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a pyrrhic victory

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“He’s trying to kill us,” Ahsoka whines, her head hitting the table with a soft thud . “He must have it written in his diary: 11:15am, torture undergrads for my own sick pleasure.”

Across from her, Barriss sighs and flicks the page of her textbook. “I knew it would be an intense course, but… we’re in the fourth week of the semester and I’m already so far behind.”

Ahsoka cringes, the thought of her workload sending her into another panicked spiral. “I don’t know how he expects us to keep up, this is impossible.”

“Technically, this is all additional reading,” Barriss points out unhelpfully. Ahsoka lifts her head to glare at her.

“Yeah, but if you want to get a decent grade in Kenobi’s class, then you’ve gotta do it,” she complains. “Seriously though, did you hear him earlier?” 

Barriss clears her throat before saying with a posh accent, “‘I’ve nothing better to do in this evening, so I’ve decided to give you a pop quiz!’”

Ahsoka’s laugh is shushed by the librarian. They both duck their heads to avoid getting in any more trouble and sit working in silence for a few minutes until Ahsoka sighs again.

“How can someone be so nice yet so evil? I just don’t get it.”

“He’s like the opposite of your brother,” Barriss jokes, a small smile twitching at her lips. “He’s evil but nice, right?”

Ahsoka giggles quietly. “Oh what I’d give to have Anakin correct our papers instead of Kenobi. You know he goes crying to Professor Koon every time he gives someone a failing grade? He’s so ridiculous.”

“I could live with ridiculous,” Barriss grins. “How likely is it that we could get him to switch over to be Kenobi’s TA instead?”

“Not sure how he’d feel about switching from chemistry to contract law,” she says woefully, before letting out a disgusted snort. “Though knowing him it would only take him a month to be ahead of us.”

“All I want is a professor who understands that we aren’t machines,” Barriss sighs. “Kenobi said at the start that the weekly assignments were simple, but it takes me three days to even make mine passable.”

A scowl forms on Ahsoka’s face as she thinks back to their lecture earlier. “He needs to be stopped. Or arrested maybe.”

“No,” Barriss counters with a small grin. “What he needs is to get laid.”

This time their laughter is so loud, the librarian takes their names and gives them a verbal warning. They manage to smother their giggles long enough to look suitably contrite for the librarian to leave with one last frown. 

Ahsoka smiles at Barriss over the top of her laptop, but the other girl is frowning slightly. Ahsoka nudges her with her foot and raises an eyebrow questioningly. 

Barriss bites her lip and says, “I was just thinking that Kenobi probably would be nicer if he got laid, and then I got thinking about who I’d set him up with, and then —” She blushes and shakes her head. “Nevermind.”

Ahsoka grins widely and leans in closer. “Oh come on, tell me who you had in mind. Was it Professor Tachi? Or maybe Cody? Though I couldn’t see Kenobi sleeping with his TA. Or what about” — she shudders — “Krell?”

The disgust on Barriss’ face is enough to have her sniggering into her hand, even as she watches out for librocop. 

“None of them,” Barriss sighs once Ahsoka has calmed down. “It’s just — we were talking about him earlier, and I know Kenobi is definitely his type, so — please don’t get annoyed at me for saying this, but what about Anakin?”

“What?” Ahsoka yells, forgetting to be quiet. “Anakin?”

Someone clears their throat behind them, and when they turn to look, the librarian is watching them with an expression of disdainful fury.

They get kicked out of the library.

+

The plan, they decide, is simple.

Introduce Anakin to Professor Kenobi, let Anakin distract Kenobi the way he always manages to distract attractive people who should know better (case in point: Padmé), watch as Kenobi forgets all about surprise pop quizzes, and rejoice in their victory while drinking copious amounts of alcohol. 

(Ahsoka worries that maybe Anakin won’t be Kenobi’s type, but Barriss puts a commiserating hand on her shoulder and tells her, “Anakin is everyone’s type.”)

The problem, as Barriss points out, is getting them to meet in the first place. The easiest way to do this is to have the one thing linking them (Ahsoka) bring them together in a romantic setting (the university car park) where they can ogle each other to their hearts’ content. 

(“Do we really think Kenobi is the type to ogle?” Barriss asks, doubtful until Ahsoka reminds her of the horrific display of eye-fucking that occurred last year when Councilwoman Kryze had visited campus as a guest speaker.)

After some mild stalking, they discover that Kenobi leaves his office in the law building everyday between 4:01 and 4:06 p.m. and reaches Car Park H within eight minutes. The science building is a twelve minute walk to this specific car park, something which Anakin complains of incessantly the morning Ahsoka has planned their meet-cute. 

“I’m telling you,” she insists. “Car Park H is way easier to get out of during the rush hour, okay? Also, it means I have a shorter walk when I usually have to walk for ages . It’s completely unfair that you park near Engineering just to suit you —”

“Sheesh, Snips,” he laughs. “If it means that much to you.”

She sniffs. “Don’t forget to be there at 4:10, right? I can’t be late to Barriss’ study session.”

He nods even as he begins to walk away. “I’ll get you to your party on time!”

“It’s not a party!” she yells after him, but he only waves a hand at her and continues on his way.

She takes a deep breath and nods. This is going to work. It is not morally wrong or questionable in any way. It’s for the good of law students everywhere.

The day passes in a blur. Kenobi’s class surprisingly isn’t awful, though she does feel slightly panicked any time he looks in her direction. Classes with Professor Tachi and Professor Vos go quickly, though they both assign extra reading for whatever reason; they obviously woke up feeling more evil than normal this morning.

It creeps closer to four o’clock and Ahsoka lingers by the elevator in the law building. Her watch hits 4:03 just as the elevator dings and Professor Kenobi steps out, smiling once he sees her.

“Hello, Ahsoka,” he says cheerily. “Finished for the day?”

She smiles back, letting it go a bit nervous. “Hi Professor! I was actually trying to get to your office hours but I had a coffee incident and had to get cleaned up.”

He frowns. “I’m afraid I’m done for the day, but if it’s something small, you’re more than welcome to walk with me and discuss it as we go. Does that sound alright?”

Internally, she does a victory dance. On the outside, she nods eagerly. “That would be great, thanks Professor!”

“Not at all,” he grins, holding the door for her as they step out of the building. “Now what can I help you with?”

“It was one of the extra readings you assigned last week,” she explains. “The paper Nu wrote on Dyas vs Dooku?”

He nods. “Ah yes, that can be a tricky one. I imagine you got lost when she referred to the Separatist act?”

The walk is shorter than she expected as she listens to him explain where she went wrong, and suddenly they’re at the entrance to the car park.

“I hope that was helpful,” he says, searching in his coat pockets for his keys. “Was there anything else?”

She looks around in panic, trying to spot Anakin. He should be here by now, she thinks furiously as she tries to come up with something to ask Kenobi. “Well, um, I actually was wondering —”

“Ahsoka!”

They both turn to see Anakin walking towards them, a wide grin on his face as he gets closer. This, in Ahsoka’s mind, is a good thing. What’s even better is that there’s a gentle breeze tugging at both his jacket and curls, making him look like something out of one of those romcoms Rex loves. If Kenobi doesn’t fall in lust with him right now, Ahsoka will eat her shoe. 

Eating her shoe suddenly becomes so much more likely, however, when she realises that Dr Koon is by his side. 

Now, usually Ahsoka loves Plo. He is incredibly Dad-shaped, makes her tea whenever she crashes his and Anakin’s meetings, and is nice enough to treat her to a hot chocolate in the café beside the science building every now and then. He’s a wonderful influence on Anakin, who at times can be rather, um, hotheaded, but Plo can rein him in the way Ahsoka thought only Shmi could. 

However, him being here is not a part of the plan. Him being here upsets the dynamic of two people falling for each other. How is Kenobi supposed to ask Anakin out when Plo is standing there in a knitted jumper covered in sunflowers?

“Anakin, hi!” she says with a forced grin. “Hello Professor Koon!”

“Good to see you, little ‘Soka,” the professor says warmly. “And you too, Obi-Wan.”

She blinks in surprise and turns to look at Professor Kenobi.

“Long time no see, Plo,” he smiles. “How are your boys doing?”

“As troublesome as ever,” Plo chuckles, before turning to gesture at Anakin. “This is Anakin, he’s one of my PhD’s.”

Kenobi steps forward and extends a hand, and she thinks she sees interest gleaming in his eyes. “A pleasure to meet you, Anakin. You’re very lucky to have a supervisor like Plo.”

“Don’t I know it,” Anakin laughs. “I only drive him crazy sometimes, so he probably doesn’t mind having me.”

“Mind?” Plo asks, shaking his head. “If you’d only apply for the post-doc, you might realise how little I mind having you around.” 

Ahsoka turns to stare at her brother in disbelief. “You haven’t applied yet?”

He pointedly ignores her, choosing to focus on anything but her accusing glare.

Plo is saying to Kenobi, “You’re coming to the gala tonight, aren’t you?”

“I’m afraid so,” Professor Kenobi says, rubbing at his beard, glancing quickly at Anakin before returning to Plo. “Someone has to represent the department and I drew the short straw.”

“Nonsense, it will be great fun,” Plo insists, nudging Kenobi with his elbow. “Anakin here is my plus one for the evening. I’m hoping to tempt him into staying in academia with the hors d'oeuvres.”

Kenobi laughs and turns to smile at her brother, eyes lingering on him. “Oh, will he? Be careful, Anakin, many are caught that way.”

It’s rather obscene, Ahsoka thinks, the way he says Anakin’s name, but she supposes this means her plan is working.

And then Anakin opens his stupid mouth and ruins everything.

“Oh wait, is this the professor you don’t like?” Anakin asks her, completely unaware that this is not a question he should ask his sister in front of her professor. Her jaw drops and her cheeks burn with mortification; she darts a glance to Kenobi, who seems to be fighting an amused grin. 

“Nevermind,” Anakin continues obliviously, “that’s Krell, right?”

“I think we should probably get going, Skyguy,” she says faintly as Kenobi starts to laugh.

Even Plo is chuckling, but it does nothing to cool her embarrassment. She mutters a goodbye and turns on her heel to stalk over to the car. She can hear the three still talking behind her but she doesn’t want to know what else Anakin is saying. He’s already said enough.

Plan is fucked, she texts Bariss as she settles dejectedly into the passenger’s seat. Expect more pop quizzes in our future.

The :( she receives in reply does nothing to make her feel any better.

+

Anakin shifts uncomfortably in his suit, trying to loosen his tie without messing it up completely. 

The hall in which the gala is being held is much too warm and much too overcrowded. He spots some faces he recognises, but none that he’d be friendly enough with to go over and chat to them. He lost Plo about 20 minutes ago and ever since he’s been sorely tempted to go home. And to make matters worse, the hors d'oeuvres aren’t even that nice. 

He takes one more look around the room and tosses back the end of his glass of wine, deciding that Plo won’t really be disappointed if he leaves early. He’s debating whether to call Ahsoka (who’s furious with him for some reason) for a ride home or to just get a taxi when an accented voice calls from behind him, “Anakin, isn’t it?”

Anakin turns quickly, eyes widening when he sees “Professor Kenobi?”

The man smiles, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he does. “You can call me Obi-Wan, no need for such formalities. I thought I recognised you but I wasn’t sure.”

Anakin looks down at himself. “I guess it’s a bit of a change from earlier.”

Kenobi’s — Obi-Wan’s eyes trail down the length of him, taking him in from head to toe, before returning to meet his gaze. It makes Anakin feel even warmer, and he resists the urge to look away. Is Obi-Wan flirting with him? “Not an unwelcome one, I assure you.”

He’s definitely flirting with him.

Obi-Wan leans against the high table, his posture so relaxed it makes Anakin envious. “Are you enjoying yourself?”

Anakin grimaces before he can help it, but it only makes the other man smile wider. “Having that much fun, are you?”

“I lost Plo,” he admits, rubbing his neck self-consciously, “and I don’t really know anyone else here. The food isn’t great and I don’t actually like wine.” He tugs at his collar again. “And this suit is really uncomfortable.”

Obi-Wan has a little grin pulling at his lips, one that promises fun. “Well, I’m sure I can help with some of your problems,” he tells Anakin, taking him by the arm and leading him in the direction of the bar. “I’m good friends with the bartender and I’d be delighted to get you your drink of choice which is…?”

Anakin swallows past the lump in his throat. “Tequila.”

Obi-Wan laughs. “Not what I expected. I prefer whiskey myself but,” he leans in close to murmur in Anakin’s ear, “I can see the appeal.”

Anakin feels a hot flush rise to his face as Obi-Wan turns to speak to the bartender. A minute later, he turns back with two drinks in his hands, offering one to Anakin. 

“That was fast,” he murmurs, trying not to shiver as their fingers brush. 

“Like I said,” Obi-Wan says with a wink, his hand settling on the small of Anakin’s back, and thus cutting off Anakin’s train of thought, “Dex is a good friend.”

They find some empty seats in a corner where it’s not so crowded. Obi-Wan sits half-turned towards Anakin, one hand draped over the back of his chair. Anakin is desperately aware of how close it is to his neck, can feel Obi-Wan’s fingertips barely brushing his skin.

“Now, as for company,” the other man says steadily, as if he’s not currently making Anakin squirm in his seat. “Since we’ve already met, I think you can count me as someone you know. Don’t you agree?”

The words are accompanied by the feeling of fingers finally touching his skin, stroking softly against the back of his neck. He couldn’t find the words to speak even if he wanted to. 

The smirk on Obi-Wan’s face, however, is enough to revive some of his common sense and shake off the daze he’s fallen into. The other man is enjoying this far too much, Anakin decides, and isn’t suffering nearly enough.

“I don’t think I do,” he murmurs, leaning forward in his seat and out of Obi-Wan’s reach. His new position lets him slide a leg between Obi-Wan’s as he takes a sip of his drink, letting his tongue chase the drops off the rim of his glass before he sets it down. “I don’t know nearly enough about you, for starters.”

Obi-Wan’s gaze has gone dark, drinking in the sight of him. “What would you like to know then, darling?”

Anakin hums, choosing his first question carefully. “Favourite colour?”

“Green,” is the instant reply. “Though I’m also very fond of blue.”

Leaning in a bit closer, he smiles. “Mine’s red. Next question: show or tell?”

Obi-Wan moves his hand to let it rest on Anakin’s thigh, his thumb rubbing circles against the material of his pants before he squeezes lightly. “Show.”

Anakin swallows heavily, the other man’s gaze tracking the movement of his throat. Obi-Wan licks his lips and Anakin has suddenly had enough.

“Last question,” he says, draining the last of his drink and setting the glass down on the table as he stands. “Do you smoke?”

Obi-Wan watches him for a second before standing up and patting his pockets. “When the mood strikes, yes.”

The smoking area is empty when they get there, and maybe Anakin should be smoother about this, but honestly he’s horny as hell and tired of waiting. He leans back against the brick wall, hips tilted in a way that never fails to catch people’s eyes. And sure enough, Obi-Wan is looking at him like he wants to eat him up.

He lifts his chin in a silent invitation and that’s all it takes. 

Obi-Wan crowds him up against the wall, hands gripping his hips and pulling them towards him. Anakin groans when their crotches brush but the sound is immediately swallowed up when Obi-Wan kisses him. 

There’s nothing gentle about it; both of them are hungry for this and neither one has the patience to go slower. Anakin feels dizzy at the intensity of the kiss, completely overcome by the sensation of Obi-Wan’s tongue licking at the seam of his lips. 

The kiss breaks and Obi-Wan moves his attention to Anakin’s neck, leaving him to pant and groan until he’s squirming against the thigh Obi-Wan shoved between legs.

He pulls Obi-Wan away from his neck and lets his hand slide to Obi-Wan’s thigh, loving the way the man tenses with every inch travelled. “You got me a drink,” he murmurs in his ear, “and you’ve been very good company. But,” he says, pulling away only for the heavy hand on his hip to tighten and hold him where he is. Anakin doesn’t bother trying to hold back his small gasp, loving the way Obi-Wan’s grip tightens at the sound.

“But?” Obi-Wan’s voice is rough, his breath hot against Anakin’s cheek. He squeezes his hip again when no answer comes.

“It’s like I told you,” Anakin gasps. “This suit isn’t very comfortable. And you haven’t done anything about it.”

Obi-Wan pulls back to look at him, black nearly eclipsing the blue of his eyes. “Oh darling,” he purrs, sounding like sin itself. “I haven’t done anything about it yet.”

With the worst hangover she’s ever had, Ahsoka drags herself up the steps of Anakin’s apartment building. The whole place is an eyesore, covered in gaudy tinsel and garish Christmas lights, and she has never related more to the Grinch.

Celebrating the end of winter exams had seemed like such a good idea yesterday after a gruelling semester. She had met with Barriss and their friends for a few drinks, which had turned into many drinks and then shots and then the club and then waking up on Kanan’s bathroom floor missing a shoe. 

She feels close to death when she wakes up, and her mouth tastes like Hera’s homemade vodka. There’s a pounding in her head that won’t go away no matter how much she wills it. The only viable option for her is to turn to Anakin for some sympathy. 

She hasn’t spent time with him properly in weeks. A coffee or two on campus or getting a ride home together on the weekend to see Shmi, but that’s all.  She feels a bit guilty, but her coursework has been keeping her so busy. She’s forgiven him for completely embarrassing her in front of Professor Kenobi too, which she thinks is very generous of her. She reckons an impromptu visit will do them both some good — she’ll get a proper meal and he’ll be able to fuss over as he tends to do. A mutually beneficial arrangement. 

So she’s ready to be fed a hearty breakfast by Anakin and spend the day recovering in his apartment as he mother-hens her. She doesn’t bother telling him she’s coming, because why would she?

Her plans, however, are instantly derailed by the sight of Professor Kenobi sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper and wearing only Anakin’s silk dressing gown that she’s pretty sure he stole from Aayla. She screams and whirls around, the image already burned into her mind. She never needed to see that much of Kenobi’s thighs and she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to wipe it from her memory.

“What the fuck, Ahsoka?” she hears Anakin ask from where he stands at the stove, but she can’t bear to turn around yet.

“Why is my law professor naked in your kitchen?” she screeches back, shuddering as she utters the words.

Kenobi’s voice pipes up, “I’m hardly naked. I’m wearing a dressing gown, for goodness sake.”

Anakin laughs at that and says, “And looking fine in it, too.”

Ahsoka spins around to shoot her brother a look of pure disgust. “Don’t ever say that when I’m in the room.”

They’re too busy making eyes at each other to pay her any attention. With a shudder of horror, she makes her way to the table and sits down opposite her professor, who only gives her a brief smile before returning to look at the newspaper in his hands.

“What are you doing here?” Anakin asks her, serving up a plate of food for Kenobi and getting a kiss on the cheek in thanks. 

Ahsoka thinks she might throw up. “I have no food at my place and I think I’m dying. Though being here right now might be making me feel worse.”

Anakin puts another setting on the table before placing a serving before her, pinching her shoulder softly as he does. She shoots him another glare as she digs in, stuffing her face with food. “How long has this been going on?”

“Don’t speak with your mouth full,” Kenobi lectures from behind the paper. She turns to stare wide-eyed at her brother.

Anakin sniggers at her affronted look. “A while, I guess. We met at a gala after that day in the parking lot? Didn’t tell you ‘cause I didn’t think you’d be too happy about it.”

And she’s not. Except. She really should be, because this was the plan all along, wasn’t it? She should be crowing in victory. This was the ideal outcome that she and Barriss had been hoping for — Kenobi and Anakin together. But watching them now, as her professor feeds her brother raspberries by hand, all she can feel is nauseous.

“I think I’m going to be sick,” she mumbles as Anakin leans in further. His shirt shifts slightly with the movement to reveal a dark hickey on his neck. “Oh, I’m definitely going to be sick.”

Anakin doesn’t even spare her a glance, too busy running his fingers down Kenobi’s arm. “You know which way the bathroom is.”

She’s out of her seat the next second and crouching in front of the toilet bowl, heaving her guts up to the sound of their conversation in the kitchen. This is her punishment, she realises, letting her head rest against the cool porcelain. She brought this all upon herself.

“Do you think we should help her?” she hears Kenobi ask over the sound of her retching. She knows without a doubt she can never take a class of his again.

“She’s fine, babe,” Anakin replies. “I’ve seen her way worse than this.”

Babe. She wishes she had a time machine so she could go back to September and smack herself for being so stupid because it had never once occurred to her that she might have to bear witness to them actually being together if the plan succeeded.

She drags herself back to the kitchen where Anakin is helping himself to Professor Kenobi’s coffee, the scene so sickeningly domestic it makes her stomach roil again. 

But it’s also kind of cute, she has to admit, as she watches them solve the crossword puzzle together, arguing over whether the answer to fourteen down is ‘fen’ or ‘bog’.

“Professor Kenobi is right,” she chimes in. “It’s ‘fen’.”

Anakin sends her a betrayed look as Kenobi crows in victory, snatching the newspaper away from Anakin to fill in the answer. And as Ahsoka collapses in her chair giggling at them both, she thinks that maybe her plan wasn’t so bad after all.