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Aggressive Negotiations

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1.

It starts off innocently.

Obi-Wan establishes himself as a keen negotiator from the start, even while he’s still Qui-Gon’s Padawan. His ability to remain cool under pressure is noted by the Council and by the Senate alike. He’s almost always able to sway people to his side, to get anything he wants, because he’s willing to use any tool at his disposal.

With some negotiations that means a thorough understanding of the issues and the cultures at play. Fortunately, Obi-Wan retains knowledge well, and he has the right kind of personality to be able to sink himself into pages and pages of admittedly tedious reading.

(Unlike some people he can name.)

With some negotiations Obi-Wan must take a harder stance, outsmarting and outmaneuvering the belligerent parties at every turn. Obi-Wan does enjoy that in moderation. He enjoys the way a well-placed argument can strike so deeply, almost like a physical blow in combat. It suits him.

And with some negotiations Obi-Wan simply turns up the charm. He knows he can talk circles around many people, even many politicians. A smile, some light flirtation, and maybe even a lingering touch here or there. Such things have proven to be some of Obi-Wan’s most effective tools.

But they will very much not be used today, Obi-Wan thinks wryly as he observes the child queen of Yeoth V. Obi-Wan has been accused of being a flirt before, but he has absolutely never flirted with someone as young as this queen.

The girl is sixteen years old and looks it, even under her heavy bejeweled headdress. She might be intelligent, poised, and effective, but she is still a child.

Unbidden, Obi-Wan thinks back to Padmé Amidala, the last child queen he dealt with. And then he wonders what must be wrong with these planets that they keep electing teenaged girls. Are there no adults around who can be trusted to serve in government? Is this truly their best option?

But he will admit, Queen Amidala had been a ferocious leader and absolutely beloved by her people. And by some others, Obi-Wan remembers with faint amusement, looking to his right at his own teenaged Padawan.

He’d half-expected Anakin to moon around after this queen too, as he’s been doing to Queen Amidala from afar for years. Anakin’s unwavering devotion to Queen Amidala in the face of other, more available targets, left Obi-Wan wondering if Anakin’s taste was simply ‘Queens’.

(Which would have been unfortunate for the poor boy, long term. There just aren’t that many teen girls elected as queen of entire systems. Obi-Wan has a much easier time satisfying his preference for fiery blonds.)

But no, Anakin seems completely indifferent to Queen Madeve, even though she too has elaborate headdresses and speaks with an authority far beyond her years. Anakin just sits there in his chair at Obi-Wan’s side, leaning back a little and staring out the window dreamily.

Pay attention, Padawan,’ Obi-Wan rebukes through their bond, although there’s no real heat behind it. The negotiations have been going poorly so far: Queen Madeve and her people don’t seem to have any interest in budging. Their relationship with their nearest neighbor has soured, resulting in a rather painful and tedious trade dispute. He doesn’t entirely blame Anakin for being distracted.

Anakin straightens up with a pout, the tips of his ears turning pink and Obi-Wan fights back a sigh. Yes, this mission is going nowhere, but they can’t all be high-speed chases around dangerous planets. If Anakin is going to be a Jedi, he’ll have to get used to the more sedate missions too.

Obi-Wan turns back to Queen Madeve. “I’m sorry we haven’t been able to reach an agreement thus far, your majesty.” It is getting late, and Obi-Wan isn’t confident that any more time locked in this stuffy room will be conducive to untangling the politics at play here. “I hope I might be able to persuade you to reconsider at the banquet tonight.”

Obi-Wan is not looking forward to it. At least partially because he suspects Anakin would rather tear his own hair out than sit through any more conversation about politics.

(Secretly, Obi-Wan agrees. He despises politicians.)

“We’ll see,” Queen Madeve says repressively. But then her eyes flick away from Obi-Wan and her expression shifts. She tilts her face down a little and peers up through her eyelashes. “Will Padawan Skywalker be joining us?”

Obi-Wan blinks. He had no idea the queen even knew Anakin’s name, let alone his rank. She is smart, obviously, and must have done her research before they arrived, much as Obi-Wan did his. But—

“Of course I will, your majesty,” Anakin says solemnly. “My Master needs me beside him to watch his back.”

Obi-Wan nearly groans. That makes it sound like Anakin is expecting Obi-Wan to be assassinated at a state dinner, and also like Anakin thinks he’s completely incompetent. Why does he even let Anakin speak when it so often ends badly?

But then something happens that Obi-Wan could never have anticipated. Queen Madeve, the serious, stone-faced leader of this intransigent planet, blushes a bright pink and giggles. Giggles like the teenaged girl she is, yes, but at Anakin?

Anakin gives her a crooked, bemused smile and through the Force Obi-Wan feels the queen light up with anticipation, her cheeks still stained pink and her eyes bright with excitement.

Anakin’s hair shines golden in the sunlight, and he does look charmingly boyish as he smiles, all perfect white teeth and pink lips.

Interesting, Obi-Wan thinks, as he watches the queen let out a little sigh. Very interesting.

***

2.

The next time it happens, Obi-Wan is at least slightly to blame.

Anakin is a knight now, just barely, and he and Obi-Wan have been sent to the planet of Uluscah to pick up an order of weapons they’d commissioned some months ago. Weapons that were due to be ready yesterday.

Obi-Wan is furious, truly, but he doesn’t show it. He keeps his face perfectly calm as he sits down across from the infuriating minister responsible for the unacceptable delay. The war has already started picking up, and these weapons are utterly crucial to their next engagement. But Minister Zacric seems to almost enjoy keeping them here on his awful little planet and refusing to honor the terms of their contract.

Well. Obi-Wan can’t allow that. Not when lives are at stake.

“Minister Zacric,” Obi-Wan tries, in his most charming voice. “We’re not being unreasonable here. All we’re asking is that you deliver what was promised. We paid for five shipments, and we expect five shipments.”

Minister Zacric adopts an unconvincingly contrite expression that Obi-Wan longs to wipe off his face. “I don’t know what to tell you, Master Jedi.”

As though that is a satisfactory response to the abject failure here today. But what can Obi-Wan do? He suspects they might be selling to someone else, maybe even Dooku, and that thought worries him like no other. Dooku, the man who betrayed the order, who started this already bloody war, who cut off his Padawan’s arm, causing him months of painful rehabilitation—

Speaking of which, Anakin has been miserable since they arrived. Uluscah is a desert planet, and Obi-Wan wonders if Anakin is reliving unpleasant memories of his childhood on Tatooine. He does seem even more tumultuous in the Force than usual, his aura leaking out discomfort almost constantly.

Anakin squirms beside him, and Minister Zacric’s eyes drop to Anakin’s mouth before they skitter away almost guiltily.

Obi-Wan looks too.

Of course.

The climate is harsh: hot, burning winds and relentless sunlight beating down on the Jedi. Zacric insisted on taking this meeting outside in his courtyard, possibly hoping to wear them down with physical discomfort.

Obi-Wan’s robes are sticking to his skin unpleasantly, but he’s a Jedi. He can push these feelings aside.

It is possible that Anakin cannot. His already full lips are red and swollen, as though Anakin has been chewing on them this whole time. And he might well have been. It’s a common nervous tic of Anakin’s that he’s tried to train him out of. But Anakin is dressed in layers of black robes and leather, of all things, and is probably sweltering and dehydrated.

As he considers this, Anakin passes his tongue over his crimson lower lip and Zacric inhales sharply from his own seat.

Well, never let anyone say that Obi-Wan doesn’t know how to seize an opportunity. “Could we trouble you for some water, Minister?” He keeps his tone polite and airy. “I’m afraid my companion and I are unused to this heat.”

Anakin knits his brows together and opens his mouth indignantly, but Obi-Wan kicks him under the table and Anakin snaps his jaw shut. Zacric doesn’t need to know that Anakin grew up on a desert planet.

Zacric gestures and a droid comes over with some waters for the table, which Anakin accepts with a polite acknowledgement. It never fails to amuse Obi-Wan that Anakin is so unerringly polite to droids and yet contrary and argumentative with the Jedi Council.

Anakin takes his glass and tips his head back, exposing the golden length of his throat as he gulps down the water. His Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows the water and Obi-Wan watches out of the corner of his eye as Zacric tracks the movement greedily.

“Thank you,” Obi-Wan says, and Zacric snaps back to look at Obi-Wan, his eyes a little unfocused. “As I was saying: you’ve only delivered half of what was promised, Minister. What can we do to rectify this glaring oversight?”

Zacric frowns. “I can’t create weapons out of nowhere, Master Kenobi. You’ll be perfectly happy with what we’ve delivered, I’m sure.” He smirks a little, like he’s in on some secret that Obi-Wan will never know.

And Obi-Wan can’t stand that little smirk, or this arrogant, unethical man and everything he stands for. But they need those weapons, and they need them soon. “How disappointing,” Obi-Wan says with an exaggerated sigh, and turns away from Zacric.

Anakin raises his eyebrows in confusion but looks ready to jump at the opportunity to get away from this planet. He’s a little less flushed after the water, but his lips are still a dark red against his skin.

Obi-Wan can use this. “Anakin, here.” He pulls a small canister out of his belt and hands it to him. It’s a lip salve he always carries with him to warm climates. Obi-Wan is not built for the heat: he burns and dries out within hours if he’s not careful. “For your lips.”

Anakin unscrews the top curiously and sniffs at the salve. Obi-Wan knows that it has a pleasant jogan fruit scent that Anakin will enjoy. Anakin smiles, the effect even more pronounced due to the redness of his mouth. “Thanks, Master.”

Anakin uses the tip of one finger to gather up some salve and then he spreads it across the heated flesh, leaving it sweet smelling and shiny. Obi-Wan watches Zacric carefully, the way his eyes trace the slick trail almost reverently.

Got him.

“Well.” Obi-Wan stands up and presses Anakin into his chair subtly, his hand heavy on his shoulder. “I suppose we have nothing else to say to each other. We will be forced to take our business elsewhere.”

There is no ‘elsewhere’, not really, and Zacric must know it. But his eyes widen at the threat and his fingers twitch against the table. “Now wait—”

Obi-Wan sighs dramatically. “Come along, Anakin. Back to the ship. We’ll just have to find someone else a little more accommodating, won’t we?”

Anakin gapes at him from his chair, his pretty red lips open and so sweet smelling, but Obi-Wan’s attention is on Zacric and the look of panic on his smarmy face. “Master Kenobi, please, be reasonable.” His eyes dart down to Anakin’s bewildered face and then back up to Obi-Wan. “We can get you all five shipments by tomorrow. You have my word.”

As though the word of this man means anything. But Obi-Wan takes in his rapt expression and the way his hands have inched a little closer to Anakin and he suspects that he can actually trust him this time. “Six shipments.”

“But you said—”

“One extra, I should think, as compensation. We will have to spend another night on your planet, to ensure you actually deliver this time.”

Zacric looks like he might object, but Obi-Wan tightens his grip on Anakin’s shoulder, and Anakin lets out a little squeak as Obi-Wan’s fingers dig into a knot.

Zacric swallows audibly and nods. “Six shipments it is.”

Obi-Wan takes his hands back, just skating against the warm, soft skin of Anakin’s neck. “I had a feeling we’d be able to come to an agreement.”

***

3.

The next time is a gamble, for Nuccir is an aquatic planet, and the residents are not exactly compatible with humans. Although at first glance they appear humanoid, instead of legs they possess long, glimmering tails.

But Obi-Wan is nothing if not optimistic, and the reading he’s done in advance suggests the queen might not be so constrained by species. She likes pretty boys, and Obi-Wan suspects that Anakin’s lack of tail won’t be enough to stand between them.

Besides, it’s not as though Anakin needs to touch her. Obi-Wan would rather prefer he didn’t, actually, since that would take the negotiations in a strange direction, and he doesn’t like imagining Anakin wrapped up in the queen’s sensual embrace.

The Nuccirians cannot survive entirely out of water, so the negotiations will have to take place in a semi-aquatic environment. Obi-Wan came prepared for this eventuality. Anakin, he expects, did not.

“Master?” Anakin stands next to him in the little stone chamber, watching with wide eyes as Obi-Wan strips off his robes. “Why are you undressing? Exactly what kind of negotiations are these?”

Obi-Wan wants to laugh at his scandalized expression. Poor boy. “Didn’t you read the briefing?” Obi-Wan slips off his pants to reveal his swimsuit. “The negotiation chambers are partially submerged.”

Anakin blushes and fidgets, eyes darting away from Obi-Wan’s bare legs. “I did, I swear I did! Or at least the important stuff. Like the reasons they should join the Republic, I read about the attacks on their farms—” He looks over at Obi-Wan beseechingly. “I swear there wasn’t anything about us having to be naked.”

Yes, that was by design. Obi-Wan moved that revelation to the ‘courtesy’ section, right behind five paragraphs on proper fork usage. “You can’t blame me for that,” Obi-Wan says with a shrug, and even though he is very much to blame. “And you won’t have to be naked. Just strip down to your smallclothes.”

Anakin isn’t body shy, or else Obi-Wan would feel guilty about this. He suspects he’s more surprised than anything.

And Anakin does shrug too and start undressing, feeling confused but unbothered in the Force. “I’d have packed a suit more like yours.” He gestures at Obi-Wan’s shorts, which drape around his hips in such a way as to keep him looking modest. “My smallclothes are, well, small.”

Anakin drops his pants too and hangs them all on a hook next to Obi-Wan’s. His black smallclothes do sit very low on his hips, his sculpted Adonis belt peeking above the low waistline. He looks stunning, every inch a god out of Nuccirian mythology.

Obi-Wan hopes the Nuccirians agree. “I wouldn’t worry about it.” Obi-Wan rests a hand on Anakin’s shoulder soothingly. “Remember the Nuccirians don’t have anatomy like ours. Anything from the waist down means nothing to them. Really the clothes are more for the two of us than anything.”

“Oh, that’s true,” Anakin says thoughtfully. “I guess I hadn’t considered that.”

Obi-Wan had, but he’d decided he couldn’t possibly concentrate on negotiations with Anakin completely naked next to him. Even this is proving to be a little distracting.

They follow the worn stone passageway into a brightly lit cove where the three Nuccirians lounge waist deep in clear blue water, the rainbow hues of their tails beautiful and iridescent.

The queen has a position of honor in a pool by herself, her crimson tail magnificent in the sunlight. “Welcome, esteemed Jedi,” she says in her lovely voice. “Please, make yourselves comfortable.”

Obi-Wan glances around and finds a spot, leading Anakin towards a shallow pool immediately opposite the queen. Obi-Wan nudges him into a position where the sunlight catches his hair most fetchingly and where the light bouncing off the shimmering waters casts shadows across his pretty collarbone.

Obi-Wan frowns. When did this become his life?

Anakin kneels down in the water, his shoulders distractingly strong and broad, uncovered as they are by his usual tunics. He looks up at him curiously. “Master?”

Obi-Wan represses a wince. “Yes, of course.” And he sits down next to Anakin in the balmy water, some scant feet away. He can feel the water ripple whenever Anakin shifts beside him, small waves lapping against his skin.

But now is not the time to dwell on it.

Queen Arista smiles, her teeth sharp and pointed. “Welcome, Master Jedi. We appreciate that you were able to join us here, in our sacred pool.”

“Your majesty,” Obi-Wan says with a smile. “We’re honored to be invited. We hope to convince you that the Republic is the right fit for you and your people.”

Queen Arista shifts her gaze between the two Jedi, Obi-Wan lounging in the warm water, one leg slung across the opposite knee, and Anakin sitting perfectly upright, a habit drilled into him through the war. The queen’s eyes trail up the hard, sculpted length of his torso, and linger on his sun-soaked curls.

Obi-Wan suppresses a grin. The Nuccirians are very proud of their own flowing locks, and he’d hoped Anakin’s glossy curls would be just as popular.

Another win for The Negotiator.

***

The talks go on for some hours. It’s not that the queen is resistant, not really. It’s just that Nuccir has been neutral for thousands of years, preferring to keep to themselves and stay out of galactic conflicts.

It’s truly a little sad that the war is robbing them of that choice. But the violence has been ebbing closer and it’s only a matter of time before Dooku comes calling, bringing his army of droids and darkness.

The queen sighs and flutters her tail in the water, the crimson scales catching the light. “It sounds too good to be true. You say we’d be able to keep our independence? We wouldn’t be forced to join in the fighting?”

“You would not,” Obi-Wan insists. “You would appoint a senator, and you’d be able to vote, to make your voices heard.” Truthfully Obi-Wan finds the senate barely functional at the best of times, but this is truly their best bet if they want to remain free and safe.

“Hmm.” She waves her tail in the water. “I am undecided. Master Skywalker, what do you think?”

Anakin starts beside Obi-Wan, the water sloshing against Obi-Wan’s side from the agitation. “Me?”

“Yes you,” she says with a purr. “I’d love to hear your perspective since your charming companion has done most of the talking so far. Do you think we should join the Republic?”

Anakin looks at Obi-Wan a little helplessly, his eyes wide and blue. Obi-Wan sends gentle encouragement through the Force, and Anakin glows a comforting gold against him.

“Okay,” Anakin says slowly. “Well, I do think you should join. The Separatists are making some aggressive plays, and the way they treat the planets they take is just awful. They hurt people, and they destroy everything they touch. I would hate to see you and your people under Dooku’s boot.”

Queen Arista dips her head in acknowledgement. “But is security really a good reason to give up our independence?”

Anakin shrugs, and the pink light of the setting sun shifts across his bare shoulders. “I can’t make that decision for you. But I know that keeping people safe is our top priority. The senate isn’t perfect” —Obi-Wan thinks back to Anakin’s multiple rants on that exact subject— “but the Republic is just. It’s safe.”

“Hmm.” Queen Arista quirks a sly smile. “Very interesting. You’re very persuasive, Master Skywalker.” Her eyes rake over Anakin’s bare form, the way he glows in sunlight, the ferocity of his conviction and the surety of his gaze.

She wouldn’t be the first person to sign over an entire planet for a pretty face.

“Oh, I’m nothing compared to Obi-Wan,” Anakin says with a shy smile. “He’s such a good speaker. Or my friend, the chancellor” —Obi-Wan winces— “he’s amazing too. Another good reason to join the Republic! And if you were all ever in any danger, the Jedi would be able to help.”

“That’s true,” Obi-Wan adds, finding an opening. “The Jedi are only ever deployed to Republic systems. This is something of an exception.”

“Oh?” Queen Arista dips one long finger into the water and swirls it around, her gaze calculating. “Well, that is a convincing argument.”

“You’ll join?” Anakin is so bright in the Force, so enthusiastic, Obi-Wan wonders if the non-Force sensitive Nuccirians can feel it too. His presence is intoxicating, wrapping around Obi-Wan, a perfect complement to the glow of his face in the fading light and the glitter of his hair.

“I think we will,” the queen says, blinking those large, round eyes. “You make it sound so attractive.”

***

4.

This time it is born of desperation, some of the worst desperation of Obi-Wan’s life.

The planet of Ilec is a neutral one. Ostensibly. Obi-Wan is perfectly aware that they, and specifically Prime Minister Harbray, are in league with the Separatists. That Harbray and Dooku have been seen taking secret meetings, and that Harbray holds no love for the Republic, for the Jedi.

Which makes it so dangerous that he has a Jedi in his clutches. She’s unharmed, but Obi-Wan knows that won’t last. He’ll turn her over to Dooku at the earliest opportunity.

Anakin knows too, and his fury is palpable. Obi-Wan knows that he can’t stop imagining what will happen if Dooku gets his hands on her, he can’t stop imagining one of their own in chains, vulnerable and defenseless. But he sits beside Obi-Wan so still he’d think he’d been carved from stone.

(“Harbray is not a good man,” Obi-Wan had warned. “We cannot give him a single excuse to treat us like we’re dangerous. We are serene, Anakin. We are not threatening. Do you understand?”)

Clearly, he had. Anakin is the picture of unmoving serenity. From the outside, at least, and Harbray is not Force sensitive. All he can see is two Jedi with perfectly blank expressions, asking him to release a member of their Order back into their custody.

Harbray’s office is as cold and impersonal as the man himself, shades of grey and harsh angles everywhere. It is a distinctly threatening environment in which to plead for a colleague’s safety. “We appreciate you meeting with us,” Obi-Wan starts. “We’d like to negotiate the release of Knight Mackriya.”

Harbray smiles, a thin, unpleasant ghost of a thing on his harsh face. The man has a cruel look about him, sharp and dangerous like a blade. “Knight Mackriya was trespassing. We will hold her until her trial, at which point you are free to collect her.”

He is lying. He will hand her over to Dooku the second it becomes possible. Anakin lets something dark bleed out from behind his shields, and Obi-Wan almost flinches. “She was not here on official business. It was a mistake, Prime Minister. She never intended to end up on Ilec, and she was not trying to interfere in your affairs.”

As though that’s the reason she’s being held. They’re all perfectly aware he is keeping her to curry favor with Dooku. It’s grotesque is what it is, using her life as a bargaining chip.

It sickens him.

And it clearly sickens Anakin too, because he narrows his eyes and bites his lip, hard, leaving an indent in the plush pink skin. Obi-Wan wishes he could take him out of here, take him away from Harbray and the cause of the dangerous anger he feels roiling within his former Padawan.

Or if he could at least tug the abused lip from out between his teeth.

But he cannot. He turns his attention back to Harbray, and his stomach drops. Harbray’s cold, pale eyes are trained on Anakin’s bottom lip, lingering on the reddened flesh.

Could he?

Anakin seems as oblivious as he always is in these situations, sitting unnaturally still in his chair and staring at Harbray like his gaze might be able to kill him if he tries hard enough. Could Obi-Wan do that to his former Padawan? Subject him to this horrible man’s attentions?

It’s loathsome to even consider. Harbray shouldn’t be thinking of Anakin like that. He shouldn’t even be able to imagine touching his pretty lips, threading his fingers through Anakin’s unruly curls. The very idea of it leaves Obi-Wan almost faint with nausea. There has to be another way.

“Prime Minister,” Obi-Wan says, and Harbray’s eyes return to his like nothing ever happened. “We cannot budge on this. Knight Mackriya is a Jedi. A knight of the Republic. She will not go unpunished, but we will not leave without her in our custody.”

Harbray raises his eyebrows. “A pity. You’ll have to get comfortable then, Master Jedi, because I will not release her. She broke our laws, and she will face our justice.”

Anakin exhales heavily and Harbray’s eyes flicker to him again, sweeping appraisingly over his form. Obi-Wan entertains the thought of tearing Harbray in half for a moment before he remembers himself. As satisfying as it would be, it would not get them Knight Mackriya back.

(Nor is it fitting behavior for a Jedi Master.)

“We’d be happy to submit her to a trial,” Obi-Wan tries, somewhat desperately. “But conducted with Jedi present, to ensure her safety—”

“We can discuss this all day,” Harbray says smoothly, unflappably, like he hasn’t been ogling Anakin shamelessly. “But my answer will not change. The Jedi stays with us.”

Anakin burns in fury beside him. He knows Mackriya personally, this must be even worse for him than it is for Obi-Wan, he’s going to lose his composure—

“All day?” Obi-Wan stands and dusts himself off needlessly. “We shall be delighted. But perhaps a brief recess?”

Harbray lifts a hand, an infuriating gesture of sarcastic deference. “Be my guest.”

Obi-Wan leads a baffled Anakin out of his seat and towards the exit, sickeningly aware of the way Harbray’s eyes follow the movement of Anakin’s ass.

***

Outside of the Prime Minister’s office, Ilec is perfectly pleasant. Obi-Wan and Anakin stand together next to a bright fountain, surrounded by children running around the square and vendors hawking their wares noisily.

It’s hard to believe that a cold, callous man like Harbray can exist next to all this.

“What are we going to do?” Anakin mutters, his fingers almost tearing at his robes. “We can’t let him keep Mackriya, we can’t, Dooku will hurt her, she might have information, we can’t, Master—”

Obi-Wan shushes him, his voice soothing, but he’s as lost as Anakin. It’s true, they simply can’t allow him to keep her hostage. But what are their choices? They can’t break into the prison and take her by force, they’d never get away with it. Anakin might be a formidable duelist and uncannily lucky in dangerous situations, but the risks are far too great. Harbray is almost certainly expecting a breakout attempt, and they’d be found out immediately and handed over right alongside Mackriya.

And Harbray isn’t as simple minded as someone like Zacric, from that mission a couple years earlier. If all it would take from Anakin was batting his eyelashes and maybe some light pouting, Obi-Wan would be happy to ask it of him. And Anakin would be happy, if confused, to deliver.

But Obi-Wan knows enough about the darkest depths that might lurk within a man like Harbray. He will never, as long as he lives, be allowed to lay a hand on his Padawan.

Never.

Anakin tugs a harsh hand through his hair, leaving it even more chaotic than before. “I’d do anything to get her out, Master, anything. I like Mackriya, and she wasn’t even doing anything wrong. This is so unfair, I can’t—” He shudders a little, his Force signature so desperately unhappy. “We can’t do nothing.”

Obi-Wan’s heart breaks for him. Anakin feels everything so keenly, he knows he’s being torn apart by what’s happening here, boiling with frustration and rage. Obi-Wan knows that Anakin would rather present himself as a captive than leave Mackriya as a prisoner. But that would never be approved by the Council, and Obi-Wan would rather die than let Anakin go willingly.

“He’s just so calm,” Obi-Wan says with a sigh. “Unflappable. If we could get to him somehow, shake him up, I think we could get him to agree to our terms. As long as she’s in our custody, she’s safe.”

Anakin nods along. “That sounds perfect. What should we do?”

Obi-Wan thinks, hard. He looks around the plaza for inspiration, past musicians, and artists to one of the vendors. A man surrounded by children and selling an assortment of treats from a little cart. A small child walks by with some sort of bizarre ice cream concoction, looking very pleased with himself.

And then Obi-Wan has an idea. Possibly the worst idea he has ever had in his entire life, and that includes the time he jumped from Senator Amidala’s window.

“Anakin,” he says cautiously. “How would you feel about doing something a little…unpleasant?”

Anakin’s eyes light up and he takes a step closer. “Master, do you want me to kill him?” he asks in a hush.

Obi-Wan nearly laughs at that. If he’d been asking Anakin to perform an assassination, he might have used stronger language. “No, dear one. I have an idea to shake him up a little. All we need is for him to lose his composure. But I will need you to behave a bit…boorishly.”

Anakin grins. “No need to ask me twice. I’ll do whatever, Master, you know that.”

Obi-Wan feels a stab of guilt. What he’s suggesting is unthinkable, but it might save Knight Mackriya’s life.

And he can’t explain what precisely he wants from Anakin because that would only throw him off. Anakin can’t flirt on purpose, Obi-Wan knows this. He saw his disastrous attempt with Senator Amidala, and it was rather like watching a speeder crash.

But what Anakin can do is seduce people by accident. He does it almost constantly.

So, Obi-Wan swallows his aching discomfort and goes over to the vendor.

He is going to regret this.

***

Prime Minister Harbray is exactly where they left him, sitting behind his desk, and reading through a datapad as though he takes people hostage every day. And maybe he does. It would certainly explain a lot.

Jedi do not hate, but whatever Obi-Wan feels for this man comes close. How dare he necessitate this kind of tactic?

“Hello again, Prime Minister,” Obi-Wan says with a pasted-on smile. “We’re back to continue our discussion from before. I hope you don’t mind, but Knight Skywalker here was rather enticed by one of your local vendors. We don’t have anything quite like it on Coruscant.”

Anakin smiles innocently, all big blue eyes and fluttering lashes. And in his hand is clutched an iced treat that Obi-Wan specifically chose for this purpose. It’s flavored ice shaved into the rough approximation of a spacecraft, long and thick.

It looks almost nothing like a spacecraft.

“By all means,” Harbray says with a delicate shrug. “He might as well keep himself occupied while you attempt to sway me.”

Obi-Wan represses a snarl. Oh, he’ll be occupied.

They settle back into their chairs opposite Harbray’s desk. Anakin must be able to sense Obi-Wan’s turmoil because he shoves gentle reassurance into the Force between them.

Obi-Wan takes a deep breath and pulls out a datapad from the pocket of his robes. “If you read this through, you’ll find our conditions. Knight Mackriya will face trial, but she will do so on Coruscant and accompanied by another Jedi at all times.”

Harbray’s face stays impassive. “We’ve already discussed this. The answer is ‘no.’”

And then Obi-Wan feels movement beside him and Anakin lowers his mouth to the dripping treat.

Even just that is lurid, Obi-Wan notes, discomfort curling through him as Anakin mouths along the ice. The red syrup is already staining his lips, making him look unthinkably obscene.

And this is only the beginning.

Obi-Wan presses the datapad into Harbray’s hands, and Harbray seems to barely notice. His eyes have widened comically and there’s a very faint blush staining his cheeks.

Infuriating. But it means the plan is working.

“You’ll see that Anakin and I will escort Knight Mackriya away today, and then you’ll see the details of her release going forward,” Obi-Wan explains dispassionately.

Harbray nods faintly, but Obi-Wan rather suspects he has not heard a word Obi-Wan said, because his gaze is locked on the movements of Anakin’s mouth like he’s been stunned.

(If only.)

“Take some time to read that through,” Obi-Wan suggests, as though Harbray is still capable of reading. He seems barely capable of blinking at this point, and then Anakin does something that makes Harbray inhale sharply through his nose.

In one of the stupidest moves of his life, Obi-Wan looks too. And it is much worse than he feared.

The horrifying thing, Obi-Wan thinks faintly, is that he did not tell Anakin to act like he was giving a blowjob. He told Anakin to make a mess, because a man as buttoned up as Harbray would find such vulgarity unsettling. Which is partially true, and Harbray does look a little unsettled as Anakin flicks the tip of his tongue against the treat.

What this means is that Anakin is accidentally fellating the ice pop. When given something phallic to make a mess of, this is what he chooses to do. He wraps his beautiful lips around the end and hollows his cheeks like he’s being paid for it.

It’s a bracing thought.

Obi-Wan glances back at Harbray and immediately wishes he hadn’t. Harbray isn’t looking so unruffled now. Obi-Wan’s datapad is gripped in one hand, but Harbray’s eyes are nowhere near it. He’s staring at Anakin like his red, devious mouth might contain the answers to every question he’s ever asked.

Obi-Wan hates him, he hates himself, and he honestly slightly hates Anakin for being so senselessly attractive.

“Do you have any questions?” Obi-Wan asks, his tone a little harsher than intended. But Harbray either has no questions or has lost the ability to understand spoken language because he just blinks, and his cheeks darken a shade.

Back at the living nightmare that Obi-Wan has unleashed upon himself, Anakin has taken ‘make a mess’ to heart. The ice pop is melting rapidly, and Anakin is rather foolishly trying to abate it with his hot, slick mouth.

It is clearly not proving effective, because a droplet runs down the ice pop, and Anakin chases it, finally catching it on the back of his own ungloved fingers. He licks them delicately, his tongue flicking out just for one tantalizing second, before he draws his head back up to suck at the top.

There’s a red smear on his cheek now, just under one of his cheekbones, and if this had actually been a cock Anakin had been sucking at, that would be a streak of Obi-Wan’s (of someone’s) precome, clinging to his golden skin.

Obi-Wan tears his gaze away to glare at Harbray because this is entirely his fault and because if he watches Anakin for another moment, he’s going to have to confront some things he’s not ready for.

But looking at Harbray offers no solace either because if he looked imperturbable before, he now looks nothing of the sort. He keeps trying to look at the datapad Obi-Wan shoved into his hands, but every time Anakin makes a breathy noise against the treat and every time his sucking gets filthier, he can see the way Harbray’s knuckles get tighter and the way his breathing quickens.

It’s sickening, it’s revolting, and it’s Obi-Wan’s own doing. He made this horrifying bed and now he must lie in it.

He refuses to watch as Harbray derives pleasure from Anakin’s ministrations, because Harbray deserves nothing, not life, not happiness, and especially not the mental images he’s undoubtedly conjuring for himself. He must be imagining Anakin, Obi-Wan’s Anakin, his pretty, red-stained lips wrapping around his own cock. He must be imagining fucking his beautiful boy’s face. And Obi-Wan can’t take it, because Harbray is defiling his Padawan, how could he, how can Obi-Wan just sit by and take it

But no more can he turn back to Anakin and pretend like each time he moves he isn’t enflaming Obi-Wan further. Each touch of his lips leaves Obi-Wan hard and leaking in his pants, because of course he’s hard. Of course.

The most beautiful man he has ever known, one of the most powerful Jedi in the Order, his brilliant, impetuous, beloved friend, is currently sucking on an ice pop like it’s something else entirely.

And oh, how Obi-Wan wishes it was something else entirely.

(Obi-Wan was an idiot for devising this plan.)

Really his only recourse is to spontaneously go both blind and deaf, because simply looking away does not help, not when Anakin is making little happy noises and slurping sounds, like he is genuinely attempting to kill Obi-Wan with arousal.

And he might succeed.

Obi-Wan takes a quiet, steadying breath, and is almost about to stop Anakin somehow, either by prodding him through the Force or by distracting him by starting a fire, when it seems Harbray breaks.

Anakin does something (Obi-Wan does not look, because if he did, he would go insane) and Anakin lets out a pleased little whimper, and Harbray closes his eyes and groans.

Obi-Wan would like to pick Harbray up and hurl him from the window, hopefully to his death. But he summons every scrap of his legendary willpower and every ounce of composure left in his body and instead turns on Harbray pointedly.

“Prime Minister,” Obi-Wan says, his voice coming out lower than usual. “If you’d please sign.”

Harbray opens his eyes and blinks hazily.

(Obi-Wan wishes this man did not have eyes.)

But Harbray swallows and reaches a finger down to the datapad and signs. The very second he closes the loop of his hated, despicable name, Obi-Wan snatches the datapad from his wretched hands and stands up, his chair almost tipping over from the force of it.

“I believe our business is concluded.” Obi-Wan finally turns his eyes back to Anakin, who is blinking up at him innocently from his seat, looking so adorably happy that they got what they came for that Obi-Wan feels something inside him unclench.

Until Anakin notices his treat is melting and licks a stripe up the length of it. Then Obi-Wan clenches again.

Anakin stands too, shooting Harbray an absolutely livid glare that hopefully counteracts all the other things he’s inadvertently done for the man today, and makes to follow Obi-Wan. But Obi-Wan shoves Anakin towards the door, making sure Harbray can’t stare at his retreating form.

He’s gotten to see far too much of Anakin already.

***

Outside again, Anakin turns his beaming face to Obi-Wan, looking so much like the personification of sunlight that Obi-Wan slightly wants to cry.

“Wow,” Anakin says breathlessly. “I can’t believe how well that worked, Master. You were right, that really ruffled him.”

Obi-Wan chokes back hysterical laughter. Ruffled. Yes. “It did the trick,” he says flatly. “And now we can collect Knight Mackriya.”

“You really did it.” Anakin’s tone is reverent. “You really are an amazing negotiator.”

Guilt pools in his stomach at that. He basically pimped out his Padawan like the worst sort of monster, taking advantage of Anakin’s naivety and his affection for Mackriya. “You helped,” Obi-Wan says, which is an understatement. Anakin essentially brought a man to orgasm by eating a dessert very loudly.

That is going to be difficult to explain to the Council, isn’t it?

But Anakin smiles anyway, then dips his head to suck on the melted remains of his ice pop and Obi-Wan throbs in his pants.

That’s quite enough of that.

He reaches out and yanks the treat from Anakin’s grasp and chucks it into the nearest bin. Good riddance.

“Hey!” Anakin turns wide, hurt eyes to him, and pouts. “I was enjoying that.”

And Obi-Wan wants to scream. “Yes. I know you were.”

***

5.

After that, Obi-Wan comes clean.

Not about the specifics, because Obi-Wan doesn’t think any more people need to be burdened with the knowledge of what exactly happened with Harbray, but in general.

He tells Anakin that sometimes, in negotiations, Obi-Wan can tell if someone’s attracted to Anakin, and that sometimes he takes advantage of that fact.

(“What do you mean?” Anakin had asked, his face scrunched up in confusion.

Only Anakin could make incomprehension look cute.

“I mean that I’ll let them look at you and get distracted, and then I’ll get what we want out of them while their guard is down. I never meant to make you uncomfortable—”

“I haven’t been uncomfortable,” Anakin had said with a frown. “I just don’t think it makes much sense. Aren’t they more likely to be flirting with you?”

“That happens too sometimes,” Obi-Wan had allowed, “but I should never have allowed this to go on without your permission.”

Anakin had blinked at that. “Could you have made them stop being attracted to me?”

Oh, how Obi-Wan had wished that were possible.

“Well, no, but—”

“Then there’s nothing to apologize for.” Anakin had smiled, pink lips parting so fetchingly. “Anything to help the mission, right Master?”)

And that had been that.                     

Which leads them to where they are now, in the quarters they have been assigned on Zilis, a neutral mid-rim planet of little importance. Or it would have been of little importance, if not for the war.

It’s always the blasted war these days.

The Zilis system is well-located strategically, and the Republic has been using a moon on the very edges of their territory for refueling. It’s completely unoccupied and the Zilisians have never staked a claim on it before, but for some reason they’ve suddenly made a fuss over the Republic presence.

Truthfully Obi-Wan suspects they just want compensation of some sort, whether it be money or access to fuel. Or perhaps they just want to make a stink so that the Separatists don’t suspect them of being in league with the Republic.

Either way, Obi-Wan is annoyed that he has been dragged away from the front, yet again, for another frustrating mission making nice with some puffed up politician. And unfortunately, Anakin has been sent alongside him yet again.

Not that Obi-Wan dislikes having Anakin around. Far from it. His mercurial, stubborn, exhausting former Padawan is the one bright spot in an otherwise irritating mission. No, what worries him is what comes next.

(“Noticed, we have, what a persuasive duo you are,” Yoda had said, eyes sparkling with humor.

Anakin had wondered if it was appropriate to go on so many missions without Ahsoka, but Yoda had waved him off. And Ahsoka had seemed happy enough to have some time at the Temple, acting for once as a real Padawan rather than a military commander.

Obi-Wan, meanwhile, had been regretting every decision he’d ever made that had led him to that exact moment.)

Anakin sprays a sweet-smelling mist into his hair and fluffs it out a little. His curls are silkier than ever with the treatment, and Obi-Wan fights a groan.

It hadn’t really occurred to him that Anakin looks as good as he does while he’s been sleeping on the ground, showering infrequently, and eating bugs. Now that he’s scrubbed and buffed and spending his nights on a feather mattress, he is lethal.

But Obi-Wan did his research because he is nothing if not thorough. And to win over King Davjair, he knows just what to do.

Obi-Wan pulls out a little case with a world-weary sigh. “I brought something that might help, Anakin, if you’re interested.” He unfastens the clasps and turns it towards Anakin for his inspection. “Thoughts?”

Anakin studies it with a frown. “Makeup?” He grins good-naturedly. “Are you saying I need to cover something up, Master?”

Obi-Wan is very much not saying that. Truthfully, he thinks that Anakin in makeup might be the death of him, but he opts not to comment. “You don’t have to use it if you don’t want.” Obi-Wan hopes Anakin doesn’t want. He doesn’t love the idea of prettying Anakin up for another man’s consumption, but here they are, nonetheless, because Obi-Wan’s life is endless suffering.

“No, I don’t mind.” Anakin reaches for a little brush and turns towards the mirror. “Why do you own this, anyway? Is this something you’re interested in yourself?”

(Actually, buying the makeup had been a deeply odd experience. He’d had to explain to the people at the counter that he was buying it for someone who was not him, because they needed the right palette for Anakin’s coloring.

Part way through Obi-Wan’s description of the burnished gold of Anakin’s hair and the endless sky blue of his eyes, one of the salespeople had realized who he was describing so soppily and found a set that would work for Anakin.

It had not been one of his prouder moments.)

“It’s just something I picked up in my travels,” Obi-Wan says vaguely. “Do you need any help? Do you know how—” He breaks off awkwardly. Right.

Anakin seems to catch his hesitation and makes eye contact through the mirror. “Yeah. Padmé taught me some stuff back when we were still together. Plus applying rouge isn’t exactly complicated. I do know where my cheekbones are.”

Yes, they’re hard to miss, sweeping across Anakin’s beautiful face as they are wont to do. And now they’re highlighted with rouge, because Obi-Wan has inadvertently engineered an evening that will torment him both emotionally and physically.

Some negotiator he is.

Anakin dusts a little glitter over his cheekbone. It’s very subtle, but it does the trick, catching the light perfectly. “Are you going to put some on too?” Anakin asks curiously. “We might as well both fancy ourselves up.”

He could, and he might to make Anakin feel less awkward (not that he looks especially awkward, sweeping color across his face with a steady hand), but Obi-Wan knows that it barely matters what he looks like tonight. “If you’d like. I will say, I happen to know that you’re the king’s type.”

Anakin boggles at him through the mirror. “What type is that?”

Honestly Obi-Wan assumes that Anakin is everyone’s type, because he’s brilliant and fearless and so stunningly beautiful that it hurts to look at him sometimes. But from his research, he knows that the king like pretty boys, despite being in his early forties himself. “He likes younger men,” is what he says to Anakin.

Anakin shrugs. “Oh, okay.” He pulls out a dark pencil and leans in a little closer to the mirror, and Obi-Wan leaves him to it. Clearly Anakin knows what he’s doing, he doesn’t need Obi-Wan fussing over him, or— “Kark!” Anakin yelps, and the pencil clatters to the table.

“Anakin?” Obi-Wan peers over at him and sees him clutching his face.

“I stabbed myself in the eye,” Anakin says mournfully.

Obi-Wan fights a smile. “I thought you knew how to apply makeup?”

Anakin pulls his hand back and blinks away a tear. “I thought I did. I helped Padmé apply her eyeliner once or twice and it never occurred to me that it would be different doing it to myself.”

Obi-Wan sighs, but steels himself for what he’s about to do. “I could help. I’ve got a steady hand.”

“Yeah?” Anakin twists in his seat and offers up the pencil. “Go right ahead. I trust you,” he says with a boyish grin.

Obi-Wan steps into Anakin’s space apologetically. Their thighs are almost touching, and Anakin is staring up at him through thick, dark eyelashes. The slight redness of the eye he poked does not detract from his beauty, and Obi-Wan brings his left hand to cup Anakin’s jawline and steady his face. His skin is soft and warm, and Obi-Wan unconsciously circles his thumb against the corner of Anakin’s mouth. “I’ll be careful,” Obi-Wan announces, and brings the pencil to Anakin’s eye.

It’s a strange feeling, tracing the edges of Anakin’s eye while Anakin himself watches. But Obi-Wan is as careful as promised and makes quick work of one, drawing a neat, dark line just outside the boundary of Anakin’s eyelashes.

Obi-Wan moves onto the other eye and feels Anakin’s exhalations against his skin as he works. He looks stunning already, which Obi-Wan knew would happen. Obi-Wan knew he was becoming an active participant in his own torture because the universe is out to get him, specifically, and there is nothing he can do about it.

Well, he could stop deliberately making Anakin even more fuckable. That might be a good first step.

But it’s one he has already failed at, because he draws back, already missing the warmth of Anakin’s body, and stares.

If the king doesn’t fall madly in love with Anakin, Obi-Wan will assume he’s a droid. Because no self-respecting human being (or even humanoid) could look at Anakin as he is now, with his soft, gently curling hair and startlingly vibrant blue eyes (far bluer than the sky, he’d undersold him to the sales assistant) and not fall deeply in love.

“You look lovely,” Obi-Wan says, clearing his throat around the sudden roughness there.

“Thanks,” Anakin says, quirking his lips a little awkwardly. “I guess we should hope King Davjair agrees with you.”

King Davjair. Right.

Is it wrong that Obi-Wan instinctively dislikes the man already?

***

The banquet hall is bright and lavish and smells delicious. Obi-Wan would be looking forward to a fine meal, far better than the ration packs he’s been subsisting on for months, if not for the obvious.

Anakin trails after him, sticking a little too close to Obi-Wan’s side to be entirely natural. It occurs to Obi-Wan now that this is the first time Obi-Wan has dangled him in front of someone and had Anakin completely aware of the fact.

Hopefully Anakin can keep his composure despite the awkwardness Obi-Wan has invited upon them.

King Davjair is, as advertised, a human man in his early forties. He’s roughly Obi-Wan’s height, with sandy brown hair and a tidy beard. He doesn’t look especially formidable, but Obi-Wan has learned not to be fooled by appearances.

“Your majesty,” Obi-Wan says, “we’re very honored that you’ve agreed to speak with us.”

King Davjair waves him off. “Please, the honor is all mine. Even on Zilis we’ve heard tales of The Team. Master Kenobi.” He dips his head in greeting, and then he turns to flash a charming smile at Anakin. “And you must be Anakin Skywalker.”

Anakin smiles back crookedly, like he’s only recently learned how and is still mastering the technique. “Hello, your majesty. I’m him, I mean me. Uh—”

Obi-Wan nearly shakes his head in exasperation. Poor dear. He’s such a mess. But with any luck this means the king won’t—

Davjair laughs and drops a hand to Anakin’s forearm. “Please, call me Davjair.”

Obi-Wan fights back a groan. Unfortunately, the king’s type appears to be adorable morons.

***

Dinner is an awkward affair, as it was always doomed to be. Obi-Wan sits between Anakin and some noble whose name he keeps forgetting, and whose conversation he has largely been tuning out. He’s had to do so, because Anakin is seated at the king’s right hand and Obi-Wan is afraid Davjair finds Anakin exactly as enchanting as Obi-Wan does.

“The food is very good,” Anakin says at some point, a streak of jam across his lips. “Thank you.”

Davjair gestures carelessly. “I’m so glad. I can only imagine what you’re subjected to out on the front. We wanted to provide a treat for your palate.”

Little does Davjair know that Anakin is the least discerning eater Obi-Wan has ever encountered. But Obi-Wan feels the need to assert himself in this conversation. “It’s delicious, thank you.”

The king doesn’t even look at him. “It was no trouble. Anakin, may I call you Anakin?”

Anakin blinks. “Of course.”

“I don’t know if you’re aware,” the king says, voice so low that Obi-Wan struggles to make it out over the din of conversation around him, “but Zilis is known for building some of the finest speeders in the galaxy.”

And that gets Anakin’s attention. “Really?” His Force signature lights up, spilling gold between them and Obi-Wan wishes he could bathe in this feeling.

“Really.” Davjair leans in even closer, close enough that he could easily kiss Anakin if he were so inclined.

And Obi-Wan assumes anyone in their right mind would be so inclined.

“We host races,” Davjair continues casually, as though he can’t see that Anakin is now hanging on his every word. “They’re quite spectacular, although I’m sure they’re nothing compared to what you’d find on Coruscant.”

“Well, I’ve only been to a few—” Anakin’s eyes flicker to Obi-Wan guiltily for a moment, as though Obi-Wan might have actually been unaware that his Padawan used to race— “but not since the war started.”

“Of course,” Davjair says, with a sympathetic little frown. “How unfortunate. Well, I don’t know if this would interest you, but I have my own personal collection, nothing too elaborate, but—”

“Oh!” Anakin leans in too, entranced, and apparently unaware that he just interrupted the monarch. “You fly?”

Davjair laughs self-deprecatingly, and Obi-Wan privately wishes that this man had never been born. “I’m an amateur compared to someone like you. I know you’re a legendary pilot and I wouldn’t presume to compare myself, but if you’d like to see my collection, I’d be happy to give you a tour.”

“Yes, absolutely,” Anakin says with enthusiasm. “Obi-Wan and I are here for a few days, we can definitely—”

“Ah.” The king strokes a hand across his beard, a move so transparent that Obi-Wan wants to laugh. “I thought it might just be the two of us. I’m sure Master Kenobi has other things he’d rather be doing.”

Yes, like regicide. “I’d be honored to see your collection,” Obi-Wan says airily.

“Of course.” The king clears his throat. “Perhaps I should make my intentions clear. I’d like to spend some time with you, Anakin. One on one. If you aren’t opposed.”

Obi-Wan tightens his fingers around his fork. Anakin might still say no, he might realize what’s happening, he might make the only rational decision available to him and make an excuse—

“Oh.” Anakin knits his brows together in consideration. How frustrating that it makes him look cute. “I think that would be fine. You’ll be okay by yourself for an afternoon, right Master?”

Perhaps reciting the Code will rid him of the urge for excessive violence that Obi-Wan is now experiencing. It’s certainly worth a try. “I’ll be just fine, Anakin. You go ahead.”

Obi-Wan will be just fine.

***

Obi-Wan is a wreck.

It’s the next day and Anakin hasn’t even done anything yet. He’s still in their rooms, preparing to go look at speeders with the king and primping himself. As though he really needs to make himself look better than he already does. Can’t he see the insipid royal is already utterly besotted?

Anakin finds a little canister and sniffs at it consideringly. It’s some sort of pink gloss, and Anakin smears it across his lips. His mouth now glistens wetly, as though Anakin has been kissing someone, or like he’s been on his knees, and the shine is from Obi-Wan’s leaking—

This day is not going to go well.

“You told me King Davjair would like me with makeup,” Anakin says neutrally, as he dusts gold powder across his cheekbones. “And I guess you were right. Aren’t you happy?”

Obi-Wan has never been less happy to be right about anything in his entire life. He wishes he could go back in time, not to prevent the outbreak of the war, not even to save Anakin from engaging Dooku and losing his arm, but to take the accursed makeup case and hurl it into the sea and watch it be swallowed by the waves, never to be seen again.

Obi-Wan clears his throat. “Ecstatic.”

“The plan is working out perfectly,” Anakin says, inaccurately, for this was very much not Obi-Wan’s plan. “I’m sure it will all be fine.”

Obi-Wan is actually sure that the rest of his life will be one miserable trial after another until eventually he dies. “Of course. Well, if you’re sure, I suppose I should go meet with the Minister.”

“Actually” —Anakin spins around, the movement releasing a cloud of sweet-smelling air— “could you help me with my eyeliner again? I’ll make a poor impression if I’ve poked one of my eyes out.”

If nothing else, it would be a funny story to tell Ventress the next time they meet. After her attempt at taking Anakin’s eye with her lightsaber, how disappointed she’d be to learn Anakin took care of it himself with a pencil while preparing for a date.

But is Obi-Wan self-loathing enough to help Anakin look even more beautiful for a date? A date with another, non-Obi-Wan man? “I’m afraid I mustn’t be late for my meeting.”

Anakin pouts, his shiny bottom lip looking so kissable that Obi-Wan nearly forgets himself, then and there. “Please?”

And Obi-Wan can’t get any closer to Anakin, not while he’s pink and gold and smelling like an orchard. Not without destroying what remains of his self-control and his sanity. “I’m sorry Padawan, I have to leave. But you go ahead and have fun.” Obi-Wan gathers his cloak and heads towards the door, ignoring the disappointment he can feel in the Force.

Obi-Wan throws one final, miserable look over his shoulder as he makes to leave.

But not too much fun, he thinks. Please, not too much fun.

***

It is after dinner, and Anakin still has not returned.

Obi-Wan does not pace around the rooms, because he is a Jedi Master. Anakin would be pacing, were their positions reversed, Obi-Wan knows this. Anakin is a bundle of restless energy and long legs and a trim, narrow waist—

But their positions would never be reversed because Obi-Wan is the only one here who is the engineer of his own misery. Anakin is probably having a wonderful time with the king, laughing at his jokes and riding around in speeders and maybe even stealing lingering glances—the thought eats Obi-Wan up inside.

There’s a noise at the door and Obi-Wan adopts a posture of unconvincing apathy on the sofa. Anakin walks through the little entranceway and his eyes land on Obi-Wan. “Hello, Master. How was your day?”

It appears as though Anakin managed to apply his own eyeliner, even without Obi-Wan’s help. But it’s looking a little smudged now, and his hair is in wild disarray as though he’s been caught in a strong breeze all evening.

(Or as though someone has been running their hands through it, his mind supplies unhelpfully.)

He looks beautiful and he looks completely infuriating. “My day was fine.” And it was. The minister is no diplomat and Obi-Wan had a lot of frustrations to take out. It had been the conversational equivalent of a bloodbath. Obi-Wan takes a steadying breath. “How was yours?”

Anakin shrugs off his cloak and abandons it on the back of a chair. “Pretty fun. King Davjair does have a lot of speeders, and some of them are models I’ve never seen before. He let me test a couple of them out.

Obi-Wan bets he did. Anakin is a vision while flying, his eyes intense and his entire being lit up with excitement. He’s also a menace, but the king was probably willing to endure Anakin’s more reckless behaviors just to spend more time with him.

Obi-Wan certainly is.

He represses the thought. “Well, the negotiations should be over shortly. The minister acquiesced to most of our demands, so I imagine we’ll leave tomorrow.”

“Really?” Anakin pours himself a drink and frowns thoughtfully. “King Davjair asked to see me again tomorrow.”

Of course he did. That brazen hussy. “I can’t imagine why that would be necessary.”

“Doesn’t he need to sign off on any deal we make? Maybe he isn’t convinced by whatever you told the minister.”

And Obi-Wan knows this man, knows his type. It wouldn’t surprise him if he stalled the talks just to keep Anakin around longer, forcing his Padawan to endure untold horrors on his little dates because Obi-Wan thought this would be a particularly fun way to torture himself.

And Anakin seems so unbothered, which is the worst part. Just sipping his drink and watching Obi-Wan almost absently, his vivid eyeliner smudged around his lashes.

Why is it smudged? Just from riding a speeder? Or did the king— “I assure you he will be,” Obi-Wan insists. Because the alternative is too upsetting to even consider. Anakin, spending more time with this odious man? “You won’t need to see him tomorrow.”

Anakin shrugs. “Whatever you say, Master. He was perfectly nice, though. I really didn’t mind.”

Obi-Wan wants to club Anakin over the head. Didn’t mind? He must not understand— “He’s flirting with you, Anakin. He’s trying to sleep with you.”

And then Anakin surprises him more thoroughly than he’s ever managed before, even while flying them towards almost certain death. He raises one eyebrow and says, “I know.”

He knows?

Obi-Wan stares at him for a beat. Anakin knows? Then why is he comfortable— “You don’t need to keep enduring his company, Padawan. The deal is not that important. The Republic can find some other unoccupied rock, one under the jurisdiction of a less contrary ruler—”

Anakin rolls his eyes. “I’m not enduring anything, Obi-Wan, calm down.” His cheeks pink a little and he fidgets with his glass. “He’s handsome, and nice, and he knows a lot about speeders—there are worse ways to spend my time.”

Worse ways— “Anakin,” Obi-Wan says slowly, and disbelievingly. “Are you saying you reciprocate his affections?”

“I don’t know.” Anakin bites at his lip and squirms a little, clearly uncomfortable. “It’s nice, having someone pay attention to me. What’s wrong with that?”

Wrong? So many things that Obi-Wan could spend the rest of his life listing them, were he so inclined. Obi-Wan scrambles to his feet, abandoning his pretense of detachment. “He’s too old,” Obi-Wan says, grasping for a reason other than ‘because he isn’t me.’

“No, he isn’t.” Anakin crosses his arms over his chest. “I like older men.”

Obi-Wan exhales. “He’s too stuffy and stuck up.”

“I like people who are stuffy and stuck up.”

“He has a stupid beard.” Which is untrue. It’s a perfectly serviceable beard. But if Anakin likes beards, why not—

“I like stupid beards.” Anakin’s eyes are mere slits now, the eyeliner making him look dangerous and so attractive that it’s a little unfair.

“He doesn’t know you, Anakin, not really. He just thinks you’re some pretty young thing, he doesn’t know what a good master you are to Ahsoka, he hasn’t seen you with Rex and the troopers, he’s never seen you fight, how strong and fluid and perfect you are—”

“Well.” Anakin takes a deep, shaky breath that Obi-Wan could not begin to decipher. “The sorts of people who do know those things would never touch me. So, forgive me for settling for someone who will.”

Obi-Wan’s mouth drops open. “He touched you?” What does Anakin mean by that? Did Davjair touch his hands, does he mean? Did he kiss him? Did that awful, pompous, self-important man kiss Anakin, stick his tongue into his mouth, possibly even do more—

“Why do you care?” Anakin rolls his eyes, a familiar act of petulance that Obi-Wan has never wanted to shake out of him more.

“Because he’s nobody, dearest, he’s nothing. You could have anyone you wanted, anyone in the galaxy, you don’t have to settle—”

“I can’t have anyone I want,” Anakin bites out, his expression stormy and his beautiful mouth twisted into a sneer. “No one can. And I don’t know why you’re complaining because, if you’ll remember, this whole thing was your idea. Didn’t you want me to seduce him or something?” Anakin finally uncrosses his arms to throw his hands up furiously. “Mission accomplished!”

“I didn’t—” Obi-Wan can think of few things he wants less than for Anakin to seduce people. He wants Anakin to himself, he wants to dress him up in fine clothing and paint his face to make him even more beautiful, and then he wants to mess him up himself, with his hands, his mouth, his cock—

“And you’re one to talk,” Anakin snarls. “Don’t think I don’t notice when you flirt with politicians, when you disappear part-way through negotiations, when you let them put their hands all over you, when you won’t even—” Anakin cuts himself off breathlessly.

“I don’t do any of that,” Obi-Wan insists heatedly, which only partially a lie. Yes, he has definitely allowed such things in the past, but not recently. Not since it became obvious that a fumble with a senator would be empty and unfulfilling compared to the joy that is Anakin’s company.

“Oh, please.” Anakin scrunches up his face distastefully. “You’re a flirt, Obi-Wan, don’t deny it. Maybe I should learn a thing or two from my master, huh? Maybe tomorrow King Davjair and I should go back to his speeders, really break them in—”

The noise Obi-Wan makes at that is difficult to characterize. Something akin to a growl, maybe, but definitely not a sound that human vocal cords should be able to emit. He wraps his hands around Anakin’s strong, magnificent shoulders to do something—possibly restrain him—but then Anakin fixes him with a sulky look and Obi-Wan is lost.

He throws caution to the wind and finally captures Anakin’s sweet, petulant mouth in a kiss.

Obi-Wan’s lips are too tightly pressed together at first for it to be anything, but then he loses himself in Anakin’s scent, in the thrum of his power under his skin, in the pillowy softness of his mouth, and he opens his own mouth to suck at that infuriating bottom lip that has haunted his dreams.

And Anakin —who would be well within his rights to punch Obi-Wan in the face, or bite him, or just storm off to the chambers of his precious king— instead opens his mouth and sucks Obi-Wan's tongue into the warmth and sweetness within.

Obi-Wan gathers Anakin in his arms, snakes one hand into his unthinkably soft curls and tugs, and Anakin throws his head back to cry out.

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan says, dotting frantic kisses along his jawline. “Anakin.”

“Master,” Anakin moans. “You’re—what is happening—”

Obi-Wan pushes aside the neck of Anakin’s robes to bite at his collarbone. “My darling, I’ve wanted you so badly, I shouldn’t” —Despite the fact that he shouldn’t (whatever that means), Obi-Wan very much does not stop sucking marks into Anakin’s golden skin— “You’re just so beautiful and clever, I can’t stand the idea of you with another man, my Anakin—”

“But you never cared” —Anakin gasps and grabs the back of Obi-Wan’s head to push him further against his skin— “you never cared before.” 

And Obi-Wan adores this man but in this moment wants to turn him over his knee for his obliviousness. Obi-Wan never cared before?

Anakin is the only thing he cares about.

“Anakin, you absurd creature.” Obi-Wan wrenches his mouth away to meet his eyes, (his pretty, too-blue eyes) and explain himself. “My…affection for you has been consuming me. But I don’t own you, and I already took advantage, but I never meant for you to go to the king, I never meant—”

Anakin laughs breathily. “Obi-Wan, I was only even remotely interested in him because he kind of looks like you if I squint. If you’re saying you, my real Obi-Wan, are actually an option…” Anakin trails off meaningfully, biting that same lip.

Arousal coils in Obi-Wan, hot, and dangerous. But he pauses to frown at Anakin’s pronouncement. “He doesn’t look like me.”

Anakin rolls his eyes and tries leaning back in. “No, you’re much handsomer. Now can we—”

“I mean it. He’s snotty and boring and old—”

Master—”

“I mean, we’re both human men and we do both have beards, but aside from that—”

Anakin sighs and brings his hands to his belt and walks towards Obi-Wan’s bed with a pointed look.

Right.

Obi-Wan follows him, desire coursing through him like never before. Yes, Obi-Wan has had plenty of lovers, but he’s never felt anything quite like this. He wants Anakin beyond reason, beyond anything he can vocalize. He wants to push him to the bed, tear his robes from his body and sink into him until they’re indistinguishable from each other.

Anakin has thrown his belt to the floor by now, and Obi-Wan steps in to take over. He wants to unwrap him, piece by piece, revealing each inch of perfect, sun-kissed skin and then leaving his own, competing kisses on top.

He strips Anakin’s tabards off and works his hands under his tunic to feel his soft, warm skin. He takes a moment to appreciate the tactile feel of his deepest desires, the pulse of his heartbeat against Obi-Wan’s fingertips, the pebbling of his skin as Obi-Wan drags his nails—before he gives up on a slow seduction and tears the tunics off over Anakin’s head.

Anakin emerges from the rough treatment as a mass of tangled curls and wide, dark eyes. “Master—”

And Obi-Wan sucks a dark mark into Anakin’s throat, right above his pulse point. “Yes?”

“Master!” Anakin moans loudly and wriggles against him, each movement simply enflaming Obi-Wan further. “People will see that, I—oh—”

Obi-Wan kisses the mark in apology, before nipping a smaller, lighter one right beneath it. “Let them. I want everyone to know that you’re mine.”

And at that, Anakin shudders and presses his soft, delectable neck further into Obi-Wan’s teeth. “Yes, yours. Always, Master.”

And Obi-Wan trembles at that pronouncement. As though it could possibly be true when Obi-Wan is Anakin’s.

Anakin’s hands pull at Obi-Wan’s own tabards, at his belt, stripping him so quickly Obi-Wan wonders if Anakin can feel the same all-consuming lust Obi-Wan himself feels in this moment. Anakin brings his mismatched hands to Obi-Wan’s chest and threads his fingers into Obi-Wan’s chest hair. “Fuck,” Anakin groans, and tightens his grip a little uncomfortably. “Obi-Wan, please—”

Obi-Wan spins them around and shoves Anakin against the bed. He lands softly, the luxurious mattress sinking under Anakin’s weight.

(Really, Obi-Wan should be thanking King Davjair for providing such an accommodating surface for the coming debauchery.)

Obi-Wan kneels over Anakin, taking a moment to appreciate what is laid out before him. His Anakin, his frustrating, stunningly beautiful Anakin, is spread out beneath him, shirtless and panting like he’s desperate for Obi-Wan’s touch.

It is only years of Jedi training that stops him from coming, then and there.

Obi-Wan drops his head to press a gentle kiss to Anakin’s forehead, to the scar bisecting his eyebrow, to the tip of his nose and then to his lush, intoxicating mouth. Anakin moans and buries his hands in Obi-Wan’s hair and tries tugging him deeper into the mattress.

But Obi-Wan has other plans for him. He kisses his way down Anakin’s body, stopping to flick his tongue against his nipples and to lick into his navel, (Anakin wriggles, possibly ticklish, at that) before pausing at the waistband of Anakin’s trousers. He waits there, breathing heavily against the hot, tantalizing bulge. “Anakin? Is this all right?”

Anakin lifts himself up to his forearms to gape. “Yes, Master, of course, please—”

“Thank you, dearest,” Obi-Wan says, pressing a chaste kiss to the clothed tip of Anakin’s cock. “Thank you.” And he peels Anakin’s pants down as far as he can.

Anakin is as beautiful here as he is everywhere else, Obi-Wan notes with satisfaction. A creation of the Force itself, so achingly handsome that Obi-Wan can’t believe he’s really allowed to touch him like this. His cock is pink and slightly curved and already beading precome, even though Obi-Wan has barely touched him so far.

He’ll soon rectify that.

Obi-Wan leans down and circles his tongue around the tip, moaning faintly at the taste. Obi-Wan has always prided himself on his skills (lingual dexterity is good for more than just negotiation) but in this moment he feels a little overwhelmed.

Because Anakin is everything he’s ever wanted.

Anakin makes a wounded noise above him and Obi-Wan realizes he’s just been licking at the poor boy, instead of rendering him delirious with pleasure as he deserves. So, Obi-Wan swallows him down, hollows his cheeks and sucks, only to feel Anakin thrash and throw his head back into the mattress with a hoarse cry.

Oh—” Anakin tries bucking up his hips, but Obi-Wan holds him down. “Master, it’s so good—”

Obi-Wan pulls off for a moment. “Yes, darling, I’ll make you feel so good.” He kisses along the shaft to feel Anakin writhe against him. “Look at me, Anakin, I want to feel your eyes on me. I wouldn’t want you to forget who’s doing this to you.”

Anakin does lift his head shakily and blinks down at him. His chest and neck are flushed a deep, gorgeous red, and his eyes are glazed and desperate, his eyeliner smeared worse than ever. “Like I could forget. You feel incredible, I don’t—”

Obi-Wan sucks him down again and Anakin whimpers, the sound so perfect that Obi-Wan throbs in his pants even as his throat works against Anakin’s heated length.

He would spend eternity here, drawing the sweetest, most beautiful noises out of Anakin if he could, especially with the knowledge that Anakin is watching it all, that he knows that Obi-Wan is the one bringing him this exquisite pleasure, Anakin’s breathing coming in frantic, uneven bursts.

Obi-Wan wants more, he wants to drive himself into Anakin in every way possible, to sink into every pore so he’ll know better than to go on ill-conceived dates with random, unpleasant kings, so he’ll never want to so much as look at anyone else again.

He pulls off—Anakin whines and pouts down at him tragically—and Obi-Wan reaches down to tug off one of Anakin’s boots. Anakin sits up as though to help and Obi-Wan nudges him back with the Force, resulting in a scandalized “Master!” from Anakin.

He scrambles to pull Anakin’s pants and small clothes halfway off until one leg is free, and Obi-Wan hoists that same leg over his shoulder.

Anakin stares at him, still flushed and panting, but with his eyebrows pulled together in confusion.

“Tell me if I do anything you don’t like, and I’ll stop,” Obi-Wan promises.

Anakin relaxes a fraction, and nods, once. “Okay. I trust you.”

Obi-Wan’s heart swells at that. Anakin’s trust is a precious thing, something he never wants to lose, and it should be rewarded. He lowers his head again, pausing briefly to suck the head of Anakin’s cock for just a few seconds, before he dips his mouth lower to kiss along Anakin’s balls and slowly, carefully, to his entrance.

At the first touch of his tongue, Anakin jolts like he’s been shocked. But Obi-Wan keeps the pressure gentle and insistent and runs warm, exploratory fingers over Anakin’s thighs.

Obi-Wan,” Anakin gasps. “I’ve never—I don’t—”

Obi-Wan licks a stripe over his perfect, pink hole and regretfully lifts his head. “I can stop if you—”

“Please don’t stop.” Anakin’s eyes are wild, and his sweat-slick chest is heaving, much as it does in combat, and Obi-Wan is never going to be able to concentrate in a fight again. Obi-Wan can’t imagine a more arousing sight than Anakin, flushed and dripping across his perfect stomach, his legs wantonly spread for Obi-Wan’s indulgence.

And indulge he shall.

Obi-Wan has never felt such an intense desire to touch before, to lick and suck every single inch of another person’s body. But this is Anakin, who is twisting his hands in the sheets and groaning like the sounds are being wrenched from his body.

Obi-Wan brings his right hand to Anakin’s cock and trails it along the precome gathering at the tip. It’s unbelievable how wet he is, that Anakin seems to want this as badly as Obi-Wan does. Like he’s somehow unaware that practically everyone on this planet would kill for the opportunity to be exactly where Obi-Wan is at this exact moment.

Not that Obi-Wan would let them. His own cock aches, Obi-Wan aches to fuck him, to drive thoughts of anyone else from Anakin’s mind, but he needs to do this first. He needs to unravel Anakin as badly as he himself has been unraveled by Anakin’s constant, frustrating beauty.

Fortunately, Anakin seems amenable, even enthusiastic. His tight, pink hole flutters around Obi-Wan’s tongue and he thrashes against the hold on his cock, letting out a constant stream of pleas and moans that leave Obi-Wan utterly wrecked. Anakin is so beautiful, so perfect, so hot and tight—he circles his tongue around his entrance again and again, flicking past the tight rim to really feel him from the inside out—

“Ah!” —Anakin’s hips buck up into the wet glide of Obi-Wan’s fist— “I’m so close—”

Obi-Wan fucks his tongue into Anakin once more to feel him clench, then pulls back. He needs to see for himself, he needs to watch what happens when Anakin comes with Obi-Wan’s name on his lips.

He already looks more debauched than Obi-Wan thought possible. His pants are still tangled around one leg, his lips are bitten red and the red, swollen, head of his cock is only intermittently visible as Obi-Wan jerks him hard and fast. “Please come for me, Anakin. I want to see, I need to see, my dearest—”

And Anakin does, in a rare, luminous moment of obedience. He throws his head back, thrusts his hips into Obi-Wan’s hand one final time and pulses over his fist, his cries echoing in Obi-Wan’s mind as the most amazing, salacious thing he has ever heard.

Obi-Wan yearns to fuck him into the bed immediately. But instead, he kisses Anakin’s firm, trembling abdomen and waits for the shocks to subside. Anakin is young, and can surely go again, maybe he’d even let Obi-Wan finger him open to watch his pretty face more closely as Obi-Wan strokes along that most intimate place inside him—

Then Anakin slides his leg further down Obi-Wan’s body, to around his waist, and flips them over with no warning, pinning Obi-Wan to the bed with his strong, golden thighs.

“That was so good,” Anakin says, his breathing still a little uneven. “So good. Even better than I’d imagined, Master, and I’ve imagined a lot.”

And that little revelation makes his cock jump. “I’m delighted to oblige,” Obi-Wan says, trying not to thrust up against Anakin’s ass and coat the inside of his own pants. He doesn’t want to bring himself to completion that way, rutting against Anakin mindlessly. He wants to be inside Anakin, to watch his red, bitten mouth fall open as Obi-Wan fucks him slow and gentle. He wants to kiss him, fuck his mouth with his tongue while driving his cock into him—

Anakin bites his lip and Obi-Wan realizes he’s been staring at his mouth. He opens his own mouth to say something, but Anakin dips his head to Obi-Wan’s bare chest to kiss along the edge of one pectoral. “You’re so hot, Master,” Anakin mutters against Obi-Wan’s skin. “I can’t stand it.”

Obi-Wan feels like Anakin has perhaps misunderstood the situation, but it’s difficult to formulate a response with that sweet mouth on him. “Darling—”

Anakin sucks a bruise into Obi-Wan’s chest and Obi-Wan forgets where he was going. He just lies there, pinned, and enraptured, as Anakin slinks his way down Obi-Wan’s body. He pauses at Obi-Wan waistband for a beat. “Okay?”

As though Obi-Wan has not gotten off to this exact image hundreds of times by now. As though anyone in their right mind would stop Anakin from what he is about to do. “If you’d like, Anakin, my—” He breaks off to inhale sharply as Anakin yanks Obi-Wan’s pants just past his hips, exposing his cock. His cock looks almost angry with how hard it is, how desperately he wants Anakin, but Anakin doesn’t seem intimidated. He just groans a little and drags his flesh hand up the hot shaft, fingers catching on the swollen crown.

“You’re so big,” Anakin says, like something out of a dirty holovid, but so much better, because this is Anakin, the Hero With No Fear, awestruck at the sight of Obi-Wan’s cock. Which in itself would be enough to tip Obi-Wan into orgasm, but then Anakin lowers his mouth to dot a little kiss against the tip and smiles at him.

Now it really is precome glistening on Anakin’s beautiful lips, and heat builds in Obi-Wan’s belly, threatening to overflow—and Anakin sucks the head of Obi-Wan’s cock just once, his cheeks still flushed from his earlier orgasm, his eyes staring back at him, so blue and still rimmed with the infernal eyeliner—

And Obi-Wan comes, spilling into Anakin’s hot, wet mouth and overflowing down his chin. Anakin sputters a little and brings his hand to his face in alarm, Obi-Wan’s come clinging to Anakin’s long fingers and dribbling down his lips.

Anakin licks his lips and Obi-Wan’s still twitching cock pulses with further interest. “Master,” Anakin says, in disbelief. “Warn a guy, would you?”

“I’m sorry.” Obi-Wan tries catching his breath even as he watches Anakin’s tongue flick out to taste the come coating his hand. “This has been a very long day.”

***

The next morning they’re scheduled to have breakfast with King Davjair and his minister, so Obi-Wan regretfully rolls away from the warmth of Anakin’s cuddles (the boy apparently prefers to sleep with his face buried in Obi-Wan’s neck, and who is Obi-Wan to stop him?) and gets ready to face the day.

With considerably more cheer than he did the day before. Suddenly Obi-Wan finds this planet and this room quite pleasant. Charming, even.

Obi-Wan is even able to be amiable and gracious when they arrive to meet the king and his minister. “Good morning, your majesty,” Obi-Wan says, all smiles and unctuous friendliness. “Isn’t it a lovely morning?”

The king blinks, and he takes in Obi-Wan’s grin and Anakin’s rather flushed and dazed expression. “Yes, it is. Did you sleep well?”

Obi-Wan bites back the vulgar and triumphing remark he wants to make at that. He barely slept, of course. He spent the night learning every delicious slope and valley of Anakin’s perfect body, every sweet moan and whimper he was able to coax out of him, a symphony of ecstasy meant only for Obi-Wan. “We did,” he agrees smoothly. “I must say, the beds here are marvelous.”

Anakin smiles and dips his head in acknowledgement. “Good morning, your majesty.” When he straightens back up, the bruise Obi-Wan sucked into his throat is stark, and when Anakin settles into his chair, he doesn’t quite manage to mask his wince.

Obi-Wan can see the moment realization dawns on Davjair, and Obi-Wan regrets most keenly that he hadn’t thought to bring a holorecorder so he could watch it over and over again.

But Obi-Wan isn’t the sort of man to gloat. He doesn’t need to, not when Anakin is all he needs to be happy. Anakin and his brilliance, passion, and his golden presence. “I think the minister and I had quite a productive discussion yesterday,” Obi-Wan says with a smile. “I think we’re ready to reach an agreement.”

Davjair drags his eyes away from Anakin’s bitten neck. “Oh?”

Obi-Wan nods. “Yes, the Republic will continue to utilize the moon in question for our refueling, in exchange for a favorable trade agreement.”

The king raises a cool eyebrow. He must know that the minister probably could have asked for more, and indeed should have. But instead, the king wanted to spend his afternoon making moves on Anakin, leaving the helpless minister at Obi-Wan’s mercy.

Obi-Wan almost feels bad for the man. Almost.

He expects Davjair to put up a fuss, to drag the argument out longer and insist on proper financial compensation if nothing else, but the man just heaves out a dramatic sigh and sinks back into his seat, still watching Anakin squirm out of the corner of his eye.

“Why not?” the king asks rhetorically, shaking his head. “You already have everything else, don’t you?”

***

+1

The Jedi Temple is a paragon of serenity, or at least it should be. Quinlan Vos is very much the sort of Jedi who seeks to challenge that serenity, as well as Obi-Wan’s patience.

Obi-Wan strolls through the hallway, trying and failing to tune out Quinlan’s voice.

“Obi-Wan, come on, you’re being difficult. Just trade with me, it’s not a big deal.” Quinlan tries tugging on his sleeve like they’re a pair of younglings and Obi-Wan bats him away.

“Absolutely not. I requested this mission because I wanted to see Hynestia myself. You’ll have other opportunities.”

Quinlan grumbles and crosses his arms but doesn’t break pace. “What if I die before my next opportunity. What then?”

“Then you won’t have to be upset about missing out.” Obi-Wan ignores Quinlan’s offended look.

“I’ve been assigned to Oida, Obi-Wan, for some political mess. You know how bad I am at those.”

Obi-Wan smiles benevolently. “Then this sounds like a perfect opportunity to improve your skills.”

“Obi-Wan—”

“Please, Quinlan, the decision has been made.” Obi-Wan spreads his hands in supplication. “I have a Council meeting now. And I rather expect you have some packing to do, no?”

Quinlan’s answering glare is poisonous. “This isn’t over, Obi-Wan. Mark my words. I’m getting that mission.”

Obi-Wan smiles to himself as Quinlan storms off.

Unlikely.

***

The Council meeting draws to a close and Obi-Wan makes his way back to his rooms. He’s very much looking forward to visiting the abandoned temple on Hynestia. He’ll be travelling with Anakin (and his heart picks up at that like he’s some Padawan with a crush, rather than a Jedi Master) because Anakin is so strong in the Force and is quite an asset in these sorts of missions.

It’ll be a nice change of pace from the war, or from endless negotiations. He’s anticipating some exploring, studying the architecture and the ancient writing, possibly kissing Anakin up against some lush trees—

He reaches the door of his quarters and frowns at the presence he can sense within. That’s odd. What’s Quinlan doing here?

He slides the door open with trepidation to find Quinlan sitting on Obi-Wan's sofa, looking quite unperturbed.

“Welcome back, Obi-Wan,” Quinlan says from his spot, as though he has not broken into Obi-Wan's rooms to presumably badger him some more.

Obi-Wan sighs. “The answer is still no. What are you doing here?”

Quinlan peers around a corner meaningfully. “I didn’t want to do this, but you left me no choice. I want that mission, Obi-Wan.”

Obi-Wan gapes at him. Left him no choice? What did Quinlan do? Is he going to chain Obi-Wan to the radiator?

(It wouldn’t be the first time.)

“Quinlan, this is inappropriate—”

“Master?” comes Anakin’s voice, slightly muffled, and Obi-Wan panics. Did Quinlan lock him somewhere, or board him up in the wall? No, that would be insane. However—

“Anakin? Where are you?” Obi-Wan hadn’t noticed his presence at first because he and Anakin are so attuned at this point, he can constantly feel him, so bright and overwhelming, but so right. It’s how he should have always felt, and now he has it all the time.

Quinlan grins and settles back in his seat, looking for all the galaxy like someone whose wicked plan has finally come together. Obi-Wan isn’t sure he understands. Anakin feels unbothered in the Force, not at all like someone Quinlan has chained up. So then—

Anakin steps out of the fresher, a contemplative frown on his face. “Yeah, it fits okay, but are you sure this is really what people wear?”

Anakin stands there, illuminated by a beam of sunlight he seems to have brought with him somehow, looking more beautiful than Obi-Wan had thought possible. He is, completely inexplicably, wearing an outfit of flimsy, shimmering fabrics in a deep blue, just scraps over his chest and around his hips. His entire stomach is uncovered, and Obi-Wan can see the flex of his abdominal muscles when he breathes.

“I’m sure,” Quinlan says, or someone says, and Obi-Wan has no idea what they’re sure about because Anakin is standing there in his living room looking like that. His legs are bare and so impossibly long that Obi-Wan aches to throw him to the ground and bite marks along the length of one supple, endless thigh, Quinlan be damned.

“What do you think?” Anakin looks so natural dressed like this, the gold of his skin almost glowing against the blue.

Obi-Wan thinks that he has never been this confused and this aroused in his entire life. Why is this happening, and why is Quinlan involved?

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan says weakly. He’s not sure he can say anything else. Anakin’s arms are bare, both of them, a tantalizing display of his both physical strength and his engineering prowess. Obi-Wan swallows around his dry mouth and his almost suffocating arousal.

“Vos dropped by.” Anakin explains, needlessly. It is clear that Quinlan is here. What is less clear is why, and why Anakin is dressed like something out of Obi-Wan’s most shameful fantasies. “He said we’re going to a place called Oida, and he offered to lend me this ceremonial outfit. It seems a bit flimsy, but—”

Quinlan snorts. “That’s just what it’s like there. You’ll need this if you’re going to any important dinners.”

Anakin raises his eyebrows. “If you say so. I just worry it’s a little insubstantial if we run into any trouble. Look at this, Obi-Wan,” Anakin insists, as though Obi-Wan were capable of looking anywhere else. “Where exactly am I supposed to clip my lightsaber?”

Anakin twists his hips to demonstrate his concern, and Obi-Wan’s mind goes blank. There’s a reason he shouldn’t just stand here, hard and aching and seconds away from fucking Anakin into the ground, but he can no longer recall it. Because Anakin’s little costume was designed by someone who hates Obi-Wan and wants him to suffer.

Because there’s a long, deep slit in the side that, when Anakin moves, shifts to reveal his entire flank and the curve of his perfect, muscular ass.

Anakin is wearing see-through clothes that show off his ass. Anakin is craning around to look at himself, his back arching in much the same way it does while Obi-Wan fucks him. Anakin’s eyes are so bright, only highlighted by the blue scraps that pass as clothing. Anakin is mostly naked, he’s so beautiful, Obi-Wan needs him, needs to taste him—

“Obi-Wan?” A voice comes, distant and muffled and utterly confusing.

Obi-Wan blinks at the intrusion. “What?” He feels a tap against his shoulder that he ignores.

“So, you agree?”

Agree? Agree that Anakin is a creature too perfect to be real, that Obi-Wan should drop to his knees now and worship him like the god he is? — “Yes.”

“Perfect!” Quinlan thumps Obi-Wan on the back. “I’ll let the Council know.”

Why would the Council need to— “Wait, what?”

Quinlan flashes a smile and takes an enormous step away from Obi-Wan. “Have a really good time on Oida, Obi-Wan. I’ll call you from Hynestia.” He nods towards Anakin. “You can keep the clothes.”

That’s not right. Obi-Wan and Anakin are going Hynestia, not Quinlan. He looks towards Anakin for confirmation but catches him just as he bends down to adjust the hem of his outfit, and as he stares at the golden expanse of Anakin’s thigh, he distantly hears the door to his quarters slide shut.

He’s been outplayed, hasn’t he?

Obi-Wan watches Anakin fuss with the gauzy fabric fondly. There will be other temples. And besides, what joy could be found in exploring a temple to the Force when Anakin, the embodiment of the Force itself is here before him, golden and resplendent and draped in nothing but gauzy fabric.

Obi-Wan will just have to read up on Oida.

Obi-Wan sighs. “You look incredible, Anakin, truly.” He steps closer to Anakin and runs his eyes over the practically translucent fabric critically. Quinlan went right in for the kill with this one, didn’t he? “I don’t suppose I could convince you to let me tear that off you?”

Anakin laughs, his pleasure lighting up between them and arousing Obi-Wan even further. “It’s Vos’s, so go ahead.” He ducks his head and smiles so fetchingly that Obi-Wan has no choice but to run a finger along the plush line of his lips.

“Excellent.” Obi-Wan drags Anakin into a filthy kiss and only eventually releases him to draw breath. “As handsome as you look right now, dearest, I happen to know you’ll look even better wearing nothing at all.”

“Master!” Anakin’s eyes darken and he bites his lip, his cheeks pink but his Force signature glowing at the compliment. “What a line.”

“Sorry, darling, I couldn’t resist.” Obi-Wan pecks him, this time gently. “You know, some people call me The Negotiator.”

Because Obi-Wan can get whatever he wants from anyone, or so they claim. Fortunately, he already has everything he wants.

Right here, in his arms.