Apparently, Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t know how to read.
At least that was how it felt as words and letters swam across the page, his tired eyes failing to make of them any meaning. Normally, this was his specialty—a foreign treaty in an obscure Outer Rim trade language, with lots of political nuance and delicate phrasing. Obi-Wan was good with words. He was good with people and their politics. But it had been Force-knows how long since he’d last slept, and his head hurt, and he was hungry, and—
His comm buzzed.
A prerecorded message popped up from Cody, the blue light making him wince.
“Hello, General. I’ve attached the most recent transmission from the Chancellor. What do you want to do?”
Obi-Wan ran a hand down his face, exhaling. What did he want to do?
“What I want to do,” he murmured to himself, “is tell the Chancellor in exactly which unsavory places he can stick his politics. And then I want to go to bed for five to seven standard days, undisturbed by decisions that shouldn’t be mine to make, and wake up to a serene morning where the war is over and I have no obligations but a steaming cup of tea. Preferably chamomile. With sugar.” He sucked in a breath, acutely aware that he was acting foolishly, but for some reason quite unable to stop. “And then I want to comm the Council and tell them that I’m taking a vacation, and bringing Anakin and Ahsoka and the entire blasted GAR with me. But before I go I’m insisting the Chancellor use his gloriously excessive emergency powers to make political treaties with this many articles and sub-articles illegal, so that no one else has to suffer the agony that is this Force-forsaken document.”
He dropped his head down on the table with a thud.
And then there was a beep from the comlink.
Obi-Wan jerked upright so fast he got dizzy. Hands fumbling for the comm, he told himself he must’ve imagined it—he hadn’t recorded himself just now. No. Of course not. He was just a bit tired and loopy, and he absolutely did not just send a holo via slamming his head on a table—
Frantically swiping the screen, he skimmed the transmission history. His eyes zeroed in on the first line.
CC-2224. 30-second recording. Outgoing message.
Kriff, kriff, kriff—
With the collected composure of a Jedi Master who had absolutely gotten enough sleep and was decidedly not panicking, Obi-Wan bolted from the briefing room.
The hallways weren’t crowded—it was nearly midnight Coruscant time, and most of the men were using the travel time to catch up on some well-earned rest. But a few bemused gazes followed him through the corridor, and he forced himself to slow to a brisk walk. It’s fine, Obi-Wan told himself. Just find his comlink and delete the message before he sees it. Of course, Cody was usually diligent about answering his comm immediately, but, ah—perhaps just this once he’d be just a tad less ridiculously competent of a commander…
Obi-Wan turned the corner blindly only to run face-first into someone tall and familiar.
For one terrifying second he thought it was Cody. But mercifully, Obi-Wan stumbled backward to look into the face of his former Padawan.
“Obi-Wan?” Anakin said, eyebrows lilted. “What’re you—”
“Have you seen Cody?”
“Uh, no,” he said. “I’m just coming from the shuttlebay. Why?”
“No, no reason.” Obi-Wan coughed dryly. “I just—ah—sent him something I didn’t intend to.”
Anakin’s eyebrows shot up before a smirk trickled onto his face. “Ooh, saucy. Well, I’ve seen the way he looks at you during briefing meetings, Master, and trust me—I really don’t think he’ll mind—”
“I—wh—Anakin! No! I meant—I didn’t—We are not—” Obi-Wan sputtered. “It has to do with the war! He sent me the Chancellor’s message and—”
“Yeah, sure, Obi-Wan. Whatever you say.” Anakin elbowed him as he stepped past. “Well, I guess I’ll see you later. Better go find your—”
“Oh, stop that.”
Anakin’s laughter followed him down the hall as Obi-Wan took off again, face prickling with heat.
Cody could’ve been any number of places right now—the man somehow managed to be everywhere at once, Obi-Wan sometimes believed. But at this hour, he was most likely to be in his quarters. And that would…complicate things a bit. How to be discrete…how to distract him while I find it… Perhaps he could tell Cody there was an emergency on the bridge to get him out of his quarters. Of course, he’d likely bring his comlink with him, or wonder why Obi-Wan wasn’t coming along…alright, maybe something less extreme. A munitions inventory, perhaps. In the middle of the night. Or maybe he could claim communications were disrupted, an excuse to get his hands on the comm…
Obi-Wan stopped in his tracks just as he passed the refractory. And as he did so, could practically hear the shattering of his half-baked plans.
Because there in the doorway was Cody.
“Commander!” Obi-Wan’s voice came out squeaky, and he cleared his throat. “What a coincidence. Well, not exactly a coincidence, since I was just on my way to…ah…speak with you.”
“Excellent, sir,” Cody replied. “Because I was just on my way to find you.”
“Were you now?”
“I was.” Cody stepped out of the refractory, and Obi-Wan finally registered that he was carrying a food tray. On it was a single steaming mug. “To give you this. Chamomile. With sugar.”
Obi-Wan’s heart stopped.
Maybe he just knows my tea preferences. It doesn’t necessarily mean…
But Cody’s mouth wavered. Obi-Wan’s eyes flickered down to the comlink on the commander’s wrist. It blinked:
0 unopened messages.
Oh. Oh no—
Cody held the tray out to Obi-Wan, unable to stifle the smug grin any longer. “For when you wake up in five to seven standard days.”
Obi-Wan felt so lightheaded it was a wonder he didn’t float away.
“Cody,” he started. “Tell me you didn’t hear it.”
“Okay. I didn’t hear it.”
“Oh, you did. You did—”
“Yes, sir. I did.”
“Oh, Force have mercy—”
Obi-Wan buried his face in his hands as if he could hide from Cody in them. But when he peeled his fingers away the commander was still there, still fighting to keep a straight face and staring right at Obi-Wan, who was definitely way redder in the cheeks than he’d ever been in his life oh Force oh Force oh blasted Force—
“Obviously,” Obi-Wan said through a tight jaw, “that was an accident. I didn’t mean to say any of that out loud, much less to send it to you—”
“Sir, with all due respect…” Cody wasn’t fighting his smile now, though it was twinged with sympathy and maybe something else. “…go to bed.”
“I can’t promise the war will be over when you wake up,” he continued, “but I can guarantee you won’t have to worry about that treaty. I’ll take care of it, sir.”
Obi-Wan ran his hands down his face, exhaling. “It’s written in Taarja.”
“Give me some credit, General Kenobi. You’re not the only one who’s studied languages.”
Obi-Wan shook his head. Ridiculously competent, I tell you…
“Cody, you really don’t have to. I’ll be fine—just a momentary lapse of judgment. And perhaps of sanity—”
“I’ve got it, sir. Get some sleep.” Cody passed him the cup of tea, which he reluctantly took. Then, he smirked. “Maybe while I’m at it, I can comm the Council about that vacation—”
“Oh my stars, Cody—”
“Or perhaps the Chancellor, so you can tell him to stick his politics up his ass.”
“Alright, I did not say ‘ass!’ I said unsavory places—”
“Well, how about I just get Palpatine on the line so you can tell him yourself.”
The commander was laughing now as Obi-Wan shushed him, a few shinies looking on in bewilderment as they passed into the refractory. Obi-Wan was acutely aware of how warm his face was and how red his cheeks must be, yet he couldn’t quite bring himself to stop laughing either. I must really be loopy, he thought mildly. Oh, goodness. Perhaps Cody is right after all…
When he could finally control his laughter, and manage to avoid spilling his tea, Obi-Wan exhaled. He couldn’t push away his smile.
“I don’t deserve you, Commander. I really don’t.”
“Save it for when I’m finished with the treaty,” Cody replied, grinning. “Now get out of here, General. I’ll wake you in five to seven standard days.”
“Kidding, sir,” he said. “I won’t let you oversleep.” Obi-Wan was pretty sure the chain-of-command was the only thing that kept Cody from rolling his eyes. “See you at the briefing?”
“See you then.” Cody nodded, eyes warm, and started away. But before he could get far, Obi-Wan called out, “And Cody?”
Cody turned, and Obi-Wan raised the still-steaming cup of tea.
The commander just smiled. Obi-Wan waited until he was out of view before starting for his own quarters.
Yet even as he walked alone, the echo of laughter followed him—and Obi-Wan found himself chuckling again at the ridiculousness of it all. The message. Cody’s stupid smirk. His complete inability to keep his composure right there in front of the passing troops. The black-mail material Cody would undoubtably hold over him for the rest of his life. And how it had all started—
What do you want to do?
Obi-Wan walked slowly down the hall, smiling into his tea.
Perhaps he had gotten what he wanted after all.