The Morning After

When I awake the next morning, he is gone from my bed. A quick check tells me the shields I erected last night are still in place. Feeling along our bond I find him in his bedroom. Yawning, I get out of bed and stretch. I contemplate going directly in to talk to him, but decide that a quick shower would probably be in order.

No less then five minutes later I am standing in my room, pulling on an older pair of pants. Not bothering to dress any more than that, I leave to find my Master.

He is in his room, curled up on his bed, but not asleep. I sit down next to him and gently stroke his back. He tenses up a bit, but allows the touch. "Obi-Wan?"

"What do you want?" His voice has no emotion, it is that of a man too far gone to care about life. He turns his face toward me, and I can just make out the partially dried tears on his face. Running a finger along the dampness there, for the first time I feel something that is almost guilt. But not quite.

I consider picking him and moving this to the sitting room, but I'm not sure how he would react to that. Instead, using every diplomatic technique I know to encourage trust and project sincerity, I push him out of bed, across the room, and into the kitchen. He sits down on a stool and watches me gather some food.

I place breakfast in front of him, and he eats mechanically. That he eats without my prompting I take to be a good sign. After we are finished eating we sit in silence for a while before he asks listlessly, "What now?"

"We continue as we have."

Finally a reaction. His startled eyes briefly meet my own. "Um... Ani... I, I...I don't think we can."

"Yes we can." My voice is at its most convincing. I slip around to stand behind him and begin to massage the knots in his shoulders. He is so very tense. As I work lower I send small pulses of healing energy both into the knots and the bruises. I guess I was a little bit enthusiastic last night.

He sighs, and I can almost see his mind trying to fit things together. "But the Council..."

"Doesn't have to know." I speak quietly, seductively, my mouth mere inches from his ear. I wrap my arms around him, pulling him back to my chest. "I'm sure it has been done before."

With my arms wrapped around him I can feel his reaction to that statement. He tightens his muscles infinitesimally, then relaxes into my embrace. I wonder if I have won him over already. Perhaps this will be easier than I thought.

"They will know Ani." He pauses, as if trying to convince himself of something. "I'll tell them."

Or perhaps not. "But Master," I can feel him flinch at the title, "You'll be killed and placed on..."


"What?" Something is not going according to plan here.

"Yes, I will be killed, but I will not be placed on the list of Dishonored Jedi. There is more to the Code then is taught to Padawans. If a Master gives himself up willingly, and his Padawan is able to be found a new Master, he is granted a quiet, but honorable death." He turns around slowly within my arms and looks up at me. "I see now that I have failed you Anakin. I believe the Council will find you a new master, you are too powerful for them to let out of their sight. As for me, death holds no fear."

As he speaks I see that I have miscalculated, but not fatally. But it is not until his last statement, said with an almost smile, that I truly realize what's going on. What I see in his eyes is hope. He *wants* to die and leave me and become one with the Force and his precious Qui-Gon. He will be glad to be rid of me. But he miscalculated too, and I have one more card to play.

"I don't think you want to do that." I swallow, hopping that I have not misjudged his devotion to his master. "I wouldn't want to be forced to put anyone on the List of the Dishonored."

"I told you, I will not..."

I interrupt him by placing two fingers on his mouth and shaking my head. "Not you. Qui-Gon."

His face turns white. "No..." he says in a horrified whisper. "There's no..."

"Proof?" I interrupt. "I beg to differ." I take a step back and withdraw the disk from the table where I placed it last night. "All the proof I need to condemn Qui-Gon is right here."

"No..." His voice is still a whisper. He shakes his head in denial. "I don't believe you..."

"No?" I grab his arm, yanking him from his seat. Dragging him roughly out of the kitchen and into the common room, I throw him down on the couch. I stalk over to the Vid screen and slam the disk in the slot.

The image that flickers into view is a bit grainy, but there is no doubt as to who the two men are. I watch the muscles on Obi-Wan's back ripple as he moves up and down, riding his Master. Because of the angle of the cam Qui-Gon's face is visible looking down over Obi-Wan's shoulder, his head thrown back in pleasure. With the flick of a finger I freeze it there.

Obi-Wan continues to stare at the screen as I kneel down beside him. Not taking his eyes away from the image he asks, "What do you want?"

I have to smile at the surrender in his voice. I do not fool myself into thinking I have won the war, but I have won the battle. For now that is enough.

"This is what is going to happen. Things will continue on as if nothing has happened. During the day and in public, I will be your Padawan. I will act in every manner befitting that position. This I swear." I pause and flip the screen off, as his eyes reluctantly meet mine. "But at night, in the privacy of our quarters, you will be belong to me." As I speak I bring my hand up, gently brushing it against his cheek. "Do you understand?"

"Yes." His dull tone is matched by the lack of expression in his eyes. "Every day I am your Master, every night I am your whore."

"All you have to do is every night ask me one question. 'Do you require me tonight.' If I say yes, you will do exactly as I say, if I say no, you are free to do what ever you wish."

He is still for a moment. For a short moment I am actually afraid he will say no, but in the end he nods his head in acquiescence. He stands up and looks down at me. "I'm afraid we'll have to cancel your morning 'saber lesson Padawan. See if you can find something useful to do until your first class." And without another word he turns and walks into his room, shutting the door behind him.

I get up and return to the kitchen, cleaning up the breakfast dishes. After looking around to insure that everything is tidy, I grab the disk and head to my own room. I strip the bed and put on clean sheet, then lie down, basking in the slight Force-impression of last night's activities.

It worked. That one thought runs around and around in my mind. Don't ever underestimate a well-trained Jedi's ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. I should probably wait a bit before putting the next bit of my plan into action. Yes, let everything settle down some.

Stretching, my arms hit the cuffs still attached to the bed posts. I run my hands over them, feeling the cold metal. I think I'll leave them there, you never know when I might want to use them again. My arms drop again to my sides. I close my eyes and allow myself to think of the many days... and nights... to come.



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