. Not on the lips for longer than a split second. Not by somebody she liked, who maybe liked her, just a little.
She swallowed again as the 'saber was given its first spin, and tried not to look too relieved when it didn't land on her. Talay had gotten Yula, and the group whistled and hooted as he pressed his open mouth against hers. Siri saw tongues.
Shit, she thought. This was serious. This was real, grown-up kissing. She tried not to fidget as a grinning Yula gave the 'saber a spin. It didn't land on Siri. She watched as Yula crawled across the floor to kiss a girl Siri didn't know with the same sort of enthusiasm Talay had demonstrated on her. Siri's brows furrowed slightly. Maybe the saber would miss her altogether. There was a chance of that. No cheating was allowed, and even if it were, the odds that anyone would want to kiss her and would cheat to do so were fairly low. Maybe no one would get her at all.
Even if someone did get her, then they would do all the work. She could just act natural, pretend that she'd done this before, plenty of times. No one would know. She was always confident, even cocky. No one would suspect that she'd never been kissed before.
Lost in thought, she'd missed a few turns of the 'saber, and looked up when a low sort of howl emanated from the group. Garen had gotten Obi-Wan. A few of the older girls squealed with delight. Siri crinkled her nose, not sure why the older girls were always so excited to watch cute boys kiss each other.
Obi-Wan leaned back on his hands with a strange smile on his face. The smile grew wider as Garen crawled closer. Both boys were grinning madly. Siri thought they looked like they were enjoying this far too much. She'd heard rumors about those two -- perhaps they were true? Garen leaned forward and pressed his mouth against Obi-Wan's. The boys' lips moved against each other softly, intensity increasing slowly. Siri narrowed her eyes, quite fascinated, much to her surprise. Then she saw the tip of Garen's tongue press between Obi-Wan's lips, and felt a strange tingle deep in her belly as Obi-Wan opened his mouth in response. They kissed each other hard then, Garen pushing the other boy's body back, nearly to the floor as the room filled with hoots and laughter.
"Enough!" someone said, and the two parted somewhat reluctantly. Obi-Wan sat up and wiped his mouth on his sleeve with a roguish grin, winking at Garen. He reached for the 'saber and gave it a spin.
Siri closed her eyes, picturing the kiss in her mind and feeling the tingle come back again. It felt nice. It occurred to her that the image might come in handy alone in her room, late at night, when she--
A squeal next to her caused her to open her eyes. Everyone was looking at her, grinning. She blinked, and then saw the saber pointing right at her.
Obi-Wan smiled wickedly and crawled across the circle toward her. She swallowed hard, frozen in place. Why did it have to be him? And why now, when that image of him kissing Garen was still lodged so firmly in her mind?
Suddenly he was in front of her, smiling, leering, really. She was sure that she was blushing crimson. This was much more embarrassing than she'd anticipated. Why Obi-Wan? Why the boy who'd been the bane of her existence for the last few years, who was always so perfect at everything? Why the boy she'd secretly always wanted to kiss?
He knelt in front of her and clasped her shoulders, pulling her up onto her knees. He framed her face with his hands and smiled again. She melted.
"Hey, it's her first kiss, Kenobi!" she heard someone say. "Make it a good one!" Siri closed her eyes momentarily, embarrassed beyond measure. She wasn't even sure who'd said it. It occurred to her -- a moment too late -- to deny it. But how could she now? She was, metaphorically, screwed.
She opened her eyes to see Obi-Wan's eyebrow quirked up at her. "Is it really?" he asked as he leaned forward. Siri closed her eyes and waited, suddenly very conscious of how dry her mouth was.
She felt his lips press softly against her forehead, and then retreat. She opened her eyes again to see Obi-Wan wink before releasing her and backing away. That was it? The others booed and laughed.
They were laughing at her.
Siri stared at the floor in front of her for several moments before someone reminded her it was now her turn. She gathered up the shreds of her dignity and gave the 'saber a spin. It landed on Bant. Relief spread through her as she crawled over to the girl and pressed a quick kiss on her friend's damp cheek.
"Hey, Tachi, someone ought to show you what a real kiss is sometime," Yula laughed.
Siri flushed red all over again. She looked up to see Obi-Wan grinning at her. He looked awfully proud of himself, not caring one bit that he'd just humiliated her in front of everyone. She glared at him and wrapped her arms around her knees, pulling them into her chest.
He could have kissed her for real, but he didn't. He did that to her on purpose, just to embarrass her. It was a horrible, mean thing to do.
She managed to wait until a few more turns had passed before slipping away from the circle. She pretended to go to the 'fresher, and then slipped out the door when no one was looking. She doubted anyone would even notice she was gone. Maybe they would even be glad to be rid of her. She was clearly too young and inexperienced for them anyway. Why did she have to be ahead of her own agemates? Why was she made a padawan so young? She didn't have many friends her own age, and on nights like this, it really seemed to matter.
The pillow beneath her face was slightly damp from tears she didn't know she'd cried. She rolled over onto her back again, watching the planetary system spin slowly above her head, and sighed heavily, drying her face. Obi-Wan Kenobi. Why did he think he was so hot? Why did everyone else think so too? He'd humiliated her in front of everyone tonight, and he didn't even care. He barely knew she existed, except as this annoying kid who couldn't do anything right.
But what he didn't know was that she'd had a little crush on him for years. Her childish competition with him had been born of a desire to impress him, to show him that she was worth getting to know a little better. He never seemed to notice, though. Would she be that confident and experienced when she was sixteen? Would he finally notice her then?
There was a quiet knock at her door.
Adi's face popped through the doorway, smiling in that smug masterly way. "Padawan, you have a visitor."
A visitor? Siri sat up and straightened her clothes, smoothing her hair back into place before returning to the main room.
Obi-Wan was standing there, smiling serenely.
Siri swallowed hard, trying to remember that she was mad at him, and that she wasn't ever going to forgive him for what he'd done to her tonight.
"I was wondering if you'd like to go for a walk?" he asked, smooth voice surprisingly pleasant and calm.
"Ummm... sure. Okay." Siri immediately wanted to slap herself. She ought to tell him exactly where he could take a walk to, turn on her heel, and return to her room with her chin held high. That would make her feel better, wouldn't it?
"Don't stay out too late, Padawan," Adi said, smiling warmly.
A moment later, she was walking down the corridor by Obi-Wan's side, wondering why the hell she didn't just stomp on his foot and go back home now. He deserved it.
He led her through the Temple, out to one of the smaller gardens in a quiet section of the Temple grounds. Neither of them said a word as they walked side by side. Siri had never been in this particular garden before. The artificial sky was full of stars, and there were two bright moons illuminating the lush foliage all around them. They followed a winding path through the twilight, occasionally brushing against each other as they moved towards the sound of water flowing. There was an arched bridge over the stream before them, glowing white and ornate in the moonlight.
At the top of the bridge, Obi-Wan stopped and turned to face Siri. She nearly ran into him and had to take a quick step backwards. He smiled, and she smiled back before she knew what she was doing. Too late to be mean to him now.
"Siri, I'm sorry if I embarrassed you at the party," he said softly, searching her eyes.
"It's okay," she heard herself say, looking down at her feet. Well, it wasn't okay, really, but it was awfully nice of him to apologize like this. She hadn't expected it at all.
"When I realized that it would have been your first kiss, I..." he paused, and Siri looked back up at him again. "First kisses are pretty special. They only happen once." He grinned and rolled his eyes a little. It was quite adorable. "Obviously."
Siri felt her insides twist a bit. He was being so nice to her. And he was so beautiful standing there, eyes shining and dark. She realized she was staring at him and blushed a little. Hopefully he wouldn't notice in the moonlight.
"The point," he said, stepping a little closer, "is that a first kiss should be special. It shouldn't be like that -- part of a game, in front of all those people."
"Then what should it be like?" she asked softly, surprised by her own boldness.
He stroked her cheek with one finger. "It should be in a place like this -- private, romantic, beautiful..." His hand cupped her cheek then, and his eyes held hers. Siri thought she would melt right then and there.
Obi-Wan leaned forward slowly, almost hesitantly. Siri imagined she was drowning in his eyes, completely unable to move or to do anything but stay still.
She felt his lips press against her gently. There was a little tiny bit of suction, and his lips moved, kissing her again. It was very soft and sweet, mesmerizing in its intensity. His lips enveloped hers again, and again. She kissed him back, more from instinct than from any conscious thought. His lips were softer than she had ever imagined, and his movements were so gentle.
Then he leaned away from her, breaking the kiss and smiling gently. She grinned back at him, trying not to giggle.
"Well?" he asked.
"That was nice," she said. And it was true. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he replied. "A good first kiss?"
"Perfect," she whispered, eyes finding his again. Maybe if she looked at him like that again, he would kiss her some more. She would like that a lot.
But he only smiled and held out his hand. She took it, falling in beside him as they walked back down the path.
"Just wait a few years," a smiling Adi would tell her later. "Patience, my Padawan, in this as in all things."