Anakin was feeling incredibly nervous as he pulled into the faculty parking lot at Coruscant High School. It was his first official day as a physics teacher, and he was starting to seriously regret this whole responsible-adult-with-an-actual-job thing as he thought about the fact that in an hour’s time, he’d be standing up in front of a bunch of teenagers and trying to get them to care about physics, of all things. Anakin had always loved physics, since he had a natural knack for it, but he remembered from his own high school years that it was generally the most hated subject as far as the average student was concerned. And as if that wasn’t all bad enough, his students—mostly juniors and seniors—would only be a few years younger than Anakin himself was (he was only twenty-three, and this was his first real teaching job since he’d graduated college a little over a year ago).
All things considered, Anakin was rather wondering if he was going to be sick as he got out of his car and slouched towards the school, slinging his bag over his shoulder as he went. He’d gotten the bag a few days before because it seemed like something he should do, but in truth Anakin hadn’t known what to put in it besides his lunch, his laptop, and a few pencils, so he’d tossed a couple blank notebooks in there to help him look more professional. Just more proof that he was a fraud who shouldn’t be allowed to teach. Anakin actually felt quite guilty that parents were going to be entrusting their children to his care. He didn’t know anything. He was going to be a horrible teacher. No one would learn anything, and then they’d all fail out of his class, and then their GPAs would tank, and then they wouldn’t be able to get into college, and then Anakin would get fired.
This gloomy train of thought carried him to the front of the building, and he broke out into an awkward half-jog as he realized that someone was holding the door for him. “Thanks,” said Anakin breathlessly, and then he got really breathless as he took in the woman who had held the door. She looked about his age, maybe a little older, though she was several inches shorter; Anakin’s shoulders were at her eye level. From the (very) small amount of knowledge Anakin possessed regarding fashion, he thought she seemed impeccably dressed. Her dark hair was pulled back neatly, and her brown eyes were warm as she smiled at him.
“Hi, I’m Padmé Amidala,” she said, shifting her coffee into her left hand and holding the right out for him to shake. Coffee, thought Anakin as he took her hand. That would’ve been a good idea. He wasn’t used to getting up this early. “I’m going to be teaching history, but I’m new here. This is my first day.”
Anakin smiled. “Me too,” he said, relieved that he’d found someone else to hopefully be clueless with. “Anakin Skywalker, physics.”
“Nice to meet you, Anakin. Where were you before this?”
Before this? Before what? What was “this”? “Um, I was eating breakfast at my house,” he said uncertainly.
“Sorry, I meant what school did you teach at before this one?” clarified Padmé, looking like she was trying not to laugh at him. Anakin’s face flamed. Thirty seconds on the job and he’d already made a fool of himself. “I was at Naboo High School for a few years, but that was my first school, so this is only my second.”
So she was definitely a few years older than him, and she definitely knew what she was doing when it came to teaching. It looked like Anakin was back to being clueless on his own. “This is my first teaching job,” he admitted. “I only graduated college last year.”
Padmé looked surprised for a second, but then she smiled kindly at him. “Well, I remember exactly how that felt. I thought I was going to die, I was so nervous.”
“Sounds about right.”
She laughed. “Don’t worry, you’ll do great. Actually, I’m pretty nervous right now myself, starting at a new school and all.”
“When’s your lunch period?” Anakin blurted out, then promptly reddened again. “I mean, since we’re both new and don’t know anyone, maybe we could sit together.” He silently cursed himself. Maybe we could sit together? He was a high school teacher now, for God’s sake, not a student.
But Padmé just smiled again and pulled out her schedule. Fortunately, they turned out to have the same period free in the middle of the day, so they planned to meet in the second floor teachers’ lounge for lunch. Anakin’s classroom was on that floor and Padmé’s was on the third, and they walked together for a while longer before having to part ways.
“Good luck with your first few classes, Anakin!” Padmé called as she started mounting the stairs to the third floor.
“Thanks. You too.”
Anakin turned away rather reluctantly and made his way down to the end of the hall, where his classroom was. He’d been in there a few times during the summer to set up and get everything in order, and he noted in satisfaction that the room looked very welcoming thanks to the numerous posters, some scientific and some inspirational, that he’d invested in.
Anakin had just worked out how to hook his laptop up to the projector when a knock sounded on the doorframe, and he looked up to see Qui-Gon Jinn, the science department head. Anakin had gotten the impression that CHS didn’t make a habit of hiring people fresh out of college, but Qui-Gon had claimed to see great potential in him at the end of his interview, and Anakin had received his job offer a few weeks later.
“Hello, Anakin,” he said, approaching his desk. “How are you settling in?”
“Pretty good, sir.”
Qui-Gon chuckled. “Qui-Gon’s fine. We’re not formal around here.”
“Oh. Right,” said Anakin, embarrassed.
“Do you have a class first period?”
Anakin nodded and pulled out his list of classes, which also had the names of the students in each class. “I have the honors class first.”
“Wonderful. Do you feel prepared?”
Anakin laughed nervously. “I think so,” he lied.
Qui-Gon smiled and looked at the list thoughtfully. After a moment, he pointed at a name in the honors class and remarked, “I had Ahsoka Tano in honors chemistry last year. She’s very bright. I think you’ll get along well.”
That was somewhat comforting. At least one of his students might not be a total nightmare. They chatted for another minute before Qui-Gon wished him luck and departed. By the time Anakin finished getting everything ready, the hallway outside had started to fill with the hustle and bustle of students arriving and getting books out of their lockers. Anakin hovered at the front of the classroom as people gradually started filing in and selecting seats—he had decided to forego assigned seating in an attempt to make them like him early on.
The first period bell rang at quarter of eight, and Anakin started taking attendance. He made a mental note of which one was Ahsoka Tano when he called her name; she looked friendly enough, though Anakin supposed he wouldn’t really be able to get a sense for her or anyone else’s personalities for several weeks. Soon everyone was accounted for, and he set the class list aside.
“Hi, everyone. Welcome to honors physics,” he said, doing his best to smile through his nausea. “I’m Mr. Skywalker, and I’ll be your teacher this year. As you might have already figured out, I’m new here, so this is my first day, too.”
“How old are you?” someone called from the back of the room.
Anakin blushed. “Um, twenty-three.”
There was some murmuring at this, and Anakin’s blush deepened as he noticed the way several girls—and a couple boys—were eyeing him. He cleared his throat awkwardly. “Anyway—”
“Is this your first time teaching?”
“Yes,” said Anakin rather defensively. “And if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to get back to it now.”
To his relief, there were no other interruptions as he continued his welcome-to-physics spiel. Each class was only fifty minutes, so Anakin spent most of it going over the syllabus, rules and regulations, grading policy, and other administrative matters. He had a free period after that, followed by two more classes—basics of engineering and a section of the regular level physics class—which passed in much the same manner as the first, and before he knew it Anakin was heading towards the teachers’ lounge for lunch.
Padmé was already there, and Anakin smiled as he sat down next to her. “Hey.”
She looked up and returned his smile. “Hey. How were your classes?”
“Pretty good. Didn’t really have time to do anything yet, though. How about you?”
“The same.” Padmé took a bite of her salad and scrolled through something on her phone. “Social media,” she explained, catching Anakin’s curious look. “I’ve found it’s the fastest way to figure out what a school’s really like, at least according to the students.”
Anakin laughed. “What are you on now?”
“Yik-Yak.” Padmé frowned at her phone. “What’s a TILF?”
Anakin looked down and saw a message reading Anyone had classes with Skywalker or Amidala yet? Kenobi’s undefeated TILF of the year streak might be in trouble. Anakin shrugged, mystified, and pulled out his own phone to look it up, feeling old. Teenagers and their lingo nowadays. He soon found an answer, and his face turned bright red as he saw what it was.
“What does it mean?” asked Padmé.
“It’s—well—” Anakin wordlessly held his phone out for her to read, and her reaction was almost identical to his own.
“Oh. Huh.” Padmé looked back down at her own phone. “It’s currently the most upvoted thing in the whole school.”
Anakin didn’t know whether to laugh or groan. “Great. I wonder who Kenobi is.”
“Someone looking for me?” said a British-accented voice.
Anakin looked up and was struck nearly speechless as he saw the man currently settling into a chair across from them. He had light, slightly auburn hair and a beard to match, and even the sweater-vest he was wearing did nothing to hide his good looks. He started pulling out his lunch, gazing at the other two with a faintly puzzled look in his blue-gray eyes.
Padmé recovered first. “I’m Padmé Amidala. History,” she said.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi, English.”
Anakin’s eyes widened a little. So this was Kenobi. TILF indeed, said a sly voice in the back of his mind, and Anakin felt his face heat up slightly once more. Then he realized Obi-Wan was looking at him expectantly. “Anakin Skywalker. I teach physics,” he said hastily.
“Nice to meet you, Anakin and Padmé,” said Obi-Wan. “Now, did I or did I not hear you talking about me just now?”
Padmé coughed awkwardly. “Oh. Well, it’s just, um—” She gave up and simply showed him her phone.
Obi-Wan had no visible reaction as he read. “Am I really undefeated? I was sure Aayla Secura had me beat last year.”
Anakin and Padmé stared at him. “You don’t think it’s…weird?” Anakin asked.
“It’s high school,” said Obi-Wan with a shrug. “You’ll get used to this sort of thing, especially since you two are on the younger side.”
“My old school wasn’t like this,” Padmé muttered, but Anakin supposed that wasn’t surprising. Naboo was a tiny town compared to Coruscant, and he was sure its schools—and social media content—reflected that.
Obi-Wan chuckled. “You’re both new here this year, yes?” They nodded. “How do you like it so far?”
They both filled him in on their morning classes and heard about his own. After that, Obi-Wan started regaling them with amusing tales from his past ten years at CHS. A particularly loud burst of laughter several minutes later prompted the math teacher across the hall to get up and shut his classroom door, frowning disapprovingly at them as his students looked on curiously.
“That’s Mace Windu,” Obi-Wan told them once the door had closed. “He’s quite funny when he’s in a good mood, but when he isn’t…well, let’s just say you don’t want to cross him.”
But Anakin had noticed one of the kids sitting right by the door in Mace’s room. “Hey, is that Ahsoka Tano? I had her first period. Qui-Gon mentioned she’s a really good student.”
Obi-Wan nodded. “Yes, she is. I had her when she was a freshman, and she had an A all year in my class.”
“I recognize her,” Padmé said thoughtfully. She pulled out her class lists and consulted them. “Yeah, she’s in my second period class.”
“I think you’ll both like her,” said Obi-Wan. “She’s talented and hard-working, but she’s also quite tenacious. If she doesn’t agree with you on something, prepare to spend at least ten minutes debating it.” Anakin and Padmé laughed.
Obi-Wan looked at both their class lists and told them what he could about the students he’d had before. Like Anakin, the other two mostly had juniors and seniors, though Obi-Wan had two classes of freshmen and Padmé one of sophomores, and they found that they had many students in common that year. Anakin was disappointed when their free period started to draw to a close, but he perked up at Obi-Wan’s suggestion that they all meet again for lunch the next day. He and Padmé happily agreed, and Anakin returned to his classroom with a spring in his step. He already had two potential friends. Maybe this job wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Anakin didn’t end up doing any real teaching that day, but he was still feeling pretty worn out by the time he got home. He collapsed onto the couch with the intention of watching a bit of TV to relax, but he ended up falling asleep (after all, he’d gotten up at practically the crack of dawn that morning).
His impromptu nap was interrupted when the phone rang. Anakin sat up, squinting in confusion as he realized it was already almost five o’clock. He stumbled over to the kitchen counter and picked up the phone. “Hi, Mom.”
“Hi, Ani,” said Shmi Skywalker on the other end. “How was your first day? How were the students? I hope no one gave you a hard time.”
“Well, a couple kids commented about me being so young,” said Anakin (the incident in the honors class had been repeated in several of the following ones), “but other than that everything was pretty good.”
He proceeded to tell her about all his classes. “It sounds like you’ll have a busy year,” she said. “What about the other teachers? Did you get a chance to talk to any of them?”
“Yeah, I met a bunch of them throughout the day, and there were two that I had lunch with, Padmé Amidala and Obi-Wan Kenobi. She teaches history and he teaches English.”
“Were they nice?”
“Uh-huh.” Anakin smiled broadly. “They’re really great. We hit it off right away.”
“That’s wonderful, Ani,” Shmi replied. “Did they have any teaching advice for you?”
“Well, it was Padmé’s first day, too, but she was at a different school before that, so she passed some general stuff on to me. Obi-Wan’s been at CHS for a while, though, and he had a lot of good stories.”
Once Shmi was satisfied that she’d heard every detail of Anakin’s first day (though he decided not to mention what he and Padmé had found during their perusal of social media), their conversation moved on to other topics for a while until Anakin had to hang up and go make dinner. He was just cleaning up afterwards when his phone buzzed. Anakin went to check it, and his stomach did an odd little flip-flop as he saw that it was from Padmé to him and Obi-Wan.
I just baked some cookies and was planning to bring some with me tomorrow for lunch. Do you want me to bring extra for you guys?
Anakin’s response was enthusiastically affirmative, and Obi-Wan seconded his sentiments. Anakin put his phone in his pocket and went to look over his lesson plans for the next day, smiling to himself. They had a group text. Padmé was bringing cookies for them all to share. They were definitely going to be friends.
Padmé’s cookies were a hit, and after that all three of them made a habit of bringing enough to share whenever they had something especially good for lunch. They ate together every day. Sometimes they were joined by other teachers who had the same free period, but always at least Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan could be found in the second floor teachers’ lounge every single afternoon, laughing their heads off and never failing to make Mace Windu irritably shut his door.
It wasn’t long before Anakin felt he could officially consider them his friends. Aside from lunch, they often stopped by each other’s classrooms before and after school, and even occasionally during (Anakin and Obi-Wan both had second period free, and more than once they’d gone in to briefly interrupt Padmé’s class; she always pretended to be annoyed, but they knew she never actually was).
They even began hanging out together on the weekends. It started one Friday when all three were complaining about how much grading they had to do, and Anakin impulsively invited Padmé and Obi-Wan over to his apartment to work on it together the next day. They accepted, and almost all of Saturday was spent grading at Anakin’s kitchen table and stopping every so often to read a particularly amusing wrong answer (Anakin and Padmé) or grammatical error (Obi-Wan) aloud. They didn’t finish until that evening, so afterwards they ordered a pizza and put on a movie as they ate. Eventually the grading pretense fell away, and by the time winter break rolled around, they were all spending time together outside of school simply as friends.
Anakin was settling comfortably into his role as a teacher, as well. Despite his initial fears that he’d be terrible, he ended up being a natural, and he was soon established as one of the student body’s favorite teachers (Obi-Wan and Padmé always teased that it was only because he was so young and good-looking, which made Anakin blush for some reason, though it never did when any of his other colleagues made the same joke). As Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had predicted, Ahsoka Tano quickly rose to the head of her class. She clearly had a mind for physics, and sometimes she’d ask questions that stumped even Anakin. Within months, she was secretly his favorite student, not that he was allowed to admit it.
They were doing a lab one day in January, and Anakin was walking around making sure everyone was on the right track when he heard Ahsoka call, “Hey, Skyguy!”
He obligingly made his way over to her and Barriss Offee’s lab bench. Ahsoka was the one who had started the nickname, and at the time Anakin had thought he probably should’ve scolded her for being too informal with him, but he hadn’t had the heart since he knew she’d meant it in an affectionate way as opposed to a disrespectful one. It had quickly caught on amongst all his other students, as well, although Ahsoka was one of the few who actually addressed him as such to his face. “Everything okay over here?”
“Yup, we’re doing good,” she replied. “But we were just wondering something. Do you have any teacher friends?”
“Teacher friends?” asked Anakin in confusion. “What does that mean?”
“You know, like other teachers at this school that you’re friends with. Teacher friends.”
Barriss sighed and shook her head; she was much quieter and more reserved than Ahsoka, though the two were practically inseparable. “Never mind, Ahsoka. Let’s just get back to the lab.”
But Ahsoka ignored her and pressed on. “For example, I’m in Mr. Windu’s fifth period class, and I always see you having lunch in the teachers’ lounge across the hall with Ms. Amidala and Mr. Kenobi.”
“Oh,” said Anakin. “Yeah, they’re my friends. But they’re my regular friends, not just my ‘teacher friends.’”
“Hmm.” Ahsoka looked thoughtful. “You guys always seem to be having a really good time.”
“Yeah,” Anakin said uncertainly, not sure what she was trying to get at.
“And you’re always visiting each other during the day. I have Ms. Amidala second period, and you and Mr. Kenobi are in there, like, every day.”
“Not every day,” Anakin protested. “Just some days.”
“Hmm,” she said again. Anakin thought her expression had turned a little sly, which made him slightly nervous. “Would you say that any two of you are especially close?”
Anakin furrowed his brow. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, I don’t know, just, like, between you and Mr. Kenobi, who would you say is closer with Ms. Amidala? Or…are you closer with each other than either of you are with her?”
Anakin was pretty sure they were having two different conversations at the same time, and he was also pretty sure that he had no idea what Ahsoka’s conversation was about. “I don’t know. We’re all close. We’re all friends.”
“Ahsoka, we have to finish our lab,” Barriss interrupted, much to Anakin’s relief.
Ahsoka sighed loudly and turned back to her paper. “So you guys are all set here?” Anakin asked. “You don’t need any help?”
“No thanks,” they said in unison, and Anakin moved on to another group, feeling more than a little bewildered.
He recounted the strange conversation to Padmé and Obi-Wan at lunch, and both were equally baffled. “You know,” Padmé said slowly, “I had a couple students asking me something similar the other day. They wanted to know which one of you I liked more. I said I liked you both equally, and they seemed weirdly disappointed.”
“Now that you mention it, my whole class was pestering me about you two last week,” Obi-Wan recalled. “It was right after Padmé came in to talk to me for a minute. They started asking me what I thought about her, so I said we were good friends. And then they seemed to be under the impression that Anakin and I hate each other and wouldn’t believe me when I said we were also good friends.”
“Huh.” Anakin shook his head, then added wisely, “Kids these days, am I right?”
Obi-Wan snorted. “You’re practically a kid yourself. In fact, you’re closer in age to them than you are to me.”
Anakin looked at him in horror as Padmé burst out laughing. “I’ve never thought about it like that. That’s really disturbing. Thanks a lot.”
In the weeks that followed, Anakin tried to put his conversation with Ahsoka as well as Padmé and Obi-Wan’s reports out of his mind, chalking it up to weird teenage behavior, but after a while he couldn’t help but notice the way students’ eyes followed them whenever they walked through the halls together, or the way Mace’s pre-calc class observed them intently in the teachers’ lounge at lunch, or the way Padmé’s second period class exchanged smug grins and knowing looks whenever he and Obi-Wan stopped by to say hello to her. It was all very mysterious and perplexing.
Unfortunately for him, Anakin’s life was only about to get more complicated. It was February thirteenth, and he was in the middle of a lesson when someone blurted out, “Hey, Mr. Skywalker, do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?”
Startled, Anakin turned around from the equation he was writing on the board and was met with a roomful of snickering teenagers. He easily spotted the boy who’d spoken, as he was looking particularly pleased with himself. “No, I don’t,” Anakin said calmly. “Why, are you interested?”
Belatedly, Anakin realized he probably shouldn’t have said that—the last thing he needed was a sexual harassment lawsuit—but the kid only rolled his eyes as everyone else laughed even louder. “As if. We all just figured you’d be seeing Ms. Amidala.”
There was another burst of giggles, and Anakin frowned slightly. “Ms. Amidala? No, I don’t have plans with her tomorrow. Why would I?”
“Maybe she’s busy,” Ahsoka piped up. “Maybe she has plans with Mr. Kenobi instead.”
“Not that I’m aware of,” replied Anakin, puzzled. What on earth was going on?
They were practically cackling now, and something abruptly occurred to Anakin. “Hang on,” he said. “You guys don’t think I have a—a crush on Ms. Amidala or something, right?”
“Well, do you?” asked Ahsoka over the racket.
“Of course not,” Anakin spluttered. “She’s my friend, that’s all.”
“He’s blushing!” someone hissed from the back of the room.
“I am not!” said Anakin indignantly. “And I do not have a crush on Padmé—I mean, Ms. Amidala!”
By this point, he heard several surrounding classrooms slam their doors shut, so loud was the hullabaloo coming from his own. Barriss Offee and a few other kind souls were looking at him sympathetically, though even they couldn’t entirely hide their grins. Anakin decided it was time to put his foot down. “This conversation is both inappropriate and irrelevant,” he said loudly, trying not to show how rattled he was. “I was under the impression I was teaching seventeen-year-olds, not twelve-year-olds. Quiet down and get back to physics, or else—or else I’m moving the test from next week to right now!”
Luckily, that mostly did the trick, though some quiet sniggers persisted for several more minutes. Anakin strongly considered assigning them extra homework as punishment for flustering him so badly, but ultimately decided that might not be completely ethical. When he met Padmé and Obi-Wan for lunch, he opened his mouth to tell them about the incident, then, for some reason, closed it again and said nothing. He didn’t know why he didn’t want to tell them. After all, it wasn’t as if he actually had a crush on Padmé, was it?
Just then, Padmé bumped his shoulder playfully as she giggled at something Obi-Wan had said, and when he turned to look at her, Anakin nearly fell out of his chair as a realization hit him with the force of a speeding train.
He definitely had a crush on her.
And before he had time to even begin to process that fact, Obi-Wan gave him a warm smile, eyes crinkling with laughter, and Anakin almost groaned out loud as he realized something else.
He had a crush on Obi-Wan, too.
When had this happened? How had it happened? They were just his friends. Why had Anakin suddenly started feeling something more? Just because they were nice and funny and beautiful and perfect and—okay, this was truly serious, indeed. Curse his students for figuring it out before Anakin himself even did.
“Ani? Are you all right?”
Anakin blinked, Padmé’s voice pulling him back to the present. His eyes were suddenly drawn to her lips as her tongue darted out to lick crumbs off them. What would it be like to kiss those lips, to run his hands through her long hair, to—no, Anakin was definitely not all right. “Um, I’m fine,” he lied, finally managing to tear his gaze away. “Just…long day.”
“Tell me about it,” Obi-Wan said, heaving a sigh. “And it’s not even over yet.”
Padmé nodded in agreement, and they both started complaining about the day’s trials and tribulations. Anakin did his best to join in, and he also did his best not to stare at them too hard or blush too much. This was a disaster. What was he going to do?
Anakin soon settled on a solution: act like everything is normal and try not to think about it. Too bad that was far easier said than done. He started getting embarrassingly flustered and tongue-tied around Obi-Wan and Padmé, and he was sure they noticed. How could they not? He was even less subtle than the teenagers they all taught, and that was saying something.
But then Anakin started noticing things himself. They were little things, like the way Obi-Wan looked at him when he thought Anakin wasn’t paying attention, or the way Padmé edged her chair slightly closer to his than was necessary during lunch, or the way she and Obi-Wan held each other’s gaze just a little too long before glancing away and clearing their throats. Little things, but they still made Anakin wonder if—
No, that was impossible. There was no way that either of them returned his feelings, let alone that both of them did, let alone that they also had feelings for each other. That would just be too perfect, and since when did things ever work out that nicely? Surely it was all just a figment of Anakin’s overactive and ever-hopeful imagination. Still, that didn’t stop him, when they were all squished on someone’s couch together on a Friday night, from wondering what would happen if he were to just lean over and kiss both of them. Fortunately—or unfortunately?—he never actually did anything of the sort.
Anakin existed in a state of utter agony—well, not quite utter agony, but he’d always had an inclination towards melodrama—for several months. He was driving to work one morning in May when he remembered that it was Padmé’s birthday.
He hit the brakes as he approached a red light, chewing his lip. He’d been debating all week whether or not he should get her something and had decided not to. What if, despite all the time they’d spent together over the past eight months, they weren’t actually close enough friends to justify him giving her a birthday present? What if she took it the wrong way? What if Obi-Wan didn’t get her anything, and then she’d think it was weird that Anakin did?
But then again, what if Obi-Wan had gotten her something and now she’d think it was weird that Anakin hadn’t? The light turned green, and Anakin continued driving for another few minutes before spotting a flower shop and impulsively turning into it. Flowers were good. It would show that he cared enough about her to remember her birthday, but it wasn’t a personal gift that he’d spent time carefully picking out specifically for her. That might indicate that he cared too much about her. Anakin wasn’t sure what would happen if Padmé thought he cared too much about her, but he was sure it would certainly be very bad and embarrassing.
He wandered around rather helplessly until he found a particularly vibrant bouquet that somehow reminded him of Padmé, so he quickly bought it and headed back to his car before he could change his mind yet again. Because of his detour, Anakin was almost late to school, though fortunately his classroom was still empty when he arrived, and he hurriedly stashed the flowers in his desk drawer. The last thing he needed was for his students to see it and jump to conclusions. Correct conclusions, but still.
First period passed quickly, and during second period Anakin figured he might as well go deliver the flowers since he had some time to spare, not to mention the fact that he was so irrationally nervous about giving them to Padmé that he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. And so he retrieved the bouquet from the drawer and made his way up to the third floor. He’d just reached Padmé’s door when he saw that the room was filled with students, and he realized in horror that in all his anxiety he’d somehow forgotten she had a class this period.
Anakin stood there and dithered for a moment or two before turning around. It would be better to come back later when there weren’t any students around to jump to (correct) conclusions. But he’d only taken one step away when he heard a voice say, “Anakin?”
He turned back around, trying to hide the flowers behind him, and saw that Padmé had opened the door and was looking at him—as were all her students. “Hi,” he said awkwardly. “I—um—I forgot you had a class now. I’ll just come back later.”
Padmé smiled. “Oh, that’s all right, come on in. I’m sure they won’t mind taking a break from the lesson for just a minute, will you?” She addressed the last bit towards her students.
“No,” they chorused cheerfully.
Padmé all but pulled Anakin into the classroom, and he had no choice but to let her. And then she saw the flowers. “What are those?” she asked, pointing.
Knowing he was caught, Anakin reluctantly brought them out from behind his back. “They’re—um—” He held the bouquet out to her. “They’re for you. Happy birthday.”
The entire class gasped and started whispering amongst themselves, but Anakin barely even noticed, so distracted was he by the delighted expression on Padmé’s face as she took the flowers and beamed at him. “They’re beautiful!” she exclaimed. “Thank you, Ani. That was so thoughtful.”
“It was nothing,” he mumbled, blushing a little and hating himself for it.
His face only got redder as Padmé placed the flowers on her desk and proceeded to throw her arms around him. Startled but pleased, Anakin hugged her back. Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw Ahsoka in the back of the classroom with her phone out. Was she taking pictures of this? She was probably taking pictures of this.
At last Padmé released him, and Anakin cleared his throat. “I should go now, I don’t want to take up any more of your time—”
He was interrupted by a knock on the doorframe, and he turned to see that Obi-Wan was standing there, holding a box of chocolates. Anakin nearly sighed in relief. Obi-Wan had gotten her a present, too. Now Padmé wouldn’t think Anakin was weird or obsessed with her or something. To be fair, he probably was both weird and obsessed with her, but he’d rather she didn’t know it.
“Happy birthday, Padmé,” said Obi-Wan, smiling as he gave her the chocolates.
“Thank you. These look delicious!” Padmé placed them beside Anakin’s flowers and hugged Obi-Wan, too. Anakin snuck a glance at the students this time. Almost all of them were on their phones, some typing furiously and others looking like they were trying to subtly film the whole thing. Unbelievable.
The three of them chatted for another quick minute before Anakin and Obi-Wan wished her a happy birthday again and departed. “The students seemed very talkative while we were in there,” Obi-Wan remarked as they walked. “I wonder what had gotten into them.”
Anakin swallowed. “Yeah. I wonder.”
“Barriss, I wish you’d been there! It was incredible!”
“I bet,” said Barriss a little jealously. “At least I have the entire class’s live-tweets to make me feel like I was there.”
Ahsoka pulled out her own phone and scrolled through her Twitter feed, grinning as she read what her classmates had to say. The incident in Ms. Amidala’s second period history class was all anyone was talking about.
SKYGUY JUST BROUGHT AMIDALA FLOWERS FOR HER BDAY THIS IS NOT A DRILL
damn kenobi step up ur game #teamanakin
she just called him ani call 911 i’m dying from cuteness overload
THEY’RE HUGGING NOW AND HE’S BLUSHING SO HARD THIS IS TOO ADORABLE
hold up hold up kenobi just arrived on the scene. AND HE BROUGHT HER CHOCOLATES!!! the plot thickens……
i feel like i’m watching an episode of the bachelorette jfc
lmao i bet those chocolates were way more expensive than skywalker’s lameass flowers #teamobiwan
ok but can we talk about the fact that flowers & chocolates are actually the most classic romantic gifts??!!
literally waiting for someone to get down on one knee & propose marriage at this point
so much is going on right now??? help me
Of course, Ahsoka herself had contributed several updates and opinions (her thirty-second video had been retweeted over fifty times in the hour since she’d posted it, and it was still blowing up her notifications). Her concluding tweet had been, idk you guys they’re just all so cute i don’t know who i’m rooting for anymore. can’t they just all be together?? #obianidala?
“Obianidala. Nice,” said Barriss when she finally got there. “I don’t know if anyone will go for it, though. Everyone’s pretty caught up in the whole Team Anakin Team Obi-Wan thing.”
“I think it has potential,” Ahsoka argued. “Although I guess we don’t really have evidence of anything going on between Skyguy and Mr. Kenobi. Not yet, that is.”
Barriss shook her head, grinning. “You’re way too into this.”
“Hey, I need some way to keep myself entertained at school seven hours a day five days a week.” Ahsoka’s eyes lit up. “Wait a second. I have a genius idea.”
“We should start a betting pool.”
Barriss raised her eyebrows. “A betting pool?”
“Yeah, like everyone throws in a few dollars for whichever combination they think is going to end up together, and then whichever one does happen, everyone who bet on it gets their money back, plus extra money from the losers.”
“Would anyone want to do that?” asked Barriss.
“Are you kidding? Everyone will want to do it,” Ahsoka replied. “This love triangle is literally the most popular gossip topic this school’s ever had. And everyone has really, really strong opinions on who they think should be together. It’s a good idea. You know it is.”
“Fine. It is,” Barriss admitted. “Let’s do it. But if we get in trouble, it was your idea.”
Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padmé were blissfully unaware that their love lives were about to become the subject of a betting pool, and the last few weeks of school passed without incident. On the last day of classes before final exams, Anakin asked Ahsoka to stay behind for a few minutes.
“You did really well in this class,” Anakin told her. “You have a real talent for physics.”
Ahsoka swelled with pride. “Thanks. You were a great teacher. I’m going to miss you next year.”
“That’s the thing,” said Anakin. “I was hoping you might like to be my teaching assistant next year. I know you have all your classes and stuff, but maybe for just one period a day, you could come help out in the honors class. You’d help them during labs, and outside of class you’d help me grade tests, and maybe with extra review sessions and that sort of thing. What do you think?”
“Is this just because you want someone to help you get all your work done?” she asked, grinning.
Anakin laughed. “Maybe,” he joked. “I don’t think the school would be able to pay you, but it would look really great on your college application.” He’d learned that that was a surefire way to motivate high school juniors.
Sure enough, a moment later Ahsoka said, “I’d love to. Thanks, Skyguy.”
Anakin beamed at her. “Great. Have a good summer, and I’ll see you next year. And good luck on the exam,” he added.
She groaned. “Don’t remind me.”
Chuckling, Anakin let her go, and Ahsoka went out into the hall where Barriss was waiting for her. “What did he say?” she asked.
Ahsoka summarized the conversation and smiled as Barriss exclaimed about it. “What a great opportunity,” she said. “I bet you’ll learn so much.”
“Yeah.” Ahsoka’s grin widened as she thought of something else. “And who knows? Maybe he’ll be more willing to talk about his love life to a TA than to a student. I swear, I refuse to graduate until I figure out what’s really going on with this love triangle.”
On the first night of summer once exams had ended, Padmé invited the other two over to her apartment to celebrate. They got takeout, broke out a bottle of wine, and settled down on the sofa with a movie once they’d finished eating.
Anakin, to be honest, didn’t even know what movie they were watching; he was too busy focusing on the fact that Padmé and Obi-Wan were snuggled right up against—right up against—him, one on either side. He was feeling pleasantly buzzed from all the wine, and maybe that was why, when Padmé’s head dropped onto his shoulder, he decided it would be a good idea to lean down and kiss her.
Except she was facing away from him, so Anakin ended up planting a kiss in her hair. But that caused Padmé to twist around and look at him in surprise, and before he could lose his nerve, Anakin crashed his mouth against hers. Padmé closed her eyes, and Anakin closed his too as she twined her fingers in his hair, using her other hand to pull him closer. They broke apart after a minute and gazed at each other, flushed and slightly open-mouthed.
Then Anakin heard someone clearing their throat, and he turned to see that Obi-Wan had scooched away from him a bit, looking uncomfortable and a little upset. Impulsively, Anakin extricated himself from Padmé’s grasp and reached out to tilt Obi-Wan’s chin towards him. Anakin moved closer, and then he was kissing Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan was kissing him back, and Anakin’s heart was pounding so wildly he thought it was about to come out of his chest.
When Anakin drew away once more, Padmé promptly leaned across him to cup Obi-Wan’s face in her hands and pull him in for a kiss, too. They sat there in silence for a few moments afterwards, all looking at each other as if hardly daring to believe this was happening.
At last Anakin took it upon himself to speak. “Look, I—I really like you both.” He opened his mouth to clarify that he like liked them, then reminded himself that he was a grown man, and instead said, “That is, I’m—I’m attracted to you, and I have feelings for you. Both of you. And lately—hell, almost all year I’ve been feeling—I’ve felt like there’s something between the three of us, some kind of—of spark.” Anakin gazed desperately at them. “Am I crazy?”
Padmé gasped softly, and Obi-Wan was quiet for another second before saying, “No, you’re not crazy.”
Padmé nodded in agreement. “I—I have feelings for you both, too,” she confessed.
“As do I,” said Obi-Wan.
Anakin’s breath caught in his throat. Could it really be that simple, that easy? After all the months he’d spent stressing about it? But as they both leaned in to kiss him again, and as Anakin melted into their touch, and as the movie was quite forgotten, and as they fell asleep tangled together in Padmé’s bed, he decided that yes, for once, it could be that simple.
As summer flew by, Anakin still couldn’t quite believe his luck. He, Padmé, and Obi-Wan were already so close that they skipped right over the awkward early-relationship stage and settled into a comfortable routine almost immediately. In fact, it was hardly any different than when they’d only been friends. Except for a few things. A few things which they all very much enjoyed.
And as if that all wasn’t good enough, Anakin finally introduced them to his mother, who had been hearing about them nonstop ever since the first day of school, and Shmi loved them. He’d been a little nervous when he called her to say that he had not only a girlfriend, but a boyfriend, too, but though Shmi had been surprised, she’d assured him that she was happy as long as he was happy.
Everything was perfect, Anakin thought contentedly one afternoon in late August, a week before school was to resume. The three of them had just gotten back from setting up their classrooms, though they all had the same rooms as last year, so it hadn’t taken long to straighten everything up. “What are we going to do once school starts?” Padmé said.
“What do you mean?” asked Anakin.
“Are we going to tell people about us?” A worried look crossed her face. “Is it even allowed for us to date each other? Do you think we’ll get in trouble?”
“Of course we won’t,” Obi-Wan assured her. “Coworkers date each other all the time. It’s no different with teachers.”
“Even with Mace as the new vice principal? I don’t know about you guys, but I’d rather not give him even the tiniest reason to yell at me,” Anakin said, snickering. Vice Principal Dooku had suddenly and unexpectedly announced he was retiring only a few weeks previously, leaving the school to scramble and find a temporary replacement. Mace Windu had agreed to take on some extra duties in addition to his classes until they were able to fill the position permanently.
The other two laughed. “Seriously, though,” Padmé said a minute later. “Should we tell anyone?”
Obi-Wan bit his lip. “I don’t know. I mean, people will probably think it’s weird, all three of us together, and I’d rather not become fodder for teachers’ lounge gossip.”
“Obi-Wan’s right,” said Anakin. “Besides, it’s not really anyone else’s business. I think we should just keep it to ourselves, at least for a little while.”
“All right,” said Padmé, nodding. She gave a small chuckle. “I was having a pretty hard time imagining everyone’s reactions when I walked in on the first day and introduced you both as my boyfriends, anyway.”
They all laughed again.
The school year got off to a pretty good start. Anakin was still nervous on the first day, but it was nowhere near how he’d felt the previous year. He and Padmé had the same lunch period again, but Obi-Wan’s was the period after; on the other hand, Anakin and Obi-Wan once again had a free period at the same time while Padmé had a class, so they continued dropping by as often as they dared (though eventually after they’d disrupted the class every single day for two weeks straight, Padmé instituted a new rule that they were only allowed to come three times a week at most).
It was a Friday in November and they’d already used up their three visits that week, so Anakin and Obi-Wan were sitting in Anakin’s empty classroom during sixth period. “There. All done,” said Anakin triumphantly, slapping the final quiz on top of the pile.
“I thought Ahsoka was grading things for you now,” Obi-Wan said.
“She is, but she can’t do everything. I still have to do some work, seeing as I’m the teacher and all.”
As Obi-Wan chuckled, Anakin got up to close the door, then returned and tugged Obi-Wan out of his chair. “We still have fifteen minutes,” Anakin murmured, trying to pull him close.
Obi-Wan dodged him. “Anakin, we are not doing this in a classroom in the middle of the school day.”
“Come on,” Anakin whined. “Who said anything about doing anything? I just want to kiss you.”
“Really? That’s all?”
“Well, I would like to do a little more, but contrary to what you think, I’m not completely reckless.”
“Is that so? Could’ve fooled me.” But Anakin could tell he was caving, and indeed a minute later Obi-Wan sighed, shook his head with a smile, and leaned up to kiss him.
Anakin responded enthusiastically, and he grinned against Obi-Wan’s mouth as the other man backed him up against the whiteboard. They were so distracted for the next fifteen minutes that they sprang apart in surprise when the bell rang to signal the end of sixth period. Anakin cursed and hurriedly straightened his tie, then ran his fingers through his hair in an attempt to make it look less disheveled, though it was normally disheveled enough that he doubted anyone would notice the difference.
“How do I look?” asked Obi-Wan, smoothing out his sweater-vest.
“Like you’ve spent the past fifteen minutes making out with your super-hot boyfriend because your super-hot girlfriend banned you from disrupting her class.”
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes and gave Anakin a quick peck on the cheek. “See you after school.” He turned and headed out the door, which had remained closed the whole time…but which they’d forgotten had a window in it.
Anakin first sensed that something was wrong Monday morning when his first period class walked in and immediately started snickering. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “What’s gotten into you all this morning?”
But they only shrugged innocently, so Anakin shook his head and began the lesson.
The second sign came from Padmé at lunch; she said that students and even other teachers had been giving her sympathetic looks all day. “And then you know what happened? Plo Koon came up to me and just said, ‘I’m so sorry, Padmé.’ I’ve spent the past hour trying to figure out which of my relatives died without me being informed of it.”
“Huh,” said Anakin, mystified. “Weird.”
All did not become clear until sixth period, when Anakin and Obi-Wan were walking down the hall on their way back from seeing Padmé (their visit had been met with wide eyes, gasps, and mutters by her students as opposed to the usual grins and giggles). They were discussing the strange behavior when suddenly—
“DAMMIT, YOU TWO!”
They whirled around in alarm and saw Mace Windu striding towards them, looking furious. Anakin gulped. “Hello, Mace,” Obi-Wan said uncertainly. “How—how are you?”
“A lot worse than I used to be, thanks to you!” He shoved his phone in their faces, and Anakin’s mouth fell open in horror.
Someone had tweeted a picture of his and Obi-Wan’s impromptu Friday afternoon makeout session with the caption FUCKING PLOT TWIST!!! Anakin squinted at it; he could see a wooden frame along one edge of the picture, and he suddenly remembered that there was a narrow window set into his door. Oops.
“Ah,” said Obi-Wan. “We can explain—”
“I owe Qui-Gon twenty dollars now!” Mace yelled.
Obi-Wan stared at him. “What?”
“You mean…you’re not actually mad at us?” asked Anakin. “For, like, breaking some kind of rule or something?”
Mace fixed him with a death glare. “Of course I’m actually mad at you! You made me lose twenty dollars! To Qui-Gon!”
And he stormed off without another word.
“What?” Obi-Wan repeated. Anakin shook his head helplessly.
They’d almost arrived at Obi-Wan’s classroom when he suddenly said, “Did you read the caption? Why did they think it was a plot twist? If this is a twist, then what was the original plot?”
“Okay, English teacher.” Anakin frowned, thinking, and his eyes widened as he remembered something. “So I kind of forgot to ever tell you guys this, but last year my entire honors physics class thought I had a crush on Padmé. And I don’t think they were the only ones who thought so, either.”
“Well, you did have a crush on Padmé,” Obi-Wan pointed out.
“I know, but that’s not the point. Anyway, once they asked me if I was seeing Padmé on Valentine’s Day, and I said no, and then Ahsoka said something about maybe Padmé was seeing you instead.”
“Okay,” said Obi-Wan slowly. “So what are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking that people thought we were in some kind of, like, love triangle or something.” Anakin furrowed his brow. “Maybe they thought you and I were both in love with Padmé, so now it’s a plot twist that we’re together?”
“Hmm. I suppose that does make some degree of sense,” Obi-Wan conceded. “How could we find out for sure? Should we go ask Mace?”
Anakin shuddered. “I’d rather wait until he’s not so pissed at us.” Then he recalled what Padmé had said to him on his first day the year before. “I know. We should look on social media.”
“Let me get this straight,” said Padmé that afternoon. “The entire school spent all of last year thinking that you two were, what, competing for me?”
“And now they think you fell for each other behind my back?”
“And they’re starting to break into different factions depending on which two of us they want together?”
“And they’re making bets about how they think it’s all going to work out?”
She gaped at them for another minute, then burst out laughing. “That’s hilarious. How did this even happen?”
“I guess none of us were as subtle about our feelings for each other as we thought,” Anakin said sheepishly.
“I have to see this for myself,” said Padmé through her giggles, and she pulled out her phone.
“Ahsoka’s Twitter account has the most information.” Obi-Wan made a face. “Actually, I have no idea how she could possibly know as much as she seems to.”
“She’s like the Gossip Girl of Coruscant High School,” Anakin chortled. “Anyway, yeah, Ahsoka’s is good, but she seems to be leaning towards all three of us being together—which, according to our research, is an unpopular opinion—and it’s way funnier when someone loves two of us and hates the third.”
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, but still listened in amusement as Anakin and Padmé started reading out some of their favorite tweets. “‘Remember when we all thought Kenobi was a dirty old man for being into Amidala? Yikes. At least she’s ALMOST thirty,’” Anakin read, snickering at Obi-Wan’s offended expression.
“I’m not that old,” he grumbled.
“Listen to this one,” said Padmé. “‘How is this even legal? Skyguy’s basically a minor.’ Seems like people are really judging you, Obi-Wan.”
“I’m twenty-four!” Anakin said indignantly as she laughed and Obi-Wan huffed. “Oh, look, here’s something that’ll cheer you up, Obi-Wan. ‘Obi-Wan deserves better. Skywalker’s an immature little—’ oh, wow, I’m not repeating that ‘—who shouldn’t even be allowed to have a job, let alone a relationship.’ Ouch. Too bad their username isn’t their real name, I want to know if it’s the kid I failed last year.”
“‘Poor Padmé, she’s better off without them.’” Padmé grinned smugly, but it was replaced by a frown a few seconds later. “‘Serves Amidala right for leading them both on all of last year.’”
“Okay, that’s enough of that,” Obi-Wan intervened, grabbing their phones out of their hands. “Do you think we should just tell everyone what’s really going on and put an end to this madness?”
“Are you kidding? We can’t stop it, it’s way too funny!” said Anakin. “I think instead of telling the truth, we should just try to confuse everyone as much as possible. It’ll be payback for sticking their noses into our personal lives.”
“Yes!” Padmé said enthusiastically. “And we should get in on that betting pool and all bet on different things to really throw them off.”
“Perfect. I love the way you think.”
“I don’t know,” Obi-Wan said, frowning. “That seems rather childish.”
Anakin grinned. “Well, I am ‘basically a minor,’ after all.”
Anakin was entirely unsurprised when their investigation into the betting pool finally led them to Ahsoka. She was bewildered and very suspicious when he and Padmé insisted that they wanted to make bets, but eventually she just shrugged and let them. Anakin bet on Padmé and Obi-Wan, Padmé bet on Obi-Wan and Anakin, and Obi-Wan pretended to disapprove of the whole thing, but the other two knew he’d slipped in a couple dollars for Anakin and Padmé.
It wasn’t long before word of these bets spread throughout the school, and they amusedly watched Twitter tear itself apart trying to figure out what it meant. “I think Ahsoka’s definitely onto us,” said Anakin. “Look, she just did a seven-tweet-long analysis of all the evidence, and she’s actually hit quite a few nails on the head.”
“Ha, look at all the replies. Everyone thinks she’s reaching. Joke’s on them.”
“You two are ridiculous,” Obi-Wan muttered, but Anakin caught him sneaking a glance at his own phone a few minutes later.
Over the next few weeks, Anakin made a point of being seen holding Obi-Wan’s hand and kissing Padmé on the cheek, and he cackled to himself as he saw the way all the observers looked like their heads were about to explode. His phone rang one day as he and Ahsoka were grading tests during his free period; Padmé was trying to make a dinner reservation online for that night while her students were taking a test, and she wanted to know what time Anakin and Obi-Wan would like. “Hi, darling,” said Anakin in an exaggeratedly sappy tone, smirking as he saw Ahsoka look up in interest. “Dinner reservations for tonight? Sounds romantic. Yes, I love that restaurant. Seven sounds good. I can’t wait. Love you. Bye.”
“Got a date tonight?” Ahsoka asked casually after he’d hung up.
Anakin just grinned.
SOMEONE just called skyguy & asked him on a date, Ahsoka tweeted a few minutes later. couldn’t tell who tho he only called them darling. why does he have to be like this.
And then: is it worth sending spies to every single restaurant in the area at 7 tonight?
Then: no probably not i bet they’re going somewhere like 3hrs away just to fuck with us
(The restaurant was only ten minutes away, but even so no spies were present.)
The charade lasted until March before the truth finally came to light. It was third period, during Anakin’s honors physics class, and he was in the middle of a lesson about force and gravity when Ahsoka suddenly shrieked, “I KNEW IT!”
Alarmed, Anakin turned to stare at her, as did everyone else. She was dutifully taking notes on the class so that she could bring them to the extra help session she was hosting that afternoon—or at least, she had been taking notes, but was now jumping out of her chair and gaping excitedly at her phone.
“Ahsoka, is there something you’d like to share with the rest of us?” Anakin said in his best teacher voice.
“I just got a report from Barriss in English class,” Ahsoka announced. “The following is a direct quote from Mr. Kenobi.” She cleared her throat dramatically. “‘All three of us are dating, okay? Will everyone please shut up about it so we can get back to Shakespeare?’”
Pandemonium erupted. Anakin thought he was going to laugh himself sick as he watched everyone start shouting over each other, pulling out their phones to check Ahsoka’s claim and spread the news, then rounding on him and demanding to know if it was true.
When they’d quieted down enough for him to be heard, Anakin said, “It’s true. We’ve been together since last June.”
All was chaos again as soon as he’d finished speaking, and Anakin just sat back in his chair and watched everyone lose their minds. They were ahead of the syllabus, anyway; he could afford to let them waste one class. “I told you so!” Ahsoka yelled over and over again. “I told everyone that they were all together, and no one believed me! I totally called it! God, I’m glad we’ve finally gotten to the bottom of this. Now I can graduate in peace.”
Throughout the rest of the day, students and teachers alike accosted Anakin to ask if it was true that he, Padmé, and Obi-Wan were all dating, and when he met up with the other two after school, they reported that their days had been similar to his.
“DAMMIT, YOU THREE!”
They turned around and saw Mace Windu hurrying towards them. “Now I owe Yoda twenty dollars!” he shouted as he passed.
(“Wise to bet on all three, I was,” Principal Yoda was later reported to have said. “Become very rich, I have. Afford to retire, I now can.”)
“Well, that was quite a day,” Padmé said, chuckling, as they all piled into the car. “Not that I didn’t love messing with everyone, but I’m glad they all know now.”
“So am I,” replied Obi-Wan. “What a relief.”
“I don’t know, I think we could’ve drawn it out another couple years,” Anakin said jokingly. The other two turned to look at him. “What?”
“Another couple years,” Padmé repeated with a hopeful expression. “You really think we’ll be together that long?”
Anakin blushed a little and smiled at them. “I hope so.” Padmé and Obi-Wan smiled back, and they all took each other’s hands.