The explosion sounded like someone clapping two huge feather-stuffed pillows together in slow motion.
It was a beautiful night, Obi-Wan Kenobi thought as he leaped out through the open window, somersaulting between branches, igniting his lightsaber carefully in mid-fall to avoid slicing through any of the supporting vines. Clear and warm and two out of the three moons were full, shining on the green-leafed living glory that was the Chadriel Palace. On a night like this, lovers should walk hand in hand without a care in the world, except that the lover he wanted was unaware of being wanted, and Aderi lovers were more prone to swing through the trees tail in tail, and the distant blaster fire was, perhaps, not particularly conducive to romance.
Obi-Wan had a strong suspicion that he knew what it meant. The negotiations were over, the electory agreement had been signed, the celebration had gone without a hitch, the planet of Aderie was about to have a new constitution, and someone wasn't happy. Well, that was why they were here; they'd been dispatched as troubleshooters, not just witnesses. Both the Senate and the Council had suspected that something might happen, although no one had mentioned explosives.
He landed lightly on bare feet and began to run, aware of his master, some distance away, reaching the ground scant heartbeats later and overtaking him with longer legs and longer strides. It seemed Qui-Gon had his boots on, too, which made for better traction. Stepping on a jatta cone, Obi-Wan winced and spared a thread of force to cushion his soles. The spiky cones were thick on the ground, and at the moment he preferred the fast, sloppy solution; the sound of blasters firing and Aderi voices crying out in pain and anger drew him on.
Rounding the curve of the great palace trunk, they came upon chaos. It was clear at once where the bomb had been set. A handful of guards were banded together at the palace end of the grassy square, defending what remained of the Spring Gate against grey-clad attackers who were nearly invisible in the shadows except for the flare as they fired and fired again. Barely half the palace guards had blasters themselves; the rest were only carrying ceremonial weapons, curved yacca and little zigis that might be sharp enough, but were useless against an enemy who stayed out of reach. One of the attackers was shouting at the guards to surrender. The air smelled strongly of sap and water and a thousand crushed flowers.
Water— Obi-Wan spared a quick glance for the Spring Gate. It was the main entrance to the palace; it was also the palace's main water source, holding and heating the swift, cold underground stream that surfaced here, funneling it into the palace rooms as well as into the palace itself, feeding the growing walls their lifeblood. After the summer rains, the water pressure was enormous.
Alarmed, Obi-Wan saw that the gate had been heavily damaged by the explosion. The decorations had splintered away, the lush drapery of flowering vines was torn, pouring down the sides like blood. The translucent leafy membranes were taut, about to rip. The wood creaked, bowed, strained against the vast weight bearing down on it. If the gate gave way, the entire palace grounds would be flooded, perhaps the entire tree-city of Chaderi. Thousands of Aderi swept away by the water, drowned—
Qui-Gon's mental touch cleared his mind of the panicked vision. :You deal with that,: a bolt of blaster fire missed him by a hair, :I'll deal with this.:
With a silent pulse of agreement, Obi-Wan spun into action. He trusted the palace guards not to accidentally shoot him as he wove in front of them, catching the attackers' blaster shots and sending them ricocheting back into the night like belated celebration fireworks. The grey-clad Aderi soon began to concentrate their fire on him, recognizing him as the most immediate threat or perhaps just the main obstacle to their plans, and he whirled from blast to blast, lightsaber crackling softly in his hands as energy met energy.
Good, he told them, keep shooting at me. With another swift turn, he moved further away from the gate, trying to draw the attackers' fire away from it and from whatever Qui-Gon would be doing there. Jump, dodge, weave, look at me. He felt as though he had a target painted on his chest, but it seemed to be working; nearly everyone was aiming in his direction. Oh, joy.
The heavy, but random, fire told him a few things. There was desperation in the attack, but not much coordination. The grey clothing identified the attackers as Constitutionalists, defenders of the old code, and since all the known Constitutionalist leaders had finally signed the new agreement, this was probably a small splinter group making a desperate last-minute bid for attention. They had decent aim, he thought as he deflected another shot, but couldn't work together; it seemed clear that they had expected less resistance, and perhaps more results from the bomb they'd set.
Obi-Wan leaped over the head of a guard, bounced lightly on a thick gnarly root surfacing a good distance from the main trunk, and came down to catch a blue-white bolt on his blade and turn it back on the shooter, knocking the weapon out of small but long-fingered Aderi hands. Turning, dropping into a crouch, he was able to disarm a second attacker the same way, and then a third. The palace guards started to catch on, circling around to come at the Constitutionalists from behind, climbing silently up the trees, taking the rebels one by one as they lost their weapons.
It was almost an elaborate game, and Obi-Wan exulted in it, moving from blast to blast, closing his eyes to avoid the distraction of light flaring against the darkness. With the force as his guide, he moved over the grass as sure-footed as if he were running through a practice drill on a smooth, even floor. Catch, deflect, turn. He was coming closer and closer. The attackers were losing their blasters and their momentum. Obi-Wan slowed down as fewer and fewer shots came his way.
"Lay down your weapons!"
He opened his eyes to find that the Constitutionalists were trapped between his lightsaber and the guards' blasters. Most of them were already disarmed, and at the guard captain's sharp order, the rest of them surrendered, dropping their weapons — blasters fell like odd fruit from the jatta tree.
All except two. Two of the rebels fired again at the guards and took off, vanishing into the darkness.
Obi-Wan went after them, vaulting onto the lowest branch of the nearest jatta tree. The Aderi had the advantage of night vision, prehensile toes and tails, and familiarity with their environment, but he had the force, and his blood was up. Moonlight glinted down, falling in diamonds through the lattice of branches, and he caught glimpses of pale brown fur and pale grey clothing. He raced along the branch, leaped to the next one. They were fast, but he could follow them.
He deactivated his lightsaber — the blade was too long, it got in the way and he risked damaging the trees. And without the telltale blue glow, he would be practically invisible. Using the force to propel himself upwards, Obi-Wan leaped up and forward, heading for the treetops. Up there, he could run faster. Obi-Wan grinned; the thin branches would barely hold an Aderi child, but the force supported him as he ran. It was not unlike the rope-walking exercises back at the temple, except that the rope didn't sway in the wind. Nor did the temple exercise yards have this rich, wonderful forest smell.
Up here, he saw that what he had taken for two full moons and one crescent had been a temporary alignment; the third moon was coming out behind the others, and it was full as well, shining silver. He remembered seeing, somewhere in all the information they'd been given before the mission, something about the violent tides of the Aderi seas. He wondered if the moons were calling to the water in the Spring Gate as well.
Putting on a burst of speed, Obi-Wan flew forward, bounced, leaped, and let himself fall down between the branches, leaves stroking his face in passing, until he landed on smooth bark right in front of the two fleeing Aderi, blocking their path. He ignited the saber again. "Surrender your weapons."
They made the soft hissing sound he had learned meant surprise, startlement, displeasure; looked at each other and then at him. Then their shoulders sagged and their tails drooped, and they gave their blasters into his hand. Obi-Wan tucked both weapons into his sash and gestured politely with the lightsaber. The grey-clad Aderi went as he directed, returning slowly towards the Spring Gate. The tips of their tails twitched, but they didn't try to run again. Obi-Wan followed them, noticing with a surprised smile that his lightsaber seemed to attract a kind of small white butterfly; soon there was a thin cloud of white swirling around him. Worried that they'd accidentally get fried, he deactivated the saber again as soon as he saw the open grassy square ahead.
The guards had disarmed all the rebels and gathered them together to one side of the gate, standing around them with fierce expressions and spiked tails. Obi-Wan took his prisoners over there, too, and was met by the captain and by a slim, pale-furred Aderi female with regal bearing: the sovereign. Her enormous eyes regarded him with approval. "Here, if I am not mistaken, we have the leaders of this misguided plot. Thank you, deriken Kenobi."
"It was my pleasure to be of service, lady Za," he said with a quick unstoppable smile, knowing enough Aderi by now to be able to translate deriken. Being called a nighthunter by the Aderi was something even a Jedi might take some pride in.
She smiled back before turning to the captain. "Captain Ekati, I leave the prisoners in your charge for the night. Keep Ruen and Tewate separate from each other and from the rest of the group."
"Yes, lady." Ekati motioned to Obi-Wan's captives, and they went with him, tails no longer drooping.
Obi-Wan wondered what had happend to cheer them up, and turned his head to find the sovereign looking at him again. "They may have been caught by a furless one," she said, "but now I have named you deriken, it no longer shames them."
He cocked his head to one side. "But you only called me deriken because I caught them in the first place. Is circular logic really that much of a comfort?"
The sovereign's sharp teeth glinted. "I expect they need all the comfort they can get. Not only have they rebelled and rebelled badly, they have attempted to destroy one of the most beautiful things on Aderie." She reached up and plucked something from his hair: one of the tiny white butterflies. It sat on the tip of her finger for a moment, then flitted away into the night. "Tomorrow night I will arrange for them to be interrogated. I will not have this new agreement destroyed."
"Why not tonight?" Obi-Wan suggested. "You know I can help you — we can help you — find the truth."
"It is the right of the Constitutionalist leaders to be in charge of such an interrogation," she said, "to redeem their honor. You must ask them for permission to participate, which they may or may not give. Besides, deriken, tonight we have other troubles to deal with," and she nodded towards the Spring Gate. "Can you help him?"
Obi-Wan turned to look at the damaged gate, and at his master. "I hope so," he breathed, and ran.
Qui-Gon was kneeling with his hands against the ground... no, down in the ground, fingers buried deep in the earth, roots coming up to wind around his arms. His face was twisted in intense concentration that seemed to border on pain. Obi-Wan skidded to a stop, looking at his master and the currents in the force. Power sang in the air. Qui-Gon was holding the gate up, was holding back the water, channeling the living force from the ground through himself and into the gate to make it heal and grow again. Sweat beaded on his forehead, and his hair clung damply to his neck.
With a few swift steps Obi-Wan came up behind his master, putting his hands on Qui-Gon's shoulders, lending all the support he could. :I'm here—:
Qui-Gon's response was wordless, a moment of acknowledgement and appreciation spared from the intense focus that even now was bending the energy of all growing things within reach to its will. And the gate was a living, growing thing, and so it listened. Obi-Wan could feel it through his link to Qui-Gon, the response, the shift. The force flowed, a more powerful stream than the cold water, rising within the gate and moving it to remember its shape, its purpose.
This was what the architects of Aderia did, but their work took anything from a year to a century. Qui-Gon, shoulders shaking with the power of the force, was attempting to do it all in one night. And the earth was responding to him, answering his call; the living essence of the Chadriel Palace began to flow.
The Spring Gate trembled, but did not break, and vines were moving slowly to pull the tension-thinned wood together, the sap was flowing more slowly and then hardening to fill up the cracks. Arches rooted themselves solidly once more, branches twined and supported. The parts came together and were, as they had been, a whole.
The gate was not the thing of beauty it had been before the attack, but it would hold.
Releasing his grip on his master's shoulders, Obi-Wan stumbled backwards and drew in a deep breath. That had certainly been educational; it had taught him more than any number of exercises about how to handle the living force in living things. Tendrils of force energy still rippled around Qui-Gon as he slowly pulled his hands free of the earth and the roots sank back down, seeking moisture. Then Qui-Gon got to his feet and brushed half-heartedly at his knees before turning around.
"It will heal itself, now." Trying to brush the hair off his neck, Qui-Gon left a streak of dark brown earth instead. "Did you have fun in the trees, padawan?"
Obi-Wan looked down at himself, at his bare torso criss-crossed with scrapes from bark and branches, at his thin once-white drawstring pants, now ripped and covered with grass stains and mud, at his feet — he'd shielded the soles, but one nail was slowly turning purple. "I would prefer not to fight off terrorists in my sleepwear again, master. It feels rather undignified."
One corner of Qui-Gon's mouth twitched. "Well, then, we'll have to make sure that all terrorist attacks are more conveniently scheduled in the future." Qui-Gon turned back to the gate, looking up at their work and then glancing back over his shoulder. "It's a good look on you, though."
Obi-Wan blinked, and had to call on all his hard-won composure not to burst out laughing.
The sovereign came up to them, her tail a delicate curl, her ears quivering. "Remarkable," she said, standing before Qui-Gon and reaching up to place her long fingers on his chest. "Thank you," she slanted a look up at him, "teyahin."
"It was my pleasure," Qui-Gon said, just as Obi-Wan had, and Obi-Wan suspected that it was just as true for his master, beyond what protocol required in response to the planet's ruler. Obi-Wan wondered if his master knew what a supreme compliment the sovereign had just paid him, decided on seeing the brightness in Qui-Gon's eyes that the answer was yes.
I think it's safe to say that we've made a good impression.
While they had been working on the gate, Captain Ekati had herded the prisoners away, and the remaining guards were answering worried questions from palace guests and servants, trying to shoo them all back inside again. Obi-Wan wondered if he should help, but the sovereign twitched her ears, demanding his attention.
"Now, go back to bed, my fine Jedi." She caught their arms, turned them towards the gate. "We will deal with all else after sleep."
Lady Za barely came up to Obi-Wan's elbow, but she projected her presence in a way that could compete with Master Yoda's, taking up a personal space that had nothing to do with size. Years of instant obedience to that tone of voice barely gave him time to bow before he was on his way, and it wasn't until they were inside the palace and wandering up the smooth spiral staircase that he realized that Qui-Gon had reacted exactly the same way.
Then again, his master had had even more years to be trained.
They went back to their quarters in shared silence, climbing stairs, wandering the curved passages of the guest... wing, or whatever one called it in a place like this. Obi-Wan brushed his fingertips over the living wood of the wall and felt a lingering trace of the palace's connection with Qui-Gon, even here, away from the gate. It did not surprise him, when they reached their suite, to see the door swing open almost before Qui-Gon had touched it. The palace knew his master now, intimately.
Going inside, they came to a slow halt. The windows were open in the sitting room; Qui-Gon must have just come back to the suite when the bomb had gone off, and then left again at once by almost the same route that Obi-Wan had taken. A breeze came in and brushed over his bare chest, and he nearly shivered.
"Is it just me," Obi-Wan said, "or is the air—"
"Charged." Qui-Gon nodded a little curtly. "It will pass."
Obi-Wan opened himself up to the living force again, tasting its currents. Yes, the air was charged, and the charge was coming from the two of them. It shouldn't really be a surprise, after what they'd been through. He was still humming with tension from the fight, but Qui-Gon, Qui-Gon was a power generator, a starship hyperdrive, the core of a sun. Obi-Wan touched that energy with his own, and drew in a sharp breath. "Master—"
"I know." And it seemed clear now that the curtness in Qui-Gon was a combination of irritation and jittery pleasure. "It's the life energy of the palace, Obi-Wan. It didn't want to just take, it gave back." Qui-Gon rubbed at the back of his neck. "I feel as though I'm going to burst at the seams. You should get some sleep, padawan."
"And what about you, master?" he asked carefully.
"I will meditate," a brush at hair that seemed to spark with static electricity, "so that I can dissipate the energy." Scratch at a broad shoulder, and Obi-Wan watched in amazement as his controlled master exhibited the body language of a drughead on an angelfood spike. "Before it drives me crazy." Qui-Gon smiled wryly, then frowned.
"I think there is a better way," Obi-Wan said. He stepped forward, holding out a hand, touching the hum of force around Qui-Gon with the flat of his palm. "I can help you." In this light contact, he could sense even more strongly how the energy ran through Qui-Gon, the energy of life and growth and creation — beautiful, powerful and, not surprisingly, very arousing. It tingled in his bones.
Qui-Gon drew back. Even with his hair in a muddy tangle and his hands covered with dirt, he was dignified. "I don't think so, padawan. Go to bed, please. I find your presence... distracting."
That was gratifying. Obi-Wan smiled. He didn't attempt to close in on Qui-Gon physically, but reached out with his mind. :Trust me.: Opening the link wider, showing his own desire.
"No." Qui-Gon shook his head. "I understand that you're feeling it too — you were linked with me, and I'm — broadcasting." Quite an admission, that, and Obi-Wan found himself oddly touched by it. "But it's just a reflection of the force that builds the palace, channeled through my — through me. It isn't what you really want."
Qui-Gon crossed his arms over his chest and glared.
Obi-Wan glared back. "Oh, come on," he said. "You know perfectly well that I've wanted you forever."
"Forever?" The glare lost something of its force.
"Well, ever since you performed the five tan'kaen morning rituals without your shirt on, that time on the coast, on Mon Calamari." He sent an image of that moment, and his own reaction to it, and had the pleasure of seeing Qui-Gon's eyes widen. The air between them sparked and crackled with force-driven lust, lust-driven force. "There are better things to do with this than to waste it in meditation."
There was a pause as Qui-Gon was silent and struggled, Obi-Wan could see him struggle, with the need to move. Obi-Wan held his breath. Please. Say yes.
When his master crossed the space between them in two long strides, he barely had time to suck in a little air before Qui-Gon literally swept him off his feet, pressed him against the wall, gripped his face in one large muddy hand and kissed him. It felt as though the Spring Gate had burst after all, and all the water came crashing down over him, drowning him in sweetness.
For a while he gave himself up entirely to the reality of Qui-Gon's mouth taking possession of his own, enjoyed the sensation of being pinned between a strong muscular body and a surprisingly yielding wall, being eaten alive. The contrasting sensations of rough beard and soft lips made him tilt his head back and beg for more. He'd wanted it for so long, a kiss, any kiss, a kiss like this, wild and passionate and unguarded...
But he'd promised to help. Obi-Wan placed both hands on his master's chest and shoved, dropping to the floor as Qui-Gon took a surprised step backwards. "What—"
"Trust me." :Trust me.: A deep breath to clear his head brought him the scent of wood and earth and Qui-Gon's skin, and he had to ride out a wave of blind wantneedcrave before he could speak again. "Your bedchamber. I'll be there in a moment."
Obi-Wan felt a little surprised at his own control as he walked away from Qui-Gon and into the da-yinna teh, the water chamber, keeping his knees from shaking by sheer force of will. The sound of running water met him as an aural caress, adding another layer to his sensual awareness. He searched the shelves next to the bathing pool, sorting through jars and bottles and wooden boxes, touching and sniffing and tasting the contents carefully.
When he finally found something that wouldn't cause any inconvenient rashes, it was a thick greenish-white paste that grew slicker when he rubbed it between his fingertips. It smelled a little like mint and a little like underground caves, but it would do. Obi-Wan absently rubbed his sticky fingers on his pants, and walked out into the sitting room again. The door to Qui-Gon's bedchamber stood open.
Obi-Wan admitted to himself that 'forever' hadn't been entirely accurate. Qui-Gon had always been there, true, but then suddenly, in that moment on the beach when Obi-Wan had turned and looked, he'd been so very... there. It had been something of a surprise. Obi-Wan had never imagined that he would think of his master that way — there was so much between them already, a relationship so solid and good that it hadn't occurred to him that it would be possible to add more to it.
Physical desire had come as a revelation, and now he wanted all the more he could possibly have. Obi-Wan went inside to find Qui-Gon standing by the window with his utility belt in his hand, looking out, turning Obi-Wan's approach. "Padawan," serious eyes, serious voice, "perhaps this isn't—"
Obi-Wan tossed the jar onto the bed and walked up to Qui-Gon. "Am I going to have to talk you into this all over again?" He touched a fingertip to the hollow of Qui-Gon's throat, feeling the force surge between them again. Soft, soft skin. Obi-Wan leaned in and licked it. "Perhaps it isn't," he said, his arms going around Qui-Gon, hands starting to work on Qui-Gon's sash. "And perhaps it is."
The sash fell to the floor and Obi-Wan stepped back, waiting. They were already touching, the light awareness of each other that they always had now amplified by the energy that sang in the air. He waited, waited, knowing that the sad remains of clothing he was wearing did nothing to hide his arousal. Waited until the resistance shattered into a rain of glimmering lust-stars, and Qui-Gon let go of the belt, dropped to one knee and began to unfasten his boots.
Obi-Wan walked around behind his kneeling master and tugged at the shirts, which were falling open now that the sash was gone. He stroked Qui-Gon's shoulders, slid his hands down over strong arms and felt the muscles working as Qui-Gon unbuckled the boots, paused to work free of the shirtsleeves, then pulled the boots off, shaky-fingered but determined. It was a moment Obi-Wan wished he could hold onto forever, Qui-Gon shining with life and desire, silently saying yes, and he with his hands buried in Qui-Gon's hair, dizzily happy.
But he let it go without regret when Qui-Gon rose and kicked boots and socks aside. The shirts joined the sash on the floor, and Qui-Gon reached out and tugged at the knot that held Obi-Wan's drawstring pants up. "Off."
It was easy to slip out of his abused pants and finally stand naked, and see Qui-Gon strip off the last of his clothing as well. He was almost getting used to the thrum of force between them, enough to be able to handle it, enough that he thought he could do what he had promised Qui-Gon he would. Obi-Wan reached out and took Qui-Gon's hand, and pulled him down on the bed.
Oh, but the first shock of skin to skin, body to body—
They wrestled their way into a kiss, twining together in a volution of heated flesh, rolling over and nearly falling off the edge. Passionate and clumsy. Obi-Wan used the force to end up on top, sprawled over Qui-Gon's larger frame. He tugged his braid free from the weight of Qui-Gon's shoulder and bent his head to kiss the collarbone, the soft hollow over it.
Power moved in Qui-Gon, like lightning under the skin. Obi-Wan kissed his master's neck, nipped his earlobe. "Don't worry," he whispered, "ja kai ad'evera kadonaa." He rose carefully on hands and knees, slipping away from Qui-Gon's wanting hands, and shifted backwards until he could sit at the foot of the bed, sit and just look for a moment, seeing not merely a beautiful body but the roil of unsettled energy within it. The slow drain of a calming meditation would allow that energy to dissipate, fade away like a heat signature in open space. Obi-Wan had something more spectacular in mind.
He was familiar enough with Qui-Gon's naked form. They had sparred together, wrestled together, swum and bathed and showered together, dressed and undressed in front of each other countless times, slept huddled together for warmth or due to lack of space on uncomfortable missions. Seeing wasn't strange, touching wasn't strange, but the intent made all the difference.
And the urge he felt to simply fall on Qui-Gon and lick him all over had to be conquered. Obi-Wan nudged Qui-Gon's legs apart and settled between them. He trailed his fingertips over the soles of Qui-Gon's feet, drawing tingles of force up and down, then pressed down firmly on a point just above the instep, and heard a gasp. That was good. He stroked carefully upwards, pressed down again, smiled a little and then gasped himself as the overflow from Qui-Gon's arousal washed over him.
He could get lost here.
With the smallest and slowest of movements, he leaned forward on his knees — a tree growing, you must be, Master Yoda said in his mind, the memory so unexpectedly appropriate that he almost laughed — and brushed his hands up along Qui-Gon's legs, palms just barely grazing hair and skin. Qui-Gon shivered in response to the light touch, exquisitely sensitive and seemingly slightly embarrassed about it. Obi-Wan stroked more firmly down, following the muscles with his fingers, curving around swirls of energy and pulling them into alignment. Then once again, a butterfly touch up along the legs, a purposeful caress down.
Giving in to temptation, he decided to use his mouth for the next part. He sat back and picked up Qui-Gon's left leg, bent it until he could press his lips against the soft skin on the inside of the ankle, just by that little bump of bone that he'd learned the name of in human anatomy years ago, it was, was... He licked at the spot, flat strokes at first and then drawing a circle. Qui-Gon tasted of earth and sweat. Obi-Wan shifted them both, moved up to kiss the inside of the knee and then lick it thoroughly. Circle — pattern — don't forget the pattern.
Careful, purposeful kisses up along the inside of the thigh, and then he lowered the left leg to the bed again and picked up the right one, starting again on the inside of the ankle. As his mouth moved upwards he listened to Qui-Gon's breathing, which would have sounded steady to anyone who did not know how well a Jedi could normally control his body.
Obi-Wan smiled. He straightened Qui-Gon's leg and moved forward on his knees to straddle it. When he was comfortable, he ran his hands over Qui-Gon's stomach and chest, untangling the energy flows. He traced bone and muscle, fingers enjoying the feel of Qui-Gon's skin just as the living force in him enjoyed touching that of his master. Bending down, Obi-Wan drew his tongue in a line just below the right side of the ribcage, heading inwards; then he repeated the action on the left side, finishing with a flourish just above the center of energy that pulsed in response to his touch.
Kisses up along the breastbone. Chest hair. His fingertips skidded over ribs and moved in to caress Qui-Gon's nipples, stroking in gentle circles. Obi-Wan could feel a faint echo of the sensation in himself, knew that his own nipples were erect, responding to a touch they hadn't been given.
Looking up, he was captured by the expression on Qui-Gon's face, and could no more keep from kissing his master than he could have stopped sensing the force. And that was — it was — the kiss, it—
It made him feel as though he'd never really kissed anyone before — not really — not like this. He pulled back, lightheaded. "Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said softly, sounding a little more breathless now, "what are you doing?"
:Surely you're familiar with the Mekeng technique of energy dispersion, Master.: Obi-Wan claimed another kiss, wanting what it did to him, wanting it to do the same thing to Qui-Gon.
:I don't recall the Mekeng technique involving tongues.: But there was no real censure in Qui-Gon's inner voice, and no hint of doubt — there was faith and trust, complete and rich and somehow voluptuous, rapturous, an ecstatic gift, given in love. Overwhelming.
"I'm adjusting it a little," Obi-Wan said, breaking away to smile shakily down at Qui-Gon, "to fit the circumstances." His heart was pounding. It was like asking for a piece of bread, and being told that you own the bakery.
With a deep breath, he sat back a little and put his fingers lightly on Qui-Gon's shoulders, then stroked down along the arms. He picked up the left hand and kissed the palm, licked it, drew a spiral with his tongue that wound up towards the wrist. Next came the inside of the elbow with its soft, tempting crease, inviting his tongue; then a slow progression up towards the shoulder. When he leaned forward to reach the shoulder joint, his erection brushed against Qui-Gon's hip and he shuddered — they both shuddered. Obi-Wan forced himself to move. Right arm. Same pattern. Nice and slow. Qui-Gon was lying still, except for the occasional shiver; he must be able to sense that being touched in return might startle Obi-Wan disastrously off-balance. Once started, this had to be ended right.
Finished with Qui-Gon's arms, Obi-Wan sat back again and looked at what he had done. The overload of energy was no longer a tangled mess sparking this way and that, it had begun to move as he had asked it, towards the points he had marked out on Qui-Gon's body. That was good, that meant it was time for the next step. He licked his lips a little nervously, then called the small jar to his hand, scooped out almost half the contents and rubbed the soft paste between his fingers, feeling it heat up and change consistency before he stroked it onto Qui-Gon's cock.
The shock of contact ran through both of them, and Obi-Wan sank his teeth into his lower lip. That it could feel so good to touch someone—
He let go, before either or both of them exploded.
Then he prepared himself with as much care and patience as he could muster. Obi-Wan wasn't sure what was shakier at the moment, his fingers or his grip on the force, but he managed to get himself slicked and stretched, trying very hard not to look at Qui-Gon and the expression in Qui-Gon's eyes. Although not looking didn't really help when he could feel everything through the link between them.
He straddled the other man's hips, paused, and breathed. Control, he had to keep some measure of control, but for a moment all he could think was that this was Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan had wanted him for so long, and now he was going to have him, take him intimately, body to body, energy to energy. He steadied his master's erection with one hand and pressed himself down, with slow determination, into a joining that made him feel the way he'd felt when he'd turned on his newly-built lightsaber for the first time. Yes. This was right.
Qui-Gon's hands clenched on the sheets. "Oh. Obi-Wan."
He moved, rocking very slowly up and down, barely enough for any real friction but oh, it felt so good. It had to be very slow, to build right. Qui-Gon's body was calling to him, asking for a speedier rhythm, but he kept the pace easy, lazy. Qui-Gon let go of the sheets and lay with his arms outflung and his head tilted back, a willing sacrifice. It ran through Obi-Wan like water, the passion, the faith. That what was between them quietly unspoken could become such a great and amazing thing, filling his soul.
He felt the discordant hum of energy in Qui-Gon begin to turn into a harmony that his own body knew and could answer, and moved a little faster in response, feeling the force flow through all the right points and rise up, gathering smoothly just where he wanted it. Just where he wanted it and just as he'd planned, except that he hadn't known, hadn't dreamed it would feel like this, and he swayed, feeling his breath come helplessly faster. It was one thing to know the Mekeng technique well enough to be able to adapt it to an unusual situation, and another thing entirely to adapt anything at all or even remember his own name when every twist of his hips and every thrust of Qui-Gon's sent a rush of pleasure through his entire body that threatened to take the top of his head off.
Obi-Wan centered himself with an effort, reached for the energy flows, sorted through them, directed them outwards, and let them go. And then he gave himself over to sensation and to Qui-Gon, to the slick heated push and thrust that was their bodies joining, to the bright intoxicating tenderness that was their minds touching. It was good, it was so good and so right and he didn't think he could take it and he wanted more, and then Qui-Gon's hands grasped his hips and pulled him into a new rhythm, and Qui-Gon's mind-touch was shining with a kind of blinding passionate surprise; the force rushed through them like a spring flood and they both came apart at the seams, shattering into a thousand ecstatic pieces.
* * *
Obi-Wan thought muzzily that either he'd just had something that was to an orgasm as the Chadriel Palace was to a potted plant, or he'd died. Or possibly both. But if he'd just become one with the force, he probably wouldn't be lying sprawled over Qui-Gon's sticky, sweaty body, listening to the reassuring thunder of Qui-Gon's heart. And although he was tingling with the aftermath of stunning pleasure, his left calf was threatening to cramp.
Alive, then. And... He blinked, drew a deep breath, and looked up to see that his little improvisation with the Mekeng technique had, indeed, worked.
Yes, the palace had taken back the energy he'd channeled out, and used it. Obi-Wan flopped over on his back and laughed in sheer delight. The bed had grown under them, curving up to cradle them in smooth wood and springy moss. The walls were green with leaves, and thin delicate garlands of blossoming vines hung fom the ceiling, swaying in the cool breeze from the window, dropping an occasional pale yellow petal onto the soft, grass-carpeted floor. As he watched, a cluster of buds above them unfolded into thousandleaved red flowers.
Obi-Wan levered himself up on one elbow and kissed Qui-Gon's chest, slowly and sloppily. "Lady Za was right when she called you gardener," he said. "Apparently you do have a green... thumb."
Qui-Gon made a disgusted noise, but the feel of him was all warmth, all delight. "Obi-Wan."
He licked a path up along the lovely strong throat, rubbed his cheek against the beard, then lifted his head to look down into his master's blue, blue eyes, and smiled. "That was wonderful. Do you think we could do it again, without the floral arrangements?"
"And without the mud," Qui-Gon suggested, rubbing at a dried smear on his forehead. "It's starting to itch. Yes. Yes, I think we could."
Obi-Wan sighed in deep contentment. It was a night for lovers, after all.