Actions

Work Header

Barbarian Love

Work Text:

The grandeur of the Force flowing through me was disproportionate to the size of my steps. The Force was huge, majestic; my steps were precise, delicate. The Budding Flower was not one of my usual katas, my large frame inherently unsuited for tiny elegant gestures of a plant wakening to life.

But I was missing Obi-Wan, and the challenge of the Budding Flower distracted me from my loneliness. Wearing only my trousers, I took a half step to the right, bent my knee, curled my spine down slower than a pleisan sloth until my head reached mid-calf, my focus absolute as I concentrated on my breath. Every muscle of my body relaxed and my hair fell loosely to the ground. The recycled air tepidly touched my skin as my arms closed around my legs. I became the flower with its petals curled for the night.

The pleasant chime of the door pinged, and I straightened at normal speed, walking over to release the lock. The door slid open to reveal my Master, his green head bowed, ears drooping. Alarmed, I asked, "Master? What is wrong?"

"Came to share your sadness, I have." He looked up at me, his brown eyes glistening with tears.

"My sadness? Master, what has happened?" I stepped to the side as I spoke, but he stayed in the doorway, confusion overcoming grief.

"Felt you not, the passing of… Obi-Wan?"

I almost laughed, so great was my surprise. My padawan had not become one with the Force. I would have felt his spirit leave his physical body through the shared connection of our training bond. But my Master was genuinely grieved, so I stifled any inappropriate reaction. Clearly, something was wrong. "Master, Obi-Wan has not departed this life. Please, come in, sit down, tell me what has made you believe he has."

Uncertain hope glittered in his eyes, and Yoda allowed himself to be guided to the couch. "Wondered, I did, why you had not come to see me," he said. "Thought you were too stubborn to share your grief."

"If anything happened to Obi-Wan, you would be the first person I would come to, my Master." Of course, I hadn't turned to him when my first apprentice, Xanatos, yielded to the seductive evil of the Dark Side, clinging foolishly to my misery and despair until Obi-Wan entered my world and slowly, gradually, brought me fully to life again. I hoped I had matured enough over the last few years that I would never be so stupid again.

"Pleased, I am, by your words," Yoda replied, his ears twitching upward. "But to Obi-Wan. Reported he did, Knight Tull that Obi-Wan was killed this morning, buried in a rock slide."

"No," I said flatly.

"Certain of this, are you?"

"Absolutely. My padawan is alive."

"Convinced, the Council will need to be."

"Con - " I clamped on the word, gritting my teeth. Arguing with Yoda on this issue was an exercise in futility. He could only predict the Council's reaction; he could not control them. And his observation was correct. The Council insisted on being convinced of everything. I could never understand why the greatest of our masters, those who should be completely in harmony with the Will of the Force, were frequently so obstinately, annoyingly blind. But I was merely one of many masters, with only years of successful missions, a failed apprentice and a training connection to a superior padawan destined to be a great knight, to my credit. These facts would matter little when compared to a report from the lead knight on the mission stating that a padawan had been killed. "I will dress."

I didn't want to take time to dress. I wanted to rush across the Temple, throw myself into a ship, and head to Jaezzon, where Obi-Wan, Tull, and several other padawans were on a training test in survival, clear up this mess, and bring my padawan home. But the Temple owned few ships, relying primarily on purchasing passage on a transport or using the Senate's diplomatic ships. I would need authorization to leave immediately, and hopefully the Council would have Tull and the other padawans begin canvassing the area while I was on my way. My opinion of Tull was not high at the moment, but surely he could manage to coordinate a search and rescue mission.

I hit the comm channel as I began shrugging into my clothes, socks, boots, tunic and sash. Worinwu answered promptly. "Worinwu, I need assistance please."

"Qui-Gon?"

He couldn't see me since I had triggered verbal communication only but I understand my voice is distinctive. "Yes. Obi-Wan has been reported killed by a rockslide on Jaezzon. I don't believe it. Can you help?"

"I'll see what I can find." Worinwu clicked off without needless conversation. He was a Jedi; he knew in dire situations we didn't waste time on idle chitchat. Members of Worinwu's species were rarely strong enough in the Force to become Jedi. A good thing I supposed, increasing my speed to do the many buckles on my boots. Even when he was just a child in the crèche, Worinwu's inability to be successful as a Jedi negotiator was apparent, his many tentacles and slimy skin distasteful to most humanoid species. Instead, he was guided into research and evaluation, taught by a retired elderly master, and his quick ability to study a culture and see patterns of attitudes and activities was invaluable to other Jedi.

I wasn't quite sure how Worinwu could help analyze a rockslide, I just knew I wanted all the help I could get. There were times when I needed to handle things on my own, when well-intentioned help was a hindrance more than assistance, but this wasn't one of those times. Not with Obi-Wan's life potentially at stake.

Fully dressed, I swept my cloak around my shoulders and Yoda and I went to confront the Council. It was a sign of Yoda's distress that he had walked over rather than settling in comfort on his hover chair but while his legs are short, he can match the speed of my longer stride when he desires. He must have called the Council back into session while I was dressing, as they were awaiting our arrival. Yoda remained at my side rather than take his place among them.

"Fellow Councilors, believe Qui-Gon does, that Obi-Wan is still alive. No disruption of the training bond has he felt."

Ki-Adi-Mundi was a stickler for supporting a knight in the field, except perhaps, when I was the Jedi on the mission. We had argued many times over the holonet, and now I could tell we were going to debate in person. "Knight Tull may be young, but he's a survival expert. I doubt he would have misjudged the situation."

"I'm sure Knight Tull would be the first to admit that survival situations can be extremely tricky to evaluate," I countered.

Then there was Mace Windu, always looking for hard facts. "Do you have any evidence beyond the bond not being severed?"

"No, but I know I would have felt Obi-Wan pass into the Force. We are very close." Not as close as I could wish us to be, but close enough. I had been his Master for almost a decade now.

"There have been instances where a training bond was so strong the living partner still felt the presence of the deceased through the Force."

Trust Mace to dredge up obscure happenstances rather than believe my word. "I request a meditation with the Council, to show you that the training bond is still intact."

How the Council communicated among themselves was a secret known only to the Council. Many believed they shared full mental telepathy, a staggering ability if true. They rarely directly contradicted each other, though one of them would occasionally add a differing viewpoint. They glanced at each other, silently, before Mace added, "Yoda will assist you with this request. We will observe."

Good, exactly what I'd hoped. The Council members wouldn't deliberately intrude, but concealing my intense affection for Obi-Wan would be difficult while trying to show them the intact training bond. I don't imagine I've ever fooled Yoda; my strong love wasn't likely to surprise him.

We settled on the floor, sitting cross-legged, facing each other, sinking instantly into a meditative trance with the ease of long experience, Yoda's mind comfortably reaching out to mine, my shields cracking open to allow his thoughts to intrude. We focused on Obi-Wan and the many memories of him we shared. Not on missions, as the three of us had never worked together, but on Coruscant, in training, sparring, eating meals together, walking in the gardens. We caught the shining strand first formed on Bandomeer that bound my spirit to Obi-Wan's, and followed the thick blue-green length…to Obi-Wan's mind.

Obi-Wan normally reminded me of a deceptively serene brook. Crystal clear water, a placid slow-moving surface, reflecting his serenity, calmness, and appreciation for order. But underneath, teeming with ripples and multi-colored fish, resided his sharp wit and sense of fun. Only the mind we touched wasn't my pleasant companion. Obi-Wan's brain was an ocean filled with riptides, whirling, distorted images and feelings, giddy with happiness and drunk with life.

Drunk… or drugged.

We broke the connection, Yoda's consciousness wafting out of my mind and back into his own. "Alive, he is," Yoda pronounced.

I wanted to sigh with relief at his acknowledgment but refused to show any weakness. "As I said," I said while rising, extending a hand to help Yoda. "I will need a ship."

"We shall first contact Knight Tull," Mace reproved, catching that I was announcing my needs, not requesting permission. That strategy always seemed wisest with the Council, putting them in the position of saying no, rather than being a penitent asking for their blessing.

The connection to Jaezzon was quickly made, and I assumed the Council was acting sincerely out of a desire to help a missing padawan rather than interest in losing my presence. Tull answered immediately.
A young humanoid, he was normally considered handsome but his good looks were currently marred by the starkness of his skin and the graininess of the transmission signal.

"Knight Tull, further information we have on the disappearance of Obi-Wan Kenobi."

"Disappearance, Master Yoda?" Tull looked confused.

"Disappearance, Knight Tull. Alive Obi-Wan still is. His training bond with Master Qui-Gon remains strong."

"I see, Master Yoda." Tull paused, absorbing the news. "Obi-Wan was exploring with Azaana, a young woman from the Brown Spider clan. She came running back into our camp, distraught, saying that Obi-Wan had been caught by a rockslide. I went immediately to investigate. The slide is new, I can attest to that."

"So you took her word?" I asked sharply. "You didn't see it happen?"

"No, I didn't see the slide. No one did but her." Tull's voice was strained. No Jedi appreciated being tricked or deceived, but it was particularly embarrassing for a new Knight. "But the Jaezzon tribes are fiercely protective of their independence. They have no reason to kidnap a Jedi and anger the Republic. They don't even particularly like us."

Always the questioner, Mace asked, "Padawan Kenobi hadn't offended this young woman or the tribe, had he? Did he give them any reason to harm him?"

My spine stiffened at the accusation. Obi-Wan had his headstrong moments and his teasing sense of humor, but he was an incessantly polite young man while on missions.

"No, Master Windu," Tull responded. "Our interaction with the Jaezzon tribes has been limited but cordial. Azaana has been friendly with Obi-Wan, but Obi-Wan has always been respectful and friendly. The remainder of the tribe has paid little attention beyond basic civility to us."

Windu glanced at Yoda before ordering, "Knight Tull, please investigate the area again. See if you can determine whether the slide was natural or deliberately caused, and report back to us."

"It will have to be tomorrow, Master Windu. It's too dark here now for an investigation to be useful."

"Very well, tomorrow. Take no action other than investigation. Master Jinn will be joining you shortly." Tull bowed deeply and the transmission ended. I bowed and exited. One thing to the Council's credit - while they might be obstinate, they were efficient when finally prodded into motion. By the time I grabbed my travel bag from my room and reached the landing pad, a ship would be waiting to speed me to rescuing my Obi-Wan, my padawan and my secret beloved, a fact that Yoda now knew better than I preferred.

Worinwu met me at the landing pad, a travel case in one tentacle. "Qui-Gon, I'm still researching but I think you might need these items."

"Do you have a theory of what happened?"

"I believe so. I'll contact you when the details are clearer."

I grabbed the bag and walked up the entrance ramp. If Worinwu ever contemplated incorrect theories, he didn't admit that flaw. His ideas were always fully formed and accurate when he shared them. I appreciated that fact about him, even if sometimes his precision made me impatient.

The ship was a small one that I could pilot alone but roomy enough for two. While I disliked the length of time it would take to reach Jaezzon, I appreciated that after I rescued Obi-Wan, we would have an equal amount of time together before returning to Coruscant and the other Jedi. A peaceful reaffirmation of our training vows after this stress would benefit my equilibrium, irritated beyond proportion by Tull's gullibility and the Council's obstinacy.

I launched the ship, blasted into hyperspace and set the ship on autopilot before settling down to examine the surprising contents of the case. Of all the useful items Worinwu might find for me, clothes had not been one of my guesses.

But clothes it was, of a type I was supremely unaccustomed to wearing. Rough leather breeches of a light tan hue, a vest made of animal fur, shoes with hard soles and soft leather uppers that would lace up my calves. The vest was not duplicated from an animal I recognized, but of a dark brown fur which felt silky to my fingers. A long implement that at first I thought was a walking stick, but further examination revealed it must be a club. It was too short to be useful for a man of my height, and too thick on one end for walking. I remembered seeing some of the Jaezzon carry them years ago, though I had never paid much attention to them. Survival testing required exhibiting an ability to survive, not to make cultural contact with primitives. I practiced with it, learning its feel and weight, discovering maneuvers that would work well for this weapon.

I was having a nourishing if unexciting meal from the ship's stores of nutri-packs when Worinwu's call came through the comm panel. I put the meal aside and hit the receive button. "Qui-Gon, I think I may know what's happened."

I nodded, letting Worinwu continue with his explanation. "The Jaezzon are a tribal, nomadic people. They respect physical strength and endurance, because it's what they need to survive. Technologically, they could easily be taken over by any coordinated force. Their lack of natural resources mean they aren't worth the bother. They allow the Jedi to test on their planet because we're the strongest representatives of the Republic they've seen, and it amuses them, to see us work so hard to do things they've been doing practically since birth."

"I know this, Worinwu."

"Be patient, Qui-Gon. I'm leading up to the fact that the tribes have a tradition of stealing mates from other tribes. Probably because many of their people die young, perhaps to prevent inbreeding. We don't really know how it started, just that it exists, and they've never shared much information about the practice."

"You think Obi-Wan was stolen to become someone's mate."

"It's the only logical answer that fits the facts we know. Their population is very small - they may need extra mates. A young woman was fond of him, I understand. The Jedi have impressed them more than traders or diplomats they've met, so they might have deemed him worthy to join the tribe."

"Why did you send the clothes, Worinwu?"

"The Jaezzon respect strength, Qui-Gon. To get him back, you may have to take him back. By force."

"You expect me to have to fight for him?"

"Quite likely. And for the benefit of other Jedi, make it look good. Let the Jaezzon know that he is a Jedi, that he is ours and that Jedi are not to be touched. If they succeed this time, the Jaezzon may believe that Jedi are easy targets. The Council will be displeased with you and Obi-Wan if we have to locate a new planet for testing."

Absurd, I wanted to answer his first sentiment. I was his master, not his lover, no matter how much I might like to be. I wasn't going to charge into a camp and brawl with some leather-clad barbarian for Obi-Wan's honor. Though I understood Worinwu's concern that the padawan survivalists shouldn't become choice pickings for kidnaping, so I nodded. Obi-Wan was going to come back with me, the Jaezzon were going to be sufficiently impressed by Jedi strength and prowess not to take such liberties again, and the Council would not be able to blame Obi-Wan for any disruption in their regular testing schedule.

"Anything else?"

"The planet isn't very hospitable, Qui-Gon."

"If it was hospitable, we wouldn't use it for survival testing."

"We've tended to regard the Jaezzon as simple people, and they are. But they are also incredibly strong and focused. Their environment has shaped their character. You need to be prepared for aggressive resistance. Don't underestimate them, or you may end up dead."

"They've never killed a Jedi."

"They've never captured one either."

I nodded. "Very well. I will be on guard. Thank you Worinwu."

"Any time you need my help I'm here."

His words gave me much to ponder as I dressed in my new clothes. My image in the mirror was startling, a wide expanse of bare chest revealed by the fur vest, making me look more like a wild savage then a dignified diplomat. Only the utility belt around my waist remained of my normal attire. I removed the tie from my hair, letting it hang free. Yes, that completed the masquerade. I was ready to rescue Obi-Wan.

I had hours before reaching the planet, so I resumed my practice of the Budding Flower in the ship's corridor to accustom myself to the feel of the fabric. The fur was heavy and the leather molded itself to my skin, but I thought I would fight well in it.

I remembered Jaezzon well from my survival training. I think all Jedi did, a brief but indelible part of our collective experience, along with Hoth for winter testing and Dagobah for swamp testing. Jaezzon's environment was dominated by a desert landscape, populated by plants and animals ideally adapted for living in stringent conditions. Small pockets of land were beautiful and lush, but inadequate to support the population. The Jaezzon scavenged and survived in the harsh wastes as their normal lifestyle, preserving their oases for tribal gatherings. At least, our general observations led us to make that assumption. Jedi resources were stretched thin and we were diplomats, not anthropologists. We didn't have the luxury of studying cultures that didn't need our assistance, a fact that I regretted. Worinwu's recommendations would be as complete and thorough as they could be, but I might have to cope with surprises.

Jedi padawans were dropped at one of the worst areas and required to cross the relentlessly inhospitable desert until they arrived at the more fertile environment, where a large feast was held in celebration of their success. At least Jaezzon provided some pleasant areas; the Jedi had to erect shelters on Hoth and Dagobah for the ending festivities. The padawans carried the normal equipment in their utility belts and their lightsabers, but these items were to be used as a last resort. The contents of their belts and the power in their tools were recorded before departure, and checked upon arrival. A padawan who was able to rely on the land and natural elements earned a higher score, a fact which impressed many though ultimately meant little in the long run, since the Trials for knighthood were pass or fail, and taken only when the master determined his padawan was prepared.

I landed the ship, and found Knight Tull waiting at the end of the ramp. "Knight Tull."

"Master Jinn. Please, come to our camp." If he was disconcerted at my attire, he had the tact to keep his mouth shut.

"I'd like to see where the rockslide took place."

"Very well. I thought you would want to see the fragments we found of Obi-Wan's clothes."

He handed them to me and walked away. I followed, tucking the torn scraps of tunic into my utility belt, listening to his explanations while my eyes scanned our surroundings, accustoming myself again to this world. The padawans had been scheduled to begin at this site, working together to determine which plants and animals were edible, and which should be avoided. When Tull thought each one was ready, he would send them on their separate ways. The Jaezzon tribe had arrived the first morning they'd landed, curious and a little scornful of the padawans having to learn facts that they had been taught from their first days toddling. Tull had watched the padawans, never offering information, but making sure they were minimally prepared for their journey. The Jaezzon had also watched, some of the younger ones visiting with the Padawans and helping with their studies, an acceptable practice. Jedi need to be self-reliant, but not to the point of foolishness by refusing any information or advice native bystanders were willing to offer.

Tull had already located where the rockslide had been rigged, the scraping markings where a lever was used to start a large boulder rolling, knocking smaller ones loose. "So someone definitely wanted Obi-Wan to look dead."

"Very well. Thank you Tull. Take the other padawans and return to Coruscant."

"I should stay and help you."

"You've done enough, Tull." He looked crestfallen at my harsh tone, so I softened it and added, "You've told me enough to follow the tribe, that's all I need. The Council wants the other Jedi off this planet until I can resolve what happened to Obi-Wan." Actually, the Council hadn't given any orders at all regarding Tull and the padawans, but he accepted my words. I worked well alone or with Obi-Wan; I didn't want any stray Jedi interfering, even if motivated by helpfulness. The Council could be mad at me when Obi-Wan returned home.

"I'll collect the padawans who have started their testing and be on our way." I paid little heed to his words. Dismissing him from my mind, I headed north, carrying only my Jaezzon stick. I could have a very long walk in front of me, and I was ready to start.

Their path was easy to follow at first; the tracks of a large group of people carrying all their possessions were hard to miss. But then they moved from sandy ground to rocky and the track completely disappeared, as if they'd waited until escaping from the sight of the Jedi before making the effort, aware that such activity might be questioned. My survival training stood me in good stead, as I sought the disguised signs - a turned branch, a disturbed stone, an inadvertent heel mark - and I kept going, confident that I was on the correct trail.

As I walked, I drew the Force into my body, using it to regulate my temperature and increase my endurance. I remembered well the trouble that this planet presented in accessing the Force. In the harsh conditions, the plants and animals had evolved to husband their resources carefully, not share them with by passers. But I had survived as a padawan, and my abilities had increased exponentially in the intervening years.

Worinwu's strange clothes were more useful I had imagined. They may have made me look ferocious and untamed, but the materials were definitely synthetic, lighter than they looked, pulling the moisture from my body and helping me keep cool.

I contemplated what little we knew of the Jaezzon as I walked, and Worinwu's assertion that Obi-Wan was stolen to become a mate. As if my padawan was a piece of property, a stallion for breeding. The idea angered me. Obi-Wan was so much more than a physically perfect body. He was kind and thoughtful, humorous and entertaining, intelligent and diplomatic. He was beloved by many friends, individuals he had met in the course of our work and among the Jedi. His courage was tremendous, his commitment to duty unswerving, and his respect for his elders and tradition significantly greater than mine.

The Jaezzon couldn't know all these things, not in a day of observation. They could only have seen the slender, muscled form, the beautiful eyes, and intriguing face. And then taken him, and apparently through the use of drugs, kept him. Obi-Wan was a superbly trained peacekeeper, if it was at all possible, he would escape and make his way to the rendezvous point. But he couldn't if intoxicating substances were influencing his mental discipline.

I could feel my rage building, my dislike of anyone who would so abuse another's trust, take advantage of my Obi-Wan. As much as a Jedi was allowed to hate, I had always loathed those who would abuse innocents. But Obi-Wan had been self-reliant and well trained from our first meeting; I had never had to worry about him being one of the vulnerable, a fact that made my feelings even stronger.

Recognizing that I was coming perilously close to dark thoughts, I concentrated on seeing a satisfying future. I envisioned my successful rescue of Obi-Wan and our return to the ship, an image that calmed my anger and helped me disperse it to the Force.

The tracks were completely visible again within a few hours, the marks of several dozen feet clad in leather moccasins or sandals made of plant fibers pressed into the sandy dirt, straggly bushes tramped by the primitive sleds they dragged to transport their goods and food supplies. Obviously, the Jaezzon did not expect pursuit to be successful or last long. With an easier task, I moved more quickly, able to lope at my normal pace rather than walk at a worm's speed with my eyes glued to the ground. I didn't use the Force to enhance my speed, knowing I might need to call upon all my reserves to rescue Obi-Wan. I regretted the extra time that this kept him in the tribe's clutches, but the decision was logical.

Darkness descended, the sliver of moon and the lack of artificial lights turning the world black. With the aid of the flashlight from my utility belt, I pursued my course.

Morning had almost arrived as I neared camp. I paused well away from it, taking time to sink into a kneeling position, breathing deeply of the clean desert air, reestablishing my strong connection to the Living Force.

I walked into camp proudly, without hesitation or any sign of supplication. A circle of leather tents, a fire and primitive cooking arrangements in the middle formed the camp. Two of the Jaezzon were awake, shaping some kind of grain into bread to cook. Their dark faces registered surprise but not dismay.

"I have come to claim my Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Bring him to me."

The Jaezzon kept their hands moving as one of them trilled out a cascading noise. Within seconds, Jaezzon men and women sprang from their tents, dressed in sleeping apparel of shirts loosely woven from plant fibers or loincloths, carrying their long clubs.

As a people, they were an attractive race with skin, hair and eyes mostly the same dark color of fine bittersweet choco, with thin lips and slanted eyes. They were short compared to other humanoids, the tallest typically reaching Obi-Wan's height, a lack likely caused by inadequate nutrition. Their harsh life made them strongly muscled and supple.

The one who approached me was old for a Jaezzon, though possibly still younger than myself, his hair and beard grayed but his spine straight with dignity. "What do you want, Jedi?"

"I have come to claim my Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Bring him to me."

"He was taken under the traditions of our people. We know that you can take him from us with your magical blade of light. Do so if you do not respect us."

The camp was utterly still, everyone waiting for my response to his dare. I paused, and in the silence we could all hear a voice. A man's voice, pitched low but loud in passion, broken gasps mingling with words of demand, "Yes…more…yes!" I touched my bond with Obi-Wan, shared the white-hot searing of his orgasm, and anger flamed through me even as the Jaezzon tittered with laughter.

"Your Padawan likes it with us. You should go, Jedi, and leave him here."

"You have drugged him. He does not make this choice of his free will."

"It is our way. He is enjoying his time with my daughter. After he fathers a child in her, we will deprive him of the sacred drink but he will stay with us. We will be his tribe. He will give his allegiance to us, to protect his children."

I dearly wanted to use my Force abilities, to mow down the natives with a wave of my hand, march into that tent, and drag Obi-Wan out of that woman's arms and back to our ship. But Worinwu's words, his belief that the Jaezzon sneered at the Jedi, stopped me. I was angry enough that I determined to prove to them that the Jedi were not reliant on technology. "I will fight for him, with your weapons," I said, hefting the club in my hand for emphasis. "And I will take him back under your traditions."

He walked around me, scrutinizing my fitness. My musculature was easier to observe in this outfit, my arms and chest revealed. "You are tall. And strong. But you fight with the magical blade, the one that cuts anything. You may carry the vall, but you do not know it."

"I will fight with the vall, as well as I do with my blade of light."

"And when you lose, you will leave."

"If I lose, I will leave. But I will win and take Obi-Wan with me."

"Master!"

I found my arms filled with my smiling padawan. "Master, it's so good to see you!"

I squeezed him once, then held him away from me by his shoulders. He looked well and healthy, wearing only a loincloth of a light tan leather, his pale bare skin gleaming seductively in the dawn, his face flushed by his recent exertions, his pupils unfocused with the drugs from the sacred water in his system. "You are well, Obi-Wan?"

Before he could answer, thin shapely arms curled around his chest, dragging him away from me. "He is mine." She was almost as tall as Obi-Wan, resting her chin on his shoulder as she confronted me. Her beauty was undeniable, the contrast between their dark and white skins shockingly erotic.

"He belongs to no one except himself," I admonished her harshly. I might be attempting to respect the Jaezzon culture, but I had little patience with this kidnapper who so brazenly flaunted her power over my drugged apprentice. "He is a Jedi Padawan and has given his loyalty to us."

"His affections are mine," she mocked, turning his head to face her, taking his mouth in a deep kiss. He responded enthusiastically, their arms winding around each other.

I placed my hand on his shoulder, saying softly, "Padawan," while my mind sought his, dipping into the rushing brook, using my solid presence to calm the boiling water. Most Jedi can purge aphrodisiacs from their systems if given assistance in beginning the process.

His expression as he looked at me was confused, and she frowned with anger. "Padawan, I am going to fight for you. Do you understand? Fight for you and take you back to the Jedi."

"Fight for me?" He was back in my arms, his bare feet hooking into the top of my booted moccasins, his lips covering my face with kisses. "I knew it. I knew you wanted me." His erect penis digging into my body demonstrated the aphrodisiac's potency.

My secret lust flared to life, and I could have thrown him down to the ground right then and there, ripped off the scant fabric of his loincloth, and publicly demonstrated how much Obi-Wan belonged to the Jedi. To me. He was willing and the possessive streak in my nature would have relished the chance to show this Jaezzon woman her mistake in thinking she could take him away from me.

I allowed myself one kiss, one deep taste of his lips and tongue to savor for the rest of my life, and the indulgence of a ferocious glare at the woman. Then I fought a swift and savage internal battle, my professionalism and respect for him overcoming base needs and selfish desires. Taking his face in my hands, I tipped his head toward me, our foreheads touching, our lips well away from each other's. I became a rock again in his mind, an unyielding chunk of granite offering my serene support and friendly affection.

I could sense him reaching for me, trying to focus through the whirlwind in his mind, but my peace slipped through his fingers and he moaned impatiently, rubbing up against me, kissing me again. "Win me, Master."

"I will, Obi-Wan, I will." To the elder, I asked, "Who do I fight?"

The elder glanced at one of the tribesmen, a barrel-chested adult, an experienced fighter from the scars etched on his chest. "You will fight Kulzon. He is our greatest warrior."

A woman rushed up to Kulzon, carrying garments in her hands. He dressed in clothes similar to mine, the furred vest and leather trousers over his loincloth. She knelt, lacing up the leather shoes. Obi-Wan and I watched the proceedings, him standing loosely in the circle of my arms, rubbing on me. As another woman began painting red on the warrior's face, Obi-Wan turned to face me, sucking strongly at my throat, marking my skin with his sign of passion. I stroked the bare skin of his back with the same confident air exhibited by the Jaezzon combatant, using every fragment of my willpower to concentrate on the upcoming fight and not the overwhelming desire to have public sex with my nubile and willing Padawan.

The Jaezzon backed away, giving us plenty of space in the middle of the camp. The fire remained in place, a potentially deadly pitfall, but the clay pots and food were scooped up and carried off by tribe members. Obi-Wan grabbed onto my hair to pull my face down to him, kissing my lips fiercely before stepping aside. Azaana reclaimed her place instantly, plastering herself against Obi-Wan's back. Kulzon and I stepped forward, swinging our clubs loosely, and the battle commenced.

He attacked viciously, attempting to seize the upper hand with a fast, brutal blow to my head, but I blocked it, and he danced out of my answering swing. Men of his physique, broad-shouldered and barrel-chested, are often slow on their feet, but he was agile and nimble, almost as fast as Obi-Wan. He took the offensive again, swinging downward to shatter my leg bone. I leaped back and he followed, attempting for a head blow again.

In many ways, the duel resembled lightsaber fencing, two men fighting with long pointed weapons, but the vall took less finesse and more brute strength to wield, its heaviness more draining on the arm muscles than a lightsaber hilt. He was a good warrior, and his tribe had reason to be proud of him, but the victory was never in any doubt in my mind. I had the advantage of height, arm length, experience, and the finest training in the galaxy.

I could have ended it quicker than I did, but I let the battle continue for a few minutes as we took turns slashing and parrying. I wanted them to know that the Jedi were not lightweights, dependent on our sophisticated weaponry. We were fighters. I proved it with a blow to his right arm, forcing him to switch his weapon to his left hand, a solid connection to his abdomen, knocking him momentarily breathless, and a thwack on his calf, slowing his speed. And when I finally ended the fight by sweeping his feet out from under him, grabbing him by one hand, forcing him onto the ground, jabbing my knee into his back, and poising my vall to smash his head in, the Jaezzon had to acknowledge that we were formidable warriors.

"I have won, and I am taking Obi-Wan."

The elder made a harsh trilling noise, and the tribes people copied him. "You have won, Jedi. The one you call Obi-Wan is yours."

"No!" Azaana was not conceding easily, stepping in front of Obi-Wan, the bushy silk of her black hair half obscuring his face. "He is mine."

"Obi-Wan." I held out my hand and he came happily into my arms, his legs winding around my hips, his lips smothering my bearded face with kisses.

"He has already given me a child," she declared, her hands on her belly. "I am fertile and he is vigorous."

Azaana's glare would have sliced a rancor in two but I did not feel sorry for her. She had gambled by the laws of her people and by those same laws, lost. Hopefully, she would think twice before abducting future Jedi into her clan.

"Obi-Wan is a Jedi and the Jedi do not father children when they do not wish it. Obi-Wan has given you only empty seed. You have no child from him. And make no mistake," I looked at all of them slowly, "the Jedi protect our own. I have honored your ways, but I did not need to do so. I did not even need your vall or my blade of light to defeat Kulzon." I shoved a hand out, causing a tent to collapse. The shocked breaths satisfied a primal part of me, so I repeated the gesture, flattening another tent before stalking out, holding Obi-Wan, leaving the stunned tribe behind me.

"Master Qui-Gon. Lovely, lovely Qui-Gon." Obi-Wan was sighing happily in my ear, clinging to my body, nibbling and nuzzling with great enthusiasm.

"Obi-Wan."

"Yes Master, wonderful handsome Master?"

"We need to move quickly. I want you well away from this place."

"So she can't try to claim me back," he said proudly. "Yes Master, move swiftly!"

I sighed. He didn't seem to appreciate walking with an erection would slow down my pace considerably, one hand burrowing under my fake fur vest to tweak a handy nipple. Truthfully, I didn't want him to stop. I wanted to experience this giddy love of his, even if it was drug-induced. I could pretend for a time that his outspoken declarations were revealing the honest feelings behind his mask of dedicated Padawan. I walked with a fast tread, keeping him in my arms, enjoying the fantasy. I had tried to bring Obi-Wan back to sanity and failed. For now, I would allow myself to dream, a latitude rarely granted to Jedi.

Obi-Wan eventually grew silent, his head bending to rest on my shoulder. "Master?"

"Yes, Obi-Wan?"

"Master, I need - " For emphasis, he shifted in my arms, his hard erection covered by soft leather poking into my hip. "Hurts, Master, hurts."

I stopped walking, looking down at Obi-Wan's face, the widened pupils, the struggling breaths that spoke of his building arousal. I would have to help him deal with the drugs; he would be too uncomfortable to make the trip back to the ship. Setting him on his feet, I ordered, "Wait."

I selected a sandy area without plant life. Removing the necessary items from my utility belt, I quickly erected a basic lean-to shelter, the expandable fabric and poles creating shade from the morning sun. "Kneel down." We knelt inside, and I offered him a ration tablet and water, which he consumed. "We need to meditate, Obi-Wan."

He blinked, his eyes clearing for a moment, and the padawan I knew spoke. "I don't think meditation will be sufficient, Master."

I both feared and yearned that he was correct, that only sex would give his body the release it craved, but I was obligated to attempt a less drastic measure first. "Focus, Obi-Wan." Pitching my voice low, I lead him through a guided meditation, an act I had rarely needed to perform with him. The initiates all learned how to meditate in the crèche, and Obi-Wan excelled at the task long before we bonded as master and apprentice.

Today his ability was worse than a toddler's, my padawan supplanted by a horny young barbarian. I exhausted the repertoire, the peaceful words, the comforting mind-touch, the use of my authority, the reminders of Obi-Wan's responsibilities. "Hear me, Obi-Wan…concentrate on my voice….you're lying in a forest glade… everything is peaceful, still…your breaths are slow… breathe slowly, Obi-Wan, through your nose, out your mouth… feel the grass under your body, the ground…"

"Won't work, Master. Won't work."

"It will work, Obi-Wan, if you focus. Try again."

"I want you, Master, beautiful Master."

"Obi-Wan."

He sighed with frustration and tried, absorbing himself into my voice, trying to settle the rolling thoughts in his mind. My eyes closed, I was sinking down into meditation when a sudden push landed me on my back, an impatient Padawan on top of me. "Need you, Master. Need *you.*" His lips were devouring mine, his hands back inside the furred vest, caressing my skin. "You want me, Master," he declared, his hips rolling on me, our erections meeting and proving the indisputable truth of his words. "Love me, Master. Take the pain away."

I had tried, really tried, but under Obi-Wan's insistent attack, I finally snapped. Meditation wasn't going to work. Only sex. I growled, rolling us back over, sliding my legs between his, taking his lips with my own. I kissed him hard and long, as thoroughly as I had ever desired, and he responded by burying his hands in my loose hair and writhing under me, inflaming me even further.

"You will be mine, Obi-Wan."

"Barbarian king. You are my barbarian king, my Master. Saving me, loving me." His hands were clever and quick, finding their way under the utility belt, into the brown leather pants, gripping my buttocks, his thumbs coasting in the crevice between them. "But I need you, Master. Need to fuck you."

I rose on my elbows out of surprise, a distraction that Obi-Wan used to his advantage. He might be slighter than I, but our lifestyle had crafted him into pure solid muscle. He shoved me to the ground, rolling on top of me, yanking my belt off and my pants down, making me vulnerable to him. Sitting between my spread legs, he lifted my hips, his mouth fastening on the hidden opening there, his tongue thrusting inwards. As his Master, I should have struggled and fought back. I could have overpowered him, if I truly wished.

Instead, I groaned and rocked, encouraging him. This was not what I'd visualized in my secret fantasies, which inclined toward a plush bed and silk sheets. I had never dreamed of being still half-clothed in fur and leather and booted moccasins, Obi-Wan gripping my hip with one hand, stroking my cock roughly with the other, my naked butt wiggling wantonly on his tongue.

But never let it be said that a Jedi Master can't be flexible. The idea that my Padawan wanted me so desperately, even if his need was falsely created, was erotically and emotionally arousing, stiffening my cock and melting my heart at the same time. I relaxed my shields for the barest fraction of a second, growling and coming, my love flowing to him as my seed started to fall upon the sandy ground before Obi-Wan caught it. I had never expected to derive pleasure from such an act, and truly it wasn't so much the act itself, as the fact that it was Obi-Wan, my beloved padawan, craving me, desiring me, and preparing me for his possession.

I slumped to the ground, dazed from the startling pleasure, beyond thought, beyond anything except the basic life functions of breathing and the immediate necessity of restoring my shields.

"Good?" Obi-Wan's voice was close to my ear. "Good?"

"Force yes, Obi-Wan." I tried to reach back to him but my arm fell limply to the ground, too uncoordinated to search for him.

"Good. Need more now, Master. Lovely Master."

I grunted in acknowledgment as Obi-Wan's fingers entered me, loosening the muscles more. The respite allowed me to finish composing my mental barriers. I couldn't rely on Obi-Wan to stay drugged forever, and if our relationship was to continue undisturbed after this event, he couldn't learn or remember the depth of my all-consuming love for him.

The blunt tip of Obi-Wan's shaft pressed into my body, and I shifted on the ground, lifted onto my knees, widening my legs further, tilting my hips. "Fuck me, Obi-Wan. Take what you need."

"Fuck you, yes Master. Fuck you hard, deep."

The language was coarse for my refined, diplomatic padawan, but perfectly appropriate for my young barbarian lover. And barbarians we were, on a harsh, untamed planet, making love in our small patch of shade, the waves of heat coming off the sand as the sun rose higher in the sky equaling the fire burning in our veins, the flames not dampened by the sweat dripping from our bodies.

I had seen his penis, knew that it was well-sized, but never dreamed that it would feel quite so large plowing into me, a brand made of warm flesh, claiming me, marking me, changing me forever.

The drugs might have set Obi-Wan afire with lust but he was still a Jedi, with a Jedi's resources and strength. I thought - I hoped - he would never stop taking me. He thrust slow and long, then his hips slammed into me with fast sharp jerks, relaxing to a leisurely tempo again, increasing the pace once more until I was squirming, writhing, stroking my own cock, one forearm braced to keep my face from being buried in the dirt by the vigor of his thrusts, my long hair flailing around my face as the sweat dripped from my body and I cried in ecstasy and begged for more.

He wrapped his braid around my neck, binding us together as he demanded, "Come for me, Master," and I did, surrendering to him completely and unreservedly, the greatest pleasure I had ever imagined shaking my body apart and destroying my shields again as we slumped to the ground, too tired to move, sweat sealing our bodies together.

I roused myself after a few minutes. Obi-Wan was sleeping on my back, exhausted, not even wakening when I rolled him off me. The muscles of his face were relaxed, and his expression was peaceful. Grateful for the respite from the mental energy needed to shore up my shields once more, I let my thoughts roam, smiling as I replayed the amazing pleasure. I removed my shoes and vest, straightened my trousers, and took him into my arms. He curled into me, smiling in his sleep. Tired from the worry of fearing for him, the trek through the wastes, the fight, the incredible sex, I let myself fall asleep with him.

Several hours elapsed before I woke, missing the hot body next to me. "Obi-Wan?"

"Yes, Master?"

Obi-Wan was back in control of his mind and body. I could tell instantly from the politely reserved tone. I needed to duplicate the same steadiness and despite lying on the ground bare-chested in my leather trousers, adopted my perfect Jedi Master expression and tone as I asked, "Are you all right?"

"Yes, Master. I'm fine. And you? Did I… hurt you?"

I didn't answer hastily, knowing Obi-Wan would not accept false reassurances. I stretched, examining the reaction of my muscles. A little stiff, a little sore… but the worst sensation was in my heart, where I was having to accept that I had just experienced the one wild, sexual encounter I could ever share with Obi-Wan. Bracing my shields around the misery of loss, I sat up.

"I am quite fine, Obi-Wan. Are you ready to return to the ship?"

"Yes Master. Quite ready."

"Good." I shook my shoes to check for sand or reptilian invaders, and began lacing them on.

"Master, what happened here…"

I cut him off briskly. "You were drugged by an aphrodisiac, Obi-Wan. I know that you could not control yourself and I'm glad I was able to help you."

"Is that what you were doing, Master? Just helping me?"

"You're my responsibility, Obi-Wan. I couldn't let you stay in pain."

"And what now, Master? We return to Coruscant and everything is the same?"

"You know the Council's requirements, Obi-Wan, when something this serious occurs between a master and his padawan. We'll be off missions for a few weeks. Physical exams to check our health and verify that the drug is gone from your system, a few sessions with the mind healers, and then I'm sure we'll be pronounced fit for duty again. There's no reason that this unfortunate incident should create lingering problems for us." My words were matter-of-fact, my tone professional. I examined his body language, his legs bent and tucked to his chest as he sat on the ground, his shoulders hunched. "You *are* well, Obi-Wan?"

He stood in one fluid uncurling movement, shoulders proud. "Perfectly well, Master, now that I know I didn't hurt you. I do apologize for my actions. And for my gullibility. If I had realized that Azaana was being deceptive and refused the drink she offered me, this would never have happened."

"You were hardly to blame for what the drug caused you to do, Obi-Wan. And I think this will serve as a valuable lesson for you. It is easy to discount primitive people, but they have many of the same needs and desires as more civilized people. And can be extremely direct about achieving those goals." Tying the lace at the top of my moccasins, I stood to put on my belt and vest. "And Obi-Wan…"

"Yes, Master?"

"You made it… very pleasurable. I appreciate that."

He looked undecided on how to respond, then said merely, "You're welcome, Master."

We worked together to capsize the lean-to and silently began walking back to the ship, out of this brief foray into lust and back to our voyage home to civilization. I may never know his blatant desire again, but I still had my padawan at my side until his knighting. I would be content.

Obi-Wan's feet were bare, but I didn't suggest carrying him any longer. He walked quickly but carefully, checking the ground for rocks or obstacles, staying on the sandier places, channeling the Force to protect the soles of his feet. I touched our bond occasionally to check on him but otherwise left him to his own devices and thoughts. Obi-Wan was a mature, responsible Jedi padawan. He would let me know if he had a problem.

I did order him to the shower when we reached the ship. He obeyed without argument, knowing I wouldn't need assistance on piloting. I headed to the cockpit, initiated lift-off, set the coordinates for the jump to hyperspace, and sent a report back to the Council. They were suitably pleased by Obi-Wan's recovery. Mace and I argued a bit when I informed them that I considered Obi-Wan had passed this survival test. I signed off before we agreed, but I knew I would ultimately win. The Council liked to meddle in the padawans' training, but it was the masters who determined when their apprentices were ready for the Trials. All the minor tests leading up to that event only ensured that the padawan's development was on track and could be foregone if the master so decided.

I set the navigation on autopilot and rested for a while in the cockpit, giving Obi-Wan plenty of time to use the wash facilities. I could hear him in the small kitchen when I finally stepped out, so I took my turn removing the accumulated sweat, sand and grime. I dressed in my trousers and tunics, leaving my boots and belt in the tiny sleeping cabin as I went to the dining area.

Obi-Wan was there… and bare. He sat at the minuscule table, eyes closed as if sleeping, using both hands to soothe moisturizing lotion into his skin. I watched, mesmerized, as his capable hands moved over his chest, his nipples, his lean abdomen. He arched forward, his chest jutting out toward me, his hands at the small of his back. The lotion was white, but his hands massaged the cream into his skin until it disappeared, leaving his flesh looking shiny.

He opened his eyes as he stood up, and I saw that he was wearing the loincloth. "Master." He stepped away from the table, placing one foot on its edge, beginning on his leg.

"Obi-Wan. I see that you are taking care of yourself."

"Yes, Master. It's lucky that I completely covered my body before the survival test. Otherwise, I would be miserably red from the sun."

"Yes. Well. You're always very careful, Padawan. Very methodical." His hands slipped under the loincloth, covering his vulnerable areas, moving down the long muscles of his thigh, taking care of his shins and calves, even coating his feet and between each toe. His nails were evenly clipped, and I knew the cream would make his skin smell faintly of spices. I could kiss his leg, sniff the fresh woodsy scent, nibble on his skin…

He switched legs, and I realized I'd been standing motionless as a lump of stone, watching him for several minutes. Doing nothing else but devouring him with my eyes. I hastily darted to the food supplies, rummaging through them, selecting the most appetizing nutri-packs and inserting them into the warmer, pouring us both some of the savillan flavored water.

Turning back to face him, I was surprised by the view of his crotch. He was standing on his hands, feet pointed, heels on the wall. "I'm warming a vegetable stew for you. I'm sure you're hungry," I said calmly, as if discoursing with my padawan's crotch was a normal event.

"Thank you, Master. I am famished."

He spread his legs wide into a side split, testing his flexibility, his legs almost parallel to the floor. The action was most usual for him; he worked every night on his skills in our quarters, either on Coruscant or wherever we were located. Generally, though, he was wearing his Jedi uniform, not an immodest scrap of material. I could see the softness of his inner thighs, begging to have a finger stroke along them, could watch as his penis shifted with his motions, gravity encouraging it downward, pushing against the leather.

The warmer pinged and I turned away, emptying the nutri-packs into bowls, setting out forks, trying not to pay attention as he slowly placed his hands to face the side wall, his legs settling into a front split. "It's time to eat, Obi-Wan."

"Yes Master, thank you." He lifted his feet back to his beginning position, then bent at the waist until they were stretched out level with the floor, finally bringing them down to land on the decking as he stood upright. Each movement was controlled, calculated, an exercise in patience and evidence of superior musculature development, his body a functional work of art. I was eating without noticing, my food devoured by the time he sat down opposite me. "You were hungry, Master."

"Yes, I suppose I must have been. Food tablets are adequate but not the same as actual food."

"Not that nutri-packs quite qualify as real food," he said lightly.

"No." With a less distracting view, I set to reinforcing my shields and composure, aware that I might have just made a fool of myself by drooling over Obi-Wan's virtually naked body. I had thought I could handle our sex and put it in the past, but I reluctantly accepted that I might need a few solo sessions with the mind healers to ensure that our working relationship remained an effective partnership.

"Master."

"Yes, Obi-Wan?"

"How long have you loved me?"

"Obi-Wan?"

He pushed his bowl aside, the food mostly uneaten. He sat back in the chair, pushing away from the table, putting one foot on his seat. I could see the stretch of his thigh muscle, the outline of his penis against the loincloth. "Your shields broke, Qui-Gon. Twice."

I raised my eyebrows, thinking fast, but he didn't allow me time to answer.

"They broke, and I was swamped with love. Your love. Your lust. For me. And then you sealed yourself up again, and became the friendly, affectionate but reserved master I have known for almost a decade."

"The drugs impaired your judgment, Obi-Wan. You can't really know what you felt from me."

"No, I can't, can I? And you're not likely to tell me the truth. And you'll deny that you were ogling me just now, won't you?" He was keeping his voice level, even, but I could sense the frustration behind his words.

"There's no truth to discuss, Obi-Wan. You are my Padawan. I am your Master. We make an excellent team and in a few years you will become a Knight, and begin your solo career as a superb Jedi."

"Would you talk to me then, Qui-Gon? Is that what you're waiting for?"

"This conversation is pointless, Obi-Wan. I suggest you take a nap. You will need several days to recover your full strength after your ordeal."

"You didn't answer my question. But that's fine, Qui-Gon. I didn't think you would." He stood up and stalked the few steps toward me. He has a particular way of walking when confronting an opponent. Confident, swaggering, predatory, almost sexual. It's very aggressive body language that he uses to intimidate. I've seen him do it but he's never directed it so blatantly at me. The signals he gives are potent, and even more so when he's barely covered, I realized as I swallowed to release the sudden dryness in my throat.

He swung into my lap, his legs on each side of mine, his hands resting on my shoulders, curling into my hair. And then he just… opened himself to me. The training bond allows us a certain level of awareness, an ability to gauge the other's emotional and physical state. But this… his mind, his memories, were exposed and vulnerable and I could see… his first awareness of me as a sexual being, the involuntary erection, the secret masturbation while fantasizing of us together, seeking out partners who matched my height and size, exploring romance and sex with them, the dissatisfaction with the emptiness… his skill level at this type of sharing was modest, and the memories flowed too quickly for me to grasp and understand them all, but the underlying love, admiration, lust and respect for me, feelings that had grown more powerful and all-encompassing over the years, were plainly etched in every remembrance of our life together… He closed his shields again, dampening the flood but not before I caught his joy when he saw me in camp, the relief that the uncontrollably raging fire in his body might be released on me, not some selfish stranger. The joy and the love that were true, not influenced by drugs as I had presumed.

"Oh, Obi-Wan…" I hugged him to my chest, dazed by his sharing, struggling to make sense of how he viewed our life together. We had both wanted the same thing for so very long, both blinded by duty.

"Don't deny this, Qui-Gon. Don't make us live separated from each other until I become a Knight. We can go back if we really must, I know we can, we're Jedi, we can do whatever we have to, but why?"

"The Council would think it best for you, Obi-Wan."

"You don't listen to the Council half of the time, Qui-Gon. Must you obey their wishes this time, the one time I don't want you to?"

"No, love, no." I cupped his face in my hand, so we were looking eye-to-eye. His were the most intense blue I had ever seen them, his hope and yearning plain. I knew what I should do, what the Council would want me to do, what I'd tried to do since waking from our sex-induced nap, but I could not be that cruel in the face of Obi-Wan's determination and love. Our lips touched and I opened my mind to him as we kissed, letting him share in the evolution of my feelings, my struggle not to take advantage, my strenuously protected desire for him. I had greater control over this ability and could select the memories better, slow the stream of information, but even so, the power of my hidden passion had us clutching each other senselessly and moaning by the time I raised my shields again.

I stood, holding him in my arms, and he obligingly wrapped his legs around my hips, his arms clinging to my shoulders. I carried him into the sleeping area, laying him down on one of the ridiculously tiny beds. He raised himself on one elbow, smiling as he watched me strip, then I laid down by him and we were back in each other's arms.

Our hands were gentle, soft, exploring each other's bodies with wonder and awe, able to touch as lovers, not padawan and master. I had to bend my legs so that my feet wouldn't dangle off the end of the bed, and even the contact of our knees was new and exciting.

I kissed him, nibbled on his lips. "I can't believe how honest you were. To expose your feelings to me in that way…"

"I had a long walk to think about what happened, Qui-Gon. I knew I had to be persuasive."

"Am I that stubborn?"

"Very." He smiled. "I've seen how little success the Council has convincing you to believe them. I had to be more successful. I had to."

I grinned, sliding my long, blunt fingers into the loincloth. "I like your sense of fashion. Very compelling." I tugged on the soft leather, unwrapping it so we were both naked.

"Mmmm," he murmured arching into me as I caressed his rising penis. "And I liked you in leather and fur. Maybe it's what we needed, to be different people in order to be honest."

The conversation was distracting me from the feast before my eyes, so I didn't respond, contenting myself by answering with kisses. We were awkward at first, uncoordinated new lovers bumping noses, getting our hands tangled, my hair falling into his mouth, his braid getting trapped under my body. But the slight disturbances couldn't stop us, couldn't stop us expressing our love, learning the flavor and feel of the other, discovering how to please, what excited and aroused.

By the time I rolled on top of him, we were moving perfectly in unison, the knowledge of each other's bodies as warriors used to the even greater purpose of sealing our love. His knees guided my hips, his hands caressing the flat muscles of my back as I held my weight off him, thrusting and stroking against him, the sensation of his silken skin covering hard flesh rubbing against my own shaft exciting me. His eyes were wide and aware as my own were, drinking in the other's face as we climaxed as one, needing to cement the expression of pleasure forever in our memories.

We helped each other back to a comfortable place, on our sides facing each other, cuddling together. "My warrior king, my Master," he murmured.

"My barbarian lover, my Padawan," I answered as we drifted off to sleep, bodies exhausted and hearts content. The primal setting of Jaezzon had brought honesty forth, allowing us to begin a new phase of our civilized life, lovers and Jedi forever.

~ the end ~