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Soft now

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The house was bathed in a soft darkness that reminded Obi-Wan of the room where he'd learned meditation as a youngling. The whole place seemed to, for lack of a better word, glow faintly in the Force with Anakin and Padmé's mingled presence, and now that of their children.

It wasn't quite the same as the quiet emanated by some of the oldest rooms in the Temple: there had been more joy here, brilliant in a simple and unshielded way, but it felt just as safe, just as... home.

Obi-Wan almost gasped out loud, recoiling at the thought. This wasn't his home. This wasn't his family. The Temple was, the Jedi were. Not this. This was not for him.

"Obi-Wan, stop moping so loudly," whined a voice from the sofa, "You'll wake the children. They are very sensitive to that, you know."

Pride shone clearly even through Anakin's sleepy tone. As if to confirm his words, Leia shifted in her sleep, scrunching up her little face like she did when she was about to cry.

"And this is your home. No arguments. Sssh. Don't. Come here and cuddle your babies. Padmé is finally sleeping in the other room and you really don't want to wake her."

Obi-Wan was going to say that those were most definitely not his babies, but then he thought better of it. He really didn't want to deal with a newly awakened and thoroughly pissed Padmé: he was brave, not stupid (whatever a certain Clone Commander might have to say on the subject).

Anakin was lying on the sofa, shirtless, with Leia on his chest. He was holding her steady with his flesh arm, keeping the durasteel one carefully away from her. Luke was in his crib beside them.

"Apparently skin on skin contact is good. Improves parental bonding and possibly even the immune system."

"When did you become an expert on this?" Obi-Wan asked, grasping at any semblance of normality in the situation, as if words could keep away all the things he was feeling.

"I've been reading about childbirth and babies and parenting under your nose for months, Master. Maybe your perceptions are not as finely tuned as you though. Now come here."

Obi-Wan snorted rather inelegantly, but still moved towards the sofa. "We did have a war to fight, my young friend. Apologies for not focusing my entire attention on you."

Either oblivious to the irony or determined to enjoy actually having his former Master's attention all to himself, Anakin said: "Well, now that you have no clankers shooting at you, you can pick up Luke and do some bonding."


"You don't want Luke to feel unloved, do you?"

"They are so tiny, you could hold them both," he protested weakly.

Anakin smiled ruefully, opening his right hand, durasteel palm upwards in explanation. "I'd rather not. Maybe when I get better sensors installed and with some covering for the metal. In the meantime, shirt off and butt on the sofa."

"Have you always been this bossy?"

"I'm not bossy, just efficient," Anakin protested. Then he laughed softly. "I just realised... That's exactly what Padmé says when I complain."

"Did you actually call your wife, senator Amidala, bossy to her face? And you live to tell it?" 

It was easy to imagine Anakin bristling at suggestions phrased like commands, and yet desperate to please. Even before he'd found out they were married, Obi-Wan had seen the easy familiarity between his former Padawan and the Senator, the affection when they looked at each other. He knew it wasn't very Jedi-like, but he had fed off their happiness, treasured the smiles they gave each other. If Anakin could smile like that in the middle of a war, there was hope yet.

"Not exactly, no..." Anakin covered his face with his free hand. "Whatever, this wasn't the point. Get going, Obi-Wan."

Obeying Anakin's command, Obi-Wan had shook off his various layers and picked up Luke from the crib. He then went to lie on the sofa mirroring Anakin, with his head pillowed on an armrest and his feet tangling with Anakin's.

On his chest, Luke gurgled happily, while his sister slept on.

Obi-Wan touched a finger to the boy's cheek, delicate and almost reverent.

"Princeling," he whispered.

"You know Naboo is not actually a hereditary monarchy, right?"

"Don't listen to your father, Luke, he's trying to be sensible and that never works well for him."

A wave of warmth and affection flowing through their bond surprised Obi-Wan. There wasn't quite a Master-Padawan bond between them anymore, but something had lingered, something that had, when in battle, saved their lives multiple times, making them a legendary team. Out of the battlefield, their bond had been quiet for a long time. Obi-Wan knew now that Anakin had been trying to shield from him his relationship and the overwhelming, burning joy at the discovery of Padmé's pregnancy, effectively cutting him out entirely.

But now, in the safety of this house, the space between them was less of an uncrossable chiasm. There were whispers, echoes of long-suppressed emotions, and over all a sense of contentment like Anakin had never expressed before.

Obi-Wan knew that if he opened his eyes, he would see Anakin smile, but he couldn't bring himself to look just yet. He would in a moment, he told himself. He could face his student, his friend smiling at him, unguarded and happy, he could.

He fell asleep still holding that thought, and that's how Padmé found him when she walked into the living room later that night.

Anakin smiled up at her. "Don't worry, he won't turn in his sleep and drop Luke, I'm keeping an eye on them," he told her immediately.

"I trust him. I trust you both," she said, leaning down to kiss his forehead.