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When Anakin was 14, Obi-Wan was very intently trying to give him The Talk.

Anakin, who had learned to talk and walk on a planet that did not wait for a child to have The Talk before expecting them to know what it meant, sat in front of his Master with a growing sense of mortification once he realized exactly what The Talk did in fact entail.

"The Jedi forbid attachment, but that does not mean that certain ... urges are unnatural. Not everyone experiences them, but many do," Obi-Wan said to him. "Moreover, the Jedi Code does not forbid us from seeking companionship to ... satisfy those urges. As long as everyone is equally consenting and no inappropriate use of the Force is applied - "

"We can't use the Force when we have sex?" Anakin demanded suddenly, momentarily forgetting that this entire conversation was, in fact, The Worst.

Obi-Wan blinked at Anakin. "I... did not mean to imply that, exactly. Only that no mind tricks can be used."

Anakin glared at Obi-Wan and crossed his arms. "I'm not a Hutt," he muttered. "I'm not going to force anyone, for Kriff's sake."

"I did not mean to imply that you were anything of the sort. But it is my duty, no matter how unpleasant for both of us, to be thorough in your education and not take short-cuts." Obi-Wan stroked the few hairs he was attempting to let take over the rest of his face. "And now, that brings us to the issue of birth control."

Anakin groaned internally as Obi-Wan continued to drone on insistently. He kept stroking a beard that wasn't quite there yet, and Anakin had the brief thought that if he just got up and kissed Obi-Wan it would distract the man entirely from The Talk.

Which was a horrifying thought to have, of course - Anakin blamed the fact that he had it at all on this entirely unnecessary lecture.

Anakin barely had time to celebrate his victory before he felt Obi-Wan's hand on his arm, dragging him away from the pod. Using the Force to drag your Padawan away from the scene of a racing victory definitely had to be cheating. Anakin wanted to be mad at him for it, but honestly, the adrenaline from winning the race made it impossible. The fact that he was kind of proud of Obi-Wan for cheating at anything also made it hard to be mad at him. The man was far too good far too often, and honestly, he could definitely stand to let go and have some fun more often.

Of course, at the present, Obi-Wan didn't seem to be having any difficulty doing just that.

"What are you doing?" he demanded once they were away from the crowd of spectators who had decided to gather around and congratulate Anakin.

"Winning a race!" Anakin answered. "It's been ten years since I've been in one, but I'm still the pod-racing champ."

Obi-Wan's entire body went rigid at the comment, and for a moment, it was hard to figure out why.

"On top of everything else, you are going to pretend that you haven't been in a podrace since you left Tatooine? That's certainly a way to add insult to the potential injury that you could have caused."

"Injury? You don't have to worry about me, Master. I'm fine."

Obi-Wan finally let go of his arm, which ... was a lot more disappointing than it should have been. Anakin blamed the adrenaline. "I'm glad you're alright, Anakin. But you know that the Ansion border dispute was a very difficult deal - "

"Not too difficult for you, Master."

Obi-Wan sighed, and it was the exact kind of sigh that told Anakin he was in for a long lecture on how he was being far too reckless. There would probably be a bit of a lecture on following The Code as well.

As it began, Anakin looked down at Obi-Wan's flushed face, red enough that the beard faded into the skin tone, and thought briefly that a kiss would distract his Master from the lecture.

It was a ridiculous thought, and Anakin blamed the thrill of the podrace victory for the fact that he was having it at all.

Tomorrow, Anakin will become a Jedi Knight.

Maybe he would feel more excited about the fact if they hadn't just started a war. Maybe if it didn't feel as though the Council was granting him knighthood against their own will due to the Sith forcing their hand, he could feel excited.

But he knew he'd earned it. He and Obi-Wan had traveled to the furthest corner of the Outer Rim together and back, negotiating border disputes, risking their lives, and saving beautiful senators. He deserved to be a knight.

Besides, Obi-Wan thought so, and Obi-Wan was the smartest Jedi that Anakin knew.

"I'm very proud of you, Anakin," Obi-Wan told him, once they'd retired away from the Jedi Council. The chambers that they'd shared each time they'd come back to Coruscant had seemed too small for some time, and that was definitely the case as they sat down next to one another.

Obi-Wan placed a comforting hand on Anakin's shoulder and the man who never struggled for words in front of any of their enemies seemed to tonight.

"I couldn't have gotten here without you, Master."

"You have been a truly excellent pupil, Anakin. I only wish Qui-Gon could be here to see that he was right about you. To see the Jedi that you have become."

"Do you think he'd be proud, too?" Anakin asked.

They didn't talk about Qui-Gon a lot. Anakin had nothing but warm memories of the man, until he'd been taken from them. But he knew that it was still a sore spot for Obi-Wan. He used to resent the fact that Obi-Wan wouldn't talk about Qui-Gon with him, but he'd come to understand it.

If anything should ever happen to Obi-Wan, Anakin didn't know how he'd ever be able to handle it. He knew he wouldn't handle it as well as Obi-Wan had handled Qui-Gon's death.

"I know he would be," Obi-Wan promised. Through their bond, Anakin could feel a swell of affection. But there was also a great sadness.

As Obi-Wan let go of Anakin's shoulder, the sadness settled thickly in the air between them. Obi-Wan did not dwell often on the past, but his entire attention was now focused on a man who had left them both, long ago. Anakin wanted to do something to make that ache go away for Obi-Wan. He thought of what he might say, what he might do to ease the burden.

For a brief moment, Anakin thought of taking Obi-Wan's face in his hands and kissing the pain away. Kissing his master wasn't a thought that was new to Anakin, but he knew very well it wouldn't be welcome right now.

Anakin loved the rush of battle, but honestly, right now, he wanted to throw up. Or perhaps punch something - that would be a good outlet for the nauseating back-and-forth that his former master was intent on having with Dooku's favorite assassin.

"Darling," Obi-Wan said to Ventress, "it's always such a pleasure to see you. But I'm beginning to think that red really isn't your color at all."

Flirting! With the enemy! It was a ridiculous strategy. Never mind that it seemed to work every single time and throw Ventress off her game - who could blame her? Obi-Wan Kenobi flirting with a person in full battle mode? It was bad enough when he wasn't flirting with you and you were still expected to keep up with him during lightsaber training without getting distracted.

Anakin really didn't miss those practices, for the record.

"Oh, really, Kenobi? What colors do you think would be appropriate?" Ventress' sneer was far too appreciative of Obi-Wan's flirtatious efforts for Anakin's comfort.

"I was thinking perhaps a lovely shade of green. Or perhaps blue, to bring out your eyes," Obi-Wan mused.

Anakin viciously sliced through his battle droids, perhaps more harshly than necessary. But, then, he only had at least one hundred of them to get through while Obi-Wan was over there flirting with the enemy.

"Colors for the weak," Ventress snapped back, and Anakin jumped higher than he needed to in order to land directly in the middle of the battle droid onslaught. It was easier to make a wide, destructive circle that way, he reasoned.

Destructive circles were necessary in battle - much more so than flirting with killer assassins.

"Weak? I don't know. I seem to be keeping pace with you just fine."

"Hm. Your stamina is impressive."


Actually, speaking of Obi-Wan and stamina...

"Master! If you can take a break from flirting with Dooku's pet assassin, I could use your help!"

He should have brought Ahsoka with them. Ahsoka never abandoned him to flirt with the enemy.

"I'm a bit busy at the moment, Anakin."

"Oh, yes, I can hear how busy you are!"

Ventress' laugh reached Anakin's ears and felt like Hutt breath smelled. "Your apprentice seems like he's jealous. Perhaps you should give him a little kiss to let him know he's still loved."

It wasn't a terrible idea, Anakin thought, because kissing him would surely distract Obi-Wan from flirting with the enemy.

By the time Obi-Wan returned from Utapau, Palpatine was dead.

The Council was still reeling from the fact that they had been taking orders from a Sith Lord. Many of them were also still dealing with the fact that the Jedi they trusted least had been the one to deliver the killing blow. They were also dealing with a very angry and very confused Senate.

But someone had to meet Obi-Wan on the landing platform when he arrived back from Utapau, and wasn't it better for the senior members of the Council to take care of the other messes caused by Palpatine's sudden death and let Anakin fill Obi-Wan in?

That was Anakin's argument, anyway, and for once, the Council agreed with him.

So he stood there on the platform as Obi-Wan came to him, a look of concern and worry on his face.

"Are you alright, Anakin? Only part of the Council's message got through, but what I was able to make out did not sound very good at all."

"Chancellor Palptaine is dead," Anakin revealed. "He was also a Sith Lord trying to turn me to the Dark Side."

He watched Obi-Wan's face as he revealed those facts, and he thought about how Palpatine had tried to twist his allegiance to Obi-Wan into a betrayal of Padmé. I guess you have to decide who you love more, your wife or Kenobi. When that hadn't worked, Palpatine had tried a different route, trying to twist the friendship of two of the people Anakin loved most in the galaxy into a betrayal of him. They are awfully close these days, aren't they?

The Dark Side had called to Anakin each time Palpatine had whispered his lies, but in the end, it had been Anakin's dreams - and not his nightmares - that Anakin had listened to.

"I dreamed of you playing with my son," he told Obi-Wan, which confused Obi-Wan even further.

"You...your son?" Obi-Wan asked. "Has more happened since I've been gone than just Palpatine's death?"

"Not yet," Anakin answered, and the expression on Obi-Wan's face was truly priceless and beautiful. To think, Palpatine thought Anakin would choose to go to the Dark Side and choose to miss that look on Obi-Wan's face. "But it's going to happen soon. And I'm probably going to have to quit the Order just when I've finally earned their trust."

There was no "probably" about it. Anakin knew that they were not going to allow this particular brand of attachment. That would be even more true once they realized he'd kept something from them for years and that his children were not going to be given to the creche.

Obi-Wan had a string of questions, understandably. Anakin listened to them for a moment - What do you mean? He was trying to turn you to the Dark Side? That's ridiculous. How did he - ? When is the child due? Does the Council know?

"How is Padmé?"

Such good questions, and they might have continued all day, had Anakin not taken Obi-Wan's face in his hands and kissed him in an effort to distract Obi-Wan from the logical train of thought that Obi-Wan was so determined to follow.

Obi-Wan did not break the kiss and after the briefest of pauses, Anakin was not the one leading the kiss anymore.

Reluctantly, Anakin did break the kiss. "Tell me Palpatine was wrong, and I don't have to choose."

"I'm not sure what Palpatine has to do with any of this," Obi-Wan said, which was fair enough considering he'd come back to an Order in chaos. "But ... I think that's a conversation you need have to have with your wife."

"I will," Anakin promised. He'd briefly talked to her after Palpatine's death, but the Senate was very busy at the moment, and they needed her. "But you ..." he trailed off, uncertain how to ask the question he'd never dared ask before - when he hadn't realized that he wasn't going to stay in the Order with Obi-Wan permanently.

"Me? I say we go get my debriefing out of the way, and then perhaps we can go say hello to your lovely wife and your son to be."

"That's a great plan," Anakin told him. "I mean, I think it is a son. It might be a daughter. My dreams were a little unclear."

"There'll be time to discover that later," Obi-Wan promised. "That, and many other things."

With that promise, Anakin followed Obi-Wan into the temple.