Someone on the Council was apparently determined to make Siri and Obi-Wan pay for all the shenanigans they had been part of when they were younger.
No other explanation was possible.
Why did they insist to put their Padawans, and the poor Masters of said Padawans, in situation where they had to work with each other? Most of the time undercover! Yes, it was Siri’s strong point, but Obi-Wan had been trained for negotiations by his regretted Master, not for pretending he was the happy father of two teenagers/Siri’s divorced husband/Siri’s flavour of the week, or whatever the mission needed.
There was, of course, a slight possibly that it was an effort to force Anakin and Ferus to outgrow their rivalry, but, at day twenty of their eighth consecutive mission together, Obi-Wan was ready for petty accusations.
The fact that the tension between his old friend and himself had never been higher didn’t help. He slept on the couch like a dutiful Jedi and let Siri have the bed, as a gallant friend, but the season was warm right now on this planet, and it was difficult to stop his gaze from following Siri’s neck or her strong arms. As difficult, in fact, that to pretend he didn’t remark Siri’s eyes on his face sometimes. Or on his ass. Siri seemed to have a thing for his ass.
At least, that tension between them was very different from the one between Ferus and Anakin.
Force, he hoped it was different. The two teenagers really didn’t that.
He heard the noise of the door and carefully smothered his expression. If Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Master, had reasons to seem troubled, Ben Zabarah, father of two and stay at home dad, hadn’t. He perceived no other presence with his fellow Jedi, but some of their new neighbours were difficult to feel in the Force…a result of that particular brand of spice whose traffic they were supposed to help the Judicials dismantle.
Siri entered the room, a complicated expression on her face. She was alone.
“What happened?” Obi-Wan asked.
“Someone tried to kidnap Ferus and Anakin in school.”
“Please, tell me someone caught that on video.”
“That’s not funny!”
“Yes, our plan to have them pass for helpless teenagers certainly is thrown out now. Did they broke many bones?”
“Not theirs, of course. The kidnappers are not exactly in good shape, Ferus had to stop Anakin.”
They grimaced in tandem.
The school’s director was very friendly. A little too much, in fact. He insisted to give them a tour of the facilities, which they already had visited, and constantly touched Obi-Wan’s arm. In the Force, Siri felt like she was almost ready to break bones too, but she had better control than that.
Like Obi-Wan had, when Anakin was found by security in a very select brothel, “I was investigating Obi-Wan!’ and the manager made not one but three offers of a job to Siri.
Or that time Anakin made a mistake in programming their escape pod and Siri and Obi-Wan spend four hours together huddling for warmth.
Or when, one the following mission, Ferus lost his footing and the silk blouse of Obi-Wan was the only thing he found to catch hold instead of falling flat on his face. Siri was a little red faced during all the rest of the mission.
“Oh come on,” Anakin whined after, “this is getting ridiculous. You never lose your footing, you control freak. And tearing up Obi-Wan’s clothes as if by chance? How can they still believe…?”
“You have a better idea?” Ferus mocked, a little vexed that hadn’t work.
“We could go on a mission on Naboo. Very romantic, Naboo.”
“Why do all your plans go to Naboo? Is this some sort of fetish?”
Ferus and Anakin almost jumped, startled, at the word. When they were bickering, the world had a tendency to disappear.
Master Windu gave them a stern glare. The rest of the Council seemed more amused, except Yaddle who was grumbling: “Snuggling in the cold, always that worked in the past.”
“Perhaps we are using too generic ideas and we should tailor them more,” Master Adi Gallia remarked, “Perhaps we should ask ourselves what are our Knights strongest point and help the other observe them. For Siri, her strongest point is-”
“Violence?” Master Windu proposed, something teasing in his smile. Adi Gallia glared at him, and his smile only grew in return, and Anakin pretended to gag, until Ferus put his elbow in his ribs not exactly nicely.
“A bodyguard mission, we should prepare,” Yoda said, “always long times waiting there is, good for discussion.”
“But we don’t want them to discuss,” Mace Windu counter-attacked, “we want them to open their eyes, for once, and see the chance that is right under their noses.”
“Masters,” Anakin suddenly intervened, “Master, I think it is time for us to use more drastic actions.”
“What do you mean, Padawan Skywalker?” Mace asked.
“My Master would never let himself be interested in some flirt under a false name during a mission, he’s too professional for that and Master Tachi knows it.”
“And my Master will never be interested in any royal idiot who would want her to abandon the Jedi”, Ferus completed, understanding the other Senior Padawan reasoning.
“We need to call on this case someone who could really be a rival. Another Jedi. A professional Jedi flirt,” Anakin continued and he didn’t even smirk when Ferus blushed, perfectly understanding the name not said. Yes, that case of biceps-worship was hilarious, but it was the time for action! Anakin could always mock Ferus for his inappropriate crush on a Jedi old enough to be his Master later.
“Yes, I see the problem,” Quinlan Vos nodded gravely after some explanations, “Let me handle that. On the same note, Master Windu, the quartermaster is still refusing my demand for leather pants. Do you think you could do something about that? That would really help my mission.”
Later, when things had stopped exploding and really, Master Vos, had that been necessary, and when Ferus and Anakin had scrupulously pretended they were too busy bandaging Ferus’s ankle to see Master Kenobi throw himself into Master Tachi’s arms and give her a kiss worthy of a holodrama, they shared a “Good Job!” breakfast with a few Council Members, in a discreet cantina.
“I thought they would never understand,” Master Windu remarked.
“Such intelligent Jedi, missing the happiness possibility the Force was throwing them,” Adi answered, “Can you believe the Order raised such blind individuals sometimes?
Mace Windu offered her his last pancake. She refused. He insisted, demonstrating she had worked harder than him on this case.
On the other side of the table, Anakin and Ferus were horrified and Yoda suddenly thoughtful.
“I must go,” Master Gallia said finally, “I teach Ataru to an Iniates group in one hour.”
“Could I come” Master Windu asked, “I will play the adversary better than an hologram program for your demonstration.”
“That would be my pleasure, Master Windu.”
They left, leaving behind two blushing Padawans and a very interested Yoda.
“In the Order’s interest, we should- ” the old Master started.
“Sorry, Master, you’re on your own in that one! You should ask Master Vos!” Ferus immediately said, surprising Anakin. Ferus never interrupted older Jedi.
Ferus left the booth, drawing Anakin with him by the hand, to Anakin’s surprise and they left the cantina too, in the morning sun of Coruscant. Their Masters would probably be busy today, too busy to ask themselves what their Padawans were doing.
The day was young and it was theirs and Anakin let himself be lead to Ferus, half a smile on his lips.