Of all the ways I might have planned it, the question came out when I least expected it. My apprentice and mate, Obi-Wan Kenobi, had slipped in the red mud, his face already smeared with dirt, blood, and sweat accumulated from long hours helping the townspeople evacuate before the monsoon completely swept over their dwellings. Everything was done that could be done, the Rutu safe on high ground, devout enough to accept what the gods of nature would send them, already planning with patience and stoicism on how rebuild their houses and lives. We would soon be free to leave.
I was tired, hungry, and filthy myself, but I had to pause to stare at Obi-Wan, listen to the laughter that bubbled out of him, marvel at the grin whose energy rivaled the sun even through the drizzling that signaled the monsoon's anticipated arrival. "Obi-Wan, are you all right?" I asked, extending a hand.
"I'm fine, Master. I'm fine," Obi-Wan spoke while standing, the clay in the mud sucking at his tunics and trousers, trying to hold him down. "I was just looking forward to returning to our ship, and getting clean and dry. And now - look at me," he said ruefully, turning in a circle for my inspection before facing me again. "The Force obviously wants me to truly appreciate being clean, for I am now filthier than I have ever have been in my life."
Impulsively, I cupped Obi-Wan's face in my hands. "Obi-Wan, marry me."
Obi-Wan stilled at the sudden question, his laughter dying, but his eyes brightening. "We are mates, Qui-Gon. I need nothing more."
"But I do, Obi-Wan, I do. I want to pledge our love in front of the entire Jedi populace, for us to be bound under the laws of the Republic as surely as our hearts already bind us. I want your love and laughter permanently and legally in my life."
"Oh, Qui-Gon." The kiss Obi-Wan gave me was sweet and slow while my heart soared. "I'll say yes... when you do it the right way." He shoved, and I fell backwards, my clothing soaking up the water and mud as thoroughly as Obi-Wan's had while Obi-Wan danced away, his sparkling laughter drowned by the deluge beginning to pound down.
The right way? What did the right way mean? The Jedi had few traditions regarding the social niceties of love. Usually in the Temple Gardens, surrounded by the peace of the growing life and the Force, a serious question, a delighted response, perhaps a piece of jewelry embedded with a polished Force crystal as a gift. Many times the recipient already had a similar token prepared. Certainly, a Jedi proposing legal marriage would feel emotionally and passionately bounded to their love, but we tended to know when the moment was right and handle it simply, as befitted a blessing from the Force and our traditional emphasis on peace and meditation.
But then, as lovers, Obi-Wan and I were more strongly influenced by the Nyotans than the Jedi. On a mission to that world, he had danced sensually for me in public, and I had picked him up and carried him off to have wild sex in private, followed by the approving gazes of our hot blooded Nyotan hosts. From that time on, our romantic relationship was forever changed, becoming deeper and more intense.
He couldn't... I winced, lifting my face to let the rain wash it clean. Oh yes, he could. Obi-Wan's exterior could be very deceptive. He appeared earnest, honest, dutiful, confident, all good Jedi characteristics. But then a wry quip would emerge or he'd swagger toward an opponent, the sway of his hips revealing the spirited depths hidden within the shell of an ideal Padawan.
I should have been the one to delight in our Nyotan connection. I was the rogue, the maverick, the constant thorn in the Council's collective side. Obi-Wan was obedience personified. But Obi-Wan loved the Nyotans' fires, and loved when his dancing brought forth the sexually dominating tendency in my personality.
Obi-Wan wouldn't want a spur of the moment proposal while lying in the mud, even if it felt right to me. He would want fire, passion, and public approbation for something this important in our lives.
I cringed but conceded, not mentioning the subject until we reached Coruscant where I could look up Nyotan traditions on romance and marriage in the library archives. The proposal traditions were as bad as I feared.
I could be cowardly, ignore my question, pretend I hadn't asked it or that I didn't know how to meet Obi-Wan's condition. We would continue happily as we were, I was sure. But as right as it had felt to ask, it felt even more necessary to pursue. And to receive Obi-Wan's formal agreement to a life as my mate, I would do anything.
Broaching the subject with Master Windu was the first step, since he had the dubious pleasure of being responsible for the Temple's administrative functioning. Outside of the Council Room or away from his desk, Mace was a generous, openhearted fellow. His warm personality and sensitivity had made him an excellent field diplomat. His success earned him a promotion to the Council where the daily hassle of coping with the Senate's bickering and contradictory requests and solving the Temple's bureaucratic crises tended to suck the life from him, turning him into an over-diligent marionette. At least, in my view. I had raised the issue once, and Mace had argued that he had responsibilities and fulfilled those in the most appropriate way for a Council Member. For once, I decided to take the tactful route with a Council Member and dropped the subject rather than insisting on convincing him that he could be a stiff-necked fool.
But with me, he still relaxed and could be himself when we were out of a formal setting, so I planned our encounter carefully, approaching him after an exercise bout. We were both hot and sweaty, taking a break by justifying that we needed to study our Padawans' forms for errors or flaws.
Both Obi-Wan and Swi-Yun lost their steps, glancing at us, startled, when Mace's laughter boomed out.
"Quiet! This is required to be a surprise."
Though barely able to speak through his laughter, Mace moderated his volume. "You? A public declaration of your love? A dance? You want to dance in the dining hall?"
His amusement was beginning to rile me. "I fail to understand your amusement, Mace. I'm hardly the shy and retiring type."
His chuckles died as he leaned back, his elbows resting on the level of seats behind us, still smiling. "No, you are not shy and retiring. You're a very open, warm person, Qui-Gon. But you've never made a public spectacle of yourself. And you're a horrible dancer."
"You haven't seen me dance since I was a teen. No one danced well in Master Tefanne's class on diplomatic courtesies and protocol."
"I did," Mace said simply, and I glowered but didn't disagree. His sense of rhythm was excellent and far superior to mine, a fact I'd found very frustrating when we were Padawans, both because I wanted to excel at every skill I would need as a Jedi, and because Mace attracted the cutest Padawans in the class.
"Will you help? Obi-Wan means everything to me. This must be right for him."
"He means more to you than your duty?" he asked, seemingly mildly.
"The Force brought us together, Mace. It wouldn't let our relationship conflict with our duty."
"That's a subject for theoretical debate, but yes, I'll help you. Just finding a chef to program the droids with Nyotan dishes will be a nightmare. But to see you dance..." He started laughing again.
I snapped a polite thank you and stalked off to the showers, ignoring that our Padawans were still ferociously engaged in combat. Mission one accomplished.
The next step to address was my attire. Ridiculous as it may sound, I had nothing appropriate to wear, and I didn't know how long the tailor droid would require to create an outfit. I commed Mate Bunny for advice.
"I am so happy for you," she said warmly, green eyes glowing with genuine pleasure. Bunny loved people to share the same happiness she had found with her mate. "I had hoped this might happen when teaching Obi-Wan the dances of our world."
"Can you help me?"
"Of course. It is an honor to help the Jedi, particularly those who honor us in return by following our traditions. I will have a superb outfit made and delivered to you by this time next week."
"I had thought you could send a pattern to the Temple's tailor droid. I don't want to impose upon you."
"Temple droids!" Even as her eyes flashed and she wrinkled her nose in distaste, she looked absolutely adorable. I could understand why she was the treasured mate of the Nyotan Trade Master. Not that she could even begin to compare to my Obi-Wan. "Your tailor droid does not have Nyotan silk, does it? Can it hand sew the trim with its clumsy metal fingers? I will send you an outfit, a true Nyotan outfit."
Tailor droids didn't precisely have fingers, clumsy or otherwise, but it seemed silly to argue an inconsequential point. I meekly responded, "Thank you, Mate Bunny," as she smiled and her hologram disappeared.
Last and most importantly, the key components of the proposal itself - the music and the dance. Obi-Wan had downloaded many Nyotan songs into our room computer, so encouraging him to play some one evening, looking for signs of which he favored, was a simple matter. Admiring him while he relaxed to the enchanting beat of Nyotan's sensual music was a pleasant task, and I was able to select a song he appreciated that I thought would be compatible with my style. At least, the style I hoped to develop.
I was less certain the next day, as I stood in one of the small, mirrored practice rooms used for perfecting katas. Obi-Wan had taught me some of the Nyotan dance moves, the fine abdominal control, but mostly he enjoyed dancing and I preferred watching. I was tall and big, broad-shouldered and long-legged. I always felt awkward next to Obi-Wan's graceful, lithe figure.
But this was what Obi-Wan wanted, and fulfilling Obi-Wan's desire was enough to vanquish any concerns about embarrassing myself. I closed my eyes as the music started, absorbing myself in its beat, letting the rhythm and the Force show me the choreography.
Of all things, I hadn't expected the dressing to be the worse. The package had arrived from Mate Bunny on time, and I was relieved to see that the outfit was of a thick maroon silk, much more substantial than any of Obi-Wan's revealing costumes. I hid it and thought no more, waiting until two nights later, when Mace assured me all would be prepared.
Obi-Wan left for an early dinner with a friend while I pretended to be fascinated by my datapadd. As soon as the door slid closed, I bolted for the bedroom, stripping off my Jedi uniform and boots.
I tried to pull the trousers up to my hips and realized that they would need to hang lower than I anticipated. And that wearing my normal underwear would be impossible. While the silk was moderately thick, it was still sheer enough that my white underwear was visible through it, even if a large stripe hadn't risen over the waistband.
I searched through the package and discovered to my horror that Bunny had indeed planned for this contingency. She had very thoughtfully included a thong made of a matching maroon silk.
Putting it on, I stood in front of the mirror to see the effect. The miniscule scrap of fabric barely contained my shaft, and certainly didn't cover much more of my body. I twisted around to see my back and yes, as I feared, both cheeks were completely visible, the thong only hiding the divide between them. Wincing, I took a deep breath and pivoted. At least the thong managed to be functional, holding my penis in place. Flopping around wouldn't help my serenity. Even if my dance was laughable, I thought Obi-Wan could be aroused by the scanty garment. He enjoyed the sight of my naked body, and the thong allowed ninety-nine percent of my assets to be on display.
The trousers next, the waistband hugged my hips, the soft silk caressed my thighs but then clung to my calves, so I would be able to slip my boots on over them. The short-sleeved bolero jacket matched the trousers but with gold trim around the edge. The socks were silk and brown, and my boots went perfectly with the outfit. At least I had practiced in them, even if I hadn't dared risk the complete ensemble.
A piece of jewelry was included, a heavy chain of gold coins. I clasped it around my neck, and snapped the betrothal circlet on it. The gold bracelet with a green Force stone hung in the middle of my chest, touching the bolero, and looked designed to match the chain.
I took one last look at myself, all dressed in smooth maroon silk and knee-length brown leather boots. I was ready. I hoped.
The dining hall appeared unnervingly full when I opened the door, dozens of Jedi waiting in line, eating, talking. At least there weren't hundreds or thousands of observers. With so many crises in the galaxy, only a minimal contingent of Jedi were on Coruscant at any given time.
The music started precisely at the requested time. Thankfully Mace was always on schedule. Conversation trickled off as the sea of faces on top of cream, tan and brown clothes noticed the unusual sound and glanced around, searching for its cause. Everyone turned to look at me as I strode through the door, head high, back straight, mouth dry, my steps paced to the beat.
Mace was waiting nearby and tilted his head toward Obi-Wan's direction so I wouldn't have to scour the room for him, but my Padawan must have sensed from the music that he would be involved, as he was standing up and walking toward me.
We met in the middle of the room and I held out one hand. He placed his in mine. I brought his hand to my lips, brushing them over the tip of his longest finger, then kissing his palm in supplication. Lastly, I nipped at the thin skin on the inside of his wrist, backing the submissive request with the promise of a demand. The gesture was traditional Nyotan, signaling the titanium hand in a velvet glove, a mate who could be tender with his love, but was hard enough to be protective.
Obi-Wan didn't respond; it wasn't time for him to make his acceptance or rejection clear. But the expression on his face told me all I needed to keep going, a smile curving his lips, his eyes shining with love.
I let his hand drop, and turned away, one arm held out, level with the ground, palm up. The Jedi had formed a large oval around us, and I walked around it, my eyes steady as they made contact with the Padawans, Knights, and Masters. I was presenting myself and my request to them. While no formal approval was required from any other, I needed to acknowledge their participation in our lives, their presence as the supportive community in which we lived and would be bound together for the rest of our lives.
At the furthest point from Obi-Wan, the music quickened and bringing my hands together chest-level, I spun back to him, my hair floating around my head as I whipped it around to keep my eyes focused on Obi-Wan.
I had learnt my choreography well, my moves more kata-influenced than dance-inspired. In Nyotan terms, Obi-Wan was the submissive mate and I the dominant, so it was only appropriate that my dance be more forceful, not as slinky as Obi-Wan's. Erotic but powerful, matching the strong and demanding music. The steps changed subtly with the presence of Obi-Wan and the watching Jedi. I returned to him more frequently, taking his hand, dipping him over my arm, dropping to one knee before him and spinning to rise again. He remained passive but responsive, letting me make my plea.
And plead I did, but also demanded. One hand boldly reaching to the sky, increasing my height, showing my strength and size, then echoing the plaintive lament from one wind instrument that overlaid the melody, touching my hands to my lips, reaching out to Obi-Wan with a wistful glance and a bow, one knee bending, the other leg pointing forward. And then dashing forward, grabbing onto his torso with both big hands, lifting him from the ground and spinning him around as he held his body straight. Mine to beg, mine to take.
The watching Jedi were entranced and respectful. When I spun, the jacket flapped open, and I could see admiration of my physique in many eyes. I didn't care. I was long past interest in others or any embarrassment, needing only Obi-Wan's acceptance.
I breathed hard as the music grew wilder, faster, my spins tighter, my arm gestures quicker but more emphatic. I did a backflip, one booted foot landing than the other behind it, dropping to my knees and sliding to rest before my love as the music peaked, one hand touching the ground behind me, the other arched above my head, and rippled my abdominal muscles, the jacket falling open. Obi-Wan leaned forward, the fingertips of one hand stroking from my throat down to my waistband and back up to the gold chain, where he unsnapped the bracelet and placed it on his wrist as the music drifted to a close. He had made his decision, choosing to commit to me.
I rose gracefully, joyfully, my exuberance overcoming any tiredness as I swept him into my arms. He laughed, his arms locking around my neck, and we kissed as the audience cheered. We were betrothed.
The evening was late before we were able to leave. We had tasted all the dishes, complimented Mace effusively on the droid's programming, received blessings and congratulations from everyone present, and been toasted so many times we both tottered a little as we left, holding hands to keep us upright.
I started toward the walkway to our room, but Obi-Wan tugged me in the opposite direction. I went with him, content to learn our destination when we arrived. I was very relaxed and incredibly happy.
He led us to the Flower Garden, where the air was scented with blossoms from a dozen worlds. He faced me, digging in his pocket and bringing forth a bracelet made of polished gold and accented with a single green Force crystal. Holding it out, he asked, "Qui-Gon Jinn, will you be my partner for the rest of our lives, joining with me in a legal union under the laws of the Republic, just as our hearts have already bonded for eternity?"
"Oh yes, Obi-Wan. I love you and I am yours forever."
The kiss we shared was sweet and long before Obi-Wan broke it to murmur teasingly in my ear, "Now that's the right way for a Jedi to ask for marriage."
I jerked, startled at the notion that he wanted a traditional Jedi proposal, not a Nyotan one, and his eyes gleamed before he took off running, the braid streaming behind him, daring me to snag it.
I caught him in the front room of our living quarters, tumbling him to the ground as he laughed and neither of us cared when the door snicked closed. We began tearing at each other's clothes, though my task was infinitely more complicated. His hand were caressing the bare flesh of my chest and back, slipping into the waistband and cupping the bare cheeks of my ass while I was still grappling with unwinding his sash.
I found myself flipped onto my back, silk pants yanked down to puddle around my knees, Obi-Wan staring with a combination of amusement and amazement at my body.
"I never believed I would see the day that Qui-Gon Jinn wore a silk thong."
"It's Bunny's fault," I said, a touch annoyed with my embarrassment. "I can't wear regular undergarments with these pants."
"I must remember to send her a thank you note," Obi-Wan said, before letting his body fall so that I was trapped, my legs bound by silk and held down by his weight, and his mouth fastened on my penis through the thin fabric.
Deciding to be an obliging fianc I relaxed and let Obi-Wan do what he pleased. And what pleased Obi-Wan was my pleasure. He mouthed and licked at the bulge growing beneath the fabric until my penis could no longer be contained and sprang free, pushing aside the maroon silk.
Obi-Wan didn't miss a beat, switching his attentions from soft silk to hard flesh, sucking, licking and stroking until I was squirming and bucking my hips up, holding onto his braid to occupy my hands so I wouldn't grab hold of his head and force myself deeper. He made greedy noises at the back of his throat, as if welcoming my penis to rest there, and the sounds were sweet music to my ears, giving me what I needed but didn't want to try to take. I babbled an incoherent protest or two, but he kept going, his mouth setting me afire, his caressing tongue coaxing my shaft to greater hardness until the blaze exploded and I was coming, hips rocking up, filling his mouth and moaning my delight.
I sprawled on the floor, uncaring that I must look a debauched wreck, with my clothes askew and my body sweaty. I was emotionally relieved that my betrothal was accepted, and so physically satiated that I was barely able to move. Obi-Wan finished undressing me with my extremely lazy assistance, lingering over the boot buckles, tickling my feet. I was too exhausted to respond, letting him take care of me, and then he disappeared. After a few moments I raised my head, looking for him. He was sitting on the couch, arms on the back, legs planted wide. His sash was gone, his tunics hanging to the sides, and his erection was straining the fabric of his trousers. When he noticed me looking at him, he asked, "Do you know how you looked in the dining hall? Like a King or a mighty jungle cat. Born to rule, proud, handsome but so incredibly sexy. A majestic presence but so graceful and almost humble in your need to have me accept your proposal."
As long as he hadn't thought me a lumbering fool, I was grateful. "I'm pleased that my dance met your approval."
He smiled and commanded softly, "Dance for me again, Qui-Gon. Dance for me and only me, my love."
I rolled up, crossing to the computer, wearing only the golden betrothal bracelet. I randomly started a song, smiling at the melodious beat that emerged from the speakers. Sensual, slow... perfect. My body moved to the music in a way I hadn't allowed in the dining hall, more isolated gestures, a shoulder roll, an arm extension leading to a flick of a strong waist and hand, my hips rolling as I swaggered toward my love, one knee resting on each side of his widely spaced thighs as I sat lightly on his lap.
Where the tie from my hair had been lost, I didn't know, just that as I bent my body, leaning my head down to his, my hair fell forward, closing out the light as I nibbled his lips in tune to the beat. He danced with me, nibbling back, the fingers of his hands caressing my arms and sides.
We gyrated together, our hips rolling in circles to the music, bumping against each other's, our hands beginning to seek new and familiar places to caress, the inside of the elbow, a nipple, a navel, the crease where leg met torso. Every connection was teasing and swift, every area erogenous because our loved one was doing the touching. I pushed his waistband down, freeing his cock to meet and rub on my own, sending a cascade of explosions up and down my body, a feeling he reciprocated by the dilation of his pupils and the hoarse gasps he gave.
I liked the feel of his trousers under my thighs, loved the clasp of his hand on my penis, adored the burning desire in his blue-green eyes, his throaty whispers of, "Qui, my love, my mate," into my open mouth as we kissed wetly, returning my matching sentiments, "Obi, my love, my mate."
My orgasm was the longest I'd ever experienced, even my come seeming to pulse out of my body to the music, as our touching and caressing continued unabated and we came together. The sex was good, no great, fantastic, amazing, but most wonderful of all was the love, the need to demonstrate how much we adored each other, our bodies an extension of our souls as we celebrated our betrothal and our pledge to mate for life.
~ the end ~