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Conceal Me What I Am

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     Conceal me what I am, and be my aid for such disguise as haply shall become the form of my intent

- Twelfth Night



HoloNet News Chanel One Live Galactic Broadcast

 

“Gooooood morning to the galaxy at large, this is Tracene Cane here to report to you at the Senate Building of the Republic.”

“And this is Alton Kastle here to discuss today’s Senate hearing with the Queen of the HoloNet, we are coming to you live on Coruscant.”

“Thank you, Alton. So, tell me, what is so extraordinary about today’s petitioned legislation? Why should the Galaxy care?”

“I’m so glad you asked, Tracene, because today’s legislation might be one of the biggest landmark hearings within the Senate in the last two-hundred years. It affects the stability of government not just for the Inner Core, but the Mid Rim, and the Outer Rim as well.”

“That does sound pretty landmark, but what do you look so excited for, Alton?”

“Oh, because this legislation involves the Jedi, Tracene.”

“The Jedi! Removed order of superhero knights, lightsaber duelists, force wielding mystics, and abstainers of all outside civilian life from the Order, including marriage, children, and dynamics?”

“The very ones! I think I can speak freely here, Tracene, when I say I’m not the only one a little obsessed with the Jedi. Any involvement with the Order in Galactic affairs always charts at number one across the Net, within the Core and to the Outer Rim. We live in very lucky times. A hundred years ago and most information on the Jedi was redacted or kept highly secret amongst themselves and they had very little to do with outsiders for our entire Republic’s history.”

“We do love our Jedi Knights, Alton. So what gives?”

“Times are changing and with the constant pressure of Separatists threatening war on our Republic, the Jedi have become more involved with the Senate and Galactic politics. The only problem is, there’s a lot of fear amongst certain political groups, and for a lot of ordinary folks throughout the galaxy, that the Jedi—as a military order, are gaining far too much unchecked power when they are not officially affiliated with or answer to the Senate.”

“I can definitely see that being a problem. So I’m guessing today’s legislation is meant to curtail this problem, Alton?”

“It is, Tracene, but not in any way we’re imagining. A bill that has been proposed to the Senate and the Jedi High Council is being petitioned on the floor to, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, truly this seems unreal—”

“Oh Alton, you have the entire galaxy on the edge of their seats.”

“The bill proposed is to unite the powers of the Jedi Order with the Republic Senate, for the greater good of fighting the Separatists together. But this unification is not through standard affiliate law, due to so much recent distrust towards the Jedi within certain circles. So, the bill proposed is for there to be a political marriage between a Jedi Knight and a Senator of the Republic.”

“Alton, am I hearing you right? You’re telling the galaxy that the Senate is meeting to orchestrate an arranged marriage between a Jedi and Senator? But that is strictly forbidden for the Jedi! It goes against everything they stand for! Can—can they do that?”

“The briefings coming to us live from the Senate floor suggest the High Council are surprisingly receptive to the idea. The consensus seems to be that a first marriage will happen as an experiment, to see if unification and peace between the Senate and Jedi Order is actually feasible. If the marriage is a success, the bill will move on to more political marriages in the name of Galactic peace.

“I sure don’t envy the knight and senator chosen, when the future of the Republic may rest on the success of their marriage.”

“Right you are, Tracene. But I think we all have a lot of questions here. What Jedi Knight will be willing to forsake their vows for the future of the republic? And what senator would commit themselves to a marriage with an individual forbidden to love?”

“Has there been any dialogue within the bill suggesting it will be an alpha and omega pairing?”

“Nothing I have seen, though it would certainly make the alliance easier.”

“Well Alton, I think we’ll switch these folks to a live transmission of the Chancellor’s speech on the bill, though he seems very hesitant about the idea if you ask me.”

“The Senate majority doesn’t like how cozy Chancellor Palpatine has become with the Order in recent years. I don’t think his party is very pleased as the Senate’s attempts to intermingle the Jedi with politics. But if he wants to keep his seat, he knows he has little choice in the matter, this is a Republic after all.”

“Right you are, Alton. This is HoloNet News One, live from Coruscant with Tracene Cane and Alton Kastle bringing you the latest updates on the proposed bill for a Jedi Knight and Republican Senator arranged marriage. Up next, the Chancellor’s speech!”


Two Days Earlier: The Jedi Temple

“You wished to speak with me, masters?”

“Skywalker,” said Master Windu. “It would probably be best if you sat down.”

Anakin raised his eyebrows but obediently sat himself in the only empty council seat within the circle. He eyed the chamber warily, suddenly realizing that the entire Council was present, even those off world and fighting in the Outer Rim were there via Holo.

“What did I do wrong?” He asked.

“Nothing yet,” Windu replied mildly.

Master Yoda audibly sighed and leaned forward in his seat to rap his cane against the floor. “Very important reason, the council called you here for, it has. Watching the news, have you been?”

“I’ll admit I don’t keep up with Holo very well when I’m off planet. Has there been another attack?” He straightened in his seat, worry rising quick and panicky in his throat. “Master Jinn is alright, isn’t he?”

Master Windu sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Qui-Gon is perfectly fine and raising sith’s hell on Ryloth as we speak. We have an entirely other matter to discuss with you. How intimate are you with the recent pushback of the Senate?”

Anakin clasped his hands in his lap and tried to look entirely innocent. Was he supposed to admit to his many intimate meetings with the Chancellor? How much had the Chancellor told them, that he knew the Jedi were in deep peril of becoming villains amongst popular consensus in the galaxy, that any day the Jedi were going to lose all rights to their ties with the Senate and the backup of the armies of the Republic?

“I think I’m fairly caught up, yes.” He replied neutrally.

“Good, then we don’t have to impress on you how dangerous the current climate is towards the Order. A proposal has been made, regarding an alliance between the Jedi and the Senate.” Master Windu’s mouth pulled into a particularly pained grimace. “A literal proposal.”

“A literal proposal of--?” Anakin asked. He truly despised how cryptic the council could be sometimes. He was a warrior, a soldier, all straightforward truthfulness and black and white views. He didn’t have time nor patience for their political machinations.

Windu grimaced again. “The Senate is proposing a bill for an arranged marriage between one of our knights and a senator. They think it will keep the order in check from our supposed attempts at seizure of power. Many are under the impression it will create a political alliance so that we can finally battle the separatists on a unified front.”

He felt his jaw physically drop open as he tilted his head to eye the entire council. He thought it a joke for a moment, even though Master Windu was the least likely individual in the entire galaxy to play such a ridiculous joke. But each of the masters wore identical expressions of unhappy seriousness, though a certain weary resoluteness hung in the force like a dour thundercloud. Beyond the chemical sharpness of blockers, the faint scent of nervous sweat tinged the air.

“And the council is—willing to allow this?” He asked.

“Willing we must, the future of the Republic, at stake it is,” said Master Yoda. “Why we have called you here, this is.”

Anakin squinted at all of the masters for a moment, feeling entirely wrong footed and confused. So they did know about his closeness with the Chancellor? Surely they weren’t coming to him for advice? He assumed Master Windu would rather choke than resort to those desperate measures.

“I’m sorry, masters. I’m not being deliberately obtuse. Why am I here?”

Every council member’s expression grew more pinched, the scent of discomfort curling through the room just as potently as the unease within the force.  

“The council has called you here because we think you would be the best knight to enter into this marriage,” said Master Windu.

Anakin blinked. A lightsaber hilt over the back of the head couldn’t stun him more in this moment. But no one’s expressions changed, and Master Windu didn’t break into hysterical laughter while pointing out what an idiot he was for believing such karking sithspit.

“Oh—” he said. “Why would you want me to get married? Surely there are many other Jedi who are far more suited to this—mission?”

Master Koon leaned forward in his seat to cut Master Windu off. “On the contrary, Knight Skywalker, we think you are by far the best suited to enter such a pact. You have always been unusually prone to deep emotion for a Jedi, and while care must be taken so that such deep emotion does not lead to attachment,it is a giving gift to love and care so deeply.”

Indignant anger and embarrassment furled through his shields and in his scent before he could control himself. Heat rose quickly to his face and he cast his eyes to the side, suddenly unwilling to make eye contact with anyone in the room.

“You brought me here to forsake my vows and betray the code because you believe me to already be such a terrible Jedi?” He could not keep the betrayal and fury he felt from making his words wobble, throat going tight and achy with the heat rising in him.

“So negative our views, they are not,” intoned Master Yoda. “Empathetic you are. Understand and have patience for an outsider, you would have. Best suited, to balance knighthood and personal attachment, when you already do, hmm? —”

All at once his fury collapsed in on itself like a dying star, snuffed about by his befuddlement and surprise.

“Even further, you are quite popular on the HoloNet,” said Master Fisto. “Because of your victories so far in the Outer Rim, you are by far the best-known knight to the wider galaxy. It would look well that the Jedi to be married is a well-respected war hero. Further, you are young, human, and considered attractive for your species, and an alpha as well, the most popular demographic on the Net.”

A rock couldn’t add to the weight in his stomach. It took every iota of control Master Jinn ever taught him during his padawan years to shield the blind panic from his aura and scent. He should have known his ‘designation’ played a part in this. Anakin Skywalker was everything an alpha should be, tall and strong, athletic, masculine, extroverted and charming and one of the best fighters in the entire galaxy. The Holos loved him because he had cultivated himself to be the perfect Jedi knight and the archetype of alpha virtues, assertive, dominant, engaging.

And not all of these aspects of himself were a lie, a front. As a war general he was brash and assertive, extroverted and strong and athletic. Stereotypes and supposed archetypes were after all, structures and models conceived by human societies.

“The choice is, of course yours, Skywalker,” intoned Master Windu. “The council would never pressure you on such a choice. We are asking you to…diverge from the traditional code in light of the greater danger to the Republic. If you feel it goes against the will of the force or what you are understandably willing to sacrifice, we will of course find someone else.”

But finding someone else meant he passed up the one opportunity in his entire life to have not just an open, but council ordained and approved attachment. He had many, to be sure, his old Master, his own padawan, the Chancellor, but they were secreted relationships, love and affection kept staunchly hidden and to the shadows. Beyond peace and freedom and the will of the force, this afforded him the one thing he wanted more than anything else in the entire galaxy, love.

 Not romantic love, for he doubted with everything in him that an arranged marriage with some senator would ever bear the fruit of romantic love, especially with his hidden designation. But it offered him possible friendship, a close relationship, a binding tie outside of the order and the always watchful gaze of the council.

“It has to be a beta.” The words bubbled out of his mouth and his heart skipped a beat, a surge of fear lighting up his insides. He could never request an alpha. The HoloNet would absolutely riot at such a taboo match, but a beta, while not perfect, wouldn’t incite outrage and mayhem amongst the masses.

He expected confusion. He was an alpha being given a once in a lifetime chance, who would choose a beta in circumstances like this, if love and a mate match wasn’t involved? But the citrusy smell of relief bloomed in the room and Master Windu’s shoulders visibly relaxed.

“As it so happens, the Chancellor has his own candidate he thinks would do well.”

That only added to his confusion and general bewilderment of the situation. Surely the Chancellor abhorred this? He often confided to Anakin his unease at the Senate’s attempts at curtailing the independent power of the Jedi Order, and even further, he was especially protective of him. Did this mean he had chosen a senator with Anakin in mind? Or did he even know of the Council’s choice of what knight would be sacrificed for a galactically famous political marriage?

“With all due respect, Master Windu, I don’t care who the Chancellor has chosen. If the senator isn’t a beta my answer is no.”

Master Windu raised his hand in a gesture of appeasement. “Of course, I will speak with the Chancellor myself.”

Outside of the tower’s panoramic windows, Anakin looked to the Coruscant skyline and wondered how in the force he wasn’t going to completely kriff this up and bring galactic ruin.


One Day Later: The Chancellor’s Office

Obi-Wan knocked on the Chancellor’s door while clutching his data padd in a sweaty grip with his opposite hand. He didn’t have much time to spare for the meeting, and his morning had been harried and rushed, leaving him strung thin and tired.

“Come in.”

He pushed his way into the impressive office and sat himself in one of the chairs facing the chancellor’s desk, where the old man sat, looking especially exhausted and long suffering.

“You wished to speak with me, Chancellor?”

“Yes, Senator Kenobi, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I know you are especially tied up with the Colstev trade negotiations at the moment.”

“Not at all,” he said politely. “How can I be of assistance?”

The Chancellor laughed and leaned back in his seat, running a hand over his haggard face. “A dangerous offer, senator, you have no idea of what I must ask of you. I deeply apologize in advance for even having to ask this of you, but then—we live in dangerous times do we not?”

Obi-Wan nodded and kept himself from darting his eyes around the office nervously. Already he sensed the situation out of his control and far more serious than he previously thought their little office meeting to be. He didn’t have time for this bantha shit. Other politicians were always trying to tie him up in their power grabs and maneuverings, attempting to sway the parties and control of the senate in one way or another.  

“I suppose you're right, sir. But if I can be of assistance then you know I will, it is the Republic I serve, and the ideal of democracy.”

The Chancellor quirked a curious smile, steepling his fingers. “I have always loved your passion, Kenobi. I have always thought you to be, somehow, the only uncorrupt senator in this entire galaxy. What do you know of the Jedi Marriage Bill to be petitioned tomorrow?”

Obi-Wan blinked and shifted in his seat, a deep sense of alarm making itself known. “Far too much I’m afraid. The Stewjon system is especially distrustful of the Jedi Order for some kriff-all reason. As representative to the system I have been attempting to surmount this issue but I have my suspicions about the Hutts running black-market trade in my outer sectors and sowing seeds of distrust.”

The Chancellor hummed. “Yes, a similar problem many systems have been facing as of late, unfortunately. The Seperatists are especially fixed on destroying the image of the Jedi in the galaxy, they believe if they can divide us, the Republic stands no chance facing them alone. It makes me—often fear the reality of how much corruption is in our Senate,” he said carefully.

Obi-wan nodded, suppressing his annoyance so that it did not make itself known in his scent. “Chancellor, please do not feel you need to sway me towards your side. I am deeply aligned with your party’s support of the Jedi. While I question the Traditionalist Party’s…direction for unification of the Senate and the Order, I am by no means against the ideal behind it.”

“Yes, the Traditionalist Party is—very extreme in their legislation for balance, but even my own party has many supporters of the bill, and I am of the firm belief it will be ratified tomorrow, a political marriage will take place.”

Obi-Wan found himself nodding again and then paused, a dawning light of realization. What an idiot he was, for not immediately understanding the situation the moment the Chancellor brought up the legislation.

“Oh—” he said. “You’re asking me to volunteer for the marriage, aren’t you?”

The Chancellor closed his eyes and looked terribly aggrieved for a moment, nodding with the weight of the world on his shoulders, although the comparison was entirely accurate. The Chancellor sat here, asking this of him, because the future of the Republic, the entire galaxy, was in question.

“I’m terribly sorry to ask it of you, my friend. But you are by far the best option I could possibly think of. You are the most loyal man I know to the ideals of the Republic and protecting galactic democracy. If there was anyone willing to make the sacrifice, it would be you. Besides—” he trailed off with a laugh in his voice, “you are young and attractive, a favorite on the HoloNet, it makes you an ideal choice to further garner a positive reaction from the public.”

When the wider fate of the galaxy was in question, his focus straying to his own system and homeworld’s questions of loyalty felt selfish, but he could only think of his own heartache at watching his people turn their backs on the Jedi who had helped them time and time again.

“No I understand, and I assure you I am not offended by you asking me. If anything—it would help establish loyalty with many of the Mid and Outer Rim systems to the Jedi would it not? You’re asking me specifically because of where I come from.”

The Chancellor smiled wryly. “Astute as ever, Kenobi. The senator chosen for the marriage cannot come from a Core world. To truly amass unification, we need a representative from the Mid or Outer Rim, although I truly question the loyalty of many senators from the Outer Rim.”

Obi-Wan opened his mouth to argue indignantly, thinking of his many friends and colleagues being slandered in this moment. The Chancellor waved his hand in dismissal.

“I am not dragging the names of your many compatriots; I am merely wary of the extent of the Hutt’s influence and control on the Senators within their sphere. But you, I have never questioned your loyalty, senator.”

He sighed, a deep sentiment of resignation burrowing in his psyche. Could he do this? Sacrifice any future of love or connection in the name of his Republic? But that really wasn’t a question, because of course he would. Love had never been an option for him, not with his career choices and…the nature of his birth status kept hidden.

There wasn’t a reasonable explanation he could give a romantic partner for lying about his designation. Why would an alpha ever pretend to be a beta? It was absurd, when his true designation was respected and deferred to astronomically more than what he pretended to be, especially in politics.

“But of course, you know my answer is yes, Chancellor, for the good of the Republic.”

Staggering relief broke out on the old man’s face and in his scent. It made his nose tickle, as the Chancellor always used an odd blocker that made the beta’s scent especially clinical smelling.

“I’m so deeply happy to hear it, Kenobi. And it may be terribly uncouth to say but—” he tapped his nose with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “It may be a political marriage, but I think you’ll like who the Council have chosen.”

“Oh,” panic openly curled through his scent now, sharp and musky despite his blockers. “I didn’t realize the Jedi was already chosen.”

“Indeed,” the Chancellor went on obliviously. “I think you’ll be pleased. It’s that dashing alpha war general, Anakin Skywalker. Although I’ll admit I’m frightfully biased on the subject as he is a dear friend of mine. I can vouch very highly for his character—Obi-Wan,” he trailed off in confusion. “Are you quite alright? Rather, you’ve just gone a little pale.”

A little pale indeed. Deep toe-curling dread settled in his stomach like an anvil. An alpha, really? Of all the force forsaken luck. But he couldn’t very well back out now could he, not after he agreed? And why would he? What beta in their karking right mind would turn down the HoloNet famous war general, Jedi knight, Anakin Skywalker? The young man was galactically known for his swashbuckling antics, rakish personality, and pants dropping good looks. He was all alpha, all dominance and control, wrapped up in a tall, broad shouldered package, with a roguish scar to boot.

The HoloNet loved him, the galaxy loved him. The more he thought of it the more obvious the decision seemed. Skywalker was the best known and respected Jedi to the public. Obi-Wan couldn’t possibly refuse him as a match, not to the Chancellor, not to the Senate. But an alpha? Could he marry another alpha?