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The sound of the toilet flushing in the 'fresher wakes me. I stretch in the tangled sheets, not wanting to open my eyes yet. Oh, Force -- meeting with the senators from Alderaan today... I open my eyes, squinting in the bright morning light filling the room. The chrono on the table by the bed says that it's quite early. Plenty of time to prepare. I relax, waking up a little more.
Why is my bed empty?
A smiling figure fills the doorway. A naked, smiling figure.
"Good morning," I say, my voice a bit rough.
"Good morning to you," he says as he crosses the room and slides under the sheet next to me. His body is warm and his skin still smells of sex. I wrap my arms around him and pull him on top of me, gazing into eyes that appear bluer than my own in this light.
"Have a good time last night?" I whisper.
He leans down to kiss me softly, then licks lightly across my lips with his tongue. "Oh, yes," he whispers in reply. "Shall I tell you all about it?"
"Later," I growl, pulling him down to kiss me again, letting my hands glide down the smooth skin on his back, down to his ass. I can feel his erection growing against my abdomen. He shifts his hips to rock against me, rubbing his cock against mine, which is hardening rapidly as well. I moan as he slides down to nip at my chest, tugging on one nipple with his teeth. "Mmmm... you... that... fuck..." I'm rapidly becoming incapable of coherent speech.
He wraps a hand around my cock and strokes lazily, smiling up at me. "Unfortunately, I don't have much time. I need to get to class."
"No," I moan. "What class could possibly be... better than... I could teach you a lot, you know."
He raises an eyebrow and grins. "Yes, Master, I'm sure you could." I swat at him and he dodges, though I manage to grab his padawan braid. I pull him back down into a rough kiss.
"I could always pull rank on you, you know."
"Oh, but I know better," he smiles, sitting up enough to retrieve a barrier packet from the bedside table. He straddles my thighs, stroking both of our cocks together with one hand, smiling down at me. I'm not sure which of us he's planning to put it on.
Me, it turns out. He rolls it on and positions himself over me, taking a calming breath before slowly impaling his body on my cock. I moan in response, as much from the look on his face as from the way it feels to be sheathed inside him. I am still amazed that he lets me inside him like this.
He starts to move, slowly. I close my eyes then, lost in the heat of his body. I can hear his breathing quicken, can feel the pleasure rolling off of him. I can sense how much he likes this feeling of me inside him.
"Qui-Gon," he breathes, and I open my eyes to see him stretching his hands down towards mine. I take his hands and he pulls me up into a sitting position. I wrap my arms around him and kiss his chest as he continues to rise and fall on me, moving faster, sinking down until I feel his weight pressing on my balls before pushing himself back up again. His cock is rubbing against my stomach with every movement.
I can hear, can feel how close he is. "Oh, fuck... I..."
He pulls me hard against his chest, clenching my hair in painfully tight handfuls. I lean back until I'm lying down again, pulling him down on top of me, pumping into him as best I can from beneath. He cries out, biting my shoulder, splattering hot liquid onto my stomach. The combination of the sound of his voice and the sensation of his body convulsing around my cock pulls me along with him. I groan, squeezing his ass hard with my hands, burying myself as deep as I can in his body.
He slumps against me, still breathing hard, and nuzzles my neck as I exhale slowly.
I hear soft applause.
We both raise our heads to peer at the figure standing in the doorway.
I groan, letting my head fall back against the pillow. "Obi-Wan, have you no regard for my privacy at all?"
My padawan grins from the doorway. "Your door was open. There was nothing to knock on." He raises an eyebrow. "Morning, T'nell."
"Morning, Obi," T'nell mumbles sleepily. He rises up enough for my cock to slip out of him, then slides to my side and snuggles his head against my chest.
Obi-Wan crosses the room to kiss me in greeting, then plants a kiss on T'nell's cheek. "That was really quite hot to watch, and I think I saw most of it. You look well together."
"Well, you should have joined in," T'nell says. He drapes himself around me almost possessively. Obi-Wan narrows his eyes at his friend for a brief moment. T'nell sighs and sits up, yawning. "I have to get cleaned up and off to class," he says. He kisses me quickly, then climbs over me to get off the bed. Obi-Wan catches his hand and pulls him into a searing kiss.
"Let's get together sometime," my padawan whispers.
T'nell smiles at him, then winks at me. "Have a good day, boys!" He picks up his scattered clothing and redresses enough for the brief walk back to his quarters.
When we hear the outer door close, Obi-Wan turns back to me with a slight smirk on his face. "How long have you and T'nell been... seeing each other like this?"
"That's none of your business," I reply with a grin. This is only the third time T'nell and I have had sex since that night with Obi-Wan, an eternity ago. It just happened -- we ran into each other outside the Council chamber, and he looked so... I asked him if he had plans for the night, and he didn't. I figured Obi-Wan would be going out. He always goes out. I haven't been invited along since Siri's Coming Out.
"No, it isn't," he replies, stretching out on the bed beside me and stroking my chest with the fingers of one hand. "I wish I'd known earlier. I enjoyed our threesome a few months back. Now that T'nell's bottoming, it could be a lot more fun."
His hand slides under the sheet and in a swift movement he pulls the sticky barrier off of me with an audible snap, then drops it to the floor. He's silent for a moment, gazing down at my bare chest. I wonder what he really thinks about having walked in on this. Is he glad that I have sex with other people? Or is he jealous? If I saw him in the morning like this, body wrapped around someone else...
"I'm sorry for... You do have a right to privacy, and I've violated that."
I turn his face towards mine with a touch to his cheek. "Obi-Wan," I sigh. "Does it bother you to see me with T'nell?"
He smiles wearily. "I don't know, quite honestly. I have no right to be jealous. It is different to see you in bed with someone I know, rather than a stranger in a club. T'nell is a good friend, and you... I've always been protective of both of you. I don't know what to feel."
"I love you, you know," I whisper. "I'm jealous of anyone else who touches you, even though I have no right to be." I close my eyes, turning my head away from his. "I miss being your lover. I miss the nights we used to come home together. I miss waking up with you curled against me." I pause, trying to remember the last time he slept with me, and I can't. My only consolation is that all those boys in clubs are random strangers he cares nothing about, whom he'll never see again.
He collapses against me, burying his face in my chest. I feel a strange emotion stir in him, but he squashes it down behind a shield before I can identify it. I wrap my arms around him and hold him for a moment.
"You've been going out a lot lately, and you frequently stay out all night." He stiffens in my arms. I squeeze him a little more tightly. "It doesn't seem to be interfering with your training, so I haven't said anything. But sometimes..." I pause, searching for the courage to say what I wish to. "Sometimes I sense that you're sneaking around, that you don't want me to know you've been gone all night. You needn't feel guilty, you know."
"Guilty?" His voice is slightly muffled against my chest.
"I haven't been your legal guardian for more than five years, so you aren't obliged to inform me of your whereabouts. Therefore, you must be sneaking in to avoid hurting my feelings. I do sometimes wonder what you find in the clubs that replaces me."
"Oh, Qui-Gon," he whispers, trembling slightly. "It's not like that at all."
"Then what is it like?" I ask, knowing I have no right to know.
"I go out with friends, then usually go home with someone," he says, voice incredibly soft. He's still trembling. "I fall asleep afterwards, and there doesn't seem to be any reason to come home in the middle of the night and try to fall asleep all over again."
My chest decompresses. There it is. He's telling me he has a lover, and he's been trying to keep it from me, to avoid hurting me. I struggle against the emotion that rises sharply inside me, determined not to let it out, not now. I immediately tick off a list of names in my head, names of friends of his, other padawans he goes out with frequently. I have a few guesses, but I have no idea which one it could be. Maybe it isn't just one.
I sigh, steeling my jaw slightly. This is as it should be. It's natural for people his age to start experimenting with sexual relationships beyond casual encounters. I was his lover, before... before I gave him a reason to look elsewhere. I can't help but be jealous now, knowing I've lost that place in his life. At least he hasn't stopped coming to my bed altogether. In fact, our recent morning encounters have been quite enjoyable. It occurs to me suddenly that his newfound interest in pleasing his partner -- the dramatic improvement I've noticed in some of his techniques -- all of that is for someone else. Because of someone else. Not because of me.
I exhale, releasing as much of my heartache as I can. "Well, if you're not planning on spending many nights here, perhaps I should convert your room into an office." I smile as his head pops up.
"Qui!" he squeaks with mock indignation. "I don't spend that many nights away." The relief in him is obvious. He was worried about telling me this. He was afraid of hurting me.
I stroke his cheek with one finger. "It seems that way, though, lately. I've missed you."
He snuggles into my shoulder again, just after I catch a glimpse of the sadness on his face. Enough words for now. I hold him and he lets me. We drift for a while between wakefulness and sleep, and I dream about the way things used to be.
The aroma of the F'Gotah tea fills my nostrils pleasantly. Adi gave it to me on my last birthday. It's quite expensive, almost decadently so, but it's become a tradition between us. I allow myself a cup once every few weeks, and today is the day. I need it this morning.
Obi-Wan returns from his morning run, sweating -- glistening -- smelling that way, that... Force, how can I do this? How can I stand to be near him and not...
Well, just because he has a lover doesn't mean I can't still have him every now and then. I smile as seductively as I can. "Hungry?"
He raises an eyebrow, then strips off his wet shirt. Chest muscles ripple, the morning light bathing his body golden. He drops his shirt to the floor and stretches upwards, smiling at me.
I'm such a sucker. In an instant I cross the room and am on my knees before him, inhaling the scent of his sweat through his clothing, kissing his cock through the thin, damp fabric. He sighs, his head falling back, his hands coming down to caress my head.
"I'm all sweaty," he whispers.
"I know," I reply. "That's what I want, to have you like this: sweaty and hot and--"
I stop talking as I wriggle his thin exercise pants down, freeing his now-hard cock from the smalls he wears when he runs. I take him in my mouth, tasting the salt on his skin, smelling the musky scent of his body. I swallow him down my throat just so that I can bury my nose in the thick hair at his groin, just to breathe in the scent of him.
It doesn't take much. A few strokes, a few spasms of my throat swallowing around his cock, and he comes, almost collapsing against me, finally backing away to pull his sensitive organ from my mouth. I go after him again, not wanting to let go yet, not wanting it to be over. He falls to the ground, scrambling backwards until I capture his hips with my hands and descend upon him again.
"Qui, please!" he whimpers, trying to push me away.
I release him enough to say, "I'll be careful, I promise." I hold him loosely in my mouth, not really licking, not really sucking, just holding his still-hard penis, tasting his skin lightly.
He falls back to his elbows, sighing. "Oh, Qui, you're so good to me. I don't deserve this. I really don't."
I don't say anything; I just suckle softly, patiently, waiting for him to swell again, as he always does. He's twenty -- it doesn't take long. Soon I'm sucking in earnest, head bobbing up and down on him, tongue working his skin, hands cupping his balls. He starts to moan softly, clasping his hands behind his head.
I don't know why I need this so much right now. I want to please him, to show him what I can do for him, to him. No one knows his body the way I do. No one can make him come as hard, make him feel like this. No one, not even his new lover.
I slip a wet finger inside him, finding the spot that makes him shudder. I stroke that spot lightly, then harder and harder, just the way I know he likes it. He squirms beneath me. He becomes inarticulate. I swallow his cock down my throat and press into his mind, showing him how much I love this, how much I love him. The tip of the finger inside him circles, then presses down. I swallow again.
There isn't as much semen this time, which I expected, but I savor every bit of it anyway. I release him at last, laying my cheek on his stomach, feeling him shudder beneath me as the aftershocks of his orgasm continue to rip through him. I ground him with my body, with my soul.
I love him.
That is my big fucking problem. I love him, and he doesn't love me. He can't love me. He can't love anyone. Why am I doing this to myself?
I roll to the side, struggling to hold back tears that are pressing hard for release. I don't want him to see me cry. I don't want him to know. He would stop coming to my bed if he knew how much this hurts me. But I don't want him to stop. I don't think I could bear not being able to touch him like this.
I press my hands to my face and groan.
"That was amazing, Qui," he breathes. "You have to show me how to do that."
"Do what?" Love you so much I can't think straight?
"Deep throat me like that. I'd like to be able to do it."
To do it to someone else. Whoever the lucky fucker is. I suppress a groan, trying to remind myself that I'd at least benefit from the lesson.
"Anytime," I reply as I climb to my feet. I plaster on a smile and extend my hand. He takes it and I pull him up as well. He kisses me softly and heads for the 'fresher.
I collapse to the floor as soon as the door closes, finally letting the tears loose. He doesn't love me. He can't love me. Why am I clinging to the hope that he'll wake up one morning and realize it? It's not going to happen, and it shouldn't. I should let him go. I should move on. I should find a lover of my own, and not someone who merely reminds me of Obi-Wan, as T'nell does. I need to get over Obi-Wan, for both our sakes.
"Master, may I ask your opinion on something?"
I pause from my reading to glance up at my apprentice. "Yes, I suppose so."
Obi-Wan stands and crosses the room, then leans against the desk at which I'm sitting. "Would you ever use the Force to harm someone if it was for the greater good?"
I whistle slightly in surprise. "You'll have to be more specific than that."
He nods. "Imagine that you were given the option of physically harming an individual and, in doing so, you protect that individual from even greater harm."
"I don't quite follow. Is this hypothetical?"
"I think it's a real scenario that someone... that Xanatos faced."
I tense my jaw slightly, understanding where this is going. "I take it you and he disagreed over the outcome of this scenario?"
"Yes, we did," he replies, studying his hands intently. "I'm afraid we disagreed quite... vehemently. In front of the entire class. I was out of line, but I couldn't help it."
I smile at that, thinking of the many times he's sent a stern look or thought my way when he didn't approve of my actions. "The Code is meant to be a guide, Obi-Wan, not a binding policy. It is open to interpretation, and you must use it along with the Force to help you make difficult decisions. It is one thing to analyze a scenario in a classroom, but it is a different thing altogether to have to make such a choice when someone's life depends upon it."
"I know that, Master," he says, voice revealing a hint of frustration. "But if the Code is so open to interpretation, then it would seem that one could justify any decision one makes. How would one determine which actions are right and which are wrong?"
"There is no right or wrong, Obi-Wan," I reply. "It's all a matter of interpretation, of one's perspective."
Obi-Wan stands at that and crosses the room to the kitchen, immediately busying himself with the caf machine. He says nothing, but I can feel his emotions boiling.
"Do you disagree, Padawan?"
He turns the machine on and turns to face me, lips set in a hard line. "Yes, Master, I believe I do disagree. How can the determination of what is right and what is wrong be left to the individual? Mustn't there be some authoritative view?"
"Whether an act is right or wrong cannot be determined out of context. It depends on the perspective of the individuals involved."
"You're saying that it depends on your point of view?"
There is a long silence, after which he fills two mugs and brings one to me, holding it out in an almost challenging manner. He sighs, and then raises one eyebrow slightly. "You sound like Xanatos, you know."
"Perhaps there's a reason for that," I reply, smiling slightly.
He sits, picking up his data pad again and studying it. "I suppose I need to think about this some more. For the time being, I still disagree with you."
"As is your right," I grin. Time to change the subject. "You should clear your schedule for the afternoon."
Obi-Wan blinks at me over the steaming cup, looking up from his datapad. "Why?"
"We've been assigned a mission."
"I thought we weren't on the rotation for the next few months."
"We'll be able to do a good deal of the work here on Coruscant," I tell him. "There's been a petition from the government of Caamas to establish a colony on Alderaan. Both governments requested the Jedi lead the negotiations. We were given the assignment."
Obi-Wan purses his lips. "And we begin this afternoon? That's terribly short notice."
"I've known since yesterday, and I've neglected to tell you until now, for which I'm sorry. We have an informal meeting today with the senators from Alderaan. The negotiations themselves are a few weeks away."
"Alderaan... that would be Antilles and Organa, correct?"
"Yes. Bail Antilles is an old friend of mine, but I haven't met the prince yet. I hear he's rather intriguing."
"Prince?" Obi-Wan's eyes are wide, and he sets the cup in hands down so quickly that a little caf sloshes onto the desk.
I grin. "Yes, Prince Bail Organa. Have you heard of him?"
Obi-Wan opens his mouth to speak but pauses, blushing slightly.
"No need to be embarrassed. I know how little you care for politics, so I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't. It is a bit unusual for senators to be members of ruling families, though. I can't help but wonder if that election was rigged."
"Rigged? Not necessarily," Obi-Wan replies coolly. I laugh, then stop when I realize he is being completely serious. "Alderaan may have conservative cultural views and isolationist tendencies, but it holds democracy in high regard. I wouldn't assume the election was dishonest." He shoots me a stern look. "You aren't usually so cynical about politics, Master."
I gape at that. "Cynical? Me? Obi-Wan, you've never even troubled yourself to register to vote!"
"We're always off-planet during elections," he shrugs. "I never have time to learn properly about the issues. It would be pointless to vote."
"I always vote, and you have made fun of me each and every time."
"I..." He studies his caf intensely. "I have always strived to remain neutral and unbiased. After all, it hardly matters who is running the Republic. We are sworn to serve them anyway. Perhaps that is naive of me, though." He raises his head to look squarely at me. "I think I will register to vote, as soon as possible."
I burst out laughing at that, and am relieved when a sly grin mars his stern expression. "Perhaps I should discourage you from doing so. I imagine our votes would merely cancel each other out. The Republic may be better off with you being apathetic."
He shrugs, raising the cup to his lips again. "Perhaps I've grown interested in politics lately."
"Force help us all, then," I grin.
He stands and retrieves his data pad once again. "Caamas and Alderaan. I think I should spend some time in the archives before that meeting."
Obi-Wan seems strangely tense as we enter the lift in the senate office tower. I watch him carefully, wondering what could possibly be troubling him. It occurs to me to ask, but the doors slide open just as I open my mouth. It's likely nothing important. Force knows I've been distracted lately.
We arrive at the door of the meeting room, and a page palms it open with a nod to me. The senators are standing inside waiting for us.
I suppress an exuberant grin at the sight of my old friend. It's been several years since I've seen Bail Antilles. His once-dark hair is streaked with gray now, and his face shows the years a little more than I remember. He's nearly ten years older than me, though I doubt anyone would be able to tell. I'm sure I look older to him as well. His dark eyes light up as they meet mine, and the smile on his face reminds me instantly of the time we've spent together. And of that time in particular. I smile a little wider.
A young man stands to his side, also dressed in the robes of the office. He's quite striking, with dark curly hair and large brown eyes. Eyes that seem to be glued on my padawan. I turn my head slightly to see that Obi-Wan seems equally enraptured by the young prince. I smile a little at that. History repeating itself. I wonder if Obi-Wan will have better luck with his Alderaani senator than I did.
Bail introduces the prince -- the junior senator -- to the two of us, and we exchange formal greetings in keeping with Alderaani custom. Obi-Wan greets Bail Antilles politely, but his voice practically smolders as he greets the prince. The young man's eyes widen and he blushes, just a little.
//Obi-Wan,// I warn.
We all sit at the large conference table and discuss the background of the Caamasi petition. Both senators are in favor of the proposed colony on the southern continent of Thonn, and both seem to believe the population will support its development. To my relief, Obi-Wan has reined in his enthusiasm at meeting the prince and is conducting himself as a proper Jedi padawan. He did a good deal of research on the situation earlier today, and it shows. Both senators appear impressed. In fact, the younger one seems unable to take his eyes off of Obi-Wan.
I smile a little at that. Obi-Wan attracts this sort of attention frequently.
Bail and I continue ironing out the details of the upcoming negotiations, both of us noticing that our younger companions seem more interested in each other than in the conversation. I frown a little at Obi-Wan, but he doesn't notice. He is usually much more professional than this -- what has gotten into him? I raise an eyebrow at Bail and he smiles back, shaking his head slightly. I'm sure he's thinking of the first time we met, in a situation not unlike this one, years and years ago. I was younger than Obi-Wan is now, but I do remember being distracted by the handsome senator flirting with me across the table. Master Dooku was not very happy with me that day.
Bail clears his throat. "Is there anything else I've forgotten to cover?" The emphasis is placed on the I, but he's more amused than irritated by his junior colleague's lapse of attention.
"No, I think that's all the information we need at the moment," I reply, smiling at the humor in his eyes. He was always quite good-natured, with an entirely too wicked sense of humor for someone who comes from such a conservative culture. "I've selected a padawan and a knight to help the Caamasi senators with their end of the negotiations," I continue. "They should be meeting with them later this week, and the negotiations can begin as soon as next Secondday morning." Two of the participants in my diplomacy seminar have caught my eye, and I requested them especially for this mission. One is a Caamasi padawan named Ta-Llyith, and the other is an exceptional human knight named Aubris Feln. Aubris is one of the most gifted negotiators I've ever met, and some of the work he's done in the last five years is nothing short of miraculous. He's been able to get parties to agree that haven't spoken civilly to each other for centuries. The Council have been pressuring him to take a padawan, and I suggested to Mace that some experience working as the leader of a negotiation team might help to convince him of the value of being a mentor.
"Excellent," Bail says, ending the meeting. He reaches out for my hand and I take it, smiling at him when he strokes my palm with the tip of his finger. His dark eyes are nearly sparkling as he touches me, and it sends a little shiver down my spine. After all these years, he's still flirting with me? "I'm glad the negotiations will be starting soon. So much of politics is about waiting. I'm afraid patience is hardly one of my stronger suits."
"Yes, I've noticed that," I reply as dryly as I can manage. Patience, my ass. The man is a classic example of an Aldreaani prude, the definition of a tease. It took me several frustrating months to understand the role of sexual relationships in that culture. When we first became friends, I was not accustomed to such behavior -- talk of emotions and desire and love, but all of it at arm's length. He sent me home with aching balls so many nights I lost count. The culture shock was fairly intense for him when he first arrived on Coruscant as a new senator. He found the notion of open relationships and casual, anonymous sex fascinating, though distasteful. When we finally did become lovers, I had the sense that he felt guilty about it, and that he was never really able to enjoy himself with me. I should probably warn Obi-Wan now what the Alderaani are like, as I doubt he's had much personal experience with the culture before.
Bail is watching the sparks fly between our younger colleagues with great interest. I wink at him. "I hope you haven't been a bad influence on your young colleague." I glance at the prince, who finally tears his eyes away from Obi-Wan. He smiles radiantly.
Well. With a smile like that... Obi-Wan will certainly try his best. Sith, I'd try, if the prince were interested in me at all.
"No more than you are on yours," Bail says. I raise an eyebrow at him before looking over at Obi-Wan.
//Master, he's quite right. You've corrupted me completely.//
//That isn't what he means.//
Bail laughs and I turn my focus back to him. It's been a while since we've spent any time together. I wonder if he's really interested, or if this is the same old game he's always played.
"Your Highness," Obi-Wan says, "I understand you haven't been on Coruscant for very long. Are you enjoying your stay here?"
"More than I imagined," the prince replies. For a second, their eyes lock onto each other, and I feel the wave of arousal that shimmers around Obi-Wan. I smile smugly; I've always liked to watch him on the prowl. It's almost amusing at the moment, though. Bail Organa is not going to be that easy.
"Have you had a chance to explore the Coruscant Botanical Gardens?" Obi-Wan asks. "There's an exhibit on Alderaani moss sculptures this season."
Moss sculptures? I bite down on the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. Is he making this up? "Is there?" I ask. To my surprise, Obi-Wan nods serenely. I frown at that. Obi-Wan couldn't care less about art. Or politics, for that matter. What is going on here?
Bail slaps the younger man on the shoulder with a grin. "That's very observant of you, Padawan Kenobi. I'm sure Senator Organa would be very interested in viewing the moss sculptures. Perhaps you could find time to give him a tour?"
I try very hard not to smile at that. Bail looks very pleased with himself. The prince looks terrified. Well, if my padawan's reputation has preceded him, he ought to be.
"I'd be happy to," Obi-Wan says, his eyes lighting up in the way they always do when he's singled out the next person he's going to fuck. "You'll have to let me know when you're free."
"He's free tonight," Bail replies, practically pushing the prince into Obi-Wan's waiting arms. The young man glances frantically at the senior senator, who smiles wanly in return.
"Senator, it's getting a bit late for a tour of the Botanical Gardens..." young Bail protests, extricating himself carefully from his colleague's clutches.
"Dinner, then," Obi-Wan states smoothly. "I can think of a number of places that are not to be missed while you're on Coruscant. We can discuss them over dinner."
I fold my arms across my chest as this scene continues to unfold. It's all quite amusing. I raise an eyebrow at Bail, and he smiles innocently in return. I roll my eyes slightly. Poor Obi-Wan. He has no idea what he's getting himself into.
"Dinner sounds fine," the young senator squeaks, seeming quite young now as he glances back and forth between my predatory padawan and his matchmaking colleague. He's actually adorably sweet at the moment.
//Good luck, Padawan.//
//Don't wait up, Master.//
I shake my head as the two of them leave the room, grinning at each other.
"What the hell was that all about, Bail?"
He laughs out loud and steps closer to me, but not quite close enough for me to draw him into an embrace. "It's almost a tradition, don't you think? Alderaani senators have been tormenting Jedi for years." His eyes flash as he steps in and brushes a kiss on my cheek. "Are you free for dinner, Qui-Gon? I was rather hoping we could catch up."
I nod, smiling. It looks like Obi-Wan isn't going to be the only sexually frustrated Jedi tonight. At least he'll come home ready and willing, perhaps even quite early.
Bail slips his arm through mine as we step out into the hall and walk toward the lifts.
"There's so much to tell you about. Did you know I'm a grandfather now?"
"A grandfather? Oh, my..." Now I feel old. My ex-lovers are becoming grandparents? "How is Garatha?"
"She's quite lovely. She's been away for the last few months. I'm sure she's enjoying herself with that Corellian lover of hers. Oh, we'll be celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary this year."
"That's a long time to be married," I say, wincing almost immediately. As if I have any idea what that would be like. The Alderaani concept of marriage is quite different from the analogous formal commitment Jedi sometimes enter into. Marriage on Alderaan has little to do with love -- it's a sanctioned sexual relationship, primarily for procreation. And even that frequently ends once children have been produced. Formal commitments for Jedi are almost the opposite -- they are based on strong emotional ties, and tend to remain open sexually.
"Yes, it is," he says with a sigh. "We've gotten along well, though I never grew to love her as I hoped to." He drops off there and I can almost feel a little wave of sadness roll off of him. We are silent as we wait for the lift.
Once inside, I change the subject. "Is Senator Organa married yet?"
He smiles at me and shakes his head. "No, not yet. His fiancee is still quite young. He hasn't even met her yet, though her family is thinking of sending her to Coruscant next year so that they can get to know one another. They won't be married for several years."
I nod, remembering Bail's wedding quite clearly. My master was a guest, and I was only fifteen years old at the time. It was nearly four years later that I met him formally, when we were mediating a dispute between Alderaani isolationists and a radical sentients rights group that was smuggling in refugees from a battle-weary mid-rim system. The attraction had been immediate and intense, and he'd flirted with me incessantly throughout the negotiations. I learned very quickly that though the Alderaani throw their affections about quite freely, sexual relations are not entered into lightly. I endured six years of Bail's tormenting affections before we ever made love.
That was years ago, though. More years than I care to count at the moment. I smile at him as he takes my hand in his and leads me out of the lift and onto the street.
I return to my quarters quite early, and quite alone. To my surprise, Bail invited me home with him after dinner. Though I was tempted, it would have only complicated matters. It would have meant something significant to him -- it was an offer of a relationship, not just a fuck. Though I've been telling myself that I need to find a lover of my own, Bail isn't what I need right now.
Still, it wasn't easy to say no.
Ten meters from the door, I realize that Obi-Wan hasn't yet returned. I don't think I can stomach being alone right now. I'm feeling strangely anxious.
I turn and head back down the corridor, letting my feet carry me without thought. The Temple is quiet this time of night. It's a bit late to call on anyone I know. I get on the lift and press a button at random.
This is insane. I should just go home. Obi-Wan won't be long.
The lift stops. Before the doors open, I feel the presence of the person on the other side. He doesn't look surprised to see me either.
"Good evening, Xan."
He smiles slightly and steps onto the lift. "What are you doing wandering about this time of night?"
"I have no idea," I reply. Xanatos leans back against the wall of the lift and stares at me. "And you?"
He shrugs. "I had dinner with a friend. She had an early meeting, so now I'm going back to my quarters." He continues to study me, and it makes me oddly self-conscious. "Your padawan doesn't like me very much."
"Why do you say that?" Obi-Wan mentioned their argument of a few days ago, but I'd assumed Xan had been intentionally provocative.
He shrugs. "Just a feeling. Are you certain our sparring tomorrow is a good idea?"
"Yes, I am," I reply, suddenly riveted by an image of Xanatos and Obi-Wan sparring... shirtless and sweating.
He smiles slyly. I look away. "Perhaps it is a good idea," he says softly. "I'm certainly up for another pounding from Obi-Wan."
My eyes flick back to him at that, narrowing at the expression on his face. Is he suggesting...?
The lift doors open and he nods his goodbye before stepping off. As the doors slide shut once more, I decide to head back to my quarters after all. The lift grinds to a halt on my level, and I stride slowly down the corridor, emotions swirling strangely. My quarters are empty.
I must admit that I find the thought of Obi-Wan and Xanatos together both disturbing and erotic. When did this happen? Why didn't Obi-Wan tell me?
It strikes me that I'm jealous, but I'm not sure precisely why.
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