My initial reaction to the communication was simple shock. That sense of disorientation, when something unexpected happens, as staggering as if Mace Windu tossed up a hairball during a council meeting, and all I could think was - What? Shock turned to appalled horror and then I wondered why I felt so strongly. I had accepted what occurred to me and decided that the experience was overall beneficial. At least, I believed I had.
Qui-Gon's mind touched mine, expressing his concern. Our training bond has strengthened significantly since we became lovers six months ago. I sent back soothing comfort, yes I was fine, no I wasn't hurt, only surprised. Not in words because we don't share the true telepathy of a life bond, but in radiant pulses of energy. His reassurance flowed back to me, but I knew he would check on me as soon as he was free.
I realized quickly that I had better smother my dismay and nonchalantly accept this information. Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Master, legendary warrior, skilled negotiator, surprisingly, tends to stress about our togetherness. He tries not to, strongly reaffirming that the Force guided our relationship. I was present when he argued the Council into granting their permission. The Masters offered an astonishing variety of different concerns, everything from the effect on my training, whether we could be dispassionate if one of us was endangered, how other Padawan/Master teams would react. I almost expected one of them to be concerned if we would start to argue over who did the chores. Qui-Gon dealt with everything superbly, shooting down every objection with polite but firm logic, based on knowledge of our characters and faith in our destiny.
Well, almost everything. He did start to get a little testy when Adi Gallia inquired whether his dominance in our relationship would subdue my ability to express myself sexually. Fortunately, Yoda intervened at that juncture and convinced the Council to say yes and leave us alone until a definite harmful effect demonstrated itself. Bless Yoda. I feel very fortunate to have him as a grand master, though I think his sporadic impishness frustrates my Master.
Despite Qui-Gon's unwavering belief in the Force, the odd human concerns pop up. The scattered remarks about his age, my youth, whether our involvement stopped me from fully exploring other relationships, if I was in my right mind when I initiated our relationship. Yes, the great Jedi warrior was definitely a worrier.
Qui-Gon strolled through the doorway of our quarters a bare ten minutes later. Five minutes faster than I calculated. "You had news?" were the first words from his mouth.
"Yes, Qui-Gon, quite interesting news." I went straight for the vaguely amused intonation and relayed mirth through our link. While the Republic population generally thinks of the Jedi as honorable, honest people - and we are - Jedi also are the best trained negotiators in the universe. We learn a lot about projecting different moods using our face, voice, and body. And, when confronting lovers who happen to be Jedi, our mind. "A communication from Sherla. Incredibly silly, really."
"The Catarrian Ambassador's kitling?" Qui-Gon barely spoke to the Ambassador's last born during our visit to Catarria, but give him credit, he has an amazing memory for names and titles. All Jedi must.
"Yes. It seems that they've made my experience a tourist industry."
"You mean - people can pay to be dominated by cat instincts? Live like their own pets?" Fast on the uptake, that's another Jedi trait.
"Isn't that silly? I was so astonished. The Catarrians have always seemed so defensive and deny any connection to domestic cats. I've never seen one that didn't hiss if a stranger stroked its fur."
"How do they manage it?"
"They studied the herbs and incense used in the ritual that affected me, figured out what caused my mental imbalance. Apparently it's not one hundred percent effective. It depends on your genetics and birth planet. They have a whole series of contingency vacations if it doesn't work, to keep disappointed customers happy." I was crossing the room, taking Qui-Gon's cloak off his shoulders and hanging it, making the conversation breezy. Drive me out of my mind, turn it into a vacation paradise, no big deal.
"So - you were only astonished because you wouldn't expect the Catarrians to make a living off their felineness?" The words - And not because you regret what started our relationship? - weren't asked, but they floated in the air.
"I guess every race can surprise you." The trick with the cloak had given me a valid excuse to get close without being obvious. I took my chance, sliding my hands around his shoulders and into his hair, coaxing his head down into a kiss. Welcoming and loving to begin, leading rapidly to intense and passionate. He picked me up and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I hated my height when I was a teenager and realized I wouldn't grow any taller. Yoda's "size matters not" be damned, being able to look your Master straight in the neck can be most annoying and highly ego-destroying. Now I delight in the disparity between us that enables Qui-Gon to carry me so comfortably. It was mid-afternoon and we had other duties to attend this day, but Qui-Gon moved into the sleeping chamber and I didn't protest.
I shoved thoughts of Catarria out of my consciousness. Tons of human or humanoid species adored cats as pets. The Catarrians would probably make a fortune. Their choices were their business. Besides, with the tribal conflicts settled, we weren't likely to visit that planet ever again.
"I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" Ouch. Critical error in judgment. Note to self - never ask a Council member to repeat himself, no matter how much your mind is boggling in shock. Particularly not Mace Windu, master of the scathing look.
"I said that you are to visit Catarria and soothe tensions regarding this "Be A Cat" tourist business. It is dividing the Catarrians and the Republic doesn't need another tribal war erupting. Master Jinn will assist you but you, Padawan Kenobi, will be in charge." Windu's inflection wasn't biting, but definitely repressive of my perceived lapse in listening.
"May I ask why this matter needs external intervention, Master? Surely concerns regarding a private business should be handled through their own civil process? A lawsuit? Governmental regulation?" Deferential intonation. I was rapidly recovering.
"The Ambassador's daughter, Sherla, is responsible for developing this activity. Her leadership gives the impression the administration condones the activity, creating an escalation of anti-government feeling, especially among tribes not currently represented in the Congress."
Gee. It was all Sherla's idea. Funny how she forgot to mention that fact in her communication of last month. "And may I ask why I would be in charge?" Designating command responsibility on a Padawan, particularly a Padawan still several years from his trials, was unprecedented.
"Because it's your name and your title being used in the advertisements. You're apparently quoted as saying 'It was the most amazing experience of my life.' " Sherla also neglected to mention that little tidbit. Windu was not happy. Jedi aren't used for publicity vidcast ads. So much for Qui-Gon's diligence protecting my reputation. The entire universe was now informed about the possession I had undergone. I could picture the clip she used - my communication to her the morning after I recovered, letting her and her father know I was fine, leaning back in my chair, happy smile on my face. Qui-Gon and I had made love most of the night and I was in total rapture. Yep, I bet I was an effective recommendation.
"I see." I was struggling to think what else to say.
"Do you have a problem with this assignment, Padawan? You may need to publicly condone or condemn this venture. You will have to assess tensions and decide after you arrive at Catarria what will be most effective." Windu awaited my response. Yoda and I exchanged glances. We both acknowledged that I couldn't overtly condemn what happened to me - it would crush Qui-Gon.
"While I did not grant permission for my communication to be used, the words are true. I did find it the most amazing experience of my life." I choose my words carefully, omitting several items I could have said. The experience also was frustrating and bizarre, not being in control of my own body, driven to strange actions by primal impulses. Honestly I could only say it was overall amazing because it forced Qui-Gon's mask to slip, permitting me to see his desire to ravish me, a feeling I heartily reciprocated. "However, there was only six months for medical testing before the business was opened. Given the sheer variety of reactions in humans and humanoid species, the potential dangers would concern me. I cannot say I would recommend this industry continue. I fear my attitude would be regarded as equivocating and only inflame the current aggravations." Would that be enough to free me from this task?
"I see." Nope. Not enough. "Then I suggest you meditate on the voyage and be prepared to take whatever attitude or actions are necessary to calm the Catarrians."
I flicked a quick look at Yoda. No help from that quarter, not this time. I guessed he'd already offered his best arguments before we were summoned. Acquiescing with subdued grace, I said, "Yes, Master. I live to serve."
"And Padawan - convince Sherla to stop using you in the advertising."
"Yes, Master." I bowed and turned to leave. It seemed beneath the dignity of a Jedi to threaten Sherla with a lawsuit but I wasn't sure what else might work. Qui-Gon also said, "Yes, Master," his only words during this unusual meeting and duplicated my actions, following me out the council door.
I thought the trip from Catarria had been hellacious, trapped by foreign urgencies I couldn't control, unable to speak or use the Force. At least my conscious mind was semi-aware and pleased by the reactions Qui-Gon exhibited when I rubbed on him and kneaded his thighs. The gulp in his throat, the fire in his eyes, the hasty shoving me away, exposed his inner craving. I could purr and did with immense contentment.
As we traveled back, I could visibly see him slowly closing in his emotions, like a paw curling up to hide the sharp claws. Only the claws were his love for me and the furry paw was the shield to protect himself. He honestly still believed I was too young, that confronted with the evidence of my catness, I would suddenly thunk my head and say, "Gee, guess I have been fooling myself these last seven months! It was only the insanity! We'll just stop now, okay Qui-babe?"
At night, I gave him the words, hoping that would be enough. The words said in the heat of passion - "More. Harder. Deeper. That feels so good. Stop. Don't stop. Gods, don't ever stop." During the day, the words of love - a steady look into his eyes, the sincere "I love you, Qui-Gon. I have adored you for years. I want to spend my life with you." He accepted all my utterances and returned the words of passion with equal fervor. The words of love he kissed from my lips.
Being a Jedi is an odd thing. Trained from birth, primarily isolated with only other Jedi for company while simultaneously taught to understand and appreciate all cultures. Family connections are tolerated but not encouraged. Through the Force, we develop special abilities and live to serve unselfishly. We risk our lives with great frequency and solve hostile conflicts that impact entire regions of space. We are honored, revered, and respected throughout the universe, with an almost painful adoration and distance. Then we report to back to the Council and are told, "Nice job. Here's another one." It has odd consequences on your ego, when everyone loves you, except those who sincerely hate you for ruining their schemes, but only the other Jedi understand you and most 'normal' citizens can't always hide their secret fear of your mental powers.
I think Qui-Gon had relinquished dreams of ever sharing his life with someone and expected me to be yanked away at any time - either by my own decision or an external factor. Somehow, I had to both calm the Catarrians and make him accept my love was real. Needless to say, I meditated a lot that trip. The answers I sought didn't magically emerge from my consciousness.
Since I was "in charge" I suggested Qui-Gon spend some time with the ordinary Catarrians, make conversation in milk shops and determine the general public's reaction. Perhaps the Council was overreacting. Newscasts are known to exaggerate.
I started with Sherla. She responded promptly to my request, appearing within half an hour at our hotel suite. This mission was semi-official, so we'd elected not to request official housing.
We rubbed noses hello, her soft white fur brushing against my skin. Our conversation didn't go well, at least from my point of view. She was happily unrepentant at the success of the business. She'd lost her own enthusiasm for reawakening her species' natural instincts and moved onto full-blown entrepreneurship with equal verve. Her attitude clearly said - grab their money before they can stroke your fur. Medical concerns were dismissed with a sniff. Tourists were warned of the dangers and signed an extensive liability waiver.
Her fur bristled at my suggestion of a lawsuit unless she cease using my communication in her advertising. Then she laughed. Somehow, a Jedi with an attorney is a ludicrous image. I couldn't argue with that reaction. Desperately, I tried for the sympathetic romantic approach. "Qui-Gon is afraid that I only love him because I lost control of my mind. Seeing my face popping up on vidcasts will constantly remind him of that concern."
"He does not believe you love him?"
"He believes but - he doesn't understand how much I was conscious during the event. It worries him, how we came together. Please, Sherla, for our friendship. Surely now that you've been operating for a month, there must be other recommendations you can use?" I hoped if I could at least eliminate mention of the Jedi, the Council would be pacified.
"None as sexy as you," she proclaimed, her ears flicking outward. I grimaced. Jedi aren't accustomed to considering our own physical attractiveness. "At least, other humans tell me that you are attractive. You skinned-people look too odd for my tastes." Knock my ego down. "I will contemplate your request. We will talk again tomorrow?"
We arranged to meet for lunch. She left and I went to find her father.
I confess I was tired and dispirited when I returned to the hotel that evening. I talked to the Ambassador and several different political officials. Some were polite; some were extremely not pleased to see me. My face had become quite famous in the tourist advertising for Catarria. One of them finally showed me a copy of the vidcast ad. Ouch and double ouch. I didn't just seem happy - I looked physically satiated. Well-fucked, to be vulgar but accurate. Dressed in trousers and my under tunic, feet bare, I was practically purring as I recounted how much fun I had as a cat. I was surprised Sherla hadn't found some way to use the communication to advertise a far more infamous product.
Note to self - always shower and clean up before communicating with friends after a long night with Qui-Gon. Particularly relatively new friends. And never exaggerate when reassuring people.
Qui-Gon was sleeping on the couch when I entered the hotel room. I was rather surprised. He didn't usually nap before dinner unless a mission was exceptionally strenuous. I was hungry, so I shook him gently.
He didn't wake.
I shook him harder.
He still didn't wake.
I shook him so much I nearly knocked him off the couch.
He yawned, a wide stretching yawn, displaying his white teeth and pink tongue. He curled into a ball, long arms and legs hanging off the couch, and fell asleep.
I headed for the communications console and reached Sherla within moments. She was home, expecting my call.
"Aren't you happy, Obi-Wan? I found him at a milk bar and we had a nice chat."
"While you slipped drugs in his milk?" The tone in my voice was escalating to a high pitch. I couldn't stop it.
"You said he didn't understand how you had felt. Now he will."
"You don't - " I gave up. I would deal with Sherla later. "I want a doctor to examine him."
"I will send the company's physician." I slapped off the communication signal, called room service for a meal, checked all the window seals, and settled in for a siege. We weren't leaving this suite until he was rational.
Admittedly, I was relieved that the doctor arrived and examined Qui-Gon before he woke. Even with use of the Force, I didn't relish holding him down. Qui-Gon was in the early stage, the herbs causing intense sleepiness as they spread throughout his system. The doctor was delighted when I told him Qui-Gon's birth planet. No one had visited from there yet. If the herbs worked well on Qui-Gon, Sherla could check off another excellent place to advertise. Oh goody. I was glad someone found joy in this fiasco.
I was dozing on the chair when Qui-Gon awoke, stretching from the tips of his fingers to the ends of his toes. His lazy gaze met mine and instantly lit with a dangerous predatory gleam.
In all his descriptions of my actions during my possession, I pictured myself as a small house cat, spitting, hissing and purring. Either the herbs affected us differently or our personalities played a significant role. Bad for my ego, but stands to reason, because Qui-Gon didn't resemble a small kitty. He was a lion. A big, dominant lion. King of the jungle and he knew it. Now I had to make sure he didn't try to prove it.
He rolled off the couch and slunk toward me, rumbling and growling deep in his chest. The image would have been incredibly sexy if it wasn't so unnerving. "Qui-Gon." He paused for a second then continued padding in my direction. "Qui-Gon, I know you can understand me."
Could I make that assumption? I never asked Sherla if everyone retained a conscious mind. I had to hope. "I know this is unnerving. You can't control yourself. But it's okay. I'm here and I will watch out for you." He rose up and his arms slapped down on my front. His legs stayed crouched, as if he didn't realize he was capable of standing straight. Our eyes clashed. I couldn't remember if it was better to meet a wild animal's eyes or not. Animals rarely fight wars or have trade disputes, so Jedi knowledge of zoology tends to be limited. I've dealt with a number of wild creatures, since Qui-Gon has the most disturbing habit of rescuing pathetic lifeforms, but we usually found good homes for his strays within a few days.
Either Qui-Gon was conscious or I made the right choice, because he leaned in closer, growled, rubbed at my face, and fell back down to the floor on his hands and feet. I breathed a sigh of relief as he prowled the room. He made a full circuit, sniffing and exploring, rubbing his lean body against the furniture. Ultimately, he arrived back and rubbed his scent on my legs, almost knocking me down. I ruffled my fingers in his hair and he rumbled louder.
Shaking his mane free from my hand, he roamed back to the center of the room and slung himself down on the carpet. I was very glad Yoda wasn't around, because no matter how many days we stayed locked in this suite, I wasn't bathing him. Considering how bad many Jedi ended up smelling on various missions, I never really believed that Yoda ordered that bath out of any serious olfactory distaste. I think he sensed Qui-Gon's feelings and was encouraging us together. Qui-Gon obeyed out of habit and secret desire. Well, we were already together and I would be happy to wash him as soon as he was sane. I wasn't going to compel that hard, large form into water. Even the Force has limits.
The day went as well as it could. At least the routine was familiar. Watch him, make reassuring noises, read, pet him. Meal time was distinctly unsettling. Taking a piece of meat, I held it out to him. He lunged, one hand swiftly swiping it from my fingers. Good thing he didn't have claws. He gnawed on the food, watching me with alert eyes to ensure I wouldn't attack him to retrieve it.
After a few hours, I was almost happy. I couldn't work on the rest of my mission because I had to watch Qui-Gon. I couldn't risk leaving him alone. So I had to lounge in a hotel suite, eat room service, and watch Qui-Gon sleep and prowl like a magnificent creature. Tough day.
He strolled over and rubbed on me several times. I was tempted to rub back, to see what would happen, but it seemed too much like taking advantage. Also, Qui-Gon was disturbingly lethal. His muscles might have been loose and relaxed, but he exhibited the waiting quality of a dangerous animal, a beast that is lulling its prey into complacency before pouncing.
By the next day, he was getting claustrophobic. I could see his tenseness, his need to escape his captivity. The hotel suite was too small to be a satisfactory jungle for this king. I teased him with my sash, hoping he would play games, but no luck.
With animal cunning, he choose his moment. I answered the knock on the door and he bounded for the window. I turned, screaming "NO" and trying to throw up a Force wall. He was too fast, hitting the glass, shards splintering outwards into the air. I was leaping over furniture, looking through the broken fragments at his body soaring through the air. I tossed out a cushion of Force, catching him enough to slow him down as he fell the three stories. I was more successful with the cushion than the wall. He landed on his feet and hands in a crouch, standing and shaking himself. The tie was gone and his hair fluffed wildly. He roared at a passerby and took off running on two feet. Damn. He would have been slower on four.
I didn't risk the window but shoved past the hotel busboy, my lunch and Qui-Gon's steak flying. I had to capture him before he endangered himself or any Catarrians.
We made a ridiculous sight as I dragged him home three hours later. I had chased him all over the city. Initially, I mind whammied every Catarrian, making them forget the sight of the dignified Jedi Master growling and leaping onto any high surface. Protecting his reputation became impossible when the newscast reporters linked up with us. There were too many of them and they were broadcasting live.
I lassoed him with my sash and tied it onto him as a leash. He fought me every step of the way and he was physically stronger. I had the Force on my side, but I never realized the deficiencies in my training. I mostly practiced shoving droids away with enough power to destroy them. I lacked enough delicacy in my technique to bind him without harming him.
Note to self - train harder on more varied uses of the Force. At least this trip was definitely a learning experience.
Sherla was pacing in front of the hotel. Her exquisite green eyes were blazing with furious fire but I ignored her. This disaster was her fault, even if she didn't accept the responsibility. Fortunately, the newscasters recognized and pounced on her with glee, allowing Qui-Gon and me to enter the hotel alone. The manager wanted to kick us out for breaking the window and causing havoc at his quiet hotel. I mind whammied him to find us another room. On the first floor.
I dressed Qui-Gon's wounds and healed the worst with the Force. Thankfully, most of the cuts were shallow. Several more hours elapsed before he succeeded in mumbling a contrite "Obi-Wan." I instantly laid on the floor next to him, stroking his hair. Squirming around, I slipped under his body, cradling his shoulders to my chest, tucking his head under my chin.
"It's fine, Qui-Gon. Everything is fine. It takes time. Don't fight it." I crooned a litany of reassurances as sanity crept back into his eyes. When he was semi-functional, I guided him into sitting up and moving into the bedroom, coaxing him back into the same cuddling position on the bed.
"Yes, Master? Do you feel alright?"
"Obi-Wan - " He stopped and snuggled his head closer into my neck. Through our bond, I could tell what he didn't want to say.
"You let her drug you, didn't you? You wanted to know what it was like, if I was truly aware." It only made sense. A Jedi Master should have been able to easily read a Catarrian as excitable as Sherla.
"Forgive me?" He was legitimately horrified at his own insecure foolishness and the resulting consequences. The Council were probably already watching our traipse through the downtown streets. So much for calming Catarrian tensions. Windu would have our heads.
I twisted our bodies, so we were facing each other on the bed. "Qui-Gon, I love you. Even when you are stubborn and have to learn things for yourself."
"Obi-Wan," he stroked my cheek with his fingertips, as gently as touching velvety fur, "will you life bond with me?"
I smiled and kissed his palm. I had started to ask that question several times myself but always stopped, afraid his response would be a sad commentary on my youth and his unwillingness to tie me down. Instead, I'd been tolerantly waiting for him. Suggesting the total commitment of a life bond told me he was secure enough in my love - in our love - to truly believe it would last forever. "Yes, Qui-Gon."
By mutual consent, we slid closer and kissed, lightly tasting with lips and tongue. Qui-Gon was slow, exquisitely slow, savoring my mouth. I cherished the memory of our first-time together, when he was so frantic and desperate for completion. That driving need was so exciting. Most of the time, Qui-Gon was the most generous, patient lover, receiving greater satisfaction from my responses than his own. On good days, he would make me explode over and over, patting my come into my abdomen, before mischievously smiling and beginning again. People who think my smile is impish have never seen Qui-Gon's delight when proving his prowess. On bad days - or perhaps they should be described as days that are even better - he made me wait, keeping me dangling for hours with excruciating calm.
Our boots and sashes were already gone. Tunics, trousers, and undergarments leisurely followed, tossed off the bed. Qui-Gon was determined to lick every inch of my skin, finding some of the oddest places. The underside of my chin, my shoulder blades, my wrist, my knees, my ankles. His choices were both fascinating and frustrating. I was dying for his mouth in more sensitive areas.
"Qui-Gon, are you going to make me wait forever?" I finally wailed. Yep, I wailed. I admit it.
"Poor Obi-Kitty," he mock lamented at me. "Don't you like being a lion toy?"
"I'd rather be a lion feast," I complained. "Qui-Lion."
He flashed his dazzling grin. "Your wish is my command."
His mouth went straight to my cock. He lapped at the head, his soft but rough tongue drinking the first drops of fluid like a cat drinking milk. His hand joined the action, tickling up and down the shaft. I was groaning at the wonderful flickering sensations spreading through my body. He was still being too slow, his caress too delicate. I contemplated grabbing at him, bringing him to orgasm, but I knew that was the wrong choice. He really made me wait when he was already satisfied.
"Qui-Gon, we have to deal with the Catarrians tomorrow. We can't do this all night."
He laughed, his breath warming my cock as it wafted from his mouth. "Isn't a good thing we both have Jedi stamina?"
I must have looked the picture of debauched decadence the next morning. Well, mid-morning. Late morning, whatever. I was face down and spread eagled across the bed, my hair tousled and both my ponytail and padawan braid untied. The covers and sheets were piled on the floor. A rude hand slapped my butt and I jerked awake, glaring over my shoulder to see Sherla glaring back. "What is your Master going to say?"
I groaned and laid back down. Never allow anyone to tell you that youth and stamina can measure up to experience and stamina.
She poked me in the back, obviously agitated. "What will he say?"
"Say to who?" My question was decidedly testy. I was tired, sore, and inexpressibly satiated in every muscle of my body.
"To the Congress! He's speaking to the Congress in five minutes!"
That woke me up. Trust Qui-Gon. I loved the man but he had a bad habit for taking responsibility onto his own head.
I pulled on trousers and stumbled to the living area. My eyes were bleary and my face stubbled with hair. The communications console was already airing the Congressional hall, vidcasters panning over the politicians representing the various tribes. I don't care what Catarrian scientists say, they must have evolved from domestic cats. The lovely calico markings of one Congressman, next to a solid black, a seal point, an orange tabby - Catarrian fur is one of the most gorgeous physical features in this universe.
Sherla was sitting on the edge of the couch. I called room service for breakfast and flopped next to her, feet on a stool. Qui-Gon was approaching the podium as the politicians respectfully settled into silence.
"Members of the Congress, I thank you for allowing me to speak to you today. There have been concerns regarding the "Be A Cat" business and whether it is an appropriate tourist industry for your beautiful planet. As you may know, my apprentice was the first human to accidentally experience this sensation and I underwent the treatment yesterday."
"I apologize for any inconvenience I caused and I would urge further medical testing and governmental regulation of this business. Clearly, without care, this sensation has the potential to cause problems."
"However, this industry does not mock the Catarrians, who are a civilized, dignified race. It allows a person to experience a primal state of awareness, which has heightened my appreciation for all creatures and I believe will have a similar impact on others. I must echo my apprentice's words. This was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I shall cherish the memory forever. Thank you."
I loved the man. I completely and totally loved the man. Okay, I would yell at him for leaving out my name and diverting all the attention and blame onto himself, but I still loved him. After yesterday's exhibition and a public speech today, the Congress would swiftly approve regulation and the Council would forgive us.
Sherla was thoughtfully rumbling in her chest. "We'll get governmental regulation. We'll probably be shut down for more medical testing before we can reopen."
"Yes, but they'll take Qui-Gon's recommendation as an official Jedi position and won't offend the Council by closing you down completely. The Council won't be pleased at the public declaration but they won't agitate the tribes by contradicting him. You will reopen. And you'll have a clip of a Jedi Master saying he'll cherish the memory forever."
One ear flicked back. She'd already begun designing the ad in her mind. "You won't threaten me with another lawsuit, will you?"
I grinned and stretched. "Life is purrfect, Sherla. And I have a bonding ceremony to prepare."
"Life is purrfect? Life is purrfect?" Her fur was standing straight up and her emerald eyes slitted. "You deserve to be spanked for that statement. You know Catarrians hate silly puns about cats."
I raised my eyebrows at her. "Miss "Be A Cat" businesswoman hates cat puns? You'd get more business if you called it 'Purrfect Vacations.'"
"What bonding ceremony?" She'd registered the import of my last words. She was knocking on the door to the freshing chamber before I finished shutting it on her face.
"Go away, Sherla!" I called. "Go talk to Congresspeople about regulation! After my breakfast is delivered." The noise of the shower drowned out her response. I dropped my trousers and stepped into the cold spray, wanting to be clean and dressed when Qui-Gon returned. I contemplated if I should ask Sherla to be an attendant of honor. She had helped unite us, even if by accident. Or would her fur be too white next to our white bonding garments? I'd talk with Qui-Gon first. Maybe Yoda should be his attendant? I snickered at the image of Sherla and Yoda walking down the aisle in front of us.
As I scrubbed, I imagined my bachelor ceremony. The other Padawans would find someone to bake a cake shaped like a mouse. Probably a fish motif for the decorations. Contests on whom could purr the loudest. At least I was no longer alone, the only victim of this weird happening. I could depend on the Masters and Knights to poke a little fun at Qui-Gon too. We'd be able to console our wounded dignity together.
Yep, life was purrfect and looking better every day.