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Trust and Disclosure

Author: Emma Grant
Rating: NC-17
Summary:  Obi deals with his anger and attraction for Xan, and finally meets the missing padawan.
Warning:  winces  Het!  Sorry.
Disclaimer:  We're barely in Lucas's universe at this point --  same names, and a conception of the Jedi that GL probably wouldn't recognize!  So don't sue us.  This is so not what you intended.  
Note:  Thanks as always to Rita and Helens for the beta. We're back, and we plan to stick to the every-two-weeks schedule now that the holidays are over! Thanks to those of you who read this for your patience.


It's almost all I can do to contain my anger when we arrive at the ship.  

I've had the entire walk back from the sleazy district of this city to stew in my emotions.  I don't understand why Xan acted so rashly, without consulting us first.  We're supposed to be working as a team, and he'd clearly prefer to be doing this alone.  

Qui-Gon would never have done something like... buy a slave.  Not without first discussing the ramifications of it with his team.  

I can see Siri's eyes darting to me occasionally during the walk, as if she knows how angry I am and is worried I'll do something stupid.  She doesn't trust me either, apparently.  Xan hasn't so much as glanced at me since we left the brothel.  I can feel his emotions swirling around him, and I can tell all he's spared for me is annoyance.  It makes me even angrier, and I clench my jaw to keep from scowling.

A rational part of my mind keeps reminding me that I'm just emotional and confused.  After all, I've spent the last few hours making out with Siri, of all people, finding myself physically reacting to her in unexpected ways.  Add to that the discovery that these undercover Jedi were kidnapped and forced into slavery -- the worst kind of slavery -- and it's no wonder I feel vulnerable and distressed.

And for the first time in my life, I'm struggling to use my Jedi training to deal with it.  There hasn't been time to stop, think, meditate, reflect.  I don't even have my fucking lightsaber.

Xan punches a code into the panel to open the ship's main entrance.  He strides up the ramp before it even finishes lowering.  I follow him closely, determined not to let him get away without explaining his actions.  I stop a few meters from where he stands in the bay, back turned to me.  I wait for the grinding noise of the ramp closing to stop.


He cuts me off with a hand, and I realize with a jolt of annoyance that he's still sweeping the ship for possible surveillance devices.  I grit my teeth, feeling like a chastised child.  I reach to the Force for serenity while I wait, though calm seems strangely elusive at the moment.

Xan turns to me at last, and I take a small step back at the intensity I see in his eyes.  I feel something strange from him, something I've never felt before.  I can't put my finger on it, but it's--

"What?" he snaps, face and voice equally tense.

My anger returns surprisingly easily, and with it, a strange sense of clarity.  "What the fuck were you thinking, buying a slave?"  My voice sounds almost a hiss to my ears.  I clench my jaw and cross my arms over my chest in an effort to maintain the impression of control.

His eyes are almost glowing now.  "He's not just any slave, Obi.  He's a Jedi."  He gives me a pitying look.  "I bought one of the Jedi we came here to find."

"That's not what I mean!"  I spit, stepping forward.  "We came here posing as narcotics dealers, and you used most of our credits to buy a pleasure slave!  How does that look, Xan?"  His eyes blaze, but I cut him off before he can speak again.  "What if Jassock showed you this particular slave on purpose, just to see how you would react?  What if it was a trap, and you walked right into it?"

The wave of anger I feel from him nearly knocks me down, and it's all I can do not to step back out of the way.  I cross my arms and stand my ground, waiting to see what Xan will dare to do.  He's lost control of his anger, that much is clear.  I'd had my suspicions about him before, but this--

"Xan," a soft voice calls, cutting through the thick emotion hanging around us.  

I turn to look at the ragged figure leaning in the doorway, and just like that, all of the tension in the room drains away.  Xan's expression is unreadable now, and he's trembling.  

The man in the doorway sighs.  "The boy is right, Xan."

I feel strangely uneasy at hearing this man's agreement with my assessment of the situation.  I was half-hoping that Xan would explain his actions to me, reassuring me that he has a greater plan that I'm just not aware of.  My greatest fear was that he had acted on impulse.  I didn't want to be right.

Xan's face is blank, and he raises his head to glance at the former slave.

"Jassock knew people would come looking for missing Jedi.  I suspect that's why she showed me to you last night.  She wanted to know if you were looking for me."  The man leans against the wall, as if standing is sapping his energy at a high rate.  "As much as I appreciate your 'buying' me out of there, I'm afraid our chances of rescuing my padawan have decreased significantly."

Xan's face remains blank, and he exhales slowly, looking away.  The man -- 'Char' -- steps forward and cups Xan's face in his hand.  Xan's eyes close as a thumb caresses his cheek.

"I'm sorry, for what it's worth," Char says, so soft I almost miss it.  I'm momentarily stunned.  What's Char apologizing for?

"You should be," Xan growls.  "I thought you were dead.  Why didn't you tell me you were going undercover?  We could have just--"

"You know it's not as simple as that."

Suddenly, Xan's eyes burn into me, and I realize I'm not meant to hear this conversation.  He removes Char's hand from his face and squeezes it before letting go.  "Later," he says.  "Right now, we need to make a plan for rescuing your padawan."

I try to meditate, but it's quite difficult.  I'm having more trouble focusing than I've had in a long time.  I've never felt so off-center during a mission before.  It's so easy with Qui-Gon.  He's always so focused and serious, no matter what the situation.  His decisions, even when I disagree with them, are based on his connection to the Force.  He acts on measured and balanced instinct, and I trust him for that, even when I disagree with his motives.  But Xan seems to act on his gut, on his emotions, on his anger -- all things that Jedi are not supposed to do.  I didn't completely trust him before, and now I'm not certain I will ever be able to.

There is a soft knock on the door of my small cabin.  

"Come," I call out, starting a bit at the gravel in my voice.  

Siri appears in the doorway and then settles next to me on the floor.  She says nothing, just looks at me curiously.  

I sigh and let my head fall into my hands.  Siri's hand rubs in a circle on my back, and then I feel her lips press against the back of my neck, soft and slightly warm.  It's surprisingly comforting, and I find myself leaning into her when her lips mark a trail to my ear.  Her breath is warm on my skin, and her lips are so soft...

I raise my head to see her watching me.  Her pale blue eyes are clear and wide, as if she's inviting me to look more closely.  I do, and then she kisses me.

It's different than the forged passion we displayed back at the brothel.  She's not pushing me, or taking anything from me.  She's just...

"Siri," I whisper, though I find myself reluctant to pull away.  "What are you doing?"  

I feel her smile against my lips.  "Kissing you, stupid."  Her tongue sweeps across my lips and I find myself opening my mouth to her before I realize what I'm doing.

I try to ask her why, but it comes out a bit garbled, as my mouth is full of her tongue.  Somewhere in my mind, I'm wondering what the hell is happening.  I don't even like girls.  

"Shush," she whispers, then sucks on my lower lip.  "You need this.  You need to relax."

I can't really argue with that, I suppose.  This is more physically comforting to me than it is arousing, and I imagine that being held and kissed by a friend could do me a world of good right now.  The kissing is nice, actually.  It's--

Her hand slips inside my leggings and cool, slim fingers wrap around my penis.  The touch shocks me so much that I stiffen -- well, not there -- and inhale sharply.  

"Sshhhh," she whispers, and pushes me back against the wall with her free hand.  The hand inside my leggings is doing something nice, and if I close my eyes, there's nothing different about it.  It could be T'nell, or Keli, or Qui, or Xan...

Fuck, did I just think that?

"Just relax," she whispers into my ear.  "Keep your eyes closed and it'll feel just the same."  I wonder for a moment if she heard what I was thinking.  

And then I can't think at all as she pulls my leggings aside and takes my half-hard cock in her mouth.  

It's good, fucking good actually.  I let my head fall back against the wall and keep my eyes tightly closed.  The piercing feels strange against my skin, and she rubs it in little circles, then up and down the length of my cock.  When did she learn how to use it like that?  

I open my eyes and am momentarily freaked out by the long blonde hair moving in my lap.  I don't want to think about the fact that this is Siri, but the only other image that keeps coming to my mind...

Xan under me back in the brothel, pretending to be my master, petting me like I was his plaything, kissing me hard, grinding his hips up against mine.  I was still hard from Siri's efforts, and he teased me with his eyes, knowing how he was affecting me and... enjoying it.  In my mind, he pushes me off his lap and tugs at the waistband of my trousers, grinning deviously before ducking down to take me in his mouth.

The images play on, attuned to the wet suction around my cock.  The hair I feel brushing rhythmically against my belly is dark, and I imagine I feel the slight scrape of a beard on my thigh as he moves.  He sucks hard, then lets the flat of his tongue drag slowly up the underside of my cock as he moves up, stopping just before the head pops out of his mouth.  His tongue swirls lightly across the slit, lapping at the fluid there, and he descends again, further this time.  I raise my hips slightly to encourage him to take me in further and he does, fingers digging into my ass in an attempt to remain in control.  I feel his throat constrict as he swallows around my cock before pulling back again.  He's fucking me with his mouth, and he's damn good at it; better than I would have expected.

He speeds up then, sucking harder, grasping the base of my erection with one hand and sliding it up and down to complement the motion of his mouth.  I hear myself groaning and I try not to -- I don't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much I've enjoyed this, how damned good he is at giving head.  I wonder if he's this enthusiastic when he sucks Qui's cock...

I thread the fingers of one hand through his hair, tightening my grip on his skull as I come, and struggling not to make a sound.  He stops moving, stops sucking, but doesn't release me yet.  My other hand tangles in his hair -- I love his hair long like this, and I hope--

I open my eyes to see Siri smiling up at me.  "Better?" she asks, dragging one hand across her mouth as she sits up.

"Fuck," is all I can think of to say.

It's not any easier to meditate, unfortunately.  All I can think about is that I fantasized about Xanatos while a girl sucked me off.  I'm not sure which part of that disturbs me more.

We had all agreed to get some rest before meeting to decide what to do next.  I didn't, but that hardly seems important now.  If I could just find my center, it wouldn't be an issue.

I palm open the door and make my way down the corridor to the main hold.  I'm lost in thought as I round the corner, and am treated to a view of Xan and Char in what could only be termed a "passionate embrace".  Xan's got Char pressed up against the wall and is physically supporting him, pressed tightly against the other man while he's kissing him.  It's not a hard kiss, the kind you'd use in a prelude to a fuck in the back room of a club.  It's the way I'd kiss Bail, if he were here right now.

I clear my throat, suddenly finding the scene a bit uncomfortable.  They break contact, and Xan takes a moment to compose himself before turning to face me.  I raise an eyebrow at him, and he scowls in response.  Wonder what that was for?

I take a seat at the table in the center of the room, followed by Xan and Char.  Siri appears at my right, seemingly out of nowhere.  I'm a bit flustered that I didn't sense her presence.  

"I'm open to ideas," Xan says quietly, glancing back and forth between the two of us.  It's all I can do not to smirk at him.  He looks like he's spent the last two hours making out with Char, rather than being the leader of this mission.  It's actually difficult to see him like this and not think about that image of his dark head bobbing between my legs.  I look down at my hands, frustration rising.  I don't need to be thinking about him like that, not now.

"Ben and I still have a standing reservation for a few hours with Olin," Siri says.  "We could go back and see if we could manage to take him out of the secure area in the fourth sub-basement."  We've been calling him Olin because we don't know his real name, and for some reason, "Char" hasn't volunteered it.

Char shakes his head.  "That's highly unlikely.  If you only wanted a few hours with him, they'll put you in a room with him, but they'll only let you take him out if you've arranged a contract."

"Maybe we could arrange a contract then," Siri suggests.

"That'll be expensive," Char sighs, glancing pointedly at Xan.  Xan stares back, unflinching.

"Is it really wise to try to get him out now?" I ask.  They all turn to look at me.  "Perhaps we should just make contact with him at first, learn what we can about the routine if the slaves, and keep our eyes open for an easier opportunity."

"If Jassock suspects you, you won't get another chance to see him," Char says.  His eyes look tired, drained of emotion.

I nod, then glance at Siri.  "Then we should be prepared for any chance we have."

Xan narrows his eyes and nods at me.  "May the Force be with you, then."  

For some reason, that sanction seems strange coming from his lips.  I grip Siri's hand under the table and look away.

A few hours later, we're ready to head back to the brothel.  Siri shows us our commlinks; she's been tinkering with them to improve the security.

"It uses a public-key encryption algorithm," she explains, "with a 128-bit binary key.  The carrier signal is almost indistinguishable from noise, but we should still be careful about talking too much.  They may have someone looking for these kinds of things."

"Good point," Xan replies.  "We'll check in every hour.  Make sure the signal's set to vibrate.  I doubt Jassock would appreciate our negotiations being interrupted by a comm signal."

"I just hope there aren't any comm-shielded rooms we don't know about," Siri sighs, handing each of us one of the small devices.

I tuck the commlink into a pocket on the inside of my coat, nodding absently.  My fingers brush against the hilt of my lightsaber, concealed in the padding.  I retrieved it from the weapons store this afternoon after a good deal of thought.  I have no idea what to expect during the next part of this mission, and I'll be damned if I have to go into it unarmed.  We never did get our guns back yesterday, anyway.   

Xan drums his fingers against the table, anxious to get moving.  I look up at him, and see he's watching Char.   Char stares back, his gaunt face tense.  "I wish you'd let me do something to help," he says, voice tight.

"Jal, we've covered this--"

"He's my padawan, Xan."  Char seems to find enough strength to put the Force behind his words, and we all look up at him in response, drawn to the source instinctively.  "And I know the place better than any of you.  I can disguise myself well enough -- it's what I've been trained to do.  I'll be safe."

"We need someone to stay here and monitor our progress, just in case," Xan replies.

"No, you don't," Char spits.  "You just want to protect me, out of some misplaced sense of loyalty, or..."  He pauses, and his face softens.  "Or something," he says.  He sighs and looks away, then turns to me and Siri.  He opens his mouth, closes it again, and finally says, "May the Force be with you."   He smiles crookedly, shrugging at his own words, as if he hasn't spoken them in a long time.

He turns to leave, and Xan catches him by the elbow.  "Or something," Xan whispers.  Char smiles, then slips away.  Xan looks lost for a moment, then composes himself.  He turns to us.  "Ready?"

"Give me a minute," Siri frowns, and disappears.

Xan and I stand there for a long quiet moment, pointedly not looking at each other.  The tension between us hasn't abated since our earlier argument.  It frustrates me to no end that I can dislike him so much and want him so intensely at the same time.  I've never been physically attracted to people I don't like, at least not any longer than it takes for a quick fuck.  But there's something about Xan that keeps catching my attention.  

I feel my eyes drawn to his face.  He's chewing absently on his lower lip in a way that I would find adorable in anyone else.  He looks like a different person with long hair and a beard, sort of rough and intimidating.  I shudder, remembering my fantasy in vivid detail.  I wonder if he ever thinks about me that way?   

He glances at me, and his features harden when he realizes I'm staring.  "What?" he snaps.

"You really ought to find your center," I smirk.  The remark was extremely inappropriate, but I can't help it.  I've lost what respect I had for him anyway.

He doesn't react, though, just raises an eyebrow thoughtfully.  "What's really on your mind, Ben?"

"Nothing important, Annix."

"Look," he says, crossing his arms over his chest, "just say it, whatever it is you need to say to me.  Get it out so it doesn't interfere with this operation."

"I wouldn't know where to begin," I snort, mirroring his posture.

"Then drop the attitude," he replies.  "It's an unnecessary distraction."

"Distraction?" I scoff.  "Like Char -- no, pardon me -- Jal?  He's become quite a distraction, hasn't he?"

Xan's eyes narrow.  "What are you talking about?"

"I'm not blind.  From the way you've been behaving, I'd guess he's more than just a long-lost agemate of yours."  The expression on Xan's face confirms my suspicions.  "Tell me, Xan, if he weren't an old lover, would you have bought him like that, and jeopardized this whole mission?  Would you have done that for anyone else?"

Xan bristles, looking incredibly uncomfortable.  "You have no right to criticize my decisions, Padawan.  I'm in charge of this mission, a fact you seem to keep forgetting."

"Oh, but you keep forgetting that you're leading a team," I retort.  "You act as if you're working alone.  I've worked as part of a team for years now, you know.  Qui-Gon respects my opinion.  He trusts me enough to consult with me before making rash decisions."

"This isn't a typical mission, in case you hadn't noticed.  I had no choice.  It was likely I wouldn't have seen Jal again if I hadn't acted when I did."

"And that's what's important, isn't it?" I reply, stepping towards him.  "Tell me, Xan, now that you've got your old boyfriend back, where does that leave Qui-Gon?"  

Xan's eyes widen, and I realize the implications of my words at the same moment he does.  His behavior around Jal has disturbed me, and I'm realizing that it wasn't jealousy, but protectiveness that I've been feeling.

Xan closes his eyes briefly and exhales, irritated.  "I don't know," he says.  His voice has lost the edge it had a moment ago.  I imagine he hasn't thought about Qui at all.  My stomach twists slightly, knowing that Xan's feelings for Jal probably eclipse his feelings for Qui, at least at this moment.  The anger that rises in my gut catches me by surprise, and I swallow it down, struggling for calm.  

Jedi knight or no, I'll make him pay if he hurts Qui.

Siri's reappearance breaks the tension somewhat, and we head out silently, the ramp groaning closed behind us as we stride into the night.  

Siri elbows me.  "What's up with you two?"

I shrug, shaking my head.  I don't want to think about it now.  "What took you so long?" I ask.

She rolls her eyes.  "I hate getting my period during a mission."

I grin, and then frown.  "That might change our strategy with Olin."

She wrinkles her nose at me.  "You really know nothing about women, do you?"  At my expression of confusion, she grins and slips her arm through mine.  "I've got a back-up plan.  Trust me."

Xan looks back at us curiously.  I swallow my irritation at him once again and fall into step by his side.  

We enter Jassock's complex using the back entrance I managed to discover yesterday.  It's used by "members" only, and there appears to be no regular security detail posted there.  A lovely boy -- who had ingested enough spice to stun someone twice his size -- was kind enough to show me the way in exchange for a blow job.  He even let me borrow his key, with just a little persuasion.  It was easy, given the condition he was in.  I sincerely doubt he'll even remember what he did with it.

I brush the wall of the gray building with one hand, searching for a tell-tale shimmer in the Force that indicates a crack in the solid surface.  After a moment, I find one and trace it with a finger, feeling the slight breeze of energy from the hundreds of beings inside.  It often amazes me how much Force can be generated by even the most deplorable beings.

I trace the crack to a juncture and find the key slot.  The key itself is a small, thin piece of duraplast with an intricate design etched into one face.  The code is apparently keyed into the design.  I slide it into the slot, and a large panel of the wall promptly dissolves before our eyes.  

"Sweet," Siri mutters.  

The panel rematerializes behind us and we make our way down the narrow corridor towards the main room.  We pass through the doors to find the party has not abated.  The room is dark, loud, and smoky.  It could be the middle of the night for all the scantily-clad and inebriated occupants know.  I stifle a smile at the thought that this place makes Rising look positively glamorous.

Xan plasters on a grin and pulls us both into an embrace.  //Remember, if you get into any trouble, signal me.  If I don't respond within a minute, contact Jal on the ship.//

I force myself to gaze adoringly at him, then nuzzle his neck.  //Don't worry, Xan.  We can handle this.  Try not to get yourself killed, or worse.//  I meant the comment teasingly, but I'm not sure it came across that way, as his fingers tighten uncomfortably around the back of my neck.   He kisses me, pushing his tongue roughly between my lips.  I have to act as if I like it, so I press against him tightly, moaning slightly for effect.  To be honest, it's hardly a chore to kiss him.

//Just don't do anything stupid,// he responds, nipping my tongue slightly as he pulls out of the kiss.

Siri pouts until she gets a kiss too, and then we split up.  Xan disappears in search of Jassock's assistant, Tam, and Siri and I make our way towards the door leading to the sub-basement slave pens.

We're stopped by a few curious pleasure workers along the way -- I have the impression that they don't get many young clients, so we are a bit of a novelty.  One of them is the boy who gave me his key last night, though he doesn't seem to recognize me, now that he's sober.

At the entrance of the glorified cell block where the endurance slaves are kept, we find a new security guard -- a Rynian, tall and stern-looking.  Siri and I exchange a glance and step back around the corner.

"Well, we won't be able to sweet-talk our way past that one," she whispers, arms snaking around my neck.  Rynians are a species that don't mate for pleasure, and so they tend to do well in positions where immunity to sexual stimuli is a benefit.  

"Don't worry," I whisper, nuzzling her ear.  "I don't think we'll have to resort to that."

She nods and pulls me back towards the entrance.  We stumble in, giggling, arms twined around each other.

"Hello, uh..." Siri squints to read the guard's name badge.  "Captain Blallick, is it?  Good morning!"  I nudge her with an elbow.  "Er, afternoon."

The Rynian guard grunts slightly, scrunching up his facial folds in an expression that resembles mild disgust.  

"We've reserved one of your slaves," Siri continues, completely unaffected.  "So if you'd just be so kind as to fetch him for us, we'll be on our way."

Captain Blallick's expression doesn't change.  "Name?" he grunts.  

Siri looks confused.  "I don't even know if he has a name."

I snicker.  "I think he means your name, Aris."  I grin at Blallick, rolling my eyes, before pulling Siri close and fondling a breast in what I hope is a pleasurable manner.  "Baby, when we get that sleve back to the ship you can call him whatever you want."

Blallick examines his datapad while Siri giggles more and starts kissing my neck.  He grunts again, and we look at him expectantly.  "Right.  He's ready.  Got a lot of fight in 'im, that one.  He can't go out."

"He can't go out?" I repeat, feeling my stomach sink a little.  Jal was right.  I'd hoped he wasn't.  Perhaps we can still persuade Blallick--

Siri raises one hand.  "Of course he can go out," she says, voice serene.

Captain Blallick squints at her.  "No, he can't.  Master's orders.  You can use the joyroom at the end of the hall, but that one's not to leave the block."

"We can take him with us," I say, pushing the Force in the man's direction.

He looks confused for a moment, but shakes his head.  "No, you can't.  You still want him or not?"

Siri and I look at each other.  I wish we'd managed to learn how to communicate telepathically.  Time to think on our feet.  

"Yeah," I say.  "We still want him."  At least we can talk to him, let him know we're working to get him out.  Perhaps he'll have some ideas of his own.

Blallick glances at his datapad again.  "That'll be 1500 then."

We blink at him.  "Sorry?"

"1500," he repeats, with a tone that indicates he thinks we might be somewhat dim.  "You only paid half up front.  I need the rest now."

I swallow and look at Siri.  We don't have that much money.  Siri rifles through her pockets and hands him her credit chip.  He inserts it into his datapad.

"You're short 1200," he says.

"What?" Siri exclaims.  "I am not!  There must be a mistake--"

"A mistake?  Well then, I'll just refund your deposit, minus a 20% cancellation charge--"
"Wait," I say, thinking frantically.  "How much... er, what can we get for the 1500 we've already paid?"

"One hour," Blallick, grunts.  "For one of you."

"How about half an hour for both of us?" I counter.

Blallick snorts.  "The price is per client, not per hour.  Two clients is harder on the slave than one, you know."

Siri makes a whiny noise and stamps her foot.  "This isn't fair.  We wanted to be together."

Blallick shrugs.  "Want a refund or not?"

"Give us a minute to talk it over," I say, tugging Siri back out the door by the hand.  We make certain we're alone before dropping our characters as much as we dare.  "Suggestions?" I ask.

"I think one of us should go to him for the hour," she replies.  "Find out as much as possible about his condition, let him know we're here, find out what his routine is, and so forth."

"Agreed.  You want to do it?"

"Well, as much as I'd like to fuck a random enslaved padawan, my options are a bit limited at the moment -- remember?"

"They probably have anything you'd want, you know.  Strap-ons and such."

"True.  But it would be easier it if were you.  I have plenty of other things I could do in the meantime."

My jaw clenches at that.  "I'm not completely useless, you know."

Siri rolls her eyes.  "Oh, shut it.  You know what I mean."

If one of us goes into the room with him, there's little chance of avoiding sex.  I've made it clear on more than one occasion how I feel about forcing someone to have sex with me, even if it's for his own good.  Now is not the time to back down from my principles.  Maybe it won't be an issue, if he understands the situation.  Perhaps he'll be pretty hot, and he'll think I'm cute, and it won't be a problem at all.  "All right," I reply, grinding my teeth slightly.  "I'll do it, then."

She nods.  "I'll go look for Xan and see if I can help him.  Comm me if you learn anything interesting.  I can always do a little exploring in their computer system again, if need be."

"I'll see you back at the ship," I whisper.  "May the Force be with you, Siri."

She kisses me and smiles tightly, then disappears.  I head back to the cell block, grinning at Blallick as I enter.  "Guess it's just me, then."

"So it is," he grunts in reply, and punches in some keys on his security station.  Two guards appear in the doorway behind me.  "Take number 18 down to the second joyroom," he tells them.  They nod and head past him down the hall.  He squints at me.  "It'll just be a moment.  Would you like something to read while you wait?"

I blink at him, stifling an uncomfortable curiosity to find out just what reading materials a place like this keeps on hand.  "Ummm... no, no, I'm fine."

Several uncomfortable minutes pass, and the guards finally reappear.  They nod at Blallick and disappear again.  

He gestures for me to follow him down the corridor.  "You'll find a selection of complimentary necessities in the cabinet by the bed.  If he gives you any trouble, just hit the green button -- it triggers the pain module in his implant.  If you hold it down, he'll pass out eventually.  Might be easier that way, to be honest."  Blallick stops before the door.  "When your time's up, I'll come back for you.  If you're done before then, you can contact me using the intercom by the door.  Sign here."  He holds up his datapad.  I take it and frown at the miniscule writing.  "Standard waiver.  You are aware of the risks involved in renting an endurance specimen and assume financial responsibility for any permanent damage inflicted on him."      

"Right," I mutter, and sign with the stylus.

He touches a few buttons on a panel on the wall.  I catch the combination and memorize it, hoping that it doesn't change hourly.

The door slides open.  I step into a sparsely -- yet gaudily -- decorated chamber.  The lights are low, and the air is thick with a strange combination of scented candle and disinfectant.  A large bed dominates the room, and on it lies a half-naked figure, facing the wall.  

I hear the door close and lock behind me, and I step forward.  I'm uncertain of what to say, how to begin.  I can sense the mild buzz of surveillance in the room, and I know I'm going to have to be careful.  I stop at the edge of the bed and look for a moment.

He's shirtless, and his skin is the color of dark honey.  For a moment, I'm reminded of Bail, and my stomach twists.  I haven't really thought of Bail in days.  This boy is smaller than Bail, though -- frailer, as if he hasn't been eating well.  His ribs are visible along his back, scars mar his skin, and several yellowish bruises indicate a fairly recent beating.  There is a void in the Force around him, and it makes me shudder slightly.  I wonder where Jassock gets pain implants that also suppress the Force around a being.  I wouldn't have believed it technologically possible before this mission.  

"Are you just going to stand there?" he rasps, still not turning over.  "Did you come here just to fuck me, or are you expecting something more?"

I'm not sure what to say to that, so I remain quiet.

He rolls slowly onto his back, grimacing slightly as if moving is painful.  "I may not look like I can put up much of a fight, but don't let looks deceive you.  I'm not going to be easy."

He glares up at me, and one hand reaches up to smooth shockingly white braids of hair off of his forehead.  They cascade down past his shoulders.  He has an intricate-looking tattoo that winds around his arm and halfway across his chest, and it draws my attention away from his hair momentarily.  There's something oddly familiar about the design.  

"You're a young one," he says, scrutinizing me.  "You can't be much older than me."  He smirks slightly.  "And you're a damn sight better looking than most of the clients I've had lately."

The expression on his face jolts a memory, and it's all I can do not to gasp out loud.  I sit on the bed, afraid that my knees will give if I don't.  

He scoots over to make room for me.  "A quiet one, eh?"   He raises one white eyebrow, and the piercings that decorate it wiggle intriguingly.  "What's wrong with you?  You look like you've seen a ghost."  There is no concern in his eyes, just disdain.  "Of course, if I'm not what you wanted, it's not too late to get your money back.  I won't be offended."

I slide closer to him, heart pounding, and pull him towards me.  His thin arm feels strangely strong in my hand.  I grasp him by the shoulders and bring his face within centimeters of my own, staring at him, unable to believe what I'm seeing.

He smirks again, defiant.  "Well?"

"Hello, Bruck," I whisper.  

He pales slightly, and his eyes widen.  He swallows and says nothing, staring at me, searching my face.  He doesn't know who I am yet.  

My mind spins, and goes blank.  What do I do now?  I never expected to recognize this padawan.  There are thousands of Jedi in the galaxy.  Why did it have to be Bruck Chun?    I feel strangely cold, and have to grit my teeth in an effort to regain control of my emotions.  His implant must affect even my access to the Force.  

Say something, Kenobi.  "I thought you went to the AgriCorps." I whisper, moving my lips to his ear, pretending to nuzzle him.  

"Surveillance," he whispers hoarsely, clutching at my shirt as if trying to tear it away.  "You have no idea what can happen in the AgriCorps," he replies, trembling.  "Who are you?"

I continue mouthing his ear gently.  "My name is... Ben."  If he really doesn't know who I am, that may be for the best, considering our history.  "I'm part of an undercover team.  We have your master, and we're going to get you out as well."

He kisses me, hard, and then pulls away slightly to stare at my face again.  I go back to his neck, determined not to let him figure it out.  Not yet.  

"I don't remember a 'Ben' from the Temple," he whispers.  

I ignore the comment.  "There's too much security here, so we'll have to try to get to you another way.  When do they take you out of this area?"  I find a spot on his neck and suck on it gently.  

"Only when someone's contracted me," he replies, voice shaky.  "I don't go out otherwise.  I haven't been very... cooperative, so I wound up down here."  

"We only have an hour," I reply.  "What information can you give me?"
He exhales and slides a hand between my thighs, stroking hard.  My mind reels momentarily.  This is Bruck Chun -- the one person I can say I've truly hated in my entire life -- holding my dick in his hand.  He was my childhood nemesis, a bully who made my adolescence miserable.  The day he was shipped off to the AgriCorps -- having failed to be chosen as a padawan -- was one of quiet elation for me.  I remember confiding to Garen Muln that I hoped to never lay eyes on Chun again.  

How ironic that I should be here now, unable to get an erection when I really need one, trying to save his life by... fucking him.  

He unfastens my trousers and slips his hands inside.  "Work with me here, Ben," he hisses, and wraps his hand tightly around my flaccid penis.

"Sorry," I mutter, closing my eyes and trying to concentrate.  Fucking hell, I got an erection with Siri earlier, so why won't this work now?  I'm thinking about it too much.  

I shift onto my back, pulling him on top of me, and pull him into a kiss.  He hesitates at first, but then melts into it, opening his mouth to me and allowing me to kiss him in that slow, hot way that always gets me turned on.  He seems to take the hint and releases his tight grip, using his fingertips to tease me gently.  I almost groan with relief when the familiar tightening begins in my groin.

Bruck's mouth moves to my ear.  "Unless you have a hell of a lot of credits, I don't think you'll be able to afford to contract me."

"We might be able to get them to sell you," I reply, and immediately regret it.  Isn't that what Xan did earlier?

Bruck snorts.  "Oh, they'd kill me before they sold me."  He tenses then, and fists his hand in my hair so hard that I wince.  "Wait -- how did you get my master out?"  

"We bought him," I hiss, trying to twist my head out of his grip.

"You--"  He pushes himself up, panicked.  "You've got to get out of here," he whispers.  "You're too... oh, fuck, just look at you.  You're exactly--"

"What are you talking about?" I ask, feeling a sinking sensation in my stomach.

He takes my face in his hands.  "Ben, you've got to go, now.  Comm the guard, tell him you're not happy with me and you want out, want your money back, or something.  Act belligerent, act sad, whatever, but you have to go, now, before--"

"No!" I whisper, pulling him back down on top of me.  "This may be our only chance.  We need to figure out a way to get you out of here, and--"

"Ben, go, please!"  The expression on his face is one of near-panic now.  "You don't understand how it is here.  You bought Jal, and now you're here, and you're just the type they like, and don't you see?  It's a trap!"  He rolls off of me, staring around the room wildly, as if looking for something.

I sit up, heart pounding, and switch on the commlink in my pocket.  Nothing happens.  No signal.  Shielded.  The cell block must be shielded.  I refasten my trousers as I cross to the door, and press the intercom key.  Nothing.  I turn to look at Bruck.  His face is hard now, as if he's steeling himself for the worst.  He backs away.   

My lightsaber.  This is exactly why I wanted to have it, exactly the moment in which it would be useful.  I could melt the door lock, we could ambush the guard, and then contact Siri, hide somewhere until she can find us a clear path out.  I pull it from its hidden pocket in my vest and power it down until it produces a small blade.

I hear a stifled laugh behind me, and turn to see Bruck gaping.  "Are you fucking insane?" he gasps, not bothering to pitch his voice for the surveillance.  Perhaps he thinks it doesn't matter anymore.  He shakes his head and sits on the bed.  

I sink the blade into the door mechanism.  It hisses and begins to melt the metal.  

The door slides open, and I glance at Bruck.  He's still sitting on the bed, eyes wide with alarm.  I turn back to the door, only to see several very large guns pointed at me.

Time slows down, and I take in all of the details of the room with a familiar rush of clarity.  There are four guns that I can see, and likely several more I can't see behind them.  The shape of the hallway will be a problem, though I can use some of the twisting of the corridor to my advantage.  

If Bruck would just get behind me, this could work.

Just then, I hear a stifled scream -- Bruck is writhing on the bed, holding his head in his hands.  Someone has activated his pain module.  I might be able to make it out, but I can't shield him against all of those weapons if he's incapacitated.  I can't leave him here, either.

I swallow, and power off the lightsaber, taking a step back.  Four beings with guns move into the room and glare menacingly at me.  I hold my hands up in a universal gesture of submission.  Bruck's cries melt into panting breaths behind me.  

And then Jassock steps through the door.

I swallow, sick with the realization that Bruck was right.  It was a trap, and I walked right into it, even after everything I said to Xan earlier.  At least Siri wasn't here as well.

Jassock smiles strangely, and holds out her hand.  I hand her my lightsaber, and she examines it for a moment.

"I'm quite surprised," she says, "that you would be bold enough to bring this weapon here, knowing that we have an interest in slaves with Jedi training."  She smirks slightly, turning the hilt over in her hands.  "I had my suspicions about your little group, but I didn't know for certain until the scanners picked up your weapon today when you arrived.  I was quite pleased when Captain Blallick informed me of your... convenient arrival here."  

The sinking feeling increases, but I say nothing.  Beating myself up over a mistake won't help me now.  I need to keep my mind clear, to think, to be patient.

Jassock nods, and one of the gunmen steps forward.  I allow him to bind my hands behind my back, and reach out to the Force for patience.  I'll have an opportunity, if I just wait for it.  

And then it happens -- I feel a sharp pain at the base of my neck.  My blood seems to turn cold in my body, and my knees buckle.  I collapse to the floor, shuddering at the sudden pain, sudden loss, sudden emptiness.  My field of vision narrows.  I'm going to pass out...

"You'll get used to the implant in a few days," someone whispers.  A hand strokes my forehead.  The floor is cold and hard.  

I'm so tired...


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