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Title: Who Needs Who?
Author: Some Jedi Girl
Pairings: Obi/Ani, A/f, O/f
Rating: Oh, R to NC-17 I guess?
Warnings: HET, slash
Disclaimer: Deysa no belong-o to me, but to Uncle George Lucas.
Summary: Obi-Wan and Anakin have to be servants to some ysalamir-wielding planetary matriarchs. Unapologetically trite plot. Het smut. Slash pr0n. A tub. Wanking. Oral stuffs. Voyeurism. Ungrammatical title. Ysalamir. I am so ashamed.

"What they are suggesting is impossible, Master."

Anakin said it in a low voice, eyeing the four tall, muscular and quite female guards that surrounded the room’s only door. The women’s’ faces were impassive, disciplined. They didn’t appear to be listening to the talk of the Jedi, but stood with feet wide apart and eyes hard forward.

"It seemed more like an order." Obi-Wan’s reply was a whisper. Apparently he didn’t want to take any chances of being overheard, either. He gave his shoulders a shake. The magnetic cuffs that confined their arms behind their backs were quite uncomfortable.

Anakin held himself back from wriggling his own shoulders in sympathy. He wanted to be gone. There was a war to be fought, and glory to be won. And Anakin hated being powerless. It was power that defined him, made him special. These people had taken that away from him. But though his anger was greater he took a tiny pleasure in showing it less. "We’ve got to get out of here," was all he said, still low.

"Let me think," Obi-Wan muttered and shook his shoulders again in impotent frustration.

They couldn’t use the Force, that was the problem. They both knew that if only they could get out of the range of the ysalamir draped about the room’s cornices that they could free themselves. Even without the use of their hands. But not now, on their knees, wrists bound by cold, magnetic durasteel, and surrounded by giant, battle-trained females.

Anakin wondered if he should try to take them. He decided it would be unwise, more’s the pity. Forcefully he reminded himself of Obi-Wan’s earlier lecture aboard ship. Solidifying a diplomatic relationship with the Kyneishe system would draw its own share of honor for both of them.

The transmission from Kyneishe’s queen had come as a surprise to both the Senate and the Jedi: the planet’s matriarchs had long ago let it be known that they formally despised the Republic. Their planet had lived in uncommunicative sovereignty for a thousand years. But the message from Queen Phebe had expressed a desire for diplomacy and negotiation. Anakin could only suppose that the threat of the Separatists had spurred them to fear.

The women had requested warrior-ambassadors. The Republic needed another base in this sector. Thus the Jedi’s presence as a team: Obi-Wan was a famed negotiator and Anakin was an incomparable warrior. But from the moment of their arrival on Kyneishe, events had taken unexpected and disturbing turns.

There had been greetings full of disdain, nothing conciliatory or polite about them. Ysalamir, displayed with arrogant abandon, were a most uncivil reception for Jedi. Non-Jedi women armed with nothing but their muscles had brought them to their knees. And then had come the pronouncement from Queen Phebe: if the Jedi wanted negotiation, they must first appease the matriarchs by living as servants for a week.

And the handcuffs. Anakin couldn’t forget the handcuffs.

His thoughts were interrupted by noises at the door. Mazhi, the queen’s advisor, strode into the room and eyed them with what Anakin was coming to recognize as typical Kyneshian disdain. Unlike the palace guard, who were mostly tall, bronzed and blonde, Mazhi was small and white-pale. Black hair curled in sinuous loops over her ears and across her bare shoulders, offering a striking contrast to her ivory dress.

"Have you decided that you want a treaty?" she asked without preamble.

No, we’d rather wring your tiny neck, thought Anakin. But he didn’t say it aloud. Obi-Wan was the diplomat here. Let him speak.

"Release us and we’ll talk," said Obi-Wan. "Show us the same good faith we showed you in coming here."

"You need us more than we need you," Mazhi replied, low and slow. It was true. But her emphasis on "need" made it sound almost seductive. She jerked her chin in a silent laugh, showing them the smoothness of her throat. Fabric slipped from her shoulder as she continued her stare, and Anakin realized there was no "almost" about it. Seduction was her aim. "Men!" she continued, finally. "Not willing to make the smallest sacrifices for peace."

Anakin was forcibly reminded of his wife: Padme if she were hard, arrogant, cruel. A brief, sexual shiver ripped along his spine. He shook it off, appalled. Such a reaction was not only inappropriate for a Jedi in any situation, but also disloyal.

He wished Padme were here. She was a diplomat. And she could not be seduced by these infuriating women.

"We don’t need you at all!" he blurted as the anger suddenly spiked. He wriggled the toes of his boots beneath his rear, ready to spring. "Release us now and maybe we’ll forget we ever saw you. We are needed elsewhere."

"Silence, Anakin," Obi-Wan said, low, but still loud enough for the woman to hear and to curl her lip in a tiny smile, infuriating in its smugness. Anakin wanted to protest, but knew that any further outbursts would only amuse That Woman. Obi-Wan continued, louder. "This was a trap. I don’t suppose you even have a contract."

"Of course we do," she said, turning to Obi-Wan.

"What are its terms?" Obi-Wan countered.

Mazhi’s mouth curled in a barely-noticeable smile, but her eyes lit with glee. "One week. Whatever we want. Show us that you are willing to work…for peace, of course." She paused for another sly glance at Anakin, then continued, ticking on her long-nailed fingers. "No harm to either of you. Our continued sovereignty."

"And then?"

"Why, peace, as I said. Landing rights for the Republic. Trade." She pulled a slim datapad from her low-slung belt and waved it. "We wish to be generous."

"May I read it?" Obi-Wan asked, half-turning to wiggle his captured hands at her.

"It will be read to you." A motion, and one of the tall guards took the datapad from her fingers. The woman began to read in loud, booming Basic.

Mazhi continued to stare at Anakin. Her gaze made him itchy and furious. To escape it, he turned to Obi-Wan. "That didn’t work."

"We’ll think of a better plan. Soon."

"We? You’re the diplomat. That was your best plan?"

"I’m trying. But we don’t exactly have the upper hand, here…"

"If you can’t think of anything, call Master Windu," Anakin mumbled, then stared at the floor.

But by the time the guard finished reading the contract to them, it was apparent that Obi-Wan hadn’t yet managed to come up with a better plan than taking Anakin’s advice. "The contract seems fair," he said in a slightly strangled voice. "May we consult Coruscant?"

But Mazhi was having none of it. "No!" she barked. "We asked for negotiators. Do you not have the power to make decisions? How insulting. We shall send you back, just as you are. Then you may consult with them then all you--"

"No," Obi-Wan interrupted her tirade. He blew out a frustrated-sounding breath. "I do have that power and I do wish to negotiate. Two days. The Republic is at war. We are needed in many places."

Anakin gasped.

"Four. You will enjoy it." Mazhi’s sly, dark-eyed stare never left Anakin. Negotiation! Bah. He wanted to hit her. He regretted the involuntary gasp, and swallowed the words he’d wanted to say. He had to trust Obi-Wan. Surely Obi-Wan would never--

"Three," Obi-Wan countered.

Mazhi paused for a moment. She walked closer, then around them, consideringly, insultingly, no longer meeting their eyes.

We’ve gone from being negotiators to being merchandise, thought Anakin. Three days was going to be much too long to wait to teach her a lesson.

She finished her circuit, standing very close. "Three, then. The Republic was wise in its choice of ambassadors."

Oh, how Anakin wanted to kill her.

But Obi-Wan only sighed. "Done."

***

Three days… of what?

With relief, Obi-Wan rubbed his fingers against his chafed wrists when the guard released his cuffs. The restraints had left no marks, but he could still feel their slightly electric sting.

Beside him, Anakin tensed. Even without the Force, Obi-Wan could tell that Anakin was coiled, strained—ready to fracture. He lay a gentle hand on his friend’s shoulders, squeezing, a gentle gesture to penetrate the Force-nothingness stretched between them.

"No," he only said, softly. The woman Anakin hated was turning away. Beneath his fingers he felt a response, a lessening of tension.

"When?" was all Anakin asked, low.

"We’ll see. For now, we’ll do as we agreed."

"As you agreed," Anakin pointed out, but with a wry tone that showed the young man was considering forgiveness.

"Don’t remind me."

"I’ll never let you forget."

"I know," Obi-Wan said.

But Anakin was calmer now. As his restraints were released he only rubbed his own wrist-- gloved, mechanical arm over real one—in an imitation of Obi-Wan’s earlier action.

The woman, Mazhi, had turned back to them. "As per the terms of our contract, your servitude begins at this moment. In three days you can carry our treaty back to the Republic." She gestured to a guard. "Dress them appropriately and bring them to the Queen."

"What of our robes—our possessions?" Obi-Wan was prompted to ask. Now he was worried. Mostly he was worried about his lightsaber. Lightsabers were quite valuable.

"It will be best if I tell you now—you should not speak unless you are asked to do so," Mazhi said, but not unkindly. "They will be returned to you in three days. Now go."

"We are servants, not slaves," Anakin blurted in protest. Obi-Wan winced inwardly. Anakin had been a slave once, something Obi-Wan hadn’t considered fully before he agreed to the terms of the contract. Had he made the wrong decision?

But Mazhi only smirked at the outburst. "Quite," she said. "But it is not polite."

She sashayed through the door, and the four guards escorted them out behind her. They didn’t follow her but turned in another direction down the twinkling stone hallway. The place was an odd mixture of the modern and the ancient, Obi-Wan thought as they were led to who knew where. Ancient rock covered mechanical conduits, powering small dome-lights embedded among the slabs like jewels. Intricately carved arches led into shiny elevators.

Finally they arrived at a small room located in one of the lower levels. They were still above ground—the only light in the chamber came from a series of modest windows set high in the walls, illuminating a stone bath and some dark clothing laid out on a table.

The guards left them. Obi-Wan and Anakin were alone. And Anakin was still angry with him. Obi-Wan took a deep breath, trying to find the correct words to say. He could admit being wrong, but he was still a Jedi Master. The absent Force could tell him nothing. At length he decided that simplest was best. "Anakin, I’m sorry," he began. "I should have found--"

"I know," Anakin interrupted, reaching out to finger the dark brown cloth that lay upon the table. "But there’s nothing we can do about it now. Except get through it."

"Wise words," Obi-Wan began, but then Anakin turned and kicked the tub. "Get through it without a diplomatic incident, I should think," he qualified.

"Oh, I can do it. I’ve done it before. But when three days are up…" Anakin’s blue eyes gleamed at the thought.

After they’d dressed in the simple brown tunics and trousers and folded their Jedi robes neatly and set them with their boots and belts on the table, Obi-Wan knocked at the door. It was opened instantly by one of the guards, and they were led off again. At least the clothes covered them decently, Obi-Wan thought as they traveled yet another stone hallway. Depending on the decadence of any particular ruler, servants could be dressed in anything.

Their feet were bare, however. That was annoying. As well as the fact that the clothes were uni-sized. Obi-Wan’s were slightly too big, and Anakin, just slightly too small. His ankles showed. Obi-Wan then noticed that Anakin had retained the glove over his mechanical right arm.

His ruminations were arrested by the advent of something he’d had yet to see in this place—another human male. He was dark-haired and short—well, shorter than Obi-Wan—and was dressed in brown like the Jedi. Eyes down, he fell into step with their little party. After a few paces he spoke.

"I am Phomn—a foremost servant of the palace. I have been told that you will not be under my command. However, I have been instructed to answer any questions you have about your duties."

"Oh. Good. Uh, what are our duties?" Obi-Wan wanted to know. They hadn’t really been told in any detail. The contract, while clear about its no-harm clause, only otherwise defined their status as servants of the royal house.

"You will attend to her Highness at all times."

Anakin spoke up. "Well, what does that mean?"

"Whatever her Highness asks, you will do."

"Or what?"

"You do not want to know."

"Ah," said Obi-Wan. He wondered if the Kyneshians instructed their men to be this unhelpful all the time, or only when dealing with other males. "Where are we going?"

"To the Queen’s Audience Chamber, to attend her during meetings with town Dames and headladies."

Anakin’s eyes were narrowed. "And after that?"

"I do not know. I have not been told." Phomn bowed. As he rose he glanced at Anakin’s right arm. "You should not be wearing that glove, but as I said, you are not under my command. I must go. I hope I have assisted you." And then veered into another corridor and disappeared.

"Thank you," Obi-Wan said after him, politely. Anakin only snorted.

Three days, Obi-Wan thought. Three days of being at the whim of an unknown planetary ruler. It was rather useless, with such a war going on. He had to remind himself that the Republic needed this treaty, that he was being useful. Whatever they were to be used for.

***

The Queen’s Audience Chamber was nothing special, thought Anakin. Normally the Force told him everything he needed to know about a room when he entered it—where the people were standing, where people were hiding, their attitudes, and so on—but in the nothingness of Force-blindness he had to experience everything solely with his eyes.

It was like any other throne room—not as grand as the one on Naboo, perhaps, but similar in its stone columns and slender transparisteel windows. Dozens of the dreaded ysalamir—where had they gotten those, anyway?—curled around on little frames set into niches high in the walls.

The Queen hardly seemed to notice their arrival. Anakin took the opportunity to study her, for he never shunned the prospect of an attractive woman. She was tall, like her guards. Before they’d left Coruscant the Jedi had been told that she’d trained as a warrior, and though she seemed to be over forty-standard, she still looked it, with well-defined arms and shoulders under her blue dress. Her blonde hair was dressed in loops like her advisor’s, but were pulled more tightly, displaying a strong but very female neck.

Their duties were apparently to be light. For hours, they sat there doing almost nothing but looking… was decorative the word? wondered Anakin. Phomn had said he was there to protect Queen Phebe, but she had a bevy of those massive, pretty guards lined against the walls for that. And rather than being given his lightsaber, Anakin had been handed some sort of useless, wooden ceremonial sword that he was to hold upright so that the Dames seeking audience could see him wielding it with conviction.

They saw him, all right, and Obi-Wan too. They filed in, one after the other with their own little entourages, grandly dressed and staring with all their might. Apparently fame had preceded them, because he often caught whispers of "Jedi" among their otherwise unintelligible native language.

During a lull in audience-seekers after lunch, he briefly considered falling asleep. He was wondering what the penalty for that might be, and whether or not it would be more exciting than sitting here being gawped at, and if that might be a good thing or a bad thing.

But by mid-evening the line was gone. Queen Phebe leaned back in her gilded chair and sighed. Mazhi joined her. One of the guards shut the door.

"I am pleased with the Republic’s choice," the Queen said. She switched her gaze to her right, to look at Obi-Wan. "You have a question?"

Obi-Wan, looking calm as ever, nodded. "Yes." He floated his gaze about the room for a few moments, resting significantly on the ysalamir tucked away here and there. "You wanted the Republic to send Jedi."

"We had hoped," she replied. "You may ask another question."

Anakin had to speak. "Then why the ambush?" he blurted. "Why not just ask us? Or better yet—if you really want peace, why didn’t you tell the Republic in advance instead of laying some sort of stupid Jedi-trap?"

"That was my advisor’s decision." Queen Phebe had turned back to Anakin when he spoke but still smiled. "I will let her explain."

Mazhi ignored Anakin to focus her reply on Obi-Wan. "We are not stupid. We know that on most worlds of your Republic, for some reason, males are considered equal to females. We wanted to make sure that you fully understood our society, and to be sure you would listen."

Anakin wanted to answer, but Obi-Wan had already begun to reply.

"There are female Jedi, you know," he said in his ever-reasonable tone. "What if we had sent some of them?"

"Well, why did you not, then?" Mazhi countered.

"Uh." Obi-Wan’s bearded face looked almost sheepish. "There were none available. They are all fighting in the war."

"As is proper," said the Queen. "But it is well. This way we also get an insight into your society."

"I don’t see how," Anakin interrupted again. "If we just sit around being mute all day."

"He is insolent," Mazhi told her Queen with a sniff. "That is the insight we are receiving."

"True, true," sighed the Queen. "But you have dealt with insolent menservants before."

"I have."

The Queen laughed. "Our insight will come with time."

Anakin squirmed, just a little, at being discussed in this way. True, the Jedi Council often did the same thing, but that was different. Sort of. Even Jedi had their pride.

***

Swallow your pride, Obi-Wan told himself. Normally he had very little; he served the Jedi, tried to do what the Force told him, tried to do what was necessary.

And was this necessary? The treaty was, yes. At least the Jedi Council and the Senate—well, the Supreme Chancellor—seemed to think so. But here the Force could tell Obi-Wan nothing. He sent some uncharacteristically nasty thoughts in the direction of the ysalamir.

Movement. The Queen stood, took a few steps, then turned and beckoned at them both. Obi-Wan obeyed and followed, Anakin close behind.

Being led once again, they traveled another few halls and levels until finally stopping before a plain door. Mazhi eeled her way into the front of their little group and turned to Anakin. "Open the door," she ordered.

Anakin gave her a saucy half-bow and did as he was told. Obi-Wan looked. The door opened into the most sumptuous chamber they’d yet seen. It was dark and filled with heavy, richly-colored upholstery, hanging from chairs, from the ceiling, from everywhere. The stone walls shone, little amber dome-lights scattered about them in arcane patterns.

Mazhi grabbed Obi-Wan’s arm and with surprising strength for one of her size, almost threw him in the room. Phebe laughed, then followed Obi-Wan over the threshold. The door closed behind her. They were alone. And even his slow, methodical mind knew where this was going. She hadn’t brought him here to chat.

And she was placing a great deal of trust in him, being here alone with him. Obi-Wan knew he wouldn’t hurt her. But how could she know the same?

She stared at him for a few moments, with a look that he gauged as either considering or admiring, he couldn’t decide.

Finally she spoke. "It has been a long day. I am ready to relax. Undress yourself."

"Ah." Well, he’d been right about her aims, at least. Only sixty-four hours left.

She was not patient. "Do it quickly. I shall not be undressed first."

Most Jedi were not modest, and Obi-Wan was no exception. Too much time spent in shared quarters with other Jedi of all species and sexes had made modesty all but impossible. So why was he now uncomfortable? He thought it might be because he was beginning to feel a bit like merchandise. He wondered if that was how Anakin had felt since they’d arrived here. It certainly explained part of his bad mood.

No matter; Obi-Wan had agreed to the terms of the contract, and so he did as he was bade. The brown tunic he pulled off slowly, the pants a little more quickly, so as to free his hands for strategic placement and thus preserve what little dignity he had left.

Her continued gaze on his lower half was unsettling. At that moment he really, really wished he had access to the Force. What would Yoda have done? Obi-Wan suspected that if Yoda had been sent to Kyneishe instead, the green Jedi Master would not be in this same situation. Or if he was, his 800 years of wisdom would have helped him to talk himself out of it.

"Undress me," she said, and turned her back to him. Well, at least she wasn’t staring anymore. He moved forward, sifting his fingers through the filmy blue material of her dress, trying to find the fastenings to her dress. There were only a few small hooks buried among the thin fabric, and he fumbled at them. Once they were uncoupled the shoulders of her dress slid over her arms and onto the floor. Not knowing quite how to proceed, he lay his fingertips against the warm flesh of her back. In her younger years she’d been a fighter, and it had left its legacy in the smooth, toned skin beneath his fingers.

"It has been a long time since I’ve had the hands of a strong man upon me," she sighed, and let his hands rest there for a moment. Then she reached up to grab his right hand in her own, pulling it around, down her side, then up over her breast.

He focused on the job at hand, literally. It was a lovely thing, to touch a woman’s breast, soft and fleshy beneath his fingers; such a change from the hard metal of a lightsaber or the armor of one of his clone troops, a juxtaposition he could not deny was pleasurable.

The Force could be used to deal with lustful feelings, but here there was no Force, and lust was encouraged. He was only human. But it was so… impersonal. An odd thought flitted across his consciousness. If he performed badly, would they lose the treaty?

It was only a moment before he realized he’d voiced the thought aloud.

***

When the Queen and Obi-Wan left them, Anakin was torn between curiosity and amusement. Curiosity, because he wondered whether the Queen wished to talk privately with Obi-Wan or do other things, and amusement because he had a feeling it was the latter.

Then he realized he was still with That Bitch. What did she want from him?

"You will follow me," she said, as if reading his mind. Yet it didn’t really answer his question, and he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of asking it aloud.

So he followed. They didn’t go far, perhaps a few yards, to another unassuming doorway. The dungeon? A torture chamber? But then, they had been promised they’d leave unharmed. He opened the door at her gesture. It proved to be another bedchamber, nearly identical to the room where they’d left Obi-Wan and the Queen.

"Well, enter. I do not wish to stand in the corridor all evening," she ordered.

"Yes, my lady," he replied, enjoying her frown as he spoke out of turn. Inside there was more of that drapery, fabric scattered everywhere, decadence stamped over every thread. It was the kind of place that would have been thought sumptuous to some Outer Rim bumpkin, someone who had never been exposed to true elegance or to those who wore it naturally.

Mazhi shut the door and stood staring up at him with gleaming eyes and elaborately dressed hair. She looked for a moment so like Padme, even in this tawdry room with its alien-scented breezes awash with unassimilated spices, that a tiny invisible fist clenched about his heart, just for a moment. But her hard smile shattered the illusion.

"You find me beautiful," she said.

"No." But it was mostly a lie.

"Hmm," was all she said. Then she stepped away and sat on a pile of cushions, watching him. "Undress, and we shall see what I think of you in return."

He didn’t know if he wanted to give her the satisfaction. They were alone. No guards, no Obi-Wan. No one to enforce her commands. He voiced the thought aloud. "You are unguarded. Even without the Force, I could kill you, I think. I could snap your neck."

But she only laughed. "Perhaps you could, servant. Yet in my death throes, I’d press one of these switches here--" she showed him some buttons recessed into the wall, disguised as those little glow-lights they seemed to favor here on Kyneishe. "—and here, and bring the palace guard down upon you. You would be executed instantly."

"And why should I care about that?" he asked. He rather thought it might be worth it.

"Because then you would never return to your Republic. Or to the woman you think about."

"Huh?" He was startled out of his cool for a moment. How did she know he was thinking about Padme? Even Obi-Wan didn’t know, and he and Obi-Wan were together nearly every hour of every day that they weren’t on Coruscant. And sometimes even then. "You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. And you wouldn’t care if you did."

"I do not need to care about a servant. I only need you to do what I ask. Is it too much for you?"

She was unsettling him again. It only made him angrier, but it was a calm, cold rage. Her insults were nothing; Anakin knew he was the best at everything he did. He could follow orders when he wanted. As she would soon find out. He wondered if she would like it when she did. "No," he said, finally. "I will do what you ask."

So he began right there. He grasped the rough fabric at the hem of his shirt, and pulled it up, idly, watching her and laughing inside as she tried to pretend she didn’t like what she saw. The tunic he tossed onto the floor, then proceeded to remove his trousers, pulling them down slowly, letting them pool at his feet and then kicking them aside, trying to pour insult into his every tiny movement. The fury was an icy, simmering pool, and he immersed himself in it.

Then he stood before her, naked, and let her look her fill. And she was looking. Her affected manner said she didn’t care, but Anakin was beginning to know better.

After a few moments her gaze settled on his right hand. His glove. He stared back, all ignorant insolence.

"You are not undressed. Are you deformed as well as deaf?"

Such a question from anyone else, from Padme, would have crested the wave of his fury. But Anakin was immersed, now, in his anger and his desire to prove a point—to let his obedience be his revenge. He’d learned how to needle her. And it felt astonishing, righteous.

So he began to peel back the supple black leather of his glove, exposing what passed for his right arm these days. It was not a deformity; it was only a scar, and a reminder of the price of impetuosity.

Her nose curled slightly as the bare circuitry revealed itself to her, but there was something else creeping into her eyes—fear? Excitement? Before he’d pulled it back more than a couple of inches, she spoke.

"You may leave it, then." She stood, and turned her back to him. "You may undress me. And know that I have other ways of summoning aid, should you choose to behave poorly."

Without speaking he stepped forward. Using his mechanical hand alone, he began to unsnap the latches holding the filmy white material to her slim body. This was nothing, compared to some other dresses he’d removed.

But before he’d finished she pulled away, sharp, sensing his disdain. "No," she said and turned to him with her sneer replaced. "I have changed my mind. I shall not be undressed if you are not. Lay down."

Not replying, he did as she asked. The perfect servant. His movements were languid, precise; the calmness of his anger was arousing as well as satisfying. He was enjoying this little game.

There followed a brief ripple of guilt at the realization. He had a lover, a wife, whom he cherished with an all-consuming attachment. But he pushed the guilt away. He hadn’t seen Padme in months. She was not part of this, and could not help him or hinder him. It was like the absence of the Force, of the Jedi, no matter that Obi-Wan was nearby. Disconnection and anger provided the will to proceed with a power game that would be inconceivable with his wife, but was utterly personal and intimate all the same.

Oh, Mazhi tried to keep it objective. She kneeled next to him, eyes brushing across his flesh like he was nothing more than her supper, tracing a finger across his breastbone, following it to his abdomen. "You are well-formed enough. Most of you is, at least," she said, with a significant glance at his gloved arm.

But the insult was less than nothing, now. She did want him, admire him. He was the one in control here, whether she realized it or not.

"I would rather have had your companion, your master. He seems… experienced," she continued with an all-too-fake sigh. "But my Queen has first choice, as always."

Oh, I’m experienced enough, he wanted to say. But didn’t.

The moment was frozen, and she, transparent. She wanted him, and was nervous. She tried to cover it with more of her monarchic chatter. "We have concubines. The best to be found in the system. You are merely a novelty."

Anakin put on a "poor me" face, but only sank into the cushions looking as languid and at ease as possible, daring her without speech to give him another order.

She licked her tiny pink lips, wetting them, and then bent and replaced her fingers on his chest with her tongue. The hollows of his chest and abdomen became wet paths in the cool air and it felt superb. It was an amazing, freeing thing, this detached lust mixed with rage.

Her tongue traced circles around his nipples and he breathed deep, letting the desire shiver across his skin. He didn’t care that she could feel his arousal, the swelling of his penis, a painful, almost-instant hardening that he had rarely known.

"I will not ask you to touch me," she said, and risked a brief glance at his face, eyes glittering with triumph and excitement. She shifted and one smooth calf curled over his hip, while her fingers grasped at his erection, every contact a keenly-etched thing, painful, pleasurable and sharp; the tickling itch of her white dress as it settled on his belly, the hot, wet sear and grip of her opening as she slid down onto him. She was trying to trap him with the squeeze of her thighs and her cleft, and with the nails digging into his shoulder.

Inattention would be her undoing. Her concentration focused on moving slowly over him, trying to tease him, and she’d never really even looked at him.

Lightning-quick, and before she knew what was happening, his gloved right hand was at her throat and he rolled, flipping her onto her back. She’d not even a chance to take a breath before he drove into her as far as he pleased, hearing the smack of skin on skin as he collided with her, hard.

"Ah," he coughed out at the spike of pleasurable agony, at the surge of control in this strange place where such a thing was allowed. He looked straight at her face and smiled, an evil grin. Her eyes were wide, surprised, filled with indignation and not a little fear. He loosened his grip on her throat, just a bit.

"You may speak," he told her, thrilling to the steady, pleased huskiness of his own voice.

"I will call the guards, you young fool!" she grated out.

"No you won’t," he whispered, punctuating the truth with another deep thrust that was nearly cathartic. "You like it."

She didn’t answer, and didn’t call the guards.

He tightened his fingers again, wishing for a moment that it was his left hand that held her, his real hand, so that he could feel the quick, frightened flutter of her pulse. But he knew this was better, that she should endure this and enjoy it.

Then he quickened his pace, shoving himself into her hard, fast, and she gasped repeatedly, her hand catching his elbow and sliding up but only to grip it, not trying to pull away.

Each crest in his lust and anger was crystalline, frozen, and he could examine them all, like using the Force in the heat of battle. And it was a battle, lust and violence inexorably and exhilaratingly linked. A small part of him knew he could never do this with Padme. The thought spurred him on, and he moved faster, watching the twitch of her closed eyelids and hearing the small gasps torn from her reluctant throat, all perfectly timed to each wave of the rough, raw friction between them.

Soon the rhythm became a demand; time slowed, and his hand involuntarily clenched at her throat as her belly tensed and tugged at him. The peak of battle, a crescendo, and all was released in a sweating shudder—the fury, the lust. Only the calmness remained.

He kneeled above her, watching her face closely, seeing her humiliation as she realized what she had done and felt and how powerless she’d been to hide it. A slight shame licked at his brain, whispering into his ear in Obi-Wan’s voice that he’d behaved badly. He loosened his grip on her throat and examined it, wondering if he had left bruises.

Her face closed as he watched. With an angry cry and surprising strength she dug her heel into his side, kicking him off her, then scrambled to her feet, shaking in her wrath.

"You will be punished for this," she growled at his reclining form, then straightened her dress and stamped over to one of the little switches on the wall. "You will be taught manners. My Queen and I will see to that."

The shame vanished at her tone, at her superiority; hostility and pride returned. He’d done no more than she’d asked, really. There was nothing, now, that she could throw at him to faze him. In fact, he was rather looking forward to whatever she had planned.

***

Obi-Wan was sitting on the floor, naked, while the Queen sat on the bed, also naked. They were talking about affairs of state like it was the most natural thing in the world when an insistent beeping signaled a communication, or an alarm, or something. Phebe held up a finger to pause their discussion and picked up a small wireless handset.

"Yes," she said into it. "Ah. Bring him here, then." She turned back to Obi-Wan. "I have been enjoying our conversation. You are well-informed for a male. But it seems my advisor and your young friend will be joining us."

"Oh," Obi-Wan said, because it was all he could think of to say. He wondered what Anakin had done now. And Obi-Wan had thought things were going so well, despite the fact that he’d been unable to summon—

Another chime, this time at the door, interrupted his thoughts. "Enter," said Phebe.

Anakin, wearing nothing but his glove and a smirk, stumbled into the room, pushed by a pair of palace guards. The advisor, fully-dressed, followed them in. Not having expected quite such an audience, Obi-Wan grabbed a convenient pillow from the floor next to him and held it over his lap. Eyes narrowed, he shot a silent question at Anakin, but the young man only shook his head and sat down next to him. His face held a combination mutinous-self-pleased expression that Obi-Wan knew only too well.

Oh, no, thought Obi-Wan. He’s really in a mood. I’ve definitely made the wrong decision. But to be truthful, at that moment, he was glad Anakin was there with him. There was power in numbers, as they said. Perhaps they could extricate each other.

The advisor was verbose, telling the Queen how disobedient and insolent Anakin was. She didn’t give any specifics, at least that Obi-Wan could hear, but the gist was clear.

Obi-Wan leaned over to whisper. "Anakin. We won’t be here long. Why can’t you just do what they want?"

"Oh, but that’s exactly what I did," came Anakin’s sly return whisper.

"Well, then, why all the fuss?"

"I don’t know. I guess she didn’t really want what she was asking for. She was looking for any excuse to give me trouble."

"I’d agree there," Obi-Wan admitted with a sigh. Anakin couldn’t be controlled at the best of times; he was accustomed to being powerful. Perhaps the lack of the Force had disturbed him, more than it had himself? When Obi-Wan spoke again, it was in his most calming tone. "This is definitely an odd situation. What they are asking of us is not really--"

"Yes, and what about you, Master?" Anakin interrupted with a significant glance at Obi-Wan’s nakedness. "Were you doing exactly as they asked?"

"Ah. From a certain point of view."

"Ha--" Anakin started, but Obi-Wan had been expecting it, and kept talking.

"Whatever the case, let us just do as they ask from now on. It is unorthodox but it’s not as if they’re asking us to cut off our own heads. It could be worse." Obi-Wan hoped that hadn’t come out sounding as sardonic as he felt.

"Of course," Anakin agreed. And his voice definitely sounded sardonic. "And don’t worry. I will."

While the Jedi had whispered to each other, Mazhi had finished describing the general perfidy of Anakin’s black soul. It was a long moment before Obi-Wan realized that the women were watching them with assessing gazes.

"Not all talk is displeasing," said Phebe, finally. "But both of you, especially the young one, should have been paying attention so that you would understand his wrongdoing."

"I’m very sorry--" said Obi-Wan, at the same time that Anakin said, "I did nothing--"

"Silence!" she barked, strident voice overriding both protests. She turned to Mazhi. "You are correct. Neither of them take direction, and both are apt to speak out of turn."

Oh, no, thought Obi-Wan. Now they were going to lose the treaty. He knew he should have made more of an effort to—

"You shall dictate their punishment," the Queen continued, looking at her advisor.

"Words cannot express, your Majesty." Mazhi’s dark eyes gleamed. "Guards, stand outside the door. We will alert you if we need you."

At least there would be less of an audience for whatever it was going to be, thought Obi-Wan.

Mazhi continued. "We shall see how you deal with those you respect," she told Anakin. "Kiss him."

Obi-Wan started and looked around for a wild second. Surely she couldn’t have meant him? But a moment later, before Obi-Wan could say anything, his mouth was full of Anakin’s tongue.

Anakin never did anything half-assed. He threw himself into kissing Obi-Wan like he threw himself into everything, with all his perfidious black soul. His mouth was wide, wet; a mad unrestrained whim. Obi-Wan found the sensation odd, but no odder than anything else in this strange place and moment. And it really wasn’t all that unpleasant. The young man certainly knew what he was doing—

"Ah!" Obi-Wan said suddenly. He prised the strong dual grip, gloved and ungloved, from where it had fastened itself on either side of his face and pushed Anakin away. He wasn’t going to enjoy it, not with Anakin and especially not with the audience. "You didn’t have to do it with such…enthusiasm," he said, accusingly.

Anakin only backed off slowly and licked his lips. "But it was you who said we should just do as they asked, Master," he replied, and the look in his eyes as he said it was almost fey.

"Silence!" the Queen commanded for the second time in as many minutes. "We did not tell you to stop. Continue." This last was said with a wave at Anakin.

And I thought we’d been getting along, thought Obi-Wan of Phebe. But she was the Queen again, and the Jedi merely servants, two souls reduced to performing for another’s cruel whims or pleasure.

Anakin’s blue gaze was still unfocused as he pulled his gloved hand free from Obi-Wan’s grip and set it against his neck, sinuous black leather over unforgiving metal thumb caressing his jawline. No, not unfocused; really, it was all intent, but not on Obi-Wan’s eyes. Obi-Wan began to recognize the look for what it was—a willful, unstoppable inclination to prove a point.

This time when Anakin leaned in, he was slow, deliberate, head tilted as he nuzzled the corner of Obi-Wan’s mouth, as if searching for the most comfortable position to begin. This close, Obi-Wan risked a mumbled whisper. "Couldn’t you fake it?" he asked.

"No." Obi-Wan could feel the heat of the reply and its intent. Anakin pressed in, testing his angle, appeared pleased. "They’d know. Relax." This last was said again to the inside of Obi-Wan’s mouth, a warm exhalation.

And there was Anakin being Anakin again, and being good at it. How the heck was Obi-Wan supposed to relax? To watch the women from the corners of his eyes was humiliating. To watch Anakin was too indulgent in the intimacy. Obi-Wan tried closing his eyes, holding onto Anakin’s arms and letting the moment play itself out, waiting till all should tire of this game. His consolation was that it was only Anakin, after all.

It was a mistake, and he realized that as soon as he’d made it. Anakin could sense surrender, and he rarely became bored when he was winning. He pressed his advantage, pushing closer, forcing Obi-Wan’s mouth wide. Still Obi-Wan kept his eyes closed, hoping for a command to stop, unable to tolerate not being in control of the moment. It was a long moment, surreal, sensual; the taste of Anakin’s saliva, the sound of his measured, controlled breathing, the ungentle pressure on the sides of his clasped face.

By and by it began to seem more and more natural to kiss Anakin in return, to match the effort, to do something. Tentative, he ran his tongue across Anakin’s lips. His action elicited a small moan, from whom Obi-Wan could not tell. Dimly he felt himself pushed back into a recline, a sweaty weight pressed across him.

Thank goodness for all the pillows on the floor, Obi-Wan thought, then struggled at the realization that he should have thought that was a good thing. He tried to push Anakin away but he had no leverage. Anakin was stronger, and had been for a long time.

"It’s all right," he felt Anakin whisper. "It’s only me." And Obi-Wan thought, oh good. There was no more need to pretend that he didn’t enjoy it, that the soft lips grinding against his or the hand sliding up and down his ribs didn’t feel wonderful. Shivers arced across the hairs on his belly, and this time he knew it was he who had moaned.

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