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Title: What You Take With You

Author: Some Jedi Girl

Time Period: A few months pre-ROTS

Pairing: Obi-Wan/Anakin, SLASH

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: Slash, Obi-Wan being dominant a little.

Disclaimer: Not mine, but George Lucas’s. I made no money to write this.

Summary: Someone tries to separate Obi-Wan and Anakin. Anakin the Submissive. Not much plot.

Author’s Notes: Inspired by a discussion started by [info]calichan, methinks. Why is Anakin always dominant? He is in my own stories, usually. So I had a little fun trying to make him not so. Just an experiment, with a sith ex machina plot (we all have our creative limits). Tell me if it works. I had a little trouble with Obi-Wan. Anakin was easy. ;) Beta by [info]sharpeslass, hearts doll. All other mistakes caused by my hurrying; I whipped this out pretty quickly.

***

“Master Kenobi. I’m so glad you had time to see me.”

Palpatine waved at a seat in his stylish office, a wide smile on his soft, lined features. The Supreme Chancellor’s manner was as smooth as always, his every gesture fluid and ingratiating yet imperious.

Obi-Wan had never really liked him. He couldn’t have put a finger on why, exactly, other than his status as a politician. Regardless of Obi-Wan’s personal feelings, however, the man was important to the morale and cohesion of the Republic during this time of war. He kept his refusal polite. “Thank you, but I have very little time, Chancellor. What is it you wished to see the Jedi about?”

“Please, Master Kenobi. I did not ask you here to discuss the Jedi. Your order has been quite crucial to the Republic’s successes in this terrible war so far; I would, as always, leave the Jedi to make their decisions without my constant intervention,” Palpatine oozed. “No, I merely wished to speak with you for a few moments. You know that Anakin Skywalker is important to both of us, and yet I so rarely see you. Yesterday, most of all, was a momentous one. I wished to congratulate you on your training of such a fine young man.”

It had only been one day since Anakin had officially become a Jedi Knight; Obi-Wan was proud of this, more proud than he’d been when he’d become one himself, on Naboo. Still, he did not wish to discuss Anakin with this man, no matter how close the two were.

“Thank you,” was all Obi-Wan said, finally.

“Yes, quite momentous. I know your influence has been invaluable.” Palpatine’s expression grew thoughtful, distracted; he raised a finger in the air, as if coming to a realization. “I wonder if perhaps you might give him something for me. I know he is busy as well, but I am sure that you will see him before I do. I hear that you are to remain together as a team. And that you already have a new assignment.”

Obi-Wan didn’t want to be Anakin’s messenger any more than he wanted to discuss him or their mission. “What is it?”

“A token. A trifle, really, I know how you Jedi shun possessions.” Palpatine moved to his desk. He pressed a button protruding from its smooth black top. There was a low hum as a drawer slid open, and he reached for something inside.

At the same moment Obi-Wan felt an odd fracturing of the Force, tiny but disorienting. Vision skewed: the skyline outside the window wrenched itself upside-down, and Palpatine’s face twisted, became stretched, grotesque and maniacal. A low buzz vibrated through the atmosphere of the office. Obi-Wan swayed in place for a moment. He had to uncross his arms from inside his robes to stay balanced.

“Are you quite all right, Master Kenobi?”

As suddenly as it had appeared, the sensation was gone. The twinkling lights of Coruscant’s cityscape were as right-side-up as ever, Palpatine’s expression merely pleasant and expectant. The air was silent, still. Nevertheless, Obi-Wan knew that he should probably discuss the phenomenon with Yoda as soon as possible. These were dark times, and rumors persisted of a Sith Lord on Coruscant… “I am fine, Chancellor. I must return to the Temple.”

“I understand.” Palpatine held out a hand. Sitting in the center of his palm was a tiny black sphere with ornate markings etched around its center in white. “This is my token. Will you take it to Anakin Skywalker?”

Obi-Wan held out a palm, felt its small weight fall into it, felt its smoothness. “I will not.”

“I did not think so,” Palpatine smiled. “Good day, Master Jedi.”

Obi-Wan left. He tucked the tiny ball into a pocket, he did not know which. He did not seek out Master Yoda. He remembered that he’d wanted to, but could not remember why. These lapses of memory did not bother him.

***

With a gentle pull, Anakin slid the lever that would take them into hyperspace. The small ship jumped to lightspeed without a twitch, smooth as water over glass.

Anakin looked to his right at the only other occupant of the vessel. Obi-Wan, his friend, his former master, now nearly an equal. Anakin should have been happy. He wasn’t.

Never would he be Obi-Wan’s true equal, it seemed. Since he’d been named to the Council Obi-Wan was now a Jedi Master in name if not active occupation. Anakin was proud, even as a frisson of guilty jealousy crawled through his gut. Jealousy because Obi-Wan still outranked him. Another reason lurked there as well, something Anakin could hardly admit to himself: jealousy because Obi-Wan’s priority could become the Council rather than Anakin. He would be their partisan, not his.

For despite all his skills, Anakin knew he did not have the Council’s trust. He could only strive, as ever, for the spectacular and the impossible, hoping to become a Jedi Master himself. Then they could never banish him, married or not.

The thought led to another of his little unhappinesses. Padme. He’d had so little time with her between his military meetings and her Senate meetings that they’d had hardly been able celebrate properly. Politics, Jedi and sexual frustration did not mix.

And here they were, off again. The twitch of jealous energy spread, radiated through his veins, at the thought of leaving Padme on Coruscant with the toadies and the reprobates. He wondered who she might perhaps meet with, talk to, when he wasn’t there. Whether or not she might still want him when he finally returned...

He took a breath to banish the angry worry and fear. He was a Jedi Knight now. When would he be able to bury his all-too-petty jealousies of those he loved best?

How long would he be gone this time?

“Twelve hours,” Obi-Wan said.

It took Anakin a moment to realize that Obi-Wan was talking about the trip. “Yes,” he said, waiting for more. But Obi-Wan remained silent, staring out the cockpit window at the field of starlines, seeming to brood.

Wrapped up in his own separation and professional anxiety, Anakin had spared Obi-Wan’s behavior little thought. Now it penetrated his consciousness that something might be wrong. Obi-Wan was normally reserved, but had been even more silent than usual these last few hours.

Mildly worried, Anakin took a better look at his friend and mentor, examining the familiar features. Obi-Wan’s brows were lowered, and his forehead seemed to have developed a permanent crease down its center. He’d seemed fine yesterday. Yet was that… a slight curl to his lips?

“May I ask what you are staring at, Anakin?” Obi-Wan said, suddenly, turning to glare at him. Normally if Obi-Wan had asked such a thing, his tone would have been gently ironic or teasing. Now, however, he sounded angry. And his eyes... they no longer held the clear, open gaze Anakin was used to. They were cold, as if some ancient grudge had crawled into them.

“Nothing,” Anakin said, not sure what other answer to give at the moment.

“Yes. You would say that, wouldn’t you?” Obi-Wan snarled the question, then with terse movements, unhooked his restraints and jerked himself upright.

Stunned for a moment, Anakin could only turn and watch as Obi-Wan stomped through the small doorless portal that separated the pilot’s cabin from the ship’s small quarters. He stood there in the small space between the facing couches, his back to Anakin, clear tension straining through every line of muscle.

Anakin’s disquiet surged into a surprised, angry flare. Obi-Wan had never talked to him like that when he was a Padawan. Anakin surely wasn’t going to take it now that he was a Jedi Knight. He sprang out of his own seat and followed. The ship could fly itself for the entire trip if it needed to.

“What did I do now?” he demanded of Obi-Wan’s back.

“It’s not always about, you, Anakin.” Obi-Wan turned and stared at him, blue-grey eyes cool and still oddly shuttered. Then something else crept into them, something almost sly. “Or perhaps it is. I paid a visit to your friend Palpatine. He gave me something for you, but I think I will keep it.”

Anakin was thrown off-balance by this new and startling information. “The Chancellor? When did you see him?”

“Are you afraid he’s found another favorite?” Obi-Wan had moved in close, had gripped Anakin’s shoulder with powerful fingers. His breath and beard tickled at Anakin’s chin, but his wintry gaze didn’t waver. On the outside he looked like Obi-Wan, the same brown hair bleached by countless suns falling over his forehead, the same tiny crinkles surrounding those now-cold eyes. Anakin felt a surge in the Force surround them, somber and pervasive. He’d never encountered such a thing and couldn’t interpret it.

“No…” Anakin finally answered, nonplussed and almost afraid. He wasn’t sure he liked the sensation. He took a breath and strove for a normal voice. “What did he give you?”

“I don’t think he really gave me anything. A new insight, perhaps.” Obi-Wan chuckled. His voice was one Anakin hadn’t heard before; low, almost seductive, sexual. His soft, cultured accent, turned cruel. And now his mouth was at Anakin’s ear, heated breaths sending inexplicably chilled shivers down his spine. His grip had become two-handed, strong fingers holding Anakin’s shoulders prisoner.

Anakin wondered if Obi-Wan was angry, or what new lesson this was supposed to be. Jedi Knight or no, he’d been trained to listen to Obi-Wan for most of his life, and after thirteen years it was a hard habit to break. Was there a reply or motion Obi-Wan was waiting for? “What are you doing?” Anakin finally asked.

“What an idiotic question! Yes, I can say those things to you now.” Obi-Wan had pulled back, and he laughed at Anakin’s shocked expression. His eyes were wrinkled at the corners, brows raised; Obi-Wan’s face, and yet not. “You wanted to be a Jedi Knight, Anakin. The ritual was unexpected, was it not? Despite your power, perhaps you haven’t learned all there is to know, or every thing that might be unexpected.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Of course you don’t.” Obi-Wan’s fingers had moved to Anakin’s nape and were rubbing hard against his scalp, almost massaging, sending small surges of the Force through his tense muscles. Anakin was relaxed yet frozen, mesmerized by this strangely intimate new sphere of interaction. By being this close to Obi-Wan in this way. And Obi-Wan was still talking, lips close again to Anakin’s. “To be a Jedi, you understand, means diminishing the self, the ego.”

“You’ve always said so.” Anakin was half-ashamed to find that his voice was a whisper.

“Yet did I mean it?” Obi-Wan said cryptically, and then he did the most astonishing thing: he kissed Anakin, not gently, but forcing his head down, his mouth open. And Anakin just stood there and took it, and kissed him back, not knowing why. It was disturbing. It was exciting beyond belief.

This was Obi-Wan acting like he did in battle. Single-minded, aggressive. So many new sensations: his mouth was wet and slick, his beard rough on Anakin’s chin. Above all rose an intuition that Obi-Wan wasn’t really angry after all, and would not be doing this if he didn’t care for him, if he wasn’t still Anakin’s partisan.

An entirely inappropriate and unexpected lust rose in Anakin. Almost of their own volition, his hands lifted from his sides to pull at Obi-Wan’s shoulders, to bring him closer.

But the moment his fingers touched the cloth of Obi-Wan’s tunics, he jerked back and pushed Anakin away. “No,” Obi-Wan said, blue eyes now dark, glaring.

Anakin could only stare back in bereft puzzlement. “What?” he asked.

“Erudite as ever,” Obi-Wan said. Then without warning his hand flew out before him. A massive Force-push shoved Anakin against the wall, the backs of his knees against the edge of the couch.

He’d been taken by surprise, but if this was a fight, Anakin could be ready. With a speed Anakin had rarely seen, however, Obi-Wan pressed against him again, holding Anakin’s hands captive at his sides, mouth on his, sensual and overwhelming. The sense of threat dissipated back into lust, into heavy breaths and the feel of Obi-Wan’s rushed heartbeat against Anakin’s chest.

Obi-Wan slid his mouth to the side, snaking his tongue into Anakin’s ear. Anakin’s spine trembled, weak. Somehow he found the energy to ask, “Why?”

“Why not?” Obi-Wan laughed, a low, sinister arousing sound in Anakin’s ear. “It’s what you want, isn’t it?”

“No, I--” Anakin started, but couldn’t think of a convincing enough lie to refute it.

His hands were released and he felt a fumbling at his belt. Then it dropped to the floor and warm, calloused palms slithered inside his tunics, violent caresses against the sensitive skin of his belly. The muscles there jerked involuntarily and independently of his heaving diaphragm.

“You said I was no Qui-Gon Jinn.” Obi-Wan’s voice, accusing, curled into his ear and wrapped around his chaotic thoughts. “Would you prefer that I was?”

“No,” Anakin said, again, this time into Obi-Wan’s neck, and as if from a distance he heard the pleading whine in his own voice. He examined it for an instant from that distance. These were strange reactions to someone he felt he’d known forever, yet he couldn’t ascribe an exact meaning to them. He didn’t know why Obi-Wan was acting this way, but found, ultimately, that it didn’t matter. It was... interesting.

“Why is that, I wonder?” A hand slid into his trousers, a searing, inflexible grip on his throbbing cock, chafing it, each rough contact an agony. “He’s the one who chose you, Chosen One.”

Anakin had to hold onto something: he risked light hands at Obi-Wan’s waist, and this time Obi-Wan didn’t stop or pull away. Anakin was so grateful he could have wept.

“You chose me. Y-you didn’t have t-to,” Anakin stuttered, gasping, reaching for anything, any phrase that would placate Obi-Wan. Reaching for the truth.

Obi-Wan licked Anakin’s neck, tongue tracing wet designs against his jugular, his skin alternately chilled by the ship’s air and heated by warm breaths. Still the firm hand stroked his cock, a thing which was quickly becoming the focus of Anakin’s world, surrounded by a shuddering body which had ceased to be under his control.

“But are you appreciative?”

“Yes,” Anakin said again. A brief guilt crept in: betrayal of Padme. But no, this was something intense and personal, something between himself and Obi-Wan, and outside his relations with her. And never would she be this sexually aggressive. Never. At least he didn't think so.

“I don’t know. We’ll have to see, Anakin.”

The hand halted its stroking and pulled away. The pain of its abandonment was an imprint, an exquisite torture. But Obi-Wan wasn’t leaving him and hadn’t only been teasing him. Anakin felt his tunics being removed, even raised his arms to make the job easier. Obi-Wan was watching him with an unfamilir, almost clinical gaze, but Anakin didn’t care in the slightest. He kicked off his own boots and pulled down his trousers, mortified at his own haste.

Obi-Wan stood back a step and, naked, Anakin moved close, offered a tentative clutch at Obi-Wan’s belt. It was allowed; he uhooked the belt and set it on the couch, then pulled at Obi-Wan’s tunics, counting the moments until he could be skin-to-skin with his friend, his companion. Obi-Wan’s was a familiar body, the muscled shoulders merely flesh in its normal permutations but now seen in a new light seen as something to be desired.

Obi-Wan stepped out of his boots, watching, expectant. Anakin kneeled and almost reverently lay his fingers at Obi-Wan’s waist, thumbs both mechanical and real grazing the slight dip in the flesh between hip and belly. Then he slid Obi-Wan’s trousers to the floor.

A well-sized rigid cock met his eyes, and Anakin didn’t find it odd at all, only felt thankful that it hadn’t only been him, that he’d been desired as well. He glanced up to see Obi-Wan watching him, still, waiting, hand cupping his chin in his reassuringly everyday gesture.

“I am appreciative,” Anakin said again, and he meant it. He wanted to show how much, wanted this intimacy, wanted to make Obi-Wan happy. He leaned forward until his lips nearly grazed the rounded, darkish tip.

“Hmmm,” Obi-Wan only said down at him, then was silent.

Anakin took that as permission to continue, and wrapped his lips around Obi-Wan’s penis, gently, another entirely new sensation he’d discovered. He tasted the skin, firm, warm and dry. His hands on Obi-Wan’s hips clenched, but gently, just holding him steady. Anakin had experienced this himself-- he was married after all-- but could only hope he was doing it correctly.

He must have been doing something right. Obi-Wan still didn’t stop him, just lay his fingers atop Anakin’s head, caressing his short hair. Emboldened and knowing what he himself liked, Anakin pushed closer, slipping a hand between Obi-Wan’s thighs to grasp his testicles with tender fingers, cradling them in his palm. Obi-Wan’s stomach muscles clenched; Anakin could feel it through his fingers. Pleased with his performance, he slid two fingers around the bottom of the shaft and up to meet his lips, breathing hard.

The small gasp Obi-Wan released was involuntary and Anakin knew it, felt it course from his ears to his belly and throb at his still-painful erection. He couldn’t believe they’d come to this, and how it thrilled him. Was this what Obi-Wan had mentioned earlier-- about not knowing every thing that might be unexpected?

In a desperate rush to please he launched himself forward and almost choked on the hard flesh but he didn’t care, only wanted to bring about the result of his own skill, his own desirability. Wanted to know that he could do this. Distantly he felt Obi-Wan’s hands clamp about his ears for a minute, maybe two, holding him as an anchor for a gentle rocking motion, muffling the short harsh gasps. He could feel the tension that corded Obi-Wan’s muscles like iron strands, could tell that release was imminent.

Then, suddenly, his head was shoved away. Anakin inhaled for a moment, deep shuddering breaths filling his lungs. His eyes were running and Anakin didn’t know whether he was weeping or whether he’d choked himself, only that he was being forbidden his victory.

“That’s enough,” came Obi-Wan’s voice from above him, brutal and final.

“No,” Anakin choked. He’d earned it, deserved this opportunity, and the small hopeful glimmer that reciprocation might be in order. That he could be this profoundly intimate with Obi-Wan and that nothing could undo it once it had been accomplished. “Please.”

And without permission he wrapped his biomechanical arm about the hips before him, pressing them hard against his shoulders, and tasted again the sweat and his own spit and the whole erotic mix that was this moment, swallowed it whole. Either Obi-Wan couldn’t stop him or didn’t want to, but soon Anakin could feel the shudder, the full-body grip and exhale of tension. There was a warm surge at the back of his throat, and it was all worth it.

Unafraid for a moment in the exhilaration of success, he rocked back on his heels and tried a sly smile at Obi-Wan. But his master’s arms were crossed, and his eyes hard.

“You never do what I say, Anakin. And you never have. I don’t know why I bother.”

“I’m sorry,” Anakin said, coughing. The disdain in Obi-Wan’s new, hard eyes snatched away a bit of his victory. Yet he’d done nothing but try to please. “I’m trying.”

“Why should I do anything for you?”

“You shouldn’t.”

“You will try harder.”

“Yes.” Here was Anakin’s chance to redeem himself. “What do you want me to do?”

Obi-Wan kneeled to face him and laid his palm alongside Anakin’s chin, thumb grazing his lips. Anakin leaned forward, slow, to kiss Obi-Wan again, to let the taste of his lips remind him of what he’d done. His friend allowed it for a few slow moments, drawn-out and gentle. Anakin tried to push closer, seeking to lay his throbbing erection alongside Obi-Wan’s abdomen, seeking any touch, but firm fingertips pushed at Anakin’s chest.

“No.” The hated word fell again from Obi-Wan’s lips. “Stop interfering, Anakin. Patience.”

Just when Anakin thought he knew where he stood in this situation, he was wrong. It was disorienting. He simply dropped his head, closed his eyes, and waited for whatever came next.

Torture, whispers of movement; Anakin could feel Obi-Wan in the Force, still nearby but behind him now, then closer, and he could feel the rough hair of Obi-Wan’s calves as he straddled Anakin’s legs, could feel Obi-Wan’s soft penis pressing into his backside. Wondrous; hands curled around his chest, stroking his touch-starved flesh, from the sensitive skin of his armpits to his bent thighs. Soft lips at the back of his neck.

Anakin didn’t dare move. A slick palm rubbed at his belly, down over his abdominal muscles, but only the lightest touches on his cock, brushes here and there, and he would have jumped each time if not for the strong arms encircling him.

Then something pressed into his rear end. Obi-Wan’s cock, stiffening again already. That was a surprise. Who’d have known Obi-Wan had it in him?

“Move,” Obi-Wan said into his ear. Anakin didn’t know where he was supposed to move at first, and he really didn’t want to move anyway, because he was enjoying the erotic attention. But Obi-Wan’s fingers on his shoulders twisted him in the direction of the couch, then grasped Anakin’s hands and laid them on the edge until he was half-kneeling. Anakin’s heart beat faster, pounding in his chest until his head swam and his vision blurred. Excitement and fear commingled in his gut at what the position suggested.

The position not only suggested, but confirmed. Strong fingers spread his buttocks, and a warm, dry fingertip invaded, hurting a bit but Anakin didn’t worry unduly. He’d endured worse pain. And then it was replaced by something thicker, the tip of Obi-Wan’s cock, hard and still a little sticky from semen and Anakin’s saliva, nosing at the opening. A slow burning pressure inched its way inside him, then all of a sudden, a sharp pain and intense pleasure inextricably combined and unexplainable. Anakin had to bite his own lip to keep from crying out.

He felt the weight of skin and muscle pressing against his back, then heard Obi-Wan’s low, harsh voice in his ear. “I’m the only one who believes in you. The only Jedi. You know that, don’t you?”

“I know.” Anakin knew. There was no forgetting it at the moment.

“But do you really?” Another shove, hard, and both he and Obi-Wan grunted at the same moment. And another.

“Yes! Ungh!” A hand clamped upon his erection and pulled, and there was pleasure everywhere at once; the bliss of the hand stroking his cock, the beyond-painful pressure of Obi-Wan’s cock tearing through secret, burning places, the chilling breaths in his ears and the hairs on Obi-Wan’s sweaty chest rubbing against his back.

“Oh, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said. Anakin couldn’t determine the tone or the meaning, and was too involved in the moment to think about it. There was pain, to be sure, but it was an intimate pain, a beautiful one, and there was ecstasy at each movement, both within and without. He’d never expected this, not in a million years, and yet here they were, and Anakin was so close to what he thought might be the most marvelous climax of his life.

Just at the perfect moment Obi-Wan suddenly stilled, took a few deep breaths and removed his hand, leaving Anakin’s erection throbbing and unfulfilled. For several seconds it sounded like Obi-Wan was scrabbling on the floor for something. Then Anakin felt something he’d never, never dared to expect: cold metal, trailing along the particularly sensitive underside of his cock. Obi-Wan had Anakin’s lightsaber, and was using it to torture him. And what was more, Obi-Wan knew it was torture, was enjoying it.

“Two weapons, so alike,” he whispered into the sweat at Anakin’s neck. “Yet you worship the one and disregard the other until you need it.”

“Yes,” was all Anakin could say. In this upside-down universe, Anakin wasn’t even sure which was which.

“Why is that, I wonder?”

“I-- I can’t think,” Anakin moaned, unable to stop the admission.

“I know,” Obi-Wan said. Then he began to push in and out of Anakin again, and Anakin didn’t know which pain was more wonderful, the one inside or the hand and the metal, both, stroking the outside.

He orgasmed in a rush, a half-scream torn from his throat. It was humiliating. It was amazing.

His spasms must have teetered Obi-Wan over the edge as well. In a panting haze, Anakin felt Obi-Wan shudder and pull out, soft where he’d been hard and brutal. Then he was flipped over onto the floor and kissed again and it was so wonderful to be held like this, when he’d never felt more vulnerable.

“Thank you, Master,” he found breath to say between kisses.

“You’re learning, Anakin. Loath as I am to admit it.”

Once such a phrase would have made Anakin furious, made him feel like a child. But he wasn’t, now, and didn’t, not with Obi-Wan groping his body again in that delicious way.

Except... something was digging into his back, something hard and small. He pulled a hand from Obi-Wan’s soft hair to reach beneath his hipbone. He discovered a tiny, black sphere, and rolled it in his fingers. It was cold.

“What’s this?” he asked, and no sooner had he asked the question than it crumbled to dust in his palm.

“What is what?” came Obi-Wan’s voice from his neck, and then suddenly Obi-Wan, who’d been a writhing dervish an instant before, froze as still as a rock. He pulled back, a look of pure amazement in his clear blue eyes, and stared at Anakin. “Oh, dear,” he said.

Anakin thought Obi-Wan’s look of stupefaction must have been similar to his own. “What was that thing?”

“What are you talking about, Anakin? Oh, five hells, what are we doing?”

“You started it.” Anakin was riveted less by Obi-Wan’s strange behavior now than by what Obi-Wan was concealing. “Is that what the Chancellor gave you?”

“The Chancellor? He gave me nothing.” Obi-Wan crawled off Anakin, took a look around, and appeared utterly started for a moment. Then calm seemed to reassert itself. He began to collect his clothing, to get dressed. “I never saw him.”

Anakin sat up as well. “You said you did.”

Obi-Wan had yanked on his trousers with light speed. Now shirtless, he was pulling on his boots. “I should know. I never left the Temple.”

Anakin stared at him, wondering what he was trying to hide, wondering why he had changed his manner again. Then he shrugged, and began to dress himself. Apparently this interesting interlude was over. Maybe it would happen again; only time would tell. For now it was time to humor Obi-Wan. “If you say so.”

“I do. Ah. Anakin.” Obi-Wan looked for a moment as if he didn’t know what to say.

“Thank you,” Anakin said, simply.

Obi-Wan shook his head as if trying to clear it. “We shouldn’t speak of this.”

“I agree,” Anakin told him. If the Jedi Council would oppose his marriage to Padme, then surely they’d go darkside over this. Of course, Obi-Wan had said there were unexpected things about the Jedi. At least Anakin would have the memory, as would Obi-Wan, and who knew what would happen in future?

***

Palpatine, Darth Sidious, was sitting at his desk, surrounded by his Red Guard and surveying the center of his Republic out the large transparisteel windows that circled his office, when the call came. He’d been expecting it. He dismissed his guards and turned on the holoprojector.

“Chancellor,” the small figure said, and bowed. It was Anakin Skywalker.

“How wonderful to hear from you, Anakin,” Palpatine said, applying his most pleasant tone. “How is the situation on Koloriss?”

“We’ve only just arrived, Chancellor. I’m contacting you about something else. Is the channel secure?”

“Of course, my boy!”

“Well.” The figure fidgeted. “Did Obi-Wan come to see you, when we were on Coruscant? I thought he said you gave him something for me, but then he didn’t remember.”

“Why, no, he didn’t.” Palpatine tried his best to look slightly puzzled. “How odd. That isn’t like him, is it?”

“No, it’s not. It’s just that there was this sphere, and it disappeared, and there were odd circumstances…”

“Is everything quite all right, Anakin?” His most confidential, querying tone would work. It always did, when he wanted Anakin Skywalker to tell him something. “Is your master not well?”

“No, he’s fine. We’re optimistic about Koloriss, in fact. I just wondered.” Anakin shook his head. “It’s probably nothing. I’m very sorry to have bothered you, Chancellor. I know how busy you are…”

“Never too busy for you, Anakin.” Palpatine exuded a cheerfulness he definitely did not feel. He’d been so sure of success. There would need to be other measures to be taken, if he were to separate Anakin Skywalker from the influences most opposite to his own plans.

“Good afternoon, Chancellor. Perhaps we can end this war soon, and I can see you when I return to Coruscant.”

“Goodbye, Anakin.”

Palpatine killed the connection, then sat for a few moments, thinking. He wished he’d known what had happened. But if there had been an irrevocable rift, surely Anakin would have told him.

Then he pressed another button, which would bring up another connection. Dooku. Dooku would just have to kill Kenobi for him.

END

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