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baby, put on heart-shaped sunglasses

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"Anakin, my boy," Palpatine said. "Would you like to have lunch with me this afternoon? I know you've just returned to Coruscant-"

"Sorry, Chancellor," Skywalker said happily. "Obi-Wan's taking me to Dex's!"

"Ah," Palpatine said. "Have...fun."

"We will!" Click.

--

"Anakin? Dear boy-"

"I'm sorry, Chancellor," came a smooth, accented voice. "Anakin's just laid down for a nap. I'd love to chat with you instead, but he fusses so terribly if I'm not there. And wouldn't it be terrible if Anakin didn't get as much sleep as he can?"

"Yes," Palpatine said. "We certainly wouldn't want that. Or anything."

--

"Sorry, sir," Skywalker said breathlessly. "My master and I just arrived at the pod-racing arena. I don't know how Obi-Wan got tickets this good, it's one of the biggest races on the circuit-"

"Perhaps after?" Palpatine suggested. "You could join me for dinner at-"

"Actually," Skywalker interrupted, "Obi-Wan just told me a great idea for how he and I can work out some adrenaline after the race."

"Really," Palpatine said flatly.

Skywalker started giggling.

"So sorry, Chancellor," Kenobi's voice said. "The race is about to start, and I did have to pull an awful lot of strings get us these tickets-"

"Aww, Master! Really?"

"Of course," Kenobi crooned, already sounding distant. "Nothing's too much trouble to make you happy, darling..."

Palpatine hung up before he heard any kissing noises. He was not repeating that experience.

--

It had happened about a month before the pod-racing incident. Palpatine had called to invite the boy over for a chat - not an outing, or a meal, just a chat. He'd been putting some effort into making sure Skywalker was on Coruscant more often. It was potentially counter-productive, having him away from the battlefield and in the "comfort" of the Jedi Temple, but wearing him down would be useless if Palpatine couldn't make up for the recent pattern of lost time with the boy.

The problem with this plan was that whenever Skywalker came home, so did Kenobi.

He'd been doing his utmost to get Kenobi assigned to separate missions, or needed at the front instead of on Coruscant, and also making sure both those options had high likelihood of gruesome death, but it never worked. The Jedi Council not only liked having Kenobi home, they were loath to have Skywalker there without Kenobi. Apparently there were incidents involving ice cream sandwiches, grease fires, and screaming astromech droids. Skywalker himself tended to decline time on-planet if Obi-Wan would not also be there, or just insist on sharing his missions. The Team (Palpatine shuddered in revulsion every time) really were so effective together that the Council, out of deference to the war effort, rarely objected to their unseemly clinginess.

And on those seldom occasions Palpatine did manage to wrangle Kenobi into a solo mission, the supposed Jedi Master would somehow get himself into trouble, and then, no matter how minor the issue, Skywalker went tearing off to help him. As Grievous was fond of saying, Where there is Kenobi, you will always find Skywalker not far behind.

The glorified droid had never even managed to kill Kenobi. Palpatine should have had him melted down for scrap years ago.

This particular incident happened when Palpatine had optimistically believed Kenobi to be in the Mid-Rim.

"Anakin, my boy, I know Master Kenobi is still off-planet, so if you might like to join me this evening -"

"Great news, Chancellor!" Skywalker practically squealed. "Master finished his mission early and came home to surprise me!"

"Oh," Palpatine said. "How wonderful."

"Isn't he?" Skywalker gushed. "And he brought me Telladorian ice cream!"

"Anakin," said Kenobi in the background, "we had that important matter to discuss, remember?"

"Oh! Yes!" It sounded like in his haste, Skywalker just dropped his comm.

Without hanging it up.

An important matter, hm? Palpatine turned up the volume. Anything he could overhear thanks to Skywalker's carelessness - he'd make sure to fry that out of him one day in the future - might prove useful.

All he heard for a few minutes was some vague rustling and a few thumps.

"Anakin," said Kenobi again, finally, "are you going to be a good boy for me?"

"Yes, Master," Skywalker said breathily.

He frowned. Was Skywalker refusing to sit and listen? He'd encountered that problem with the boy himself -

"Oh, you look so sweet," Kenobi murmured. "Just for me, hm?"

"Yes, Master, just for you. Only you."

Palpatine suddenly had a bad feeling about this.

"Now be a good boy and suck Master's cock, sweetheart."

There was one improbably loud slurping noise before Palpatine used the Force to yeet his comm straight through the glass window and out over Coruscant.

--

So, no, he was not taking the chance of repeating such an experience. In retrospect, Palpatine acknowledged it was critical information to have gained - he was quite put-out with himself for not picking up on the true nature of Skywalker's relationship with his "Master" much sooner.

Now if only he could actually manage to effectively exploit it.

--

"My boy," Palpatine said, gently but still urgent, "I've heard some disturbing rumors."

Palpatine counted himself lucky he'd actually gotten Skywalker to his office for the first time in months. And even now the boy seemed riveted on the view of the Jedi Temple out the wall of windows - expertly repaired, you could never tell that Palpatine had shattered half of them with the sheer amount of power he'd put into expelling his comm.

"Oh, yeah?" Skywalker mumbled.

Palpatine resisted rolling his eyes. "Yes," he said, still hushed. "About...Master Kenobi."

That got the boy's attention.

"What kind of rumors?" he asked sharply.

Hm, he already seemed angry. Good.

"Have you heard of his relationship with the Duchess of Mandalore,?" he said, hoping the answer was no.

"Oh, yeah. Satine," Skywalker said. "She's pretty cool."

Palpatine inhaled deeply through his nose. "Then you know of the rumors that already abounded about them some years ago - before your time, dear boy."

"Yup! Ha, you should have seen Master's face when I teased him about her...although..."

"Yes?" Palpatine said intently.

"The teasing was really just to cover up how jealous I was," Skywalker said with all the gravity of one divulging an ancient secret.

"Oh my," said Palpatine, leaning back in his chair. "Not a very Jedi-like emotion. I'm sure Master Kenobi would not have been pleased."

"Oh, he was so sweet about it," Skywalker gushed. "He told me what he'd liked about Satine and I realized those were all just watered-down versions of things he loves about me!"

Palpatine stared.

"So, for Obi-Wan, I'm a total upgrade," the boy said smugly. "I throw way more stuff when I get mad! And I react much better when Master tries to kiss it better."

"Kiss it better," Palpatine repeated.

"And he said he'll never love anyone as much as me, including her," Skywalker announced. "I got that in writing, actually. Obi-Wan didn't even roll his eyes that much when he signed it. That showed he really does love me best."

"Clearly," Palpatine said faintly.

"Anyway, he's taking me to Dex's for dinner tonight, so I really should go! Nice seeing you, Chancellor!" Skywalker pranced out of his office.

He really should have that damn diner shut down.